Actors or Team Members in Your Video: The Pros and Cons

April 9, 2018

You may find yourself in this predicament: should I hire talent to be on screen for us or use our team members? This is no easy question so here are a few helpful questions and points to consider in your assessing.

Cost

So this one is somewhat obvious but should be accessed nonetheless. Usually your team members will be less expensive but that is not always the case. We have had clients of ours at Waves Media that would have had to pay thousands of dollars to get remote team members in for a shoot. This is most often not the case however as your team may be local and already on payroll.

A couple points you may not have considered though are:

  1. Will actors be more efficient in delivery thus saving money in production time.
  2. Actors will more than likely be able to deliver quicker and don’t usually charge for practice (ahead of the shoot) whereas employees may.
  3. Team members could be doing something else during production time instead of eating up company time for a shoot.

Branding

Professional actors will more than likely be able to get you an authentic feel (but not always). And this is important. Team members may or may not be able to as well. They could deal with nerves and try to overcompensate their lack of time-on-camera experience with either a too-low or too high energy level.

However your team is probably seen and known as actual members of your company (particularly when your brand is smaller) and this may garner you an affection from viewers ‘money can’t buy’. Is there someone on your team with a real great presence on camera or a fun personality or unique style? Cash in on that — it creates a persona for your brand.

Style

Style or genre of your video is perhaps the biggest point to consider here. If you are creating a more dramatic role playing commercial or attempting humor your safest bet will be pros. They can deliver on the super important nuances film/video picks up on, the slightest face expressions, the timing needed, and the delivery energy. This is far more difficult that people realize. Even people with live theater experience often struggle delivering well for camera. It takes practice and skill for sure. Here’s a spot we did for American Well that definitely needed pros at the helm.

Amwell Behavioral Health from Waves Media on Vimeo.

But if your style is instead that of a conversational piece or something that may just require a teleprompter, consider your team members for all the benefits aforementioned. The subject may be so specific to their story that to have someone else tell it will ruin it and not even make sense. For instance here’s a piece we did with Toyota that only worked because it was told by people in the situation, as with most documentaries.

Toyota and the LA DOT Initiative from Waves Media on Vimeo.

Conclusion

So hopefully these few tips help aid your decision making process in pre-production for your next project. However, one final caveat would be to counsel your film crew and production team as well as any friends with experience. The input they may give is invaluable because more than likely they experienced the good and the bad before!