Tips for Directing Non-Actors — WistiaFest 2016

Chris Lavigne


Chris Lavigne, Video Producer at Wistia, shares his expertise for capturing authenticity when you’re making and directing videos. To make authentic videos for your company, you don’t need to hire actors. Your best bet is to find members on your own team, and show off their authentic personalities on camera, which will let others know your company is made up of real people. Lavigne takes us through a workshop of tips for directing non-actors covering pre-production preparation, critical feedback, directing techniques, and directing production hacks.

Being in videos tend to be scary for non-actors. As the director, it’s your responsibility to remember your talent is vulnerable. Talent may be nervous about looking and sounding stupid on camera so be sure to avoid negativity at all costs. Everyone in your company is a good candidate to be on camera. Be aware of who would be great for a speaking role versus a role with lower stakes.

Before you click record, be prepared by getting to know the script. Get everyone together for a table read to work through tricky word combinations and make sure everything sounds perfect. Test the shot to prevent undesirable audio situations, lighting, and angles. Setting up early, getting rid of unnecessary gear, and kicking people out of a shoot who don’t need to be there will help make the talent feel more comfortable.

“Before you click record, be prepared by getting to know the script.”

Get in the director’s mindset to control the atmosphere of your shoot, keeping it light and positive. Feedback is a part of the process, and letting your talent know upfront you’ll give constructive criticism makes for less awkward feelings during the shoot.

From resetting your talent’s energy with rip takes to knowing how to use the “hand trick,” Lavigne reaches into his director’s toolkit and sifts through his library of hacks to help you make authentic videos. Watch his full presentation to learn all his valuable tips for directing non-actors.

Chris Lavigne


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