Save Our Youth is a faith-based organization. It is their mission to transform the lives of at-risk youth through mentor relationships, providing the skills for success in educational, emotional, and spiritual development.
I’ve been blessed to have worked with them over the past few years and have made various commercials, documentaries, and testimonies based on the incredible mentoring work they do. Visit their website at saveouryouth.org
This project was shot on the Red Epic in a rapid fire “run and gun” style intentionally to keep the piece always moving, never grounded. The script and story behind the project were developed over 3 months, including pre-interviews, concept writing, and many meetings. One of the challenges of this piece was visualizing Devante’s past of fighting in school while being restricted to a short block of time at the school after the students had left. I also didn’t want to recreate a “fight scene”, so much as capture the reason why Devante was fighting, which was tied to loneliness and his struggle. When introduced to his mentor, things began to change in Devante’s life. One really cool angle on this story that didn’t make it into the edit was Devante’s success as a basketball player in the past few years. Since his time with Gary, his mentor, Devante has been consistently attending basketball practice and his 8th grade middle school team won the championship game this year in March. Not only did they win the game, but they won the game in typical old-fashioned movie style… with 3 seconds on the clock, down 2 points, and at the buzzer, a boy on his team hit the 3 pointer. Check out the picture below that shows the scoreboard and the young man on Devante’s team about to hit the winning 3! We were there to capture the whole thing. Originally we thought it would put the capstone on Devante’s success story. As it turns out, Gary was unable to make it and in the 3 minute window we had for this piece, we decided that honing in on Gary and Devante’s story was critical, so that was the route that we shaped the edit with. However, we’ll always remember how Devante’s team won in the last seconds of his 8th grade year…. Very symbolic of his success, and the great work Save Our Youth does all the time.