Sometimes clients are unsure whether they’d like to use employees or actors for a project. At Key West Video, we’ve successfully used both. Which way you got depends on some key variables. This blog will help you assess your options. What are the factors to consider when deciding on employees vs. actors?
The Cost of Actor vs. Employee
Money is usually the first consideration when it comes to the employees vs. actors casting question. Hiring an actor has an associated cost, roughly $500 per day depending on union affiliation. If the rest of your production will suffer to cover this cost, it may not be the best choice. Think about what you’ll have to give up if you hire actors, or what you could get instead if you go with employees.
Consider the Role
Do you know how you can see an actor in a bunch of different roles and every character is believable? How they make acting look easy? Well, that’s their job. Sometimes a role calls for an actor. When it comes to employees vs. actors, scrutinize the role. Are you asking an employee to do something they perform as part of their job on-camera? Or are you asking an employee to step outside their comfort zone in an unfamiliar setting? If you’re talking about recreation jobs and you ask your aerobics instructor to teach a class on-camera, that makes perfect sense. But if you ask that same person to portray a guidance counselor in a scripted scene? That’s a whole different level of performance. It’s hard enough for many people to feel comfortable in front of a camera. But to also ask them to read lines and become someone else? That’s the definition of acting, best left to an actor.
The Clock is Ticking
Speaking of being comfortable on-camera, time is of the essence on set. What may take an actor an hour could take an employee several hours. Actors are trained to be comfortable in front of the camera. They also have experience memorizing lines and reading from teleprompters. Presumably, an employee doesn’t have experience doing any of these things. Even the most charismatic person can fall flat or freeze up in front of the camera. A non-actor can also come off as stiff and unconvincing. The person chosen to be in the video is representing your business and you want that to be a positive association for the viewer. You also don’t want to save money using employees vs. actors, only to then spend that savings paying for extra time on set and in the edit suite.
Product and Business Knowledge
In the great debate of employees vs. actors, employees have the edge when it comes to first-hand experience. If you need someone to explain and use your product on-camera, an employee may be the best option. This person is familiar with the product and will likely come off as comfortable and knowledgeable on-camera. When a non-actor is engaged with a familiar task or talking about a product or service they know well, they can be relaxed and engaging. An employee’s passion for their work will come through on-camera.
Casting for a Look
Choosing an actor is starting from a blank slate. You can tailor that person to represent your company in whatever way you feel is important. For example, if you want more diversity in your workforce, you can cast actors in a recruitment video who mirror the applicants you want to attract. Or if you’re targetting a young, hip audience, you can cast an actor that fits the demographic. Employees vs. actors may come down to the person you want to see in your video.
Employees vs. Actors Final Words
In the end, employees vs. actors really depend on the goal of your video. A corporate culture video should feature the people who work for your company, doing their job and talking about the workplace. A product promotion may play better with a professional actor who can really emote on camera and give the best impression of your business.
The Key West Video producers can help you decide what will work best for your video: employee or actor. If you choose to go the actor route, casting is one of the services we provide. Call us today to talk about the best way to use video to promote your business.
This blog was originally posted in 2013 and has been updated for accuracy.