Oral History: Shawn Stephens

It was easy talking to Mei, but I could’ve done a better job of listening fully until she had finished answering, and then responding to her answers. I think that makes the difference between a good interviewer and a bad interviewer; interviews feel much more organic to listen to when the interviewer can listen to the answer and generate a conversation rather than just going down the list of questions. I definitely felt pressure to keep the interview flowing smoothly and just keep the questions coming. In reality, I could’ve edited it in post, and going deeper into one really juicy subject is better than getting a lot of questions answered at more of a surface level. I’m glad I got to do this though, it helped me learn a lot.

The interview mostly went as expected, except for when we went to her office with our camera, ready to just film with that and extract the audio later when she told us that she actually manages a small studio space right next door. It had audio equipment, chairs, and made things much easier. She dove deep into a lot of different topics, and gave really great answers. It was really valuable to hear from someone that’s successful in the industry that I want to work in. The interview was  mostly centered around the graphic design industry, and the role technology has played in her career. I thought the whole interview was really interesting; I decided to keep the parts that spoke to her progression as a graphic designer the best, and put the divide between our generations in perspective.

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