TPH at Home: Discussion Questions for Interview with Sean DesVignes

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Discussion Questions - The CUNY Value: Sean DesVignes YouTube Link: TPH at Home Link:

Documentary Storytelling In our interview, Sean opened up to me about his childhood, career plans and how education changed his life. In some cases, when filming an interview with someone you’ve just met, it can be tough to get them to share so much of themselves. Even more difficult is interviewing someone you already know, because their answers assume that you already know a lot about them. The trick is to let your subject know that the audience does not know anything about them, and that they will not hear your questions in the video. This way, the subject will answer in full sentences always giving context to what they are talking about. It might feel awkward at first, but this interview technique will be your best friend when editing. Here are a few of the questions I prepared for in advance of my interview with Sean: 1. How does it feel to win this award? 2. Tell me about your love of poetry. 3. What are your career goals? Notice how I did not initially write out a question about Sean’s childhood here, because I had no idea about that information before we sat down. Even though I had not planned it, that story became a major part of the final edit. An important interviewing tip is to be present with your subject. Listen to their answers carefully, be curious and ask follow-up questions. That’s how I was able to get him to speak about his childhood and why he wanted to become a teacher. Pay attention to the person you’re speaking to, make them feel comfortable and let them know that you care about what they are telling you. You may be surprised what you find out! Images Take a closer look. Let’s break down the elements that you see in this video. We started by conducting an interview with Sean, and then we filmed B-roll with Sean performing his poetry (in a different part of the room from his interview), and walking around campus to show what a day in his life would look like. How many different B-Roll shots do you see? How many cameras do you think were used for this video? Hint: we filmed the poetry reading at least 3 times.

Music/Graphics How does this video make you feel? Now, watch the video again without sound. Do you get that same feeling? By doing this experiment you will see just how important sound and music is. How does the music selection enhance this video? For your own project, choose music and graphics that will add to the attitude and theme of the story. This could include font style, colors and even the transitions you choose. How many different transitions were used in this video? And how do the transitions enhance the video’s theme? Suggested Activities 1. Write a few open-ended questions that you might use to learn more about someone. 2. Just like the B-Roll of Sean on campus gives you a better idea of who he is (focusing on his shoes, his glasses, etc.) take a close-up photo of someone to show their unique personality. Remember, the close-up does not have to be a portrait of their face. Get creative! 3. Choose a font style and color that seems to have the same vibe as the person, and use this to design their name as a drawing. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. If you write, draw, or record something, send it to us at and include Emmy Sean in the subject, or post online and use #TPHatHome - we want to hear from you!