From the brief to the screen (Part 2)

6 March 2019
By : Felipe Restrepo

The Exciting Process of Producing a Commercial

We don’t get to take shortcuts when shooting a commercial, so if you missed Part 1 and want the full experience, be sure to click here and give it a read.

As for those of you that did read last week’s article, you know it’s time to begin production for the actual commercial! To start, we need to find who would be best suited to bring the idea to life. Most creative shops in this phase will start by looking for a production company. Fortunately, our agency already has an internal production team, so we let them take lead for this process.

After evaluating a lot of different directors and production studios’ reels, we pre-select the final list. This will consist of three selections to present their quotes (that are aligned with budgets previously agreed upon by client) and creative approaches to make the idea tangible. Creative and Production teams work very closely to define expectations, align the tone of the campaign, understand the details in the storytelling, and then present the Director’s approach to the client. It’s exciting to see how the idea on paper comes to life. The dream of a visionary team begins to take shape and we finally get a glimpse of how it will look on TV.


reel making a tv commercial process pm3 agency

Once the agency and the production company have narrowed down all the details, it’s time to sit together with the whole crew. The crew is comprised of the: agency, production company, wardrobe director, art director, and of course, the client, to discuss the final plan to shoot before we fire up the first camera. As fun as it is to be on set, it’s also pertinent to make sure everything is well planned, and any potential setbacks are anticipated and rectified. By doing so, no time (money) will be wasted and all moving parts will work in unison to produce a polished shoot.

And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for – Lights, camera, and action! It’s time to shoot! Everybody braces themselves, because days on set will be grueling regardless of how much planning has been done. There will usually be many takes to get the best performance out of each actor, including the talent, depending on the complexity of the commercials. Months of work during preproduction also makes a huge impact on these days. It’s exciting. It’s stressful. But nevertheless, it’s always rewarding to see the concept come to life.

After the shoot is wrapped (finished), the production team will partner up again with creative to go into editing, dubbing, and musical production. Many of these aspects have already been discussed with the client, but the creative process is still ON! Changes to the original vision of the commercial are inevitable, so client presentations for approvals will be necessary.

Post-production is one of the most rewarding moments for the entire process. This is where all the different scenes become assembled and are then followed by the initial proposal approved between the agency and the client. Now that all the pieces of the puzzle have finally come together, we must select the best takes from several options to build the final cut. This is the step that really brings the last bit of magic to the project.

It’s time to hold your breath though, because now we have to get the last approvals from the client, make the changes necessary, and enjoy the effect of the commercials on the target audience.

So, I ask you, does 2,000 hours of work from one creative still sound like too much? Could it be more? Either way, thanks for following along and I hope this gives you a new appreciation for ‘short’ commercials.


So, I ask you, does 2,000 hours of work from one creative still sound like too much?


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