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

2 responses to “How To Make a Commercial, Part 2

  1. i have a “vision” of the two of you touring around to colleges and teaching youngsters Advertising 101. you have it dialed in, and you’re the opposite of boring.

  2. “Usually, it’s a PDF with pretty pictures and lots of words.”

    i stick to the pictures.
    fabulous mood board? yes please!
    stock image poo poo platter? no thanks.

    xo, li (art director)

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