12 Dec History of 5 Star
In my About page you can read about some of my history in Film and Photography. I, Rodger, started shooting and filming in High School (I won’t tell you how long ago that was but laserdisc was all the rage then). A few friends and I shot a little film along the river of a man-eating… man… A traveler comes across this man-eating man and his world changes for the worst. It was awful but so much fun to shot! This was really the catalyst for my drive to be in the graphic design, photography and/or film.
I finished high school and started my junior college circuit over a few years attending a few JC’s. Work was always more important as I got a chance to develop a Marketing and Advertising Department for 4 companies all owned by a family. There I purchased my first Macintosh but had a switch box that allowed me to use a PC at the same time. Photoshop was 3.0 at the time, for those who don’t know Photoshop is now 16.1. So I started taking college graphic design classes and graduated from Heald Business College trying to figure out where I wanted to go in life.
Film was the ultimate goal even at 20. A friend and I started Wolverine Productions, a production company in Sacramento located on J Street. We shot a few documentaries, spent a lot of time with the Sacramento Film Groups (Capital Film Arts Alliance) and participated in the 10×10 competitions during the Sacramento Film and Music Festival`. From writing to shooting to editing to voice over and everything in-between this was a real joy!
One day my mother asked me to help one of her friends with their wedding fair booth. We walked around and saw the wedding videographers and their samples. I told my mom, I could do that and it looks like a lot of fun. Right there is when Five Star Wedding Videos was born. I created all my own marketing material, website and entered into all the wedding shows. After three years in business I didn’t have to do any marketing and all my work came from word of mouth. During this time I was helping a person, who became a wonderful friend and still is to today (and my lead photographer now), ran a photography studio located on K Street called Pin-Ups. We had art shows, fashion shows, we were part of the second Saturday art walk and had live music. We were one of the last in Sacramento to process 35mm, 120mm and print images from a Fuji machine on site. We even had the old dip and dunk tanks, processed black and white, C41 and more. This was so much fun!
Sadly Pin-Ups closed, digital had destroyed film. So we moved to a warehouse on S and 12th Street. I remember while there I shot a short film that had over 20 different voices in the characters’ head. That was a fun but stressful endeavor for the 10×10 film festival. I was flown out to the Bahamas, Hawaii, Florida and other locations for photography and film. But there was something more, something I felt I needed to experience. I started traveling, visiting Europe over 4 times in a short period of time. I thought, what if I could travel and do film at the same time? So I started looking for film schools overseas. My wedding video company is doing well and I was saving money, sure why not sounds like a total logical choice. After shooting 7 years of wedding films I was off to film school.
I ended up in the Philippines at a film school in Cebu. IAFT, the International Academy of Film and Television, an English speaking film school that was started by a rich German gentleman. Odd combo but it worked well for me. It was less classroom theory and more getting your hands dirty working on sets. I got to shoot with the top of the line equipment from ARRI lighting to RED ONE cameras. I must have worked on over 50 short films in that year. My short film, PAG ASA was an amazing experience with some wonderful people. Pag Asa (here’s the trailer on YouTube: https://youtu.be/U5OA172qTX8) played at 5 film festivals. I also curated my other craft, AUDIO. I had the pleasure of working with two Academy Award and Oscar-winning audio engineers. One film they did you may know, The Hunt For Red October. They helped me with ADR (advance dialogue replacement) and location sound. When I graduated I was awarded Most Technical in my class for my ability to light just about anything that was thrown at me. Film school is where I learned my true passion is lighting!
After film school, I lived in Manila for a year working on Television shows and feature films. I came back home to go to work with a film crew here in Sacramento now that has moved to LA. Before their move to LA I spent three years working on corporate commercials, feature films, and national television shows. For over a year I worked on a popular online show called SMOSH as the Director of Photography.
Then my father fell ill and I took care of him for three years. With that darkness and bouncing between a couple of companies and nonprofits I helped start I had to come back to my passion, film. Being behind a camera is where I love to be! With the loss of my father came the wonderfulness of my wife and kids! With my wives support who now is my second shooter and a very talented one, we’re here today offering our creativity to you!
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