The Art of the Interview

Monday, March 6, 2017 - 6:00pm - 10:00pm
Enrolment is limited to: 

Whether for news, documentary or oral history, an interview is a directed conversation for the purpose of documenting someone’s perspective and/or experience. Done right, it’s also an exchange of respect and trust where something is revealed and both parties feel they’ve benefited from the experience. So, how to do it right? This four-hour workshop will look at prominent examples and use in-class practical exercises to explore the ethical, technical and stylistic considerations of drawing out and recording someone’s personal story. Participants will explore approach, research, crafting questions and practice face-to-face interview skills. Discussion and feedback encouraged throughout.

This course is recommended as a companion to the Documentary Film Writing, Producing Documentary Film and Directing Documentary Film workshops.



Shayla Howell is a Toronto based freelance researcher and story producer with over 15 years experience in documentary and factual series television. Her interview subjects have spanned the spectrum from the spectacular to the commonplace; the marginalized to the entitled; victims and perpetrators. She believes everyone has a story and most are looking for a way to share it—whether working in long-form documentary, factual series, or oral history it’s the job of the interviewer to provide and guide that opportunity. She has undergraduate degrees from both Brock University and Ryerson (RTA) and has continued to study new and innovative ways of working with interview material at the Toronto New School of Writing, Documentary Organization of Canada’s Master Classes and Concordia University’s Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling. Highlighted projects include eight years interviewing Hollywood’s A-list for The Independent Film Channel, and more recently, award-winning documentaries The Motherload (CBC DocZone), War Story (History) and the oral history archive The Memory Project, for which she interviewed over 400 veterans of the Second World War.