If you want to get your own reality show you better master the art of interview.  Interviews can sometimes make up 80 percent of the content in a reality show, and if you don’t conduct them properly, you will be in big trouble when you come to post-production.  The innate thought is that interviews are casual and conversational, but this could not be further from the truth.  All great interviews end in short, concise ‘sound bites’ that help tell the story.  If you're hired to produce the sound bites in your reality show, you will be the one responsible for attaining these answers.  A great interviewer is able to make the cast member energetic in front of camera, while also keeping their answers short and concise.

Conducting a reality show interview

Attaining a great interview requires trust from your cast member.  Trust that you will not steer them wrongfully, and trust that you have vision for your project.  You need to come prepared and know the responses before you dare to think up the question.  It sounds a little backwards, but it is effective.  As a reality show producer you are literally the writer of the show, and you don't want to give that up to a cast member.  They are the talent, you are the writer!  Start with your answers, then figure out the question around it.  Your cast will appreciate that they don't have to use their brain, and merely have to put on the show.  

Once you have your answers you can try forming them into questions.  You want to use the same vernacular in your question that you want in your answer.  For instance, you want Bob to say, "Kim was a royal piece of work today, we would have won if it wasn't for her."  The question would be, "Wow, Bob, Kim was a royal piece of work today wasn't she?  Do you think you should have won?"  It seems obvious, but planting the seed with what you want to hear really helps your cast members catch your drift.  If they drift off into something totally different, simply tell them exactly what you want to hear and have them deliver it verbatim or in their own voice.

Once you have an idea of what you want your cast members to say, you need to make sure they say it with passion.  In life, most people don't go down the hallways speaking with a highly impactful tone, but in television they do.  Just notice the next time you are watching your favorite show, all the cast members deliver their 'thoughts' with charisma.  This charisma comes naturally for some, but for others it's acquired over time.  Do not be afraid to run a line over and over again until you get the performance you want.  This is the directing part of getting a great interview.  There is a great article called How to Get a Reality Show which emphasizes how important energy is in an interview.  It is the utmost important element in a sound bite.  I would dare to say that it is even more important than the rehearsed line.

The ideas above seem simple in theory, but they definitely take practice.  Getting a great interview is much like writing a story.  Always remember that the story comes first, and you want to learn how to craft it in a compelling way.  If you do your homework before going into an interview, then the rest is simple, you are just there to get the right performances.  Now go out and find your first subject.  There are plenty of people out there who are still looking for their 15 minutes of fame.