Category: Articles

How should I prepare for a video interview?

Omnislash – AMA (Ask me Anything)

This is a common question amongst first time interviewees and a pretty understandable one. Being interviewed is intimidating as hell; unless you have done this dozens of time before or you’re one of those extroverts I hear so much about. I am going to outline a couple tips that I find help put some worries to bed (You might still have some butterflies, but you will be much better off than not knowing the details).

Wardrobe

What do I wear?

I recommend bringing a few changes of clothes (2-3) to be safe. This may feel excessive but there are a few factors that influence if the interviewer might want you to change clothes.

  • The color of your outfit conflicts with the background.  This might be because they are shooting on a green screen and your top may have green in it, or if there’s no green screen, there might not be enough contrast in your outfit to make you pop off of the background.  We want you to shine; not for you to blend in to the scenery.

  • The pattern on your shirt results in a thing called Moiré.  I know what you are thinking…this must be some fancy french film word, but unfortunately, it is more mundane than that.   

    Moiré is something that happens when a pattern on a top is too detailed and when it is filmed, it looks like the shirt is almost vibrating or shaking a little bit.  It can be subtle, but it still draws the viewers to your outfit and distracts from your message.

    I won’t go into too much detail of the technical side, but usually it is best to avoid very detailed patterns and opt for a solid color, or a larger patterned shirt.

Don't Wear

Green Outfit on Green Background
Don't Wear

Do Wear

red outfit on green background
Do Wear

Questions

What will I be asked?

Leading up to the interview, discuss with your interviewer what questions they might ask. We don’t want to script your answers, but knowing the questions beforehand might pop some ideas into your head, so you aren’t thrown off-guard when they are asked.

Personally, I like to structure an interview where it is more of a conversation, and less of a formal structured line of questioning. We aren’t interrogating you; we want you to engage us in a conversation on the message and give us well-rounded answers that we can use. In my opinion, this style of interview has resulted in people being much more comfortable and yields much better answers.

  • For the purpose of video editing, it is always best to rephrase the question back into your answer. It doesn’t have to be crazy, but a simple acknowledgment of the question back into the answer results in a useable response.

For example, Here’s a mock question for our interviewee Wile. E. Coyote.

“How long have you been with ACME and what is your role here”

An appropriate response might be: “ I started at ACME ten years ago and my first job was in the dynamite department, but more recently, I have been doing outside sales.”

A difficult response to edit with could be: “10 Years, and I do outside sales”

We want to capture your whole line and it reveals so much more about you. The first response gives the viewer a much broader view of who you are and your experience that you led here.

Don't Wear

eyeline direct to camera
Direct To Camera

Don't Wear

Eyeline Off Camera
Off Camera Eyeline

Eyeline

Where do I look?

To camera, or away from camera, that is the question. Depending on the nature of the video, the interviewee might ask you to look directly into the camera when addressing the questions. This is difficult for new interviewees as it feels unnatural and invasive, but can result into giving really evocative answers if you are comfortable enough with it. My advice for this would be to picture yourself beforehand on how it would look in the final video. You want to appear strong and confident, regardless of the subject matter. By trying to remove yourself (ego, insecurity) from the process, you can envision how your responses will look when the video is all edited.

This generally, can help to boost your confidence in looking down the barrel of the lens.

More often, though, the interviewer will sit in a chair directly beside the camera and ask you to direct your answers to them. This feels more natural and less invasive. I find that both methods have their places, but the off-camera eyeline is more effective for those who aren’t comfortable with interviewing. Addressing the interviewer feels more like a conversation between two people and less like a line-up at the local police precinct.

I’m not bashing direct to camera eyelines, though. I personally love them at getting a point across, but they are very difficult for someone who doesn’t have acting or previous interviewing experience.

Hair & Makeup

How should I look?

Your interviewer or the producer of the project will generally let you know ahead of time how you should arrive. For some quick interviews, they may ask you to come already made up, but for other projects, the production company will provide a makeup artist.

In the event that they don’t have a makeup artist, I suggest doing your own in a nice, natural way that doesn’t detract from the answers you are giving. If you show up on camera, and look like Mimi from the Drew Carey show, you might have gone too far. A little goes a long way, especially with how good our cameras are at capturing detail. Also, bear in mind what type of video you will be interviewing for. A professional business interview would require a different style of makeup than if you were being interviewed on the red carpet.

If the production does supply a makeup artist, it is good to arrive with your face prepared and moisturized for the makeup application.

The makeup artist will have a look in mind, and they might ask for feedback. That’s it! Let them work their magic!

At the end of the day, the only things that matter are usable responses, and if you can feel more comfortable, the resulting answers will be so much better than if you were in abject fear the whole time. Get to know your interviewer. Talk for a couple minutes, while the crew is setting up. It helps build initial trust.

Take a look at our work and see some interviews with a couple of first time interviewees!

Spec Work: The Setbacks and Benefits

The phone rings. The opportunity of a new client gets you excited and you pick up the phone full of energy and ready to tackle those ‘why you’ questions. Next thing you know, it’s an ask, not an offer. Though sometimes free or discounted work can be a necessary evil for growth (both creative and professional), it is one to tread lightly near.

When designers are starting out, whether it be Film, Graphics, or Print, they tend to get dragged into these situations quite often. They don’t want to turn any business away and rationalize doing a little bit of work to pave the way with “FUTURE” work for a “POTENTIAL” client.

The reason that I put both “Future” and “Potential” in quotes are for the simple fact that they do not represent the PRESENT timing. Both indicate that some paying work with this client may happen down the line but not necessarily in this exact moment.

When you run your own shop everything is “overhead” if you are missing the opportunity of generating income. Want to stop for a coffee? OVERHEAD. Take an extra 30 minutes on lunch break? OVERHEAD. The time you spend on unbillable hours will invariably COST you money.

Why do I bring this up? Well, it’s simple. That extra time that you would spending on the Spec design is time you could have been spending working on paying work or seeking new immediate paying work. There is no time like the PRESENT for a small business owner. We face enough challenges with local and federal economical changes…there is no reason to add more expenses.

Here’s a big HOWEVER.

HOWEVER, you also cannot just expect people to give you money without seeing what you have to offer. Make sure that your portfolio is an accurate representation of your skill set. If you have a killer portfolio and the client still wants you to work for free, respectfully decline that opportunity. Your time is just as valuable as the next person. Think about it – would you walk into a bakery and look at all the pastries but ask the chef to give you the first one free because you are unsure of how it tastes? Exactly, you wouldn’t.

As a professional you should (and doing so often) take a step back and look at your portfolio as objectively as possible. If you feel that it doesn’t look like your current skill set, then it may be time for you to come up with a concept or find a business relationship that you can nurture in a mutually beneficial project. Running an agency isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.

While you are constantly refining your portfolio you also need to remember to put your best foot forward. You have a lot of legwork to do in preparation for your proposal writing. Develop a plan first and display how you will execute it once provided the startup payment. In my experience, selling someone on an “Idea” is much easier than selling someone on an existing design and a lot less time-consuming. The idea is malleable and can evolve as the project progresses. This is beneficial to both client and designer. The creative designer has a bit of room to play with and will client will reap the benefits from that. I find that once someone is focused on the minutia, it is extremely hard to get them to look at the big picture.

So my point? Time is precious

– and ensure you are taking on the right projects at the right point in your career. There is nothing wrong with experience, but unless this work is a hobby, you need to learn to make a living from it. Cut costs where you have to – hell I worked out of my parents house when I first started out. But I accepted the right opportunities and declined the wrong ones.

 

Want to see what i’ve been up to?

Visit www.omnislashvisual.com/work to learn more.

Being a creative professional and a good sport

Didn’t your mother ever tell you that “Sharing is Caring”?

Well, it is pretty important to share with other creative professionals. It helps to broaden horizons and to keep you on your toes. But, this is quite the opposite of what most creative professionals will tell you. Creatives are like magicians; rarely revealing trade secrets and clinging to to their workflows like a baby to the proverbial bottle.

This is BAD. This is the exact reason why so many newcomers/recent graduates have such trouble breaking into the business. No one will hire you without experience and you can’t gain experience until someone volunteers to let you into their inner sanctum. It wasn’t the long hours or massive amounts of time spent working in Photoshop, Final Cut, After Effects, or Cinema 4D that truly set me in a good direction; it was the creative professionals that actually shared some insider info, which put me into a different mindset. Don’t get me wrong, the crazy amount of dedication I had put into learning the programs was absolutely necessary, but if I hadn’t gotten the right tips to put me in the right direction, I would have wasted a great deal of time.

My rationale is this…if you are a creative professional who is never sated with knowledge, and continually learns more and applies it to their craft, you will always get better at what you do. If you decide to teach someone what you know, they will still have to catch up to the point where you currently are.

As long as you constantly strive to better your game, you will never feel inadequate because you will pay less mind on competitor’s skills and more on your own. This industry is hard enough to make it in on its own…It doesn’t need any help from poor sports with insecurities. I understand the feeling of wanting to protect what you’ve been working towards, but no one can do what you do best. Be true to yourselves.

Here are 4 things that I’ve learned from people in my time spent in the creative industry:

4) Never stop consuming knowledge. When people rest on their laurels, they become complacent.  Complacency breed insecurity.

3) Share that knowledge.  It will never hurt you to share knowledge if you continue learning, yourself.  In it, you will help others as well as inspire loyalty from your peers.

2) Exercise that knowledge. Always be experimenting.  Failures are learning experiences.

1) Work collaboratively with others.  Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.  By surrounding yourself with others, you can pick up habits that improve upon your weaknesses.

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