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Category: Process

Pen, Paper, Keyboard – part 3

After all the planning, researching, note taking, question writing, and translating those to Japanese for the subject to answer, the most labor intensive phase of the entire review process begins. If the efforts of the previous phases were in service of communicating clearly with the interviewee, these final labors entirely revolve around communicating what the filmmakers express to the reader. Therefore, it is most likely the most important aspect of creating the completed interviews. Conceptually it’s straightforward enough: translate the Japanese answers to English, write out the questions and answers, then edit and refine until they’re ready for publication, but as someone once said, “therein lies the rub.” If anything were that straightforward, these “process” posts wouldn’t be necessary. As it stands, there are some specific and interesting facets to the aforementioned steps.


The most common way of conducting an interview is to meet the subject and ask them questions directly while recording their responses either on audio or, as is more popular these days, on video….

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Pen, Paper, Keyboard – part 2

Now that I have taken copious notes on the subject as described in the first part of the series, the time has come to make use of them. This stage of the process is likely the most difficult as the information gathered will begin to dictate both the structure of the interview as well as the kinds of questions I can (or can not/should not) ask. Initial ideas which surface as research is being done are filtered through the outlining and question writing phase leading some to either be adopted “as-is”, adapted for a different purpose, or left out entirely. The title of this second part, Making Inquiries, while a play on words describing what happens at this stage, also appropriately expresses the importance of constantly reviewing and analyzing the notes I’ve taken, the ideas they form, and ultimately the tone and balance of the interview itself in order to realize a questionnaire that is ready for the subject.


The first order of business is finding out what my notes are telling me. Looking across their entirety will show me the titles most often mentioned or featured in interviews with the subject. Even if a specific movie will take the majority of the limelight because of where the filmmaker is in his or her career, questions and responses in interviews will bring up other works as either points in passing or a specific topic. These will then begin to reveal common subject matter or concerns that repeat through their career and thus in their filmography….

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Paper, Pen, Keyboard – part 1

Anything created goes on a path from concept to completion. Everyone has a process by which they take their creation through that path. In a series of posts I want to share the process by which Indievisual interviews are created and some of the particular challenges of working in two languages. This first installment will cover the Study phase which is where most endeavors must begin. You have to know what you’re doing before you do it. Likewise, I have to know my subject before going about interviewing them. To be honest, this is–and always has been–my favorite part of a writing assignment. It is my chance to research a topic in which I am interested, and intentionally find out everything there is to know. Everyday life rarely gives us a chance to learn; it becomes a process of necessity rather than choice. Writing about a particular filmmaker offers me the opportunity to conduct the kind of research I would otherwise set aside for “when I have time.”

Gathering Information

After the subject has accepted my offer to interview or write about them, the very first thing I ask for are any and all materials they may have related to their work and/or themselves. These could be souvenir pamphlets (in Japan they still print full-color brochures about the movie which you can buy at the theater), newspaper clippings featuring interviews, reviews, or write-ups about their career and or works, presskits for their movies, etc….

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