Ask The Freelance Dude #10 – Landing Interviews


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Dear Freelance Dude,

I landed my first freelance job recently. Part of what I would like to include is an interview with someone in the videogame industry. What’s the best way to get a hold of someone and conduct an interview when you have no prior contact?

Signed,
Derek T.

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Dear Derek,

Scoring interviews can be as easy as firing off a quick e-mail to the right person. Or it can be a complete hell-gauntlet of back and forth wrangling, phone tag, and voodoo rituals. It depends on the person you’re trying to reach, whether or not you have access to them, and the topic being covered. It’s going to be a lot harder to book an interview with someone like Shigeru Miyamoto than it would be Edmund McMillen, but you’d be surprised how accessible many prominent folks in the game industry are.

Reaching the more famous developers and industry personalities for interview often requires going through PR channels. If it’s for an assignment for a higher-profile publication, PR will take your interview requests more seriously, but it can be a crapshoot whether you’ll actually gain access to your subject. It’s always best to seek out and contact sources directly whenever possible, and you’ll have better luck aiming for non-celebrity sources.

Start by doing a little research. If your prospective interviewee or their company has as website, find it. Scour it for information. Look for an “about” or “contact” page to see if there’s an e-mail address, phone number, or other means to get in touch. Whether you’re calling or e-mailing, put some thought into your pitch before contacting your interviewee. You want to be able to lay down who you are and what publication you write for, why your getting in touch, and what you want as concisely as possible. Be clear in what you’re requesting (an interview for an article on X) and your deadline timeframe.

As to the format, face-to-face interviews almost always yield the best quotes and info, because you have an opportunity to read your subject’s tone of voice, pick up their expressions and other interesting nuances from their surroundings, and adjust your questions on the fly to fit the natural flow of the interview. Phone or e-mail interviews also work fine though, so it’s okay if you can’t meet your subject in person.

Good luck!

Best,
The Freelanced Dude

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Follow @nmeunier on Twitter for more writing advice, game industry commentary, and freelance shenanigans.

Have a writing, freelancing, or game journalism related question you’d like answered? No problem! Hop on over here for details on how to submit it to The Freelance Dude!

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