This is a guest post by Robert Stephens who is president of our strategic partner Eleven 22 Entertainment and a long time veteran of video and film production. He can be reached at email@example.com
In the world of video production, talent doesn’t just refer to your ability to be creative and produce high quality work. It also refers to on-camera talent…or the more common terms actors and models. I have produced dozens of marketing videos for the resort and hospitality industry, and whether or not to hire on-camera talent is always a big issue for a client. Good actors and models can be expensive and increase the overall budget. So what do you do? My clients have taken one of three approaches:
Option #1: Don’t hire professional talent and don’t help the production company line anyone up. This doesn’t sound like a very good idea, and most people probably can’t imagine this ever being the scenario. But I can’t tell you how many times it’s been done to me as a video producer. In fact, I’m getting sick to my stomach now just remembering those challenging productions as I write this. So what does the production company do when the resort doesn’t have the money or doesn’t want to spend the money for professional talent? The only thing they can do is hope to find people once they get on location. But this is problematic for many reasons. People have spent a lot of money to get to that resort and the last thing they want is to have some video producer bothering them and asking if they’ll agree to appear in a marketing video and do it for free. Sometimes you get to the location, such as a remote beach early in the morning for that gorgeous sunrise shot, and there’s no one there. Worse, sometimes the only person there is a 250 pound man in a lime green speedo. You may laugh or think that’s highly unlikely, but it’s happened to me. I have the video to prove it.
Option #2: Don’t hire professional talent but instead ask employees, friends, and family members to appear in the video. You same big money by not paying anyone, but of course you owe them all favors for life. I have had mixed results with this approach. It’s obviously tons better than having no one at all. But many times a friend or family member doesn’t want to be in the video and it shows. They look awkward or nervous on camera and the end product suffers for it. But that’s not to say the video can’t be great. I’ve had just as many success stories with this approach to on-camera talent. Quite often, your friends will harbor a long-time desire to be actors. Or maybe they just think it will be fun. They have a great time taking the day off to work with the video production company. Let’s face it, playing around with cameras and lights in a beautiful location beats being in the office any day of the week.
Option #3: Hire the best actors or models you can find. This is always the best option if your budget can afford it. Good actors know what works for the camera and they bring the scene alive. This also makes it so much easier for the video production company to just concentrate on making the shot look fantastic and not worry about coaxing a half-way decent performance out of a nervous performer. I’ve produced resort marketing videos for clients who use all three approaches towards on camera talent for various projects. Sometimes they had the money for actors and sometimes they didn’t. But one thing is always the same. They prefer the ones with professional actors. And it’s not even close.
So remember, when producing a marketing video for your resort, play close attention to the on-camera talent. If your budget won’t allow actors, than do your video production company a huge favor and line good looking people up for them. Your final product will be that much better off.