It’s inevitable that there’s only going to be a small proportion of you that, ultimately, are directly interested in the tips that Jason Arnopp outlines in his e-book, How To Interview Doctor Who, Ozzy Osbourne And Everyone Else. After all, interviewing posh and famous people isn’t part and parcel of most of our lives. But that’s not to say that Arnopp’s work isn’t worthwhile and quite fascinating nonetheless.
He comes to the book with some pedigree, having conducted interviews with a broad range of people, across a broad range of publications. Many know him for his Doctor Who work, but Arnopp has tackled many subjects, and he laces his book with lots of useful anecdotes as a consequence.
His aim is suitably straightforward: to work out what makes a good interview, and to give tips on how to be a better interviewer. And he packs his virtual pages with lots and lots of often quite golden advice. He covers lots of the basics, such as never try and make friends with the person you’re interviewing, and he also goes over some of the more obvious pitfalls. But it’s in the details where Arnopp gets across lots of things you may not have appreciated. And even if you’ve no intention of interviewing anyone famous ever in your life, the book still offers an interesting insight.
Where it falters a little is perhaps being a little unrealistic at times as to how many interviews are conducted. Arnopp has extremely wise advice about trying to make sure that you have the room to yourself, with no agent in attendance, or avoiding round table interviews at all costs. But the problem is that, unless you’re working for a publication of the size of some of Arnopp’s occasional employers, you’re rarely in a position to pick and choose. The advice of the book would seem to be to reject interviews that are conducted in such circumstances, but the sad fact is that they tend to be the norm, rather than the exception. And often, that leaves you without any interview at all.
However, in Arnopp’s defence, what he’s not setting out here is an absolute agenda for making interviews and interviewers better. Rather, he’s presenting, concisely, a wealth of useful information, and it’s up to you which, if any, you use. Certainly some of his tips for handling cold, uninterested interviewees are extremely welcome.
How To Interview Doctor Who, Ozzy Osbourne And Everyone Else is a really useful piece of work, that Arnopp has self-published at an economical price. It’s golden for journalism students, potential interviewers and also simply for those interested in pulling back the curtain a little on how the process works.
And at £5.90, this is a flat out bargain, comfortably worth three times the price.
You can buy How To Interview Doctor Who, Ozzy Osbourne And Everyone Else here.