Actors enhance video for online real estate listing

By Published: March 18, 2019 7:15 AM CT

House sellers and their real estate agents for years now have typically displayed 25 or so interior and exterior photographs with the online listing.

Then came the same pictures presented as slideshows with soft, instrumental background music.

Next came movement, first with normal video then aerials from drone-mounted cameras.

And now comes the next progression: Actors.

‘Next shot!’

“Next shot, let’s go over to the swing,” Katie Davidson instructs in the backyard of her new listing, 352 Grandview.

The real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Collins-Maury directs the actions of the Taras family as professional photographer Caitlin Colcolough shoots the video with her Sony camera.

The family of six – Sam and Sheley Taras and their children, Virginia Kate, 8, Gracie, 7, Reese, 4, and Zachary, 4 – fill the backyard with life, swinging on the rope swing and playing throw-and-catch.

Colcolough captures plenty of outside action against backgrounds that include the guesthouse, bricked patio and back of the main house.

Davidson tells the children at the swing, “OK, everyone gets a turn and then we’re going to get into our pajamas.”

Clad in their PJs, the kids play out two Saturday-morning scenes.

They rush into the master bedroom and jump into bed with their mother, who’s been enjoying a relaxing morning under the covers.

And in the home’s entry room they press their noses to the front glass and, upon seeing Dad returning from a Saturday morning run, pour through the front door to greet him.

Pushing the envelope

Davidson appears to be pushing the envelope of real estate marketing in the Memphis market. Her video brings the home to life by showing people living in it. Or pretending to.

Davidson’s actors have no speaking lines. The only audio is the background music.

Still, the video is a far cry from the typical real estate video in which the only action is the movement of the camera across lifeless rooms.

Focusing on details

The family is adorable, but the star of this show is the setting:  The luxury house at 352 Grandview is a block east of the University of Memphis. Davidson listed the house for sale Sunday for $1.39 million. 

The brick home is 6,443 square feet with six bedrooms, six bathrooms, two half-baths and an indoor pool.

“With the huge space, we wanted to make sure all the little details were highlighted,” Davidson said.

The actors helped bring attention to those details.

For example, the children’s bedrooms feature a bed built into a wall, a seat tucked into a bay window, and a loft accessed by a ladder. The video shows the children using each of those architectural features.

Party time

Sam and Sheley Taras and their children are not actors, but church friends of both the sellers and Davidson.

The Tarases spent a Saturday pretending to live in the house as a favor to the sellers and Davidson. But they did receive something in return. They got to host Reese’s 4th birthday party that same night with a swim party for 22 children and 20 adults at the indoor pool.

“How many 4-year-olds get a swim party in February?” Sam said.

Davidson took advantage of the party, too, including it in the longer version of the video shot by Colcolough. Her business is Caitlin Colcolough Photography & Films.

Instead of a static pool room, the listing shows more than 40 people having a great time in the space.


Neil Hubbard believes Davidson’s video is the first for the Memphis market. He is her broker at Coldwell Banker Collins-Maury.

“I’m excited she’s trying some innovative ideas to get some additional attention,” Hubbard said.

Davidson is known in the office for her talents in staging homes for sale.

“She does an incredible job of getting houses picture perfect,” Hubbard said. “We joke around the office when we have a new listing coming that she’s helped with. We refer to it as ‘Katie-ized.’ You can look and tell. They just have a nice, clean look.”


Davidson orchestrated something else for the listing of 352 Grandview.

She had the front door and windows moved in a renovation tailored for selling the house.

Before, the front door did not align with the hallway that runs through the center of the house.

“This used to be a window right here,” she said, pointing to the center of the front wall. “We moved the door to the middle.”

The reason: “To make a grand entry so that you can see through the whole house and have more of a statement in front.’’

The front door’s original, offset position faced a bedroom wall. “This way the flow goes to the entertainment area,” she said.

Davidson had the exterior doors and the interior handrailing painted black to highlight the architectural detailing, and replaced light fixtures.

Adrianne Marchant with Bee Inspired Staging participated in the home-staging, bringing much of the furnishings and design into the home.

Go ahead, check out Davidson’s video listing of 352 Grandview for yourself.


Real Estate Marketing
Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey covers business news for The Daily Memphian. A Tupelo, Mississippi, native, he graduated from Mississippi State University. He's worked in journalism for 40 years and has lived in Midtown for 36 years.

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