It's Wednesday night and I hang up the phone. I got an exciting text last Friday, where my client want to talk about producing a TV ad with me. Today I find out that the ad needs to be finished in 4 days, so it can get submitted to NBC for their approval. Funny. That's impossible.
Impossibility or opportunity?
I don't think that's gonna happen. Actually I'm sure it's not, since I also learned that the client has no story line for the ad. They don't have a treatment. Actually they don't even have an idea on how they could use this ad to sell the service that they offer.
How do you react to an impossible request? I don't know anyone who can come up with a concept, write a script, produce, film and edit a commercial in 4 days.
How do you tell the client, that he's asking for the impossible, without destroying an opportunity to create something amazing?
Ignore the problem
Seems a little counter intuitive at first, but one really only has two choices here:
- Give up without trying - it's impossible anyways, right?
- Ignore the problem and pitch an idea that's so good, that the client will see the long term benefit and hire you to produce the visual content for him anyway.
Surprise, surprise, I go with option 2.
That's how I find myself on a 62' fishing yacht, pitching my idea to my client somewhere out in the ocean, while his crew is rigging the boat for some kite fishing.
Remember, Content is King
6 days later I email the storyboard and script to the client for approval (notice that we're way past the deadline to approve the ad for broadcast), here's what my client tells me:
"That's the best way anybody has ever described what I do in one sentence."
And because the content is right on the money, no one cares about the initial impossible deadline. Quite the opposite, everyone is excited to see us produce a whole campaign, based on my tagline and concept.
12 days after the initial text message from my client I have one sentence that describes the client's company in 5 words. That's it.
5 days after that sentence gets approved, I email a script, storyboard and budget to my client. It get ok'd the same day.
5 days from storyboard to film shoot
5 days to scout and confirm 5 locations (the last owner gives us permission 8 hours before the filming). 5 days to cast and book 9 actors, find and hire my crew. 5 days to pull insurance certificates, get permits, book flights, cars, and hotel rooms etc.
Two weeks after I hung up the phone on the initial phone call - remember the one that gave me an absolutely impossible task - I find myself on a film set of my first ever commercial video advertising production.
It's a team sport
I couldn't have gotten here on my own.
They say film making is a team effort, so with that in mind I want to thank Hugo, George, Chris, Scott and Eric for helping me develop my creative treatment.
Jon, Jason, Joe, John and Jim for walking me though the real life equivalent of the scenes.
David, Sam and Scott, Benny for working on locations with me.
The funny thing is at this point we haven’t even shot a single frame of the video yet. That takes a whole other crew (and a whole 'nother blog post) ...