Steve Utaski is feeling inspired after helping Boeing Employees Credit Union film profiles for the finalists in their People Helping People awards. The Seattle, Washington-based photographer was contacted by BECU with a plan that would put his expertise to the test.
I could tell they were apprehensive that the project was even possible based on the timeline, but after a few calls and agreements on the scope, we hatched a plan to produce 18 videos and portraits in under 14 days.
The “People Helping People” awards allows members of the credit union to nominate a charity of their choice for the possibility of winning a substantial cash grant to further their cause. From 200 entries, eighteen finalists would get the chance to advocate for their movement in videos that would be voted on by the rest of BECU.
But the trick was it all had happen on a very compressed timeline. Finalist were notified on a Friday, And within two weeks we needed to make videos and portraits of each finalist. Here’s the kicker: We had no way of knowing where they would be located, and Washington State covers over 60,000 square miles!
Ready to rise to the challenge, Steve worked with BECU to formulate a streamlined look for each video and portrait. It was important to keep to a standard, to avoid playing any favorites among the finalists.
Luckily for the entire cast and crew, all but one of the finalists were within driving distance of BECU headquarters in Tukwila, Washington. The one distant member was flown in for her shoot. With that, it was time for Steve to work his magic.
With 18 people coming in front of cameras over 3 days with little to no experience being filmed, we were nervous that a few might clam up or really struggle in front of the camera. So we worked hard to keep the set as relaxed as possible.
It was at times difficult to formulate scripts that would accurately describe the non-profits, but Steve worked with each person to find accurate summaries of each cause and managed to stay more or less on schedule.
Steve even found many of the stories pulling at his own heartstrings.
It was a thrill to spend 3 straight days hearing about the amazing things being done in the non-profit world, and it was so uplifting to see how people are spending their lives improving the lives of others. There were at least a few tears shed over the course of shooting!
Even though the shoot itself went smoothly, Steve and the crew still needed to contend with the tight deadline on the finalized videos, since voting needed to begin as soon as possible. With two editors and help from a transcription service, they finished on time.
BECU was so happy with the videos, they were not only used for voting and social media purposes but also projected at the awards night dinner. After planning, coaxing, scrambling, and fighting to make the videos the best they could possibly be, it was a nice reward for Steve to watch his work screened for all to see.
Client: Boeing Employees Credit Union
Stylist: Tori Simmons
Producer: Patty McCreary