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