It’s hard to imagine, that there is someone who doesn’t know what a commercial is. We see them every day, everywhere: while watching TV, browsing the internet or walking down the street; commercials are all around us. Some of them are very good, others, not so much. But there is a saying in business: “There is no such thing as a bad commercial”. In my opinion, this is absolutely true.
When you’re about to make a commercial, it is very important to understand exactly what the client – the person or corporation that orders the commercial – wants. Because of this, preliminary meetings should be conducted. Also, you should get familiar with the product you are about to advertise and learn everything about it: what is it, what does it do, who are your clients trying to sell it to. Most people we worked with, come to us with planning ideas, which we only have to develop into a finished ad. Worldwide things are a bit different, though. Generally, clients that choose you, will consider you a professional and let you create and develop an idea for advertising their product. They will only give you some guidelines, telling you what their goals are.
What do we do in those cases? We listen carefully to what our client has to say and explain, and on the second meeting, we present to them a concept of how the commercial will look when it is finished.
Before you sit down and start thinking of what the plot should look like, take some time and watch as many different commercials as you can. If you think you will create something unique and never seen before, think twice. I’m not saying you should just copy/paste some other ad you saw before. What I do is, after I have some idea about the plot, I start implementing details and methods I saw earlier in different commercials. By doing this, you enhance your idea with good and proven touches from the video industry. When I accomplish that, I start thinking of the scenes and frames that will best fit in my storyboard.
A couple of months ago, we shot a commercial for a chain of restaurants, which was supposed to look like a movie trailer (the ad was to be broadcasted in cinema saloons). We filmed the commercial, edited it and the result was more than satisfying. So far so good. But when I showed it to the client, he didn’t like the music. On top of that, he wanted to change some scenes and to add inscriptions throughout the whole thing. I was nearly desperate but somehow managed to compose myself and persuaded him to arrange a screening in the cinema.
We went together to some movie and watched our commercial before the film started. When the client got out of the cinema saloon, he looked like a happy child who was just given ice cream. And not just any ice cream, but a big, juicy and expensive ice cream! He apologized and thanked me for the good work.
What’s the point of telling you this whole story, you might ask? I guess my point here is that you should always hold on to your good and creative ideas and fight for them. After all, we are the professionals in the video industry. Our clients are good professionals too but in some other areas of expertise.
Let’s get back to the process of filming the commercial itself. After you have clarified the ideas and the plot and created a storyboard, you get the team together and you start preparing everything you will need for the filming of the commercial: locations, actors (if any), scenography, costumes, etc…. Think about all the small things you might need and don’t forget the big ones! Preparation is the most important part of it all. Doesn’t matter if it’s a short film, a music video, a promo corporate video or a commercial. If you are well prepared before the shooting starts, your success is almost guaranteed. I say almost because filming the scenes themselves is not the end of it. Post-production (editing, sound design, etc…) is also very important and might get really tricky sometimes, but in general, if you have good shots and well-recorded sound, you should be just fine.