Checklist for Successful TV Advert Planning

4 mins read

Planning the shooting of a TV advert is a huge undertaking. The amount of work that goes into preparation is overwhelming and a team can easily cave under the stress. For an amateur, much of the attention will be on when the camera starts rolling, forgetting that planning is even more important than the actual shoot.

If you don’t know what you are trying to realise and the steps to take to get it done, then you are likely to produce something that will not only fail to deliver results but will damage your brand reputation. That is why the most important aspect of a successful video production is having an unflinching focus on your goals.

What will help you ensure you have successfully planned out everything you need is a checklist. A checklist will ensure you don’t waste time and money. It will help you establish a strong foundation before you start shooting and reduce the stress you and your team experience.

Obtain your permits

If you are going to shoot at a public location, you have to first obtain a permit. You cannot afford to have the police arrive at your scene in the middle of your shoot and shut down your entire production.

The same applies for when you are using equipment that isn’t yours. Consider getting insurance for them and have your crew members sign deal memos.

Not having the complete paperwork for video production can turn your production into a nightmare. So, once you think you have had everything squared away, double check again and ensure every document you’ll need is well in order.


No matter how much your TV advert production is going be improvised, you will still need some sort of a script. A script isn’t just what gives your actors their lines, but it contains the directives that will set both the tone and scene of your productions. Your script outline is what will ensure the plot unfolds exactly as you envisioned it and consequently save you time and money.

Create a storyboard

A storyboard gives you an idea of what your video will look like even before you start. It is essential for the advert production, especially when it will involve such things like props and visual elements. It gives you a detailed breakdown of every video you shoot so you’ll see how it fits into the entire production.

It is from the storyboard that you will understand the flow of your TV Ad, and whether you’ll need voice-over or animations to support any part of the final media product. It also helps you hold everyone accountable. If your video production company doesn’t include something in the video, you can’t hold them accountable if you never included it on the storyboard.

Sort your budget

Once you have defined your audience and the message you intend to communicate in the video, then you should define your budget. Failure to do that is opening yourself up to going way above your budget. At the start it might not be 100% defined because it starts off as an estimate.

So, at the point of planning, revisiting your budget helps you clear up the uncertainties of the production like whether you are using voice overs and animations or any other thing that might add to the bottom line.

Logistics are an important part of the pre-production phase and budget is the most crucial element of your logistics process. You should fully understand how to budget for your video production before beginning the production. Your budget will affect every other element of both your shoot and post production and failure to plan based on available resources could ultimately lead to the failure of your TV advert production process.

Scout the location

Tale location very seriously. It might take time before you find the most suitable location, but you should be able to find one that resonates with what the message of your video. The location will also determine the permits and many of the other documents you will have on you while shooting, so you might have to take care of it right after you have got your budget in order.

Part of picking your location is also making sure it has constant power supply. So, one of the factors that will help you pick the perfect location for your shoot is what your power supply options are. If you are shooting in a studio then find out about the resources available and about the environment.


Your schedule and shot-list should be included in your storyboard. The schedule lets every member of your crew know when to arrive and how long each scene will take. You cannot make good value judgements about whether your video production is on track and whether you will meet stakeholder expectations if you don’t have clearly documented schedule.

You will have to know when it is time for meals, breaks, take down time, transportation, set-up, and so on. These factors help you stay on track and a schedule will help you realize your plan smoothly.

Cast your actors and crew

Have you got your team members locked down? These are the people who will help you turn the production plan into reality and you have to ensure they are as committed as you are. First, set up your crew.

Next cast your actors. The kinds of actors you will pick will depend on the nature of your video content. For example, will you need professional actors, a certain demographic or random volunteers. Once you are done picking, go ahead and organise a casting to see who is the best fit for the different scenes.

Length of video

If your TV advert content will be uploaded on the web for the online community, then you probably want to keep it short, given their attention span. Still, you will need to determine how short it is going to be. You will be surprised how much it will affect many other elements of your production. You may also want to consider how your TV production process can be used to create different versions of the same materials for different TV advertising slots, and for display on different online channels.

The secret to a successful TV advert production process is planning and there is no other way to ensure you have planned fully than to have a checklist beside you before you go ahead. The checklist, and the processes that flow from it, are what keep you on track.

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