Spotlight > Michael Roud, photographer and film maker

Why did you locate your business to NoHo?

Two and a half years ago I saw the potential that this area had but it was still in a transitory state. There were a bunch of independent theaters, a few restaurants, a lot of artists, and even more heart. My business was located in Culver City and I knew that I wanted to get out of the Hollywood area. In NoHo people seemed excited about what they were doing and motivated to go out and make things happen. Today, our Art’s District is thriving with new restaurants, businesses, and even an independent theatre. I saw the potential in this area and now it is becoming an arts mecca for not just the valley but Los Angeles as a whole. I feel motivated by the local business owners and I think that we have a common goal; to realize the potential of our community.

It really does feel like a community here in NoHo. I go to the same coffee shop everyday and say hello to the same people. Many of my headshot, modeling and dance clients are local. Former clients will often drop in to our studio to say hello and catch us up on their successes. The best feeling is to be able to help an actor, model or musician take their career to the next level.

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Tell us about you as a photographer and you as the film maker?

I went to school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where I studied law and politics. My plan was to be an entertainment lawyer. I studied abroad in London and there I began to realize that a career in the arts was possible. I was struck visually by the artistic visionaries at the Tate and moved emotionally by the incredible theatre. This experience opened my heart to the creative process and made me realize that it could be a reality.

After school I moved to Maui, Hawaii and began a production company that allowed me to travel through the pacific and Asia. Creating these various projects opened my eyes to the arts and cinema of the world which would profoundly influenced some of my newest works. I was never formally trained in filmmaking or photography but have always had an acute aesthetic and sense of light. My training was picking up the camera and doing it the old fashioned way – Photographing everything and anything that I could get my hands on.

Overtime I began to develop my sense of style and niche within the photographic and filmatic world. I love working with people and making them realize their full potential in front of the camera.

What have been your favorite gigs/achievements as a film maker?

I recently finished a Western film entitled, Black Cadillac, that has played at numerous festivals including the LA Shorts Film Festival and the Costa Rica International Film Festival. I am in development on two different features which will hopefully be completed by 2015.

Your latest music video?

I recently just finished two music videos which were the most viewed videos on YouTube, with both reaching over 1,000,000 views in under a day. This feat really surprised everyone involved and made us understand that the work we were creating was unique, different, and that people were taking note. Each film project is like your little baby. It takes so long from concept to completion and getting this type of recognition from viewers was really an amazing feeling.

Nightmare or Dream Thinking of You

This music video was a hit in aAsia and we just released it. For you

Celebrities that you have worked with as a photographer?

Well, I don’t think that I can talk about everyone that I have worked with but I will mention a few. We recently photographed singer/actor Jesse McCartney for his music and marketing purposes. He is a really great guy and super talented as a singer and songwriter.

It was quite a thrill to photograph David Carradine and Michael Madsen as I had been their fans for quite sometime. Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) was a really nice and easy going guy. I have done a lot of work with a few TV shows recently and their stars, however, I am not able to go into more detail until the shows are released. So hit me up with this question in a few months.

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Which medium do you prefer to work in?

I think that photography and filmmaking go hand-in-hand. Photography is telling a story in a single frame while filmmaking is telling a story in 24 frames per second. They both are visual mediums that invoke emotional responses. Narrative story-telling is my passion, however, I have been doing a lot of music videos recently and I really enjoy the freedom of creative expression that it allows. In music videos style is often paramount so letting out your creative vision is everything and than can feel liberating and even reflective.

Tell me a little about your teaching in Hawaii.

When I lived in Hawaii I began by working at a youth center teaching kids video production. The youth center was located on the beach and had a killer skate park, which was super cool so we spent the majority of our time making surf and skate videos. Many of our videos played on local television stations which made us feel like an integral part of the community. It was really neat to see the kids come into the editing room and come up with the most creative and avant-garde ideas. I think that the center did a really good job helping kids find their creative expression.

With so many aspiring film makers and photographers in the district – any advice you could give?

Find your niche and stick with it. There are too many people who are kind of good a lot of different things. Pick one thing that inspires you and become the best at it.

Stick to your vision. There are going to be a lot of people who come to you with variations on your idea or try to change how you feel about something. If you truly believe in your idea then stick to it, don’t second guess it, and don’t settle for anything else.

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My directing and commercial site can be viewed at The Michael Roud Photography site is Please like us on Facebook at