My name is David "Michael" Rodgers originally from the suburbs of Austin TX. Coming from a blue collar family in a small town, film work was as likely of a career path as becoming an astronaut. My only connection to film growing up was watching movies and shows on my families TV or playing with Dad's handycam. My first “experience” in “film” was shooting my friend’s basketball highlights and editing them in Windows Movie Maker. The good old days of dropping in checkerboard dissolves to buzzer beater compilations! After high school I was working burger days and bingo nights at the VFW bar in my hometown of Georgetown TX. When I wasn't serving concession food to old ladies, I was racking up cheap hours at community college but staying close to home.
Cinematography is a job!?
A high school friend of mine, back from his first year at college, coaxed me into applying to his school, Sam Houston State, assuring me I would fit in somewhere in the Mass Communications field. I decided I would pick a broadcast production emphasis, attracted to the idea of being a crew member on anything in the entertainment world. Like most young adults, I didn’t really know what jobs existed in the broadcast world but figured it wouldn’t be too different from the basketball highlights I enjoyed cutting together.
While in college I took classes like script writing, news broadcasting, and multi-cam, but ultimately it was a photography elective that gave me the bug. It opened me up to a whole world that I never knew existed. Suddenly I felt a heavy pull into working with images. I took more advanced photo classes eventually learning about cinematography. This is when my technical interests of being a crew member and artistic interest merged. I couldn't see myself doing anything else. I had such a hunger for knowledge that after class I would dive straight into YouTube and spend hours ingesting all the camera and lighting tutorials available. Eventually, I landed a job in the universities gear cage where I had first dibs on all the cameras and lighting equipment to practice with whenever I wanted. This led to many late night shoots crewing up with other students and shooting as often as possible. Lucky for me, the college started a film program during this time and I became one of the first graduates with that emphasis in 2014.
I've had the pleasure of working with so many talented creatives since moving to LA. Not only the directors, whom I've been extremely proud to work with, but also the most enjoyable crew mates I could ask for.
To me, set should be a place of calm professionalism. It’s hard to make anything thoughtful when stress is in the air. I strive to bring peace of mind to the crew and the department heads I work with and I think that translates to the talent and allows everyone to focus on their work while having a good time.