SCOUT DAY MAGIC
Shooting for a higher ed client is a uniquely challenging experience, and my shoot at Seattle University with the Branding Agency 160 Over 90 was exceptional. SU is a Jesuit School with 7,400 students, situated over 50 Acres in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. We had 1 scout day and 3 shoot days planned and this is how it rolled out…
I joined the creative team after the research, branding strategy, and design concept had been established. A collaborative schedule goes into place after a preliminary shot list is put together, travel gets booked, assistants hired, gear checked and organized, and off we go.
On site pre-production began when we arrived on campus for day one: This is the Scout Day. I start to connect the concept and the shot list with the students, faculty, the physical environment and the campus experience. I make a lot of reference photos and production notes throughout the day as to how to best orchestrate the shoot days, what gear will be required, crew, etc..
My goal when I’m shooting is to be in the moment, not wondering about where I need to go next, or needing to scramble to find a suitable space, or stressing that we have everything required for every shot.
With thousands of students on a campus spread out over such a large area, the scout day allows us to eliminate as many surprises we might incur. The research and concept help shape the scope of the project, and finding those special situations with those amazing set of students during the unique time I am on campus has to happen on the ground. This is where the magic starts to happen.
I’m naturally curious and while I’m talking with students, faculty and administrators, I often discover amazing information and opportunities that often present themselves in real time during the scout day. They might not be on the shot list, but they often end up in the final selects.
Some of our great finds were the many students that frequent the local coffee shop, the tennis coach who let me set up a 15 foot ladder to capture players serving from an amazing point of view, how cool the soccer stadium would look at twilight, and meeting that key nursing program coordinator who told us exactly when a dozen nursing students will be doing a ER simulation on a life size interactive mannequin.
The magic starts with the scout day, it is just as important as the shoot days. I continue in this spirit during the shoot days, following the schedule and the leads, always on the lookout all the while asking the question, what makes this place and these people unique, special, and distinct.