You Have a Script? Okay. . .
Most of the shoots we do are pretty straight forward, especially for commercials: we go to a client’s location with our gear, we do some coverage shots, interview the client, shoot the interview, and go back to our studio to cut. The clients generally don’t want a big production out of it,, but they understand the value of video advertising and call us to do it. Every once in a while, the client has artistic input to share. They might have a short script they want incorporated, but that’s rare: usually our clients know they want advertisement or an instructional video mad,e have a set of points they want covered in the video, and leave the rest up to us. Since we’ve done this sort of thing more times than we can actually count at this point, we’ve figured out a good set of questions to ask to get a general idea of what we need to get a good short together.
Occasionally a client calls up and has an idea for a story, and our challenge will be to both accommodate that story and make sure that, in the case of a shoot for a commercial, we can both highlight their business and incorporate their story a the same time.. This was the case with a recent shoot we had late last month: we got a call from a major website to do a commercial for a small electrician company in the Philadelphia area. We get to the site and one of the client’s company vans is out front. The owner’s about thirty, wiry and energetic. There’s a guy next to him– a little taller, nervous smile on his face. The owner tells us that he has two locations picked out and thinks the script is in good shape. Then we figured out why the taller guy was nervous: he was going to be in the commercial and he didn’t know if he could remember his lines.
Our clients don’t normally have scripts for their commercials. Normally, we just ask them a few leading questions, get them to say their slogan for the camera, and move on. With this particular shoot, the client wanted something unique, and we were happy to oblige him. It’s a nice change of pace to simply be able to focus on shots and editing sometimes, rather than to have to pull a quick story out of the client on top of everything else. As for that nervous electrician– thrust intot he limelight on what we could only have guessed was two days’ notice– he ended up being relaxed enough at the end of the shoot that we’re calling him the next time we need an actor.