Tuesday, August 28, 2007

art of dialogue

Not too long ago, I watched the movie Interview with Sienna Miller and Steve Buscemi. I'd rate it about a 3 of 5, interesting to watch but so-so in terms of entertainment value. It make me think about asking questions and engaging someone in a dialogue; How, if you ask bad questions, the respondent will most likely give a bad answer.

I like reading interviews. I like seeing how the question is presented and watching the ellipses in thought or that emotion in language unfold in reaction to a stimulating question. (check out Interview Magazine if you're into this too) There is a certain art to engagement. Maybe this is nothing new for you smarty-pants interviewers out there, but for some people (you don't know who you are) there is a reason that a question needs to be asked in a certain way if you want a good answer. NPR did a story called "The Art of the Interview" that detailed ESPN's awareness of low-profile, sucky interviews. "We weren't capturing moments," says the SVP.

Capturing moments is what art seeks to do. I like that. I like the awareness it calls to the situation. Photography captures moments. It's neat to think of interviews trying to do the same thing, but really it's all about information being available in the present moment in such a way that you have an "ah ha" moment of enlightenment and growth.

I'd like to create advertising that does the same sort of thing; advertising that makes the audience go "oh...I never thought of that before" or "hmm...that makes me think blah blah blah." The art of engagement. We know it's there. Seek to attain the status, and I think we'll be handsomely rewarded with "moments" that are unique.


Michael Wagner said...

This is a wonderful reflection on questions and interviews.

I have long felt that improving the quantity and quality of my questions was a worthy quest.

The analogy with photography has my mind racing.

And thanks for the "heads up" on the NPR piece.

Interviewing plays a very big part in my work...and you have helped me with this post.

Keep creating,

erin said...

Thank you for the nice comment Mike. Interviewing is a skill that needs to be practiced with awareness and effort. I think being aware of the "moments" you can create for others puts it in the creative-sphere. This is where you can play and imagine and innovate the most. Stay smart.

Good luck!