Credit: Screenshots via Vanity Fair, British GQ, BT Sport, Hot Ones

Tired of the bog-standard sit-down interview? There are more creative ways to talk to experts or famous guests and discuss a subject close to them, their career or a general topic of interest.

The typical back-and-forth exchange does not always help people to go off-script. It also does not help audiences understand complex topics. Some media companies now employ themes, games, props and other devices to get their guests talking and audiences hooked. These work best in video series that viewers can subscribe to on platforms like YouTube or follow on Instagram but you can also add a video feature to your website.

Here, we compile some of the best examples of creative interviewing ploys. These videos get thousands - even millions - of views and are a good place to start if you have a creative block.

Impossible challenges

Challenge videos are trendy on social media.

You see it a lot in sports-related content where fans do "blind rank challenges" which task them to rank players without seeing which player comes next. It can lead to some funny moments when professionals also take part in this popular format.

Football channel GOAL enjoys a lot of success with this, as well as the "stay quiet" challenge and the "build the perfect footballer" challenge. They have also gotten celebrities and famous journalists to take part.

Ten Essentials

You can tell a lot about someone based on the ten items they cannot live without. That is the thinking on the British GQ's series Ten Essentials, where celebrity guests show and tell their most precious possessions.

Fans will love to see the human side of their idols. And it is guaranteed some light-hearted moments and chuckles.

GQ also runs a series called Actually Me where famous guests respond anonymously to fan questions via social media platforms, and Tattoo Tour as an interesting way for well-known guests to talk about the meaning behind their inkwork.

What I Wore

Any sports fan will tell you that the jersey or shirt holds a lot of significance. For the players, a shirt can remind them of highs and lows, breakthroughs and setbacks, the special moments - and the days to forget.

That is the approach that BT Sport takes with its series 'What I Wore'. The series is hosted by Andrew Mensah who takes football stars through an impressive collection of shirts that tell their career story. That might be the shirt they wore for their first club, one for a stand-out match, even the shirts of their biggest rivals. It prompts the guest to reminisce and open up on their deepest feelings.

Mensah also always asks one question at the end of the interview: if you were in a burning building and you can save two shirts - one for the sentimental value and one for the aesthetic value - which two would you pick?

Fact or Fiction

There is a good reason why universities do not accept citations in your essays from Wikipedia - it is notoriously unreliable.

One series by music news publisher Loudwire allows famous guests to correct the record once and for all, and many are happy to be given the platform to do so. In 'Fact or Fiction', interviewees are presented with a bunch of information pulled from their Wikipedia entries, and they either debunk the claim or add insightful personal anecdotes. Both scenarios happen regularly.

5 levels

Journalists are taught from day one not to assume knowledge. We are told to either say things like we are explaining it to a child or an elderly person. Why not turn that into reality?

Wired's series '5 Levels' takes tricky topic and explains it in five stages of increasing complexity. How? An expert is brought in to explain the topic to five people each with a very different knowledge base: a child, a teen, a college student, a grad student, and an expert.

For the viewer, this is a natural way to explore tough topics in a way that gets more technical, without jumping the gun.

Other honourable mentions by Wired go to its auto-complete interviews, where famous guests answer questions from 'the web's most searched queries' about them. Other experts, like morticians, are pulled in to respond to common queries about topics of interest. But Wired is not the only publisher to do this style of interview.

Slow Zoom

There are other ways to draw the audience into an interview. One is with personal questions, the other is through camera techniques. Vanity Fair uses both in its series 'Slow Zoom'.

It does what it says on the tin. It very slowly zooms in on a celebrity guest (using a camera on a sliding track), all the while asking increasingly deep and personal questions. The effect is twofold: the viewer is pulled into the interview visually and emotionally. It also uses greyscale outtakes to reset the camera and move on to the next set of questions.

Chicken Shop Date

Amelia Dimoldenberg's hit series 'Chicken Shop Date' sees her interview well-known rappers and musicians in a fried chicken shop under the pretence of a date.

Dimoldenberg told LADbible that she wanted to avoid boring conventional interviews where music artists end up typically talking about influences and tours.

It is a bit bizarre - and there is definitely some acting going on - but in this setting, guests' guards are lowered and no questions are off the table. She has also managed to lure football players and other influencers onto the show.

Hot Ones

Sticking with the food theme, the famous Hot Ones challenge - now in its twentieth season - invites celebrity guests onto the show to discuss all manner of subjects - while working through increasingly spicy chicken wings.

Watch astrophysicist Neil deGrasse try to explain the wonders of the universe while enduring severe Scoville levels. Other famous names that have not chickened out include Gordon Ramsay, Elijah Wood, Ricky Gervais and Shaq O'Neal to name a few.

You will find plenty more food-themed interview series on the First We Feast channel, as well.

The Gap

LADbible might be known for light-hearted, viral content. But it has some serious video series in its locker too, like 'The Gap', bringing together two people a generation apart but with shared experiences.

This can foster some eye-opening conversations about homelessness, mental health of athletes, crime and life as a soldier. It covers how much has changed over time - for better or worse - and what challenges still remain.

A more polarising option can be seen in its series 'Agree to disagree', a head-to-head style interview that pits two people with opposing views together. Sometimes they find common ground, sometimes they reach an impasse. That can be something as light as views on superheroes or as divisive as animal rights.


The first time you try something will usually leave a powerful memory in your mind.

The now-defunct channel Soccer AM by Sky Sports had a good idea with its series "First" which asked guests puerly about their first experiences in the game. The above video with Pep Guardiola explores his first match in management, his first trophy, and his first mistake. That gives a lot of room for follow up questions and revealing insights.

Note also how the video thumbnail is also thematic, with the guest posing with one finger in the air. All their guests do this.

Sky Sports did something similar with Pep Guardiola recently, not as a series, but a video titled "same interview, 8 years later." The idea was to revisit an interview from eight years ago and put the same questions to him to see how much has changed.

Expert Reacts

It is common for films and video games these days to be based on history, mythology and religion. Naturally, there is no better way to know how faithful it is than to ask an expert.

Video game news publisher IGN invites experts to unpick all the details which games do - and do not - get right in its series 'Expert reacts'. Reaction videos have become a standard format on platforms like YouTube, and this series definitely takes inspiration from this.

Insider does something very similar with its series 'How Real Is It?' which uses experts to assess how accurate movie scenes are.

Honourable mention: Nardwuar

Rule one of interviewing is research and this is really just a lesson in taking preparedness to the extreme. Nardwuar is an eccentric, one-of-a-kind music journalist who built his name through forensically-specific questions to music artists.

Viewer discretion: the below video contains a lot of swearing and bad language. But watch as Nardwaur stuns his interviewees by bringing up the most niche of knowledge - think high school radio stations, debut stage names, childhood friends, pet projects and demo releases.

He even presented Snoop Dogg with a VHS copy of his debut film, that not even he had in his possession. Guaranteed laughs, reactions and original insights.

Let us know any more of your favourite examples

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