I just wrapped production on a video about selling skills. We didn't have a lot of time for production and I was nervous that we wouldn't get everything done in time… but we did. You know why? Not because my script was incredible or because I’m a brilliant director [even though it totally was and I completely am! :)]. It was because the talent we had on set was amazing. I've worked with all sorts of actors before- good, bad, amazing and terrible. Nothing is better than being on set with a good actor who is interested in the project, prepared and ready to go.
For this particular project, the talent served two distinct purposes. The first was to serve as a mirror to our audience, showing them how to put into action what they just learned. For this part, our actor was a member of our extended team who was familiar with the job and the technique. Using a face that our audience is familiar with lends an air of credibility to the content and shows them that we understand.
The second distinct purpose is to make the audience comfortable while we educate them. So often our learners are talked at- through voice over video or webinars. In this video, we chose to make the voice a host on screen. For this part, we needed someone who was trustworthy and believable. Another member of our team was perfect for this part- his voice and on screen demeanor made him instantly likable.
Both of these actors brought a familiarity to the end piece that makes the learner feel like they’re being spoken to directly. What we liked the most about this was that it most closely duplicated a classroom setting in an asynchronous format. This wouldn't have been so successful without the talented actors that we found.
So, what’s the biggest lesson to learn from this? Don’t settle when it comes to on screen talent for training videos. The more convincing and compelling the performance, the more compelling and educational the video