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  • Leslie Ravencroft

Our Biggest Production Yet

A deeper look into what goes into a full-day shoot for a narrative commercial

Planning, rewriting, and rethinking are all challenging aspects that go into developing a full commercial. For three months, we have been working with our client, Schola, on their narrative commercial project. This was a big project to take on, but we were ready for the challenge! We would need to prepare a storyboard and shot list, hire actors, film at multiple locations around Phoenix, and shoot it all in one day. Sounds like a lot, right?

The final project would be a 3-minute narrative commercial to present to their investors and play at their pitch competitions. They wanted an “emotional video to explain the mission behind Schola and why they help students,” says Talbert.

Writing the Story

Schola's mission is to connect families with schools in their area that fit their child’s specific needs. Schola’s team and our team collaborated on a story that would convey two children in need of a school that suits their learning style. Conveying two stories at once has its difficulties, but another challenge was that the video would have no dialogue!

From a film production perspective, telling a story with no dialogue immediately emphasizes the importance of acting.

Casting Call

To tell the story well, we had to find both adult and child actors who could convey their emotions authentically. So, we put out a casting call in Phoenix to reach the experienced talent we promised our client. After zoom calls and auditions, we found the best actors for this project and hired them on for the shoot.


The 12 hour-shoot began at 5:30 AM, and it was all hands on deck for Grand Launch Media. It seemed we almost had our entire team on-set working in the heat of the Phoenix summer. Our director and assistant director oversaw all the shots, camera set up, lighting, and everything included in each shot. Our producers organized the locations, set design, talent communication, and schedule. We did not want to miss a beat, so we had our director of photography on set, as well as our gaffer and grip. As everyone had their specific role, there were many times where everyone cross-collaborated and helped in different areas. The entire project wrapped around 5 PM after completing around 40 shots and the necessary retakes required.

In the pre-production process, the story idea came to us from Schola, and together we developed it a

nd wrote out the whole commercial. Schola provided us with the locations to shoot at, but we had our producer scout the location and design the set to match the storyline. Projects like these “allow us to be intentional with every step of the process,” says Garrett Bennion, director of photography.

During the production day, the full-day shoot allowed us enough time to think through each shot and focus on the details. From working with actors and filming at multiple locations, this was, by far, our biggest project yet. After hours of writing, preparing, shooting, and reshooting, at the end of the day, we were left with plenty of editing ahead in post-production.

All edits and revisions in post-production took about a week to complete and we presented Schola with the finished product.

Behind The Scenes

We also made sure to keep our own brand in mind! As a small business run by GCU students, we are always looking to grab the behind-the-scenes content of our team for our own marketing purposes. We made sure to grab content from the shoot for our media content. We shared snippets throughout the day on our Instagram of the shoot and the progression of the project. We also gathered behind-the-scenes photos for our page, which allows us to show clients what we’re working on and who we’re working with! Sharing our experience helps us develop and establish our credibility to keep working with clients who trust us.

A huge thank you to our client, Schola, for trusting us with this project and helping us share the goal and mission of Schola.

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