How to Hire Actors for Your Marketing Videos

 

Ever seen a movie that had poor acting? Kinda takes away from the experience right?

Do you really want that for your video? Mmm, I don’t think so.

How to hire actors for your marketing videos.

Now I’m not talking top level talent here, we just want someone with a little experience.

They’re professional for a reason, they like to be in front of a camera. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a gregarious person completely crumble on camera.

It turns people, man, I tell ya!

So whether you’re looking to hire an actor for an in-person shoot or a voice-over, use this article as a guide.

It will make the process easy and keep you within budget for your marketing videos.

Quick note before we get started: I use the word "talent" when referring to actors or actresses.

Yippie yea, let’s do this...

The Target Profile

Let’s start with your target profile, answer these questions about your ideal customer (or someone your ideal customer would aspire to be):

  • how old?
  • where are they from?
  • what’s their ethnicity?
  • tall or short?
  • what do they do for work?
  • what do they do for fun?
  • why are they using your product?
  • what issues do they have?
  • what makes them happy?

The more specific you can get, the easier it will be to hire and communicate your vision with the talent. You’ll be using some of this information for the job posting.

The job posting that may offend you.

I’ve used these sites to hire in-person talent: SF Casting and Craigslist.

Surprisingly, Craigslist has been the best resource for me. 

You’ll want to be direct in your job posting and no fluff.

Here’s a sample post:

Subject:
Actor needed for corporate demo video in San Francisco

Body:
Our client has developed a mobile APP that helps people communicate with Doctors. We are looking for an African American male, age 22-29, that can pull off a hipster vibe.

Video shoot is 2/20, 8 hours of work. Pay is $100.

Please send headshots and your availability for this weekend. Must live in the SF Bay Area.

Thanks!

Quick tip: once you’ve chosen your best candidates based on headshots, start scheduling phone calls. I always schedule at odd times to test their reliability. Like, ask them to call you at 12:25, not 12:30.

Once you’ve made your decision, send them the schedule. It’s also a good idea to have a few friends on the back burner the day of the shoot, just in case.

Finding Your Voice.

No, I’m not talking about YOUR voice. Selfish.

I’m talking about voice-over talent for your video.

Here are some resources I’ve used:

Craigslist and Voices.com

Think about your target profile and how they would sound. Research other videos and pay attention to the voice-overs. What do you like? What do you not like?

Then post the job with the direct approach mentioned above.

Some voice-over artists will offer a free script read, if not, ask for one.

They will ask if you want edited deliverables (giving the voice some warmth and depth), I suggest leaving this task for the video production company. They will know how to warm up a vocal.

Be specific with the artist about what you’re looking for:

  • Do you want them to have some attitude?
  • Should they talk slow? Fast?
  • Should they be really excited? Or more chill?

They will provide you with different reads and you can pick the best while editing. Editing is magic! Just make sure there is a good take for every line.

Let’s wrap it up...

Budget for actors, it will make your videos more effective and authentic. It’s worth it.

Be specific. Know what you want. Use Craigslist.

And voila! That’s hiring talent.

Have you had any wacky experiences hiring talent? I want to hear from you in the comments below.

 

Lance Miller

Level Set Films, San Francisco Bay Area

Lance Miller is a filmmaker and owner of Level Set Films, a video production company in the San Francisco Bay Area. He also teaches what he's learned about business on his site Freedom Everything.