“Unhinged.” It’s a word Tim Saccenti and Dina Chang use a lot when describing their most successful projects. For close to 20 years, Saccenti and Chang worked independently on photography, films, branding, and music. Whatever the medium, they were always experimenting. Last year, they joined forces to launch Setta, a creative studio in New York City. Together, they’ve created a space on which risk-taking is part of the process, and the results push clients outside of their comfort zone to achieve what’s next, artistically.
“If you’re going to be on the edge of the map all the time,” Saccenti says, “there’s always going to be risk involved. When you’re comfortable with that risk, you start to see things that you wouldn’t have noticed before."
Ironically, embracing risk is one path to stability. Bringing together Chang’s years of expertise in publishing and agencies and Saccenti’s future-defining photography, Setta’s offering are more robust and reliable than either individual could provide. “We know the economy for creative has gone down down down,” Chang says, “and the desire for content has gone up up.” By working on this content together as Setta, instead of individually for other people, Saccenti and Chang have more control and can take the work in directions that, ultimately, better satisfy the client.
Setta’s love for weird discoveries and exploration sets them apart from other creative studios. “We have a created a safe place to fail in,” says Saccenti. From lighting tests to coding tests, they’re willing to try it. “Our process is alchemy,” he says.
Their decision to remain small is key to their success. Being able to maintain direct communication lines with stakeholders is essential. “Because our work is experimental,” Saccenti says, “we almost have to be extremely buttoned-up about how we communicate beforehand and what the rules are and what the set and setting is going to be.”
“Because our work is experimental,” Saccenti says, “we almost have to be extremely buttoned-up about how we communicate beforehand and what the rules are and what the set and setting is going to be.”
Perhaps the most endearing aspect of Setta is how they see their role within the community. They believe in mentoring their younger collaborators, “giving them a place where they can have produce their things, have expertise, and help with their contracts,” says Chang. Setta is establishing itself as a safe place not only for experimentation but for the fertile atmosphere young creatives need and crave. Chang adds, “Sometimes you need the moral support of people around you, especially who are older with a little more experience, saying, ‘You did nothing wrong. They’re just crazy. Let it go. Group hug. You’re good.’”
“Because our work is experimental,” Saccenti says, “we almost have to be extremely buttoned-up about how we communicate beforehand and what the rules are and what the set and setting is going to be."
Producer: Will Kewley
Director of Photography: Colin McAuliffe
Camera Operator: Chris Wilmore
AC: Dean Snodgrass
Second AC: Daniel Rampulla
Gaffer: Joe Livolsi
Grip: Derel LaRock
Audio: Phil Shipman
Editorial: Beast Editorial
Director / Exec. Creative Director: Dan Cowles
Create Editor-in-Chief: Alejandro Chavetta
Thanks to Baseck / Derrick Estrada!