Kenny Johnson and the Art of the Interview
I recently traveled to Los Angeles to interview actor Kenny Johnson who has been seen on many television shows including Sons of Anarchy and The Shield, along with many others. At first I wasn’t nervous at all, but when I walked into the house where the interview was to take place, it felt like a movie set. There were lights, wires, and more people than I was used to. I had already had a couple cups of coffee before I finally met Kenny. When Kenny walked in, we immediately bonded and became, metaphorically speaking, “brothers from another mother”. There was suddenly a lot of excitement in the room. Between the wires and lights, the number of crew members and coffee, plus meeting Kenny, I was more anxious than I normally would have been. I’m happy to say that the interview itself went incredibly well.
One reason why I think it went so well: I was open to trying something new. For this interview, my wonderful Friends of Quinn team member Danielle suggested that instead of reading my interview questions off of a printed page in front of me, she would instead verbally prompt me with the questions we had written together and I would then ask Kenny. It was our best interview and I say “our” because she helped to make it that way with her brilliant tactics. I felt such a great energy without the paper in front of me because normally I’m just reading the questions one after another, and if we have to take a break I don’t try and get to know the person. With this interview and the whole new interview approach, I felt like the room was on fire.
There is a hidden lesson in everything. This time, I realized that if someone gives you advice, especially if it’s something you have never thought of, you shouldn’t turn it down. Even if you have been doing something one-way for a long time, give it a try. I thought of turning down Danielle’s advice, but I realized you should give everything a shot as it could end up making your work even better. And if it doesn’t work out, so what? You will learn something new either way. We all learn differently, and this time, once the physical piece of paper wasn’t distracting me, I was free to a whole new experience.
My interview with Kenny was really special and I would like to thank everybody who was at the interview, including the people who allowed us to film in their home, and of course Kenny himself. I couldn’t have asked for it to have gone any better. Try something new, listen to people you trust, and great things can happen.