Sometimes we think that in order to make a quality video, we have to take the time to script out everything we want everyone to say. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The fact is: scripts scare people. Blocking out time from your busy schedule to write out a polished script for one or more people is understandably daunting. Ain’t nobody got time for that. The good news is that, for the average video, a script is completely unnecessary. In fact, scripts often strip the “real” and “genuine” parts out of your video and should be avoided in most cases.

Don’t pretend

When an interviewee is attempting to recite a memorized script on camera or read some kind of cue card or teleprompter, the viewer can tell. They tend to be more tense, less personable, and unless they are a trained actors (and most interviewees are not) then you can tell by the look on their face that they are attempting to remember their lines, instead of genuinely talking about something.

Ask the right questions

When preparing for any kind of interview for your video, it’s not about scripting the right kinds of answers, it’s about asking the right kinds of questions. For example, if you’re interviewing the owner of a restaurant, chances are that they talk about what they do all of the time. I would also venture a guess that they often do so without having a script in their hands. People like to talk about the things that they are passionate about! The trick is not to script out the absolute perfect way to describe and promote what they do, the trick is to prepare the right kind of questions to ask the person, in order to get them to talk in a natural and genuine way.

Here are ten good interview questions to help you get some great interviews for your video:

  1. “How did you get started?”
  2. “What was the driving force behind getting started?”
  3. “Could you describe a typical day for you?”
  4. “What sets you apart from others? What makes you unique?”
  5. “What are some key benefits?”
  6. “What gets you excited about doing what you do? What do you love the most about what you do?”
  7. “What are some of the challenges that you might encounter and how do you overcome them?”
  8. “What lessons have you learned along the way? What would you do differently?”
  9. “What are common questions that you receive about what you do and how do you answer those?”
  10. “What advice would you give to others?”

Read through this list and pick five. That’s right, five. Depending on the length and quality of your answers, five solid questions should provide you with more than enough material to make you a compelling video. Leave the script writing to Spielburg. When shooting an interview, ditch the script and simply ask the write questions. Your interviewee and your audience will thank you for it.