It didn’t take long after retiring from The Late Show for David Letterman to get back into the interviewing game. In his ongoing, monthly Netflix series, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, the veteran host goes one-on-one with some of the biggest names in politics and entertainment, much to the delight of Letterman fans everywhere. But, as a new video from YouTuber Thomas Flight explores, the new show has got an editing problem that really distracts from the content of these A-list interviews.
By comparing clips from the Netflix series to clips from Letterman’s old Late Show interviews and interviews on similar late-night talk shows, Flight argues that the traditional way of filming an interview has gone unchanged for so many years for a reason. When an interviewee is telling a story, the audience wants to focus on that story. By constantly cutting between numerous angles and moving the camera during shots, My Next Guest distracts the viewer from what’s actually being said. The focus is continuously drawn away from the content of the story and drawn towards how it’s being presented visually.
Clearly, the producers of My Next Guest wanted to innovate on the old format and create a more dynamic style of filmed interview. But Flight points out that there are more successful ways to do this. He uses an example from Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, which takes a traditional interview and places it in a new context while still maintaining the integrity of the conversation. My Next Guest, on the other hand, places two people in chairs on a stage and then spins cameras around them for no particular reason.
Again, it should be noted that the problem here isn’t the content of Letterman’s interviews. In fact, if you close your eyes, it’s like listening to a great podcast. The problem comes when you open your eyes and start wondering, “Why am I looking at David Letterman scratch his nose while Barack Obama is talking?”
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