Okay so you’ve decided John from Sales can no longer cut it as the face of Acme Engineering, you want someone more engaging, someone more professional, but where to start?
Spend some time writing down writing down your requirements, consider age, sex, ethnicity, accent, the audience you are targeting and your budget. This is valuable information to pass on to an agent, should you decide to use one. If you’re not really sure what you need a good production company or talent agent will be able to provide guidance on the right kind of person for your project.
In my experience the term actor or presenter covers a huge range of individuals, skills and experience levels. Everything from a recently graduated drama student, to a catalogue model, to a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. What they call themselves also varies wildly extra, presenter, actor (or actress – a whole can of worms that one), celebrity?
As a general rule of thumb the more they do on screen (eg speaking) and the more exposure they have (Internet, cable/local/national TV) the more expensive they are. You can also throw into the mix whether their career is on the up or in decline and how busy they are at that time.
Needless to say there is a huge pool of very talented individuals who can turn their hand to just about anything and always come across as knowledgeable and enthusiastic even about the most mundane topic.
Agents generally do a good job of putting forward the right people, it’s how they earn their living, but in the age of YouTube it is easy to check out a previous body of work. In some cases it is advisable to do a small screen test before appointing your presenter. If they are local many artists will pop in for half an hour at no cost.
For a B2B video a reasonable budget would be around £500 per day per actor and that is pretty much the case anywhere in the UK. However you should not overlook the cost of travel and accommodation, even at standard fares this can mount up. It may be advisable to compromise on the actor to find someone local to the filming.
Other costs to consider are wardrobe, hair and make-up. Experienced actors working in B2B productions will generally look after these themselves, but you will need to tell them what kind of clothes to bring with them on the day. If you have a better known actor or celebrity they will expect these services to be provided. Hair and make-up would typically cost £2-400 per day.
The final thing to consider before the shoot is the script. If it is a speaking part the actor will need to have this up to a week before filming. If they are doing a piece to camera they may also prefer to work with an autocue. Again in my experience it is worth having one as back up, even if they say they have learnt the lines a day’s shooting is an expensive way to find out they haven’t.
Follow these suggestions and you will get the right person at the right price.