A 5-Star Experience

It often takes a dedicated team of professionals to pull off some of our more complex projects, and our latest effort is a prime example. We were once again chosen to create unique videos for CertaPro Painters®, but this time was a bit different. Instead of showing off CertaPro’s outstanding service through customer testimonials, this time we were asked to take a more narrative approach.  We would still tell the story of happy customers, but this time, it would be through carefully crafted scripts, tightly planned shots, and sharp, fast editing.

This project recap will introduce you to our extended team members who helped execute this series of commercial spots and will explain CertaPro’s unique plan for using these pieces over the next several months.


The Concept

CertaPro Painters® was looking to piggyback off of our previously successful “Happy People” campaign, where we partnered to film eight real customer testimonials whose homes, businesses, or buildings were cared for and transformed by CertaPro’s professional team.  But these videos would more resemble your traditional commercial campaign that you might see on TV.

The Why


As we approach a very busy time for media buying on television due to the 2020 election season, CertaPro was looking for alternative outlets for their upcoming campaign.  They decided to buy into YouTube ads, in the form of video pre-roll, 15-second spots, and 6-second bumper ads. They would also allocate some of the final outputs to a “programmatic” spend (think about the ads that play on the websites you frequent most often).  The benefit of this approach is that you’re not just “spraying and praying”, which is a term used to describe how you may run your ad on television, but you’re never truly sure how many people are seeing it, or who they are. With YouTube and programmatic analytics, companies can better target, identify, and collect data on who their viewers – and potentially future customers – are. 

The Process

Step 1 - The Pitch:  The project began with an exchange of ideas.  We came up with several possible concepts to center the campaign around.  The concepts ranged from a mom and dad sending their child off to school (and renovating while he’s gone) to the CertaPro crew coming to paint an office complex by night to not disrupt the work by day.  But what we settled on was the idea of satisfied customers leaving online reviews, like on Yelp or Home Advisor. We figured that anytime you’re thinking of hiring a contractor to do anything, chances are you’re checking these types of reviews before making the hire.  So why not highlight some 5-star experiences?

Step 2 - The Scriptwriting:  The challenge with any script writing is to fit as much relevant, relatable information into the pre-determined window as possible.  In this case study, the window was just 15 seconds. And if you think through how short a period of time that is, it’s about as long as it’s taken you to read this paragraph so far.  With such a short window of opportunity, the important things to determine are:

  1. What is the unique offering of CertaPro that sets them apart?

  2. How can we create an environment that any homeowner could relate to?

  3. And what are the “must-runs” in the spots?  (This is typically your call-to-action, which could take 3-4 seconds, therefore cutting your script time actually down to 11-12 seconds!)

After three to four rounds of revisions, and approval from the legal team at CertaPro, we were approved to move forward with four concepts all centered around this idea of leaving online reviews about customers’ positive experiences.  Our four unique spots centered on following through on the promises made during the in-home estimate, accentuating your home’s “curb appeal”, focusing on the little details, and an exterior home transformation the neighbors are raving about.

Step 3 - The Storyboards:  See for yourself how our Director of Photography, Patrick Rosenbaum’s vision for each shot came to life.


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Actual Shots:

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Step 4 - The Casting:  This is where our friends at Kathy Wickline Casting came in.  They helped us to explore our target demographic, women in their 40s and 50s who are making buying decisions about their homes.  We worked with them to sift through actors’ résumés and screen tests, and we ended up with our two terrific talent for this project, Joanne Clendining and Carol Anne Raffa.

Step 5 - The Shoot:  This stage of production was perhaps the most difficult for a variety of reasons.  First, we had two days to shoot four spots. And although we’re only talking about 15 seconds apiece, the amount of time it takes to craft each image might surprise you.  Some shots took upwards of an hour or more – just to light – before the talent stepped in to deliver her lines.  

The next challenge was the weather.  We’re dedicated to hitting our deadlines on each project we work on, but sometimes Mother Nature has her own ideas.  When such a significant portion of our shot list takes place outdoors (we are showing home exteriors after all), we have to rely on getting a sunny enough day to make the cinematography look as good as possible.  Fortunately, we lucked out on the weather.  

The final challenge was the coordination.  There are tons of players involved to make these shoots successful.  First, we had to staff a production crew of six to ensure we could achieve our goals.  Second, we’ve got our talent who our Director George Cummings and stylist Sara Mann would be working directly with.  And third, we’re working directly with a variety of members of the CertaPro Painters team – both the national headquarters and the local CertaPro Painters of the Main Line franchise – to coordinate an actual paint job that we could piggyback our shoot on top of.  What you’ll see in the finished product was not done just for this video – it was an actual homeowner who allowed us to be on her property for multiple days to watch the transformation take place. That means coordinating our shoot date to one of the dates that a CertaPro team was actually painting a home.  That meant getting a crew on site, looking their best with all new CertaPro branded wardrobes. It also meant having a great deal of time pass between shots so that the crew could make significant enough progress on the house for us to show the transformation. It’s a high stress environment that truly takes a team effort from all involved to pull off successfully.

Step 6 - The Edit:  And finally, the edit.  With just two weeks to spare, our Editor Christina Betz worked diligently to choose the best takes, to use the cleanest audio possible, and to ensure that the colors in the video popped more than anything else.  She also took on the task of replicating CertaPro’s standard call-to-action graphic at the end of each spot. The hope for a production like this one is that the more prepared you are going in, the easier the job is for an editor, and we hope that was the case.  But it’s incredibly valuable to have an experienced editor like Christina be able to add an entirely new set of eyes to a project we’ve worked so hard to execute.

The Team

Director:  George Cummings

Director of Photography:  Patrick Rosenbaum

Producer/Writer:  Rob Czyzewicz

Location Coordinator:  Ed Seiders


  • Joanne Clendining

  • Carol Anne Raffa

  • (4) Actual CertaPro Painters® Team Members

  • Baby the Bat Dog

Casting Agency:  Kathy Wickline Casting

Makeup:  Sara Mann

Grip:  Jake Muñoz

Production Assistant:  Matt Allen

Post-Production:  Christina Betz

The Results

Without further ado, the videos!