Film School Friday – Filming a Commercial

Filming a Commercial Episode Summary

In this weeks episode of Film School Friday, Corey and Bill are talking about some things consider if you want to start producing commercial content for other businesses.

Filming a Commercial Episode Notes

In this weeks episode of Film School Friday, Corey and Bill are talking about some things consider if you want to start producing commercial content for other businesses.

Filming a Commercial Links

Get $20 off your first ShareGrid rental

Looking for more episodes? Check here

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thank you.

Get In Touch

Follow In Focus Podcast and our hosts on Instagram: @infocuspod, @austinallen, and @bill.cornelius.

Media and other inquiries, please email

Filming a Commercial Transcript

Corey Allen  00:04

Welcome to Film School Friday. I’m Corey, I’m Bill. And together,

Bill Cornelius  00:09

we host the infocus podcast, Film School Fridays,

Corey Allen  00:13

Film School Friday is our special weekly episode where we try to pass along. Just a little bit of our wisdom,

Bill Cornelius  00:20

knowledge. Yeah, we’re like mentors in a way.

Corey Allen  00:24

Yeah. Let us be one us. Let us be your podcast mentors.

Bill Cornelius  00:28

Yeah. That’s up to you don’t if you don’t like it, turn it off. No, don’t do that. No, don’t do that.

Corey Allen  00:34

Don’t ever say that, again.

Bill Cornelius  00:37

At least give us a five star rating.

Corey Allen  00:39

Thank you for tuning in today. We appreciate you, Bill. Today. On today’s film, school Friday, I would like to talk about creating Commercial Content, maybe it’s a small business commercial, maybe it’s a little clip to promote some other service or goods, whatever that might be just generally speaking, like what goes into creating a commercial clip for clients.

Bill Cornelius  01:07

So much like corporate content, where, you know, these are good things that you can get into when you’re starting out. Or if you’re starting just getting into freelancing, corporate content tends to come a little easier, because there’s more of it available businesses, when it comes to making commercials and advertisements, a lot of times they’re looking for something more specific, they’re a little more budget conscious of then your corporate regular corporate content. But still, if you can get into it, it’s lucrative work.

And you can make some lasting relationships with those businesses and kind of keep on getting hired. So it’s, it’s always a good a good thing to take on. And I will say another difference too is, when it comes to advertisements, creativity is a lot of times welcome. Whereas with corporate content, it’s a little more straightforward. It can be a little dry advertising.

These are businesses that want their product to pop, they want what they’re selling to stick out, and they’re looking to you and other creatives to come up with, you know, a great treatment, a great idea that’s going to make that what they’re selling pop. And so a lot of my early work early on was was advertisements for local, little local businesses and things some I was proud of and some I will never talk about ever again. Come

Corey Allen  02:27

on. Come on, give us a scoop on just one those who

Bill Cornelius  02:31

No, no, that’s all I’m gonna say. Zack Adams, one of the one of the things that I like to cite is an advertisement I did fairly recently for Random House Penguin Random House, the book publishing company, I did a book trailer for a book that one of their authors had written Brooks Benjamin, and that it was an interesting situation, because a lot of times these big companies will, they’ll sometimes go through an agency.

And then the agency hires their people to put this advertisement together, come up with the treatment, have a few meetings, get the budget hashed out and then make it happen. In this case, a Penguin Random House basically went to the author and said, Well, we will fund this. But if you can find the person that would be great to do this. Really. Yeah. So lo and behold, the author came to me, because he had seen Hear me now and he had seen how I had directed children and the reenactments in that film.

This was a, I guess, a preteen type book called my seventh grade life in tights. So he, you know, he liked the style of my previous work and hired me and so that involved then me meeting with him, the author to get his take on what he was looking for, how do you want to sell your book, you know, what’s your vision, who are these characters, because I didn’t actually have a copy of the book, but he did give me like a document with a rundown of what the book was about and then he and I communicated quite a bit.

And that’s something I like to do, I like to do that when it comes to music videos, which we’ll get into, I like to meet with the actual creator, you know, there’s other people involved, like, you know, Random House, sometimes managers, people like that and that’s fine. But, but I ultimately, as a creative, I want to speak to another creative and really get their feeling, get their take on what what they’re looking for.

And of course, you know, you don’t ignore the manager, you don’t ignore the company that’s writing the check. You bring them in as well. There’s a balance that you strike between understanding the artists vision, and then what they want from a marketing and business standpoint.

And so you have to marry those two together as the person who’s hired and then the process is you write up a treatment, you know, after you speak with the author After you understand what the what the larger client is looking for, you write up a treatment, you present that treatment to the interested parties, you know, they sign off on it, or they, you know, say change this tweak that, what if we did this blah, blah, blah, for this book trailer, the treatment was, you know, I, again, I communicated very heavily with the author.

So the treatment was exactly what he was looking for. And I relied on him to obviously be the expert on his book. And, you know, that informed everything that informed the casting, when we went to cast the kid who was going to play the lead in this book, I asked the author, I said, What is this character look like?

Describe to me who this character is. And so we brought in a number of people and auditioned them, put them on tape, I sent that to the author, the author was like, this kid is great and so we hired that kid, and then we went out and shot the commercial, and it was a, a one day shoot, like 12 to 16 hour day.

You know, once he the author actually came out to set which that that’s sometimes something that can happen to the client shows up on set that that can get, that can be nerve racking for some people, because there are some directors I know that don’t particularly like the client watching over their shoulder. But hey, I mean, they’re paying you let him be there. It’s fine. Yeah, yeah. So author came out was super cool.

Just delighted to see his vision coming to life, which makes you feel good, because it makes you feel like, Oh, I’m, I’m nailing it, I’ve got it, I understand his vision, and I’m bringing it to life for him. Then of course, once it’s in the can, there’s the editing process, they’re sending the cut over to the author, they’re sending the cut to the larger client, in this case, Random House, getting notes, going back to the edit, tweaking those notes, tweaking the cut based on the notes, and then you know, sending it back, etc, etc, until you get a finished product.

For commercials, there’s the standard stuff you have to put in at the end, a lot of times these are normally 32nd spots, nothing any longer than that. And then you put in all the relevant information at the very end of the Logos, the website addresses, in this case, for this book, it was released dates, and it was where you can find it paperback, hardcover, etc. So that’s, that’s some other things you have to add to your cut. But you’re just you’re doing a 32nd advertisement, something quick, something creative. Get it out there. It’s very collaborative. Awesome.

Corey Allen  07:41

So like one of the common themes that I think shows up across multiple types of work, but is probably most prevalent in this commercial space, is the pre production meeting, the alignment of really the treatment. And I think, both in pre production and post production, something to be prepared for sounds like his notes from the client on Yeah. Specifically, like feedback on either tweaks to the treatment or feedback and tweaks to the edit. Right? Yes, both things to be prepared

Bill Cornelius  08:14

for. And it’s, you know, depending on the client you’re working with, that can either go really smoothly, you know, you get one note, and it’s, this is awesome. Which, you know, that happens sometimes, or you get a client who’s got a million in one notes, and you’re basically having to recut the entire thing.

And that happens to and it and it can be frustrating. It can be super frustrating. But you got to remember who’s paying the bills, you don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you. That’s right, you want to be fair, and you know, do as they ask, and a lot of times that that might that might upset your vision a little bit that you had, but, you know, again, they’re writing the check. Take a deep breath. It’ll be okay. Think of the money.

Corey Allen  09:00

Think of the money. And who

Bill Cornelius  09:03

knows, it might end up being something you’re really proud of.

Corey Allen  09:06

I’m sure what you should be proud of everything you make, even if it sucks.

Bill Cornelius  09:09

Be proud of the experience you had. Yes.

Corey Allen  09:13

Awesome. All right, Bill. As always, thank you so much for all of the wonderful insight for our listeners. Make sure you check us out on Instagram at infocus pod or online at in focus And if you liked what you heard today, go ahead and subscribe. And if you’re on Apple podcast, please leave us a rating. It helps us out a ton. It really does. And until next time,

Bill Cornelius  09:39

feed your crew.

Corey Allen  09:41

Something delicious,

Bill Cornelius  09:43

very delicious.