How To Cast Your Talent

Casting might sound simple in theory – don’t you just pick the person who’s going to best share your message? – but your choice of talent can actually make or break your film or video production. 

You want your audience to connect with your on-screen talent, don’t you? If yes, you need to ask yourself a few things. Can they communicate clearly in a short amount of time? Are they charismatic? Do they live and breathe my brand? There really is more to it than pulling a team member away from their desk for a few minutes of filming. 

What is casting? 

Casting is a very important step in the pre production process. Whether you’re creating a training course, a documentary or marketing material, who do you want to present your message? If you use an actor, will they be able to convey your message authentically? Experts might also be an option for your content, but what if they talk in a way that is too hard to understand? If you’re putting together a marketing video, perhaps you should cast a “real” person (disclaimer: we are not suggesting actors aren’t real), like a star employee. But what if they fudge their lines? 

See, we told you. There’s LOTS to consider so we’ve put together this episode of the Moonshine Moonshot series to help you understand how to cast your talent for your next video. 

Casting doesn’t always mean actors 

When you think about casting, your mind most likely goes to actors. And traditionally, you would cast actors for any type of scripted drama or feature film. But films and videos are no longer reserved for the glittering lights of Hollywood. Today, video is booming and everyone from Nike to Nissan is including them in their marketing toolkit. 

For sales and marketing content, a big trend right now is to cast real people who have used – and want to recommend – the product or service being promoted. Anyone who can enthusiastically share their experience and provide a glowing testimonial will always win over audiences. 

Other options include experts or influences, and if you’re preparing a video for your company, a charming member of staff might do the trick. Passionate employees often work well for online videos, particularly if they truly believe in your brand’s message. 

So how do you pick the right person for your video? First, you must ask yourself: who will my audience most relate to? In essence, the best choice will be determined by the message your sharing and who is best to share it 

Wait, what’s my message?  

Your message is what you want to tell your video viewers. If you’re struggling with your message, you can refer to our episode on strategic communications planning to really drill down on your key talking points. 

Once you’ve outlined your message, you need to identify who your messenger should be. If you’re not up to that step yet, then please take a look at this previous blog post titled: Who is the messenger? 

If you’re still with us, we’re going to assume that you’ve passed these steps and are ready to match your message with your messenger and reach your audience. 

Scripted films vs corporate videos 

A good level of acting is often needed to pull off a script. Actors are comfortable following directions, learning lines and conveying a range of emotions, but they can be costly too. Some important questions to ask yourself before hiring an actor is: 

  • Do they look the part? 
  • Does their delivery style reflect the brand message? 
  • Are they convincing? 

Good actors know how to deliver a scripted message clearly and powerfully, but if you don’t have the resources to prepare a script, an actor is unlikely to be worth the investment. Scripted content can often come across as in-authentic, especially if it’s being used for marketing purposes, rather than entertainment. We’ve all watched late night infomercials that feel over-rehearsed and corny. You roll your eyes and switch off before the sales pitch has even begun – which is not what you want your audience to do. 

This is why consumers can often be the best talent. When people speak in their own words about a product, service or brand, it can be very persuasive.  

Sometimes you’ll need to cast more than one talent 

A few years ago, we were approached by an architectural firm to produce a video for a school they had designed. The film’s purpose was to highlight how their design had reimagined the school’s learning environments, and we were involved in all stages of production –including selecting the most suitable on-screen talent. 

We had to think about if we wanted to put the architect, school principal, members of the school council, teachers, parents or even students in front of the camera.

To really capture our client’s message – thoughtful design in modern learning environments – we knew we needed to include a mix of voices. So we filmed with two architects (the experts), the principal (customer) and a few students (consumers). 

Their collective input worked together to illustrate the essence of the space in a well-crafted and engaging way. 

Final thoughts 

When thinking about how (and who) to cast your talent, it’s important to make sure that the person you chose is able to carry your message well and in a way that will generate the impact you’re looking for. 

We hope these tips and tricks help you when you’re working on your next video production. But for more insights, you can check out our video and podcast on this topic too. Just keep scrolling and you’ll find them! 

And please remember – we’re very happy to help answer your queries. So please, get in touch with any questions or leave your thoughts in the comment section below. 

Our goal is to WOW you with great tips that help you make great content. The world needs more great content. There’s no shortage of boring videos so avoid the pitfalls by learning how to make engaging videos that make an impact by following this series.
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Sue & Mike

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