Production: How To Interview an Ambushed Subject

An ambush interview is an unscheduled interview with a subject. Often times, an ambush interview can catch a subject off guard, and there are mixed reactions or responses to one. There are, however, certain things you can do to get the most out of an ambushed interview.

Step 1: Study Your Subject

Probably one of the most important steps to conducting an interview with an ambushed person is to study your subject. Know who the person is, what they have done or achieved, what they stand for and their beliefs. It is by knowing your subject that you will be able to clearly understand how you can approach them, even if it is an ambush interview.

Step 2: Study the Habits of the Subject

The next step to interview an ambushed subject is to study the subject you want to interview. By studying the subject, you are able to determine when and where the subject will be at a certain time. Also, studying the subject will help you understand their moods and habits, making it easier for you to catch them in a moment that may be a little bit more suitable.

Although you are planning to do an ambushed interview, it is still always wise not to catch the subject so off guard that they do not want to speak to you, even in a more formal setting.

Step 3: Pick the Best Location

Doing an interview with an ambushed subject does not have to be anywhere, anytime. You do have to pick out the best location where you will ambush the subject for an interview. Pick a location that the subject will be that they cannot escape easily from your questions or where you can walk along with the subject. Since you have already studied the habits of your subject, you more or less know when the best location will be for the interview. It is also advisable not to conduct an interview with an ambushed subject where there are children present, because you do not want the children to feel uncomfortable.

Step 4: Prepare Your Questions

Before you jump in front of your subject, it is always good to be prepared. Make a list of all the questions you want to ask your subject. Make sure that the questions you ask the subject are relevant to the subject and to your topic. You do not want to ask questions that the subject does not know anything about.

Often times in an ambush interview, you do not get to ask all the questions that you want to ask, so make sure that you list down at least a general topic of what you want to ask.

Step 5: Prepare Your Equipment

Since an interview with an ambushed subject does not require that you sit down so you can ask questions, always prepare your equipment beforehand. Make sure that you have all the equipment you will need for your interview.

Since you will not have any time to write your subject's answers down, if they do answer, it is best to bring a handy recorder. In this case, you will not miss any answer or response that your subject gives. If you need to, also bring a handy camcorder. A huge camera that you have to bring while walking along with your subject may be quite difficult. In this regard, choose a camcorder that you can hold with one hand.

Step 6: Bring a Companion

For your safety, it is always best to bring along a companion while conducting an ambushed interview. You do not know what may occur during an interview or what the reaction of your subject will be, so it is always safe to bring a companion.

Also, you can use your companion to assist you with the interview by bringing along some of your equipment while you focus on asking the questions.

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