The Deseret Industry television spots were fun to work on.
I really hope to impart any tid bits of wisdom to anyone budding creative who takes the time to read these posts. I am learning just like the next guy, and I always say that we are all “pretending” to a degree in our careers – modeling roles – learning as we go, this is especially true in the world of storytelling. Some have just dared to pretend a bit more than others. I have so much more to learn, and much more to experience to master my craft, especially when it comes to the 30 second universe.
Recently, I have been very aware of the craft of storytelling, not necessarily gimmicky film making techniques, but tried, true and tested principles within the craft of telling a good visual story in a short amount of time and with as few words and shots as possible. It’s hard to do no matter the topic and length, and comedy is always a challenge. I’m not quite sure I’m very good at it just yet, but it gives me something to improve upon and work at.
A few things I learned from doing this particular spot is of course the ageless lesson of preparation is everything! Story beats, boards, and even as @ZachSynder suggests, film yourself acting out the beats and cut it together.
These DI TV Spot scripts were not written in a traditional script format, which many ad agencies tend to do. It was more of a conceptual script rather than a shooting script – in paragraph format.
It is essential to first get your script in a form that you can then breakdown as a producer and as a director. And both roles obviously break down the script with two very different sets of eyes.
As a director, breaking down the beats and timing in order to tell a clear narrative in 30 second sounds pretty simple. But I am used to shooting a lot – rather a ton of angles, a lot of takes, and a lot of variations. But I’ve learned, that in 30 second spots you have to be careful, simply because there is really only screen time for the essential of your story. So unless you have the luxury to subtract an essential story beat and replace it with an off-the-wall improve moment, it’s probably best to work all that out in the script and storyboard – there just isn’t a whole lot of time for improve in a 30 second spot.
I’m a sucker for characters to show their unique colors, and that typically takes play time on screen or simplification of shots and amplifying the set, costume, and production design. I did cut a 45 second version of this that has more of the improve we worked on, which I think is funny, but again I couldn’t fit into the 30-second spot – you have to be precise! I thought it was better than the 30-second spot – but that was until I cut the 20-second version, which really packs the best punch.
Next time, I’ll doubly make sure I have all my 30-seconds accounted for in storyboard form, and ensure I isolate the one dramatic or comedic beat that defines the spot and aids the reveal, I’ll even get into character and act it out myself – Zach Synder style – and let things sink in deep to work out the kinks before we go into production.
- Producers: C.S. Clark & James Rutherford
- Creative Team/Writers: BonnComm, Johnathan Wright
- Director: C.S. Clark
- Director of Photography: Munn Powell
- Editors: C.S. Clark, Johnathan Wright
- Colorists: Trevor Macdonald, C.S. Clark
- Edited in Final Cut Pro X
- Color Grade: Davinci Resolve
- Shot on Sony F55