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Should you hire talent for your production?

A common discussion topic that often comes up during a preliminary meeting with a client centers around the decision to hire talent for production or simply use in-house employees/volunteers. This is especially true for our clients that are diving into the world of video marketing for the first time. We help our clients figure out what will work best for them based on 3 factors:

  1. Budget

  2. Availability

  3. Intangibles

Maybe these will also help you figure out what will work best on your next production!


I. Budget

Video production can be a significant investment for a business or organization. And you may be tempted to use your people as the cast to cut costs. Depending on the demands required of the onscreen talent, you may be right.

For larger union jobs, there are industry standards associated with talent fees that are often dependent on ad spend for the campaign. When working with larger talent agencies, the first thing they will ask us is "what is the budget for the production and what's the ad spend for the campaign?". The benefit of the larger investment usually means having a larger pool of skilled creatives to choose from and increased schedule flexibility (see Availability below).

For smaller/regional projects, we have a great relationship with local talent agencies (looking at you PAMA) and other independent creatives to fill out casting needs. For some clients, the best option involves a mix of local hired talent as the main onscreen character with volunteers populating background roles.

If you decide to only use volunteers for your production, we do recommend a budget for craft services and maybe a small "thank-you" gift card for each volunteer. We've also been known to send a little Venmo $ to parents who may need to grab a babysitter.


Working with Volunteers: Example 1


II. Availability

Another consideration beyond budget that needs to be considered is the time commitment and the scheduling challenges of production.

  • For a business, are we filming during normal business hours? Do employees have the bandwidth to step away from their normal duties to be on set? The answers to these questions can go along way in determining how to handle casting needs.

  • For many non-profits, using volunteers means production must be scheduled after-hours or on weekends to accommodate the volunteer's personal schedule.

  • Does production require exterior shots dependent on certain weather conditions? Having talent with flexibility may take priority.


Working with Volunteers: Example 2


III. Intangibles

We saved the best for last! In our opinion, the most critical factor in making this decision lives in the gray area of intangibles. We have some corporate clients that are adamant about using "their people" during production. They'll sacrifice execution for the energy it breathes into the organization. It creates community and gives their people a feeling of ownership within the campaign. Production days are usually fun and lighthearted and although we are serious about our craft, we try to maintain a loose atmosphere so our talent doesn't get intimidated by the process.

That less polished, fun-loving vibe works for some projects. However, when a message has been crafted down to every syllable and each frame of a cut has been measured, it pays off big time to hire good talent. A professional actor can give you great range of emotion while repeatedly hitting their marks. This level of collaboration with a good crew creates a cinematic feel that only comes with high-end productions.

Budgets and schedules can be navigated, but the vibe and tone of your final product has a direct link to the talent being used on set. Nail this part and the logistics will fall into place.


Working with Volunteers: Example 3


We hope this gives you a better understanding of who should be the face of your next video project. Feel free to reach out to our team for any questions you may have about video production or video marketing. We would love to help!


To watch the full video from the examples above, click the image below:


To see an example of our work with hiring local talent, click on the image below:

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