An "inside story" by James Alan Jenkins


Home | FAQ | Forum | Swap Meet | Gallery | Tech Tips | Events | Features | Search | Hoo-ya Shop

         I thought I'd maybe give an insight into the levels of quality required for different projects. Most people might guess that relatively speaking, TV production is "quick and dirty", and "feature films" are shot with much more care and attention to detail. What most might not guess, however, is that TV commercial productions get by far the most care, (and money spent) per foot of film used.

         TV Producers make far and away the most money, and that money is provided by the commercial advertising. Therefore, since the advertiser has only 15-30-45-60 seconds to earn your attention, they'll frequently spend as much on the production of three or four 30 second spots, (all shot concurrently) as is spent on an entire 30 minute TV show. (22.5 minutes of actual airtime)

         The very best of the industry is frequently involved in doing commercial spots. (Which is nice work, because you're always moving on to another project, There's never enough time in one production for anyone to get bored, or disillusioned, or get on anyone else's nerves.) Of course, it's the most demanding work, too. That keeps you on your toes, and there's no room for complacency, in that setting.

         In reflecting on it all, I went to the Internet Movie Database, ( and was looking at Eric Allard's and Rick Hill's screen credits. (Only a tiny fraction of the total number of people who work on a production, actually get film credit. You have to be a fairly important figure to get a film credit.) And, seeing Rick's credit for "Lethal Weapon 2," I remembered Rick telling how on the day they did the "Toilet Bowl Lands in the Middle of the Windshield" gag, the whole production company was waiting with great anticipation to see if the gag would work, i.e., land exactly on it's "mark" in the windshield. It did, and on the first take. The whole company went wild with applause.

         Rick said his reaction was "So what? That's what it was supposed to do." They'd spent weeks, if not months doing tests, over and over again. They knew it would work, perfectly. They'd done it repeatedly.

         Doing prep work, although somewhat costly, is nothing compared to when the whole company is there, waiting to get the shot. "That's why they pay you the big money."

         Far and away, the best of the best, are frequently doing TV Commercials. All TV production is driven by the seemingly "Incidental" advertising campaign, down the road. TV producers make huge money, "hand over fist." Feature film producers make big money, only if it's a big hit. Then, they have to come up with another big hit, to make the big money, again.


James Alan Jenkins
"James Yellow 66 K 10 Short Stepside"
Bolter # 14645
Placerville, California

Home | FAQ | Forum | Swap Meet | Gallery | Tech Tips | Events | Features | Search | Hoo-ya Shop

No parts of this site, its contents, photos or graphics may be used without permission.  

Copyright © 1995-2023 | The Stovebolt Page | Leonardtown, Maryland