Sometimes when you’re in the market for a video, it’s enough to feature yourself or a few real customers or employees. Other times, it becomes clear that you’ll need to employ hired, professional actors to do the job. A video’s success very often hinges on the right casting of the video, as the wrong actor, tone or attitude can totally change the intended effect of a video.
Imagine the Old Spice commercials with the wrong comedic actor…
While your videographer should be well versed in the casting and hiring of actors, it’s good to have some baseline knowledge around general costs and practices.
The truth is that actors have a huge range of what they charge, and it can vary widely on location, their experience, local market demand and unions or organizations.
If you’re shooting in film-industry heavy places like California or New York, you may have to hire SAG (Screen Actors Guild) actors and pay standardized market rates.
In general though, for a smaller, non-broadcast TV level production, you can expect to pay anywhere around $50-400 an hour for an actor. Or you can also think of it as something like $250 per actor per (8 hour day), in a market which is priced at the lower end of the spectrum.
If you’re looking to hire celebrities (even local ones) or well known experts, the prices will most undoubtedly go up. Hiring friends or amateur talent will of course be the cheapest option, but you’re dealing with less certainty and professionalism.
It’s important to treat your acting talent well and compensate them fairly, because, as in most things in life, you get what you pay for. You may also need to re-shoot scenes or do additional voice-over work, and you may be able to negotiate preferential rates for additional work when actors feel they are fairly compensated to begin with.
Be sure to talk with your videographer about how they source and hire actors, and be specific about what type of actors you have in mind for your video (age, looks, tone, diversity, etc.). Always ask to see auditions or reels from the actors a videographer presents you with, and make sure you feel comfortable with the choices before shooting day.
This post is part of our ongoing “How Much” series that illuminates the mysteries of video pricing. Check out our new pricing tool How Much To Make A Video? to get a rough estimate of your project today!
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