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What are the top 10 steps in crafting a TV advert shot in a vineyard halfway around the world in Chile?

1. A cracking idea

The crux of the whole process that begins with the holistic strategy. Get this right to help that gem of an idea fall out. Simple.
OK so its a bit more involved than that with a whole load of research, a deep understanding of the audience, an intimate knowledge of the product which in this case, being wine wasn’t too much of a chore for the team.

2. Script and storyboards

Time to craft that TV advert idea into a timed out, coherent story and script to not only sell to the client but also the powers that be in TV ad-land.
This is the crafting stage. The primary goal is to stop viewers from getting up to make a cuppa or grabbing their phone. Then it’s holding their attention and ultimately getting them to add our hero product to their shopping list.

So the idea, script and storyboards have all had their tweaks and the final rounds of crafting. It’s now time to book your holiday to Chile.

3. Don’t let the idea out of your site

You have to be on the ground. There are so many stages between the idea, the filming and the TV advert finally being on air. So many chances for the vision to drift so you have to be a part of it. A running constant that can account for the story and when necessary be there to bend and twist when needed.

4. The Director

Whilst Directing is a skill we have at Grand Central doing so in Spanish is not. Choosing a director is a case of looking at their past work and then hearing their vision of your carefully crafted story. Our director nailed it on the first pass. He got it and was excited by the idea.

5. The trip to Chile

This is the easy part. Pack, plane, swap a 7 degree English December for a 28 degree Chile version then dive into meeting the assembled team. Share the vision, craft the shot list, eat sushi.

6. Cast and costume

Part of the build-up involved initial cast selection. It’s now time to meet the cast and work with the costume department on their look and feel. Everything from shoes to hair has to fit the vision and story.
Oh, and being able to ride a 40-year-old iron weight bike across varied terrain, at speed whilst smiling for the camera helped the cast make the grade.


7. Crew

It never ceases to amaze me how many people and how much gear is needed to smoothly produce a 30 second TV advert. Steady cam, focus puller, quad bike and rigging for your moving shots, the drone and it’s dedicated crew, runners, vans, monitors, catering, a cigar for the director, lights, camera, action.

8. A beautiful vineyard

Check. In this case, we were shooting for two days at one of Cono Sur’s vineyards two hours from Santiago. Beautiful rolling hills of near endless vines nestled in between the foothills to the Andes and the ocean.

9. The filming

This is the exciting bit. Helping to craft the various scenes as they gradually come together (although out of chronological order of course) and seeing your storyboard sketches come to life is magical.
Inevitably there will be curveballs, more appropriate location, better angles, set redressing, the dwindling light and the rush to get the final scene as the sun fades (grab a light)… it’s about keeping the vision in check. The idea is king (and also signed off) and every detail must drive toward grabbing and installing your vision in the mind of your viewer.



That’s the hard part over.

10. The VO recording, the edit, the music, the approvals and finally waiting for the moment you see your creation on-air for the first time.

11. The bonus: your TV advert on air