A few weeks ago I wrote a post called ‘The Art of Interview’. I took a pledge (to myself, though it was not New Year’s yet) that involved me pledging to never ask questions that lacked depth.
It’s the last day of 2017, which is usually when New Year’s Resolutions are scribbled onto spare scrap paper or typed messily out in WhatsApp group chats like meaningless lines of text.
Which, to some people, they are.
Of course, some New Year’s Resolutions are fulfilled by people choosing to fulfil them. What does this have to do with Talking Game — a space where I finally can slot my entire interview experiences into and potentially save someone from doing something really 0/10 at an interview?
It has everything to do with it.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post called ‘The Art of Interview’. I took a pledge (to myself, though it was not New Year’s yet) that involved me pledging to never ask questions that lacked depth. The art of interviewing someone else is beautiful if we poise the brush to bring us the best strokes on the canvas. To paint a really good picture — aka make the most out of an interview — as interviewers, we need to ask really good questions. I took a pledge to myself not because I want to stress out my interviewee, but because I had actually been preparing for an interview, leafing through a lot of magazines in the library, when I realized that none of the interviews I read left me feeling satisfied. I hadn’t learnt much about the interviewee, though I probably was supposed to — the people we interview are selected for a reason! But why didn’t I feel educated, or enlightened, or — why did I feel shortchanged? The featured interviews left me feeling like more carefully thought-out questions could have been asked to enable the interviewee to offer more valuable insight.
I showed them[interviews from various magazines] to a friend and she agreed. The questions were stale and seemed to be recycled from every other magazine out there. To me, the interview itself did not do justice to the interviewee.
Since I was in primary school, when I did some reporting for a youth magazine, I had to do field work all the time, doing interviews after school and on the weekends. I would get lost in the craziest places, take the wrong bus — get locked in that bus by a creepy bus driver — and break my heel on my way back from an interview, trekking through a forested area with no phone battery. Since starting Carpe Bloom in January this year, I’ve reached out to beautiful, wonderful, inspirational individuals — creatives, cultural content producers — who gave me the pleasure of interviewing them for our issues, and for a special column I conceptualized: Heart to Say.
And times had changed. Some interviews were done over email, some were done in person. What mattered was that the questions had to be fresh, they had to be thought-provoking, and they had to be able to be personally interpreted by my interviewee — while their answers had to be relevant to the subject-matter. This was the core principle I kept tucked inside a sweaty palm whenever I went for an interview.
So my main purpose here would be to push for better interviews with fresher and more unique, in-depth questions to be circulated online, creating a sort of resource that I know ten year old me would have enjoyed before I went out to do my interview blind. Talking Game is also meant to recount how fun interviews can actually be, especially when you’re the one leading the talk.
Talking Game is live! Let’s teach each other, & learn well ❤
Read The Art of Interview(in my humble opinion) here.
Talking-Game: all rights and permissions belong to Athena Tan Jiaxin. The conceptualization and design was formulated by her and the concept should not be reproduced in an altered version, in other places online unless discussed with her.
© ATHENA TAN JIAXIN 2017
crossposted on Athena’s Medium publication here.
Featured Collage | Photography by TREVOR WEE at Garden Walk, The Shoppes @ Marina Bay Sands : Interview with Saunak Shah [TBR 5th issue of Carpe Bloom]