Hello everyone! My name is Thierry. I recently started interning at Motionary, and today we’re going to give you a quick overview of the five stages of making a commercial film.
The first stage in making a commercial film is development. Development starts with the client giving you a briefing about the project. When a client gives you their briefing, even if it’s perfect, we should be ready with some questions to better understand what the client wants and to further develop the client’s ideas. Like this we will know exactly what they’re looking for. If we don’t do that, the clients idea of the film may be different than ours. This can lead to problems later on. To avoid this, we will for sure want to ask them these questions if they’re not already answered in the briefing. What is the goal the commercial film should achieve? Who’s the target audience? What is the budget? What is the style of the commercial film you’re going for? Is it a Super Bowl style, humour, short, lots of cuts, animation and so forth. After some very tough negotiations with your client and having all the questions answered, you will be in good shape to move to the next step.
Pre-Production can be very fun, but it can also be very strenuous work. Back when I was at university, I hated doing budget breakdowns because they are so much math and work. Let’s be honest, no one likes to do math apart from people who work in accounting. Other than that, I loved writing scripts, doing storyboards, mood boards, doing location scouting, rehearsals, costumes, shot lists, and of course, a planned out care plan. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure to have a clear call sheet and shot deck, which is a mix of a shot list and storyboard. We especially want to show the gaffer and cinematographer these documents to coordinate with one another about the lighting and the shot style. In addition, we will be able to discuss how much time we have for each scene and what equipment we will need to achieve the desired look. Like this, we will be well prepared for when it’s production day.
Especially on smaller productions, it’s important for someone to be the designated timekeeper on set. If you have an AD or script supervisor, it’s always a good idea to give them a copy of the annotated script, shot list and shooting schedule beforehand. They will keep you on time because let’s be honest, somehow every production falls behind schedule. Further, by having clear roles assigned at the start of production for each crew member, you will be on good track to finish the production on time. Production can also be used to learn from other creative filmmakers. Looking back on my last commercial shoot with Motionary, I was assisting a very experienced gaffer. Working with him, I was able to learn lots of lighting tips and tricks during production, such as using multiple small mirrors to fully control where the light bounces onto the protagonist and specific areas of the set. If everything has been planned well, production is a lot of fun and usually the best part of a project. Back when I was shooting my TV series and short films at university, instead of going out on Fridays, the cast, crew and myself would wake up early on Saturday and shoot the whole day until night. Some of us, as you would at university, would still go out on Fridays, often waking up with certain regrets on Saturday morning. It’s completely up to you how you prepare for your big production. At Motionary, we always organise the equipment we will need for a shoot the prior week, so that on production day we can simply load our equipment into the truck and drive off to set.
Post-Production is all about editing, feedback from the client, editing, feedback from the client, editing, feedback from the clients, and editing and feedback from the client. It is completely normal to be in such a feedback loop. There’s always feedback that the client has, which is a good thing because it will improve the film. It may be they want to see the product more, or they want to use a different take in a specific scene. It is important that we stay open to this kind of feedback and don’t get too defensive of our work. This is all part of the game we play in the industry. Additionally, you will want to have an organised workflow while editing. At Motionary, we use a cloud organisation system which backs up our footage and makes it easily accessible for remote work. With this system, you won’t lose too much time searching for the right clip and the project can seemingly be transitioned from one editor to the other without much confusion.
Distribution is usually fully done by the client. However, the client will likely need different lengths and aspect ratios of their commercial. This is dependent on if the film is shown in the cinema, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and so forth. In this stage, we continue working with the client on supplying these different versions of the commercial.
That will be all. If you have any questions or want clarifications on specific topics, feel free to let us know!