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The Interview, Part 1

One of the main reasons for my most recent trip to Lisbon was to conduct and record an interview with Belén. During the past few months, we had a few conversations over Zoom to talk about her process, but this opportunity was the best chance to get everything recorded in one shot and in person. Conducting interviews in person has several significant advantages over virtual meetings. Mainly, it allows for a more natural and fluid conversation, which enhances the depth and authenticity of the interaction. Additionally, in-person interviews tend to foster a greater sense of connection and trust, creating a comfortable environment where the interviewee is more likely to open up and share more candidly. For this project, and her archive, I felt that meeting with Belén in Lisbon was invaluable, as it enabled a more engaging and effective interview process.

While I don’t want to give away all the content of the interview, I will share one of my techniques to get subjects comfortable with speaking with me- the four-question personality test. What began as a fun conversation starter at parties and outings with friends has now become my go-to in my interviews. The questions go as follows:

  1. What is your favorite animal? 

  2. What is your least favorite animal? 

  3. You wake up one morning and realize you’re stranded on a deserted island, what do you do? 

  4. Similarly, you wake up one night and realize you’re alone in the woods, what do you do? 

What seem kind of non-sense questions give an insight into the interviewee, as each question supposedly represents a different aspect of their personality. When I first learned about these questions, the following were their reasonings:

  1. How the interviewee sees themselves/people they attract.

  2. The type of people the interviewee has the most issues with.

  3. How the interviewee sees their birth/life. 

  4. How the interviewee sees their death.

The purpose of me asking these questions during an important interview is to let my subject know that this is a lighthearted conversation. These questions are silly on purpose, but provide an insight that otherwise might be overlooked. By starting with something fun and unexpected, it helps to break the ice, putting the interviewee at ease and making them more open to sharing deeper thoughts and experiences during the rest of the interview.

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