How To Direct Non-Professional Talent

When filming a video for a business, more often than not you will be filming someone that represents the company rather than a professional actor. Thus, achieving a succinct and high quality interview can be occasionally difficult. Those unaccustomed to being in front of the camera will often be fidgety and strained in their responses leading to a poor delivery of content and brand image. In this article we’ll be looking at a few ways to lessen the effects of nerves on non-professional talent.

In this article we’ll look at a few key things to remember when you’re conducting an interview that can help your production run more smoothly…

The first rule is to make your subject comfortable in your presence, whether they are a celebrity or a business representative, the interview will not run smoothly if the subject can not relate to you. Talk to your subject beforehand and develop a rapport. Be interested in what they have to say and get them motivated about talking to you.

If your subject fidgets during the interview then often a simple request for them to stop will do the trick. However, for some it’s involuntary and trying to repress it will manifest itself in other negative ways. If possible then try to frame out the offending tic, crop to a closer shot to avoid fidgety hands or legs and focus on getting the best verbal delivery from your interviewee.

Additionally, allow your subject to have a degree of choice when choosing where to sit. While you may have the perfect composition in mind, remember that many interviewees may want to be in certain rooms or away from audiences and colleagues. Work with them to find a comfortable location and then work your composition around that. Forcing your subject to endure the scrutiny of their colleagues while talking is a sure fire way to stress them out.

Once your subject is seated, make good use of lighting and a little makeup to ensure they stand out beautifully. A strong image combined with a strong delivery is the absolute goal of a powerful and persuasive corporate video.

I can’t stress enough the paramount importance of putting your subject at ease, it is this that is the pivotal aspect of any interview. An uncomfortable subject makes an uncomfortable interview which makes uncomfortable viewing. So get it right.

Have a watch of Masters in Public Policy, and Masters in International Relations for two great examples of interview techniques done right.