Look at the videos on Facebook to see what’s connecting with different audiences. “Start to understand more about the algorithm, what connects, and what makes people stop scrolling,” says Loftus. That can inform your thinking about how you approach your video production.
Get to know the brand.
Study the brand’s past TV ads or other marketing campaigns. Understand its voice and tone, or how the brand speaks to its customers, as well as the fonts, colors, and images it uses. Make sure you know the product and its practical and emotional value to customers. It also helps to find out what commercials the client likes, and what look and feel they envision for this ad, so ask for video and photo references.
The more information you have about the company, the product, and the audience, the easier it will be for you to demonstrate the value of the product and the features that differentiate it from its competitors.
What to do in pre-production.
Once you and the client have agreed on the work, strategy, and messaging, it’s time to brainstorm. Generate as many ideas as you can, and work with the client to pick the ones that align with their goals, seem likely to resonate with customers, and are achievable given the time frame and resources.
Write a script and storyboard.
You’ll make a better commercial and save yourself a lot of stress if you script all the action, dialogue, or voice-over narration before you shoot. Then create a storyboard — a series of sketches that tell the visual story of the script. Storyboarding forces you to determine exactly how you want the commercial to flow onscreen, and it can help you make sure you get the message across without wasting time.
With a working script and storyboard, you can then create a shot list. This is a detailed description of every shot you need to capture during production. “I give as much detail as I can, so when we show up on set, everybody knows why they’re doing what they’re doing,” says Stewart.
A good shot list should also tell you exactly what personnel and equipment you’ll need to make the commercial. Use it to help you figure out the types of locations you’ll need and the number of professional actors and crew, as well as the lighting, set design, props, and costumes.