A streamlined approach to Atlanta video production

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A streamlined approach to Atlanta video production

After several years of going on TV shoots and watching commercial directors work their magic, I thought “That doesn’t look so hard.” I figured I could do it too if I ever got the chance.

A writer producer's approach to Atlanta video production.Well, a few years ago, I got the chance.

An agency on the west coast hired me to write a web video script. Then about a week after I finished the job, they called again, asking if I could shoot the video here in Atlanta.

Atlanta Video Production

I went all out—hired local actors, worked with a production company, and had an exec producer helping every step of the way. It was an incredibly fulfilling experience.

Then about a year ago, another chance to direct came up, this time at a local agency. They needed a TV campaign for a small income tax company. The only difference: the budget was about a third of what I’d had on the previous production.

This time, there’d be no production company to watch my back. No executive producer working out details. No location scout. No production assistants or support staff working behind the scenes.

Do it yourself location scouting—part of my approach to Atlanta video production

Location Scouting

With the lower budget, I was forced to handle more of the details myself—which I have to admit turned out to be a rewarding experience. A completely different approach Atlanta video production.

For example, to find locations, I spent a weekend driving around Mechanicsville, a neighborhood in downtown Atlanta. I knew there was an income tax office nearby (shooting there was a given), so I focused my location search around that point.

Soon, local residents were asking why I was taking pictures on their street, so I told them the truth: I was looking for houses to use in a TV commercial. Before I knew it, they were knocking on neighbors’ doors for me. Everyone wanted their house in a TV commercial.

DIY Props

Of course, locations weren’t the only problem to solve. I had to find local actors (including several kids) willing to work below scale. I had to work out a detailed shooting schedule, and hire a Director of Photography (local D.P David Blackburn was a huge help in organizing the crew). I even had to build my own props for the shoot, including a rig for a “mailbox cam.”

How a writer producer approaches Atlanta video production The day of the shoot, I was at Panera at 6 a.m. picking up coffee and bagels (yes I was the craft service person as well). We shot three commercials that day. Luckily, all the locations were within a block of each other (actually no luck was involved—I planned it that way).

Smart Video Production

In hindsight, wearing so many hats myself (writer, producer, location scout, prop guy, craft service, director, editor) was pretty stressful. In the future, I would prefer to work with a production company whenever possible.

On the other hand, it was nice knowing I could pull something like this off. Low-budget production is an adrenaline rush.

 

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