Lights, camera, action! Everything’s in place, the commercial starts recording and before you know it, it’s seamlessly running on TV. As simple as it seems, it does take a lot of effort and a strong team of talented individuals for production to take place. Needless to say, it’s very exciting so I will take you on a small ride through the behind the scenes styling process and give you a general overview on how it works.
When a client/brands decides they want to do a commercial they hire an agency/producer to handle it. This company is then in charge of finding the model and the right people to do their hair, make up, and wardrobe. The wardrobe stylist has the responsibility of finding the perfect outfit(s) by following the client’s general direction and spending lots of hours shopping around. Some of the most important things to take into consideration are:
- Model size: weight, height, specific body part lengths, etc. Even the most unthinkable details are needed.
- Outfit “feel”: colors to look for or avoid, specific trends to follow, the character being portrayed by the model, and more depending on the type of job.
- Budget: In the projects I have worked on thus far, I usually get a pedi cash budget of about $5,000. However, once I start shopping around and putting the outfits together I often go over and sometimes spend up to $12,000. It may seem like a lot, but you have to keep in mind that most items get returned at the end so as long as everything is kept organized it’s ok. In some cases, when I’m looking for very specific pieces I do pulls at the Warner studios, they do charge a lot more than the average store but they offer a plethora of options which can satisfy almost any styling need.
We’ve got the right pieces on hand and now it’s time for the fitting with the model(s). We make sure everything fits exactly like we imagined and run to buy anything we might have forgotten or simply needing a minor change. Once our outfit is finally complete we take pictures and send them to the client for approval.
The day of the commercial, me and my assistant stylist go to our designated RV and prep every single garment to make sure they are perfect and ready to appear on screen. Once the shooting starts, I will stay on the set with the model(s) to re-primp the outfits in between takes. Along with the make up and hair artist we make sure the model(s) look its best from beginning to end.
The fun part is over and now it’s time to go back and return all the unused pieces to the stores from which we bought them. The process is to basically organize all garments by store and place them in one specific bag with their given receipts. The Warner pieces have a slightly different procedure since they require dated stamps and additional information to be included in order to make sure these specialty items get returned in prime condition with no hassle.
I hope this small article helped clarify your doubts or learn about something you might not have been aware of. I’m sure you will never see a TV commercial with the same set of eyes now that you can understand a little bit more of how it all came to be. Below, you can check some of the photos I’ve taken at commercial shootings so you can get a visual image of the process.