“The motivation behind the name ‘Rogue’ is to do things differently or taking the road less traveled,” Mord said. “We have a different shooting style that many do not have. We like to try to do what hasn't been done before, all while retaining great quality.
“Stout created the foundation of my success. I can't say it enough. I am so proud to have been a student at Stout.”
Growing students’ skillsets
As a UW-Stout alumni, Mord wants to be a resource for students and give them the chance to grow their skillsets at Rogue. Partnering with the university’s Career Services Cooperative Education and Internship Program, Mord finds humble, talented, coachable people from UW-Stout, he said.
The program partners with roughly 600 companies to support applied learning experiences for more than 1,000 students enrolled annually. CEIP helps strengthen collaborations between employers, faculty, students and Career Services and leads to career opportunities for graduates. Companies, including Rogue Productions, often leverage CEIP as a way to identify potential talent for their full-time hiring needs.
Rogue Productions has five Blue Devils on its team, including three video production majors: Jeff Frawley, Dimitri Luna and Colin Podborny. Business administration alumnus Tayler Kuehndorf, 2018, is Rogue’s full-time account manager, and senior Mariah Aiyawar is a sales and marketing intern.
“Rogue has taught me so much,” Podborny said. “I think working behind the camera and establishing perfect composition and movement for every shot is definitely a huge takeaway.”
Although Luna and Podborny work side by side, their paths to Rogue were a little different. Luna knew he wanted to go into video production when he was 16 years old. He values the art of storytelling and enjoys creating video content that translates the vision of others.
“I love the different aspects of art that make up the video production industry,” Luna said. “Video production has so many places for different creatives.”
Podborny began at UW-Stout in the game design and development program, but he saw how the video production industry was growing and decided to switch his major. “I chose video production because I have a history and joy of 3D modeling, and I thought I could specialize in visual effects. I also enjoy recording and taking photos,” he said.
Hands-on learning in the program gave Luna and Podborny a foundation for starting their internships at Rogue. Because of his knowledgebase, “Rogue Productions was ready to show me how to apply my skills to real-world clients,” Luna said.
Luna, a senior from Menomonie minoring in photography and video, has recently been promoted to director and was offered a full-time position when he graduates this spring.
Podborny, a senior from Fox River Grove, Ill., will graduate in spring 2022. Podborny feels his portfolio has improved during his time with Rogue, as well as his network of professionals.
For anyone seeking a video production degree, Podborny recommends “just listen to the teachers and do the assignments by the book, then go out and get an internship, make a fan film or short video and unleash your creative freedom. When you do things in the field yourself, you let people know you’re invested.”
Opportunities for Blue Devils
Rogue Productions has multiple projects running at once, creating opportunities for everyone under the Rogue umbrella and opening roles for new student interns.
Recently, Rogue signed a deal with Hometown Hero Outdoors, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping veterans and law enforcement personnel through outdoor recreational therapy. Rogue’s team will film a documentary about Waseca, Minn. police officer, Arik Matson, who survived a gunshot to the head while on duty last winter. The 1½ year project will be “all hands on deck,” Mord said.
Last fall, Rogue purchased Virtual Tour MN, a real estate marketing company. With three team members experienced in producing real estate marketing materials, Mord’s goal this summer is to train more employees to help.
Also this summer, Mord plans to create internships for his new Rogue Lifestyle Co., a clothing company “solely created to be a development playground for UW-Stout students,” he said.
These internships will provide fashion and retail, graphic design, marketing and video production students with a team-based and entrepreneur-focused experience.
“It's a clothing company, but it's not about the clothing. It's about building a brand and a high-quality product. Each position works together to make the business sustainable, while teaching marketing content and strategies, sales and small business operations,” Mord said.
Mord’s other media company, DDY.P, was partnering with Rogue and East Africa Television, KDRTV, to create “Exploring America,” a series aimed to chronicle daily life in the U.S. It was estimated to reach up to 172 million people through 180 episodes over six years. DDY.P’s YouTube channel was to host episodes after airing on KDRTV.
But because of COVID-19, funding was cut by overseas investors and production was canceled. Mord and DDY.P are attempting to restructure the show for streaming services and plan to finish this summer.
“In this line of work, it is so important to be resilient. One of the many lessons learned during a global pandemic,” Mord said.
UW-Stout’s video production major started in fall 2019. It is a collaboration between the School of Art and Design and the communication technologies department, combining elements of creative storytelling with the digital technologies used in commercial videos, short documentaries and narrative films.