When a company wants a commercial for print or television they typically contact an advertising agency, production company, or may have an in-house art /production department.

Most often, a company (client) works with multiple advertising agencies or production companies, which will create a concept/s or develop the client’s concept. This often involves multiple agencies that bid for the commercial job from the client. Multiple requests may come to the film commission for the same job. Only one will get the job and the agency/client may decide to take the production to another location.

Most companies (clients) and ad agencies have a person or team who is also responsible for linking the campaign to online sources, such as social networking sites, apps and digital outdoor vehicles, or they may contract that out to an communications service or individual.


A script and or storyboard are created. Often this is what will be forwarded to the film commission, following an email or phone call. They may be rough sketches, detailed drawings or reference photos. Typically, commercial productions are not very flexible about locations and do not deviate from the images they forward to a film commission.
For example, if it is a still shoot or television ad for an auto commercial, they want to see location photos that look as close as possible to the storyboard or reference photos they send – if you can get a similar looking vehicle in the photo, angled the same position, do that.

If the production is new to your region, they may ask for referrals for accommodations, rental cars, restaurants, catering and craft services for the set and additional crew. They will also likely need assistance with permitting. Always make sure you have a copy of their Certificate of Insurance with additional insured listed on the form, prior to giving the permits to them.

Principal Photography

Typically, there will be several people from the client – they are the ones who are paying for the job. Then there is the team from the ad agency who will bring the concept to life and make the client happy. There could be four groups of people for a commercial shoot; client group, agency group, production group, and the talent/extras.

If they are new to your area they sometimes ask for a couple of Production Assistants, even though they didn’t think they would need one. Be prepared to help facilitate their requests. Often these are fast moving shoots and details come down to the final minute, or after.

Post Production

They will take it back to their agency, production studio, or house studio and edit. Possibly there will need to be a follow back for a pick-up shot, but not usually.


Television, commercials that play before a movie at the theatre, magazines, billboards, sides of buses and benches, digital billboards, huge banners, YouTube, websites, Facebook and other online sites or pubic exhibition.