So you just received an interview request…

You’re nervous. In a panic, even. (All normal, btw.) What do you do? Do you:

A – ask the writer to send you the questions in advance? Tell you in advance how the conversation is going to transpire?

B – do a bit of research about the writer’s previous work (search engines, social media, writer’s website, writer’s magazine(s)’ website(s), word of mouth, colleagues etc.) and their approach to interviewing and based on that you decide whether you trust her/him to write about you or not. You say yes, and come what may. You exercised your judgment. Or you decline. You won’t be the first or the last, par for the course.

12 hours… then 24 hours after the interview request, you still haven’t replied. Do you:

A1 – continue making up your mind until you are certain. Two, three, four days pass. You eventually reply, in your own time.

A2 – you don’t feel like doing it, or you can’t make up your mind whether you want to do it, so you don’t bother replying. You ghost the interview request. They’ll figure out on their own that it’s a no, right? If you do do the interview and you get tired of having to deal with the thing, you can ghost later on, as can your manager, when for example the editor or that same writer asks if you can provide hi-res photos which it says on your website that you can provide for the media. Always do what you feel like. Ghost away.

B – you suddenly realize the writers are working people too and that they work, that this is their work, that they plan their days, weeks and months and try to make a working schedule according to which they then work. And that freelancers juggle any number of projects at the same time, and that having one of those left hanging as a maybe won’t help with the overall planning of life and writing. If they’re freelancer, that they pitched you / your topic to the editor who assigned the piece. That they went out of their way to convince the assignment editor that you are worth writing about, and that they got assigned the deadline and are doing anything they can to meet it. You reply asap.

So you accepted the interview, but you’re still panicking. How about you invite one of your colleagues to join you for an interview? You both worked on this opera in different capacity, but closely – it’s better if both of you are talking about it. Beside, it’s only fair. (Are you a woman? Of course you are. Few men will have thoughts of that kind. But I digress.) You:

A – say to the writer (or ask your publicist to do it for you) Hey how about we invite So and So to join us? It’ll be much better.

B – do nothing. Whether you’d personally feel more comfortable with another person next to you, or you think the writer would get more information from two people rather than only you, or whatever your reason — you do nothing. It’s you who got the interview request, not you and whoever else you feel like inviting. Beside, two people interviews are a different beast than one-on-ones, in terms of format, deciding what matters and what remains on the cutting room floor, and the amount of required time to think the blob of conversation through and shape it up.

You are an artist who has a publicist — or is working with an organization that has publicists. You are still nervous about the interview, so it occurs to you that you should invite the publicist to sit in. Or–more likely–the organization for which you work has as a policy that all interviews must include a publicist present. You:

A – breathe a sigh of relief. Fabulous. There will be you, the journalist, and the publicist monitoring every word uttered. What could be better!

B – try everything you can to persuade the publicist or the organization to skip the monitoring. Writers dislike surveillance of this kind, and are known to cancel interviews when a publicist enters the equation. Again, three people in the room is different than two people. Sometimes, or so you’ve heard, the writers will do the laziest possible job on the piece as a sort of silent revenge on the publicity micromanaging from the other side. Or so you’ve heard. Entertainment journalism is so shitey precisely for this reason. Movie promotion onslaught meets compliant media. We don’t need that in other kinds of art now, do we?

So the interview is finished, over with, phew. Now you’re worried if you said something silly. (Again, all normal.) In fact, you start remembering that thing that you said that may be misconstrued or blown out of proportions if quoted verbatim. Do you:

A1- contact the writer to ask to see the finished piece so you can decide if it shows you in a good light and approve or withdraw accordingly

A2 – you ask your publicist or agent to do that for you, or to ask the writer to exclude any mention of X, Y or Z from the piece.

B – continue living your life and doing the work. Because you went over this (see under the very first B in the first question), and you’ve made a decision to trust the writer. You continue doing you and the writer will do their job, and that’s life.

Do not do the As.

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