Don’t Let Anyone Feel Under-demeciated

How long did it take you to learn your job? How many years of your job did it take you to learn your industry?

I’m willing to bet that whatever it is that you do, you are still learning new and important things every day.

My job these days is heading up new business development for a video production and editing company. I have been in related industries before and I am a better-than-average amateur when it comes to video, but I have never had this particular set of responsibilities in this industry. I am learning new things by the hour.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of working on a set where we were shooting a 30 second TV commercial. The details surrounding the commercial are not important, all you need to know is that the result will be a 30 second commercial. The kind we see on average twenty-eight times in an hour of network programming.

Nothing special, right? Wrong!

Creating something as “simple” as a thirty second commercial is actually a pretty complicated and involved process. It is not the same as posting three ten second clips on Instagram or Vine.


The production staff for this commercial was made up of sixteen people. Although this particular commercial only features two main characters, the cast was actually eleven people.


Just a few of the sixteen crew members working into the night.

All the random people you see in the background of a commercial or TV show are not random.


An actor seen through a “preview” monitor as the camera crew sets up the shot.

Once the shooting is done, another half-dozen individuals will be involved in the editing and finishing.


Several people worked for many days on pre-production tasks, which are necessary for the shoot to go smoothly. Scripting, location work, props, makeup and technical coordination all have to be just right to be able to accommodate all the things that can’t be anticipated, and there is never a shortage of those.


Over the length of a shoot, makeup is constantly being touched up.

The production schedule for this commercial was fairly tight, at 8.5 hours. Load-in at the location started at 3:00pm and the production didn’t wrap until 11:30pm.

That is more than a 1,000 seconds of production time for each one-second of final result.

Once the footage was “in the can,” the painstaking task of editing it all together begins. Every fraction of a second, every angle, every take has to be considered in assembling the final piece. It is as artistic as it is technical.

After all the work is done and those signing the checks are happy with the result, the final edit must be packaged up and distributed to dozens or even thousands of locations.

The point is not to illustrate what my company does is complicated.
The point is that EVERYTHING is more complicated
than you might think.

From the barista who “simply made your coffee,” to the crossing guard that “just stands there,” each job is infinitely more involved than that casual observer could possibly comprehend.

A few months ago I wrote a piece called Say Thank You To Everyone, where I encouraged you to be verbally appreciative of everyone you encounter. Today lets take it to another level.

As you go about your day and interact with dozens of people “just doing their job,” take a moment and think about how their job is as misunderstood by you, as yours is by everyone else.

Give them the benefit of the doubt and the respect that you would like everyone to give you.

In the movie Bedtime Stories, there is a scene where Adam Sandler’s character is explaining to his nephew about the injustices he experiences in his job. The nephew mispronounces the word “under-appreciated” by saying “under-demeciated.” The word becomes a catchphrase for the duration of the film and, has in turn become a regularly used word in our family.

As you interact with the people in your world today, tomorrow and beyond, make sure that nobody leaves an encounter with you feeling under-demeciated.

Here is the final result of the commercial shoot:



Copyright © 2016 – Stephen S. Nazarian – All rights reserved. (Don’t Let Anyone Feel Under-demeciated)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

3 thoughts on “Don’t Let Anyone Feel Under-demeciated

  • I love this post. I will be sharing it with my students to give them a brief explanation of what it takes to make a 30 second commercial. I will also share it with my co-workers who need a pick me up today. I also really enjoyed the post “Say Thank you to Everyone”. I put it into practice and I noticed that people are surprised by that act.

  • Steve, I once had a bit part in a 30 second spot that aired on the major networks for Navy recruiting. My “spot” lasted just over one second but took well over eight hours to film. From auditions of the crew to the shoot’s completion took weeks, and it was over a month until the spot debuted. This was in the early days of digital, so the fact that your team produced a .30 spot in that time frame is amazing! One of the best spots in the queue too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *