ELM News | 15 MIN READ

5 Questions for ELM’s Newest Storytellers

Image of three new Early Light Media hires, Kellee Roeder, Ezra Pailer, and Nick Hughes

If you’ve been keeping up with ELM or been working with us on projects, then you may have noticed some new faces around here. We would like to introduce you to 3 of our newest artists & storytellers with 5 fun ice-breaker questions. Some of the answers may surprise you! Here they are below in alphabetical order. Feel free to drop them a line and say hello! Nick, Ezra, and Kellee are some of the friendliest people you can meet.

Profile Picture of Nick Hughes, Early Light Media director of photography

Nick Hughes

Director of Photography

Nick’s career as a filmmaker began unintentionally almost a decade ago when he realized that his background as a trained musician and avid photographer translated naturally to the moving image. After starting out filming bands in basements and backyards, Nick found his way into the documentary world and fell in love with capturing moments as they unfold. Today, Nick is still fascinated by the power of light, motion, and sound as vehicles for deep connection.

1. What’s your personality type? (choose up to three)

Well the test says I’m a Mediator, but I could also very easily be an Advocate or an Adventurer depending on the situation. I feel like I get a different result each time I take one of these tests.

2. Where do you draw inspiration from to create (Name a film/artist/blog/band etc..)?

I’m a huge fan of any type of art that can move between styles effortlessly. Mulholland Drive is such a great example of this- it seems to switch genres in seconds and leaves you with whiplash by the end. Oneohtrix Point Never’s album “Garden of Delete” is another work that strikes me in that way.

3. Say you’re independently wealthy and don’t have to work, what would you do with your time?

I’d definitely spend more time making music. I’m sure I’d end up making some weird art installation in a forest or something. Seems like a thing I would do.

4. What is something unique about you that few people know?

Three things I did in high school that I thought were cool but am embarrassed by now: Rode a unicycle, played sousaphone in marching band, and memorized 100 digits of Pi.

5. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

I’ve heard lots of people say that you should always be stepping out of your comfort zone. Almost all of my most rewarding projects have been ones where I was a little unsure of what to do at the outset. Being forced to think creatively and strategically definitely makes the job more interesting.

Ezra Pailer

Illustrator & Animator

Ezra's favorite thing about animation is the way it lets us bridge the world we know with the imaginative worlds we have yet to explore. He is always seeking exciting new ways he can use the mediums of animation to grow as a storyteller, and being part of the ELM team constantly elevates that passion to new levels. In Ezra's work, he particularly loves tapping into his fine arts background to create unique painterly styles with rich textures and color. As a lifelong lover of creative writing, he knows few greater thrills than bringing inner visions of characters, landscapes, and stories to tangible life.

1.What’s your personality type? (choose up to three)

I’ve always gotten INFP, and it seems pretty accurate so far! 

2.Where do you draw inspiration from to create (Name a film/artist/blog/band etc..)?

In my approach to visual art and storytelling, I draw a lot of inspiration from people whose work has explored the deeper functions of imagination and transformed how I think about our relationships to inner worlds of imagery and symbol. Some writers and thinkers who have especially influenced me creatively are Gloria Anzaldúa, Khalil Gibran, and Carl Jung.

I also feel continually inspired by the artists around me and the resilience of those communities of creators, especially during these uncertain times. 

3. Say you’re independently wealthy and don’t have to work, what would you do with your time?

I would love to collaborate with my friends to create all the cool things we’ve always wanted to make together if time and money resources were no object. Without a doubt, I’d also want to try hiking the whole Appalachian Trail, or at least see how far I could make it! 

4. What is something unique about you that few people know? 

Something I don’t think many people know about me is that when I was a kid, I had a really intense obsession with sharks and was certain I wanted to be a marine biologist. Those life plans of course changed, but to this day I still think that if there was an alternate universe where my brain was more “science-oriented” than “arts-oriented”  – that’s exactly what I’d be doing. 

5. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

It’s definitely tough to choose a single piece of advice for this one, but there’s something in particular that always stands out to me. Someone once said to me something along the lines of “In life, just figure out what feeds your soul and do whatever that is”. I always think back to it because it rings so true for pretty much every dimension of our lives.

Head shot for Early Light Media animator Kellee Roeder

Kellee Roeder

Illustrator & Animator

Two of Kellee's favorite things are animation and getting to work collaboratively on animation projects. She loves discussing and bringing life to projects that have the power to connect strongly with others. In her work, she likes to focus on characters and finding ways to tell stories with their movement and design. Kellee's passion for art is driven by experimentation, so she's always up for learning new techniques to drive her animations forward to the next level.

1. What’s your personality type? (choose up to three) 
My Myers-Briggs personality type is ENFP so I have a “Campaigner” personality type! I think I could also fall under the “Adventurer” type, though.
2. Where do you draw inspiration from to create (Name a film/artist/blog/band etc..)? 
I love to follow character animators and storyboarders on social media. Seeing other people creating and discussing their work with a community is great motivation to practice yourself. I also find inspiration from watching animated films-two favorites are Into The Spider-verse and Kiki’s Delivery Service.
3. Say you’re independently wealthy and don’t have to work, what would you do with your time?
I would love to take the time to learn all sorts of crafts- quilting, woodworking, bookbinding. As a creative person with wide interests sometimes it feels like there is only ever enough time to dedicate yourself to one or two hobbies. I’d like the time to make more things with my hands to gift to friends or donate.
4. What is something unique about you that few people know? 
I have a Maryland boating license, but no one knows because I don’t have a boat! I can rent jet skis during Ocean City trips, though.
5. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The best advice I’ve ever gotten is “You can get past your fears of the future by embracing the joy of the present”. At the time this advice specifically applied to making art and avoiding the pitfall of perfectionism- the best way to improve at art is to enjoy making art, instead of putting so much pressure on yourself to produce perfect results that you freeze up. However, I’ve found this advice can apply to a variety of anxieties over the future.

If you want to work with any of our talented team members on your next projects, give us a shout! Kellee and Ezra are ready to animate the human experience with an explainer video or brand work and Nick is ready to give you some gorgeous cinematography. We’re excited to work with you.

Darren Durlach

About Darren Durlach

Darren is a film director and co-founder of Early Light Media, a video production agency based in Baltimore. He enjoys writing about storytelling, filmmaking, and video marketing to help organizations communicate more effectively with their audiences.

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