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November 7, 2013 / KingsIsle Entertainment

Making of a KingsIsle Commercial Part II

A short while back, I wrote part one on the making of commercials here at KingsIsle which covers how we make our CGI spots.  In part two, I will delve into our recent Wizard101 tournaments spot where for the first time in KingsIsle history we used live actors and a real set for a portion of the commercial.

The starting process for using live action in a commercial is almost identical to how we start a CGI commercial.  We have to come up with the overall message of the spot, the storyboards and script.  However, from there it gets more complicated as it is like producing two separate commercials (one CGI and one live action) that had to work together with a perfectly smooth transition.

We outlined the four Wizards we wanted to use on the “featured” team.  Our goal was to use the Ice and Myth Wizards from our last CGI commercials plus two additional ones.  In casting the actors it made for a fun duel process.  We needed to find a male and female actor that embodied the Wizards from the previous CGI commercials.  We then had to find two actors (one male and one female) that would be the foundation to model the two additional CGI Wizards, one Death and one Fire.  It is a fascinating process looking at video castings of so many young actors and really trying to pick out just the right ones.  I lost track of how many hours we spent looking for “perfect fits” to be the first ever live action Wizards 🙂



Getting the clothing right was another fun effort.  I really wanted to make sure the actors were wearing cool clothes that you would see in the halls of any high school.  However, they also had to have a close resemblance to the Wizard101 outfits that the CGI characters would wear in the arena.  We knew the color combinations but it was really hard to know how it would work until the actor actually has the outfit on.  The day before the commercial shoot we all got together and walked through all the details.   This was also when we had each of the actors try on all of the various outfits to figure out exactly the right ones to wear.


Another thing we had to really focus on to get right was the actual location to shoot the commercial.  I wanted a locker room feel but one that could just as easily be in our world or in the Spiral.  This was a harder thing to find than you might think.  We ended up shooting the commercial at a really cool stadium in the Dallas area that had great concrete floors and columns.  We had the lockers custom built based on how we thought they might look in a real Wizard101 stadium.  We also had the stone benches custom built (side note, they’re now a permanent addition to the KingsIsle offices).  A lot of the employees wanted fun items in the commercial so I brought a box of items in to act as “props” on the shelves of the spot.  I won’t list all of the items but some of them included Marleyben (the marketing team mascot), a bottle of Falmea hot sauce a fan had sent in, and my old school original clapping monkey from the 1950’s.



The day of the commercial shoot was a whirlwind.  There was a huge crew there setting up lights and cameras, dressing the actors and getting their hair and make-up done and a whole flurry of other activity.   Once everything was in place we started shooting footage.  There was a cool “mist” machine that helped set the ambiance.  An interesting aspect was how many shots we had to take to get the short footage actually used in the commercial.  This is because there is no second chance to get another shot if we find in production we don’t have what we want.  I’ll also call out at this point that I got to have my first appearance in a national commercial.  Yep, I played one of the door guards for the Wizards entering the arena.  I can hear what you are thinking – “Wow, that was one amazing piece of acting that you did…” 🙂



Once all the footage is captured there was still a huge amount of work to do.  We had to take hours’ worth of shots and condense it down to the roughly 15 seconds you saw in the commercial.  We had to make sure there was continuity to all the shots – if an actor’s hood was up in one cut, it was the same way in the next cut.  Of course we also had to do all the sound effects and post production effects.  Our internal KingsIsle sound team is amazing and they really did a great job with this commercial.


Truth be told, I was extremely nervous about using live actors and shooting lives scenes for a KingsIsle commercial.  There were a lot of additional risks to adding live action for us.  Would we pick the right actors?  Would the set look appropriate and have a feel that crosses both our world as well as the world we’ve created in the spiral.  Perhaps most importantly, would the live action come across with the believability we feel is so important?  Overall I think we were able to navigate through all of these risks and create a commercial I was really proud of but I would love to hear your thoughts.  Did you like the commercial?  Should we consider using live action again in the future?

Watch the final commercial!

Fred Howard
Vice President of Marketing


Leave a Comment
  1. Anonymous / Nov 7 2013 11:16 am

    didnt know it involved that much work

    • Star / Nov 8 2013 3:27 am

      Oh yea, a lot of time is involved in making a commercial. My older sister is a producer and was working for the FOX channel at the time, and flew from Philadelphia with her crew and sought me out back home in California to do a reality show for them. This show was a 30 minute show but took 11 some odd hours to shoot for this show, not to mention this 30 minute show take away 15 minutes of commercials actually gave us a total of 15 minutes of actual fame lol. But I can say I did things right and there was very few retakes otherwise it may have been longer to make. Best experience I ever had and I would do it again if I have the opportunity.

      • Anonymous / Nov 8 2013 4:01 pm

        i’m myth level 40 i cant wait till the 58 spell

      • wolfdarkbraker / Nov 8 2013 4:26 pm

        I got a question what is the max lvl in wiz 101? hey and if ya want to friend me my name is wolf darkbraker 😛 😀

  2. Marie S. / Nov 7 2013 12:44 pm

    I love the live action!

  3. Anonymous / Nov 7 2013 12:53 pm

    I think the commercial was really cool, you should do a live action commercial for Pirate101

  4. Becky / Nov 7 2013 1:38 pm

    Love how it is live! Really can’t wait to see the whole commercial. Thank you to all the great workers and actors of KingsIsle! Love your games!!!

  5. austin / Nov 7 2013 1:46 pm

    wow thats really cool and seems like allot of work but you guys/girls did a awesome job at the game and commercial!1!1!!!!1

  6. Josh / Nov 7 2013 2:05 pm

    I think you should do a commercial for Khrysalis I like the world commercials especially when they show the spells. My friend from school got attracted when he saw the commercial for Zafaria and he saw the chimera… Right now he is a balance and he annoys the heck outta me when he mana burns me before I get the chance to efreet him.

    • Anonymous / Nov 7 2013 5:36 pm

      I am balance too level 14

      • Matt / Nov 10 2013 8:29 am

        I am fire at level 80

  7. Anonymous / Nov 7 2013 2:15 pm

    I think its cool your giving behind the scene info

  8. Anonymous / Nov 7 2013 2:35 pm

    personally, i didnt like the commercial very much. i thought it was off putting to the adult members of the w101 community.

  9. Anonymous / Nov 7 2013 3:08 pm


  10. Musketeer Danielle / Nov 7 2013 3:20 pm

    Three words: A Maz Ing

  11. Musketeer Danielle / Nov 7 2013 3:22 pm

    I really like your commercials for both Wizard101 and Pirate101

    • anthony / Nov 10 2013 5:34 pm

      yeah the commercials are awesome my friends and i love them

  12. VooDooKnows / Nov 7 2013 3:42 pm

    This Be: VooDooKnows Speaking With Ye Pirate. 🙂 I, For One, Am Aware Of How Much Time It Takes To Get That 15 Seconds Of Wonderful Shooting, For I Have A Marketing Degree. It Started At 9 A.M. In The Morning And The Shot Was Gotten At 7 P.M. That Night.

    Be Ye Proud Of What Was Accomplished. Too, Still Use Live Shots. The MORE Ye Doing It The Easier Shall It Be.

  13. Anonymous / Nov 7 2013 4:30 pm

    Wow, Do one for pirate101, And how about you be captain avery helping the pirates defeat a armada officer!, wait, bad idea

  14. Anonymous / Nov 7 2013 4:37 pm

    kingsisle was always a really cool game making company……

  15. Anonymous / Nov 7 2013 4:58 pm

    can’t wait to see it!

  16. Anonymous / Nov 7 2013 5:07 pm

    if anyone agrees with me I think it would be a better hit if wizard101 and pirate101 had the graphics like in the commercials soon I will make the special videos on youtube of the games in commercial graphics coming 2014.

    • tiffanywinterstone / Nov 7 2013 8:40 pm

      wow nice vid i luv w101

  17. Anonymous / Nov 7 2013 5:20 pm

    I think kingisle made wizard101 good then pirate101. I can’t wait to see what will come next with commercials packs bundles and maybe another new game.

  18. Anonymous / Nov 7 2013 5:51 pm


  19. nicco / Nov 7 2013 6:06 pm

    Hey to tell u the truth the first second i saw that commercial i thought kI finally made a movie or cartoon series on wizard101. lol
    That commercial was totally epic…………………………. i loved the parts where they were casting the high level spells. i loved that climax……………………. i felt like shouting out loud “WIZARD101……WOW”.
    Y’all should really make a movie on wizard101……………….. that would be the most ‘talked about’ movie of the year are maybe the decade.
    I live in Jamaica so if you make one send it to the movie theatres here.
    And again that commercial was AWESOME!!!!………..

    • aluramooncloud12 / Nov 8 2013 8:16 pm

      same here! my best friend and I want a tv series or a movie! it’d be so cool!

  20. Anonymous / Nov 7 2013 6:20 pm

    I love pirate101 but I didn’t know it included that much work!

  21. Anonymous / Nov 7 2013 6:28 pm

    NICE!!! but i never knew it took so much work.

  22. anonymous / Nov 7 2013 6:36 pm

    you should keep doing live action it, it really nice with the live action

  23. Jasmine Pearlheart / Nov 7 2013 6:43 pm

    Appears you are on your way, nice work.

  24. Anonymous / Nov 7 2013 7:35 pm

    Where can we see the commercial? Can you link to it in this blog?

  25. Teri Anne / Nov 7 2013 7:40 pm

    Yes a really great article. However I don’t watch television and there is no information on where I would find the commercial. it would have been nice if you had added the commercial to the blog

  26. sam pxiepants and nick sandsphere's creator / Nov 7 2013 7:49 pm

    ok that was cool

  27. Anonymous / Nov 7 2013 8:13 pm

    I love the live action! I saw it first with my cousin, who also enjoys this game with me and we wanted to try out the tournaments right there and then.

  28. serina / Nov 7 2013 8:35 pm

    man that was awesome and amazing.

  29. angel lopez / Nov 7 2013 8:40 pm

    oh my gosh it was awesome. 😀 whenever I watched tv I would wait for that commerseal and sometimes record it lol I loved it and you should definitely concider doing live action again… the first one you did was a bit boring though but I loved it.

    its lovely to see all the work behind things and even though it took a lot of work you should still do some more live action.

    you know what would be great? if you did one fully live action with the wands and stuff. like it would be based on unicorn way fighting the lost souls and it should be three or four people and it should be one high level and to low levels and the high level shows off to the low levels and does a high level spell, a cool one to get the watchers to unblind themselves and play ( cause wizard101 is truly awesome! ) like the life spell, forest lord.

  30. angel / Nov 7 2013 8:45 pm

    🙂 loved it

  31. angel / Nov 7 2013 8:51 pm

    I loved it I watched the comersels a lot and I loved it

    even though it requires a lot of work I think you should do another one

    setting: unicorn way fighting lost souls characters: three or four one high level two low levels plot: high level shows off with forest lord

    PS: if there is another one of my comments I apologize 🙂 😀

    PSS: my wizard101 name is Adam thundertail Isaiah ashwealder Mitchell Dragonglade and angel lotus. etc…

    • Anonymous / Nov 9 2013 5:20 pm

      why did you like it

  32. Anonymous / Nov 7 2013 10:20 pm

    Thanks. -Wolfie

  33. Anonymous / Nov 7 2013 10:58 pm

    i love all the commercials

  34. Anonymous / Nov 7 2013 11:17 pm

    what other games did kingsisle make besides wizard101 and pirate101?

    • tylerE / Nov 9 2013 10:03 am

      mini games:)

  35. Anonymous / Nov 8 2013 6:02 am

    Im gonna love the commercial like I love the game.

  36. Alex / Nov 8 2013 6:16 am

    HAHAHHAHAHHAHA man i love wizard101 and umm kingsisle you have sooooooooo cool ideas !!
    and i love your games theyr SO AWESOMLY COOOL and my fav wolrd is Dragonsprye i mean i defeated mallistare about 60,000 times and i got items from the dragons hoard pack man when i grow up i want to become a helper of kingsisle!

  37. Anonymous / Nov 8 2013 6:28 am

    The animations in the commercials are outstanding. I have a suggestion for the game that you did in here; why don’t you change the animations for the wards and charms to be more like the commercials? Not looking for the crazy detail that was put into the commercial, but I love the idea of the shield creating a kind of aura around the player instead of shattering long before the attack actually hits them. would you consider this?
    Love the game!!!

  38. kapisan / Nov 8 2013 6:43 am

    i love yor game i love it

  39. anonymous / Nov 8 2013 7:08 am

    Awesome, didn’t think so much work could go into such a little thing. Lot’s of teamwork.

  40. Anonymous / Nov 8 2013 9:17 am

    I am level 51 or about to be 52 life
    Jason Lifesword

    • johnvoyda9 / Nov 8 2013 12:13 pm

      i like it

    • Ted / Nov 9 2013 8:02 am

      I love the new commercial it is EPIC!!!! same with the games. both vary EPIC!!!!!!!!

  41. tylerE / Nov 8 2013 10:39 am

    I am starting to play wizard101 a lot. It’s really fun to play. Can’t play it much because of school.:)

  42. Jennifer Thundercloud+ Brian Deathrider / Nov 8 2013 4:24 pm

    Me and my dad actually started playing this about a year and a half ago, he is lvl 82 and I am lvl 49 ( I spend my time hanging out, testing realms and other) I thought the commercial for the tournaments was great! Keep up the good work KingsIsle!!!

  43. Chase Davenport / Nov 8 2013 5:47 pm

    I am fire lvl 46 :D. One time with my friend Reed Pixie eyes my helephant did over 4,000 damage and i was lvl for 43 i think.

  44. Chase Davenport / Nov 8 2013 5:49 pm

    o. o

  45. Anonymous / Nov 8 2013 7:27 pm

    your ideas are amazing. #cool

  46. aluramooncloud12 / Nov 8 2013 8:13 pm

    That was so cool!!!!!!! I play for free but still lovvvvvve wiz101 im Ice so I love the ice girl she looks so cool! my best friend is storm so id be cool if u added a storm wizard. My best friend and I want u guys to make a tv series on nick or something or a movie it’d be sooooooo cool!!!!!!

  47. F. Ashley Holystone / Nov 9 2013 1:46 am

    It looks hard, but I bet my favorite rapier in Pirate101 it’s a whole lot of fun!

  48. Anonymous / Nov 9 2013 5:46 am

    I LOVE W101! but i dont like to pvp 😦 i am no good at it 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦

  49. Anonymous / Nov 9 2013 8:44 am

    im a death level 63

  50. Anonymous / Nov 9 2013 11:51 am

    this could be really really cool cant wait to view it!!!!!!

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