The Interview and The Sacred Space
The denotation of a sacred space is one that is holy or “connected with God” in some way. Cathedrals usually come to mind. I find, though, that the connotation of a sacred space may vary greatly in the walls of businesses. When the interaction goes beyond a transaction, and there is a deep connection with the individual in the room, that experience is now sacred.
The interview has been an integral part of my work since my first freelance video project in 2013 to my most recent marketing campaign for Michael A. Kubiniec, DDS. When I arrived on site at their offices, the immediate challenge was finding the right space to conduct interviews with their patients. We had the whole office shut down for the day, and so we had free reign. But dentist offices, almost by default, are a bit... sterile. Do we film patients in one of the procedural rooms? The waiting room? Just on a blank wall somewhere? Kristen Matteo (Crescendo Design Studio) was jointly photographing the space that morning, and she pointed out an exposed brick wall that was in the entryway to the office—a space I hadn’t really considered part of the office at all. I tested out the sound, how the red brick contrasted against someone in the foreground, and it was perfect.
Within hours, this entryway became my own “procedural room” for asking patients about the practice. Because the room was unfamiliar to them, my questions encouraged thinking differently about the practice. This wasn’t a check-up: How do your teeth feel today? Have you been flossing? (Oy.) No, this was a reflection. I asked them first to consider how they found the practice, and how they remember their initial experiences with the doctor. My hope was to jog their memory about times there, and then invite them to go deeper...
- What do you worry about when you come to the dentist?
- How would you describe the staff here to a friend?
- What keeps you coming back?
Their answers revealed a deep sense of trust and comfort with this dental practice. Let’s be honest... those are words you don’t normally hear when people talk about going to the dentist. Like the space we chose, instead of a sterile experience, we revealed a human experience. When I played back the footage to the Michael and Sharon Kubiniec, the business owners, it elicited a strong reaction—their patients’ trust and love of their practice was no longer just in their head. This was the first time they could see it being communicated publicly. The patients’ stories had become a part of the greater story of the whole practice.
I attribute finding a “sacred space” to the success of any interview. Like getting a cup of coffee with a friend, the phones go away and the distractions of the world around us disappear. The camera is merely an observer, off to the side, while we talk together one-on-one, eye-to-eye. We sit for awhile. We dwell. Sometimes a whole hour goes by. It's what makes a good interview great.
With Dr. Kubiniec, we’ll roll out “testimonial” videos over social media in the coming months that stand apart from the original “trailer” video we wanted to do. In the meantime, check out the full trailer video here and on drkubiniec.com.
Chances are, the life of your business is right in front of you, with the people on your staff, or the customers you see every so often, or the volunteers who have their own unique encounters. They each have a story, and that’s where I like to start. The video, the strategy, and yes, even the website, all come from this one interview in this one sacred space.