Getting Great Performances from Non-Professionals – Part 1: Preparation
At 121Box, we’re more likely to deliver your message by having a real person share what they know than through computer generated images, powerful music and scripted settings.
Although our approach is simple and cost-effective, getting credible and persuasive performances from non-professionals is a skill that requires planning, consideration, and strong powers of observation. Below are some tips for how we get the most from your in-house talent. We present this in a three-part series, covering preparation, filming, and post-production.
Working with company spokespersons, thought-leaders, and entrepreneurs offers tremendous advantages. Most importantly, these people know what they’re talking about, and can speak with tremendous authority and expertise about the products and services they create and sell. However, while they may do this every day, they are not always accustomed to or comfortable doing it on camera.
In planning a shoot with a non-professional presenter, make sure you are indeed choosing someone who knows how to speak about the product or service, either because they created it, sell it, or are deeply invested in its success. Otherwise, you cannot hope to ensure a persuasive performance.
The degree of camera-savvy or media training is bound to vary among non-professional presenters, and an executive who is used to being successful in other arenas may still be very self-conscious about their performance on camera. However, you can begin with the assumption that they’ve had success in presenting to groups or individuals, or even just talking to colleagues, and have found a way of presenting that works for them. It’s important to think in terms of this comfort zone, rather than come with a set idea of how their on-camera performance needs to be.
They themselves may also bring a notion of how their on-camera performance needs to be, and not appreciate the value and authenticity of how they present in less formal circumstances. But unless they are truly blessed with ability to present the way a professional does, and still appear authentic, they, and you, will do much better to get them speaking in the way they do when they are, say, talking about the product to their best friend or spouse. In our next post, we’ll tell you how to get them there during filming.
In the meantime, if you have occasion to speak to your non-professional presenter before the shoot, tell them there is no need to do much preparation and that the filming will be conducted like a conversation. Given that the person knows and is used to speaking about the product every day, they should not have a problem knowing what to say. However, you yourself should gather as much information as you possibly can about the product or service and print up your notes so that you can talk intelligently about it during the shoot and allow your presenter to relax in the knowledge that the video is covering all of the crucial selling points.