Interview with Luisa Baldini and Louisa Preston, founders of Composure Media.
Most surprising interview experience?
Louisa Preston: I was reporting live from a red carpet awards talking generally about a Richard Gere film when the man himself crept up behind me, put his arm around me and started having a laugh live on air! He proceeded to snatch my notebook and started reading the questions I’d prepared for our eventual interview, back at me! Apparently the whole news room was in fits of laughter including my boss!
Luisa Baldini: Most of the interviews I carried out over 17 years for radio and TV have faded into a blur. But I remember interviewing Orlando Bloom at the BAFTAs. He’d recently appeared in the first Lord of the Rings movie but wasn’t yet a mega star. It was pouring with rain, the red carpet was a river and the gallery (control room) back at base kept pushing my live slot down the running order. Yet Orlando Bloom waited patiently beside me in the rain, without any complaint until we went live on air. Such a gent!
Most memorable interview experience?
Louisa Preston: The late Tony Benn recorded every interview he carried out, on a little tape recorder. I was about to interview him live on the set for Channel 5 News when he sat down and plonked his little tape recorder between us. Knowing it was rolling intimidated me way more than broadcasting live to the nation!
Luisa Baldini: I was reporting on the aftermath of the Aquila earthquake in Italy from one of the tent camps. I was interviewing a young teenage girl live on air about her experience of the earthquake and living in the camp. We were nearing the end of the interview when she looked at my with big, brown, watery eyes and said very calmly but with so much emotion, “I just want to go home”. Among the countless interviews I've carried out over the years, those are the only words I remember verbatim. In such a succinct phrase she summed up a basic human desire we all have; to have a home.
How do you prepare for interview/hosting jobs and how do you keep audiences as engaged as possible?
Louisa Preston: As facilitators we aim to be as warm as possible so that the audience feels comfortable with us. We bring our energy to keep the energy up in the room and to keep people engaged. Ideally we will make the event feel organic rather than contrived, even though a lot of thought, preparation and planning will have gone into it.
Luisa Baldini: We like to make it as interactive as possible by letting the audience ask questions or participate so that they feel they are taking part and not just observing. When we’re the ones asking the questions, we try to ask questions that matter to the audience, so we try to put ourselves in the mindset of that particular group of people. Research is crucial when interviewing somebody of course. A smattering of humour goes a long way too!
Founders, Composure Media
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