On camera talent, spokesperson vs business owner

Alright, you have been saving up your pennies for a new video to promote your business.

You figured out when you need it, how you want it to look and where you want to film it. There is just one question left in your mind: who is going to be the on camera spokesperson? You, a friend or a professional spokesperson? Well, here is some advice to help you choose.

So what’s wrong with you being the on camera spokesperson? In a word, nothing! That is, if you are comfortable with doing it. You see, being on camera is very different that one might imagine; a camera is cold and emotionless and as the on camera talent you have to bring a level of energy and excitement to your performance that you will not expect or be used to. So be prepared to bring your A++ game on the day of filming because it will show if you do or don’t. The benefit of you being the on camera talent is you work for free and you know your business better than anyone. The downside is that unless you do a great job on camera the end result can look a little bleh….

Ok, you have a friend who is really outgoing, funny and the life of the party. That doesn’t mean that their personality will translate well on camera. What do I mean? As mentioned above, a camera is cold and emotionless and frankly, it can feel a little weird to sit or stand staring into a camera lens while reciting the script. The reason this matters is because most of the time extroverted people are great with other people because their emotional energy, jokes, stories, etc get a reaction. Cameras don’t react. In fact they mess with your head because reading a script in front of a camera it is like you just told a joke that bombed and no one knows what to do or how to transition out of it.

That said, if you know an actor, radio show host, etc who is a friend and not a friend who is or aspiring to be an actor, radio show host, etc, it can work very well and is cheaper than hiring a professional spokesperson.

Fast forward a little… you have now scheduled the video production company and are ready to hire a spokesperson for your video. What do you do? You look at their headshots, resumes and demo reel/audition tape and pick the look you prefer. A professional spokesperson isn’t cheap but you can usually secure a talented and professional actor for between $750-$1500 for half a day (at the time of this writing in the Denver Metro Area). Full day rates are more and generally are in the range of $1500-$3500 (depending on experience, type of shoot, etc). Are there any downsides to having your production company hire a spokesperson? Well, no, except for the cost. You know what you are going to get from them in the final product. You have seen them in their demo reel, perhaps watched an audition with a portion of their script and if they don’t perform, the production company has a path of recourse through the talent agency or agent for the spokesperson. Most of the times we have worked with professional on camera talent the desired result was achieved in the 1st or 2nd take, which makes a HUGE budget difference if your video involves complex camera setups, long one takes, greenscreen studio rental, etc. Also, they can take direction if the delivery isn’t quite right, their voice needs to be slightly higher or lower, etc.

So which would I recommend? A professional spokesperson.  Why not a friend? Because they don’t know what is required to succeed on camera. Your friend may have done some fun videos with family and friends, but filming with a full crew is a different animal. There will be a large fuzzy microphone hanging above their head the entire time, a camera with a teleprompter staring them in the face, crew members behind the camera watching monitors, you will be in the peripheral vision mouthing the script with them, basically it will be the weirdest experience they will ever have.

Now why can’t you do it? Well, please listen to the video production company you hire because they can tell which will be a better choice and will save you a lot of embarrassment and wasted money. They have done this so many times before and know what a person needs to look and sound good on camera. Spokespeople continually hone their craft, perfect their skill and receive honest criticism about what they need to change in order to improve. And that’s why they do so well on camera.

If you have any questions about your upcoming video production project, budgeting, choosing talent, etc please feel free to contact us. We are a Denver based video production company started in 2010 and have worked on all sorts of projects and would be happy to guide you through the video production process.

Pick any 2

Price, speed, quality, pick any 2. Huh?

I learned this adage from some friends of mine who work in the military and it applies to more areas of marketing than people are usually willing to admit. You see price, speed and quality can not exist within the same project, each of them can be excluded by the other two. You want that new marketing campaign to be high quality and lost cost? Well that will take a while to deliver. Oh, you need it in two weeks, then either cost or quality need to be adjusted. Ok, you’re on a specific budget, then quality must be adjusted.

So with that in mind what two should you advise your clients to choose? It depends, but here is something to consider next time to help you choose the best option.

Most sole entrepreneurs and business owners tend to allow cost to be the driving factor and that not necessarily a bad thing. You see cost is a great equalizer. Cost is what prevents me from being the first commercial passenger in space travel, but not from ordering chocolate from my favorite Italian chocolatier, Amedei. As marketers and advertisers we are concerned, and rightly so, with quality or effectiveness. Quality and effectiveness are the measure by which our marketing campaigns, brochures or videos are evaluated. How did it look, how did it perform, what was the conversion rate? But cost and quality aren’t exclusive, but they make speed pretty much unattainable. 

What if I told you that most of the time, your clients could have their cake and eat it too. They could receive effective high quality marketing campaigns/pieces and at a low price. This all hinges on 1 essential ingredient, planning. Planning is the reason why either a budget or a level of quality/effectiveness can’t be achieved. I have been contacted numerous times by potential clients asking for a video for a campaign and they need it ready to release asap and they only have x to spend (usually a low, but respectable budget). Now I do what I can to work with them, but most of the time, they find someone who can do it for really cheap and in 1 week.

Now it is confession time, I usually circle back to the clients website or check in via email to learn that 1 of 2 things happened. 1- the end result looks REALLY bad and/or isn’t effective (i.e. a waste of the limited budget they had to begin with) or 2 they never got the video finished (i.e. Failure), either they never started the project or the provider didn’t deliver a final piece.

Now if you find that is the case, don’t use that opportunity to say I told you so.

Instead, explain to them that next time they have a marketing need please contact me earlier than you think necessary (2-3 months before you want the project to go live) because I can deliver much higher quality than what you received at a lower cost when time isn’t as much of a factor. Why 2-3 months? Well most of the time I have found that their estimates of when they need to project to go live is way too late to be effective, so the 2-3 months earlier translates to 1-2 months to complete the project before the actual launch date and gives you as the marketer enough time (depending on the project) to deliver a high quality, cost effective piece that will blow your client’s mind. Are there cases when they have unrealistic goals? Yes, but educating your clients can often prevent or alleviate this.

So I leave you with this, never assume that your client has to choose which of the 3 ingredients to let fall by the wayside. The great equalizer isn’t cost, because with the right amount of planning any challenge can be met, assessed and conquered.

If you have any questions about your upcoming video production project, budgeting, choosing talent, etc please feel free to contact us. We are a Denver based video production company started in 2010 and have worked on all sorts of projects and would be happy to guide you through the video production process.

Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.

Wise words Dorothy.

Advertising and Marketing have changed and I was again reminded of that fact only a few days ago. So I was walking by the Colorado Convention Center on Stout in Denver after finishing filming a member spotlight video for BMA Colorado.  To my right is an Embassy suites and to my left is a parking garage with a rather large billboard (it covered almost 5 floors vertically and roughly 70-80 feet horizontally). Now the billboard wasn’t what surprised me, but rather what it was promoting. A video game, but not the latest flavor of Call of Duty or the new release of Fallout 4, no an iPhone game. However this particular game is FREE to download and play, but has in app purchases. The game is Boom Beach.

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Now on the surface this might not seem too unusual, but let me draw a 3 things to your attention.

First- Boom Beach is FREE. Granted the in app purchases and in game advertising are big money makers ($165,380 per day), but the actual game is free to play if you are patient enough to earn the needed resources to buy the upgraded weapons of war.

Second- This billboard is advertising a completely electronic product. So a completely electronic product is expanding its advertising arsenal to include a completely print based advertising route for gaining and retaining players. Granted this is nothing new, Microsoft has used billboards before and their main product, the Windows operating system, is entirely electronic and is now being delivered via automatic downloads to their customers. But Microsoft is an international brand that reported 93.6 billion in revenue in 2015 and 90.85% of computers use their product to work.

Third- The ad space surrounding the Boom Beach billboard advertised national brands like Chick-Fil-A. Also, the previous occupants of that exact billboard space were the American Thoracic Society (a non profit founded in 1905 that spent $720,000 on lobbying in 2015) and REI (a national sporting goods retailer founded 1938 with revenue of 2.2 Billion in 2014). So you have these two rather large ad spaces, previously held by a national retail chain earning billions of dollars per year and a non-profit that lobbies for and against bills on a national level, that is now occupied by a FREE iPhone game that you play while on break. Don’t wait for a punchline, because I don’t have one. Just wow.

 

Advertising and marketing are changing and have changed, not just in the number and type of channels but who is utilizing those channels. Do you have other examples? Post a comment below with your example or thoughts, I would love to hear from you!