Podcast Episode #22: Advanced Interviewing Techniques

The tables have turned as Nick Hancock picks Ryan Spanger’s brain on his approach and philosophy to filming interviews.


Listen to these key points:

  1. Find out what interview style Ryan have been using lately and why [03:21]. Find out the differences between documentary video and straight to camera, and which Ryan prefers.
  2. Something you probably don’t know about Ryan. Honing skills [07:11]. Find out how Ryan cultivated his approach to filmmaking in Melbourne.
  3. How do you know you’re doing a good job? [10:11] Ryan describes the “sparkle” in his subjects eyes and how you can see it for yourself.
  4. Why so serious? [13:42] Delving into human psychology, we find out why people get nervous when interviewed on camera. The reasons may surprise you.
  5. Apply the psychological theory practically [19:25]. Taking theory and knowledge and finding out how to use it practically isn’t easy. Find out how Ryan takes his knowledge and research and applies it to interviewing.
  6. Ryan gets fired up [20:37]. Strong language is dropped when Ryan gets passionate calling out fake people and how to get a real response.
  7. Judge not lest ye be judged [24:22]. Will your own prejudices and feelings get in the way of a good interview? What should you leave at home and what can help get the best responses when interviewing your subject?
  8. What the Grock? [28:50] Ryan springs some surprising vernacular on Nick to explain how to connect with people and why this is so important.
  9. Investing in your subject [29:54]. What do homeless people and prominent Melbourne politicians have in common? Ryan reveals some interesting truths about the human condition.
  10. Remember this [32:47]. Ryan shares some juicy tips on what to remember when filming an interview. Years of experience being given to you for free. You’re welcome.
  11. Boiling it down [33:45]. Ryan and Nick sign off with some great final thoughts on what they have discussed. The 3 main ideas of the podcast are broken down, chewed up and fed to your ear-holes like a bird.

Episode Transcription

Ryan: This is the Web Video Marketing Show Episode 22. I’m Ryan and joined by my co-host Nicko.

Nicko: Hello, Ryan. As you can tell for our listeners at home we’ve got a fair bit of clicking going on in the background because the office is in full swing at the moment, really really busy this week. Got a lot of exciting stuff to share with the listeners as well.

Ryan: Nathan is editing away. Say good day, Nathan.

Nathan: Hey.

Ryan: Back to the show. Nicko, I was having a look at our podcast figures today, just getting a sense of who our listeners are and how many people are listening. The show has been going on for a while now with episode 22 which I’m pretty excited about. We’re heading up to a year’s worth of podcast and I have just thoroughly enjoyed doing this. I also just want to say thanks to the listeners for the journey that they’ve come on with us and particularly the people who made contact and asked questions and given us feedback.

I was just looking at the figures and actually I can see that now pretty much the number one group of listeners is based in the United States with Australia as second, United Kingdom coming third and then Canada and then United Arab Emirates. I think quite a few of those listeners in UAE might be my friend James Reynolds so hi there, James. But it’s just interesting to really to see what a global podcast this is, and that although we are based here in Melbourne, Australia, that we have listeners all over the world and how many people are listening in the USA.

Nicko: I think it’s interesting that we see those statistics as they are, Ryan. It’s sort of testament to the fact that here on the Web Video Marketing Show we are trying to give some value to our listeners. We’re trying to cover a whole range of interesting topics to make your video production better. Once again it comes back to that point that if there is something that you’d like to hear as cover on the show, if there’s a topic that we haven’t tackled yet, well then you can simply leave your comment below and we’ll theoretically be able to handle it in a podcast down the track and try to bring some more of that knowledge to you guys wherever you are in the world.

Ryan: You know what else I thought was pretty cool just looking through this list of listeners that there are listeners in Portugal, in Saudi Arabia.

Nicko: Pakistan. It goes off in Pakistan.

Ryan: Yup, Ecuador, Ukraine, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Yemen and Bermuda which is just pretty cool to think that there’s people out there listening all over the world. We’d love to hear from you. We’d love to know what you think. Are you finding this useful and what would you enjoy hearing about?

Nicko: In a variety of locals temperament-wise and temperature-wise as well. People can be in the snow, on the beach theoretically. It’s great. It’s really cool to see.

Ryan: Let’s talk a bit about what we’ve been doing over the last week or two. We went up to Sydney last week to work on a sales documentary.

Nicko: Yeah. It was a really interesting experience going up in Sydney for the day to work on that kind of corporate video. We went with a specific idea. We understood that our client had previous videos on their websites and we were boarding to do our first video for them.

The previous videos on their website they were very scripted, highly scripted. They looked good. I mean technically they were quite nice but they’re incredibly scripted. We went in with the idea we’re doing something a little bit different and using our approach of a more corporate documentary style to the tell the stories of the people all over our client’s offices a little bit better and a little bit differently.

Ryan: Yeah. It’s fascinating to see what happens, the sort of difference in psychology between people speaking directly to the camera and people talking to an interviewer just to the side of the camera. We’ve talked a bit about this. It’s quite challenging presenting directly to the camera because you’re not getting any feedback.

When you’re talking to a person their facial gestures are changing. You can tell if they are listening. You can tell if they’re engaged but it’s really hard to do that when you’re speaking directly to the camera. What we found was that when people were speaking to an interviewer, i.e. me, one the shoot they started to relax. They started to reveal more of themselves. You got much more of a sense of who they are, what their story is, what their personality is. While the other videos were factually correct, technically high-quality, there’s so much that was now added by actually just having them relaxed and talk in conversational way and be themselves.

Nicko: Yeah. I think that’s an important distinction to make. You can commission any sort of video production. At different stages there is the option of using an order cue versus unscripted video production, but each one of them had strengths and benefits. You’re not necessarily getting more benefit to your video from using an order cue depending on what sort of video you’re trying to create.

Ryan: This is why we’re going to talk today more about interviewing techniques. This is actually something that we covered in episode 17. If you haven’t listened to episode 17, I encourage you to go back there and check it out. We talked about interviewing skills like asking open-ended questions, what’s at stake, keeping your questions short and the idea of let it run. Head over to episode 17 and have a listen as a background but today I’d like to take things a little bit deeper and talk about some more advanced interviewing skills.

Nicko: Yeah, because I remember from episode 17 I really enjoyed that chat. I hope our listeners did too because you seem really into interviewing. It’s one of your passions and I enjoy seeing you work in that capacity.

Ryan: I do love interviewing and I love watching documentaries. I just feel about interviews that if they’re done in the right way, it really helps the person that you’re interviewing to be real and to reveal powerful truths about themselves. This is incredibly engaging for viewers.

Once they’re watching someone being interviewed and being real and really kind of sharing their authentic self, the viewers start to become emotionally involved in the video. They actually feel compelled to keep watching because they have actually developed a relationship with the person on the screen. They can relate to them. That’s where a video becomes very engaging. People really want to get involved in the story. It can be persuasive when used in a sales video sort of context.

Nicko: You actually bring your own set of skills and background to the process of interviewing. What’s your background and can you explain to some of our viewers what you’ve explained to me which is your interviewing philosophy?

Ryan: Yeah, absolutely. Well what a lot of people don’t know about me is that before I got into film-making and running a video production company I studied psychology and I studied counseling. This was quite a few years ago. I’ve always had a deep interest in human psychology and story. I’ve had this sort of jewel interest in storytelling, in film-making but also in psychology.

Many years ago when I first started working as a film-maker and I was really just working from week to week, month to month, getting started in finding jobs. I was doing things like music videos and weddings. Really in those days which was a good 15 years ago I wondered whether it was actually possible to make a living as a film-maker.

When I studied counseling, at the same time I was working as a crisis counselor for a suicide help line. I did that for a few years. I learned an incredible amount and I was exposed to people and their situations and stories which at times shocked me, which moved me, and which really taught me a lot about the human condition about what motivates people. I found this fascinating so I went in to study counseling and got a graduate diploma in counseling. I worked at a university as a student counselor.

A lot of what I learned through this process I’ve actually brought into my film-making and interviewing.

Nicko: They’re not separate skills? They actually go hand in hand better than people I think would imagine they do.

Ryan: It took a while for me to realize that. I remember at that time when I was working as a counselor but I was also making films, I tell people that. They’d say, “Well. Those are just sort of two completely different things,” but they’re incredibly related in terms of they’re really both about the human condition, about what motivates people and about storytelling. In both skills you’re basically working to help people to reveal their stories.

In counseling and psychology, it’s to help people cope and to help them to heal. I guess in film-making, it’s about revealing the human condition. It’s about helping people to tell their story and that can be used in a range of contexts. It can be used to persuade. It can be used to entertain and it can be used in art but there is a lot of parallels there.

Nicko: I actually can’t help but think of the blowtorches at the moment because I’m interviewing you for this podcast and you’re the interview maestro or guru in this situation.

Ryan, can you explain to me how do you know you’re doing a good job of interviewing?

Ryan: Yeah, absolutely. We’re also just having a chat. Don’t worry, I’m not going to …

Nicko: I’m not going to get graded on this?

Ryan: .. deal too deep into your psyche on this episode. We’ll save that for a future one.

Nicko: That’s a whole other podcast, right?

Ryan: We’ll reveal the Nicko behind the mask.

Nicko: I think another podcast is ready for that.

Ryan: How do you if you’re doing a good job when you’re interviewing? The surest sign is you’ll see a sparkle in people’s eyes. It’s amazing that when you develop a rapport and a connection with people and they’re really involved in the interviewing process, you’ll actually see it on video. You’ll see their eyes light up. You’ll see that passion in them come through. That’s when you know that you’re actually on the right track.

Nicko: Okay. Why is that sparkle in the eyes so important?

Ryan: When interviewees are really connected and they’re bringing themselves to the experience, their eyes light up and you can literally see the life in them. You can see their passion. This is when an interview becomes so powerful. It becomes really engaging. They are revealing their human condition. As a viewer you start to relate to them, you start to connect with them. You can see their emotion. This is just what becomes so compelling.

Nicko: How do you get that as an interviewer? How do you get that sparkle in the eyes?

Ryan: Okay. It all starts off with rapport building. That’s basically the relationship or the connection that you build with an interviewee right from the very first moment of contact. It may be a phone call. It may be an e-mail. It might be walking into a room and shaking their hand for the first time. The rapport building is all about setting the scene before the interview happens.

Nicko: What you’re saying, Ryan, is that the actual interviewing process it’s not just confined to that room, it starts far before then?

Ryan: Yeah. It’s everything that leads up to it. If you were talking about building a house, it would be the original concept development, the creating the plans. In video production it would be all the pre-production that goes into it. By the time you start you’re sort of warmed up already.

It’s the same with interviewing, it’s not just the case of sitting down with someone with a list of question and reeling them off. It’s about building that connection with people so that when you actually sit down, you help them to feel relaxed, comfortable and engaged.

Basically people want to know that they can trust you to feel you represent them, that you get them and that you’re on their wavelength. To fully get this I want to delve a little bit into the psychology behind how people operate. So much of the time when you go and interview someone, have you noticed how incredibly uncomfortable people can get about being interviewed on camera?

Nicko: Yeah. I think that’s a big part of the process, isn’t it, making them feel comfortable?

Ryan: Yeah, absolutely. It’s so often when you first go to interview someone they’ll appear to be quite self-conscious or scared and sometimes they’ll even put themselves down. They’ll sort of go, “I’m really not good at this.” They find it really challenging often.

The first thing is that it’s really important to understand why this is happening, because once you understand it then you can actually help people to start feeling at ease, to feel connected and prepare to make themselves vulnerable, to start to feel more free in front of the camera. Once they do that, that’s when we’re getting the engaging, dynamic, interesting content.

Nicko: What you’re saying is, I know a lot of people think of interviewing or being interviewed as an invasive process, but what you’re trying to do is to make sure that it’s a comfortable process overall.

Ryan: Absolutely. I want people who are listening to the podcast to understand based on a research that I’ve done why this is actually happening. We’re going to go right into sort of the human psychology of it.

If we look at a person and go right back to the very start of their history when they’re a baby, they’re in their mother’s tummy. Basically at that time in their brain, in their psychology they can’t see a difference between their self and the outside world. There’s just this pure safety and connection.

There’s a psychologist called Jean Piaget and he talked about the four stages of development. It’s really interesting because he sums it up in quite a simple way where he talks about the way that a child’s brain develops and the way their mind works from when they’re a baby as they grow up.

When you look at a baby when they close their eyes they think that the whole world disappears. They can’t actually see the difference between their own consciousness and their own experience. Everything else in the world they feel completely connected. The important thing here is to think about when you first entered the world you have this total state of connection. This total experience of not seeing a difference between yourself and everything else in the world. Does that make sense so far?

Nicko: Yeah. It makes perfect sense. When does that stop for a job?

Ryan: Well as the baby starts to grow older it starts to individuate. It basically gets a sense that there is self and there is other. It starts to differentiate between its own experience and other people. Then as the baby gets older, it starts to learn that some things that it does are okay and some are not okay. Often that’s taught to the baby by their parents to start to kind of almost train their behavior.

The baby start to learn about this idea of approval and disapproval. You do certain things that are approved of and you’ll be rewarded with love and acceptance or whatever. In certain other things you will be disapproved of. You will be told that they are wrong. In some more extreme cases as the child gets older it will start to experience this idea of shame.

This is really important. We’re going to come back to this idea of shame because that’s an emotion which I see pop up quite a bit when people first kind of are dealing with this idea of being interviewed. They feel embarrassed. The sense of shame can often come up. The sense of, “I’m not good enough,” or a fear of revealing themselves.

Shame is this really powerful mechanism used in society often by authority figures to affect behavioral change. A child will do something naughty, it will be shamed by it’s parents or teachers, something like that. It will learn that that’s the wrong thing. I’m not saying this is necessarily a good way teaching the child by how the world works but it’s often something that’s used.

What then happens is that the child develops an adaptive self which is like a mask which it takes on to present itself to the world. All humans do this to some degree or two to large degree. We don’t have license to fully be ourselves because some behaviors if you just wanted to do whatever popped into your mind that would be unacceptable. It would go against society. It would cause conflict. It might make people feel uncomfortable. We developed this public mask of acceptable behavior. Do you know what I mean?

Nicko: Yeah, absolutely. I’m interested to see how you relate this all back to interviewing.

Ryan: Okay. Stay with me because that’s where we’re heading to. This mask is also known as an idealized self. There’s a  psychologist called Carl Rogers who refers to it as an idealized self. We’ll come back to Carl Rogers. In more extreme case what people will do is experience a sense of disconnection between their true selves who they learn over time they can’t fully express and the mask of what they have taken on because they’re doing the right thing in the eyes of society or authority figures.

That’s part of human development but at the same time people have a really, really strong drive to connect. They want to share their stories but they are scared of being vulnerable because they’re scared of being rejected. The thing is often people aren’t even aware of this. It’s happening on an unconscious level.

Through my study of counseling and psychology this is what I have discovered about early human development and the mask that people create. This whole history is what they’re bringing to the interview process. The fact that they want to share their stories, they want to be connected but at the same time they are defensive because they don’t want to make themselves vulnerable and be disapproved of.

Nicko: Okay, Ryan. I understand what you just told me. I’d like you to tell me what does that mean for how you approach the interview? All these psychology that you’ve studied and you understand, how does that change how you enter an interview situation?

Ryan: I’m entering an interview situation with an understanding of in general terms where people are coming from and what they actually want to achieve. They are arriving with a level of defensiveness to a greater or lesser degree. They want to know they can trust me. They want to know can they actually relax to reveal their story? Are they going to be disapproved of? In an extreme sense, are they going to be shamed or ridiculed if they actually make themselves vulnerable and talk about something personal and I don’t listen or I don’t get them or I make a joke about what they’re talking about.

These are kind of deep emotional things that are embedded in people’s psychology. I’m entering into that experience knowing what the blocks are to people loosening up and revealing themselves and getting that sparkle in the eyes.

I want to tell you about Carl Rogers, because out of all the psychologists that I studied, Carl Rogers is probably the person that has affected me the most and had the biggest impact in my interviewing. Carl Rogers is the father of what’s known as person-centered psychology.

He came up with this awesome concept of … he thought to himself, “If I had to really break it down and distill it, what are the necessary and sufficient conditions for the psychological process to unfold?” which basically means what does the setting need to be like and what’s kind of the minimum effective dose that’s going to mean that the psychological process can unfold. You can substitute interview process for this psychological process.

How do I need to be as an interviewer that’s going to allow the interview to unfold in a natural, connected, revealing way? What can I do that’s going to allow people to really bring themselves to the process? He identified three key things. They are congruence, unconditional positive regard and empathy. We’re going to talk through each of those.

I’ll start of with congruence. Congruence basically just means realness or genuineness, not being fake. For example take the story of going in to a used car lot and talking to an old school salesman. He’s putting on a act. He’s not being congruent. What effect does that have on you talking to someone like that?

Nicko: Well it makes me question what they’re telling me essentially. It is one of those things that you can pick up as if you are especially in video.

Ryan: Yeah. It propels you because there is someone who is talking to you but you can that you are not being real. They’re bull-shiting you. There’s the mismatch between how they are claiming to be coming across and what’s really going on.

Nicko: As a viewer there’s nothing that turns me off more than a lack of authenticity. Also I believe anyway.

Ryan: Yes. Congruence basically means being real. If you’re asking people to be real in an interview you have to actually demonstrate. You’ve got to bring that before they’re actually going to do that. That’s the first thing is that it’s vital to be congruent. That’s not really that easy. It’s very easy to slip in to some kind of official mode. Sometimes people might watch interviews on TV and try to be them rather than try to be themselves.

Other times they might slip into a mode of just trying to come across in a certain way because you think that’s how you should be or that’s how people are going to accept you. People can sort of sniff fakeness a mile away. As an interviewer you actually have to take a risk as well. You’ve got to make yourself just as vulnerable by being yourself.

Nicko: I find it’s often in our experience people behaving on camera and being interviewed as they believe people on television behave when they’re being interviewed, which is not what we’re going for especially not when we’re taking a documentary-style approach to the interviewing process.

Ryan: That’s right. It’s more like just having a conversation.

Nicko: Absolutely.

Ryan: Forget about the stuff that you see on TV. What does it feel like to have a conversation with a good friend when you’re really connected and you’re having a great conversation and you’re kind of sharing stuff about with yourself. That feels really good. There are times in an interview where you might actually share a bit about your own personal experience because that is actually being authentic for you and that’s going to help people to trust you because they learn a little bit about you. That’s congruence.

The second point that Rogers talked about is unconditional positive regard, which basically just means taking a non-judgmental stance. So much of the time in the world, it’s easy to slip into the mode of being a judge. Like someone tells you something and you’re judging it, you’re weighing it up or whatever. What does it feel like when you’re talking to someone and they’re judging you?

Nicko: I feel nervous. I feel like I can’t be myself. I feel like I’ve got to act out to a certain level or be a certain way.

Ryan: Exactly. That’s just going to close you down. You’re going to not want to share your story because this person that you’re talking to is going to twist it through their own filter and judge you. It’s absolutely vital when you’re interviewing someone that you are coming with this feeling of unconditional positive regard. That regardless of what their background is, what their story is, what they’re telling you while you’re sitting there with them in the interview process, you’re communicating through what you’re saying, through your body language, though the types of questions that you ask that you hold them in a high esteem. That you are really interested in what they have to say and that nothing about what they’re saying is repelling you or offending you.

Now that can be challenging sometimes because it’s so easy to just slip into your own judgments. In your daily life you have to judge to a certain degree. You can’t just go through your whole life with this unconditional positive regard but you can exercise it in an interview situation.

You can actually walk in and say, “I am actively going to put my judgments aside.” Even if you want to, you can say to yourself, “And I’m going to pick them right up and, and put them back inside me when I walk away from this interview because they are my beliefs,” but as an exercise what’s going to happen if you put your judgments aside? When you test it out you’ll find that people really start to reveal themselves.

Nicko: Ryan, would you say that this lack of judgment, this judgment-free zone extends to the rest of this crew and set during an interview scenario?

Ryan: Yeah, absolutely. You want there to be that tone of respect, of care and of interest. It can be particularly challenging if you’re working on let’s say a political documentary or you’re working with someone whose values are actually opposite to yours.

It’s easy to get fixated on what their values are. The important thing is to focus on what it is about you and that person that makes you similar, because when you really start to think about it there is so much that makes you similar than sets you apart.

The third thing that Rogers talked about is empathy, which basically means picking up on the feeling that the interviewee is experiencing and reflecting them back. As an interviewer you are noticing what’s happening for the other person. Are they becoming emotional? Have they frozen up? Are they excited or whatever? Just by reflecting that back to the other person, it shows you that you’re getting where they’re at. In their mind they’ll be, “Awesome. This guy is all good … is with me in the journey and is understanding and I’m happy to go deeper.”

It might be something like they’re telling you about an achievement that they’ve and you’ll say something, “I can see that, you know, while you’re talking about this you’re getting quite excited. This is obviously something really important to you.” “Yeah, it is really important to me.” On it I’ll go.

It’s noticing where people are at emotionally. It’s important to know that there is a difference between empathy and sympathy. Sympathy is more like you actually take on the emotions of the other person. You kind of break that boundary between you and the other person. Empathy is allowing them to have their experience and you’re having your experience but you’re reflecting back to them that you really get where they’re at. You’re not actually becoming what they’re experiencing. You’re not taking on their emotion but you’re really getting it.

The word that I’ve heard badly about it a little bit particularly online is this word grock. Is that something you’ve heard about?

Nicko: No. I can’t help but feel like it’s slang for something inappropriate for this podcast, Ryan.

Ryan: Well it’s from what I understand the word is used a lot by computer geeks when they talk about computer code. To grock basically means sort of like to understand, to empathize, or to become one with something or someone to the point that it almost becomes part of your sense of self. Grocking someone basically means that you’re really getting what they’re saying. You’re really getting a full understanding. This grock I believe was originally from a book Stranger in a Strange Land, which basically means to drink.

It’s quite a cool idea. Are you getting where the other person is at? Are you kind of able to access where they’re at and then feed it back to them. That’s incredibly powerful.

Nicko: A grock and roll approach to interviewing technique. Ryan, something I’d like to touch on quickly is the fact that to me you’re saying that you’ve got to invest in the person that you’re interviewing but also remain impartial. Is there any way that you are constructively able to do this and stop yourself from getting too biased by what your interviewee is saying? Is that a problem that ever arises for you as an interviewer?

Ryan: Well that’s where you go back to congruence which is really being yourself. You don’t become the other person. You don’t mesh with them but you have an understanding of them. You get where they’re at and you reflect that back to them.

If you’re interviewing someone about something quite emotional and you become emotional as well there’s a good chance that they will actually get a sense of you being unable to go on a journey with them. That it’s affecting you too much. That you’re maybe not strong enough. That maybe they don’t want to affect you too much because they’ll feel like, “Oh. I’m upsetting this person.” People want to know that you’re strong, that you’re an individual but that you are affected by them. That’s just about being centered which is basically being congruent.

We’ve gone pretty deeply into this psychological stuff. These are things that I have studied over the years, and put together and connected with documentary making and interviewing. There are things that I’ve learned as a counselor and then transposed them into interviewing.

Basically what it comes down to is by following the system it helps the people that you interview to relax. It shows them that I care, that I’m actually interested in what they’re saying, that I’m going to be going on a journey with them, and if they really reveal themselves in the interview they’re not going to be shamed. Remember we talked about that condition of shame which hovers behind a lot of people’s motivation in my opinion.

We’re really talking about the human condition. I’ve interviewed so many people over the years, from people living on the street washing windows at traffic lights that change, to CEOs and I even had the opportunity to interview one of our ex-prime ministers as well. Let me tell you my belief is that everyone is driven to a greater or lesser degree by these same concerns.

From what I have experienced in life and read this is the human condition. By studying this and having an understanding of it and bringing to the interview process, it’s just really going to enrich your ability to interview and the content that people share with you in the film.

Nicko: Essentially what you’re saying is you bring your interview technique from the very basis of human creation where people are from.

Ryan: You’ve got to understand people, what drives them. Go beyond what’s my shopping list of questions that I’m going to rattle off when I sit down with someone and really tune into what people would be feeling as they are approaching the interview, what might they be thinking about you and your motivations, how can you earn their trust and respect, and how can you build an authentic connection with them, because once you do that then they’re going to give themselves to the process and you’ll get that sparkle in the eye effect. When your audience watch your video they’re going to be really compelled because they’re going to be seeing this person in their true sense. They will relate to it because they’ll see themselves in what that person is saying.

Nicko: To boil down this in-depth analysis of your interviewing technique and all your interviewing tips to perhaps three aspects. Firstly, interviewing and the interviewing process starts from your first contact with the interviewee.

Ryan: Build rapport.

Nicko: Build rapport. Secondly, the interviewing scenario in terms of where you are and the way you approach the person is incredibly important to build from an impartial standpoint.

Ryan: Well not necessarily impartial. I think the second most important point is about connection. It’s about developing a genuine connection with the person you’re talking to. That’s focusing on this universal human aspect that makes us similar. Because when people get a sense that you get them and that you have many similarities with them, then they’re more likely to reveal themselves. Connection is the second most important part.

Nicko: Point three is the fact that you want people to be presenting themselves and their true selves.

Ryan: By doing that you increase the chance of them revealing their true selves rather than this idealized self that Carl Rogers talked about or this idea of them presenting their mask. People aren’t going to fully reveal themselves in all their glory all the time but the more they relax, the more real they are, the better the content is, the more interesting it is and the more your audience is going to enjoy it, and the more you and your interviewer are going to enjoy it. You’re actually going to come away from the experience feeling like you’ve really connected and you’ve talked about something real.

This is the stuff that I get excited about. When you’re working on a documentary and you’re interviewing people, this is to me what’s going to make the film successful.

Nicko: Congruence, own conditional positive regard and empathy, those three things you apply to interviewing. I’m probably going to start applying it to my online dating. Really you can apply them to whatever makes sense to you. Ryan, this has been fascinating. It’s not the way that I thought this in-depth interviewing conversation was going to go.

Ryan: It’s something a little bit different. I don’t think you often hear people talking about Carl Rogers and Piaget and a film making podcast but when you think about it this might just be the thing that unlocks your interviewing and takes it to the next level.

Nicko: Absolutely. You’re always looking to apply different skills that you foster over the course of your life into what you do for a living. I suppose you’re one of the best examples of an unconventional and some would say unrelated skills and benefiting what you actually do.

Ryan: Thank, Nicko.

Nicko: A pleasure, Ryan. We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of the Web Video Marketing Show going in-depth on interviewing. Are you able to apply these interviewing tips to your own interviewing? Have you received benefit from this podcast? Is there something that you’d like us to cover on the show? You can get in contact with the Web Video Marketing Show very very easily. Just leave a comment on the comment section or head across to dreamengine.com.au and shoot us an e-mail.

Ryan: We’ll be back in two weeks time with more the Web Video Marketing Show. I look forward to talking to you then.

Nicko: Looking forward to seeing what surprising new material you bring and surprise me with it next week, Ryan.

Ryan: Thanks, Nicko.

Nicko: Thanks, Ryan.



 Ryan Spanger


Ryan Spanger is one of Melbourne’s most respected and sought-after video production professionals. Ryan founded Dream Engine in 2001, and specializes in helping medium to large corporates, government departments, and the non-profit sector to connect with their audience by using video.

About us and this blog

Based in St. Kilda, Melbourne, Dream Engine is comprised of a small, close-knit team of energetic video production professionals.

Let us help you get your message across. Contact our Melbourne video production company today.

Subscribe to our news updates

Tell us about your project

Let us help you plan your next video production

Latest blog posts

See all posts