Don’t Fear The Impromptu Celebrity Interview.

By Posted in - Featured Post on March 29th, 2011 Randy Kalp sitting next to a wooden statue in Wall, South Dakota.

Attn: Travel Bloggers. If you see Brad Pitt, repeat Stuart Smalley’s mantra three times and then go in for the interview.

Pop Quiz: You (a travel blogger) are at Burning Man and you see your favorite artist or musician just lounging around. Your really want to interview them, but you aren’t sure you have anything new to bring to the table. What should you do?

(A) Stare at them from 50 feet away hoping they will see you and invite you to hang out.

(B) Convince yourself that you are not worthy of talking to them, because you are just a travel blogger and not a reporter from AOL Travel.

(C) Walk over to them, introduce yourself and who you represent (your blog), and ask them if they have a few minutes to talk.

If you chose C, then you would be correct. Sure, credentials from larger media outlets help, but they aren’t necessary, especially if you are dealing with impromptu interviews as opposed to setting up an interview through a PR agent.

O.K., so you’ve got the interview, now what? I’ve put together a few tips below that will help you make the most of your time.

I still get butterflies before I do an interview.

But trust me once you get past the introduction or first question, then it’s just like any other conversation. The key is to write down a few questions before you go up and ask for the interview. Before I did this interview with Bam Margera and Johnny Knoxville, I sat there (about 50 feet away) on a bar stool racking my brain about what I could ask them. Then, it hit me. Travel. They both traveled a lot for Jackass, so why not just ask them about their favorite places; we are a travel blog, of course. I believe your blog’s niche is your biggest asset. Celebrities do a lot of interviews, usually about the same stuff, so I think its refreshing for them to have something different to talk about.

When I do in-person interviews I always use a digital recorder.

And now that I have an iPod Touch I use that. I highly recommend recording the interview. For me, at least, it’s a lot easier to carry on the conversation when I’m not writing frantically. And since the interviews are with celebrity-types, they won’t even blink if you choose to use one. If you don’t have an iPhone/iPod or a phone that records, you can buy a digital recorder for about $20 from Best Buy or even cheaper if you use a discount code. One advantage to using an iPod/iPhone (WiFi/3g device) compared to a traditional digital recorder is that the interview can be easily backed up to your email.

Though, even if you use a recorder, I still recommend writing down your questions in a notebook and keeping it out during the interview.

This not only helps keep you on track, it will also help if you go blank during the interview.  Nothing can kill the flow of an interview like drawing a blank and muttering um…um…um while the interviewee stares at you. I also generally take notes during the interview even if I’m recording it, but I’ve seen other reporters who do not.

*         *         *

Every interview is different, so you may not get through all your questions and that is alright. Sometimes interviews flow like a conversation and questions you had not thought of surface–use them. Other times, interviews are more cut and dry like a question and answer session. Regardless, pulling off an impromptu celebrity interview is a rush and something I’d love to see more bloggers do in the future.

I’d like to give a shout out to Caz and Craig from Y Travel Blog for inspiring me to write this post. I had thought about this story for a while, but it was not until we spoke recently about their upcoming trip to cover the Byron Bay Blues Festival in Australia for Gap Year Escape that I put down the advice on paper. Thank you!

Have you notched any celebrity interviews into your belt? If so, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below?

*Please remember all photos on this website are copyrighted and property of BeersandBeans.com, NarikosNest.com & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you want to use one of them please contact me first because I do love to share and I would be flattered. Thanks!

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(14) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • ayngelina -

    March 29, 2011 at 3:57 am

    Never interviewed anyone, maybe because I keep choosing option C!

    • Bethany -

      March 29, 2011 at 9:13 am

      Hahaha – I think you mean one of the other options Ayngelina 🙂 How the heck are you anyway? I’m going to be catching up with a lot of your posts in the next 2 days – I am so behind!!! I miss reading about your world. 🙂@ayngelina,

  • Raymond -

    March 30, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    I saw Franka Potente from “Run Lola Run” at a used clothing store in L.A. once. That’s the closest I’ve ever come to a celeb. If I ever do again though, you’ve give me the courage to just waltz right up to them.

    Great post!

    • Bethany -

      March 31, 2011 at 8:51 am

      Hahaha… Glad it helped. 🙂 @Raymond,

  • Scott – Quirky Travel Guy -

    March 31, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Great info… I usually just gawk at celebs in person but have gotten to interview some B-level musicians on the phone.

    One suggestion: If you don’t have a recorder with you, you can always use a digital camera & turn it on “video” mode to record the conversation. Or put your phone on speaker and leave yourself a voice mail of the conversation. Getting audio of the interview is key so you quote accurately!

  • Andrea -

    April 3, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Never interviewed any celebs but I always have my digital recorder in my bag and lots of batteries =)

    • Bethany -

      April 3, 2011 at 7:57 pm

      Well you never know when you might run into one so it’s always good to be prepared. 🙂@Andrea,

  • Cailin -

    April 17, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I have yet to interview a celebrity
    however! I had my own little celebrity encounter the other day. I was walking around in the middle of no where Iceland and some guy recognized me!!!!! it was crazy but awesome 🙂

    • Bethany -

      April 17, 2011 at 11:51 am

      No way! That’s crazy! Good for you, must’ve made you feel great! Hope you had a celebration of some sort after. 🙂@Cailin,

  • […] with confidence after reading Don’t Fear the Impromptu Celebrity Interview by the fine folks over at Beers & Beans, I decided to reach out to Mr. Dolby via his site for a […]

  • Caz Makepeace -

    June 1, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Great tips and thanks for your advice when I was going to interview. (can’t believe I missed this post) They came in handy for my prep work.

    Unfortunately the interviews did not go ahead!!!! Total bummer. I prepared for weeks and was so ready.
    When we arrived the publicist who originally organized us and told us to get our interview request forms in and be prepared, casually told us “Oh no there won’t be any interviews” when I asked for the schedule.
    WTF?
    “The musicians don’t really like giving interviews on performance days. ”
    I couldn’t believe she just didn’t tell us this from the beginning. Craig and i did laugh the whole time at the festival though at us thinking we were going to be sitting down with Bob Dylan. After his performance I’m glad we didn’t. We still had an amazing time though.
    Now that we have started a podcast, I am thinking of using that preparation and perhaps approaching some big people to be interviewed on the podcast. I just can’t let that preparation be for nothing. I want to practice what I learned now!!

  • Bethany -

    June 17, 2011 at 5:30 am

    @Caz Makepeace, Glad I could help. Yeah, that is a bummer about interviews. Sometimes I wonder who’s really pulling the cord on the interviews, is it the artist or is it one of their representatives? At least you were ready, and you had the confidence to give it a go.

    Yeah, I think your new podcasts (which are fantastic by the way) are a perfect outlet for setting up interviews.

    p.s. It is hard to go back to general seating after being in the pit. isn’t it? Its amazing to see a band, especially one of your favorites, from that close.

    -Randy

  • Christian Lacroix -

    March 13, 2012 at 3:45 am

    i don’t know with you guys but well, we all are looking for jobs and how to boost and sell ourselves right? nothing wrong with it. but i have to check it out though hahahah i haven’t seen any yet! =p