Advocacy videos are a great way to spread information. They can be used to spark emotions in viewers and advocate for change. Prior to the LA riots, an ex-Black panther would collect videos and make them available on public access to display acts of police brutality, demonstrating that this injustice often occurred.

 

Last week in Monday’s class, we learned of witness.org. The website provides training on how to make advocacy videos. One type of video to include in an advocacy film is an interview. Personal stories from witnesses or victims are a great way to personally connect with others. However, conducting interviews regarding a traumatic event requires careful consideration. Witness.org has an entire video series dedicated to interviewing tips.

 

Interviewing tips include filming tips, such as having the source of light behind the camera facing the interviewee and keeps the rule of thirds. However, the much more interesting tips are those about making sure you do not negatively affect your interviewee. Asking appropriate questions can be difficult if you are not familiar with the situation and how your subject feels about it. The videos in the Witness series suggest that people will be more open with their story if you tell them where you’re coming from and demonstrate that you understand their problem. And that they can stop at any time, this is a collaborative project, and to make sure they are not intimidated by the camera. The equipment should not be intrusive. The questions asked also need to be thought about carefully. If they freeze or stop talking, maybe there was a trigger, and stop and ask how he or she is doing.

 

And so, is it worth it to interview a person for an advocacy video if it triggers sadness, anger, or another negative emotion in the interviewee? I believe that it is–that providing the public with this video is putting their story out there to aid in the creation of change. And hopefully, the interviewee understands this and then feels better and possibly more in control by participating.

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2 responses »

  1. Lucia says:

    I’ve done a bit of conducting oral interviews and I just can’t get over feeling extremely awkward when someone cries or shuts down around a certain topic. I think both the person conducting the interview and the interviewee put in each other in vulnerable states: the interviewee is talking about personal matters and the interviewer is, for lack of a better word, prying. It’s hard to find a balance.

  2. ssingh6069 says:

    I think it is so critical to conduct interviews with people who have important stories, experiences, etc, to make sure that they are documented and get out there. That being said it is obviously, as Lucia said, a vulnerable position that people put themselves in when they agree to be interviewed, it is not easy sharing stories, and a part of your life, and neither is it easy for the person prying, but if it is done the right way I think it can be therapeutic and important for both the interviewee and interviewer.

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