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Old September 26th, 2007, 07:25 PM   #1
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Spec Commercial Spot

Looking to see if anyone here produced a spec commercial spot and what good results, if any, came about from shooting it?

I'm working on breaking into shooting more commercials and looking for the right route to take.

Thanks,
Lisa
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Old September 27th, 2007, 04:46 AM   #2
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what do you mean by spec spot ?

today i see persons say they shot a spec spot but IMO they are not spec spots .. a spec spot is when you shoot a specific product ( or it can be generic) spot then submit it to ad agency or client to sell you idea ( or the spot ) = speculation ... what i see today are really persons just shooting a fake spot for their reel ... i haven't heard of them submitting the spot to a ad agency or company ...
when i was in college ( 78-80) i use to shoot film for a local commercial company ... when i left college and went to LA i had a film commercial sample reel ... i worked for some hi end commercial company's as a PA ... so i learned how the commercial thing worked and i stared sending out sample reels from the company i worked for in college to ad agency's & clients ...i got a bite from clorox ..went in to meet the producer .. he showed me some story boards - i gave them a price of 22k if we shot outside of LA - he said the pirce in LA would be 50-55k ... he had another persons at the office send the reel to their ad agency ... the agency contacted us and we bid on that same spot at 22k ... we didn't get the job .. the producer at clorox said the agency never showed him our bid and then they got into a big spat and a few heads rolled at the agency ...
then i got a bite from a ad agency that needed something done cheap ( 20K ) i said we could do it for the price if we shot outside of LA ... we shot a spot for chrysler (they called it shooting metal) ... they were happy ...
worked several more times for the ad agency on low end spots ( 15-25k) ...

the reel i shopped around the spots were shot on 16mm film .. the spots were good with high production value .... the clorox producer asked me the budgets ..after i told him 1500-3000 he told me to NEVER tell that to anybody in LA ... he said to just say they were under 15k ...

why not just shoot real commercials ?
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Old September 27th, 2007, 07:02 AM   #3
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Hi Don,

I have been shooting local projects...some for non-profit organizations and recently completed a local TV spot.

I've been hearing about spec commercials and how people are shooting fake spots to make a reel and then sending it off to ad agencies. But I would think there would be some controversy if using a products true logo.

Anyway, I am looking for information on how to increase my TV commercial clients. I'd like to shoot another spot with some crew people that have contacted me and then submit it to ad agencies. I'm working now to locate agencies because I'm not up on which ones will work with outside producers since some handle projects in-house, from my understanding.

I'm open to any advice I am offered so that I send out the correct material to the correct people to increase the commercial side of my business.

Thanks for the reply. I'm happy to have your guidance.

Best,
Lisa
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Old September 27th, 2007, 07:58 AM   #4
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While it is true that in a traditional sense, a spec is intended to be targeted to an ad agency or direct to the client, many of them are made now as reel material or practice without ever being directly pitched. It is generally accepted that the actual product and logos are used.

To answer Don's question: the advantage of shooting specs over real commercials is that you don't have to answer to anybody, you can make all the creative decisions yourself without the many layers of interference and opinion that can sink a great idea in the "real" world, or at the very least water it down beyond recognition. Thus many of the more bold, daring or inventive ads each year will never be seen by the public, except on their creator's demo reels (or on online sites devoted to showcasing specs).
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Old September 27th, 2007, 08:04 AM   #5
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Hi Charles,

Thanks for the input on the spec spot.

I developed an idea for a spec commercial that I've been thinking of shooting for the purpose of a demo reel. I've just been kicking the idea around and gathering advice and info on what to do with it. That's true that there would not be interference in the creativity of the spec spot.

I would think that it can be pretty difficult to break into getting work from ad agencies. Thinking it might take quite a few submissions to get feedback from them.

About how many spec spots should be on a reel to be sent to ad agencies?

Best,
Lisa
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Old September 27th, 2007, 08:12 AM   #6
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I've seen reels that are up to 75% specs. I personally think that is pushing it and would not go more than 50% on my own reel, but in that a reel is largely about showing off one's abilities, it can be forgiven, particularly in a smaller market. One thing that is true of most specs is that they are done on a lesser budget than "real" spots, so if they look as good, that says something about the resources of the producer/director and their ability to deliver on a budget.
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Old October 4th, 2007, 06:31 PM   #7
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Hi Charles,

I'm seriously considering going ahead with a spec spot for the reel. It can't hurt. I'm hoping to locate a few crew people to assist on it. Then complete the reel and begin sending it out to the ad agencies. Then, once an agency has a project, I hope the same crew will join with me to shoot it.

It's worth a try to see how it turns out.
Lisa
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Old October 8th, 2007, 12:06 AM   #8
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Sounds good Lisa.

The one thing I might caution against is telling the crew that you intend to bring them on the paid job down the line when you ask them to help you out on this one. For one thing, that paid job may never come (hopefully it will of course), and anyone who has been around a while is wary of this type of promise. For another, chances are that after your spec job is over there it may be the case that one or two crew members that you would rather not bring on the paid job, so you wouldn't want to have promised them anything in advance (personality or ability may be a liability down the road).
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