When it comes to casting your company’s next branding, product, testimonial or other video, it’s especially important to remember that the actors are the lifeblood of your story and your brand’s video marketing. No matter how great the script, how spectacular the set design or how cool the concept, if the actor fails, your message falls flat and your video fails. That’s why the casting process needs to go far beyond a beautiful headshot to reveal an actor’s true potential. How they perform, their ability to follow direction and the genuineness of their performance are a few of the key factors you should evaluate when choosing a great actor or building your cast.
Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the qualities to look for in the actors you hire for your next video.
- HeadshotsActor headshots should be natural, professional and lightly touched up for blemishes, discoloration or other imperfections. (Anything that on-set makeup would do). If headshots seem dated, completely over-edited or filtered, ask for more recent or unedited headshots. The last thing you want is to cast for a long-haired brunette, only to have the actress show up with a blonde pixie-cut!
- Personality The actors who win roles in your video should fit the personality and demographic that matches the viewers you’re reaching out to, also known as your target consumer. If the target market is moms between the ages of 30 and 40, you’ll want to cast within that range. The familiarity factor helps audiences bond with the actors, so they tend to inherently trust them and the messaging they represent.
- Versatility Choosing an actor that can play a wide range of types and characters keeps you in a safe space in case you decide to change the tone, delivery or brand personality of your video. An actor with terrific improvisation skills may be able to bring something to the table you haven’t thought of yet. Improv also helps if you come up with a better idea on the spot or want to try to have them read lines a few different ways. If an actor is stuck on a single note of a character, you risk your video feeling one-dimensional as well. Going with an actor who can deliver a multitude of different characteristics, moods, voices and feelings gives you options on shoot day.
- AuditionsHaving your actors read the script for the video they’re going out for is important for many reasons. For one, you need to see and feel what a certain direction sounds like for your brand. Sure, the actor may have a reel of characters that are similar to what you’re looking for, but your company and message is totally unique. If you have the time to get actual auditions—live or digital—it is imperative that you get the actor to read the script if possible. If the copy isn’t finalized yet, hand them the latest version so you get a good feel for what they can do.
Look for the “It Factor”
At the end of the day, you may love how great someone comes across in their headshot, but smart casting should involve testing your candidates to see how they fit into your script’s specific roles, as well as what they can bring to the table creatively. Fantastic headshots are a dime a dozen, but unless you are strictly casting for print, you’re best bet is to get all of your actors in a room to see how well they perform for the camera. Look beyond appearances, challenge them with different direction and see what comes out that can make your video a hit. In the process, you’ll discover many wonderful actor attributes—charisma, personality, clear pronunciation, accents and body language—that are sure to make the characters in your video truly come to life.