July 26, 2023

Mastering the Art of Setting Achievable Timelines in Commercial Advertisement Production

Creating a well-crafted and engaging commercial requires careful planning, efficient execution, and the ability to adapt to unexpected challenges. Setting achievable timelines during the prep stage is crucial to ensure a smooth production process. We’ll explore some best practices for getting your timeline in ship-shape so you can enjoy smooth sailing during filming and post!

1. Create a Detailed Production Schedule

Start by identifying key milestones and deadlines, such as scriptwriting, location scouting, casting, pre-production meetings, and post-production timelines. Break down each phase into smaller tasks and assign realistic timeframes to each.  

One of the biggest distractions in the planning proccess? Clumsy tools. How efficient and masterful can you be when you’re juggling 2 Google Calendars, a clunky Excel spreadsheet, and an ever-changing crew distro list?  

Enter ProCal. What other calendar tool can account for union holidays, handle multiple views, offers the most diverse color-coding options imaginable, or allows you to push or pull some or all of your events by the exact number of days you need?  

In short: your production scheduling phase needs ProCal.  

2. Maximize Your Pre-Production Efficiency

Ensure you allocate enough time for script development, storyboarding, shot list creation, and concept design. Conducting thorough location scouting and securing necessary permits in advance can prevent last-minute hiccups.  

Perhaps most importantly, keeping a loyal network of crew and vendors in your back pocket can help you get up and running as quickly as possible during pre-production. But creating such loyalty begins long before this phase or project.

3. Deliver Quality Results  

Consistently deliver high-quality work to gain the trust and confidence of vendors and crew members. A track record of excellence will make them more likely to work with you again.

Fair and Timely Payments  

Ensure timely and fair payments to vendors and crew. This demonstrates your professionalism and fosters trust and loyalty.

Recognize and Appreciate  

Acknowledge the contributions of vendors and crew publicly. Give credit where it's due and show appreciation for their hard work and dedication.

Offer Advancement Opportunities

Whenever possible, provide opportunities for vendors and crew members to grow professionally within your projects or through introductions to other potential clients.

Resolve Conflicts Gracefully

Inevitably, conflicts may arise. Handle them diplomatically and find solutions that consider the interests of all parties involved.

Stay Updated  

Keep track of the latest developments in the industry, such as new technologies or trends, and share relevant information with your network. This positions you as a knowledgeable and resourceful collaborator.

Consistency is Key

Strive to maintain consistency in your relationships and working style. A reliable and consistent approach builds trust and encourages vendors and crew to work with you repeatedly.

4. Account for Unexpected Delays

Unforeseen challenges can arise at any stage of commercial production. Build buffers in your timelines to account for potential delays, such as:

  • Weather conditions
  • Permitting and location issues
  • Casting challenges
  • Technical difficulties
  • Scheduling conflicts
  • Client revisions and feedback
  • Unexpected changes in creative direction
  • Logistical issues
  • Budget constraints

One overlooked area for your contingency plan is your budget. Software tools like TrueBudget allow you to easily duplicate budgets and plug in different figures depending on delays. Shooting moved to LA? How much will that cost? Unseasonable rains moves shooting to Portland? TrueBudget can help you estimate the new costs in a few clicks.  

5. Optimize Travel and Logistics

Carefully plan travel and logistics to optimize efficiency and reduce costs. Consider shooting multiple scenes at nearby locations to minimize travel time and expenses. When possible, rent equipment and props locally to avoid shipping delays. Utilize digital location scouting tools or virtual reality technologies to explore potential locations remotely, saving time and resources.

6. Collaborate with Vendors and Partners

Develop strong relationships with reliable vendors and partners who understand your production requirements.

Building long-term partnerships can lead to cost-saving opportunities and faster turnarounds. Maintain clear communication channels, negotiate favorable terms, and discuss potential efficiencies or discounts they can provide.

7. Continuously Learn and Improve

Regularly evaluate your production processes to identify areas for improvement.

Encourage open communication within your team to collect feedback and suggestions. Implement post-production evaluations to analyze the effectiveness of your timelines and identify bottlenecks or inefficiencies. Embrace a culture of continuous learning and embrace new technologies and practices that can enhance your production workflows.


Setting achievable timelines during the prep stage of commercial advertisement production requires a combination of careful planning, flexibility, and embracing innovative approaches. By creating a detailed production schedule, accounting for unexpected delays, and adopting unconventional best practices, experienced film production professionals can streamline their workflows, save costs, and achieve more efficient timelines. Embracing technology, optimizing travel and logistics, collaborating with trusted partners, and maintaining.

The Revolution Team

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