On a very rainy Friday afternoon, my documentary crew (Henry, Riley and I), hit the streets of West End to ask strangers what they thought of the food in the area. The goal of these questions were to lead into their thoughts of the multiculturalism and diversity of the area. Using food as the initial topic, was the safest way to begin. These on-the-street interviews are often used in documentary films to gain public opinion with catchy grabs that add to whatever story is being told. One would’ve heard them being referred to as Vox Pops. Stemming from the latin phrase, ‘Vox Populi’ which means ‘voice of the people’. The website Media College writes, ‘The vox pop is a tool used in many forms of media to provide a snapshot of public opinion. Random subjects are asked to give their views on a particular topic and their responses are presented to the viewer/reader as a reflection of popular opinion.’ By using these interviews, it gives the documentary an element of relevance to the general population instead of one particular group. This technique only works in certain topics.
Before the exercise we worked together to create 10 questions to ask in the interviews, leading the subject into the conversation, asking a tougher question and then easing them out of it. This is incredibly important when conducting interviews, i explain more about this in my blog, Interview Techniques. After deciding on the questions to use, we went to boundary street and interviewed a few people each. As Riley is our director, he went first in asking questions with Henry following him. During this time I was watching them and how they communicated with the subjects. I was really nervous about interviewing people as i’m fairly shy and struggle with maintaining conversation. After observing Riley and Henry and how they lead the subjects in and out of the topic by responding directly to what the person was saying while also maintaining the theme, i realised that the questions we wrote were just a basis and didn’t have to be followed exactly. When it came to my time to interview people, I found myself asking the questions in order and then using what my subjects had given me to get the answers I wanted.
I found it difficult to get people to be interviewed but once you got some of them talking, they were all very passionate about what they were speaking about. We were able to get the responses that we required but struggled with the camera and sound due to the conditions. I found the process really rewarding as I was able to communicate and work with strangers, overcoming lots of fears about approaching people. If I were to do this again however, I think choosing a nicer day and maybe getting the subjects to articulate a bit better about what they were speaking about. Some of the responses came off very complicated. After this exercise, it opened my mind a bit more about the potential of going to a car show and interviewing people for our documentary. This could add an extra element to our film that would be really interesting to watch.
(n.d.). Retrieved July 14, 2017, from http://www.mediacollege.com/video/interviews/voxpops.html
Production – How to film a vox pop. (n.d.). Retrieved July 14, 2017, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/academy/production/article/art20141029111247531