How To Create A Funny Commercial For Your Online Business in 8 Steps
Every online business owner wants to be successful; including you. You’ve worked hard to build your brand but your sales are still not where you’d like them to be. You don’t have a money to spend on continuous paid ads and while you may be doing a little content marketing (or a lot) the cash is still not rolling in.
Picture uploading a video for your business on YouTube one evening and waking up the next morning to see it’s gone viral. Imagine the comment section filled to the brim with comments from people all over the world. Impossible? Not at all.
Many online business owners are turning to small commercial production to boost sales. The ones finding the most success are the ones that are funny. Here are a few tips on how you can produce a funny commercial to help you reach more potential customers and develop a community of fans for your online business.
1. Brainstorm - Sit down for at least a week to come up with funny concepts for your commercial. Get your team to help out if you have one; maybe even your family and friends (sweeten the pot and tell them you’ll dance at their weddings if they help out. If they’re already married, they’ve missed out and should help out of the kindness of their hearts).
One idea is to think about all the ways your brand/service/product could be mistaken for something else in a funny way and how to reveal it for what it really is by the end of the commercial.
2. Write Your Script - Writing a script is pretty easy but it can be made SUPER easy if you use a program like Celtx. The scriptwriting feature is free to use and is absolutely wonderful. You can actually plan your whole production from start to finish, including budgeting and scheduling if you use one of their paid plans but for now keep things simple and cheap. The free editor is all you need.
The reason I’m recommending Celtx is because it has a lot of automation built in for people who are not that experienced with writing scripts. It formats everything for you so that you end up with a professional looking script. You need to take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with some of the hotkeys so you can hit them as you type for your writing to be formated.
Keep your script super simple. Shoot for one location, as few characters as you can and little or no dialogue from the onscreen talent. Using narration instead is another way to cut down on production costs. An example of a funny commercial using narration only and only two main cast members (the extras can be anyone) with no lines is one I recently discovered from Durrie Vision:
Here are a few more examples:
From L Condoms:
From Califorina Beans:
3. Your Equipment - Beg & borrow if you know anyone with decent film equipment. You can also use your own cell phone with a good camera or digital camera. Don’t overthink this area. If you really have a marginal camera for instance, maybe you can do a video set in the 80s and use the lesser image quality to your advantage. But if you simply must have good gear but don't want to buy it, check out https://www.lensrentals.com They will ship equipment to you (they rent more than just lenses).
4. Find Your Cast - Finding a good cast for your funny commercial can be pretty easy thanks to the modern conveniences of the internet. You can use the resources below to find your talent and be sure to interview them even if you aren’t paying. You need to speak with them via the phone or in person to make sure they understand your vision, support it and they have a personality you can live with during production (you’d better do this; trust me).
Resources in the order of appearance:
https://www.breakdownexpress.com - This one is my all time favorite go-to site for casting. Don’t let the outdated website interface fool you; this is by far where the professionals are. Posting a breakdown is free and you can offer paid and unpaid roles. You can even hire “voice only” talent if needed.
http://www.backstage.com - If you’d like to do something unique, like say a funny commercial with a 1940s theme, then this should be the first site you go to. There seems to be a large amount of theater talent on this site who can deliver just what you need when it comes to drama (even if it’s funny). There are certainly more than just theater talent on Backstage so it’s possible to hire all the talent you need from this one site.
https://www.stage32.com - This is a fairly new free social website for the media industry but you wouldn’t know it by the membership numbers. It has TONS of real users who are pretty active. This site makes it easy to find cast and crew who are in your local area.
http://www.mandy.com - You are allowed to post “low or no pay” casting calls here. I would consider Mandy one step up from Craigslist. You may find great talent on the site but might have to wade through a lot to floaters to get there.
5. Find Your Crew - You should decide early on if you need a crew or not. If you do, you can get them from Stage32 or Production Hub. Before you go that route, see if you already have friends or family who can help you out in this area. For a small commercial production, you can have someone you know help you with lighting, camera and sound; the essentials.
6. Make Your Funny Commercial - Also keep it simple when it comes to production. For a short commercial, plan on shooting the entire thing in one day. Make sure you make the time. Don’t schedule it on a day where you have to go here and there or do this and that throughout the day. Get your set ready the day before if you can but have it ready, including lighting setup, etc. before your talent and crew arrive. You want to be able to get started as soon as you can. If you can go pick everyone up, do that. It’s a way to make sure everyone arrives on time (this is a real issue so do take this seriously). Once you have everyone there, get to work.
Perk Alet: Do have snacks and drinks available and if you will be shooting past lunch, provide a lunch; a good one (not beer and pizza). One of the reasons you want to do this is because it will encourage good talent and crew to want to work with you again on future projects (and it’s just nice).
7. Edit Your Funny Commercial - If you aren’t good at editing, this is where you may have to kick out some money for your commercial. Editing is not hard but it is time consuming and there is a bit of a learning curve because of all the awesome tools editing software offers. If you have time, give it a shot, otherwise hire someone to edit your commercial. Again, check Stage32 for editors and if you are really going for super cheap, you can use Fiverr (although this should be your last resort).
8. Release Your Funny Commercial - Get on the web and get yourself a YouTube and Vimeo account. YouTube is where you’re going to get the most exposure and it’s good to have your own channel there because you are going to continue to make funny commercials for your business. You want people to become fans of your videos and thus your company. Vimeo is great for embedding a nice looking, commercial-free player for your commercial on your website.
That's it! Give making a funny commercial for your online business a shot. You can produce a fancier video once the dough is rolling in (and it will be) but start with something simple and funny. I can’t stress enough that funny goes a long way when it comes to winning the attention of potential customers.
Ruby on Rails developer and devops engineer for FastWebsiteHelp.com with twenty years working as an IT professional for large companies such as J.P. Morgan, Raymond James Financial, Hewlett-Packard and IBM. She enjoys building enterprise-level web soulutions and world travel.