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Writing and Directing Comedy Commercials

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A funny commercial that tells a good story has many of the same elements that a comedy feature film has, but is done in 30 seconds or less. Creating effective short form stories that communicate a clear message is difficult but also a lot of fun and rewarding. Commercial writing and directing for hire often generates amazing opportunities to work with creative people and travel all over the world. It also gives opportunities for your creativity and vision to seen by millions, while paying the rent as a storyteller. Commercial directing is one of the hardest jobs to get and keep, and is very competitive. Many feature film directors started in commercials and it’s a fantastic part time job. So, how do you get there?

In this workshop, we explore the multiple facets of how to journey towards this career, including:

  • Review award winning spots and deconstruct the story elements inside each one.
  • Write our own ideas that you can go create your own spec commercial reel (which is essential to get your foot in the door with a production company).
  • Discuss the creative process, and also the practical path of building the right kind of reel for you and how to get it seen by people who can hire you.
  • Crowd sourcing contests: Put money in your pocket and give you exposure.
  • Working with production companies (who strive to get you jobs as a director).
  • Discuss how to examine the creative boards you receive, preparing and handling the conference call with the ad agency, writing a great treatment for a commercial that is necessary to win the gig.
    • If you win it, how to navigate the next steps of preparing and communicating your vision to every department.
  • Other aspects such as casting, location scouting, filming and editing the commercials and how to traverse the delicate aspects of working under a committee of agency creatives and clients who are on set with you.

You’ll come away with more insight and practical steps towards what it takes to become a comedy commercial writer and/or director, and hopefully have fun in the process.

By the end of the workshop, you’ll know how to:

  1. Deconstruct commercials to see what the important ingredients are.
  2. Navigate the world of commercial contests and what it takes to win.
  3. Work well with a team to handle the pressures of a set.

Who should attend: Directors, producers, writers, and anyone interested in working in commercials.

What you should bring: Something to take notes.

About the Instructor:

Kev directing VendingMan

Kevin T. Willson has been writing and directing comedy commercials for over 12 years and has directed and co-written 3 top rated Super Bowl spots, including ‘Sling Baby’ which was rated the #1 Super Bowl ad out of all 2012 big game’s commercials by Facebook/USA Today and also ‘Most Liked’ & ‘Most Memorable’ by Nielson Ratings. While getting a film degree in college, he interned for Ridley Scott and saw how commercial directors were getting pulled up to direct features.

Kevin has directed over 100 commercials and has worked with Andy Samberg, and has directed Tony Hale, Cristela Alonzo, Adam Pally and many more talented comedy actors. He has directed for clients and ad agencies such as Jeep, Frito-Lay, Publicis, Skechers, The Marketing Arm, Charmin, Siltanen & Partners, and others. He is attached as director to an action buddy comedy feature film. Years prior he directed dozens of short documentaries for humaniarian organizations in 14 countries. He draws his own storyboards and creates animatics for his projects. Kevin is repped by Levity for TV & Film and also by several production companies for commercials. Kevin loves writing, improv, and the great city of Los Angeles where he lives. Some of his work can be seen on his website at www.kevinw.tv