Actors or Real People?

It All Depends on the Execution

When doing print ads, broadcast spots, web videos and nearly every kind of creative project that requires on-camera or in-studio talent, there’s one question our clients seem to ask every time— Can we use our actual employees / students / customers or should we use actors / models?

It’s a tricky one to answer—and really depends on the situation. Below you’ll find a few of the reasons for each.

  • For testimonials, it’s always best to use non-actors who can relate their personal stories. They add the air of realism (which is the whole point of a testimonial, right?) That being said, it’s also best not to give non-actors a script to read from. More than likely it will sound stilted and rehearsed, which defeats the whole purpose of using real people. Let your people speak from their hearts, off the top of their heads. They will not only feel more comfortable, but much more genuine as well.
  • When a script is involved, we always recommend using professional talent. There’s a reason they are able to make a living at what they do—they know how to bring a script to life with dramatic pauses, inflections and other tricks of the trade that non-actors just don’t have in their tool boxes. And you should never assume that just because one of your people is great at public speaking or giving interviews that he or she will be great on camera or in a voiceover. You just never know how people will perform once you hit the record button.
  • The same can be said of still photography. If you’re doing photos for a website, print ad or brochure, professional models are almost always the best option. Like professional actors, they are trained to deliver exactly what you’re looking for. They know how to work with the camera. They can take direction. They understand the process and don’t get nervous or frustrated with the job at hand.
  • Whether you’ve decided to use non-actors or actors, make sure to audition your talent first. You never know what you’ll get once they’re in front of the camera. Not all actors are good. And many non-actors are great at performing. By seeing how they do in front of camera or in the recording booth, you’re doing your due diligence to ensure you cast the best people for the job.

Do you have a video, broadcast, or print concept you need help producing? Quantum’s got the expertise to get it done. Contact us today and let’s get started.