frequently asked questions
How long does it take to set up?
Set up usually takes about 10-15 minutes during which time I usually have the interview subject go through the Observation Deck and pick out the questions they think will be fun or interesting to answer.
What’s the Observation Deck?
The Observation Deck is a deck of cards containing random prompts and questions like:
What were you picked on for when you were a kid?
Have you ever written a fan letter?
Describe your worst haircut.
...and many, many more.
A few years into my magazine career, I compiled a list of the more offbeat questions I had been asking people, questions that I had learned over time were likely to get fun and surprising answers.
I'd take a Xeroxed copy of the list to each interview and highlight handful of questions from it beforehand to throw in along with my normal questions about their career and latest project. Their answers would almost always make it into the final piece.
When I started my interview podcast Dennis Anyone?, I transferred the questions onto a stack of index cards and bestowed on it the name The Observation Deck. At the beginning of each interview, while I was setting up, I'd have the person I was interviewing go through the deck and pick out a few questions that they thought would be fun or interesting to talk about. If a question didn't resonate for them, I told them skip it because there were plenty of questions.
When I started developing the Lifecast idea, I knew I had to include it. The subjects find it fun and always leads to insights and anecdotes that we would have never have gotten to otherwise.
I’m getting the Lifecast as a gift for someone. Do you have a certificate or something I can give them?
You bet, and it’s super snazzy! You let me know who it's for and who it's from and I email you a certificate you can give to them. There's also a spot for your own personalized message.
Can you do the Lifecast interview over the phone or via Skype or does it have to be in person?
It needs to be done in person. I am willing to travel to other cities if we can find to way to make it financially viable. I’ve been to Utah and New York for interviews and in one case, the client was able to get me there using frequent flier miles. In the other case, I was able to schedule several interviews in the city.
What if I want the interview videotaped as well as audio-taped? Is that possible?
My service is strictly and audio recording service. I think it has several advantages over video: 1) the subject doesn’t have to worry about how they look on camera so they can relax and just talk 2) as a listener, there’s something about an audio interview that engages the imagination. 3) it’s easier to bring up to listen to in situations where you might otherwise listen to a podcast; in the car, while exercising, etc.
Can you interview more than one person at a time?
Yes. We just need make sure everyone is well-positioned around the mics to make sure that everyone’s voice comes through loud and clear.
Do you post the Lifecasts on line or do I do it myself?
As part of any Lifecast package, I post the file on a private page on this website and send you a link that’s yours to share with whoever you want. The page is also password protected and YOU provide the password. The goal is to make it easily accessible to you and whoever you share the link and password with...and impossible for anyone else to access.
What kind of music do you use?
The Lifecast Theme music, which you can hear on the Intro Video, plays at the beginning and the end of every Lifecast. The Lifecast Basic has no other music. For the Lifecast Classic, the client sends me the names of up to 10 favorite tracks and I incorporate them into the Lifecast as transition music or underscoring. (If the client wants to email me the actual MP3s, that's great. If not, I'm happy to buy them. I usually incorporate some musical ideas of my own as well. That's part of the process that's really fun a creative. The right music can really heighten the emotional impact and make your stories sing.
How much do you edit the interview?
Usually, not very much. I prefer to let the conversation flow naturally. However, if something goes awry technically or the person being interviewed wants to stop or repeat something or decides after the fact that they want something cut out, that is all doable. The most important thing for me that at the end of the process, I want you to love your Lifecast.
What if I want my Lifecast delivered on something physical?
A Lifecast thumbdrive is included as part of the Lifecast Classic package. For the Basic package or if you want additional thumbdrives to share with loved ones, they're available for $20 each.