Firefly Pointer Fiberglass Jacket: On Giving Interviews: Do your research & say thank you

Thursday, June 25, 2015

On Giving Interviews: Do your research & say thank you

Tony Fletcher's "Moon"
 I once thought of interviews as some sort of cliff notes; I thought that the questions answered from the author would save my time of reading the actual book. As an adult I now look at that as moronic, but hey...things change, I changed. This was over 15 years ago, but I have learned a lot since then.

 At the time I was in my early teens, and even though I loved music I really didn't love reading yet. In my experience books that were of no interest to me often felt 'forced' on me. I look back at it as normal books everyone has read at the same age, and I just wasn't into it. Reading books for young Becca was like pulling teeth, and I had to force myself to read assigned books for many years.

 At this same time I was rock n roll obsessed and started to accumulate rock books, mostly ones with pictures. But my love of rock also pushed me to get into reading books, but for some reason it was a huge uphill battle. I was newly in love with The Who and bought a book at Barnes and Noble called “Moon” by Tony Fletcher. As my memory serves, the book was huge. And now I see that it is over 600 pages, which was apparently like 1,000 to 14 year old me. The book was fat, filled with information and centered with photos of Keith Moon throughout his life.

I started reading the book and just couldn't get through it due to the volume. But I loved what I read and learned and I wanted to know even more. Instead of first finishing the book (which I should have) I decided to email Tony Fletcher and ask him for an interview. He politely agreed, and said we could do it over email. Currently I was making my earliest websites which were basically rock n roll tribute sites featuring The Beatles, The Monkees, The Who and some others. I was hoping to share this on there, but I was young and ill-prepared.

 I didn't know how to give an interview, which unbeknownst to me had a set of rules and guidelines. Again my biggest fault was I didn't finish the book. So during the online interview I quickly failed. Many of my queries were answered in the book. But since I was too damn lazy to finish the book I had no idea. The first few questions Tony answered, but he quickly grew irritated and recommended I read the whole book. Teenage me couldn't understand why he couldn't just answer my questions...I was such a big fan. I now look back on this incident and laugh, then breathe a sigh of relief that I've come a long way since then.

 First of all, if you're interviewing someone about something, whatever it is, get familiar with it or them. If it's a book, a movie, whatever it may be, Interviewing 101 is that you do your research. If you don't, you look like a time wasting ass. Later on I got to meet the lovely Shana Morrison (at the Oakland Museum) and got to do an online interview with her. I did almost everything right this time...thankfully having learned from my past lack of due diligence. But there was one major thing I forgot. I never told her “Thank you” for the interview. I appreciate them taking the time to tell me more about themselves and what inspires them. I was still pretty damn shy at the time so saying even a simple thank you was difficult.

 So to recap: do your research, and always remember to say “thank you” and send them a link or copy of the interview. Sometimes it can make a nice piece for their press kit, or just good to hear fans are interested. Since then I have given dozens of interviews, learning a lot from each of them and always gaining more respect for them then I originally had. And hey...Tony Fletcher, sorry I was lazy teenager who in the end wasted your time. It provided me with a learning lesson on what to DO and NOT do. I'm now 30 and know better. When I grew up and moved away I wasn't able to take all my books. But I definitely want to READ “Moon” and enjoy all the information I can better digest as an adult. And ya know...now I LIKE to read books.


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