I’ve had a few recent inquiries on my feelings about spec commercials. Can I just take a moment real quick and say that I really love that other moms are somehow finding my blog in the deep dark cyber abyss. I must admit that while I am absolutely no authority on really anything in this world, I do love when people request info from my blog, it makes me feel really important. Unless it’s just my mom fucking with me. That is more likely the case.
Anyway, How do you feel about Spec Commercials? Before I share my feelings, let’s cover what a spec commercial actually is. Luck you, I’ve already done all the googling for you;
A “Spec Commercial” or a “spec-spot” is a 30 second commercial for a product, or company, that no one paid or asked for.
Generally it’s a piece designed for a director’s reel, in some rare instances a director will actually pitch it to the client in hopes of actual paid work.
In summary a spec commercial is simply a “fake” commercial that someone makes to show ad agencies and companies that they do professional quality work.
Our first booking through our NY agent was a “spec commercial”. I had no clue what it was at the time, and in our case the production was making this spec with the intent of entering it into a contest for the name brand. We were informed by our agent that it would be an advantageous gig for O and that out of over 300 other children O had gotten a callback. We self-taped the first call and then O had a Skype callback. Our four year old had a Skype interview, during which they asked her questions like do you have any brothers or sisters, and do you have any pets? The do you have any pets one drives me crazy because O always answers yes! We have 10 Guinea Hens but casting directors can never really hear what she is saying properly and respond with you have 10 guinea pigs!? And I so badly want to clarify Nooooo, HENS, NOT PIGS, HENS!! Because honestly guys what kind of people have ten rodents, that’s just so weird. But I digress….
Back to the facts, I don’t know much about the success rate of spec commercials but the general consensus is they are usually nonunion (low pay) but great experience and demo material for kids just starting out and trying to build a resume/reel. Our experience was positive, it was a spec for Band-Aid brand and our production company had prior success winning spec commercial contests and having their work bought by the brand. O’s nonunion $250 spec commercial turned into a union, 13 week national Band-Aid commercial on the Disney channel in 2015. Amazingly, it ran for another 13 weeks in early 2016 because O just received a royalty check this month!
If you’re considering letting your child work on a spec, inquire as to whether production has had success with their spec commercials before, or at least view some of their prior work (try Facebook, their production website or youtube) and get a feel for the quality of the expected final work. Also ask as to what the commercial will be used for, sometimes spec commercials are strictly for a school projects, or to build professional portfolios.
Pretty sure O’s production was by a grad student too – here is his website, he has very good quality stuff. (https://tongal.com/tongaler/boyandstar.productions)
As always, hope this helps!
Ugh that background is awful. I have learned so much.