I'm writing an interview in a screenplay where the protagonist is being interviewed a la 60 minutes. The interview shows an interviewer, Sarah Jones, who interviews a politician, Ben Parker. It features footage that shows parts of his personal life, like showing his horse ranch in Oklahoma as part of his character profile. I'm wondering how to format this to show that the interview and personal footage happen in the same scene.

  • I didn't know that Spider-Man's uncle was a politician. Apr 2, 2019 at 16:26

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60 minutes has a very consistent style that's easy to describe. Usually, it begins with the journalist doing the segment giving a brief interlude to hook the audience to watch the interview ("Tonight, I sit down with Ben Parker, the cattle rancher from Oklahoma. He may never have been elected to political office before, but wait until you hear why he decided to run in the biggest race in the United States: The Presidency.")

Normally the segment opens with a voice over setting the scene (footage of the town, the ranch, Ben Parker on the Ranch and some fluffy bit displaying the humble introductions by the reporter in a voice oveer) then cut to a room, normally in a style that appeals to Ben Parker as a person, and have the reporter opposite Ben Parker. Ask some intro softball questions ("You're running for President?" "Yes I am." "And you've never worked in government in your life." "Yes." "Why?" laughs from both "Because it's time for a change") Cut again to stock footage and reporter narration that could sum up certain talking points. Cut back to the interview space, where the questions get more pointed, but still a little softball. The final softball question should be something like "Have you ever run for any office?" "Class President... in High School." From here the questions get a little more down to policy and politics and what Ben Parker believes in. If the interviewer favors Ben, the good stuff will be front and center, while the stuff that makes him controversial will be pushed to the back. If they aren't favorable to Ben, the answers will have an appearence of manipulation that pushes the unfavorable or poor answers up. Remember that the Interviewer is going to edit this so it will be manipulated to their position, not the candidates (For a humorous poke at this, watch the Simpson's Episode "Homer Bad Man" where Homer's interview that calmly and rationally explains his side of the story, while what makes it to air is a very obvious manipulation and quote mining that clearly makes Homer out to be an absolute monster (for added humor, watch the clock in the background). Lather and rinse these formulas until you're done with the interview piece, and then cut back to the interviewer giving some final critical information or final commentary.

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