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Rousseau Realizes Filmmaking Dream

Dec. 19, 2022 - As a child, Nicholas Rousseau’s heroes weren’t the colorful cartoon and sitcom characters admired by most kids his age. His heroes wore business suits and earned their fame for the trust they inspired in television audiences. His heroes were Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, and Tom Brokaw. And now, with his first Emmy nomination as a video producer for a local media company, he has his foot in the door of their club.  

Rousseau’s affection for TV and film began early in life when he was in fifth grade at Bayless Elementary. He and his father regularly watched the evening news together, with some preference for the midwestern Brokaw. In addition to admiring the professional stature of these news anchors, he took comfort in the way they engaged their audience, often with a note of optimism.

“I felt a connection with them,” he says. “They always said ‘goodnight’ and ‘hope to see you again tomorrow.’ The news can be depressing, but they made you feel like everything would be okay and we’d all get through it together.” 

Today, Rousseau has realized some of his professional dreams. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in media studies from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2017. Since then, he has been working as a freelance journalist for local media companies, mostly as a freelance videographer and general support crew member. Program Productions, for example, often hires him to work sports events for organizations that include St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, and the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA). He makes himself available to help anyone on a production with whatever they need to get their job done - wrapping cable, fielding requests from the camera crew, and constructing or deconstructing sets and equipment. These gigs also have unexpected perks, such as brushes with friendly celebrities while working behind the scenes at Busch Stadium.

“I can’t fanboy it all the time, but sometimes I remind myself that I worked the Yankees series (against the Cardinals) last summer, and I was lucky enough to be in the Yankees’ clubhouse!” he says. “Alex Rodriguez said ‘Hi, Nicholas’ when I was getting him coffee in the press box. He likes his coffee black.”

In addition to his sports gigs this year, Rousseau was a producer on a video project for HEC Media in St. Louis. The video features interviews and information about local cartoonists (The History of St. Louis Cartoons and Newspaper Comics with Dan Martin), which was then broadcast on the KPLR (Channel 11) “Spotlight” program. This airing led to its nomination for a Mid-America Regional Emmy Award in the magazine program category. Although the video didn’t win an Emmy, he appreciated the opportunity to work with a production team at HEC. He and his girlfriend attended the awards event at the Hyatt Regency - St. Louis at the Arch on Oct. 29, 2022.

Rousseau credits his parents, siblings, friends, Boy Scouts, SSD, and his Bayless teachers for their support over the years. As a student at Bayless High School, he received SSD services for a learning disability and attention deficit disorder. When he wasn’t doing homework, he wrote humorous scripts and made videos for his YouTube channel, which his classmates loved to watch. He also earned a Boy Scout merit badge in movie making as he made his way to becoming an Eagle Scout in 2008. When he graduated in 2009, he was ready to embark on the next phase of his education, leading to a career in the media.

Never idle, Rousseau continues to write and produce short films such as “The Ultimate Fan” and “Super 8 Hockey.” He was interviewed about these projects on the ZekeTalk video podcast last year before they were shown to local audiences who attended the St. Louis Film Festival. He likes working as a volunteer for this annual event because he gets a chance to network with other creatives and contribute to the local film community.

In the future, Rousseau wants to make more films (he’s working on one now about fantasy hockey), get more nominations, win awards, and start a scholarship for Bayless high school students. The scholarship is something he hopes will encourage other SSD students to pursue their dreams after high school. 

“My advice to SSD students is to keep looking forward,” he says. “Continue working hard and the rewards will come. Someday I want to tell the ‘Nick Rousseau Story.’ Speilberg came out with his story, and someday I’ll tell mine.”