Working with professional actors is one of the highlights of being a director. Actors bring a range of talents to a script, even when that script is nonfiction (the kind I direct). On a recent shoot with actors, I was reminded of some of the reasons I like working with pro talent. And also some of the distinctions it is easy to forget when working with nonprofessionals in front of the camera.

Nomenclature
One of the first differences between working with pro talent and non-actors is the words we use to communicate on set. If I’m working with actors, I can say “back to one” for going back to your first mark for action, or “let’s do a pickup” for repeating a line or phrase that had a hiccup. With non-professionals, we spend more time explaining actions we need, and often why we need them because we can’t use this short-hand. A great example would be explaining how we need both wide and tight angle coverage of the same action, which is why we shoot it multiple times. An actor knows this and will ask which lens or framing we’re on so they know what we’re looking at in our monitors.


Expectations
Good actors come to the set prepared to deliver their lines. If you are directing a scenario, they’ve already studied the setup and considered actions they might use to make the scene believable. If an actor is reading from a teleprompter, they will still usually request the script in advance so they are ready to read it without any stumbles. One of the problems I see so often with internal communications teams expecting a CEO or other executive to be able to read off a teleprompter easily is that this is a learned skill. Even if an executive does it multiple times a year for the quarterly report video, they don’t do it weekly or daily like a professional does. So they may need some coaching.

Selecting wardrobe is something pro talent expects to do on a shoot–it often comes as a surprise to non-actors.

Varying the timing or delivery of lines is something pro talent can do easily.

Consistency
Even when an actor is playing “background” and doesn’t have primary lines, they will be consistent in their actions. Maybe they pick up a coffee mug and take a sip during the scene. They will pick it up at the same point in the action every time, which ensures that we have matching action across multiple takes and camera angles for ease of editing. When you work with nonprofessionals and expect them to re-enact a scenario, even if it’s something they do every day for their job, they won’t be able to deliver this consistency. So plan accordingly and schedule additional time (at least 20% more time) for your shooting and editing.

Actors are an important part of our team as storytelling professionals. They can add depth, drama and professionalism to your next video. And if you need pointers for working with non-actors on camera, check out my book Real People on Camera from Routledge Press. It includes tips and strategies I’ve used over the years to get great “performances” from non-professionals in front of the lens.

It’s brand planning time! Photo by Unsplash.

“We should do more with our brand” is the lament of a lot of busy nonprofit, corporate and association communication professionals.  Here are three ways to boost your brand engagement this  year.

  1. Engage Stakeholders in Social It’s not enough to have staff schedule regular social media posts. Build ways for your donors, your customers, your board members to engage with your brand story. Give shout-outs to the people who help your organization deliver on its mission, and be sure to tag them. Give tutorials to members of your leadership team who might not be as comfortable with social on ways to engage across platforms. Send emails to board members with a link to your latest LinkedIn post and ask them to comment on it and share it to their channels. Every share expands your community and the impact of your brand.

 

  1. Ask Influencers to Share. The social tag is the modern equivalent of getting an autograph, but actually more useful for your brand. When one of my nonprofit clients gave a hospital tour to Justin Bieber (and encouraged him to tweet about it, which he did), they got 10,000 new followers in a matter of hours. Find out if any key personalities or well-connected board members are already known to your institution and encourage them to make a social mention or tag your organization. You can’t hit them up every time, so make thoughtful decisions about when it would be most important to have this extra amplification, such as before a major event or fundraiser.

 

  1. Create Platform-Friendly Content. If you want your content to be mobile- and web-friendly, make it a priority to upgrade your acquisition and output specs. For new video content, shoot in High Def, at a minimum of 1080p (29.97 frame rate, or 24fps which looks nicer in many cases and saves you some file space) but optimally at 4K for maximum flexibility and image quality. This larger acquisition size takes up more space, but storage is cheap. And you can easily make 1080p versions of content for web distribution. Whereas having your fabulous year-end video look dated and pixelated on your social channels when 5G is fully in place is an expensive mistake. For photos that you might want to re-purpose in videos, be sure you prioritize horizontal framing, not vertical. And if you want to post photos to IG, then you’ll need to collect vertically-framed scenes, too!

Merry Branding in this (relatively New ) Year!

You need to explain an issue, product or service to an audience through video. Where do you start? Begin with these three keys.

  1. Know Your Target Audience

When creating branded content, you naturally want to start with “what”. What work does our nonprofit do? What benefits does our association offer? What product or service does our company provide?  But starting with WHY is better. Asking Why We Do What We Do inevitably leads you to the people who benefit. Who are they? Why do they need what you offer? What impact are you making in their lives? My team and I guide clients to talk about “why” when we start developing a creative brief for any video. One of the very best “Why” videos I’ve ever seen is the Girl Effect. Just over a decade old, with more than 2.5 million views, this video is still making its point of Why girls matter (and by extension, why the work of www.girleffect.org is needed. Also note there is plenty of “data” presented, but all through clever motion graphics and a powerful cello score, with no boring voiceover. In fact, no narrator at all!

 

  1. Know the Viewing Environment

In years past, my production company’s videos for clients would often be shown on giant displays at large live events, and only later online. Today, snippets of our videos might be played on social platforms while extended play versions are screened at hybrid events, where they are viewed simultaneously by a live audience on a large screen and a remote audience on mobile devices, iPads, or desktops. And those virtual audiences might be listening on earbuds, headphones, or computer speakers. How we approach each project—from the visual design to the audio planning—must take into account these multiple viewing and audio environments.  Audio is particularly important to both engage the audience and ensure that the video can be understood well, even in a less than optimal viewing environment. This Pew Trusts Mobile Banking explainer is a great example of audio that connects the viewer to the content without overwhelming it, and motion graphics that also tell the story, so that it works on screens and sound systems both large and small.

 

  1. What Action Should Viewers Take?

Companies want you to click and buy. Nonprofits want you to get involved or write a check (or both). These goals require the right kind of crafting of the story and message, because causing behavior change is no easy task. As video creatives, we spend time in pre-production getting to understand what makes viewers care and take action, so we can choose among strategies to prompt action.  The four most common ways to promote action are: FOMO (fear of missing out), Freebie (creating indebtedness), Authority (trusted brand), Validation (testimonials of community members or influencers). In this #GALSNGEAR sizzle reel, we are using Authority of several trusted industry brands, Validation with soundbite testimonials, and a dash of FOMO to drive prospective #GALSNGEAR participants to the website (where they can sign up to get involved).

https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/602111635

https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/602111635

Whatever your explainer content, starting with Audience, Environment, and Action will help you craft a message, a creative plan, and a technical plan that delivers impact.

Photo: C. Morillo, Unsplash

Each year, my team has a project that begins something like this: “Yeah, we have photos/videos of that. But we don’t exactly know how to find them.”

We are all awash in content. Every time you hire an event photographer you end up with thousands of photos. Every time you produce a video, you end up with hundreds of minutes of interviews. But to adapt an old saying, if a chunk of content lives on your network and no one knows how to find it… Yeah, exactly. So kick off your New Year with this one resolution: plan for tagging and using metadata to help you find, create, and repurpose content.

Workflow Matters

Before you start shooting photos or videos for an event, make your metadata and folder plan. As you ingest and transfer material from in-house producers or outside vendors, how will you tag groupings of images? By day? By event? By content? (Hopefully all of the above.)

If you regularly hire event photographers, go the extra step by paying them to make selects. The images will be much fresher in their minds than yours. (Your brain will still be full of event details and other follow-ups you need to make.) You still want to purchase the raw images.  But having those selects handy – and asking for a batch converted group as smaller jpgs for social — will make your post-event promotions go much faster.

You also want to ask both photographers and videographers to tag their footage in a way that makes it easy for your team to use it later. If you don’t suggest the tags you want and need, trust me you will end up with drives with folders called “Day 1” “Day 2” “Day 3” etc.  So taking the time in pre-production to let your production teams know how you want cards ID’d will really help. And they’ll be happy to add more useful information such as “DallasINT_1” “DallasINT_2” for two days of interviews in Dallas.

For an event photographer, you could ask them to use a series like PLEN1, PLEN2, PLEN 3 for plenary speaker photos at a multi-day event.

If photos are being taken on cellphones, there are ways to both add to and access the metadata beyond those long strings of numbers and letters in the file name. This article offers some helpful tools for adding and finding phone metadata.

For photos or video that’s already been shot, you can also add metadata as you import it into your photo or video editing system. For example, in Premiere Pro, there are a number of built-in tools that let you harness the power of metadata. In fact, here’s a blog post with that very same name, explaining some of the steps!

So take a few moments this year to create a system for tagging content as you create it. And make this a cost-effective, creative and Happy New Year!

Interviewing with masks on is a real challenge–especially in a warehouse!

For all of us, it’s been a challenging 20 months. But I’m so thankful for intersecting with so many wonderful people, causes and communities through my work. I thought I’d take a moment here to shout them out.

CREATIVE PARTNERS

In the storytelling business, clients are not so much customers as partners. I’ve been lucky to create content with wonderful teams telling important stories. Generate Impact (@MikeForster @BrianGreenwald) Jewish Federations of North America (@AlexandraCoffey) National Association of Chemical Distributors (@AileenSmith @LucindaShofer). The LuminarAI team at Skylum Software (@DougDaulton @RichardHarrrington) . US-Japan Bridging Foundation (@TomMasonJr @LaraMones). I was also privileged to work with team Interface Media Group (@AdamHurst @TimLorenz @JordanaWell and more) to create a hybrid event for a foundation and a virtual event for an environmental impact organization.

PRODUCTION TEAM PARTNERS

A special shout out to video editors @CarolineAllnutt @AbbeyFarkas and @LukeBlackburn, who have made my ideas look good and thankfully have added many more great ideas of their own. And to shooter/editor/associate producer @David Godbout, who kept me sane through some challenging projects. To producer @AmyJohanson for saying yes when she should probably have said no. To @JaySchlossberg

Collaborating on an edit in person, even with a mask, is the best!

Media Central and his always excellent crews wherever we travel to film. To @ZuryHammond for making social media happen. And to @ChrisNoble and the team at Noble Transcription Services—hooray for human transcribers! Thanks to the team at Otthouse Audio for making our sound mixes rock, whether for live or remote content. I can’t wait to work with all of you again soon.

Finally got back on the road for this shoot, which was great.

TRAINING PARTNERS

Helping others tell a better story has always helped me be a better director/producer myself. I’ve been privileged to present at multiple conferences with the team Future Media Conferences. And to work on many LinkedInLearning courses with @RachelLongman at the team at RHED Pixel, where I tape and produce my classes. I’m also grateful to my publishing team Routledge Press for helping me bring forth yet another book this past year. And to my co-author @CherylOttenritter, who is also the world’s best sound mixer!

Putting together my latest LinkedIn Learning course, with Covid-19 spacing and masking.

GALSNGEAR

Back in 2016 I had a crazy idea while walking into the ladies room with no line (!) at an industry event to get more women there, and diverse women, and to amplify their work its stages. That’s grown into our #GALSNGEAR movement to empower women in media and tech, and last year we launched a Leadership Accelerator to get more women upskilled for whatever kind of leadership journeys they want. We are buoyed by the volunteer hours, financial support and just sheer resolve in the face of obstacles of so many. We’re grateful to our colleagues at NAB and NAB Show (@DonnaPage @JonathanToomey @MichelleKelly @JessicaCurtis @RachelleMuckle), at DELL (@CindyOlivo @MollyConnelly), Blackmagic Design

Check out our new #GALSNGEAR Career Accelerator for women in media/tech December 15-16 https://linktr.ee/galsngear

(@TerryFrechette), Platform Communications (@GayBell), our core team @DanildaMartinez @ESamanthaCheng @KimberlySkyrme @AdryennAshley @EllynMcKay @SusanBorke), new friends @FrancesIlla and @IsabelMcLane, and old friends and colleagues at Women in Film and Video @wifvdc . You are all amazing women and men making our industry just a little bit better every day.

FAMILY AND MORE

Of course you can’t be an entrepreneur without being grateful to your family for putting up with your crazy hours, distracted moments, and random shouts of joy. Thanks, guys, you know I love you.

Last but not least, I’m thankful to you readers, whether you’re a regular” at my blog or just stumbled here. It’s great to share ideas with you. Have a wonderful giving season, and if you’re in the states, a great Thanksgiving holiday!

 

Photo by Stem List for Unsplash

Have you heard the new buzzword? It’s Hybrid events. And yet, hybrid experiences have been around for more than 100 years.   Now we have new tools to add impact and engagement.

So no need to panic. Let’s break it down into what works.

What’s Old is New Again

My grandfather was a great lover of baseball. In his youth, if he was very lucky and could get away from work, he would attend a game or two at the old Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Then, in 1947, the transistor radio was born. Now, he could listen from work or home—I can just picture him with the one earbud and a fist pump on a great play–while he packed boxes at his day job at the American Bible Society.  So baseball became a “hybrid” event—one that people could experience both live in the stadium and somewhere far away, hearing the play-by-play.  In fact, many people began bringing their transistor radios to the games, because they liked both watching the game live and hearing the lively commentary from the radio. Today we call this “second screen engagement” during live events—see next paragraph for details!

Help Remote Audiences to Stay Tuned In

The biggest challenge of both remote and live audience engagement is distraction. Remote audiences aren’t in the room or stadium. They have dogs barking, kids needing attention, emails to write. So for a remote audience experience to equal that of a live audience, you must work harder to keep them focused. But live audiences also have mobile phones to distract them. So why not use them? Some of the best ways to engage are with live-polling—tools like Sli.do and Mentimeter let speakers take the pulse of audiences both in the room and those joining remotely.

But not every speaker knows how to use these tools. So added speaker training and prep is incumbent upon hybrid event planners to be sure their presenters have a plan for engaging both live and remote audiences effectively.

Another strategy for better audience engagement is to keep speeches short and instead use Q&A opportunities with a host moderating. Having an experienced host interview a major headliner, rather than having that person deliver a keynote, keeps the audience engaged and feeling like they are participating. Pro hosts can also integrate questions from both your live and remote audiences (who can submit via your event platform app). Both sets of questions can be fed to a monitor on stage, thus putting the remote and live audience on equal footing.

Anchor Your Event in the Live Experience

The primary impact of any in-person event, whether it is a conference, a concert or a sports event, is that live in-the-moment experience. Even from the nosebleed seats, live participants feel that vibe of sharing with other humans in a common space. Very few online events were able to capture this energy during the pandemic because there was no live audience. The ones that did focused on these key areas: presenters who were lively, video content that was brief, and opportunities to acknowledge audience members through live chat, live polling, and post-event networking. So whatever you design, be sure that home audiences feel energized by your in-the-room experience.

Use New Ways to Engage

Sports continues to be a groundbreaking area for hybrid events and fan engagement. The NBA has embraced VR as a way for fans to be right inside the game, experiencing plays from new angles. And if you don’t have the budget of the NBA, you can host your event on 3D platforms like All Seated or Moot Up. These virtual spaces allow remote users to “walk through” spaces and meet with people, just as they would at a live event. They can join others who are connecting live.

Ask One Key Question

When building a hybrid event, there is really just one question you need to ask: what story are we telling? Whether your audience is live or remote, they will need to connect with that story.  So before you book speakers or start worrying about live-polling, consider these storytelling questions:

  • What is the story we want our audience to know after they’ve attended our event?
  • Who is the best at telling our story?
  • Are there any communities we are leaving out of our story? If so, how can we be sure they feel included?

This last question is critical. Today, AI-enabled captioning via companies like Rev.com offer live captioning for Zoom, for example, so that virtual audiences with hearing challenges can still engage with your content. But you may also want to engage a sign language interpreter to be live on screen during your event.

Whatever you do, be sure that you are creating a cohesive story that gives all audiences—whether at home or in the room–a reason to learn and connect with your brand story.

For more ideas on how to generate exciting hybrid events, check out my webinar on July 27 at 2pm ET: Hybrid Events People Actually Want to Attend: How to Craft a Compelling Experience that Engages Live and Virtual Audiences’ with Michael Hoffman, CEO of Gather Voices. Attendees are eligible for 1 CAE credit! Get your seat today!

 

 

Photo by Unsplash

If you’ve been creating content for virtual meetings and events this year, then you know that you need to maximize the impact and longevity of your content, even after the meeting. In this blog post, I’ll talk about how to plan engaging content that helps you maximize impact, amp up your next virtual or live event, and ensures audiences engage with your brand even after your event is over.

  1. Ensure Video Content Fits into a (Virtual) Event Story Arc

So many times we create content for the wrong reasons. Maybe “Cherie needs to be in the video” because she’s an important stakeholder in the organization. Or a particular sponsor needs to be featured. But how do you connect these stories to the story you are telling in your event? Each event needs its own story arc, a narrative that you want attendees to come away with once the video cameras are off. So as you build your virtual content, ask these questions:

How do the various videos we want to share fit into our overall story?

Is there a way we can make them fit better?

Can we break longer videos up into smaller portions –“snackables” — to tell our story on social before and after our event?

It’s important to map that out, and find appropriate places for different narratives that feed into your larger story.  If something doesn’t fit, you might need to find an alternative. For example, often sponsors have multiple videos they’ve created about their products or services. Perhaps one fits better than others with your target attendees. Sometimes I’ve even been able to get sponsors to create a more customized version just for us. This way, attendees don’t feel like that content doesn’t fit with our bigger story. And anyone viewing your event afterwards online will also find a cohesive message.

  1. Engage Audiences as Communities Post-Event

Sometimes you need to deliver different content to different communities in different ways. That means planning ahead to create multiple versions of some videos you want to feature at your event. For example, you might share a 1-minute version of a member story for an association event, but then post-event, share the full 4-minute video. And post-event, what opportunities are you offering participants to engage with one another to share the impact and continue important conversations? Perhaps you create an event alumni Facebook group. Or invite attendees to join a monthly Zoom chat which you can kick off with a new impact story, to jumpstart the conversation. Or perhaps you want to engage your community post-event in some important policy action through an email campaign that contains links to several different content strands. Audience members are people, and your event is just one touch point to build a sense of shared purpose and continued connection.

  1. File Formats Best Practices for Video

If you are producing a hybrid or virtual event, you’ll likely have a number of different content elements to bring into your delivery platform, then share again afterwards. Most platforms are still only streaming at fairly low bandwidth depending on your subscription level, so don’t overwhelm the system by trying to play back 4K video. You could end up with audio out of sync and heavy digital drag.  If you have high resolution assets, make lower resolution compressions and test them in advance on your platform. Typically, 1080p mp4 files compressed for Vimeo or YouTube spec will play back just fine.

If you have speakers who will be sharing videos, be sure they play back these sources natively from their presentation computer (and whoever is hosting that session should also have a backup copy on their desktop.)  And don’t wait until your event to find out how they will look. Have speakers who want to share videos practice sharing in a test session. I recently attended a virtual concert where the speaker tried to play back a performance from her YouTube channel, which caused a lot of unnecessary lag and choppiness. She could have shared the source file with no problems directly from her desktop. And be sure any video content you want to play back through your event platform—such as sponsor videos, intro videos, or highlights—are also tested through the platform. You can always share higher resolution versions through your website, YouTube channel or Vimeo channel post-event.

 

Amy DeLouise is a producer/writer/director specializing in branded content for virtual and live events.

Whether you host a podcast or are creating video content, interviewing is essential. Here are some of my experiences and tips for working with VIPs, Celebrities and Experts.

Some of the most nervous and challenging subjects I’ve worked with on camera are celebrities, CEOs and subject matter experts. These are the very people you’d think are fairly comfortable in front of cameras.  Yet it’s worth remembering that not every celebrity loves cameras. The reasons can vary widely, and it’s useful if you can do your homework to be prepared.

For example, I once interviewed a brilliant scientist who shared in our pre-interview that he had ADHD, a condition which had eventually led him to a career in science to unlock the genetic secrets of the human condition. This scientist admitted that he was unlikely to stay focused for more than five minutes at a time. He was right. I had to let him get up and check on experiments and talk to colleagues in between every question. Flexibility is sometimes the key to a happy interviewee, and thus a better interview.

A brilliant conductor was another fascinating and tricky interview subject. Having worked with her for many years, I was not surprised that she almost directed our production from her seat. Allowing an expert to feel in control is often a key to creating a successful interview dynamic, even though you are always keeping track of the story arc and important points you want and need to draw out for your particular audience.

I once worked with a Very Famous TV Personality whose name shall not be included here. That’s because her on-screen bouncy persona was a far cry from her real approach, which was difficult and anxious. Her assistant was equally challenging. We had to do many takes, some of which I had to carefully cajole out of her, because I realized no one on her team was willing to admit to her that she had made some mistakes. Yet I knew that she would want a perfect take, and wouldn’t approve anything less (and frankly, neither would I). When conducting interviews with experts, VIPs and celebrities, part of your job is also managing feelings, and managing the managers.

As an interviewer, director or producer, you need to be ready for everything.  Your best weapon is knowledge. Your second is patience. And for challenging VIP’s, the crew or tech team needs to be 100% on their toes, with no chit-chat. Everyone needs to exude the confidence that you will make this person look and sound their absolute best.

 

This blog post is partially excerpted from my content creator’s guide The Producer’s Playbook: Real People on Camera (Routledge Press).

A Guest Post by Jendi Coursey, CEO, Jendi Coursey Communications

When I can muster the discipline to get up early and exercise, I love listening to my favorite podcasts while I work out, one of which is the daily current-affairs show from Economist Radio called The Intelligence.

Lead With Your Values

If you listen to podcasts, you know they generally include few short sponsorship ads during the course of the broadcast; The Intelligence is no exception. As I tune in to the podcast and take those first steps on my treadmill, I’m usually greeted by the voice of someone offering services from a financial institution like Capital One, Bank of America, or Bank of the West. All of them offer services that could be of use to listeners like me, but if I were looking for a new bank, I know exactly which one I would choose: the one that leads with its values.

Bank of the West has an ad stating that what they don’t finance is as important as what they do. They posit that banks can be a force for good in the world, that they can use deposits not only to finance home loans, car loans, and local business loans, but that they can also influence large-scale projects, which begs the question: which projects do you want your money to support?

Customers Are Choosing Values

More and more, savvy marketers understand that consumers are choosing products and services that meet more than a functional need. Consumers are choosing companies whose values align with theirs. So, if you’re responsible for your organization’s messaging, you may want to ask yourself: what is your company willing to stand up for? What beliefs are you willing to shout from the rooftops for the whole world to hear? Who wouldn’t you accept a check from?

Your Values Affect Your Bottom Line

If you do not know the answers to these questions, your customers probably don’t either—and that could be costing you money. A 2020 report by 5W Public Relations indicated that millennials, the generation born between 1981 to 1996, is the largest proportion of the workforce in the U.S. and will soon overtake Baby Boomers to become the largest living population of adults. Consequently, their purchase habits are shaping how business is done. 5W data indicate that 83 percent of millennials say it is important for the companies they buy from to align with their beliefs and values.

In its 2018 report, another communications firm, Edelman, stated that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of consumers around the world will buy or boycott a brand solely because of its position on a social or political issue, and that number is trending upward.

Making Your Values Plan

If you haven’t already, it is time to take a hard look at your mission, vision, and values. Do they include a bunch of meaningless platitudes or can they be used as a guide for how each and every organizational decision is made? It is better to go narrow and deep than to have dozens of values that no one can remember. If you’re interested in a book to guide you through the process of establishing or updating these foundational pillars, consider Patrick Lencioni’s The Advantage.

If you’d like help digging into this work, reach out to Jendi via her website above or on LinkedIn

In an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show (“Boy #1, Boy #2,” CBS, 1965) Rob casts their son and one of his friends in an episode of his TV show. The results aren’t as anticipated. He confesses to the two moms: “Those kids can’t act, they’re terrible…When they started out they were almost fair, but the more they rehearsed the worse they got!” When the moms remind him the kids aren’t professionals, he responds “Yeah, because professionals get better!” So true. One of the big differences between trained and untrained talent is that repetition and self-consciousness about being in front of cameras and crew often degrades rather than enhances their “performance.”  And each time you make your reality player self-conscious about the camera, chances are high they will be less natural—the very reason you wanted them in the first place. This, in turn, can radically affect your schedule and budget.  In other chapters, we address specific techniques for re-introducing a question during an interview, for blocking a re-enactment, or getting that scene from another angle for a documentary, all without making your subject feel awkward.  To keep your production schedule and budget on target, you need all the help you can get to minimize retakes and set-ups. Even if you are masterful at keeping your subject from feeling pressure during the shoot, every minute you spend in shoot planning will be paid back in decreased time and costs on the post-production side.  Since you never entirely know how a “real person” will react to being on camera, the following are some strategies you can use to minimize unpleasant surprises and budget-busting problems, while you maximize creative opportunities.

  1. Be sure you discuss options for on-camera clothing before the shoot. Bring extra ties on set. If green-screen, be sure your subject is not wearing any green!
  2. Have enough crew. A production assistant is worth their weight in gold to help move gear in place quickly, or handle the back-end of recording remotely. Non-actors are not used to the “hurry up and wait” pattern of production life.
  3. Give non-actors a break by shooting b-roll.  I often shoot a little bit of b-roll to warm them up to the crew, before sitting the person down for an interview.
  4. Use Locations Familiar to Subject to help them be more comfortable. If you need to move objects around for a better background, ask permission. (You may need to have the person themselves move things around for remote interviews.)

Excerpted from my book “The Producer’s Playbook: Real People on Camera”.  I love directing “real people” on camera. Please sign up for my additional tips ——–> see sidebar!