My crew and I had a blast working with Houston Astros World Series MVP George Springer and the brilliant kids from SAY, The Stuttering Association for the Young, in NYC recently. Our goal was to produce new images for marketing with some short clips for the website. I asked my DP to keep rolling through the day for b roll which in the end was cut together with the main clips to produce a nice PSA which you can see below.    

The SAY programs include “summer camp, speech therapy, and creative expression that empowers, educates, and supports young people who stutter and the world that surrounds them.” And Houston's George Springer relied on determination and baseball to build his confidence after struggling with a stutter. Now, the Astros outfielder is helping kids do the same through his support of SAY.

Previously, I was honored to shoot a SAY campaign with the legendary Creative Director John Doyle. Although John wasn’t on this very tightly budgeted production, I followed his previous direction and shot a mix of portraits with my documentary candids. Aside from directing George, who was astonishingly good at this stuff - “one take George” - bringing my documentary thing into the studio setting was incredibly fun and a nice change of pace. Whether I’m shooting straight up photojournalism or documentary projects, you can’t set up shots and there are no second chances for capturing meaningful images that tell the story. 

Funny thing, in my advertising work it turns out to be very similar, with one big caveat in that of course you can totally set up shots. But I crave that same high-wire pressure and work hard to deliver authentic, real moments for my advertising clients. And the beauty of advertising is you do get a second chance, or third, fourth or fifth if you really need it. I work pretty fast though and direct my talent so they are super relaxed and immersed in an interaction. So actually I am getting real moments in the middle of a huge production, cool!

Doug Menuez