“When I grow up, I still want to be a director.”
– Steven Spielberg
I should have shot commercials last year when I was launching this site. Making videos and advertisements has been something that I have thought about for a long time, but I’d always make excuses and postpone doing it. I thought it would be too expensive, time consuming, and technically exhausting. I was wrong.
A week or two ago, I finally commissioned a video to help promote Amazon For A Penny. I figured that it would be a fun way to boost traffic and liven up the site. At the worst it would provide me with a nice backlink from YouTube. Here are a few things that I learned from making my first commercial:
- Commercials are cheap to produce.
For a long time I had thought that commercials were expensive to shoot. I imagined that it would cost me several hundred dollars to make a short clip. While I’m not going to tell you what my ad cost me, it was significantly less than I would have thought. In fact, I did the whole video for less than ten dollars.
Like writers, actors and actresses can be bought for very little. Even if you’re super cheap you can browse Fiverr and find some decent talent. For five bucks it’s entirely possible to make a full length commercial for whatever you want.
- Hire professionals.
Initially I was planning on filming myself and using it to promote my site. I was planning on wearing a smoking jacket and sitting behind a large expensive painting. I was then going to get up, walk around the room, and point out all my expensive art. Afterwards I was going to explain that I had been able to afford all my nice things because I shopped with Amazon For A Penny and used the site to buy Christmas gifts for all my relatives.
While my commercial was funny, it was also very difficult to make and expensive to produce. I needed to decorate my office to look more upscale and I needed to memorize and deliver a rather complicated script. Instead of spending a lot of time on something that I was unsure about anyway, I eventually decided to hire two girls to film a very basic ad. Although they won’t be winning any awards, I think they did a better job delivering their lines than I would have been able to. They also saved me a lot of time and embarrassment since I get nervous in front of cameras.
- Commercials are easy to write.
I own a book titled How to Write a Movie in 21 Days. I was planning on using it for my commercial’s script. Instead I just wrote down the dialogue and who spoke it. The whole thing was written within about five minutes. If you can blog, you can definitely write a simple script.
- Even an idiot can upload content to YouTube.
This advertisement was the first thing that I ever uploaded to YouTube. Initially I was expecting the process to be complicated. In reality I just needed to press a few buttons. Adding videos was a lot simpler than I had anticipated.
I had a lot of fun shooting my commercial. It was easy to make and highly affordable to produce. If you have a website or sell a product, I would recommend making at least one video. It makes the site more dynamic and sets your content apart from everyone else.