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

Testimonials Study Results and Gift Card Winner

The Results are in!

Two weeks ago I posted a study on effective testimonials and asked for your response on which of four testimonials you liked the best. If you want to read the original post click here. If you voted in the study, thank you so much for contributing! I asked voters to rank a testimonial on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the best) on how likely they are to work with the company who the testimonial was for. Without further delay, here are the results, which might surprise you. They surprised me for sure!

Company A (Average vote 5.7)

“I probably spoke to about 5 different companies before deciding on Company A. It’s challenging finding skilled reliable people to do this service so I wanted to be confident that I found the right team. As expected, they delivered everything I was looking for and on time. We definitely plan on using them again in the future!”

– Happy Customer

Company B (Average vote 6.35)

 

 

 

 

Company C (Average Vote 6.8)

“Company C took on the task of pulling together a product for an upcoming event and did it with integrity. When (my) travel plans got messed up, they readily took over the whole process for me. My clients gave very positive feedback from their experience talking with them and I saw the same too as we talked through our plans. The resulting product was something we were all proud of. I’ll hire Company C again next time I need similar services, I didn’t have to worry about a thing through the whole process.”

– Happy Customer

Company D (Average 7.2)

Company D did an amazing job bringing to life my vision for the product.  Company D and their team carefully listened to my ideas and gently suggested alternatives.  They was very responsive to alterations and patient during the creation process.  The synergy created a fantastic and powerful product that exceeded my original vision.  I highly recommend that you consider working with Company D on your next project.

-Happy Customer

Here are the results for the overall top pick:

  1. Company D
  2. Company B
  3. Company C
  4. Company A

My Takeaway?

In all honesty I expected the video testimonial to win the overall top choice. It almost did, but Company D and Company B were one vote away from a tie in the overall top choice. By the way, I didn’t vote in this study. So what did I learn? Well something I have heard many times before, content is king. Whether your content is presented in video or text form, what is being said and how it is said matters. Also, the structure of the testimony seems to matter as well (see company D).  Here is my short analysis of each of the testimonials and why I think they placed where they did.

  • Company A: The testimonial spoke of Company A being selected against 5 competitors. Also, they delivered on time and the customer plans on using them again.
    • The first part of the testimonial talks about the client talking with 5 companies before deciding on Company A. However, the process of working with Company A and the client’s desire to work with them in the future is last.
  • Company B: The client spoke about their favorite part being working together with the company. Also, they loved the end product.
    • The process of working with the company is at the forefront and the end product is at the very last portion of the video.  It is interesting to me that Company B & C both mention the process first and both scored higher than Company A, which mentioned the process last.
  • Company C: The company delivered even when things didn’t work out as planned on the client’s side of things. The client’s customers were pleased with the process, they were proud of the end product and the client will hire them again.
    • The process of working with the company is mentioned at the beginning of the testimony, then the problem that was solved followed by the client’s customer’s response and finally the client’s satisfaction with the end result. It is interesting to me that Company B & C both mention the process first and both scored higher than Company A, which mentioned the process last.
  • Company D: The testimonial spoke of the product exceeding their original vision and the recommendation of the company came at the end. By the way, it had a spelling/grammatical error as well.
    • The interesting thing here is that this testimonial is the only one were the product is mentioned from the start. The process is described in detail (carefully listening, gently suggesting alternatives, being patient with the client and the resulting synergy that yielded a product better than they had envisioned). It is interesting that on all the other testimonials the product was at the end of the testimonials. This might be something to look at.

I saved the best for last…

The winner of the $25 starbucks gift card is (drumroll): Brian P. from Colorado!

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