Getting Inside Someone Else’s Skin

image of Cathy FitzGerald digging a grave
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Every once in a while, I think HowSound should focus solely on interviewing. To heck with sound design, writing, ethics, tracking, and the like. Just focus on “the backstory to great radio interviewing.”

Why? Because interviewing is how radio producers mine. It’s how we collect the raw material for our work. The better the interviewing, the better the tape. The better the tape, the better the story.

I mean, sure sloppy writing can kill stellar interview tape. Same with bad production.  Conversely a bad interview can be saved by rock solid writing. But really, if you nail your interview, the rest will come easy. Okay. Not easy, but easier. And the story the tape is based on will likely be more satisfying.

Put another way, interviewing is the keystone of audio storytelling.

That’s why it’s important to examine the work of the best practitioners and Cathy FitzGerald is just that — one of the best. She possesses an uncanny ability to capture “humans being” in her interviews. And she approaches it in unusual ways with her penchant for recording interviews in scene; her use of participant observation, which is a fancy way of saying she doesn’t just ask questions, she gets involved; and her use of props to prompt conversation. On this episode of HowSound, Cathy chats about those approaches and we hear extended examples of her work.

As a bonus, during our chat, Cathy turned the tables and asked me questions about interviewing. And that led us to talk about our weaknesses and what we both would like to improve and to this positively lovely analogy for interviewing — weeping with one eye.

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