What it Takes to Win: Judging Commercial Production

Posted by John Haslam

In-House Commercial Production Judge


Warren Williams is the post production supervisor for Skystorm Productions, located in Orlando, Florida, and is a judging member of the Silver Telly Council. As such, Williams has the enormous task of judging video submissions ranging from television and online commercials to promotional and corporate image pieces – all of which are vying for the coveted Telly Award.


telly awards skystorm productions


The Silver Telly is a national award given to honor outstanding commercial production in film and video; groundbreaking online video content and the very best of cable TV commercial production and programs.


Award Winning Commercial Production: Execution


So what are the judges looking for? Williams explains, “First and foremost, I am looking for extremely well-executed, engaging material with near-flawless presentation. Content is king, of course, but there are certain pieces that stop you in your tracks and make you say, “Wow!”


Content may rule, but execution can never be an issue with a Telly Award winner. “There can be no weak spots in award-winning commercial production work,” Williams says. “I have seen many well-executed pieces that I would consider award-winning as I’m watching, but then there is an awkward audio transition or slightly blown-out highlight on a forehead or a less than stellar graphic treatment, and I have no choice but to drop the score, which unfortunately might drop them out of range for an award.”


The range Williams is referring to is the submission’s score, which is an average of scores from multiple judges. The final result is a number that lands on a scale, which determines whether or not a winning result has been achieved. A Silver Telly is the highest award given, while the Bronze Telly is the next level awarded.


What it Takes to Be a National Commercial Production Judge


Being a judge is no small honor, either. Every Silver Telly Council member is a past winner of the Silver Telly. This means each judge knows exactly what it takes to win precisely because they themselves have proven their skills in the commercial production side of the film and video industry. Council members must vote at least once every two years to maintain their position.


In addition to being a Silver Telly Council Member, Warren’s day to day schedule is consumed by managing a bustling department made up of multiple editors, coordinators, graphic artists and interns in Skystorm’s dedicated post production division. The workhorse post department delivers hundreds of commercial and corporate videos weekly, edited from footage filmed by the in-house production team.


Skystorm is no stranger to Silver Telly Awards, having earned 11 Tellys over the over the years – 2 of them Silver. Judging is kept fair, however, as the Telly Awards’ administrators ensure judges are never grading their own work. What’s more, Silver Telly Council members and their respective production companies are shown no favoritism in the judging process.


“Being a judge has been a highly fulfilling experience and it feels especially rewarding to represent Skystorm on the Silver Telly Council,” Williams continues. “I am very proud of the work we do here at Skystorm and because of the award-winning efforts of everyone on our team, these types of opportunities are possible.”