We recently had the privilege of interviewing Andy Wightman, who is a respected and well regarded land rights activist and academic. For Iain and Carly this was a new experience and initially Iain wanted to run away as he had quite a profound expectation of disaster.
Iain had previously watched Andy before on various BBC documentaries and had also read the Common Weal which Andy was involved in. He arrived and was instantly friendly and supportive to the nervous volunteers.
The training that took place beforehand made Iain slightly nervous as he felt unprepared. Carly learned about using a new type of camera, the Sony EX1. Both volunteers also had a practical tutorial on three point lighting and the use of radio mics. Carly had an academic understanding of the use of lighting and sound and seeing it in action was exciting. The group prepared by reviewing camera framing techniques such as the rule of thirds, use of headroom and talking room.
In hindsight more preparation would have been beneficial as Iain was slightly overwhelmed with pressure. However, Andy was talkative, professional and confident. He was well versed in the topic and put everyone at ease.
The interview was primarily concerned with three questions: Who owned Water Row, How community groups could get ownership of land, How community groups could use the land. Other topics came up during the interview to give us a broader view into the issue of land rights.
The interview was a resounding success and both volunteers were happy with the things they learned. Carly gained more practical experience whilst Iain had learned skills which could translate into other situations. In addition the volunteers feel more confident both in their interviewing skills and in their use of equipment.
Andy said at the conclusion of the interview that interviews are a two way process and said that the interviewer is just as important as the interviewee.