Creating the Comanche Rope Ad
At the start of this year, my team and I were given the task to create a TVC for a company. As a group, we decided that we would create a fake company to make our idea for, and our lecturer would act as a client. With this is mind, we planned to make a commercial centred around the new line of unbreakable rope for the Comanche Rope Company. We wanted to create a parody of the Gold-finger and James Bond laser scene, for a light hearted feel with easy recognition.
With this idea in our head, we set out to begin planning the shoot.
There is a very different approach to planning a commercial than a short narrative film. First, you need to understand your goal you are trying to achieve, and for ours, it was to introduce Comanche’s new line of rope to the public. Because of this we had to create the script and film centred around that. Which means instead of everything serving that narrative, everything needs to be serving the goal, which in this case was the rope. So in the pre-production stages, we had to work with that in mind, and think of ways to make sure the rope was always the centre of attention. When creating our storyboards we needed to make sure our cinematography helped our purpose. For example, making the rope dominant centre frame helps the product be the capture the audience’s attention. In addition to this when deciding which rope we wanted to serve as our Comanche rope, we went with a rope that was bright red to help it stand out in the frame. Other key things that differ from other productions I usually work on, was the commercial had to be as short as we could possibly make it, which meant planning for this short run time, and working through various different edits. Finally, the key for a commercial is to capture the viewer’s attention within the first seconds. That’s why we wanted our scene to pay homage to the famous James Bond scene, for instant recognition and to also peek interest.
Now with the planning done around this TVC, it was time to move into production. For starters, I want to state this is one on of the first productions I have worked on with minimal issues. We had planned everything to a point and put our work to such a manageable scale that we were able to finish early both shooting days. Even when we had issues arise, our solutions ended up strengthening the end product. Our original location being unavailable worked in our favour, as we were able to secure two other better-looking locations that suited our needs a lot more. We had an issue with location sound, and a lack of lines, so we called in our actor for ADR. This didn’t just fix our sound issues but allowed up to play around with our actor’s skill to gain a wide range of different character performances to use. One of the most positive events was when we were deciding the stylistic approach to take with the parody. We, of course, needed it to be recognisable, but the question was whether to do it with a serious tone, or a campy one. For our benefit, we choose campy, and we were able to extremely play it up and play to tropes of the genre. After test screenings, we saw this campy style paid off, as the audience laughed and enjoyed the comedic sides of the commercial, helping the film stick in their minds.
Looking back on this project there are not many things I can think of that could have been improved upon. There are a few minor errors where personally I believe I can approve on. For one I made a few mistakes on the second call sheet, which lead to confusion. If I had taken more time to review my work, I would have noticed the slight timing errors I wrote. Luckily I was quickly able to rectify my mistake and cleared any confusion between the actors and the crew. Secondly, I should have made myself more aware of the dietary needs of the actors. After the shoot, I learned the actor for the villain was in fact vegan, and he hadn’t informed when we were choosing meals. Regardless of the fact, I should have known prior to the shoot and been familiar with our actors. However, our actor had no hard feelings and was still more than happy to come back and do ADR. These are just little things that I need to be more aware of, and from this experience, I feel like I am more prepared for the next time.
So once we finished the edit, like I stated before, we had a test screening. A panel of industry professionals, including our lecturer, acted as our client. One of the main things our acting client stated was the fact that this commercial would be excellent if we had the funds to create a high production value. We were commended on the strength of our concept, and our ability to make the commercial engaging, which is what our client wanted. So I would state that our commercial met the brief we were given. It has the length of a TVC and was catchy and engaging. All the times our lecturer gave us feedback we were able to meet the new standard. So with this in mind, I would call this project a success.
So, in conclusion, this has been a fantastic project for me to work on. I have learned a new way of creating films for a client base, such as a centring the film around the product. Our production had very few issues, and those we did encounter we were quick to overcome with. Though there are always areas where I can still improve, such as reviewing my work. However, the end product was an engaging commercial the matched the brief. So all in all, I would look forward to the next client based project I get to take part in.