In May, at the peak of COVID making Google Meets recordings acceptable as a form of content, we sat down with Jason Hamborg to talk bad ads.
In part two of our series on learning from bad ads with the Creative Director of Northern BC’s best video agency, we talk about Eagle Insurance. Specifically, we talk about dealing with talent on set when the talent isn’t necessarily comfortable in front of the camera. As with part one, Jason gives us great insights for dealing with that issue, but also gives us advice on how to avoid that issue altogether.
What We Can Learn From Eagle Insurance:
First: avoid the problem. Prioritize the talent search.
If you have a script and a vision, you're going to need actors. And just because someone is willing doesn't mean they'll be able to perform. With no hard feelings to those folks, Jason made sure to clarify that you do need to try a little harder to find people can act, get in the moment, and understand the vision. There are people who actively take part in local theatre - they won’t be famous actors, but they have some skill and have done the work to understand getting into a role. You don’t need to destroy a budget looking for high-end talent, but you CAN find people better than your buddies and employees. Or Uncle Randy, as Jason says.
Get people comfortable on camera, and on set - regardless of their experience level.
Provide information on set throughout the process. It’s really easy to forget that these people might not speak your language or know what’s happening. Everything from the order of events on set, to the day’s agenda. So much about the order of filming a scene is obvious to film crews and many marketing types, but it’s not obvious to amateurs. They may confuse 'rolling' with 'action', and get frustrated when they're cut off. It's our job to keep them informed. If your talent knows the ins and outs of a set, then managing expectations is important.
Time is valuable. Show those on set the respect and awareness of timelines - be real about how long they’ll be waiting so that they can make decisions about taking a break to eat or relax or review a script.
The more comfortable people are on set, the more comfortable they’ll be on camera. Good communication is key.
Have all kinds of snacks.
Jason didn't say this, but as the author of the piece, I want to highlight the importance of having nutritious and delicious snacks and drinks on set. Shoots can be frustrating, even when you follow the great tips laid out above. The fastest way to make everyone even more frustrated is to let them get hungry and thirsty. Watch those blood sugar levels to avoid a hangry meltdown at the most inopportune time.
Bryce Lokken — June 16th