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#1 JosephKHansalik

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Posted 25 May 2016 - 09:23 AM

Hi all,

Everybody knows that Ridley Scott got his start in commercials, and I was wondering if anyone with experience knows how to break into the commercial industry in the U.S. from the ground up, perhaps with some local TV stations, and any tips you might have.  Thanks!

-Joe


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#2 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 25 May 2016 - 11:24 AM

Well TV stations don't produce much if any content anymore. Commercials are made by ad agencies, who generally hire production companies to produce content. The vast majority of commercial directors are brought in based on their previous work. So breaking into commercials can be very tricky, especially if you don't have a lengthy resume. I've shot many commercials over the years, mostly on film. I got lucky, the production company I worked for, did a lot of commercial work and when they needed B-Roll stuff, where they didn't want to pay for a cinematographer, they'd let me shoot it. That eventually turned into me being the "cheaper" alternative and the next thing I knew, I was shooting commercials. Most of the stuff I did was either talking heads or products, but hey whatever it's work. I was also was going to school at the time, so it was a part time gig.

Today, the commercial industry is very competitive, more so then back in the 90's when I was doing it. Honestly, the key would be to make friends with an agency and do some spec work to prove you can do good work. It's easy to fake commercials and have a reel that looks good. Then all you gotta do is befriend an ad agency friend and if you can underbid substantially, then you're in good shape.
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#3 JosephKHansalik

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Posted 25 May 2016 - 12:00 PM

Ok, that was exactly the situational analysis I was looking for, from someone who knows.  Thank you so much.

-Joseph


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#4 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 25 May 2016 - 03:00 PM

Years ago there was a brief trend of startups that offered contests for anyone to make spots for big brands.  Poptent was a popular one.  Along with Zoopa.  These were technology firms that were shaking up the world of advertising by letting brands connect directly to content creators.  

 

It was a fantastic training ground for a writer/director cause you would get to review creative briefs from the brands directly. Crest, Intel, Century 21, Geico and tons more, and bring a spot together from concept to fine cut with absolutely NO creative notes from an agency or the brand.  haha.   Total creative freedom to fail miserably or win big.

 

You didn't get paid up front.  Only if you won. I did a lot of spots with no intention of winning but just to see what I could do and I actually won $8K from one contest for a NY Life Insurance spot I submitted.  It was never used but the spot only took a day to shoot and half a day to cut.  So it was definitely worth it and fun to make.

 

The access to the creative briefs was a huge eye opener to how large brands operate and what they look for.   The irony is, the entire TVC world is now pretty much an outdated model on life support.  Content marketing is the way forward.  Ads that don't look like ads and can't be skipped.  

 

So I don't know how much a reel of specs is gonna help you in this new market.  Can't hurt and they're definitely fun to make but I'd focus on those newer type of social media minidocs and videos meant for snapchat, instagram, etc.  Companies seem to like those.  


Edited by Michael LaVoie, 25 May 2016 - 03:10 PM.

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#5 JosephKHansalik

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Posted 25 May 2016 - 04:51 PM

OK, thanks a lot.  JKH


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