Cinematographer. Filmmaker. Storyteller.
Early on, Michael Podolski’s passion for filmmaking and storytelling in high school led him to Ohio University where he focused on film and television production. After graduation, and after winning an award at the Athens International Film Festival for his short film prophetically titled “Gotta Get Out”, Michael made the stereotypical blind move to Los Angeles where he began his career in the film and television industry.
Over the next 10 years in L.A., Michael’s work experience reflected his varied interests. While holding down some colorful pay-the-rent jobs, Michael worked on various commercials, industrial shows, and independent productions. At that time he also furthered his directing studies under Paul Gray at the Gray Film Atelier.
Michael eventually began television work with Garen/Albrecht Productions on “TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes” and later on 2 Disney specials, “Totally Minnie” and “Mickey’s Sixtieth Birthday”. At this time, Michael’s interest in screenwriting became his primary focus. While writing, he also developed his story analysis skills, accepting the opportunity to work for Carl Weather’s development team as a script reader while Carl completed “Predator” and then filmed “Action Jackson”.
When Michael’s writing drew interest from Columbia Pictures and others, he optioned his scripts (one offering the opportunity to direct) and shifted his day job to another interest of his – animation. Michael was fortunate to then work for two years with Randall William Cook, an Oscar winning visual effects/special effects director.
After that, Michael and his wife decided to raise a family away from Los Angeles. Michael chose to attend Penn State University in pursuit of his MFA degree. However, one year into the program, Penn State asked him to slow his studies and accept a teaching position. For the next eight years Michael taught screenwriting, production, and conventional animation courses for PSU while completing the MFA.
Although Michael managed to continue with some personal production and screenwriting efforts while teaching, his desire to get back to full time production was strong. Michael made the jump to a regional production company as a senior producer. Two years later in 2001, Michael had the opportunity to co-found Blackbird Media Group.
Blackbird Media allowed Michael to tap into all of his creative talents to offer full-scale production services. And although the company is based in State College, PA, it has had a national presence, producing projects from coast to coast.
Blackbird Media Group also contributes to the nonprofit world by providing pro bono services to various organizations and causes when possible. This speaks to Michael’s character, he’s a kind, multidimensional and multi-skilled storyteller that combines every aspect of his personal story, experiences, and talents into all his work at Blackbird Media Group, and into all that he does for his clients.