Whether they are looking for experience, are one of your co-workers, or even one of the crew on set, working effectively with those volunteering in your production is essential in ensuring the best possible result for your upcoming corporate video. The following tips will help you make the most out of your volunteer talent and crew:
1. Work around the volunteer talent’s schedule:
First off, the volunteer talent in your corporate video are just that; voluntary. They are there of their own free will. This means that if you do not plan around what they have on, or let them know about any changes in regards to scheduling, you could quite possibly lose favour with them and potentially even lose cast members.
This may seem like general knowledge and all round common sense, however, it should be noted that paid cast members or those who have a direct investment to the production have significant reason to stay if things go awry. Volunteers, who more-often-than-not are usually friends or co-workers of the cast and crew, have different reasons for being there and will often have an earlier time where they need to leave.
So, for tip number one, I would highly suggest finding out when everyone needs to leave, and shooting the scenes needing the most extras or volunteer talent members earlier in the shoot schedule. This will mean that those who need to leave earlier, or have conflicting time schedules will be less stressed, and will be able to give a better performance when not worried about time.
2. Leave Time For Mistakes:
Staying on message, tip number two is also focused on time management.
If you haven’t realised already, the most important tool you can have in your arsenal is simply enough time – the more you have, the more you can shoot, and the more relaxed you will feel.
So when dealing with volunteer talent, expect there to be mistakes, multiple takes, and the need to do a little extra explaining. Many volunteers will not have done something like this before, so expect them to be excited and nervous, and leave time aside for them to adjust.
3. Feed Your Volunteer Talent:
No one likes to be hungry.
If someone is doing you a favour and helping you out for an extended period of time, the least you can do is provide them with something to eat or drink. A bottle of water and a small snack can make all the difference in a several hour shoot.
I am not saying feed everyone on your 3 minute Vox pop, however, generally the rule of thumb is the longer the shoot, the more you feed your cast and crew.
And have access to extra water. Always.
4. Keep Instructions Simple and To the point:
Whether you are producing a full length commercial, or just a 5 minute interview, there will be an amount of instruction required to be given by the producer or director to volunteer talent.
If you are not working with someone highly experienced in production or acting (as most volunteers will not be), then my best advice in regards to instructions would be to keep it simple and to the point.
Many volunteer talent members or crew will be concerned about doing their job right, and want clear instructions as to what is wanted from them at that moment. This means that it will not be particularly helpful to tell them about what the rest of the crew will be doing at every point in time – in fact, it may just make them more anxious and worry about what others are doing, instead of themselves.
Keeping instructions simple and to the point is especially paramount when you have a large number of extras or volunteers that you are trying to coordinate. You wont have time to run everyone through step-by-step, so giving them simple instructions that can be repeated by anyone is essential – I can almost guarantee that someone in a large group of volunteers will not be listening, or will be talking to someone else, so ensure that your instructions can be repeated by those listening easily.
In your time creating videos or other content, you will encounter a range of volunteering talent with a wide variety of experience. Some may be excellent, highly experienced, and committed to stay for as long as you want, and if you get that, awesome. This generally will not be the case though, so the above-mentioned tips will allow for you to at work effectively with your volunteering cast and crew, and should aid in helping you plan for future shoots. Good luck!
For more information regarding casting volunteer talent in your next video check out our casting page here.