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Meet Faisal Shah of Genius Insane Productions in Downtown Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Faisal Shah.

Faisal, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I am a Los Angeles native who was born and raised in the eastern side of the San Fernando Valley. One thing that has to be understood is that the valley is segregated. The eastside of the 405 freeway is seen as more “ghetto” (with cities like Panorama and Pacoima) than the westside which houses cities like Northridge and Granada Hills.

Growing up in a low income, minority-filled population, the stereotype is that we’d grow to be laborers for others rather than ourselves. It wasn’t until high school when I realized we can overcome stereotypes and minimal expectations imposed on people of color.

My high school was known for gang activity and I refused to be one of the statistics by ending up a dropout. It was photography and filmmaking that opened up opportunities for me to get where I am today.

I started as a photographer in yearbook as an elective with no experience and soon after much practice and late night tutorials I became Lead Photographer. Once photography had captivated my attention, I moved on to filmmaking. It was my dedication that allowed for the first Film Club to be established and still running at my high school. Here is where I decided I would work for myself rather than for someone else.

I currently work as a cinematographer and camera operator. I have the liberty of choosing which projects to work on and the luxury of taking time off at my discretion. The productions I’ve had the pleasure of working on have strengthened bonds with coworkers over time. I get to travel and work with great people and friends who have become family. Today I get to call myself an artist and work on projects that are meaningful to me.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It most definitely has not been a smooth road; there have been many hardships over the years. Coming from a Filipino and Kashmiri household, I was raised a Muslim. Because of that, there was a xenophobic vibe that accompanied me. In school, I recall having a classmate depict a portrait of me with the word “terrorist” and passed it around. The struggle of being Muslim made it hard for me to find a place to fit in and a group I could identify with.

Another hardship besides identity would be the financial difficulties I faced. Again, coming from a low-income household, things were limited and not easily obtained. I had to pull myself out of poverty and pay for my own college education to further my craft. I did this after my mom and I escaped from my abusive father. My dad was a hindrance to my newly discovered identity as an artist. With my mom’s support, I was able to fully express myself and who I was becoming.

Even throughout all the difficulties that I have endured, I maintain a positive outlook on life and am a firm believer in the law of attraction. I don’t think that struggles will ever stop, in life or in my career, but I am fortunate enough to say that I love my life.

Genius Insane Productions – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My co-founders and I have been working in the industry as freelancers for over seven years. Throughout the time my partners and I worked together, we would spontaneously have creative ideas to which one of us would respond “That’s genius!” or “That’s insane!” We talked about starting our own business on several occasions and finally decided to stop talking about it and actually start a company of our own. Genius Insane is a creative studio and production company specializing in commercial and digital content creation.

As a new company, we wanted to position ourselves as a versatile team. We always imagined shooting “large scale-commercials,” but the way we create and consume content today is always changing. We love working with large-scale brands but it’s been amazing to work with small and medium-sized businesses and rethink our approach to creating content. We recognize the companies we work with trust us to tell their story. We try to become an extension of their brand by offering insight on creative process and the production itself; It’s our job to help brands succeed.

Nowadays, you pretty much have three seconds to capture someone’s attention— that’s what we focus on. This is why our approach for digital clients is to “RETHINK PRODUCTION.” When filming for Ad Performance, we always look for opportunities to recut, reformat and repurpose the end result to help companies find the highest performing output. By delivering Multi-Purpose Content, we ensure the value for our client’s budget & delivery. That’s Genius. That’s Insane.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
The way I define success is by being surrounded by people who love you and you love because they are the ones who will motivate and encourage you to be better. If you have people around you who believe in you that in itself is success.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 515 S. Flower St. Suite 1855
    Los Angeles, California
  • Website:
  • Phone: 216.337.2301
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @geniusinsaneproductions

Image Credit:

Steve Thrasher, Josh Andersen

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