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Additional Lesson 2
Take Action - Making Films

Know What Questions to Ask
to Get the Story

Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Compose interview questions for the subjects in their documentaries
  • Conduct interviews

Overview/Purpose:

Students will prepare to interview subjects for their documentaries by developing interview questions that are directed towards the theme(s) they have in mind.

Guiding Questions:

  • Why is it important to be prepared when interviewing a subject for your documentary?
  • What qualifies as a ‘good’ interview question?

Recommended Time:

45-90 minutes

Common Core State Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.7

Materials:

Getting to the Story: Asking the Right Questions Handout

Film: “After the Fall: HIV Grows Up”

Technology Required:

  • DVD Player or computer to play film OR computer with Internet access to stream film.
  • Television, SmartBoard or projection equipment.

Lesson Design:

  • Executive producer, Kathy Treat, shares strategies she used when interviewing people for the film “After the Fall: HIV Grows Up.” She explains, “We would usually start with general issues and then dig deeper into their own stories as they emerged during the interview.” Also, “As far as the personal interviews of the young adults and families, I had an idea of the general themes that they all dealt with. We made sure to ask about those. More detailed and personal stories emerged from that.” And when speaking about follow up interviews, she says, “We would go specifically to points that we knew we needed and didn’t have in our footage.”
  • Review the top of the handout about open-ended and closed questions. Discuss with students the differences between open and closed questions and the benefits and drawbacks of each.
  • Allow time for students to work independently, developing lists of questions they would like answered in interviews.
  • Encourage students to have a balance of open and closed questions.
  • Once each student has an initial list of questions, allow time for groups to collaborate and share questions. Remind groups of their film’s topic, focus and angle in selecting the best questions to suit the story they want to tell. Together the groups will develop a set of final questions for each interview.
  • COLLECT FOOTAGE, INTERVIEW, AND GATHER ALL MATERIALS!!