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Rising Stars: Meet Mike Ruggirello

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mike Ruggirello.

Hi Mike, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
After dropping out of film school to volunteer as a new media editor for the Obama for America campaign in 2007, I eventually found my way into unscripted docu-reality style TV working for companies like Discovery, National Geographic, TLC and other such networks. I have more wild stories than your typical camera operator. I worked for years and years carrying around 20-30 lbs cameras for many industry standard 12-hour days before finally coming up with an idea. I bought a sewing machine and sewed together some old luggage straps and military-style belts, melted an old snowboard binding with a blow torch, had a friendly blacksmith hammer out a steel bracket and then put it all together. I had a makeshift wearable vest that I could use to rest my arm in while filming for long periods of time. It worked wonders and saved my back and shoulder from all the usually wear and tear camera professionals’ bodies typically endure. After using it on set for years, enough people finally talked me into making a production run, and that’s where I am today. Making and selling the Stillframe by Rigpacks has become its own full-time job.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No… god, no! Hahaha, I decided to start a business in manufacturing right before the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. We started out dealing with shutdowns and labor shortages, went into all the supply chain and shipping chaos, we even had a factory that was producing one of our most important materials shut down due to a coal shortage. It’s been one global crisis after another, but you just have to keep clawing your way.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
The work I’m doing now with the Stillframe camera support system and its parent company Rigpacks is all about design, both in function and aesthetics. Coming from the camera world and dabbling in the art world, I feel like I was able to bridge the gap in what people need while working on set or in broadcast and having it all fit into an attractive package. There are a few different solutions out there to help people hold cameras for long periods of time, but we do it better with more features, a smaller footprint on your body and while managing to be cheaper than the rest.

We’d love to hear about how you think about risk taking?
I feel like anyone VoyageLA is talking to is going to be a risk taker whether they know it or not. Doing something that someone else takes notice of requires the decision of focusing time and resources on one thing and not another and putting yourself out there. It takes work and dedication to do something that really might not work out in the end. But if you don’t take the risk, you’ll never know if it does.

Pricing:

  • Stillframe Single Support: $999
  • Stillframe Double Support: $1199
  • Tote Bag: $20

Contact Info:

Image Credits
M. Ruggirello

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