December 1995 was a dire straits moment for Ted Rouse. He lost his job and was instantly filled with anxiety. It was Christmas, but he was devastated and didn’t know which way to turn.
He and his wife Shelly had just bought a house and baby number two was on the way. Overwhelmed with worry on how he was going to pay the hefty mortgage, handle the looming medical expenses, and put food on the table for his young family, Rouse turned to someone he knew could relate to his heartache -St. Joseph.
He prayed big – not just for a job, but one that would provide for his family, a job he would be energized to give it all he had, and a job that would make a difference. He wanted to be that proud hard worker like Joseph – a man who made a way, but didn’t have to be in the forefront and happy to be behind the scenes.
“I carried my resume everywhere I went and passed them out to everyone I knew,” he said. “On paper I had a degree in business and a Master’s in public administration. But that was on paper. My heart kept bringing up thoughts of my 13-year-old self – a film nerd from Wheeling, who didn’t want to put down my father’s 8mm camera. I needed a job, any job, but I wanted one in video production.”
He kept thinking God intentionally gave him the gift of loving film, production, and sharing positive stories and fascinating perspectives, why can’t that God lead to a career to specifically use that gift? He continued to call upon St. Joseph, when he prayed and to guide him – send him some sort of sign.
He said most that know him don’t know his story let alone his thoughts and how he credits the humble spouse of Mary Mother of God for guiding him on the right path.
“To this day, I religiously pray to St. Joseph, the patron of the family,” Rouse said. “I truly believe he has had a hand in providing so many opportunities for me.”
It was one of his friends in television production that called Rouse about a job. Rouse thought it was at one of the local stations, but the friend said it was the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. In short, the diocese was looking to do the filming of the Mass and other projects in house.
“It was perfect – the perfect path right there,” he said. “I knew it was God moving me. It was St. Joseph.”
Pausing, with his eyes closed and shaking his head in affirmation Rouse said, “It was more than a job. It was what I needed. It changed my life. It saved my life.”
His first assignment – a video on the history of the cathedral – the Cathedral of St. Joseph!
Rouse ran the in-house productions for the diocese for three years, and in 1999 branched out to start his own company Rouse Studios. He continued to do the work for the diocese – covering appeals, schools, charities, and Mass – but also was able to expand to do video production for public and private businesses.
His work has taken him all over the globe and each trip he has been able to relate back to his faith – visiting the places that gave us the awe-striking architecture he loves in the German, Italian, Irish, Polish, and French inspired churches around the diocese; experiencing the unique cultures of some of the priests now serving in West Virginia; and walking the same ground as many of our holy saints, religious, and pontiffs.
One of Rouse’s latest project is working as the executive producer of Lights Camera Location, a production series showcasing the locations of classic Hollywood movies – Rome, Paris, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and more. He’s also had the honor to meet and work with the families of Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, and three-time Oscar winning “Best Director” William Wyler to name a few.
In fact, later this year, Rouse’s documentary on Wyler will air on the Turner Classic Movie (TCM) channel. He teamed up with Wyler’s daughter Catherine Wyler to produce the program.
Rouse’s work has been picked up nationally on The CBS Evening News, ABC’s Good Morning America, Fox’s Funniest People, The Montel Williams Show and The David Copperfield Magic Special.
Rouse does not take his career for granted and continues to have the humble attitude of St. Joseph the Worker.
“Working for and with the diocese – the mission of the Church – I have learned to tackle my work purposefully to help others as best I can,” Rouse said. “When you work for the Church, it becomes natural to focus on using your talents for a higher purpose to honor God. The people I have gotten to work with and meet around the state are the most wonderful, positive people. Each has enriched my faith with their lives – their stories I’ve shared from behind the camera.”