How to Interview Celebrities on the Phone

Phone interviews can become dry, so stay engaging and enthusiastic.

Phone interviews can become dry, so stay engaging and enthusiastic.

Interviewing a celebrity over the phone can be intimidating. You might be nervous about sounding like a fan rather than a professional, or your nervousness might come across through stuttering or awkward pauses. Yes, interviewing a celebrity on the phone is a challenge, but with a few tips and preparation, you'll do a great job.

Keep It Short

Celebrities are busy people, and they may not have time for a long interview. Their schedules are hectic and you never know when something might come up that causes them to have to cut the interview short. In addition, long interviews on the phone can sometimes be tiring. So, be prepared for a 15 to 30 minute interview, but have enough questions to fill a longer one if time allows. This means that you'll want to ask your most important questions right away. You'll also want to keep your questions short and concise, so you don't end up talking more than the interview subject.

Record the Conversation

Make sure you have a good recording device handy because you don't want to rely solely on your ability to transcribe the conversation. Trying to type every word the celebrity says while also being conversational and engaging can be nearly impossible. Investing in a recording device is worth the money. Some electronics shops sell cords that you can use to connect a digital voice recorder to your phone. Remember that you must have the other person's permission to record a phone call in most states.

Research Beforehand

Another key to getting a good interview with a celebrity is to research your subject before the interview. If you try to research on your computer while you're talking on the phone, you'll get distracted and your interviewee will likely pick up on it even if she can't see you. Part of your research should also involve viewing her work. If she's an actor, watch her latest movie or TV show. If she's a musician, listen to her latest songs. If you do enough research, you'll find an original angle for the interview, and you'll be better prepared to guide the conversation.

Focus on Emotions

Sticking to the facts already on the record can be boring, and your story will likely be similar to everyone else's. Instead, focus on both your emotions and the celebrity's. Phone conversations can get dry pretty fast since you don't have reactions and hand gestures to liven things up. Make sure you're enthusiastic and complimentary throughout the interview and try to find a shared interest. This will help the celebrity feel more comfortable talking to you on the phone, even though she can't see you in person. When you're asking questions, ask the celebrity how an event or situation made her feel. Ask what she was thinking at the time something happened. Writing about emotions will put personality into your story.

Look for the Unusual

Look for something unusual about the person you're interviewing that you can ask and write about. To find that unusual angle, read other articles and blogs and try to talk to people who know the celebrity. Look for anything that can give you a fresh viewpoint, but make sure it's true. Amy Dee Stephens, a freelance writer, wrote on her blog that when she interviewed Reba McEntire, she found out that a rose was named after her. By mentioning this, she learned new information about Reba's interest in gardening.

 

About the Author

With features published by media such as Business Week and Fox News, Stephanie Dube Dwilson is an accomplished writer with a law degree and a master's in science and technology journalism. She has written for law firms, public relations and marketing agencies, science and technology websites, and business magazines.

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