Thursday, 9 May 2013

Becoming a Found Footage Horror Expert: Media Interview

Have you ever been interviewed for TV or radio? I've done a couple of bits and pieces in the past but never have I been called as an expert to discuss something that I am supposed to know a lot about. As part of my training for my PhD on found footage horror movies, Oxford Brookes University put on a media training workshop.

The idea of the workshop is to prepare academic students for being approached by the media and specifically journalists looking for an expert on a particular subject. We had to consider what exactly about our research might make an interesting story and what specific aspects of our findings would interest journalists.

Usually in these training workshops I sit very silently at the back, hoping that no one will ask me what my research is on. Usually the other PhD students in attendance are doing amazing research that will no doubt help the world in some huge and brilliant way. Then there's me and I have to talk about found footage movies. It gets a bit embarrassing when people are doing such incredible research into things that really really matter and could change lives. I usually come away feeling a bit depressed and useless.

The other thing I find very difficult is talking in an academic way, using all the fancy language and articulating my thoughts in a professional and intelligent way. I'm much better at writing than talking but I'm not a natural academic that's for sure!

But in this session run by Tim and Lily from media players international, we were encouraged to not use overly complex and detailed language and to be able to speak simply and plainly about our research. The idea is that we are communicating with a mass audience who know next to nothing about what we are talking about and we have to simplify and explain and keep to the point of the story.

We got loads of great tips from Tim and Lily and the whole day culminated in a couple of mock interviews. Lily had prepared questions to ask me as if she was a journalist interested in my studies. They were very interesting questions and she's clearly done her research which made the interviews really fun!

I'm not even going to go in to how much I hate the silly facial expressions I pull but overall I think I did ok at talking about my research in a very basic and easy to understand and (hopefully) vaguely interesting way. Please give them a watch and let me know what you think! Please be gentle though!

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