How to Direct Someone on Video
Selecting a Spokesperson
- Use someone who understands the subject matter inside and out and avoid those who don’t.
- Avoid using a spokesperson who is generally apprehensive or overly nervous about the video.
Before You Start Recording, tell the Spokesperson:
- This is going to be easy and I’ll be here to help you every step of the way.
- We will simply carry on a genuine, engaging conversation between us.
- We aren’t looking for a pitch or anything polished, just authentic conversation.
- If you go for 90% and say that is good enough, the last 10% will kill you.
- There are no memorized lines, which can make things come off as robotic and stale.
- Speak with your regular voice and just be yourself. It’s okay for your eyes to look elsewhere as you are thinking, or to use any of your natural mannerisms.
- If you naturally use a lot of “um’s,” then go ahead and still say them.
General Directing Best Practices.
The majority of “Directing” tips were designed for actors in films, such as rehearsing, multiple takes, no hand movements, looking at a certain direction, speaking at a certain volume, etc. Unfortunately, none of this actually works for regular people. Your number one job as a director of normal businesspeople is to help them be themselves.
- Make sure there is only one director and only one person giving feedback.
- Don’t rehearse, just start.
- The maximum number of takes for a person is 3. Once you reach 3 takes, they will start focusing on not making mistakes, which will only make them sound like a robot.
- Most people are at their best on the first take. Just like in real life, where there is no “redo” button.
- If the spokesperson is nervous, be prepared to scrap the first couple of minutes of recording. They tend to warm up after a couple of minutes, so try starting with an easier topic.
Spokesperson Body Movements
- Most people do better standing up, as opposed to sitting down.
- Most people talk with their hands. You should encourage this!
- If the spokesperson shifts, that is perfectly fine as long as they don’t shift too far from their spot.
The Two Cases of Directing
Case 1: They know their stuff inside and out.
This is when people really know their stuff and don’t need much help in showing well on video. Here, you are really just there to make sure everything runs smoothly from a technical perspective. Here are some quick tips you can share with them to make sure everything goes perfectly:
- Once you are ready to start, go ahead.
- Share the content like you would share it in any live, face-to-face scenario.
- If you are answering a question, then repeat the question first.
- If you need to reference your notes, just stop for a second, look at your notes, look back at the camera, and keep going. * don’t stop the recording.
- If you make a mistake, stop and go back and repeat that section where you made the mistake. But keep going. * don’t stop recording.
Case 2: They need some help in pulling out the content.
This option is for people who know their stuff but don’t have any video experience or are not really sure how to start talking about their content. In this scenario, you need to help guide them through the content. So, you will be asking them the questions and prompting them on what to talk about next based on the outline. Here are some tips for the individual in this case:
- I am going to take the bullet point that you have on the content sheet and turn that to a question. So, I will ask you the questions, and you simply answer them.
- I will make sure that you don’t miss anything, so don’t worry about keeping track of where you are.
- Always encourage them and remind them they are doing great.
- You can ask, “How did you feel about that?” If they feel good, go ahead and move on. You won’t likely get any better.
- If they are really struggling with a certain section, skip it and move on. You can always come back later.
- If they talk for too long on a certain topic or stray away, ask them to repeat that section, but make it shorter.