Monthly Archives: June 2010

How To Make a Commercial, Part 2

For Steps 1-3, please see How To Make a Commercial, Part 1

Step 4: Director’s Calls

If a director thinks your spot is cool, and isn’t off shooting something else, and hasn’t heard any rumors about how you’re hard to work with, his producer calls our producer and they set up a time that we can all talk. We usually shoot to bid three directors, which means we have at least three phone calls. They are usually about an hour long. We chit chat, Lindsey and I share probably too much personal information, we talk through our – to quote our account sup – “vision” for the spot, they ask a bunch of questions, and we generally see whether the director sees what we see and if we “click” or not. Very vague things based mostly on intuition, but super important nonetheless. What the directors don’t know is that very often, lali is lying on the floor on speaker phone covered by dogs. Sometimes we have in person meetings. Drawback: no lying on the floor. Bonus: they always bring food.


Step 5: Review Treatments

In a couple days, directors send back treatments for the agency to review. Usually, it’s a PDF with pretty pictures and lots of words. We’ve gotten mood boards, shooting boards, flash videos, animation tests and more sometimes. The treatment will show you if we’re on the same page (literally) – agency and director – and how much they can add to the idea. If a director sends you back an embellished version of the treatment you showed him, he’s probably not the guy. If he shows you something that’s out of left field and it makes you uneasy, he’s probably not the guy. If he shows you something that’s out of left field but it makes you kind of excited, he might be the guy. You hire him to make your spot better. Otherwise, lali would be shooting their own commercials.

Either way, they should bring something new, interesting and exciting. And then you talk about it. And talk about it some more, with some other people, like account. But we’ll skip that part because it’s far less interesting.

Step 6: Award

La and li do a bunch of assessing their guts and their minds, and pick a favorite. And the producers go off and work out numbers for a couple days (lali knows nothing about that process and has no desire to know anything about that process and so therefore will not write about it) and hopefully everything comes in under(ish) budget, and can be done (practically) over night.

We review music companies, special effects companies, editors and DPs, come up with a big document to share with the client, and hope they agree with our recommend. If our recommend also happens to be the least expensive, they’ll usually agree. Then I think they sign a big check and we get ready to officially begin production.

Stay tuned for what happens next!

xo, la



Filed under lali, lali ads

check out our lucky TOMS

Some of you may remember that la and I recently purchased matching TOMS. And whaddya know, we were both wearing them today! I think they might be lucky, because we had a pretty killer meeting with the client this afternoon. Fingers crossed you’ll be seeing some of our new spots and whatnot this football season :)

xo, li


Filed under lali

Best Chiat Day Ever

What could I be shooting on a yellow syc?

Another hint. There are liver treats, jangling tags and howls in the distance.

You got it. It’s Pedigree casting day and I couldn’t be more stoked. Oh, except that li is off getting a marriage license. As if that was more important than pups…
If she were here it would be the Best Chiat Day Ever Ever.

Stay tuned for (maybe!) some screen tests from Samson and Penny!




Filed under lali, lali music


So… in between shoe shopping at lunch (see la’s new TOMS / see li’s new TOMS) and trying on each other’s lipstick (we both looked silly) lali spent all day Tuesday concepting ideas for Heisman. We’ll know by tomorrow afternoon if we can hack it as college football aficionados.

One thing is for sure, we aren’t totally positive how to do the pose. And judging by the looks we got from serious creative directors passing by, maybe we should act our age (not our shoe size) around the office.


Filed under lali

How To Make a Commercial, Part 1

Step 1: Sell Something

This may be the hardest step.

For every one television commercial idea that gets – as we call it – “bought” (which means both you and your partner, your creative director(s), your executive creative director, your low level clients, your higher level clients, your CMO, and God himself all have to think it’s reasonably good) – there are a hundred others written in notebooks, texted at dinner, dreamed up in the shower or while falling asleep, or forgotten because you went to the dog park to concept and couldn’t remember every idea you came up with while there.

We won’t even get into the art of the “sell.” That deserves its own how-to. It’s a mystery we can’t even begin to understand, much less recount.

Step 2: Search for a Director

This may seem easy. Hire someone and get them to do all the work for you! But that means if you actually do hire someone to do all the work for you, they’d better be darn good. And even though they’re eventually going to make a lot of the decisions and sprinkle their own magic, you still have to have a POV on every little detail, and for a few days straight everyone bombards you with questions like “how do you see this?” “what color should that be?” and “wait, explain your vision again…?” and you just hope that your answers will make everyone (including yourself) happy in the end. It’s weird because you actually had 100 other ideas, and, to be honest, never gave this particular one much thought…

This is where a producer steps in. You send them your script and storyboards, and they send you back a bunch of links to director’s reels (thank goodness we don’t have to lock ourselves in a room with a bunch of DVDs, as I imagine people once had to do). You watch them, and decide who will make your spot brilliant. Watching reels is more time consuming than you’d think, because you can’t really fast forward. It’s just not fair to them!

Then, if you’re la, you have to write and rewrite the copy to make sure it’s factual enough for the clients but cool enough for Spike Jonze. Meanwhile, if you’re li, you have to make 50 million versions of the same PDF, all in an effort to explain your ideas to someone you’ve never met who is, most likely, much cooler than you and who you’d really like to impress. Once everyone agrees, you send it off and wait.

Step 3: Wait

This part is like dating on eharmony… you just have to hope someone you like likes you back, and then you can make beautiful music together. That’s where we are right now… but we’ll keep you posted!

xo, la (from a plane headed to Cincinnati) and li

To see Steps 4-6, please see How To Make a Commercial, Part 2


Filed under lali ads

l and l or I and I? It looks the same, muses Chris Adams

Sometimes we worry that we annoy, irritate, frustrate or all of the above our creative director. He’s a man of few words and many decisions, and lali seems to be quite the opposite. So when he sends us emails making fun of our quirks, it makes us happy. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’re not still annoying…

Reference the above video as a companion to below email from CD Chris Adams.

Hope our creative performance the next weeks will prove our oneness with god. If not, lali will just have to listen to more reggae.

xo chris,


Filed under lali bosses

Is it real? Or does Chase have really good photoshopping skills?

As we’ve blogged about earlier, our nickname – “lali” – was inspired by the first syllables of our names. However, when we googled “lali” we found that there was another, coincidental metaphor in the shape of a girl born with two heads, connected by one brain. Seems apt, no?

For the original lali, click here.

For this lali, see here:

Thanks Chase Madrid, art director at TBWA\Chiat\Day, lali friend, and owner of many fedoras, for your truly inspiring photoshopping skills. We’re glad your training as a designer could come in handy for our blog!

xo Chase,
love, la and li


Filed under lali friends