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View Full Version : Going rate for 30 second commercial script???


mtoomey
08-23-2009, 10:37 PM
Anyone here write TV commercials? What's the going rate for writing something like that? I realize there's 30 second Microsoft commercials and then there's 30 second Lenny's Muffler Shop commercials (no offense, Lenny).

But if anyone has some insight I'd appreciate it. thanks,

MT

Gillyflower Cooms
08-23-2009, 11:18 PM
I don't know for sure but I don't think there's a going rate or a spec market for commercials...they might be written by advertising agencies or in conjunction with advertising agencies...s'probably a specialized field like writing industrials.

mtoomey
08-23-2009, 11:34 PM
hmm....thanks Gilly. my googling hasn't turned up anything either.

but would love to hear from anyone who's got paid to write commercials. I was asked to name my rate and I don't know what the hell to say. thanks in advance.
MT

sc111
08-23-2009, 11:38 PM
It depends. Like -- will you offer them more than one concept to choose from? I usually do.

Are you working directly with the client or are you freelancing for an ad agency?

Is it a national spot. Regional? Local spot?

Then -- will you be at the shoot? Will you direct, choose talent, etc. How many meetings will they drag you into?

If you're not sure -- go with an hourly rate. Answer the above and I'll give you a range for the hourly.

ETA: What city are you working in?

DavidK
08-24-2009, 03:53 AM
For a while I wrote commercials part time up until about 12 years ago. There's no going rate. Usually the agency will tell you what the fee is up front. If they ask you to quote, that usually means they expect/hope you to bid under-budget. There are no easy ways around this. If you have a relationship with an agency you know what their rates are and you pitch accordingly. If you don't it's hit and miss. I used to ask what they were offering, and then say my rate was usually at least 50 percent more than that and hope for something better than I asked for.

General guideline: if they don't say no, you didn't ask for enough.*

Other guideline: you won't make piles of $$ writing commercials unless you also direct them.

Latest guideline: budgets are down.

* In the early 90s I got a phone call from Asia late one night from a producer friend. He asked if I could write a 60-second script (including treatment) for an international electronics corporation releasing a new product range. He wanted a quote immediately over the phone. I gave him a figure. Five seconds silence. Like real, dead silence. Then he said okay, you've got a deal. I later learned the silence was because he couldn't believe how much I'd under-priced the job. He said yes straight away before I had time to come to my senses.

Pasquali56
08-24-2009, 05:47 AM
I've worked for many ad agencies -- some national and some regional -- and now work freelance. Like others have said, there's no going rate, and there are a ton of variables -- the first being if it's national, regional or local (just as someone else here also mentioned). Another important consideration is if it's a one time shot or promises to be part of a bigger campaign with more work. If it's going to be a volume account, you would obviously charge a lower rate per spot.

mtoomey
08-24-2009, 09:06 AM
Thanks all, these are all very good questions you're asking me and they are questions I have on my list to ask them...we've only exchanged a couple emails and they asked me my rate w/o a whole lot of other info..so looks like I need to get a lot more info first.
thanks again.
MT

zz9
08-24-2009, 11:15 AM
Ask for a free sample!

If the client is Mercedes, jackpot!

If it's Lenny's Mufflers.... :D