Interviewing Dead Celebrity Lifts ...


How do you interview a celebrity who has passed away?

The San Francisco Giants and star pitcher in his day Tim Lincecum shows the way.

I’ve always admired the marketing efforts from the San Francisco Giants acknowledging that some might miss the mark. If you live in the Bay Area and follow the Giants, you’ll remember the dud called Crazy Crab.

Crazy Crab, SF Giants mascot, 1984

But the Giants have always been willing to think outside the diamond — my first bad pun of 2020 — especially when striving for levity.

Which brings us back to Timmy playing the straight man in grilling Bruce Lee.

I’m not saying it’s David Frost taking on Richard Nixon, but it is pretty darn funny.

Check it out.


I particularly liked the closing exchange in which Timmy shares his dream of teaming with Bruce in a movie, “The Dragon and the Freak.” Bruce comes back with “It’s a heckuva name man,” with Timmy responding “Are you serious … because I’m going to hold you to it.” To which Bruce shuts down the idea, “I made that a joke, of course.”


Movie Video Editing Magic

So what’s going on from a technique perspective in marrying a new interview with one from the archives?

By overlaying some type of duotone over the old footage, you make it easier for the new stuff to achieve a horseshoe-close match.

Editing the video so the camera sits on the phantom interviewer as he or she reacts to what’s been shared by the famous person also gives the illusion of a real interview.

Of course, working backwards from the famous person’s comments to create the questions ultimately glues together the narrative.

In the case of Timmy’s interview of Bruce Lee, there are two shots that show them in the frame together.


Still from video featuring Bruce Lee and Tim Lincecum in same frame


I’m not exactly sure how this is done or the cost. Regardless, I don’t think it’s a must have for this type of video interview to work.


The Medium is the Joke (?)

I view levity as the killer app in B2B communications. Obviously, it’s not easy to find a humorous bent in product areas like computer servers and semiconductors. Yet, if you can pull it off like Qualcomm did by melting butter on its product, you gain the most precious commodity from your target audience — attention — as well as build the brand.

What intrigues me about taking a run at creating this type of video for B2B companies is that the medium carries the levity. To have Orson Welles touting the virtues of cloud computing or Elvis offering his two cents on the latest on DRAM technology produces incongruence which by itself has the potential to be amusing.

If we can’t find a brave client, we have a Plan B.

Picture interviewing Richard Nixon on the state of the communications industry.

I think we’re onto something.

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