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RE: FW: The way TV documentaries work

Agreed. If you want to be portrayed correctly during an interview, learn
good interview technique - always explain things very clearly and resist the
temptation to use terminology (at least without explaining it very concisely
and clearly), always phrase the answer so that a preceding question is
unnecessary, always keep your phrases short and to the point so they can be
easily edited without losing the point you're making, learn to speak at the
correct speed - too fast and they need subtitles, too slow and you'll be
more heavily edited. Most interviews for documentaries are not done in a Q&A
form - producers like to insert suitable sound bites and snippits of info at
opportune moment, and so they like statements that explain themselves.

It takes practice and skill to give a good interview, just like a good
lecture. Having seen people interviewed who were frankly useless at it, it's
a wonder that editors can make a watchable segment out of it. Try it
yourself - make a film of the most tedious 60 minute lecture you've ever had
to sit through and edit it together into a dynamic and interesting 2 minute

Best wishes,


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu] On Behalf Of
Ken Carpenter
Sent: Tuesday, 18 November 2003 3:07 AM
To: tholtz@geol.umd.edu; m.moser@lrz.uni-muenchen.de
Cc: darren.naish@port.ac.uk; dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: Re: FW: The way TV documentaries work

well, actually, it isn't quite as portrayed. A good talking head paraphrases
the question as a comment ("Tyrannosaurus was a carnivore because....").
Simple "yes" or "no" is a poor dialog. To reword what Naish started:

Mackpah: Ok, we're looking here at the ichthyosaurs, a
group of aquatic reptiles that inhabited the seas of the
Mesozoic. Mike, this structure within the orbit looks to me
like a sclerotic ring.

Lamtrill [re-write]:The objects in the eye socket are called sclerotic
rings. These are bone plates that were actually in eyeball. Many birds and
lizards today have those and they help change the shape of the eyball so
that the animals can focus.....
[shot of Mackpah nodding sagely, holding chin]

Kenneth Carpenter, Ph.D.
Curator of Lower Vertebrate Paleontology &
Chief Preparator
Dept. of Earth Sciences
Denver Museum of Natural History 
2001 Colorado Blvd.
Denver, CO 80205

Phone: (303)370-6392
Fax: (303)331-6492
email: KCarpenter@DMNS.org

For fun:

>>> <m.moser@lrz.uni-muenchen.de> 17/Nov/03 >>>
What do we learn from it?
In an interview NEVER say "no" and NEVER say "yes". You don't know to
which correct statement you have disagreed and which stupidness you have
blessed with scientific authority.
They can make you look like a brilliant investigator or like a moron
playing with his dusty bones and you don't know until broadcasting

Dr. Markus Moser
Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart
Rosenstein 1
D-70191 Stuttgart
Bayerische Staatssammlung fuer
Palaeontologie und Geologie
Richard-Wagner-Str. 10
D-80333 Muenchen