I edit documentaries for TV. Discovery, History Channel, National Geographic. And I have done several independant docs as well. And typically, as most if not ALL of you know, when you have an interview byte you generally cover a lot of what they are saying with B-roll. OK, not if it is a PBS doc or some feature docs…they can get away with full sound bytes on screen all the time with no cutaways. But when I see that, I usually get bored.
Well, we had an interviewee who just held your attention. He was such a good story teller, and had great facial expressions and gestures…just held your attention. Adding b-roll to him was distracting, so I didn’t. Just to see what my Producer would say. His only comment was “man this guy commands your attention doesn’t he?”
Also with many interview bytes you have to “pull up” the byte. Take out the pauses, uhms, ramblings…cut them down to a concise statement. Not so with this guy. He was to the point, direct, and very conversational. So we sent the cut to the network, thinking THEY for sure would want us to cover him with something (which, by the way, we DIDN’T have footage to cover what he was saying). Nope…they didn’t say anything other than “we want more of this guy.”
He was an Associate Professor of History who just graduated from Harvard and this was his first TV interview. He was very conversational and explained things very plainly. Like he was telling a story about last weekend. The other experts, also professors and historians, spoke as if they were writing dissertations…very wordy…BIG words too. This young guy was a ROCK STAR of history.
ANWAY. His name is Brian DeLay and he will be on the documentary that I am FINALLY finishing called THE MEXICAN AMERICAN WAR that will air on The History Channel, Friday, Sept 29 at 8:00PM ET/PT.