Should I hire actors for my Promotional Video?

When making a video to promote your organization, one of the first things you will have to decide is whether you will hire actors or feature actual board members/employees/clients. Both are valid choices and each has its benefits and drawbacks depending on your organization type and the purpose of your video. In general, if a video is intended to promote a specific product or service, having a polished actor who can deliver all the specifications in a clear and relaxed manner is to your benefit. On the other hand, if a video is meant to showcase your organization or a larger project in more general way, featuring people who are involved in the day-to-day may be preferable.

Benefits of working with actors:

  • Actors are trained professionals; they are comfortable in front of the camera and are able to deliver your message in a variety of styles, allowing you to choose which take suits your organization’s image best.
  • Hiring actors for your promotional video can make the shoot go much more quickly and smoothly than using non-actors.

Potential Drawbacks

  • Using professional actors adds a layer of complexity and cost to a video shoot – the process of casting itself can be long and frustrating if you’ve never done it before. There is a reason that almost every movie you’ve seen in your life has had a casting director – it takes skill and practice to recognize an actor who is good at cold reading and one who can bring what you’re looking for. (More on Casting in an upcoming post!)

Benefits of featuring your actual team:

  • There is no better recommendation for a product, business, or event than genuine passion and enthusiasm from someone associated with it.  People involved in your organization can share specific anecdotes about your work and institutional culture.
  • Featuring actual staff and/or clients allows for your personality to shine through and ensures your new video attracts the right people to your organization.
  • If your organization or group interacts directly with the public (health/wellness clinic, specialty retail outlet, community art centre, etc.), a video featuring the people with whom future clients will be interacting helps them connect more quickly once they’ve begun working with you.

Potential Drawbacks

  • The camera changes people. Even the most outgoing and gregarious people can feel self-conscious and awkward in front of a camera. (Coming next week, our post on preparing your team for a video shoot.)
  • Adjusting performance can be difficult. For non-actors, making changes to line delivery can be nearly impossible – if a team member is new to your organization, or doesn’t have a strong, visible passion for the work you are doing, it is probably best if they don’t appear in your video.

Here at Caulfield-White we can work to help you decide which option is best for you. One thing we do suggest is to float the idea of a video with your team – are they excited? Nervous? Uninterested? Your team’s attitude towards the video will be a major factor in the success (or failure) of your video. Not sure if a video is right for you, right now. Contact us and we’ll be happy to provide guidance on the most appropriate use of video for your organization.