Seattle-based photographer Cameron Karsten was recently approached by Zillow to lead the creative production for an upcoming film for Challenge Seattle, a private sector initiative dedicated to addressing the specific issues and goals of the region. Zillow and Challenge Seattle hoped to create a film that would educate and inspire elementary school students on future job prospects in the Seattle area.
Steve Davis, President & CEO PATH
According to statistics, 53% non-Washingtonians currently make up Seattle’s workforce. Challenge Seattle, founded by former Washington Governor Chris Gregoire, aims to bring more local Seattle jobs to local Washingtonians. With the help of 16 of Seattle’s top CEOs from Microsoft to Boeing, Costco to REI—they held quarterly meetings and events to discuss how to bring more Washingtonians into the Seattle workforce. Thus emerged the need to create a short film intended for Seattle’s youth.
The goal for the campaign was to make a relatable short film to be aired during The Seattle School District’s Discover U Week in October. The film was to feature 16 of Seattle’s top CEOs who would share their childhood experiences while in school and what steps they took to get their first jobs and attain the careers they lead today.
Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Concerning logistics, there was the inherent challenge of scheduling time with high profile CEOs that were to be part of the film. Cameron and his director Sam McJunkin knew they had a limited window to set up, shoot, and acquire the necessary sound bites for the intended audience. For the team, each location presented its own challenges.
Often times there were noise disturbances and interruptions, but after the first couple interviews we were prepared for these problems and brought along alternative lighting, modifers, and other equipment.
Despite these obstacles, the opportunity to interview these industry leaders about their childhood aspirations and the steps they took to get to there was a rare and intimate moment for both Cameron and Sam.
Kimberly Harris, President & CEO Puget Sound Energy
The participating CEOs were open and friendly while filming, making for a fun and educational experience. The response to the project has been positive so far, with the CEOs involved loving the final results. Currently, Cameron and his team are in talks about the possibility of creating another short film, this time aimed at high school students. Chris Gregoire hopes to spread the initiative started in Seattle to other North American cities and continue on her journey to inspire a nation of children. Going forward, Cameron hopes he can continue to make personal contributions through photography to inspire a future generation of leaders.
Challenge Seattle’s “I CAN DO THAT” from Cameron Karsten
Photography and film are wonderful mediums for storytelling in the commercial, corporate, editorial, and artistic realms. It was an extraordinary opportunity to use these mediums for a project that could potentially affect the lives of many future leaders.
See more of Cameron at cameronkarsten.com