DIARY OF AN ADMAN

The Creative Process

David Ligon, Creative Principal, Sacramento

February 27, 2015

So here’s the creative process of how I go about putting together a commercial.  Let’s pretend I’ve already been hired by the client and have already gone over the goals and objectives, as well as analyzed their audience demographics and reviewed what the competition is doing. Also, I’ve already done all those things that bring out the best in creativity— you know, shower, go for a walk, vacuum, take a nap, everything but actually sit at a computer and try and force myself to come up with something.  Because quite frankly, that rarely works. (see our immutable laws of business).
The very first thing I do is come up with a concept.  Not the commercial.  Not the script.  But the very premise of the commercial.  Because as most creative folks will tell you— concept drives creative.  You come up with a strong idea first, then the rest writes itself… or something like that.

“Also, I’ve already done all those things that bring out the best in creativity— you know, shower, go for a walk, vacuum, take a nap, everything but actually sit at a computer and try and force myself to come up with something.”

So after several creative concepts are thought out, I’ll start working on scripts.  Depending on the client and the budget I’ll write anywhere from 1 to 5 scripts usually.  Not all of them will be fully formed.  Not all of them will be exactly 30 seconds.  But I’ll have enough to know which ones show promise.  I’ll do this for each concept.

At this point, I will then present my 3 strongest concepts to the client.  The client will pick their favorite (hopefully) and then I’ll take a look at the scripts that I’ve already written and pick the best ones, flesh them out and show them to the client.  But before I do that, I’ll storyboard them.  I get feedback about what is liked and not liked, what needs to be changed (if anything) and then I get to work on finalizing the scripts.  After the client approves the scripts, it’s time to start producing the ad (getting crew together, scouting locations, hiring actors, etc.).  And then we shoot, edit, pick music and—Voila!—we have a commercial or campaign.

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