Creating a Quality TV Commercial – Part 1

– Posted in: Producing Film / Video Productions

I’ve decided to share the process of creating what I believe to be a regionally “high-end” television commercial for New York State Energy Provider, Blue Rock Energy. I promise this will be a real look into the process, the good, the bad, and the ugly. In the end the client was very happy and getting good results, so there wasn’t much ugly – just a couple of close calls.

This all started when Blue Rock Energy became the energy provider as well as an official sponsor of  Buffalo Bills football team. Blue Rock Energy knew they needed a television commercial that would run during the 2013 – 2014 football season and maybe beyond. So, they invited me as well as others to pitch for the job. I of course eagerly accepted and went to work putting together a presentation I hoped would position me and my team as their perfect partner. I say partner because if we were going to finish this project on-time, we would need to come to many agreements very quickly. I was excited and really wanted the job.

I didn’t know if they were thinking local cable production quality or high end national, but I put my self in their shoes, if I were partnering with an NFL team I’d want something worthy of the NFL connection. This would be an opportunity to do some good work, so I put together a plan.

I’ll share more about the presentation including some notes in another post, but for now I”ll say it was a little grueling at times. They had a lot of questions and I had to keep reminding myself that the TV commercial I was proposing was a big move for them. This spot would be cranking up their exposure in the Buffalo market – big time, they had a lot riding on this, so they had a right to drill me with as much as they wanted.

In this post I’ll introduce you to the project and the process. I’ve included the finished commercials, some screen grabs and hopefully wet your appetite for more.

I invite you to give me feedback and let me know what you think about the choices we made.  If you’re interested in learning more about producing quality video and the craft of filmmaking then sign up for my newsletter. In the mean time check out the rest of the post and leave a comment.  If you’re a business thinking about investing in video for television and web or a producer looking for details, you’ll learn from this transparent look back. As you’ll see the TV spots turned out great, but it wasn’t exactly as I had planned.

Here’s a small sample of what I’ll be sharing about this project in future posts, so be sure to stop back.

  • Turning a client interview into a creative pitch.
  • How I made a beginner mistake that almost derailed the project.
  • No time to wait, we must plan from hypotheticals.
  • Doubling our work load and kicking myself.
  • Creating a plan and a team of seasoned pros.
  • Communicating objectives and story intent.
  • Realizing one day for setup and shooting is not enough.
  • Staying on schedule and keeping a failure from ruining the day.
  • Post production and missing shots.

This is the 30 second TV commercial.

This is the “out takes” video with my commentary.

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