There’s something very powerful about videos that use “real” people, especially in the world of B2B. Whether it’s employees, clients, the off-the-cuff opinions of the man on the street—they can help make your marketing message more believable, relatable, and genuine. But there is a downside. While authentic, “real” people aren’t actors. And not all of our coworkers and customers are able to turn it on in front of the camera.
Here are five quick tips that can help get the best out of whomever you decide to put in your videos. Or at the very least ensure the process isn’t painful.
1. Bite-sized lines are best.
Established actors can struggle to memorize monologues, so it’s not fair to expect the marketing manager of an insurance company to impassionedly deliver several sentences over a few takes. Write in sound bites. Focus on capturing one thought or point and plan on putting it all together in the editing room.
2. Keep it real.
It’s surprising how hard it is to capture real people sounding real. The key is finding the right balance between scripting and prompting. Some people prefer full prose from start to finish. Others want a few talking points bulleted out to help keep them on track. Some like to write their lines themselves. There’s no right or wrong approach, just finding what works to help each individual sound as natural as possible on camera
3. Vet your talent whenever possible.
In many cases, this is a luxury. If you’re shooting a video case study featuring your happiest, most successful customer, you don’t really have much of a choice on who will do the talking. But when you do, it’s important to make sure they’re well-spoken and know their stuff before you get to the shoot. Preliminary phone or video interviews and live conversations prove priceless time and again.
4. Provide wardrobe advice.
In an ideal world, you’d have full wardrobe on the set and be able to handpick onscreen attire right down to their wristwatch. But in the real world, you’ll probably have to rely on your talent to bring their own clothes. Offer tips early (no bold patterns, no green with green screen, etc.) and be sure to differentiate your requests for a nice mix if you’re planning to have multiple people in front of the camera.
5. Be patient.
Days spent shooting video can be long and exhausting, and it’s possible for frustration to creep in between takes. Always remember that these people aren’t actors—oftentimes they didn’t even ask to be in the video—and it’s ultimately up to the people shooting to get the quality footage they need. Remaining extra positive and patient helps keep the talent comfortable, loose, and ultimately gets you where you need to be far quicker than if the room is tense.
Featuring real people in videos and campaigns can be one of the most impactful ways to reach your audience. But in order to be successful, you have to be sure that you’re playing to the strength of your talent: their story. By simplifying what’s asked of them and the overall production process behind the camera, you’re a lot more likely to get what you’re looking for in front of it.
Or, you know, you could just work with an agency experienced in getting the best out of amateur talent.