Many things can make or break a shoot day, like dead camera batteries, showing up late, being unprepared or out of touch with your client’s needs. While none of these are acceptable, there is one thing that makes a shoot unrecoverable: talent.

Most of our clients don’t want or need expensive agency represented talent, which can cost thousands of dollars. Our promise is to optimize every client’s budget while providing excellent customer service and a fantastic product. We’ve solved this issue by cultivating our own talent list, frequently updated with screened and enthusiastic actors, all of whom are moonlighting from their day jobs. We pay them a fair rate per day, enough that they are thrilled to work with us again, but not so much that our clients are unprepared for the cost.

Here’s how we make that work for everyone involved.

Ask around.

We’re fortunate to have employees and clients who work in theater. It’s a great place to find up and coming actors who are looking for opportunities. It’s a win for everyone. We get experienced talent, they get another item for their resume.

Don’t hire an unqualified actor out of desperation.

That’s a sure way to ruin a video. You can’t cultivate an inexperienced person who is uncomfortable on camera while you’re on set. Take the time beforehand to screen potential talent by meeting them in person, having them read a few lines and taking a few shots of them.

Don’t be intimidating.

In video testimonials, which are unpaid interviewees, it can be a challenge to make them feel comfortable. One of our higher education clients use testimonials from real graduates, their families and instructors.The key is to keep the set upbeat, explain what will happen when the camera rolls and chat informally to learn about them. Never show frustration or displeasure with their performance. They are doing an important service to our client.

Have backup ready.

Especially in the above scenario, we always schedule more talent than we need. This covers us for no-shows (happens more than you might think), interviews that don’t hit the content we’re looking for and other last minute changes. Clarity about expectations and frequent contact helps ensure they will be there on time and ready to perform.

Be nice.

Our actors are part of the Manley Films family. We couldn’t do what we do without great attitudes and energy. Shoot days can be long and exhausting. But they are also exhilarating and fun. It’s a balance of being professional and easy going that gets us all through a 10 hour day.

Our actors are part of the Manley Films family. We couldn’t do what we do without great attitudes and energy. Shoot days can be long and exhausting. But they are also exhilarating and fun. It’s a balance of being professional and easy going that gets us all through a 10 hour day.  

We are privileged to have a cadre of exceptional and talented people. They make the longest, most complicated shoots an exhilarating experience for everyone. Recently, one of our child actors sent us a note to thank us for making her two long days of acting fun and exciting. No better feeling than learning you made someone feel great, valued and, of course, talented.