Delving Deeper Into Corporate Social Responsibility Stories

For a lot of our projects, we really try to focus on finding the story. In some instances, we sort of have to create a story. But not too long ago, a whole bunch of stories just fell into our lap.

As part of their corporate social responsibility efforts, Samsung puts on an annual competition called Solve For Tomorrow, where they invite middle and high school students from around the country to solve a problem in their community using science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). You can imagine all the wonderful projects the young people dream up and create. We usually cover the event for Samsung which includes shooting the National Finalist pitch event and the final awards ceremony. However, this year Samsung decided that they wanted to delve deeper into the stories of the individual schools. They decided to start with the story of a local community and the project taken on by Brooklyn Technical High School.

The biggest challenge here was the subject matter. The community in the Park Slope neighborhood had experienced a number of tragic vehicle and pedestrian crashes which resulted in the deaths of several children. We were scheduled to interview the mother of one of these children, as well as friends and classmates. These are certainly not easy interviews to conduct and it can be a delicate balancing act when trying to get what’s needed out of the interview and then weave it into the Samsung story in post. The post-production definitely was a challenge - there were so many storylines that needed to come together in just the right way, in a manner that was respectful to all parties, and that also moved the audience to feel sadness and compassion and ultimately a sense of triumph and relief. The open to the piece sets the tone and we tried to make it impactful without being too dark or pandering.

On location we faced challenges that normally occur on shoots - rigorous schedules, tight turnarounds, limited availability to locations and talent. In fact, one critical voice, that of the teacher advisor suddenly became unavailable at the last minute. And so we scrambled around the school to find a teacher who knew the students and their project and could speak from a more external point of view. And we just happened to find a wonderful teacher who really helps drive the piece from beginning to end.

We turned this project around in a matter of days and had the privilege of seeing its “premiere” on 3-story high screen at a town hall meeting for Samsung employees at Samsung 837 in the meatpacking district of NYC. It was great to be able to see everyone’s response firsthand and we even got the chance to speak with people afterward.

The whole experience was really quite fulfilling. We had the chance to meet some inspiring and motivated young people and we had opportunity to give them a platform to share their story. 

Every Second Counts - Dallas EMT

Life’s all about timing - waiting for the the right time to do something, not having enough time (often the case on shoots), and in emergency situations especially, making whatever time you have count.

We were asked by Samsung to create a case study on their new portable ultrasound device which was being utilized by 3 Emergency Medical Services located in the Dallas Fort-Worth area. This was a very quick turn-around project with not much lead time and a very slim crew. We provided a Producer-Shooter, hired a local sound guy, and from Samsung we had a producer and a product specialist.

We hit the ground running once we got to Dallas. The first night we spent going over the individual cases we would highlight at each location, and drafting a script. It was important for us to understand Samsung’s messaging and figure out how the cases would underscore that messaging. 

We had two shoot days with which to conduct interviews with paramedics from the 3 locations, shoot b-roll and dramatizations at those locations, shoot an interview with the DFW EMS medical director, and shoot an interview and b-roll with the Trauma Medical Director at JPS Hospital in Fort Worth. At the end of the first shoot day, we had another meeting to go over dailies and plan for the next day.

And did I mention we got to mount cameras on ambulances and ride around?

There were a lot of challenges on this shoot - managing time, getting the right soundbites from the interviewees, and doing everything under the hot Texas sun. The final hero shot was done on  a 10-foot ladder and being up there with sweat dripping down your brow making it terribly difficult to find that focus, maintaining balance atop what in the moment feels like a 100-foot ladder, while executing a camera move - well, all you can do is take comfort in knowing that you’ve got about a dozen paramedics and a doctor down below if anything happens.

All in all it was a great shoot and a nice exercise in getting your pre-production done during production. It was also a great opportunity to have some Texas bbq which was a nice way to wrap things up. And I did wrap some up and bring it back to the hotel for a late night snack. Tasted even better then. It’s all about timing.

In a New York Minute - NEYMAR JR x JORDAN BRAND

7 to 1. It’s a score that has scarred an entire country. When Germany obliterated the host country Brazil in the 2014 World Cup finals, the soccer-crazed country was shaken to its core.

Brazil’s star player, Neymar da Silva Santos Jr., was injured and did not play in that epically lopsided game, and he carried the weight of the county on his shoulders going into the 2016 Rio Olympics. When most athletes seek inspiration it’s typically from another star in their sport, or a family member, or their religion, but few have the chance to gain first-hand insights from one of the greatest athletes and winners of all time…Michael Jordan.

Just a few weeks prior to traveling to Rio and scoring the deciding penalty kick that gave Brazil it’s first ever Olympic Gold Medal (hard to believe, right?), Neymar made a quick trip to NYC for a special announcement and rendezvous with His Airness. We were hired by Nike and Jordan Brand to follow him around for a couple days to document his trip. It started with a tour of Niketown in Midtown Manhattan with NY Giants star Victor Cruz. After seemingly buying one of each shoe at Niketown, it was a quick car ride to the east side where Neymar and his crew jumped aboard a couple of helicopters, took in some aerial views of Manhattan and flew out to Citi Field. Neymar got the royal treatment at the stadium. He hit some balls in the batting cage, chilled with Mets Captain David Wright in the locker room and showed off his juggling skills on the field prior to the game. All the while sporting a custom made Mets jersey. 

The next day Neymar got to meet his childhood idol, MJ, and participate in a photo shoot and shoot around on the basketball court. Neymar then introduced his new Jordan Brand shoe, the first ever Jordan Brand soccer boot, to crazed fans and the New York media. Not a bad couple of days, even for one of the hottest football players on the planet right now.