Filmmaking: Become a commercial director in the creative industry - All about Directing Movies | Thomas Eberhard | Skillshare

Filmmaking: Become a commercial director in the creative industry - All about Directing Movies

Thomas Eberhard, Distracted by Creativity

Filmmaking: Become a commercial director in the creative industry - All about Directing Movies

Thomas Eberhard, Distracted by Creativity

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17 Lessons (1h 9m)
    • 1. Directory

    • 2. Introduction To The Commercial Industry

    • 3. Who Or What Is The Dierctor

    • 4. How Do You Become A Director

    • 5. Film School Or Not?

    • 6. How To Create Your First Showreel

    • 7. The Spec Spot

    • 8. Put Yourself Into A Box

    • 9. How To Get To Bid On A Job Part 1

    • 10. How To Get To Bid On A Job Part 2

    • 11. Choice Of Words

    • 12. The Treatment Part 1

    • 13. The Treatment Part 2

    • 14. The Pitch

    • 15. Pre Production, Shooting Day and Post

    • 16. Self Promotion

    • 17. Class Project

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About This Class

Although this is mainly about the director in the commercial industry I believe this information could be valuable for any newcomer, starter or Junior director, be it commercials or be it Indie Films.

In this course I will teach you the ways of becoming a commercial director, what his job is and how a commercial comes to life. I will explain you how the ad industry works and where you fit in it. Of course there will be some practical parts as well where you learn to create a treatment, pitch and how to get noticed in the first place.

Meet Your Teacher

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Thomas Eberhard

Distracted by Creativity


Hello, I'm Thomas. I am a German commercial director and editor who lives in Medellín, Colombia. After studying film in Germany and a semester of audiovisual communication in Valencia, Spain, I moved to South America where I have been living and working in the advertising industry for the last couple of years. I also did a master's degree in "leadership in the creative industries" in Germany. There are many things that I love, like: my wife, advertising, directing, music and teaching. 

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1. Directory: Directing commercials, deep dive into the commercial industry high. In this course, I want to guide you a little bit through the different paths of becoming a director and how the whole commercial industry basically works. These are the topics this course will cover. 2. Introduction To The Commercial Industry: We all see them everywhere. They come in all sizes and shapes, formats, and types, commercials or advertising firms. But who does them? In this course, I will focus on the director and the commercial film industry. How does a commercial come to life? And what is the director's role in how to become one? This course will give you detailed guide so that you get a more complete panoramic view of the industry and start understanding how to be successful in it. Also, I will provide you with material and practical tips which you can apply on your treatments and pitches. Before we get into detail, I would like to briefly explain the advertising environment and how it works using an example, the example of how a commercial comes to life. Some of these things can vary from place to place. And a very general, just so we're on the same page and everyone understands what we're talking about. First of all, there's a client. Your client needs a commercial most of the time as part of a whole campaign. But now we are only talking about the commercial film. So clients can do two things. Either look directly for someone to produce it, which would be a direct client relationship. The company producing the spot is called film production company or just production company. Now, the client can provide an idea, a treatment, or even a final script, or even none of them, and leave the whole concept creation to the production company. I will not get into detail about the process of concept creation, but basically, there should be a team that decides on what the company's marketing goals and objectives are and how to achieve them based on that campaign and content is created which the commercial ad is part of. This team can be an in-house marketing team or an ad agency. Anyways, and the direct client relationship, after they come up with a concept, the idea is hopefully approved by all sides. Budgets are agreed upon their director and team as being suggested by the production company. And if they are also approved, then the whole production process starts the other way for commercial to come alive as through an ad agency. In this case, the client, mostly bigger companies orders a campaign and a commercial. The agency develops the script based on marketing goals and further instructions, which after many, many, many reductions, is finally approved. It is important to be aware of how long and tiring of a process this can be. But I will come back to this later. Now, if the ad agency does not have or use an in-house production company, the agency will contact three to five production companies which are on their provider list and send them the script, concept or idea with all the information concerning the campaign and spot. Now, the production company and person of the producer costs the director, he believes to be best suited for the job and sensing the information. The production companies have a roster of directors and most cases, each with a different style and specialization. Based on that information, the director creates the directors treatment, a presentation which explains the directors approach to the project and as creative vision of it. As I mentioned before, there are several production companies receiving the brief. This means that every production company will be represented by the director of their choice. And these compete with their treatment and the budget which is made by the producer, only one of the directors and thus one production company will win the bid and gets to direct the commercial after that decision is made. Pre-production starts, then production and finally post-production. As I mentioned a moment ago, some agencies have their in-house production company. So they themselves produce their clients commercials. But basically, that is how it works. Let's recap. Agency represents the client, generally providing the script. The production company competes against other production companies to get to shoot the commercial with the client and the agency. The director writes a treatment for the creative vision and competes against other directors who all represent the production company they work for. Now that we understand how these players connect and which role they play, Let's go step back and talk about the director. Where does it come from? How do you become one? And what's the director's job anyways. 3. Who Or What Is The Dierctor: The director is the person onset who's in charge of the creative direction and implementation. But his work starts way before shooting day. I already mentioned the bidding process and the treatment. The treatment, which we will discuss in detail later on as the first step towards the final commercial investigation idea, developing, designing the presentation, pitching it, and then hopefully when it now begins pre-production phase and all the details are discussed and decided on so that everything can be organized for shooting day. This includes wardrobe, styling, locations, acting, equipment, team, and many other things that director proposes his choices and ideas according to his vision. And if the client likes it and it is within the budget, it's decided on and will generally not change afterwards. Now the producer team will start organizing all of the items like location, team, props, and so on. On shooting day, the direct and the whole team execute what has been planned beforehand. Little things might change, but rarely basic aspects change. On shooting day, the director oversees the production and make sure to execute as planned and to find immediate solutions for everything that goes unplanned. On shooting day, the directors principal job is to oversee and ensure his and the client's vision and be a solution maker when needed. So it's not so much worrying about what you have to say onset, which words to use and so on. When I started out, I used to ask other directors, and how do you direct? What do you say to the, to the actors? And the answer was always something like, well, every director has their own way of doing it, which is right. But I think it doesn't really answer what the person asking really needs to know. And the answer is, just be prepared as much as you can. Make sure you think through every single shot and second of a spot, make sure you note back and forth and then onset, just use the words, gestures or whatever you need to communicate this idea. That is it, That is directing, developing the shoot beforehand and make it clear to everyone onset. You just adjust if necessary and communicate what you need to communicate the way you best can do so that everyone is on the same page after shooting day, post-production starts. Post-production means the editing of all the assets like image, sounds, motion, graphics, etc. Depending on the project and maybe even place either you're involved in the post-production or not. Some directors even prefer to cut their own material. Now we know what the director is and does, but how do you become a director? 4. How Do You Become A Director: Fortunately, there are many different paths to becoming a director rather than one exclusive way. There actually is no general blueprint for someone to get into directing at all, only more or less traditional ways. And this is very important to understand as a director. I believe that as creative people, we tend to compare ourselves to others. And this can become frustrating. If you do not understand that every person in the creative industry has their own path and own pace and own style. No career is the same. Why do I say this in stretch this so much? Because if you're constantly compare yourself to others, it will make you feel bad because there are always people didn't bigger jobs with better creative, with more budget and so on. You wonder how they got there and ask around and find out it is not what you expected at all. Or you might even think, okay, That is how I have to do it. Then you do exactly the same thing and nothing happens. Why? Because there's no blueprint and what works for you might not work for someone else. And another problem is that you will try to imitate and thus not develop your own style and voice and way of doing your own things. Commercial director is not a protected profession, which means you can have literally no formal education and still become a director. That's the theory and the real-world. It means you absolutely need to educate yourself, but you get to choose how and what you want to educate yourself in. This can mean you can enroll in film school or university with unrelated classes. You can learn much of the craft and knowledge about filmmaking on the Internet. You can start as an apprentice in a production company, agency or film rents or with absolutely no previous background. You can combine these things. You might have learned a special skill which has nothing to do with filmmaking and still transition to film-making. That leads us to the next point, film school or not. 5. Film School Or Not?: I, myself went to university with the media campus. There are people who say film school is the best way. Other, say it's not the best way at all. I believe that every path has its benefits and disadvantages. If you ask me, I'd say that film school is great for connecting with like-minded people, for experimenting, since it is a safe place and failing is not a problem, you get access to equipment and studios at no cost. At least that was like that in my school. And of course, you learn by practicing. Disadvantages out of film school is not the real-world rhythm, pace, and professionalism are not on the same level. You might learn much of the craft, but it's not easy to be prepared for the real business. Also, it is absolutely possible to attend film school and graduate without haven't learned anything about filmmaking at all. And that's because film school makes you an offer, but do decide what you take or leave. And many important things might not be taught and film school. So it happens that many students get out of film school, believe they are the next Ferentino, Michael Bay or Dave Meyers. And they are not yet because they have no idea of how things work. And also they lack a lot of experience which is crucial and phone business, of course, this experience can only be gained by working in that field. So in any case, I recommend you start working early on in a production company or rental just so you learn the craft, equipment, set rules, and at the same time, you get to observe how the big guys work. I did not do that during my student years, and I deeply regret it as I had to make up for that afterwards, I believed that I would graduate. Should a few spec spots, call myself a director and the jobs would just come in. I was very wrong. Sure. There are cases where one single firm started a huge career, but that is not always the case. So I encourage you to take the long walk, start at the bottom, assisting in production, for example, and learn by doing. You will love working in that environment and gain experience and time will fly by and you will be on a whole new level to start your career as a director or any other row on the set. Here are some pros and cons about going to film school where you learn both to study and make foams. The pros. You get to experiment as you are exposed to different approaches of thinking, watching, and creating. You learn to analyze and study other firms and draw conclusions from it. You're taught the skills and crafts and get to exercise it, which will give you experience. You can choose from different schools with different approaches where you either choose a certain track and trade and learn it perfectly and specialize on it. Or you get to experiment and do a little bit of everything. So you have a more anti-hero holistic understanding of filmmaking. You get time to focus on what you want to do. You are in a structured environment where you get to try and learn by doing. You are accompanied by professionals who guide and correct you are can give you feedback. At film school, you make great connections that might link you to people who will work with you even for the rest of your career. You create a network which is very important in film making. And some schools even will get you into the business through programs and reconnections. And some schools even will get you into the business through programs and connections. Many schools provide you with a cost-free rental where you can get your hands on cameras, lights, sound, and other equipment which allows you to experiment or produce your own stuff, which will give you experience. You get a degree, a certificate. In some situations or career paths can become important in the application process. Being enrolled, you get students statutes, which will give you many even non film related benefits. Now the cons, the better schools are mostly very expensive. Tuition can be very high, But apart from that, your projects are also financed by yourself. You can get most of the input for free online or for much lower price using online classes or causes. But the point is, why pay money if you can get it for free. Of course, you will have to cure rate your findings, filter what is worth and what is not. Also, you might not know what to look for, but I believe after investigating a little bit, you will more or less understand what you're looking for specifically. You might also have to relocate, which can mean further or higher living costs. Maybe you're not a good learner in terms of class education. Maybe you are more the type of learn by doing or do it yourself without structured limitations, you learn what you are told to learn. You're bound to certain way of learning and to certain content. Many times you just learn from a to Z following a certain scheme which only teaches you to imitate a certain knowledge, it is harder this way to develop your own way of thinking, executing, style, and voice. Even with a degree, you get no guaranteed to get a job. It can help. But the truth is that especially in the commercial film industry, no one is interested in your degree. It does not tell them anything. They are only interested in your work. So you decide, now having attended film school or not, you call yourself a director, wants a direct commercials. How did you get there? Well, you need a business card. And in your case, the business card is your show real, real or portfolio. 6. How To Create Your First Showreel: Real as I will refer to it, is where you showcase your work. It can be on the homepage, you can put your phones on Vimeo or YouTube or just sent them digitally. But you have to have a way to show the works that you have done. So the potential client can imagine what to expect from you in terms of quality, standard, and creative style and voice. Here are two examples of mine for how to showcase your work. How to create a real. It is a vicious circle. Because in order to win jobs, you need to have done some jobs. But what can you do when you have nothing to show? Let us be realistic. Most of the time, your first real will not be the greatest, but you have to start somewhere. You can put in student work, maybe some job you did for friend, for free where you were provided liberty and equipment. There are several ways to get material on real role, but there is one in particular that has opened many doors for many people. The spec spot. 7. The Spec Spot: The spec spot generally refers to a fake commercial for existing brands. Fake in the sense of that the commercial is not a commissioned official work for the brand, nor has the brand been involved with it. The idea behind it is that you recreate a commercial spot, trying to produce something that could be mistaken for a real commercial of that brand, imitating the style and tone of the brand. Some people say you should choose a big brand. Others say the opposite. You should go for an unknown brand. But in any case, it is you who puts in the money and creates the spot without support from the brand at all. You do this. So you can show that you are capable of directing a commercial on a high level and understand the craft. It is crucial that you investigate your brand so that you nail the tone and look of it. You do not want anyone to notice that this is not a real commercial. This includes having a great script and a professional execution on professional equipment. If possible, the script is something you should not underestimate. We all believe ourselves to be great writers, or many of us do. But reality is that script writing as a craft, not everyone dominates and it should be left to the pros. A bad script can make all of your efforts worthless. The most epic image with a bad script will not gain the attention you want to achieve unless you're also the director of photography and can use that material to show your DP skills. But we're talking about directing and best direct and can be shown through a great script. Now if you realize your writing skills are not as great as you thought, you wonder, where could you get a script from a good script? Here are a few ideas. First, if you know a copywriter personally asked him if you can get anything he has written and no use for it, but things that would make a great spot. Number 2, ask around at ad agencies, they usually have a lot of debt scripts that never made it through the final stage, but still a grade. Number three, find a script on platforms like speck bank, which has a cost. In any case, you should be thinking about what kind of director you want to be. What kind of stuff or style or genre do you want to shoot? Deal like car commercials, fashion firms, comedy, CGI, lifestyle or tabletop. If you are clear about this, you should go for that direction and create a spot that gets you jobs in that field. This leads me to the next point. Put yourself into a box. 8. Put Yourself Into A Box: Put yourself into a box when an agency or the client is presented with the treatments and the directors real, most of the time they want to see their spot on the director's real. What does that mean? For example, if the brand is about food, let us say chocolate, the perfect fit for them would be a director who has already done several spots, was chocolate and can show it on his real, they want to feel that the project is in safe hands. Now if the director pitches on the chocolate spot, but only has caused spots to show on Israel, the client might think that chocolate is not his expertise. Food in general, as directors, most of us would love to do very diverse work because that's the creativity driving us. But in the industry it is best to be known for certain specific skill or theme or field. This can be tabletop music videos, sports, lifestyle cost, CGI, animation, urban style kids, or anything else. But you need to put yourself into a box if you want to be successful. That is why I recommend that you think well about what kind of work you want to do and go out and make a killer spec spot. So you have something to show and authority to pitch on that topic. Of course, in the beginning it is hard to find your voice and style. I myself, I'm still discovering, even if you're not so specific as to what topic or style you own, tried to find something that connects your work and make sure that your theme, that can be cameras style, color grading, humor, or as I mentioned, a certain topic. If you have very diverse work, do not show all of it with every pitch. This means that when you create a treatment and they asked for your real check your work for things that you feel might help to win that specific job. If it's comedy style, only send comedic spots, not the serious cancer foundation spot. If this spot has kids in it, look for kids in your work and sand that spot. This way you can sell yourself as a certain type of director and show them that you are capable of doing what they need you to do, even if that's not your real field. This can even lead to a situation wherein an agency a urine known and booked as the Kids director and an agency be euro the table top director. So you see, the best you can do is make yourself a name for something specific so that whenever there is a spot around that topic, people will immediately think of you. 9. How To Get To Bid On A Job Part 1: The director rarely is called directly by the agency or client. The normal way is that when there is a project, the agency will send it out to maybe three production companies. They will choose a director who will do the treatment. So what you need is to get on the radar of production companies or a sales rep. The sales rep can be personal agency that represents creatives like DPs and directors, and can be called if a production company needs to find a certain type of director, in any case, you will need that LI, who's the production company? Just look for a company that you think your style fits in with their work. Paul, all of these production companies and present yourself and your work. They might not get you immediately on their roster, but when your work is good enough or they see big potential that will keep your name in mind for future projects that could fit you. Now, when that happens, you will get a board deck or whatever people might call it, the documents and information, presentations, etc. Everything you need to know about the project, probably before you start doing the treatment. There will be an agency call in which you speak to the creatives. They explain what the project is about. And you can make questions so that you understand better the aim of the spot and what is most important to them. This call is very important as it is your chance to shine. They'll get a feeling for who you are and how you work. So listen clearly and ask good questions. Be careful not to hear what you want to hear, but to listen closely to what they want to achieve by it. Story time. I will tell you a short story of what happened to me and which I am making sure will never ever happen again. I once was presented a brief over brand that normally never had done anything comedic IPv4. But they wanted to explore this new field. I love comedy. So I saw a chance to fulfill my dream and listen closely. I said my dream. I focused so much on what I wanted to get out of that project that I committed the error of hearing only what I wanted to hear until this day. I'm not sure how I could even vendors job when obviously I did not understand or pay attention to what they ask from me. So I started to present them with a bunch of ideas that I felt would potentially lies the script. So I came up with the ideas and expect them to love it. And all they said was like, yeah, yeah, cool idea, but that's not exactly what we're looking for. Let's stay to the script. Okay, So I thought again and came up with new ideas which they rejected as well. And I was like, Hey, didn't you want to laugh? Let's make people laugh. But I completely missed that this brand, a huge brand with a lot of history, could not just from one day to another change that communication. One of the biggest competition was known for using humor and all of their projects. So we had to draw a fine line between their communication and our way of communication that was crucial to understand. And the reason I did not understand initially was because I had my own agenda. I wanted to do a film for me and not for the client. When so far that I clearly did not listen to them when they told me We want a single long shot for every spot since there would be not only one, but several spots. I said, yes, we can do that. But how about we try out some cuts as well, different angles and so on. And then we can make a single long shot. And in the end, we will decide which one is better. I didn't even read their facial expressions, which would have told me once for all, just do what we want you to do. As I said before, I have no clue how I still could win the job, but I did. So in the end filming, they arrived and I started to do the things the way I wanted and was told. Let's please do it this in that way. And I was like, Hey, did we not agree on doing it this way? Truth is no, we did not agree on that. Only in my mind because I heard what I wanted to hear and interpreted everything in a way that would suit my vision, which was not the client's vision. The sounds all dramatic and in a way this, but it was also much more subtle than I can tell you now. In hindsight, it is very clear what happened, but back then, it was more subtle and made sense to me since I was so focused on my own vision. So to make a long story short on the set, I got confused as to why all of a sudden they insisted so much on the long shot while I focused on the different angles and so on. We managed to get it the way they wanted, but we lost a lot of time due to my error of not listening from the beginning clearly to what they actually wanted in the beginning. I also told you about the long process of creating a script. I told you that later on I will go more into detail and I feel this is a good moment sticking to the same story. 10. How To Get To Bid On A Job Part 2: There were some points in the script which confused me. On one hand, I understood it was comedy, but then again, there was not so much comedy in it. It was very subtle. So I thought my job was to make it funnier and add stuff so it would make more sense to me. I might have been right in some way, but client is king and I should have paid attention to this important point. When a script is handed to you, you're allowed to modify it slightly or add something that would potentially the whole thing without changing it. Essentially, this is very important to realize because we have to understand that this final script we're given is not a script that was written in a moment and done. For a script to get final approval, it has to pass through many, many filters. Its initial idea many times cannot be recognized with the final script. So many things changed for many different reasons. I believe that this also happened to this particular script. I believe it was Script full of jokes and action, but due to brand voice and brand communication, it had to change. So things were changed, taking out, replaced by something else, and so on. It has to go through so many stages until approval is given. That by that point, the creatives are just happy that they finally can go through the process and get green light. And now comes Thomas and wants to change the whole thing. And that is not how it works. I know there are exceptions to the rule, but in most cases, all they asked from you is one, to understand what they are aiming at and to execute the script in a way that was written and intended for number 3, give input and small additions or modifications that will not change the idea, but get more out of it. They want to direct that they can add this little detail that will give the whole idea more power. Now what can this be? It can be anything. The choice of actors, a single line that you add, the way you instruct your actors to do or say a certain thing. It can be a prop, it can be even a small pause and reaction that was not in the script. Well, I hope that I made this point clear. Here's another small story from which I learned and will not repeat this mistake. Sometimes the client or agency, I'm not able to exactly communicate precisely what they want, or they say something and you receive it as just another comment, optional position y to them. It is crucial. I was working on another project when a very specific image was mentioned. I will not go into detail, but they said something like My we, we could have this detail and the project or something like that to meet Mencius. Another option. And as they said, or something like that, I took it as something that I could focus on on a later stage. Shooting day comes in. I'm not prepared for this specific shot. So we go and try it improvising. Of course, it did not work out. So we had to talk to the client and negotiate if it were possible to just buy this specific shot from a stock footage platform. Now, that is not the problem. I believe that if I had planned it beforehand, I could have come to the same conclusion that buying that certain stock material would save us a ton of time and we would avoid avoid some problems. And that is common practice. In my case, it was bad because first, I did not prepare correctly, which leads to number two, I lost time onset. And three, it generated additional costs which had not been planned for. And most of all, number 4, it made me look unprofessional on one hand because I was unprepared and on the other hand because it made me look like I was not able to achieve it, which probably is the worst part of all. The project turned out fine to this day. Some people see it and tell me how much they liked that specific shot to which I have to admit that I did not even make that shot, but rather bought it. If something is mentioned and you are not sure if that is really important or not, then just ask, what do they really mean, what do they really want? Because you can also just assume that everything they say is equally important or that what they say is exactly what they mean. Listen closely and then proceed to make the important questions so that in the end you are 100% sure you understood. But to go back to my initial point and summarize, they want you to execute their idea while you add something extra to it that will not change, but rather improve it. I tell you these stories so that you can learn from my mistakes and not repeat them. Just understand, as a director, you work for someone and not for you or your show reel. 11. Choice Of Words: Let us talk about the choice of words. We just talked about the importance of communication and filtering. What you hear in this chapter, I want to continue with a related topic. This is something that maybe some will argue. But in my experience, I have found that the choice of words in a pitch and in a treatment or in any stage of the process is very important. You want to avoid using repetitive words or words that are not specific or words that can mean anything or worse, that can mean something to one person and something else to another person. Basically, there are two things you want to achieve, both in the pitch and in the treatment, which both are part of the same process and goal. You want to explain how you execute the project. You want to make sure they understand what it is you plan and how you plan to achieve it. This part, I'd say is a more technical part. You want to use practical and specific words and terms so the client and agency can be sure they are in good hands. But in my modest opinion, there's another much more important and crucial part, the tone or voice or feeling. You want to make absolutely sure that you communicate how it will feel and look like. You want to create a feeling and an image in the mind of the client. It is not so important how, in a technical way of speaking you will achieve it. The important thing is that you are able to communicate and convey your ideas in a way that they feel they know what they will see in the outcome if you achieve this, and then it will not be that important for them to know specifically how you will execute each detail. So now let us talk about the treatment. 12. The Treatment Part 1: The treatment. If you watch this course from the beginning, you will probably remember that the treatment as part of the pitching process, you're asked by your production company to create a treatment or directors treatment or directors interpretation, or as we call it in Colombia approach. Therefore, you get access to some assets like a concept of presentation or just the info you were provided and the agency or client call. The point is, whoever needs to spot will provide you with whatever information they have concerning this project. Now you have to create a treatment in which you implement this information, put it into structure, and add your creative tone and voice to it. Although I will show you some examples, I have to remind you that each treatment is unique and there is no exact way or approach that applies to every project the same. However, there are some things that I will show you that might lead and guide you so that you have a better understanding of the function and purpose of a direct treatment. In a treatment, I'd say there are two or three components that are crucial to convey in your vision, the written information that design with the choice of illustration and visual references, if necessary also, the Audi references in short, texts and images and sound. These three components are your tools and resources to win a job. Of course, also your show real plays a role in it. So what is my general approach to writing a treatment? I do not have one. It depends on the project, on the info that I'm provided and on other factors. But generally, I either right away, I have a feeling for the project and more or less a direction that I want to pursue. Or I first have to dive into the project and investigate a lot before I have a general direction. The investigation part is crucial to any approach that will always be an extense work of investigation. But sometimes it is what I begin with. Other times it is not the very first step. In any case, investigation is not a single step, but rather a continuous part of the process that is interrupted to write, to design or whatever. But in no case, it is a step that I start, then end, and not go back to it before we dive into the details, let me tell you a few very important general things about what is important to treatment. Be on point. Sometimes less is more. People do not want to read a novel. They want to have a brief and clear explanation without having to filter the information. Be visual. There is a saying, an image speaks more than 1000 words. Try to investigate the brand's tone and voice, style, language, and visual appearance. Stick to the budget. This means be aware of your limitations. You can write down incredible ideas and in the end there is no way of executing it due to the budget limitation. Thus, your trim and thus your treatment will be of little worth. Don't try to change the script but raise the potential at something special. Give them what they want. Us. Great references independently of the order of steps. Let us begin with the investigation part. Let's say you were provided a script with images of some representative shots or even a reference video. Most of the time I start analyzing this material until I'm sure I understood all I need to begin with my approach towards the project. If there's anything that I'm not sure that it's clear to me or if there's any doubt I contact my producer who's in charge of the project and ask him if he can answer my questions and doubts. If he cannot answer them, he will get in touch with the agency or client and try to resolve all of my doubts. Actually, the best option is to directly get in touch with the creatives. Of course, that connection will be made through the producer, if possible, get a call with them so you can ask them specific stuff or just ask if they can explain what's important to them and if they can resolve some doubts, this can happen even on several stages of the treatment creation. That could be several calls. Given that the more you work on the treatment, the more ideas you have to filter in. Sometimes the best filter is the creative. Of course, you shouldn't blatantly state questions like, do you prefer the paint of the wall should be green or blue? That would be something you should decide if they haven't told you something specific. Maybe in the pitch they will mention they prefer another color. But you could ask something like, I see that the script reads funny, but I'm not sure as to how funny you want it to be since your brand normally uses more serious tone, do you want to have slide humor or you want to be heavily funding? That would be an acceptable question. Now that I have understood and everything is clear, this does not mean that now my approach is clear. I am only starting out. I know what they are basically looking for. I understand the script, the story, the style, if the tone is serious or funny, or inspirational or whatever. And now I have to make many positions. I suggest we get from theory to practice, and I will show you some other subjects that I generally cover in my treatments. Firstly, my treatment start with a brief introduction in which I agree it say a few words about the project and transition to the hard facts. But first, remember, there's no official order are instructions as to what has to be in it or in which order you decide what you feel is important to be mentioned and you give it a logical order. So to be more practical, I will go step-by-step through a treatment I did recently for Colombian brand. Although I did raise all of the information about the agency client and anything that is confidential. After that, I will selectively show you some pages of other treatments where I talk about and reference other points that I did not mentioned in the first one. That is because every project can have unique assets and requirements. For example, for tabletop, where there's food involved, you will at least need either a product shot or consuming shot. Most of the times in both, but in a spot that sells service that will be neither. So maybe in one treatment, I will mention the product shot, another I will not since there is none or in one there is acting. So I will explain my approach towards the acting. And another spot there might be no acting at all. Maybe they will not even be actors involved. I think you get the idea, but let us get started. 13. The Treatment Part 2: So as you can see, I use Keynote to design my treatments. Actually, you can use whatever program suits you. But I suggest that you talk to your producer or ask around what's the most used program? Because it happened to me that I created my treatment in Keynote. And then I had to pass it onto PowerPoint because the client didn't have a Mac. Yeah. So if you can ask around, maybe you will get some limitation if not, just use whatever program that you like most. In my case, it is Keynote. My designs depend on different factors. Sometimes I just put some photographs as the background. Sometimes it will be more leverage design, but in this case, this is just an example. So you have to understand you can do it in any possible way. And also, it depends a lot on the project like colors there, there, there might be color limitations. Like case that your brand has blue as their main color and their competition has read. So you will try not to put the red color so much into this treatment because that's not their color. Okay. And then sometimes it might be something totally serious. So it will have a darker tone. Maybe it's something funny, then you will use more colors. Those are things that you should consider. Okay, so in this case, my direct treatment walls for a Colombian brand, I will not mention the name. Neither will I put the logos in it because because of because it's confidential. So you will not find those logos that I normally put on there. In this case, I had some logos on the bottom, the production company's logo and the clients logo. Sometimes I even put the agencies logo. It always depends on several factors. Sometimes I put more information on the first page. Like if if it's necessary, then I'll do it. If not, I'll leave it. So that would be the deck. Then most of the time I make an introduction, not always do I put a title that says introduction also depends on the project, but in this case I did. So. Then I put another subtitle and then a small texts in which I greet the people who will read it and where I make like a general statement. Maybe I will already say one or two things about the project. Or maybe I will just say thank you very much for reading my vision of this project. Okay. It depends on you, whatever you want to put in there. Then also, I want to tell you that it's not always the same order. Sometimes there could be a totally different order. So also don't take this as the only way to do it. This is just an example. So here we've got the tone and voice subtitle. I put Geico meets folks bargain. That in my opinion, represented very well what I was aiming at. What kind of humor, what kind of tone and voice. So I put them in the treatment and explained a little bit in words, in my own words, what I was going for. And many times, not always. I will have a reference for what I say. I always tried to have one reference for everything that I explained or what I want to try to explain. Because references helps so much. That can be a spot, that can be if scene from a film that can be in only picture. So then there's the reference for it. I will not show it. Then I had a slide that I was talking about, the humor. And yes, because there's several Nietzsche's of, of humor, several styles. And you wanna make sure that everybody's on the same page. And in this case, it was my suggestion what kind of humor I wanted to apply there. I had another reference for it. Again, I will not show it completely. Then I was talking about the rhythm, about what kind of addition I. I was imagining that's not something I always put it in there. But in this case, I felt it was important to mention because it was about contrasts. So I explained a little bit what I was thinking of. And again, reference that whether spot that I had found. Next slide is about cinematography where put all of the information that I think they need about what kind of image they can expect from this spot. I explain camera work, I explain color work, lighting, all of this stuff so that they can already have an image in their mind and make decisions if they like it or not. In this case, I was talking about that I wanted clean picture, well-lit, natural colors and stuff like that. I didn't want to have too much movement and so on. Again, reference that. And then I was talking about how the production should be run. I talked about the team. I talked about how I wanted to try have a small team because we needed to move a lot for this project. So I really wanted to have a compact team and also equipment. And I talked about how I'd suggest two days of shooting and things like that. Then I made a slide about locations because there were several locations. Most of them were exteriors. And of course, you still don't know where you will shoot a few when this job. But you will have to propose something. And that doesn't have to be an existing place already. But you look for something that they can be even a Google image just to reference a place that you feel would work perfectly fine for this project. And then if you win the job, you try to find a place similar to whatever you proposed, or do you recreate this location, which is not as easy for exterior as for interiors, where you can even use just as green screen and do some visual effects. And then I referenced some places. I also talked about transitions. Transitions is something that I always talk about because sometimes you just want hard cuts and stuff like that. Like you don't want to use anything fancy. And you have to say that if you need transitions, include VFX or anything like that, it's very important that you communicate it both to the client and your producer because they have to know what they have to put in the budget. So in this case, I talked about transitions both visually and on a sound level. And then there was something very unique to the project's about a cat. I will not go into it as it is a confidential project. I will not talk about a cat and every treatment, but in this case, it was important to mention it. Again, a reference that then I had a slide about sound design which included talking about direct sound dialogue, music, and voice-over. Then there was a slide about acting, which was very important to talk about because the whole project was very simple. And the most important thing on the screen was the acting. Then I explained some points that were important to me that I wanted to include in the acting. I told them how I wanted it to be natural. I wanted to create some contrasts and so on. Of course, also therefore, I found some references because you want to support whatever you say with an image or a video. And then I talked about the casting itself. Explained that I was looking for normal people that were so normal and boring that it would make you laugh. I wrote a little bit going into detail. And also unique to this project, the skids and jokes, because it was several it was several spots and each of them had an own skit. And I was provided the script with all those skits, but I tried to put in some more things that will make them even funnier. And I talked about each of the spots and put in some ideas which we could discuss with the client. It's always good to have some options to propose, but also be prepared that not all of your ideas will be liked. And as in this case, the product was an app. It needed some exposure. It's not like a product where you make a product shot. You have to show something on the screen. You have to show something that moves. So I came up with some ideas. Again, look for some references that would support it, and made my suggestion. And another part of the whole project was some demo videos, which I wanted to keep it very simple. So again, I wrote a text explaining what I imagined, what I thought was best. I found a nice reference for it, which I showed them. Also, I talked about the credits, about titles. If I wanted an animation or not. This could be another slide. If there's animation, if there's credits that are very important, that have something special, you should talk about it. Even if it's a very simple animation, you have to communicate it because maybe the client wants something else. And then I close with a thank you. And the logos which I didn't include in this treatment. Let's see if we have some other examples. I will not show the whole treatments just fractions so that you can get some ideas of what you could put into the approach. Here is another treatment I did for also a Colombian company. As you can see, the tone was much darker. It was comedy also, but with a dark tone. And in this case, I felt important to talk about the color palette that I would use in the rooms and the locations. The interior design was very important to the story, to the spot. So I made sure to cover as many things that I could. In this case. I also attached a selection of my show real because it was a new agency and they didn't know me. Sometimes I even put like a small text about me, who I am, what I do, and a picture of mine, but it depends on the treatment. Sometimes I do it, sometimes I don't. And in this project, I edit a slide that said, who's it for? And then I explained who was our main target. And I explained why. And that was my transition to talk about the tone and voice so that there would be an explanation for what the choices I made. Now, in this case, there was a product shot. So of course I had to talk about it. And I reference that in this case with one of my own works. And went also into detail because it was not just an appearance of the product, but also there was a consuming part. And there I wanted to explain something of an experience. Sometimes I even start talking already about Wardrobe. If it's something very special, if it is something very important to the picture, then I will mention it also in the treatment. Well, now you see that there's very different approaches. There is topics that you cover in one but not in another treatment. And you understand that if you start with a design, you should try to maintain it. Tried to find a design that represents the brand and the language and tone that you are trying to convey. Now, if you wonder why you can get those references from, here are some tips. There are many, many tools on the Internet, but I will only show you a few. And with this knowledge, I think you should be able to investigate other tools. So on one hand there is eyespots, dot tv. They have a lot of ads and commercials and you can browse them. And I think they have a paid membership that allows you the use of many, many other tools. But in the free version, like if you don't log in, you still can browse different commercials. Another good tool is best ads on Same principle. So you can browse them, but you will have to pay for each video that you download, or you have a Pro membership and then you can download as many as you want. This is a tool that I only recently found and I love it here you will not find references for commercials, but rather for movies. It used to be free, but the better version now is ending. So it will cost something, but I think it's worth it. So you have here a lot of options to browse. You can browse for color. That's hit red. Then you can say in interior, exterior, exterior, and so on. And then you can look for those references and download them. I think it's great. And then of course there's Vimeo. I always go to the categories and choose a category that I think will help me find a good reference in this case, let's say it's fashion. And then you can go and browse all the videos and watch them. There's a tip that I would like to give you. Let's say we go on a video and you might love this reference so much and wish for other references that look maybe similar. Sometimes you get lucky looking at the collections because sometimes people make their own collections with very similar topics and videos. So there's this tip from me. Okay, I think with these tools you should be ready to start a treatment and find great references. Bonus, social media and digital. We live in a time and agent which social media is very important to the brands. This is your time to shine. Most directors only focus on the spot itself and might put down a two liner about the digital part, but don't underestimate the power of a good treatment that includes golden nuggets for social media treated like a very important part of the treatment. Think about what you can get out of the material on shooting days that can give you that extra credit to winning the job. So what I suggest you should do as dedicated enough time and come up with interesting proposals as to how exploit the digital part of the project. 14. The Pitch: The pitch the pitch comes after you have finished your treatment. Usually you have been provided the information or bored, you get a specific timeframe to finish and send it and a dataset for meeting in which the treatment is pitched by the director. Sometimes the client or agency will want to look at it before the pitch and other cases, your pitch is the first time they see the treatment. In any case, prepare yourself, go through it, try to be specific and not to repeat yourself. It is important that you choose your words wisely. There can be two pitches. The first is with agency representatives Only. This is a very important meeting because here the creatives can give you great insight as to what is important to them and the client. What you can change or what you should emphasize more, you have to understand that the creatives are your allies. They want to sell the project to the client and they might have a favorite which they in the end will suggest. But in the end it is the client who has the last word. This stage is again, a moment in which you can get great insight that will help you improve your pitch. When you have to pitch it to the client, take the advice and apply it. With this in mind, let us talk about how pitch goes. This can take place face-to-face or remotely via conference video call. Lately, this has been the pitching way of choice since the pandemic started and people are working more remotely or just want to practice social distancing. The principles are the same. You greet each other, everyone is presented to each other. And after a brief introduction by a producer, you as the director, I've given the word, you run your presentation and start talking. Hopefully not just reading the written texts, but paraphrasing and trying to present freely and not the sentences learned by heart. You do not want to sound too mechanic. Of course, on one hand, you have to always read expressions, but sometimes creatives and clients might put on a poker face, look serious. And this could unsettle you a little bit, but do not let that affect you. Be aware that most of the time your pitch should not be longer than 30 minutes. Tried to be emotional, but also precise. You do not want to bore no one remember that they have been working for months on that project. And additionally, they will not only hear one, but several pitches about the same script. So try to get their attention both in the way you present and with what you present in case there is a second pitch now with the client just do the same as before, applying only the changes and suggestions you heard in the first pitch. 15. Pre Production, Shooting Day and Post: Pre-production. Okay, you're the lucky one this time. The agency and the client loved your presentation. They are convinced that you did the best approach and your producer that magic with the numbers, you want the job. Now, even though you already made a treatment where you talk about some of the things that will happen in this spot. You might have done it more or less detailed. But now there are a bunch of things that also have to be taken into account. Here are some important points on the to-do list. Most of them you will not have to do yourself, but you will have to give instructions to the other head of departments. They will make proposals to you after hearing your general vision. Then you and the heads of departments check them options, and the director makes the final decisions. Let us take a look on a few of these decisions that are to be made. A casting if there is need for actors. But will you need actors or muddles? Do you already know what type of cast you want? Man, woman, kids, tall, small, young, old. Define that and start to cast people. Now, do you want a specific hairstyle? You will have to talk about it. Location scouting. If you have not done yet defined what type of locations exactly you need, then scout them. Location is extremely important. Find the best location your budget gets. You. Remember the location is part of the visual integration. It must help us tell the story. Set design, what furniture, which prompts, is there a carpet? Do we need a desk? What kind of desk? Look, whatever item you decide you need. You also need to decide which one it is exactly, because there are a million different desks and each is different from another. You will have to make that decision beforehand, because before you start getting those items, the client will have to prove. And if there's anything on the set that the client doesn't like, you will not shoot until it is corrected. Shortlist. Now that you know what location you will use, you have to decide which shots, which angle and which movements you will make. You might improvise a little bit onset when there is a great idea that just comes up on your mind. But in a perfect world, you would have come up with that idea beforehand because you do not want to work without a plan. You want everything to be 100% planned. There are exceptions like and some music videos, you can have more liberty. But on commercials you better know what you're going to do. Wardrobe. The actors can adjust, show up with any wardrobe. Every detail has to be planned. Well, he were a gene or shorts. Wait, he's in the office, so probably he should wear a suit. What kind of suit? Let's talk to the head of department and see what they can suggest. Now we'll show it to the client. He wants more options. This is the one. Check. Which music will be used? Stock music. If yes, what kind of music? They prefer an original score? What do they want to go for? Let us ask them for some details or even a reference. Now the composer will work on the music. Depending on the project. This selection and creation can happen either before or after shooting. Shooting schedule. Depending on the time which you have to get all the shots, which can be hours or days and weeks. You will have to prepare a schedule calculating how long you will need to prepare the set of the sets with the set design and lighting. How long you need to get each shot, how much time you need for equipment changes when you use different lands as for example, you will not create the schedule, but you will have to provide the producer with a lot of information, but not only you, also the other departments. These and many, many more creative and technical decisions have to be made by you and be approved by the client. Then you have to communicate these decisions and delegate the tasks. No head of department will read your mind, tell them exactly what you want. They will get it for you. Make sure every single detail you need for shooting day is thought of and prepared. And then finally, production day comes. Production or shooting day. We have worked so hard and so much time for this, prepared everything. Everything you need is there. Now, shooting day has come. Every department is cited on a specific hour. The set is prepared, lighting is set up. You go through the scenes with the actors and then according to the schedule, you start shooting and you will only get the time that is scheduled for any shot. We have mentioned that before, but I will repeat it again. It is not so much about how exactly you direct onset, but that you communicate whatever you have to communicate. If you want to show the actor how to act and you yourself start acting in front of them or showing a face. That is fine. Maybe some actors might not like that, but if that is the best way you can communicate the idea, that is what matters. Other directors might just explain using words, what expression they want from the actor, whatever way or two you use to direct with. Remember that it is also not about finding the answers on the set. You already should know the answers. If you have a perfect reproduction and thought of everything. In theory, you do not even have to be creative. You already did that in the preparation phase, at least you should have. And now you only execute. Of course, something unexpected always might happen and change the circumstances. Pestis, if you go through all scenarios and possible problems, but some things just happen. Now you cannot just execute because there are obstacles or impossibilities. So you have two options, fix the circumstances and get it done as planned or have a plan B and C. Think of different options. In any case, find solutions that are quick and practical. Execution. And problem solution. Is your job on that shooting day, post-production. Depending on the project and where you are located, you might or might not be involved in post-production. This is not so much the directors field, at least generally, the direct is not actively involved in the post-production, but he might sit down with the editor, composer, VFX artists and so on and guide them. In any case, you breathe the post-production team about how you want to edit. You suggest shots that you like most. You give them references and explain the color grading that you want, and so on. Again, every spot and every project is different and unique. So are the teams, and so are the ways of execution. 16. Self Promotion: Self-promotion. You made it from the pitch to the pre-production shooting day to the final release of the spot. Get the spot on your hand, put it on your real, if it is good and promote yourself, put your work out in best-case. You have always new work to show. Put your work on Facebook, Instagram, or whatever social media platform there is. Self-promotion is very important. Even if you're on a roster where they tried to sell you, you still should do your part, get the word out and get in touch with the creatives of the agencies when they know who you are and have a good feeling about you in your work. It can have an influence in the decision the day they get your treatment on their desk. So do not forget self-promotion. Okay, You made it through the whole course. I hope it was very helpful for you. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can leave a comment. And I really hope that you will get successful if you want to become a director. Thanks for watching this course. My name is Tomas a lot, and I'm a director and editor. 17. Class Project: Class project. Now that you know how to create a treatment, what should be in there, and how to find great references. Why don't we try to create a treatment just for learning purpose? Imagine a brand, the brand of your choice. With the story of your choice, you don't even have to write it down. Just imagine something and creates a treatment that tells me a little bit more about the project and how you going to execute it. I want to know your vision, your visual approach. Tell me everything that comes up in your mind. I'm curious. My name is Thomas a vat. Thank you for watching this course. I really hope it was helpful.