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How to Direct Non-Actors in a Video Shoot

By Burkey Belser
March 24, 2015
How to Direct Non-Actors in a Video Shoot

Let’s get right to it. No messing around:

First of all, directors are leaders. 

Have a clear vision and communicate it clearly. "This is what we're going for." Establish your authority immediately. That said, your next job is to make your talent feel comfortable and safe.

There are lots of videos on YouTube on directing non-actors in roles but precious few on directing non-actors in an interview-type situation. But at least you can learn everyone else has the same challenges with non-actors that you do.

In advance

Send out a personal email from the director to all the subjects and ask them to study the material, take it seriously and think in advance of their answers. Professionals rarely prepare and the results show it. Their lack of effort makes your job as director triply difficult.

Be prepared yourself

If we don’t know the material, how can we expect them to? We should know the questions subjects will be required to answer and have questions at the ready when they stumble. This cannot be overemphasized.

Create instant rapport and also control

Individuals who can speak comfortably to 500 people at a conference or stare down a jury freeze in the eye of the camera. There's no predicting who that will be either. The greenest professional can speak with utter confidence while the most seasoned will crumble. So, in order to improve their chances of success, we believe it is important to take over the moment the subject enters the room.

Read the full Big Idea here.