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.