How to Make a Commercial Video – New Curriculum

Posted on: by Michael Tringe

We’re excited to announce our upcoming course series “Producing the Digital Commercial” (aka how to make a commercial video) as part of our new working in digital entertainment track. So for any filmmakers or YouTubers looking to shoot their first spec ad to seasoned filmmakers starting their own production companies aiming to work with brands, our teachers are giving you the knowledge and tools you need.

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The beginner course “How to Make a Digital Spec Commercial” will be taught by Todd Wiseman (NYU) who is at the helm of Hayden5 and ManwithaCam.

The intermediate course “How to Get Paid Work Making Digital Commercials” will be taught by Garrett Johnson, a StudioNow filmmaker.

The advanced course “How to Grow Your Own Production Co” will be taught by commercial producer Sean Michael Smith (USC MFA).

Please let us know what you think of the outlines in the comments below as we’d love to gather your feedback and questions and include them into the courses!

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BEGINNERS – HOW TO MAKE YOUR FIRST DIGITAL SPEC COMMERCIAL (Todd Wiseman)

INTRO: This course will outline how to get started. Creating a few ‘on-spec’ projects will prove you have the chops to get real work.
– What is a digital spec commercial and how can it help me? (What makes digital different from TV etc? — creative freedom / viral / quick attention grabber / shareable, etc.)

CHAPTER 1: GETTING STARTED WITH A CONCEPT
Ep. 1-1: Find your voice. Learn how directing styles are put in boxes, and choose one that fits you best.
Ep. 1-2: Pick a brand. Large or small, you should create an ad that relates to an existing company.
Ep. 1-3: Creative. Writing the ad is the most important part of the process.
Ep. 1-4: Script. – How should I write my script?

CHAPTER 2: PREPPING THE PROJECT (Pre-Production. A diligent pre-production will allow for a bullet-proof shoot. Casting, Locations, Equipment tips.)
Ep. 2-1: How to Prep (in general for a commercial project to avoid extra work later)
Ep. 2-2: How to scout the right locations?
Ep. 2-3: How to cast?
Ep. 2-4: How to rent equipment on a budget?

CHAPTER 3. MAKING THE PROJECT
Ep. 3-1: Production.
Ep. 3-2: Directing. – How to direct the commercial?
Ep. 3-3: Post Production.

BONUS: Promoting your spec ad. How to get noticed.

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INTERMEDIATE – HOW TO GET PAID WORK MAKING DIGITAL COMMERCIALS (Garrett Johnson)

INTRO: Who I am and how will I help you get paid work making digital commercials

CHAPTER 1: FINDING WORK/GETTING NEW JOBS
Ep. 1-1: What’s the job of a freelancer?
Ep. 1-2: Do I need previous work or a demo reel? Should I do pro-bono to start out?
Ep. 1-3: Where do I find work?
Ep. 1-4: How much should I charge? How much time should I take?
Ep. 1-5: How do I pitch my idea and quote to the client?
Ep. 1-6: Sealing the deal – Do I need a simple contract and where do I find one?

CHAPTER 2: GETTING THE JOB DONE
Ep. 2-1: What equipment is necessary? What equipment is recommended?
Ep. 2-2: How do I prep the client?
Ep. 2-3: What do I do when I get to set?
Ep. 2-4: What are the best ways to communicate the vision of a project with a client?
Ep. 2-5: How do I direct the client?
Ep. 2-6: How do I do a great job?

CHAPTER 3: COMPLETING THE JOB
Ep. 3-1: How many revisions should I allow?
Ep. 3-2: How should I handle music licenses?
Ep. 3-3: How do I handle difficult clients?
Ep. 3-4: What’s the best way to deliver the product?
Ep. 3-5: How long should it take to deliver the product?
Ep. 3-:6 How do you build a client base?
Ep. 3-: How to set and increase your rates to make more money?
*Investing in my business

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ADVANCED – HOW TO GROW YOUR OWN PRODUCTION COMPANY (Sean Michael Smith)

CHAPTER 1: WORKING WITH BIG CLIENTS (BRANDS/AGENCIES) – BASIC BUSINESS PRACTICES?
Ep. 1-1: Production Co vs Freelancer
Ep. 1-2: Understanding the client’s need?
Ep. 1-3: Realistic rates to charge?
Ep. 1-4: Budgeting effectively?
Ep. 1-5: Is it better to rent or purchase equipment?
Ep. 1-6: Content for clients?

CHAPTER 2: DELIVERING THE JOB – EXECUTING THE PROJECT
Ep. 2-1: Why are images vital in conveying an idea to an agency or client?
Ep. 2-2: Why are treatments and other pre-visualization tools important?
Ep. 2-3: How do you prep for a commercial?
Ep. 2-4: Cost effective execution of commercials.
Ep. 2-5: How do you quality control?

Chapter 3: GOING FROM FREELANCER TO “GO-TO” PRODUCTION CO.
Ep. 3-1: Repeat customers?
Ep. 3-2: Growing from individual freelance to owning your own production company?
Ep. 3-3: How important is sub-contracting?

We’d love to hear your feedback on our preliminary outlines for “Producing the Digital Commercial” (aka How to Make a Commercial Video) – so please let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Written by Michael Tringe

Mike Tringe earned his MFA in Film Production from USC and has worked at Creative Artists Agency Film Sales (Paranormal Activity, Black Swan), Vuguru, Michael Eisner's multi-platform studio, (The Booth at the End (Hulu), Don't Ask, Don't Tell (Snag), Little Women Big Cars (AOL), and Blip Networks (300 million monthly views, Smosh, Annoying Orange, Nostalgia Critic).

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