Thursday, December 12, 2013

Casting: Union versus Non-Union

How To: Casting For Your Next Video

Are you interested in getting a professional actor or actress to star in your corporate video? The advantage of utilizing a professional performer versus simply using a friend or member of your team, comes down to not only the quality of the work, but the ease in which it will take to get the desired performance.

Once you have decided to go with a professional actor the next step will be in figuring out if you should look for a union actor or non-union actor. A union actor is someone which has been vetted and specifically chosen to be part of an acting union such as ACTRA. A non-union actor is someone who is a performer and actively pursuing acting, but has not yet formally joined a union.

From our experience here at Keywest, both union and non-union actors have advantages, and have their place within the corporate video world. When a client comes to us to cast for their video, the questions we ask to decide which type of actor is best for them revolve around budget and content.

Union actors will most often always be more expensive. They have daily minimum rates based upon a certain number of hours, and then over-time pay begins. Whereas with non-union actors there is more leeway when it comes to negotiating rates based upon how many hours they will be needed, and depending on what they are doing within the video.

If the video only requires the hired actor to say a few lines, but most of their job will involve actions, or simple scenarios, then there is less of a need for a well trained union actor. If the content in the video requires the actor to display a keen sense of their emotional state, or if there is a lot of written content for them to perform, and you want an honest performance, there is a greater chance you will be able to find that talent through casting a union performer. Your production partner should also be able to help you decide on which is the better avenue for your needs.

When it comes to the casting, there are also multiple routes you can take. In certain scenarios, especially when there is a time crunch or a limited budget, you can get actors to send in self-tapes of themselves performing a past role. This will give you a sense of their abilities and if their look fits with your vision. But more often then not, a formal casting session is required in order to get a good sense of the actors range, and if they can manage the specific role. In a casting session the casting director will be able to ask each actor to perform a portion of the final script, and can ask them to re-do certain parts differently in order to gauge how well they take direction. Lastly, casting sessions are important because they don’t just show an actors ‘best performance’ like a self-tape would, but they display an honest rendition of the actors abilities.

One important thing to keep in mind when casting, is to ensure that the production company and/or casting director that you work with is well aware of, and understands your needs. If you yourself are unsure of exactly what you are looking for in the role, then you need to take some time to sit down with the producer or casting director to devise a character breakdown and ensure you have a clear vision of what you want and need for the video.

Lastly, and most importantly, when it comes to casting be careful that you don’t get held up on a certain vision of the character and not see through to the talent right in front of you. At times we have found that some people have a specific vision of what they want the character to look like, so instead of looking for a talented actor who can get a great performance across, they end up looking for an actor that best represents their vision visually. In the end, a talented and well-trained actor will always come across better, and get the video’s message across clearer, then just a pretty face.

At Keywest we cast regularly for our clients needs, ranging from dramatic training videos, to product and service videos, and everything in between. Keywest video’s preferred casting partner is Casting Central, located in the same building as Keywest’s offices. Casting Central’s facility boasts five casting studios equipped with multiple backdrops, including green screen, and video recording technology so all sessions can be recorded and sent to clients for review if they are not able to make the session.

If you are interested in getting a professional corporate video produced, contact Keywest Video today! 416-675-0751

Key West Video Inc. -- Casting: Union versus Non-Union

Casting: Union versus Non-Union