It’s been quite a while, but here I am! Hope you’ve all been well.
Last week, I got the opportunity to conduct my first official interview.
Whoever says that the only way you can get around is through connections is completely and utterly wrong. After months of
pestering corresponding with the editor of a South Asian newspaper, she finally gave me the opportunity to write stories for the newspaper as an unofficial intern. While this opportunity is basically unpaid freelance work, I have no complaints because as a rising sophomore, this is an incredible opportunity.
Needless to say, I was incredibly excited to write an article for an established newspaper and conduct an interview. The interviewee was the director of a feature length documentary. This documentary is actually being featured in a film festival at the moment. I actually got the opportunity to watch it early, since I wasn’t able to attend the film festival considering my lack of a press pass. This didn’t deter my excitement. In fact, watching the documentary made me even more excited to meet the director.
The night before the interview, I was scrambling to find a professional outfit. Something that said “take me seriously” rather than “I’m a freshman”.
I ended up wearing a white button up blouse tucked into black harem pants and (cringe) olive Toms. To be fair, I wasn’t sure how casual/formal I should dress and I figured the Toms would add a pop of color. I also have a slight dislike for heels, so there.
I had to be dropped off, which is incredibly lame but at least the director/her PR manager didn’t see that part.
I actually didn’t know where the place was but I started walking in a direction, hoping to walk past it. On my way, I tried to walk past this man, who was being loud and obnoxious. He immediately came close to me and creepily watched as I walked by, trying to hit on me. I just looked forward and kept walking. Honestly, I shouldn’t have even had to deal with that man harassing me, because he had clearly been doing this to multiple women but I guess no one (including the two security guards standing a short distance away) had the courage to say anything to him. I personally didn’t want to put myself in danger, but I digress.
I met the PR manager and director soon after. To my surprise, the director was so down-to-earth. She was incredibly humble and truly cared for what her documentary was about. It was refreshing to learn more about her.
On a side note, I liked that she was so honest and genuine. She did not act like she was above me because she was older than me, or because she was an established director. It is difficult to sound sophisticated and witty, and it’s often tiring. I have a friend or two that I feel less than great talking to just because I know I have to be on my A-game when it comes to being clever, or they’ll just steamroll right over me. It’s frustrating and annoying. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good back-and-forth but to always be on my toes is a nuisance when it comes to a basic, friendly conversation.
Anyways, back to my interview. While it was only about 10-15 minutes, I really felt like I had learned a lot about where the director was coming from and that in turn made the documentary that much more insightful. At the end of the interview, she even asked about me which was crazy in itself. Maybe it was just polite talk, or maybe it was curiosity, but I’m glad that although the conversation was about her, she never made this apparent.
I learned quite a bit from this first experience. I need to work on saying ‘um’ less. I also need to learn how to sound less fake when laughing (oh the convenience of Voice Memos on the iPhone). But overall, I’d say I did a pretty good job for my first time out.
My article is to be published in the newspaper next week!