Two weeks ago, I sat down and filmed myself as part of a job application. It took me a million tries, and I even ended up explaining that I am a lot better behind the camera than I am in front of it. I feel safe behind the camera, I feel way more in control. Being in front of it, however, is a whole different situation. When I finished filming that application (and editing it to make my thoughts sound 10 times more coherent), I vowed to stay away from the front of the camera in the future.
Flash forward two weeks, and somehow I ended up in front of the camera again. Yesterday, someone from ICTV emailed me asking me to do an interview for their women in media episode on News Watch. I know how stressful it can be finding interview subjects, so, despite my two-week-old vow, I happily obliged.
This was unlike anything I had ever experienced before: the script was completely switched. Instead of conducting an interview, I was the interviewee. It was like my mind went blank as soon as the camera started rolling, yet at the same time thousands of thoughts were running around like crazy. How should I answer this question? What answer is he looking for? Am I talking in circles? How is he going to edit this together? What is the final product going to look like? Am I even answering a question right now?
Maybe other people don't think that much about an interview while they're participating in one. Maybe I was just hyper-aware because I'm so used to being on the other side of the camera. Regardless, I think it was helpful being in the hot seat for once. Now that I've been in front of the camera, I have a better understanding toward how my subjects may feel. It's easy to have expectations as an interviewer, but I think that understanding what it is like being an interviewee is important in order to make those expectations a reality.
Maybe, in order to be even better behind the camera, we should spend more time in front of it as well.