How To Make A Commercial: Production

How To Make A Commercial:


How To Make A Commercial: Intro & Pre-Production is an important prerequisite to this piece, so make sure you check that out.

Once you have the pre-pro in place, what happens next? Assuming you’re making a traditional commercial, and not something entirely graphics-based, this is where things get more brick-and-mortar.


Identifying who will fill what roles is incredibly important since it will ultimately determine who is responsible for what. This goes double if you’re trying to pull this off on your own, in-house. If you’re looking to pick up some experienced experts, there are lots of talented freelancers willing to take a shot at bringing your vision to life. Important on-set figures are the Director (who sees the big picture and is working to assemble it), the Director of Photography AKA the DP (who is responsible for using the camera to capture the director’s vision), the Art Director (who handles sets and costumes), the Audio Tech (who takes care of all sound equipment), Grips, Gaffers, Assistant Directors, and Producers.


Like a script, storyboarding explores narrative and direction. What happens in your commercial, and from what perspective? Which images create the right energy? How are they strung together? Sometimes storyboarding and scripting can be interchangeable, if you do it right, but they will also often inform one another.


Before you get to “Action!” somebody has to bring the camera and lights. If you don’t have what you need, there are plenty of rental shops, which is usually a better option than spending several thousand dollars buying one lens. Yes, just the one lens is over a grand. Pick your equipment carefully, though, as it will determine the depth, color, tone, shape, and dimension of your footage.


If you’re using actors, there can be a lot to consider. The right look, the right delivery, and of course the right price point. Be prepared for long days of table reads that end with having to tell a lot of people “no.” It’s tough, but it’s the business, and it all part of getting to the one who makes you shout “yes!”

Location Scouting

The script may call for a fancy mansion balcony, but where are you going to get one? This one requires lots of researching venues (online and in-person), calling all kinds of random places looking for availability and better deals, and (maybe most importantly) acquiring permits and permissions for filming in certain locations. This last one can be the difference between a squeaky-clean commercial and a ticking lawsuit timebomb.


Now take all that, assemble it all together, and you’re ready to roll some film (or capture cards. Whichever). The best advice for you is, if you’ve hired the right people, get out of their way! Fill out your shot list, leave a little room for creativity, and have fun. Making art is supposed to be fun.

Now, once that’s all done, you can move on to the final stage, Post-Production.

If you’re looking for more resources as you branch out into video marketing, be sure to check out our Research Page for our yearly guides, our Podcast Page for weekly news, and our Vlogs for more topical videos.

Hunter Smith