Lee Rogers is proof that anyone can successfully change careers if they tap into their innate purpose.
Directing screen content has taken Lee across the globe, working with Oscar winners, Emmy winners, Prime Ministers, Miss Universe, Gold Logie winners, ARIA Hall of Famers, Olympic Gold medallist’s, Rugby and Cricket World Cup Captains and superstars such as Margot Robbie… winning dozens of awards along the way.
In 2020 Lee launched a podcast, The Blank Canvas, which sees him interview trailblazers, artists, thought leaders, athletes, entrepreneurs and creators whose stellar individuals who inspire us to live large.
It has been embraced by audiences and features a stellar line up of heavy-hitting guests including Mark Bouris, Deborra-Lee Furness, Marty Fox, Colin Hay, Kate Ceberano, Glenn Wheatley, Indira Naidoo, Tony Ayres, Layne Beachley, Anne McKevitt, David Bromley, Marisol Nichols and Eddie Perfect.
Lee is a natural storyteller and his relaxed nature has a way of getting the nuggets of truth from his guests.
After failing the HSC, Lee’s options felt limited and confusing. He enrolled at Sydney TAFE for a pre-employment course which was designed to give experience in the key trades; brick-layer, carpenter, motor mechanic, plumber, electrician and electronics technician. After the six months full-time course, Lee secured a job as an apprentice Radio Fitter and Mechanic with SCTV.
Whilst doing his apprenticeship, Australia’s top fashion photographer of the ’80s (Graham Shearer) spotted Lee and photographed him for Dolly magazine. This led to Lee finding an agent at Chadwicks and appearing in over twenty TV commercials with leading brands like Coke, M&Ms, and Holden as well as working with many of the top film directors of the time such as Alex Proyas – (I Robot, Gods of Egypt, The Crow) and Kimble Rendall (The Matrix Reloaded, Bait).
Lee the picked up the White Pages phone book and began cold calling businesses to secure paid corporate video work. On the weekends he was making no-budget projects; short films, music videos for friend’s bands and a skateboarding doco which went on to be distributed by Polygram and sold to 40+ countries). The second music video Lee directed was a song “That Aint’ Bad” for band RATCAT, which miraculously crossed over from the indie charts and stormed the ARIA charts hitting Number 1.
This kickstarted Lee’s career as an in-demand music video director and producer. Lee began to rack up some impressive video credits including Kate Ceberano’s “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” from the 4 x Platinum selling Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack, Euphoria’s #1 smash hit “One in a Million” and DEF FX’s “Surfers of the Mind”.
Advertising agencies took notice of Lee’s impressive work and big-budget commercials followed for the likes of; Singapore Tourism, Honda, Pantene, Ampol, KFC, Mitsubishi, TAB, KIA, Mazda, Pizza Hut, Westfield, Southern Comfort, Myer, Sunsilk, Suzuki, Smiths Crisps, Violet Crumble, Renault, Swisse, and Garnier. Lee was travelling all over the globe directing for some of the world’s leading ad agencies; Saatchi & Saatchi, Publicis, Mojo, George Pattinson, Y&R, Ogilvy & Mather, Singletons. He worked across broad genres and categories including comedy, drama, kids, lifestyle, food, animation, sport, storytelling, beauty, hair, and visual FX.
Some highlights from Lee’s career include directing the 90-second launch commercial of the 1998 NRL competition, that featured the star players of the era alongside Former Prime Minister John Howard, the ICC Cricket World Cup commercial with Indian Captain Virat Kohli, MYER in New York with ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’ stylist Carson Kressley, and Westfield in London with Trinny & Susannah.
In 1996, Lee led the digital revolution by writing, directing, producing and starring in the seminal movie Dust On the Wings, Australia’s first wide-screen digital movie for the cinema. Dust of the Wings created waves when it was refused entry into Australian Film Institute awards because it hadn’t been shot on film but it could qualify for the Oscars. From the following year, movies originating on digital formats were accepted for entry.
Lee then turned his storytelling skills and directorial eye to long-form TV drama. His work has been screened in over 130 territories on platforms such as Netflix USA and BBC1. His credits include hits such as The Doctor Blake Mysteries, and iconic Australian TV series’ Home and Away, and Neighbours.
Lee met Kate Ceberano when directing a live concert video for her in 1991 at Sydney’s State Theatre. The couple has been together ever since, with Lee a mainstay of Kate’s management and production team over the last 29 years.
In 2020 during the COVID-19 crisis, Lee and Kate pivoted quickly and decisively by reigniting Kate’s hit tonight show from the mid-’90s, Kate Ceberano & Friends, virtually. Together they delivered weekly live stream concerts from their living room, raising tens of thousands of dollars for music industry charity Support Act and providing paid performance opportunities to 51 guest artists and musicians. A total of 8 episodes were delivered live during Australia’s Stage 3 lockdown with high profile fans like Hugh Jackman sharing the content to their audiences. The episodes featured special guests including 24-time Grammy winner Chick Corea, Grammy & Emmy winner & Academy Award nominee Mark Isham, Vanessa Amorosi, Dami Im, Ricki-Lee Coulter, Richard Wilkins, ARIA winners – David Campbell, James Morrison, Paul Grabowsky, Rick Price, Katie Noonan, Brian Cadd and many more.
Contributing directorial and production skills, as well as his marketing nous, Lee has helped to build and solidify Kate’s position as Australia’s most prolific female artist and the voice of her generation.