*Opening scene* Neal Lane walks through the sparkling clean jewelry factory, exuding power and authority. Neal will be wearing a dark blue Armani suit with a red power tie.
*Production Note* This set has been built on soundstage 7. No, we can’t shoot this scene at a real jewelry shop. Have you ever seen how dirty and disorganized those places are? Yuck. We need clean and shiny, just like the real world.
*Scene Two* Neal Lane, wearing the same Armani suit and red power tie, looks over bench jeweler’s shoulder, pretending to examine the quality of the work. Neal nods his approval, slaps man lightly on the shoulder, and the two have a bonding moment. Note: For the bench jeweler, please have casting provide a mature male, with rugged good looks and perfect teeth for the ‘smile’ shot. His smile must be as captivating as Mr. Lane’s. Ask wardrobe for a red flannel shirt, khaki work pants, and a work apron. Also ask wardrobe to have an intern change the oil in my car and wear the apron while doing it to give it that ‘broken in’ look.
*Production Note* Have props department send the 3 pieces of jewelry we will be filming to a real jeweler to try and make them look better. And remember to have all of the gemstones tightened this time. We don’t need diamonds falling out on the set like the last 2 times.
*Scene Three* Elegant party scene. Casting, please provide 18 to 20 beautiful people dressed in black-tie formal attire. Perfect hair, teeth, complexion, and figures are a must. We don’t want anyone watching this commercial to think they’re not pretty enough to wear this jewelry. Please make it a 70/30 mix of females over males. And ‘props’ please provide lots of shrimp cocktail bowls. Those film very well and look elegant. Also, have casting provide 6 ‘average’ looking people in cheap black tuxedos to portray the catering crew.
*Scene Four* The $$$ Shot. We need the jewelry (once it’s back from the shop) on a rotating pedestal with a star filter on the camera. I want those diamonds to look like they are on fire. Use fake diamonds if the real ones in the rings aren’t good enough to get the sparkle we need. This is the money shot people. This is what we’re getting paid for. Make it happen.
*Closing scene* Cue the music, ‘Every Kiss Begins with Kay’ and bring up the closing graphics. We’ll be using the 0% interest for 25 years for this spot.
And....CUT! That’s a wrap.
There is a saying in Hollywood that goes, “All you really need to make is a good trailer, not a good movie.” When a movie is being made, particular scenes are shot with special attention because the big wigs at the studio know that this scene will be part of the trailer. The trailers are those previews you see while you’re in the theatre waiting to see the movie you paid to see. This is how the studios sell their movies to the movie going public. If your trailer is compelling, people will pay to see your movie when it comes out, regardless of how good or bad the plot.
Advertising has closely aligned their business model after this system. You don’t have to have good jewelry to make the sale. Sometimes you just have to have a good commercial. But, that being said, most of us independent owner/operators out here can’t spend a half a million dollars just on the production of a 30 second ad like the big retailers with hundreds of locations can. Heck, I don’t even have an ad agency.
Whenever I think this business gets harder and harder, I think back 20 or 30 years and realize that I thought it was hard back then too. It’s not that it’s harder now. It’s more like I’m realizing it’s just always been hard to be in this business.
A small business has to compete against the big box retailers that sell the EXACT SAME THING for about half the price. Of course we all know that’s not even close to being true, but they are spending millions and millions of dollars to convince your customers that it is true. They are telling your customers more often ‘it’s true’ than you’re telling them that ‘it’s not true.’ Also remember, you’re not the only one trying to steal customers from your competitors. The big boys are trying to steal your customers from you! So, how do you woo them away from the giant retailers to become your customer?
I can’t count the number of times a new customer has asked, “Why didn’t they tell me that when I bought it?” Usually, it’s because the person they bought if from was working at The Gap last week and is a jeweler this week.
Unless you do this for years, you don’t know how to keep your customers from making a bad mistake. Like those slide bracelets from the early ‘90s. You know the ones I’m talking about. There were two thin rope chains and customers could add cork filled charms over time. The only problem was the cork was worn out by the second day and all of the charms would lump together and hang on the bottom and the only thing you saw on your wrist was two thin gold chains sawing into your skin from the weight of the heavy charms hanging down out of sight.
“Why didn’t they tell me about this when I bought it?” they’ll ask. Well, because you didn’t buy it from me. And you didn’t buy it from me because I wouldn’t sell it!
I’m lucky that I have a fair amount of, “I didn’t even know you were here,” customers that I try to pick off one-at-a-time. Are some of them going to re-fall for the ‘every piece is hand-made by our expert craftsmen’ ads? Some will, and they’ll end up bringing that ‘mass produced in a 3rd world country’ nightmare to you to try and repair.
Most asking, “Why didn’t they tell me about this when I bought it?”