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.

Lost at Sea, the value of planning

Always have a backup plan and consider the possible outcomes.

So why am I talking about this? Well, because I didn’t during a recent shoot and almost lost video footage and a camera. Let me bring you up to speed.

I was filming a documentary project in Scotland. The project required 2 weeks of filming in the magical land of kilted men, painted blue warriors and William Wallace (Braveheart is the movie if you want to learn more about him). We filmed 1 week in the Lowlands, primarily in Edinburgh and surrounding cities, and 1 week in the Highlands, the landscapes you see in Braveheart. Anyways, it was the second to last day of filming. We were on the island of Iona in Mull on a beach on the north end of the island (here is a link to view the beach https://goo.gl/maps/5kNhw1z8aYn). To make the best use of the time I set up a GoPro, that we had been using throughout the day to film B and C camera angles, to capture a timelapse of the tide coming in and eventually washing over the camera. Don’t worry, the camera was in a very waterproof case.

After setting up the GoPro I continued filming b-roll with the director, Colin Gunn. After about 5-10 minutes I turned back around to see that the gopro was gone. I looked frantically where I had put it and couldn’t find it. Thinking perhaps it had washed into the ever rising tide Colin and I waded out into the water and began searching through the waist and chest deep water to find it. After 45 minutes of wading, getting very wet, cold, offering silent prayers and Colin getting knocked over by a particularly vicious wave we gave up. Walking back to the primary camera which had been placed a very safe distance from the waves I looked down and saw the handle to the GoPro sticking out of the sand. Pulling it out of the sand I let loose a few yells and screams worthy of a war movie.

Lost GoPro

So why tell you this? In business and marketing you always need to have a backup plan for the important things from a physical backup of business files to an alternative ad idea in case the one you spent hours on isn’t well received by the target market. Also, consider what might happen if not everything goes according to plan. Basically do what I didn’t do, consider as many of the possible outcomes as you can, have a backup plan and don’t think that everything will go according to plan. Like I learned, almost the hard way, the sea does what it will no matter our plans.

Cheers, Corey
Provident Media Group
Creative video production is the new show and tell.
providentmediagroup.com

The Power of Video Testimonials

Video testimonials are a powerful tool for your marketing arsenal.

Whether you live here in Denver, CO or elsewhere, you have probably heard the above statement before. But I want to show you some evidence for why video, video production and especially video testimonials are a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. I have four points to illustrate this, so let’s get started.

  • First, lets start with video in general. According to the Social Science Research Network, 65% of people are visual learners, 30% learn by hearing and the remaining 5% learn by doing. So right off the bat video pretty much covers 95% of learning styles in that it combines visual and audible learning.
  • Second, lets address testimonials in general. Entrepreneur.com posted an article by Derek Gehl, an internet marketing expert with years of experience, on how to effectively use testimonials. Derek laid out the three reasons why testimonials are so effective. Testimonials build trust, aren’t “salesy” and most importantly they overcome skepticism. You have probably heard the phrase “People will buy from those that they know, like and trust”. When you can overcome skepticism, build trust and do so in a way that doesn’t sound like a sales pitch, you will have a stronger relationship with your clients and customers.
  • Third, Kim Kardashian uses them. Ok, not exactly Kim, but the company that she, Brian Lee (co-founder of legalzoom.com and The Honest Company), Robert Shapiro (co-founder of legalzoom.com) and M. J. Eng launched in March of 2009 called ShoeDazzle. ShoeDazzle is a shoe delivery service that for only $39.95 per month ships high fashion shoes, bags and accessories to women monthly. ShoeDazzle solicited it’s most loyal customers via Facebook and email to submit a video about what surprised them the most about ShoeDazzle. The results were pretty incredible, with over 70,000 videos being viewed online, leading to 1,000 member sign-ups (FYI, that is a gross of $39,950) and their website traffic in the month of March following the campaign increased to 2.4 million monthly visitors compared to 956,000 only two months prior.  You can read more about this from the original article by Inc.com
  • Fourth, they just work. A personal recommendation from a current or past customer is extremely powerful. Watch the below video and you will see what I mean.

 

Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your reasons for using video testimonials and any other comments below!