Why You Should Use Professional Actors Instead of Employees in Corporate Training Videos

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It’s time to film a corporate training video, but are your employees ready for the spotlight? Working with your own team can create roadblocks that corporate actors are trained to avoid. Before you start rolling cameras, here are the top reasons why hiring actors for your corporate videos is worth the investment.


How do you film a workplace training video?

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Corporate training videos are valuable onboarding tools, communicating the company’s mission, values, and expectations for new employees. Creating an engaging, informative video that can be used for years takes significant time and investment; in order to accurately reflect your brand and training needs, you’ll need a clear production plan. 

Whether you’re planning to produce the video internally or work with a professional team, You will need: 

  • A script: A strong script will break down your training instructions in a format that’s easy for new employees to understand. Make sure you’re telling a complete story from beginning to end. Reading the script out loud will help ensure a conversational tone. 
  • A location: Your office or off-site location should support the messaging and training instructions in your video, illustrating real-world work scenarios whenever possible. When shooting in your office, choose an area that gets good natural light and has enough space for both equipment and talent. 
  • Equipment: Using professional cameras, lighting, and sound equipment can help create a polished finished product, which will reflect highly on your brand. Studios will often rent equipment for up to a week at a time, and they can make recommendations on what you’ll need for your shoot. 
  • An editing program: Adding text, music, and other visual and audio elements to your video helps emphasize training instructions. There are many video-editing programs available to get you through the basics. Alternatively, you can work with a freelance editor to speed up the process. 
  • Onscreen talent: The stars of your production play a major part in how your messages are received. Confidence, clarity, and relatability are key, so take your time to find the right faces for your video. 

If you’ve hired a professional crew, some of these factors will be off your plate; but you’ll still need to decide between filming your employees versus hiring actors.

The pros and cons of using employees for corporate training videos

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When you use your own team as onscreen talent, you’re using a free resource—but it may end up costing more in the end. 

Pro: Authenticity 

Your employees reflect your brand’s culture. As real-life examples of who you hire and what it’s like to work at your company, your employees can deliver genuine, in-the-know messaging that’s honest and real. No one knows your business better than the people who work there, so any technical jargon will roll right off the tongue. Employee commentators are a strong choice for onscreen testimonials.   

Con: Lack of onscreen experience 

Just because your employees know your corporate messaging inside and out doesn’t mean they can necessarily convey it onscreen. Cameras can make even the most extroverted people shy if they’re not used to being filmed, resulting in an awkward performance. Employees may also become nervous about having fellow team members watch them onscreen for years to come. Viewers need a confident, articulate presence in order to absorb the training video’s instructions and guidelines. The last thing you want is for people to walk away without understanding the content. 

Con: Production delays

Unless your employees have previous acting experience, it’s unlikely they’ll understand the rigors of a video set, even if it’s just your office. Professional actors are trained to read scripts, deliver takes, hit marks, and be camera-ready, which enables a smooth, efficient production schedule. The more your employees flub lines or miss cues, the longer everyone has to work. 

Production delays can cost you in the end, even if you’re using free talent.

The pros and cons of using actors for corporate training videos

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Corporate actors get the job done by bringing experience and professionalism to your set.  

Pro: Reliable performances 

No matter the content of your training video, corporate actors can deliver the right tone and urgency. Actors won’t have any problem enacting scenes or reading lines on complicated or sensitive topics such as: 

  • Sexual harassment
  • Insider trading 
  • Cybersecurity  
  • Compliance 
  • Leadership and team communication 

Putting your employees in scenarios in which they have to act out violations of company policies may make them feel awkward or upset, but actors won’t have these issues. They can portray a wide range of emotions and reactions, playing everyone from a disgruntled employee to a happy, productive worker. Actors also know how to take feedback and deliver performance variations depending on your video’s needs. Because they do this for a living, corporate actors will already be comfortable on camera and will help your production run efficiently. 

Pro: Diversity 

Working with actors gives you the freedom to pick and choose a cast that accurately reflects your team’s demographics. While you may not be able to get a variety of team members on camera, actors enable you to showcase a wide range of ages, gender identities, and ethnic backgrounds. Helping new employees see themselves in your training video can make them feel welcome right from the start, reflecting highly on your workplace environment. 

Con: Higher cost 

All this experience does come at a higher cost, especially since the employee alternative is free. According to Salary.com, the average hourly rate for an actor in the United States is $23–$35. There are several factors that affect an actor’s rate, including: 

  • Experience and training: Actors with more established portfolios and/or professional training can charge higher hourly rates. 
  • Location: Performers in larger cities such as Los Angeles or New York will charge higher rates than those in other areas. 

Some actors may charge a day rate rather than an hourly rate. Day rates are flat fees based on the project as a whole instead of the time it takes for completion. Plan ahead to determine which scenario would work better for you. Longer shoots with multiple scenes may benefit from booking day rates because you won’t stress over working through the material as quickly as possible. 

Although you will be spending money by hiring actors, that cost comes with benefits. Paying for a performance ensures your onscreen talent will be professional, timely, and knowledgeable about the process. Plus, you won’t have to worry about pulling employees away from their responsibilities and slowing down productivity.

How to hire actors for corporate training videos

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Once you’ve decided to hire actors for your corporate commercial or video, it’s time to assemble your cast. Your video will be in use for years to come, so choosing the right talent is key. 

If you’re working with a production crew, they may suggest a talent agency or list of actors they’ve worked with in the past. If not, there are many ways to find actors in your area: 

  • Online casting sites: Talent databases are a great way to find exactly what you’re looking for in terms of experience, gender, age, and cost. Many databases allow you to search for specific keywords (such as “corporate videos”) so you can narrow down your options quickly and easily. 
  • Talent agencies: Similar to online casting sites, talent agencies pull from their acting pool to find you the right match. You can specify the roles you’re looking to fill, and they’ll send you options. 
  • Local acting programs and/or theater groups: If you’re located near a university or theater district, you can get in touch with local actors. You’ll want to ensure that these individuals have on-camera experience before moving forward. 
  • Job postings or open calls: Another option is to post a job yourself, though be advised that you’ll have to do more screening to vet interested talent. If you opt for this route, you may choose to hold auditions or have actors submit previous reels or work examples. 

When hiring corporate actors, here are some things to consider: 

  • Demographics: Using actors who reflect your team’s demographics can help them be more receptive to the messages at hand. For example, if a majority of your team is Gen Z, hiring younger actors can make your employees feel like you’re speaking directly to them. 
  • Brand values and personality: Your videos are an extension of your brand, so hiring actors who convey your corporate culture will help your training content feel like an extension of all your other messaging. A company with an upbeat, energetic personality will want to use actors with similar dispositions. 
  • Clear speaking voice: While this shouldn’t be an issue when working with professionals, choosing performers with pleasant, articulate voices will enhance your video’s messaging.  

Once you have your actors on set, you can help enhance their performance by: 

  • Introducing your brand: Giving your actors an overview of your company’s mission and values will help them deliver a performance that’s fine-tuned to your organization. 
  • Defining internal jargon: If your script includes any uncommon technical terms, explain their definitions to the actors.
  • Give feedback: Actors are open to direction, so if you’re looking for something specific, let them know.