What is the Video Village and Who Lives There?


By TAC Mentor Bill Coelius

On every commercial set, there is a video village. A video village is a collection of TV monitors that are set up with an audience of director chairs around it. In those chairs sit the clients and producers and sometimes the director. The “Shiner” is also there, but back to them in a moment.

When you first arrive on set, after going through makeup and costume, check in with the video village.

“Hey guys, so glad to be here, thank you so much for having me.”

Keep in mind that most clients are from flyover land anyway, and they are excited to be working with actors. Most of them think that actors are these strange, mythical creatures that fly in from a unicorn lair of dragon love and spread magical dust over everything, then fly back into their portal where time and space does not exist.

They think we are pretty awesome. They love to watch actors work. I once heard a producer lean over to another producer and whisper excitedly, It’s like he actually loves the toilet paper!

They think we are amazing.  And you know, they’re right.

The fact that the sperm met that egg, and we’re still alive today is a scientific anomaly. Much less the joy that we’ve brought to some people in our lives. Overall, most of us have helped more than hurt. We ARE amazing.

But that said, how many of us looked in the mirror today and went, “Yeah, definitely amazing.” Right? Not so much. We go through the litany of reasons as to why we couldn’t possibly be amazing and maybe we’re okay.

And I’m suggesting be done with it.

At least while you’re on set. (Although how you act in life will dictate your behavior on set. Set is life, life is the set.) Allow yourself to be amazing on set, because most of the production team already thinks so.

Especially those in the video village. So check in with them twice. Once at the top of the day, and once again as you’re leaving. They truly feel like the cool kid has come over to say hi to the lunch table.

There’s always going to be one producer or client who “shines” at you a little bit, meaning their eyes are shiny and the smile is a little wide. Why are they shining at you? Because they fought for you in the callback and you got cast and now they’re looking pretty good. That’s the person you want to get a business card from so that later you can get a copy of the spot. And you always want to get a copy of your commercial, so you can start building your reel.

These days it’s easier to find because you can download it off of YouTube or ISpot.tv, but just in case, you want to stay in touch with the Shiner. They will often bend over backward for you or send you to someone who will, because, you know, you’re amazing.


Bill Coelius is a working actor and a TAC mentor. He loves both of those things. Check out theworkingactorsolution.com for more information about on-line coaching and classes in LA, PDX and NYC.

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