4 Tips for Shooting with Real People


From Luvs to Swiffer to AT&T, using real people in commercials is becoming more and more popular. Ever wonder how to get the shots and reactions that make for a memorable spot? Production company California Amish, creator of the Luvs “Lullaby Lift” campaign, spills on how to get the most out of working with non-actors by following four key tips:

1. Cast for success.

Sometimes jobs involve pulling off some sort of stunt and the client wants very specific reactions to their product. These clients will say that they don’t want casting as they need a spot to feel “real.” To put them at ease, try calling the process something other than “casting” in order to make the client feel comfortable with it. After all, it’s far too risky to go into a shoot without casting, just hoping you get the right reactions.

2. Please, be gentle.

Non-actor shoots resemble regular commercial shoots in many ways, but the way in which talent is managed is one of the most important differences. They’re not used to the long days, having to do things multiple times in slightly different ways, or a crew of people coming into their homes with equipment. Make sure to you prepare them and treat them carefully.

3. Never keep talent in the dark.

It’s important for filmmakers to make the talent comfortable and prepared for what they’re about to do. Non-actors usually say they understand what they’re getting themselves into, however problems arise when they are not properly debriefed on how the process works. The best results come when the real people are aware of exactly what is expected of them.

4. Don’t bury them in paper.

Paperwork is another thing that can catch people off-guard. Several multi-page release forms usually make people take pause and wonder what they’re being asked to sign. Positive results come from simplified release forms that are easy to understand. While forms are necessary to protect the brand and agency, regular people have to be able to read them and feel comfortable signing them.