"…asking Ridley Scott questions that hadn't been asked a million times before…"

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The title of this post is a quote from today’s featured podcast. It also describes the outcome of careful preparation before doing interviews, whether for podcasts, books, magazines, or websites.

Writing for publication (regardless of your media) brings with it the excitement of landing that opportunity to interview a creative who was involved in some aspect of Alien. There is always the temptation to just get it done, instead of doing one’s homework to get a broad overview of the topic so as to (hopefully) unearth something new to discuss and for readers to discover.

Sadly, when we don’t do this, our audience (as well as our subject) quickly tires of gushing variations of “Gosh, I love your work!” and “It changed my life forever.” That’s all great and valid for the interviewer, but it’s not just a two-person conversation. And re-wording trite questions is neither original nor creative.

I know. I have fallen victim to it myself.

It is not easy to write something original about Alien, or to interview someone who was connected to its creation. Sadly, in most situations we’re asking them about a mere fraction of their career, an event from 40 years ago. And how would we feel if someone pushed aside our more current work to turn us back to the past with a series of unfocused, inarticulate questions?

It reminds me of the panel at the Texas Frightmare Weekend where the guy asks Tom Skerritt and Veronica Cartwright when was the last time they watched Alien. Skerritt’s reply, (“Well, we have lives…”), as well as his expressions at the many lazy questions, is a good example of what I’m talking about. But Veronica Cartwright saves the poor interviewer from total embarrassment, however. What a gal!)

I am belabouring the point to provide contrast with today’s treat: in this podcast, Henrik Möller talks to Jonathan Rinzler about his book, “The Making of Alien“. (Möller is Swedish, but don’t let the language barrier stop you; the questions and the responses are in English! )

Rinzler is a writer who has done his own homework and used his time with Alien creatives wisely. (Which is why he gets up to the top of the food-chain, so to speak, for his subjects.

Möller’s preparation gives Rinzler a nice atmosphere in which to respond, often with a sprinkling of anecdotes (Want to know the real reason Ripley survived? Listen to the podcast!).

Rinzler is a very engaging guy and he gets into interesting detail about versions of the story, as well as the scripts and his summaries thereof. He says that Ridley Scott’s agreement to make his Ridleygrams available was a key part in getting the book published. Rinzler says that he chose artwork mentioned in the subject interviews and refrained from using much of what has been seen in other publications.

Some of Möller’s topics are subjectively presented, but Rinzler keeps an objective viewpoint, even when speaking vaguely about his interest in doing similar books on Aliens and Alien 3 (This podcast is barely 2 months old and we’ve already been hearing the buzz about “The Making of Aliens“).

The manuscript and book layout were reviewed by Ivor Powell (producer), and there was even an interview with Terry Rawlings (film editor) before his passing earlier this year.

But I have blathered on enough. The link to the podcast is right below this. Enjoy!

Thanks to Henrik for taking the time to get this done for us. Hear more from Henrik here.

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