#6 – talking to strangers 101

Mar 22, 2019

Hello reader!

My #1 fan, Abby Wang, was curious about what questions I ask the artists, so here is my line of questioning. Keep in mind I improvise a lot, and sometimes the person can answer 3 questions at once without me interrupting for 30 minutes…

I promised in the last blog that I would tell you more about the interviews. One of them was with Jeremy Morgan, a professor at the San Francisco Art Institute. We had about 20 email exchanges and finally settled on the time and location, then I finally met him near the beautiful Presidio by the ocean, and he greeted me with a heavy British accent that completely shocked me because I just didn’t expect it. That was kind of funny. He was so articulate and contemplative toward every question, which made it so interesting and enjoyable. I learned so much about the dynamics of the art community in SF and its changes over the recent years. He also talked about the future of the “art world,” which turns out to be similar to the response of another interviewee that it will be “full of opportunities.” I had planned the interview to be around an hour since he was very talkative, but it almost took two hours! I met his coworker and students (got their emails, hehe) and we even had a quick lunch together. It was a fun day in SF.

On a side note, I’ve noticed that in-person interviews are very different from Skype calls or Facetime. I had done one where I cannot make eye contact with the artist because her camera was broken, and I felt my line of questioning did not flow as well as I wanted it to, and I had to improvise a lot of questions to keep the conversation going. That one turned out to be a little bit over 30 minutes. Even though I also learned invaluable things, it just wasn’t as easy as the other ones I did. However, I probably need to do more interviews like this to confirm this.

I spent most of this week transcribing interviews and emailing more people, which has become the routine. The flu did not leave me in peace until Thursday so I’m super behind schedule (I moved all the interviews to next week), but I’m planning to take things slowly and stress myself. Once you’ve done a number of interviews, you realize some responses are so similar that it’s uncanny, and that’s when you realize you should probably change your questions (to be more specific) or move on to a slightly different group of people! Therefore, I spent some time reading through books on qualitative survey again and thought about what narratives I want to include in my final product. Some journalists spend devote many months to one article, so I might do the same?

Stay tuned for next week’s blog where I begin reflecting on what I’ve learned from my wonderful interviewees!


2 Replies to “#6 – talking to strangers 101”

  1. David Z. says:

    Practice makes perfect. I’m sure the interviewing process will become easier 🙂

  2. Abby W. says:

    omggg thank you for the shoutout ur blog is literally my life <3

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