How I got to interview some Austrian celebrities

How I got to interview some Austrian celebrities

The idea hit us like a bullet on a sunny Wednesday afternoon. Ok, it was more like a drunken paper plane hovering above our heads, as we were all having a break from brainstorming, talking, thinking…arguing. Sitting on the floor, gazing at the ceiling, I mentioned

“So I would really, really enjoy being responsible for ONE thing at stEFFIE!”

The other girls looked at me, obviously waiting for the rest of my ‘proposal’. But frankly I didn’t have any clue on how I could contribute more to the festival, while also doing what I like. Some ideas started racing through my head at once and I finally squeezed out the ‘ONE thing’.

“Let us make some videos! Something that would grab the attention, spread the world and just be awesome.” The girls nodded and started considering it.

“Hmm…You know what would be really cool?” asked Erika in her usual enthusiastic fashion. “We could do some interviews, ask people about education and learning, then post it on social media.”

I followed her line of thought and added “Yes, extra famous people! We could also give them challenges and make it super viral!” The others started smiling.

“But not like Madonna’s tequila challenge!” added Erika and we burst into laughter.

The spirits were high and I felt confident with our excitement; we were actually going to do it. Then and there. Well, almost – it took us about one busy month from the initial idea to the first interview, time in which we figured out the theme of the interview, the questions, the “challenge” and of course put together, or better said, threw up a list of all the VIPs in Austria (and not only).

The first replies

We started yelling, not minding if they would even listen. There were names of people in politics, education, creative industry or media and they all received our email. After more than 100 emails and some hours of refreshing the email page, we got our first response. And I was happy as a child, because it was from a very special person: Prof. Heinz Oberhummer from Science Busters.

I didn’t really have high hopes and wasn’t expecting anyone to write back, given the lack of time people have these days, but in that moment I regained my confidence. As you might have thought, it wasn’t an actual commitment to the interview but a very polite way of meeting me halfway. His email was friendly and briefly explained that he would be more than happy to do the interview at a later date because he is busy with writing the last drafts of his book “H. Oberhummer, M.Puntigam & W. Gruber: Das Universum ist eine Scheißgegend” (it will be published at the end of September).

After this first email, more followed – most of them apologetically refusing but some of them already serving me some suggestions for dates and meeting places. Although our intention was to receive as many responses as possible, I was very surprised every single time I got one.

The first interviews

When the time of the first interview came, I didn’t know what to expect and felt a little tense and agitated. This was never on my CV after all, but how hard could it be? Fixing my gear, getting the questions ready, checking my gear, reading the questions again, thinking about small talk, filming the flowers on the table, moving chairs, checking the light. Meeting Mag. Christoph Chorherr in the city hall and asking him about education was now my Nr. 1 mission and I was about to execute it flawlessly. We nailed the interview in only 10 minutes. The challenge and the “remuneration” chocolate set a big smile on the politician’s face, and we ended our conversation in a lot of gratefulness from my part.

It was going good and I was looking forward to the next one: Stuart Freeman from FM4. Oh what a lovely man and what a nice interview!

He arrived at my place – I couldn’t come up with anything better at that time – and greeted me causally with “Andra! What a pretty name, is it Romanian?” “As a matter of fact it is…” wondering how he came up with the origin so fast, but didn’t get to ask, “I have a big favor, Andra!  Can I bring my dog up, she’s sitting in the car all by herself and it’s so hot?” He added smiling and pointed at the slightly opened door. “Oh Amy? Of course, bring her up, she must be burning in the car!” I said, being completely thrilled that I not only get to meet Stuart but one of his dogs as well. Amy is the best-behaved golden retriever I have ever had the pleasure to meet – she laid satisfied on the floor just rolling her eyes from Stuart to me and back, while the conversation between the two of us was flowing with remarkable ease. After the interview and a cup of coffee, we resumed our gossip on current issues and examined the differences between Austrian and Romanian weddings.

We were having a good time and at the end, I was happy to offer him a glimpse into Romanian cuisine. I got the zakuska from my mom one day before.

I would tell how the interviews with Mr. Cornelius Obonya or with Dr. Alexander Van der Bellen went, but that’s another story and I’m sure you’re now more interesed in the actual interviews. So stay tunned, they should be out pretty soon!

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