LIBRARY: Tutorials Reviews Interviews Editorials Features Business Authors RSS Feed

Tips for Business and Commercial Production Success

COW Library : Business & Marketing Tutorials : Winston Cely : Tips for Business and Commercial Production Success
Commercial Production Article from The Creative COW Magazine


Creative COW Magazine presents - Tips for Business and Commercial Production Success



Winston CelyWinston Cely
Cambria California, USA

©2007 Winston Cely and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.

Article Focus:

Are your spots persuasive enough? Operators are standing by to tell you! Tips for business and commercial production success - cash generating secrets proven in the fire! In this article from the Creative COW Magazine learn how to get a direct response from your work.


If it's on TV and has a phone number, it's direct response advertising. Nothing else can tell you so quickly and accurately whether your production is working in the real world. When you tell someone to "Call Now!", it won't take long to find out if they do.

Show-length or "long form" direct response (DR) advertising spots are also called infomercials, but the same core element is there in 30 minute spots and 30 second spots: a call to action that people either respond to - or don't.

This is much different than traditional commercials, or "image" advertising, where the goal is often general brand building and reinforcement. If there's a call to action, it's "soon" rather than "now."

Testing the two kinds of commercials also shows big differences. Research for image advertising measures feelings: how people feel about a spot, how it makes them feel about the product. DR research measures actions: do people call?


TEST MARKETING

Media buyers have spent years of experience to know which markets will be best to test what you've created. They identify the markets, buy the time, and start airing the show. If the response goes well, the only thing left to do is create the cut downs: 60, 30, 15 and 10 second spots.

If the original 30-minute spots test poorly, you start over. You and your team put your heads together for new ideas, create a new edit, and test again. You do it over and over until you get a winning spot.

Smaller clients have less room to test, and larger clients haven't always budgeted money for complete testing. But they've paid for your expertise, and you're still expected to deliver.

Neither you nor the client has any question about whether or not you've succeeded. It's all in the response.

Working under this kind of pressure, I've learned some of what it takes for your business to succeed: close contact with the client, planning, and patience.


DIRECT CLIENT CONTACT

I've worked with a wide range of clients. Recent ones include The Food Saver (the vacuum packaging machine for your food), Space Bag (the compressible clothing bags) and insurance companies like Lifewise of Washington.

The relationships can vary as much as the products: from warm enough to go out and get a couple beers after a successful meeting, to distant and strict. But no matter what the relationship is, I almost always have a direct relationship with them.

This might be the biggest difference between DR advertising and image advertising. An image spot often begins with a client hiring an ad firm to come up with an entire campaign. Everything is signed off on before one frame of footage is shot.

In DR, the client is much more involved in all phases of development, from start to finish. The producer and sometimes the director will also be closely involved, leading meetings and conference calls, but the client typically has the most influence on the final edit

Working so closely with the client, you hear back directly from them, not an agency. If it goes well, it's a great feeling to know how much they appreciate your hard work. You also get their wrath most directly when something doesn't go right.

Communication is the name of the game, but it can be difficult. With so many people directly involved, under such pressure to produce concrete results, there are many opportunities for wires to get crossed. Sending, receiving, and digesting conversations across the whole team requires patience, but leads to a much more rewarding experience for everyone.


DESIGN

It's important to have some type of design background. Many times you're working with clients who have a new product, and they need your help to build that brand from the ground up.

There have been plenty of times where the client didn't even have a logo before they came to us. It fell on me and my producer to come up with some concept or logo to get us at least through the first round of audience testing.

That's why I studied art history, and not film or editing. By the time it came to make the decision, I'd already been tinkering with FCP and decided that learning how to push buttons is the easy part.

I felt it was more important to learn the history of art, and to actually create art in more "classical" ways before I could go out and use new methods to do it. (I especially enjoy painting and arc welding.) I could then become more confident in my creative choices, and my reasons for making them.

Many of the creative choices in editing revolve around titles. As I started doing infomercials, there was a lot more leeway in how titles could look than the documentary work I'd done before.

Documentaries tell a story, but advertising sells a story. It's a small difference but hugely important. DR requires higher-impact titles, and lots of them.


RULES OF DIRECT RESPONSE

Here are the most important rules for creating high direct response:

  • Titles must be easy to read.
  • Titles should only add to the pictures, not take attention away from them, and
  • Titles should match the VO as closely as possible.


These rules are true for every form of advertising or course, and even more so when you're looking for immediate action. If you your work needs to persuade not just tell stories but SELL stories start here.

As with everything there can be exceptions, but never go for the exception before at least testing the rule.


WORKING WITH HD AND SD

HD makes planning and communication especially important - not just with the client, but with the people duplicating and airing your show. If you don't know the fundamentals of setting up your project, you'll be dead in the water and missing deadlines before you even get started.

For example, we shoot DVCAM, the most flexible and robust SD format I've ever encountered. But no dub house can have every kind of deck. Most use DigiBeta, which is what we send out from our DVCAM masters.

HD is even more complicated. We use the Panasonic Varicam for almost all of our HD shooting, but the expected delivery format is HDCAM. You can't take this for granted, though. Most stations only have one HD deck, and the format is the format. Even before that, you have to know their preferred frame size, 720 or 1080.

This can change on a project by project basis, so pre-planning is critical.

We shoot more and more of our long form and short form spots in HD, even for SD delivery. Our recent Space Bag shows were delivered in full HD/widescreen and as DR gains more respect as mainstream advertising, and the budgets rise, you'll see HD delivery more often.

Before Space Bag, we've always downconverted in post, where we either set up an SD sequence and letterbox the HD footage, or center cut the finished HD spot. Obviously, if we center cut, we take into account the different title safe zones, and adjust accordingly during the edit.

Even if you're delivering widescreen video for both HD and SD, and have created all your text and graphics to fit the widescreen title safe, the black bars at the top and bottom of the SD frame mean that your text and graphics will shrink relative to widescreen playback size. Graphics are sometimes fine, but text is often not.

In any case, we always make a DVCPRO HD master both with and without titles, an SD DigiBeta master, and an SD DVCAM master. We dupe the DigiBeta and send that to the dub house for broadcast delivery, and we keep the DVCAM for in-house use. This is what we use for web video and SD DVDs.

We set up all this redundancy from the beginning so that we aren't crushed for time later on. Better to be prepared for anything up front than to scramble at the end.


DIRECT RESPONSE

Anyone can push buttons in Final Cut Pro. That's the easy part. The truth is that editing is only a fraction of what's involved in building a successful business.

Dropping your prices and giving in to your clients' every whim has nothing to do with it. What sets you apart and sets you up to succeed is knowing how to deal directly with the client, having the foresight to plan ahead carefully, and the patience to see it through.

If you can present yourself as a true professional, your short term clients will turn into long term ones. Sometimes, they'll even turn into friends. In this business that can mean a lot, financially and otherwise.

And believe me, if you don't leave a good impression with the client, no matter how nice the finished edit turns out, they'll look elsewhere in the future.

Direct response advertising is a tough field to work in. On top of all the other challenges I've talked about here, you've still got to face the biggest obstacle of all: people's preconceptions that if it's for sale on TV, it's crap. If you can't get past that, you can't succeed. Persuasion is everything. But when those phones start ringing right after, or even during a spot that you've done, you know all your hard work has paid off. It can be incredibly rewarding, and with communication, planning and patience, it can pay well too.

So call now!


BulovaBulova The First Paid TV Spot

The first paid commercial ever aired was broadcast at 2:29pm on July 1, 1941, when NBC affiliate WNBT (now WNBC) aired a 20-second ad for the Bulova Watch Company. Bulova paid $9 for the commercial that aired just before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies. It showed a Bulova watch over a map of the U.S., and featured a voiceover that recited the company's slogan: "America runs on Bulova time!"



Winston Cely Winston Cely
Greenwood, South Carolina USA

Winston Cely is the owner of Della St. Media in Greenwood, SC. He was inspired to get into this business by his parents, working as an assisistant on his father's productions. He graduated with a degree in Studio Art, and, like many of the working pros you will find in the Creative COW forums, he strongly recommends studying something besides editing or computer graphics. He most regularly visits the COW's Final Cut Pro, Motion and DVD Studio Pro forums, and drops in on the AJA Kona forum now and again.



Find more great Creative COW Magazine articles by signing up for the complimentary Creative COW Magazine.


Related Articles / Tutorials:
Business & Marketing
12 Things I Know About Business at 55 That I Wish I'd Known at 25

12 Things I Know About Business at 55 That I Wish I'd Known at 25

12 Things I Know About Business at 55 That I Wish Id Known at 25 appeared in Creative COW Magazine and was one of our most popular articles. It is a true timeless classic in which COW leader, contributing editor, and Senior Business Adviser to Creative COW, Nick Griffin shares wisdom he's learned the hard way in over 30 years in business. His experience will help you to avoid mistakes, manage clients, and prepare yourself to achieve your greatest success.

Editorial, Feature, Business
Nick Griffin
Business & Marketing
How TV Spot Strategies Come Into Being

How TV Spot Strategies Come Into Being

Nick Griffin has worked with a wide range of clients both national and international. He has worked in a wide range of capacities for his clients and he is successful because he knows how to listen and how to function as a part of a team, even when he's the guy with all the responsibility. In this article he shares some of the basics of building a successful strategy from which strong campaigns can be built.


Nick Griffin
Business & Marketing
Seven Ways to Make Your Own Luck in The Film Industry

Seven Ways to Make Your Own Luck in The Film Industry

HBO Director of Workflow, post-house founder, owner of the first two RED cameras, founder and developer of Endcrawl, technologist, futurist, educator, and more: John 'Pliny' Eremic, is regularly asked for career advice in the field of filmmaking. Step One, he says, is to consider a new job. There's much more of course, delivered with Pliny's peerless wit, directness, and insight. Whether you're just starting in the business, or looking to break through to the next level, you won't want to miss this guide to making your own luck.

Feature
John 'Pliny' Eremic
Business & Marketing
Creative COW Turns 15! A Celebration of Being Uncool

Creative COW Turns 15! A Celebration of Being Uncool

15 years is a long time on the internet! Travel back with us to the days before YouTube, social media, digital cinema, smartphones, iPods and all the rest, back to the founding of Creative COW by Ronald & Kathlyn Lindeboom in April 2001. Join us for an insider's look at the earliest days of the professional digital video revolution, all the way through the events that have shaped the world's largest community of media professionals, right here at Creative COW.

Editorial, Feature
Tim Wilson
Business & Marketing
7 Customer Service Rules for Better Post Production

7 Customer Service Rules for Better Post Production

Dealing with people is industry-agnostic, but in an industry as competitive as ours, repeat business is everything -- and your clients are more likely to return to you if your customer service skills are great. Here are some customer service tips that are especially helpful for post production.

Feature
Kylee Peña
Business & Marketing
An Odd Delight: A Corporate Editor's Leap Into Broadcast

An Odd Delight: A Corporate Editor's Leap Into Broadcast

Creative COW Contributing Editor Kylee Wall moved from Indianapolis to Atlanta as part of a move from corporate video into broadcast. Sure, some things stayed the same, but so much more was so different -- a new place to live, a new kind of workspace, new kinds of projects, AND TAPE -- that transitioning to a new NLE in Adobe Premiere Creative Cloud was the least of it. Certainly nothing compared to a fever of 104 that took her out for most of her first week. It's a remarkable tale that Kylee tells as only she can.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Kylee Peña
Business & Marketing
Women In Post Join Forces

Women In Post Join Forces

Women in Post is a new HPA (Hollywood Post Alliance) committee formed by and for a decidedly minority group in the world of film/TV high technology. After three meetings -- two of them successful round table discussions, featuring accomplished women in the industry -- the group is expanding its plans to offer networking, mentoring and camaraderie and more.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
Business & Marketing
Suck It Up, Buttercup

Suck It Up, Buttercup

The Best Excuses from New or Underemployed Filmmakers and Freelancers: "You've really really got to stop being lazy and making excuses for not getting what you want," says Creative COW Contributing Editor Kylee Wall. "Seriously. It's sad and it makes me sad for you. So sad in fact, that I've created this BEST OF compilation of stupid excuses. It's perhaps a little more brash than my usual fare. Don't mistake this for arrogance. I'm young and stupid too, but I'm still allowed to almost rant. Pseudo-rant. Pretend I made you cookies and you're eating them as you read this."

Editorial, Feature
Kylee Peña
Business & Marketing
Get Hired! Be Professional and Pay Attention to Detail

Get Hired! Be Professional and Pay Attention to Detail

"As technology gets better, communications skills seem to get worse." So says Creative COW leader and Contributing Editor Walter Biscardi, one of the industry's most respected business owners. "The same talented people who can create amazing things on screen have absolutely no idea how to represent themselves via a resume or online demo. Most of what I'm about to say seems to be common sense, but apparently it isn't." You definitely don't want to miss this potentially career-changing advice from an industry luminary!

Editorial, Feature
Walter Biscardi
Business & Marketing
The Heroism of Joyful Creativity

The Heroism of Joyful Creativity

I'm constantly inspired by the pleasure and the pride that the people in Creative COW Magazine take in doing the right things the right way, in always trying to improve, and always keeping their eyes peeled for new possibilities. I aspire to do my own work as creatively and joyfully as they do.

Editorial
Tim Wilson
MORE
© 2016 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]