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Talent Costs: 7 Ways to Maximize Value for Video and Photo Projects

Stunning photos and videos are incredibly valuable investments to help tell your business’ story and attract new and returning customers. Of course, every investment comes at a price.

There are a variety of factors that impact the costs of both video and photography projects. One of the more significant expenses involves the people who will be in front of the camera.

Professional talent fees can make up a notable portion of your budget, so it’s important to do what you can to determine the most cost-effective solution for your project. Here are seven ways that your organization can get the most value out of your talent.

Utilize Filler Talent When You Can

You don’t always need professional talent to end up with quality assets. While professional actors and models are necessary in certain situations, there are occasions where you can use amateur talent for your project.

Filler talent can come in multiple forms – an employee at your company, a friend, or even a member of the film crew. As long as your project isn’t dependent on the person’s performance and ability to take direction, these talent sources can keep talent costs to a minimum. If you need several people to fill out a crowd scene or other background individuals, your studio can go through an extra casting agency as well. This will ensure that you have enough warm bodies for your project without the hassle of making multiple calls and wasting valuable time.

Weigh Different Options for Professional Talent

If you decide that you need some form of professional talent, there are still some potential cost-saving options. There are multiple talent agencies available as a source for professional actors and models. The different agency rosters each offer a range of talent pricing, allowing you some flexibility in terms of who you need.

There are different levels of professional talent that can help you make the most economic decision for your budget. For example, non-union talent is generally less expensive than union actors. If you’re fine with someone who may not act or respond to direction as quickly, that will help you save money. If you need top-notch talent, a more expensive actor or model may offer the most value for the investment.

Your studio may also be able to work with talent agencies to determine cost-effective options as well. At TRG, we have good relationships with multiple representatives. These relationships may help you identify actors and models who are willing to work within your budget so that you don’t have to opt for different talent as a cost-saving measure.

Keep Asset Usage in Mind

Your asset usage is another major factor that dictates talent costs. Talent rates are different for print, social media, and other places you may use your assets. Video assets for a national TV campaign will end up with higher talent costs than photos for your website redesign.

Depending on your specific usage needs, you may be able to scale back to maximize your budget. At TRG, we try to give clients multiple options to weigh their talent needs. For example, we’d provide the possible rates for different possible solutions for your specific project – photo only vs. photo and video, full day vs. half-day, etc. If you end up scaling back to photo only and a half-day shoot, that may help talent costs align with your budget. You’ll just need to weight the pros and cons of each scenario to make sure it still meets your exact needs for your project.

Consider the Impacts of Talent Contracts

How long you plan to use your assets will have a direct impact on talent costs. Typical photo and video contracts can last between one year and unlimited usage. The answer to which type of contract offers the most value depends on your plans for those assets.

Shorter contracts are cheaper, but longer ones allow you to use your assets without renegotiating with talent agencies. A full, unlimited buyout may offer the best value if you never want to worry about long-term asset use. Meanwhile, a one-year contract can be a great value if you know you won’t use an asset in future years. Make sure to work with your studio to determine just how long you plan to use assets so that you can weigh the costs associated with each option.

Maintain Shoot Schedules

The longer you need talent to work, the more it will add to your talent budget. There are a variety of reasons why shoots go long – the need for additional shots, power outages, you name it. However, time is money.

Actors and models are typically allotted a set amount of time on set. If you pay for eight hours, you’ll want to make sure that you get everything you need in that time. Sometimes the talent will be lenient and let it slide if you go slightly over time, but they will start charging an overtime rate per hour for anything above and beyond the agreed-upon schedule. As such, it’s important to work with your studio to streamline your shoot, discuss absolute end times, and keep your talent costs under control.

Play it Safe with Kids and Animals

Sometimes the more expensive options are the best value. Children and animal talent pose certain challenges because they’re simply much more unpredictable than their adult human counterparts. Because of this, it’s generally well worth it to pay for child actors and professionally trained animals.

The reason why professional children and pets are a safer bet is because there’s no guarantee the amateurs will give you what you need. Kids and pets without prior experience can get easily distracted and simply not cooperate. While an adult without experience can take direction, little Jimmy and Sprinkles the Schnauzer may not. The last thing you want is to lose a significant portion of your schedule because of uncooperative talent.

However, that’s not to say that amateur children and animals aren’t a potential option in some circumstances. If you only need them for the background or to complete basic functions, it’s perfectly fine to use a coworker’s kid or pet in place of professional talent.

Maximize Your Photo and Video Investments with the Right Multimedia Studio

Whether you need commercial photography or video production services, you’ll want to work with a studio that can deliver the best, most cost-effective solutions for your business. The right studio can guide you through the entire process, from identifying the right talent to managing every other detail that can make or break your project.

At TRG, our experts work with you to streamline your project and deliver stunning assets that captivate your audience. Contact TRG today to help you get the most value out of your photo and video projects.

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