What are the best questions when interviewing an artist in order to make a documentary about his career?

by Corina Panait
(Lowell, MA, USA)

Question: I am making a documentary about an artist from Lowell! He is a photographer and a film maker... very talented and different in his work! I just want to have the best questions for him to make his story a great one as it is every day! Thank you very much!

Desktop Documentaries: The best questions to ask are the ones that get at the "heart" of a person and who they are. You also want to get them to tell their story from start to finish so that you can create a storyline during the editing process.

Here is how your line of questioning might go:

  1. Hi there. Please tell me your name and what you do for a living.
  2. Tell me a little about yourself... where are you from, where did you grow up.. what was your childhood like?
  3. Why did you decide to become a filmmaker and photographer?
  4. What films/projects have you worked on. Which one was your favorite and why?
  5. What has been your most touching or amazing moment you've experienced as a filmmaker?
  6. What other filmmakers have been inspirational to you in your work?
  7. Anything else you'd like to mention that I didn't ask?

You always want to ask that last question. Sometimes you get your most interesting answers!

You also want to be flexible with your questions. It's good to come prepared with a list of questions, but always be ready to follow up with additional questions if you get an interesting answer that needs more explaining. And if you have some interesting footage you'd like to use for your documentary, make sure you get the filmmaker to talk specifically about that footage.

For more about how to interview people for a documentary, visit this page:

How To Conduct Interviews for Video and Documentary

Good luck with your project!

Additional Resources:

100 Low Budget Filmmaking Tips

Making Documentaries: A Step By Step Guide

What Is The 180-Degree Rule In Filmmaking?

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