Shooting commercials is an intense process.  Very intense.

You have one day to capture everything you need from your script and then some.

You are paying a lot of people on one day to get exactly what you want and they are all there that day and then …it is over.  And what you don’t have recorded in the can you are not getting without spending a lot of time and money.

A lot is riding on it being a successful day.  And there is a lot of money at risk in the limited time for the shoot.

Clients often ask about what seems to be a hurry-up-and-wait day.  Everybody seems to be sitting around and then there is a brief interlude of actors doing their lines, over and over and over.

That is followed by another delay with people sitting around.

So here is some advice for clients who are attending a first shoot day.  These tips are meant to help you maximize your investment return and get the best possible commercial for your money.

Here are some tips for clients on the shoot day.

  1. Don’t Speak to the Director!
  2. Make sure every question you could think to  ask was reviewed and answered to your satisfaction at your pre-production meeting.
  3. The pre-production meeting is the time to thoroughly review and understand every detail of the shoot.
  4. Ask the Director what his/her vision is for your commercial in the Pre-Pro.  Once you are at the shoot, it is way too late.
  5. You are paying for all the people at the shoot.  And they all have specific tasks to complete.  Keep out of their way.
  6. When you have a question, relay it through your advertising agency contact and no one else.  It is tempting to do otherwise, but don’t.
  7. Don’t be afraid to ask your agency person questions.  But be patient with the process and let the actors and Director work though what the script requires.
  8. Like a ship at sea, the Director is the Captain of the shoot.  Ships only need one Captain.  So don’t Speak to the Director!
  9. Ask if you can look through the camera if there isn’t a pick up (although not having a video pick up seems a little antediluvian).
  10. Bring other work for yourself to do during the shoot.  There will be boring down times and you can get a lot of work done while shots are being set up.

This tip list is not meant to be complete; however, the overall message is that you need to give your creative team room to achieve your commercial’s goals.  You are there as a resource should questions arise, not as a creative consultant.  Let them do their best for you.  If you have chosen a competent agency who has come up with a workable commercial.  And they have hired a competent production company, then you should end up with an excellent commercial.  Just have faith and Don’t Speak to the Director! until your commercial is done.

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