How to Direct Non-Actors in Your Corporate Videos

Have you ever thought what is the biggest culprit that usually eats up most of your time when shooting a corporate video for a client? The odds are, it’s your client himself and particularly his/her lack of experience when performing in front of the camera. Even though this type of behaviour is something that you as professional should expect in 99.9% of the time on those occasions, you still need to find an effective workflow to tackle the issue. The following tips provided by Wistia’s blog will show you how to build on-camera confidence in non-actors and help them deliver their best takes.


Click on the above image and follow the link to the Wistia’s blog if you want to see the video.

If you really want to get the best performance out of your talents, prepare the script by breaking up the longer paragraphs into shorter pieces of two to three sentences at the most. That way, it’ll be a lot easier for your client to memorise those lines, hence feeling more comfortable and less anxious while performing in front of the camera.

Another tip is to have your talent read the script out loud beforehand while giving them your honest, helpful feedback as a director. It’s also important to pay close attention to aspects such as energy level, line readings, and pronunciation, and let your subject know what you’re looking for in an honest, clear way. Bear in mind that it’ll be much difficult for him/her to follow your directions once the camera starts rolling.


Remember that you are the main person responsible for the performance of your talent, so always make multiple takes and give your directions along the line before you get the best possible performance. Don’t be afraid to be critical of things like inflection and emotion, but try to stay positive and relaxed at the same time. Keep in mind, that as a professional your mood could have a direct impact on the emotional state of your talent, so it’s paramount to be very cautious in that regard.

Just try to find the optimal balance between being critical and encouraging on set, and make the best to keep the talent as comfortable as possible. Meanwhile, there are many other small tips and tricks that you can utilise to improve the performance of your interviewee. For instance, get everyone out of the room except for you and the talent and keep the room at a nice cool temperature. Remove unnecessary gear, schedule extra time and keep the energy on set light and upbeat.

Utilising a teleprompter might also help, but only to a certain degree. As a rule, you’ll get more authentic and natural performance out of your talent when the script is memorized, but if you don’t have enough time, or your client just don’t feel comfortable enough by using this approach, you can still through a teleprompter in front of the lens. Other tricks such as “Rip take” and “One more for safety” might also help, but if you want to learn more about the latter techniques head over to Wistia’s website where you’ll find the full in-depth article on the topic.

[via: Wistia]

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