Wild’n Out with Nile Evans

We can pretty much guarantee that if you have a TV, you’ve watched a show that Nile Evans has been a part of. Nile got his start on the Jamie Foxx show in the late 90s. He was brought onto staff as an on-set Punch-Up writer, providing additional jokes for the writers and producers to use.

From there Nile started working on projects for the likes of Bernie Mac, Martin Lawrence and a rising star at the time- Nick Cannon. Nile’s relationship with Nick would lead to many successful projects over the years including the duo co-creating the MTV hit Wild’n Out. This led to other projects like Short Circuitz, For the Love of Ray-J, Hip Hop Squares, and sitcoms like Love That Girl and Family Time.

Nile and Nick recently relaunched Wild’n Out on MTV2 so we caught up with him and got the scoop on what it’s like to live the Hollywood life.

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Growing up did you know you wanted to write and produce TV? Or how did that come about?

Yes, I didn’t know that it would TV as much as I was inspired by Spike Lee. My Uncle  Bentley took me to see Do The Right Thing when I was 12 and I knew that’s what business I wanted to be in from that day forward. I never wanted to be anything else but a filmmaker from then on. 

 

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Have you always been the “funny guy”?

I think I was always a clown in some ways, but I wasn’t always the most outgoing person. I think my knack for sarcasm made me funny and I just honed in on it and used it towards my writing.

 

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So you grew up in the Bay area, in your opinion what is the biggest difference between Northern and Southern Cali and what made you want to come to LA?

I actually was born in L.A. and split my time evenly between here and Berkeley over my lifetime. The difference between the Bay and L.A. is that the Bay is slower and friendlier than L.A. It’s more of a college atmosphere, whereas L.A. is the fast paced land of opportunity and is much sexier than the Bay Area. 

 

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How did you and Nick Cannon meet and what’s your history together?

I met Nick Cannon while I was working on the Jamie Foxx Show when he was 17. My Uncle and Will Smith were going to do a sitcom for him, and we immediately hit it off as friends.

 

Where did the concept of Wild’n Out come from?

Nick came up with the concept of Wild’n Out. He called me in the middle of the night and said, I’ve figured out what I want to do at MTV. I want to do a Hip Hop version of Who’s line is it Anyway?” We met the next day at a restaurant and wrote it up. He then took his own money and we produced the pilot independently to take to the network. They loved it and that’s how it all started. 

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What is the biggest challenge of producing an improv show?

The biggest challenge in producing an improv show is managing ego’s and personalities. When we are taping you have 10 comics on stage trying to out funny each other and you have a special guest star that may or may not be intimidated by the show. It looks easy, but it’s NOT. 

Wild’n Out recently came back on the air, how has it evolved from the first time around?

Wild’n Out has basically kept its format from the original MTV version, but now we’ve added some new games and new players to spice it up. A lot of new comics, rappers and YouTube stars are finally getting their time to shine and the excitement is renewed.

 

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What has been the most challenging project you have worked on thus far?

I’ve worked on a lot, but honestly Wildn Out was the most challenging, due to the fact that in the first couple of seasons we didn’t know what worked and what didn’t work, so there was A LOT of trial and error and a lot of pressure from the network to make the show funny. 

 

In your opinion what do all great comedians have in common?

I think all great comedians have two things in common; 1. Having a distinct point of view. A lot of comedians just tell jokes, but when you have a point of view like Richard Pryor, Martin or Kevin Hart then it makes your jokes more relatable to your audience. 2. You have to be a little crazy and scarred as a person. If you haven’t gone thru any pain, like, divorce, drunk parents, or being forced into prostitution then its gonna be hard for others to relate to you. LOL, okay maybe not prostitution, but I’m sure there are some funny ass prostitutes with some brilliant stories to tell. 

 

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When you’re not working what are your passions?

When I’m not working, I try to spend as much time as I can with my Son. He’s my everything and the reason I do it all. 

 

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What other projects do you have in the works right now?

I have a few shows in development at a couple of networks and a possible movie with Mike Epps that I’ve been working on. I am also working on two books as of now that I really want to focus on once I get a break. 

 

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And the 2 questions we ask everyone…

 

What is your motto?

Success is the best revenge.

 

What did you have for breakfast?

For breakfast I had scrambled eggs with cheese, home fried potatoes with onions and sour cream, and maple bacon.     

 

You can follow @NileEvans on Twitter and /nile.evans on Facebook

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Venice311: The Good, the Bad and the Crazy!

Venice311 is the best entertainment on Twitter. All day every day it is filled with real life insanity that goes down on the police scanner in Venice, CA. Most people who follow the page have always wondered who is the person on the other end? Is it an ex-cop who just can’t put down the scanner? Actually, it turns out the mastermind behind Venice311 is a smart, quick-witted, 45 year old woman named Alex Thompson. 

Alex came to LA to start a technology company called Mixed Signals. If you get your TV via cable or satellite, your signal passes through equipment she developed. It was acquired and so she continues to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors, Venice311 is one of those.

She has been devoted the last 3 years to growing the site while also battling multiple sclerosis. Diagnosed in 2006, she is determined not to go down without fighting it every step of the way.

Alex truly loves her neighborhood. The good, the bad and the crazy…. and Venice has plenty of all three!

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How did Venice 311 begin? What was the cause or inspiration behind it?

I was one of those people that didn’t care about anything but my home, and what was between my front door and the beach. Then in 2010 an RV dumped 55 gallons of raw sewage in front of my house. No drainage, and it stood festering for 2 weeks. The process of trying to get that cleaned, which after countless phone calls was finally addressed when I called the press and they humiliated the Council Office live on the air.  The Council Office had promised it would be cleaned several times before that and never was. I realized there were departments to solve problems, but a normal human being could never figure out the rat maze of the system to get anything solved.

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What are the top 3 craziest stories/incidents you’ve reported on?

Only 3! I feel so restricted! They span a range… of crime type and emotion. The worst was the murder of youth pastor Oscar Duncan in Oakwood. The responding officers, the family, the community – everyone was stunned at this senseless crime. What made it all real and even more close to home was to find out it was “payback” for an argument between two gangs at the basketball courts at the beach. His murder took place a week or so later. After that fight, they monstrously tagged the boardwalk in a way I have never seen. We just cleaned it like we do every weekend…it wasn’t until the first suspect was arrested in Oscar’s killing that we learned the graffiti and whole situation was tied together. Really scary what gangs bring to a neighborhood – over a basketball game scrapple.

The next was a meth head that had taken to stripping naked and posing at Windward Circle on Ocean Front Walk. He is a large male black, and it is a bit shocking to see a naked guy in broad daylight dangling his niblets for everyone to see. The cops finally came and arrested him, but in the 25 minutes that he stood there naked, the reaction of people was astonishing. Some parents grabbed their young kids and ran, others whipped out their cell phones, but the best part was this 50ish yr old French woman who began yelling and screaming at people not to be afraid of the human form… and to appreciate him for his natural beauty. Her interest and enthusiasm became more of a distraction than the naked guy. Even he was looking at her like she was nuts.

While there is something totally crazy every day – one that really stands out was a high speed chase around Venice by a guy that at one point had 10 patrol cars chasing him and a helicopter. He was doing hot laps around the same area, as high speed chasers seem to do… and he was finally stopped at Venice near Shell. Weapons drawn, the suspect emerged slowly out of the car… and as he was facing me I was like “wow, he looks oddly familiar”. Turns out it was a guy who worked at a local coffee shop where I bought smoothies and coffee for years. It was just weird when the person mixing up the crazy crime is someone you have actually known for a long time.

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Aside from real time reporting, Venice311.org is also designed to keep Venice beautiful. What can citizen’s expect from this website?

The idea was just to make reporting all the little stuff that makes your area suck a bit easier. The City of LA has done a great overhaul of their 311 website and phone app – but as part of the big machine they oddly often miss the little streets and exact locations of graffiti or tossed furniture. We can act more quickly and can stay on top of them to make sure it gets done. If it was truly as simple as one phone call or one web report we would be living in a unicorn rainbow utopia. LA is not that utopia.

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Do you ever leave the scanner at home?

What, are you crazy? I have had the scanner with me 24/7 for years. Even in a movie I have one earbud in my ear. When I am asleep it is squawking next to my bed. I can tune it out quite easily but I never have it off. It is NEVER BORING EVER.

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Also a freelance photographer, what is your favorite subject or scene to shoot?

That is a toughie, but aside from technical setups/product shots my favorite is sports. It is this mix of human physical achievement and emotion that tells an amazing story. I shot the X Games for years. I love to just go out to the basketball courts and shoot the guys playing pickup ball. They will die for a basket. It is really cool. And, my cat of course. (She’s watching me and if I don’t say that she will kick my ass). J

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What is your favorite thing to do in your free time aside from reporting crime?

Well, I have learned to focus. I either shoot or am doing related photoshopping which I love. Photographic technology is always changing so there is always something to immerse myself in. Aside from that, my free time is spent in the neighborhood. There is a lot to do. We need trash pickups, we have issues in our alleys, the boardwalk bathroom situation is a horror show. Solving these issues is like anything else. It is a fight, you try, you fail, you try again, and years later when you are on the cusp of not caring anymore, half of it gets fixed. So you then focus on the broken half, again. I really do spend all my time doing photos, or this… and I love it.

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What are people most surprised about once meeting you?

Well, most people think I am a guy… and although I look visibly female… I am going to keep them guessing.

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We see you’ve expanded to also reporting on Koreatown via @Koreatown311, do you plan to expand to other parts of Los Angeles and what else can we expect from you in the future?

Right now the biggest uptake is in Hollywood. I have someone helping in Koreatown, but the Senior Lead Officers in Koreatown have really picked up the pace there and they have a strong dedication to their online community… so LAPD has stepped in there and they are doing a great job. Hollywood is very similar to Venice in that they have an entertainment district which has parallels to our boardwalk vending area. I work with them quite a bit. I just participated in their counter terrorism summit. We are looking at expanding via video into the “realistic” neighborhood safety realm this year also. The thing that people dig about Venice311 is that it is real. It is human. I speak in plain language like a neighbor because that is what I am. I am not an “official news agency” or anything else. I decided to use the tone that all my friends and neighbors use when we talk to one another about this stuff. I get the errant person who tells me to “stick to straight crime” and not post photos of the sunset or my dog. If you can’t deal with photos of my dog in between police calls via my twitter feed… my optimism about your future is quite grim.

I have learned one thing though… society has grown into people having an expectation that “government” or “a city” or “the cops” or “the electric company” are these giant, inhuman machines constructed to serve humanity. Every single thing, everything… comes down to human beings. Good, bad, crazy, weird, genius, plain… the whole lot of us make it, and break it. Helping to solve problems doesn’t mean showing up to complain… roll up your shirt sleeves folks. 

And two questions we ask everyone…

What is your motto?

Be nice. Punch first. (just kidding, kind of) J

 What did you eat for breakfast?

I had a Pitaya smoothie from The Fruit Gallery. They were out of cheeseburgers.

 

Don’t miss a second of the craziness, follow @Venice311 on Twitter and visit Venice311.org

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Mark Sperling - The Ultimate Connection

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If you’re looking to grow within the world of action sports, Mark Sperling is the man you need to know. Previously, he has worked with Red Bull, Transworld Media, Live Nation, Lollapolooza, Tony Hawk, and Split Clothing and gained a great understanding of what makes the industry work. In his current role as the co-founder and President of group Y, his vision is to connect the people in the action sports industry and inspire them to be the best in the industry.

This week Mark and group Y will host two events that feature the best of the best in the industry. The Action Sports + Culture Conference (or ASC) is set to take place on Wednesday, July 24th in conjunction with Agenda Show Long Beach with the theme of Authenticity.  Two days later on Friday, July 26th group Y will debut Agenda Emerge which will feature the streetwear side of action sports.

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How did Group Y get started and what made you decide to reignite the brand?

We started in 2006 with a handful of friends who had roles in marketing and PR at action sports brands. It began as a way to casually get together monthly to talk about our jobs, share advice and make connections—at that point it was great to meet just one new person, or even just to get to know an existing acquaintance a bit more. Each month the group grew, and more of their friends and colleagues joined us. Over the years, our small social group has grown via our events and social media to over 80,000 online followers. Group Y’s collective membership now includes those working within entertainment, fashion, music, consumer product goods, gaming, media, digital, automotive and other industries.

After producing over 40 monthly networking events and numerous sold-out successful ASC Action Sports Conferences since our launch in 2006, both Liz  and I needed a break.  We were both working in full time jobs while maintaining the day to day operations and planning of Group Y. In addition other organizations started replicating our model and events, which we were happy to see.

However over time, we saw that these same events were too exclusive or were off the mark when attempting to address the need to bring industries and like-minded folks together.  In my previous role overseeing national partnerships at Red Bull, I had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with CEO, CMO, VP’s and key executives at top Fortune 500 brands. In almost all cases, there was some personal tie back to our world of action sports, whether they were a participant, via family involvement or just a fan. They all wanted to find ways to tap into our world and the actively engaged youth audience that comes with it. It often was a surprise to learn how they or their co-workers had attended a past Group Y event or conference.

We agreed to relaunch Group Y earlier this year, with the intent to expand the reach and industries involved.  In January, we kicked things off with a successful ASC Action Sports + Culture event at Agenda Show with Danny Way, Amy Purdy and others speaking.

Group Y is a fantastic organization. As a co-founder, what are you hoping for the organization to achieve?

We’ve expanded our purpose this time around.  Our tagline “Uniting Industries, Igniting Ideas” best exemplifies what we are trying to achieve.  Our mission is to share insights across industries and ignite ideas that inspire the current and next generation leaders and decision makers.  Using events, outreach, content and consultation, Group Y takes the work out of networking and strengthens the areas where industries overlap.  Our focus has broadened beyond action sports, which will still be the core of our organization, but to other progressive and expressive industries.

During Agenda Show Long Beach, Group Y is presenting two conferences. What do you hope that attendees gain from these events?

Aaron Levant, President of Agenda Show shared his plans here with Transworld Business (http://business.transworld.net/133993/features/aaron-levant-shares-details-on-agenda-emerge/) for what he hopes to accomplish and achieve with the Agenda Emerge platform in the near future.  For me personally, it’s the opportunity to have these four share their stories and in turn help inspire the just out-of-college design student or the budding entrepreneur to launch something creative and innovative. It would be great to see that same person come back to Agenda as a future exhibitor and grow this industry.  Plus, I’m personally a big fan of all of the presenters, and to have them share their personal story to others to me is a treat.

Tell us about the Action Sports + Culture (ASC) and Agenda Emerge conferences and what your vision for them were.

We wanted to create a platform that truly showcases and educates others about the youth culture from those who are leading the way. At most youth marketing conferences we’ve attended in the past, you find these so-called “experts” spouting statistics, research and sound bites about what the youth of today are doing.  They are so disconnect and often generalize and/or label what this “generation” are influenced by.  We wanted to create a gathering that would in a sense provide you the real “truths” as to what youth are doing, participating in, and engaging in on a daily basis.  We are all aware of the size and buying power the youth have, but not many have a true understanding as to how they help shape and guide which industries and brands will succeed.

With ASC Action Sports + Culture, which has been our successful conference series over the years, we wanted to unify the industries as a whole by providing a better understanding as what is occurring now and in the future.  Agenda Emerge is the newest series in partnership with Agenda Show, whereby we bring the top streetwear brand founders to educate and tell their stories in hope of inspiring and influencing future designers and brand builders.

I feel both events are beneficial to anyone who is either working, entering or involved in some capacity with the youth culture and related industries.  From those who lead the marketing and creative for brands either in house or at agencies to senior executives down to the college student who sees opportunities within this space to be involved.  We have something for everyone.  No where else are you going to find this caliber of speakers with the networking opportunities among your peers.

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Group Y has been able to bring some heavy hitters to this year’s conferences. What is your criteria for the presenters Group Y chooses? 

We have an outstanding line up of presenters.  Each represents brands that are leading or shaping youth culture and media. As a whole they represent over 200 million online followers and lead in each of their respective categories. Presenters include;

+ Christopher Mater, Head of Sports Marketing at Red Bull

+ Seth Combs, Co-Founder / CMO at Sol Republic

+ Shaun Neff, CEO / Founder of Neff

+ Eric Grilly, President of Alli Sports (NBC)

+ Derek Callow, Director Global Partner Marketing at YouTube

+ Curt Morgan, President & Creative Director at Brain Farm and director of “The Art of Flight”

+ Norb Garrett, SVP / Group Publisher at Grind Media

+ riCardo Crespo, former SVP Global Creative Chief at 20th Century Fox

+ Brian Socolow, Partner / Chair, Sports Practice Group at Loeb & Loeb

+ Steve Larosiliere, Founder / President at STOKED

Pat Parnell, Sports Broadcast Journalist (NBC, FUEL, ASP) as our ASC host / moderator.

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Which presenter are you most stoked about seeing?

Honestly, all of them. It’s been an honor to work alongside Aaron Levant from Agenda Show and our partners in creating two event platforms for these presenters to share and people to learn. Having spoken to all of the presenters about their appearances, I know will all come out with guns blazing. A lot of great insights will be told with few laughs thrown in. We hope the attendees will be inspired to maybe launch a new brand, reshape their current one, or apply that inspiration to their own life in their own way.

What is this year’s event theme and why did you chose this theme for these events? 

The event theme “Authenticity Is Everything” will focus on the key ingredient that is the foundation upon which youth culture and action sports are based - the ‘North Star’ in a landscape driven by commitment, progression and constant reinvention. It’s a word that often gets overused and muddled, especially when it comes to branding and marketing. In speaking with a number of CEO, CMO, VP’s and other execs of Fortune 500 brands during my time at Red Bull, they all are always trying to find a way to make their brand “Authentic” to their consumer. They think it will magically appear if you throw enough dollars and marketing messaging at it. They don’t understand that Authenticity means different things to different people, and that it lies within one’s own DNA. Even when looking inward into our own industries, there has been a lot of questions as to a brand is remaining “true” to their consumers and fans. Then there are those who are “faking it” by attracting those to a particular lifestyle, for example surfing, but have no true roots within It (example is Hollister) It’s a word that is highly conversional and evokes strong opinions among those actively involved. So with that, I wanted us to address it at ASC in a format and platform for people would learn and become engaged.

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What’s next for Group Y?

We’ve only just started. Group Y has a number of key projects and initiatives in the works.  First are our networking and educational events which we are best known for. Our goal since day one has always been to get like-minded people together in a fun and relaxing environment and encourage networking and learning. Our past events have been huge successes and the stories we hear from attendees about new business or connections they made or ideas they were inspired by is motivating. We want to continue that moving forward as we launch a new event series called “INSIDE:” which provides an exclusive look into the inner-workings of top brands and provides an opportunity for attendees to have a deeper understanding as to the daily on-goings. Our first with Saatchi & Saatchi LA, a leading ad agency, where our audience experienced Saatchi’s way of listening to and engaging with consumers via award-winning ad campaigns and activations. The attendees participated in a group exercise alongside Saatchi executives on real-life client scenarios. We are planning more of these type of events with industry-leading brands, as well as other theme-based discussions events in key cities like New York, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Denver/Boulder, and of course Southern California.

Our other important initiative is the launch of our content-driven website within the next few months.  We are currently developing content based around themes that have been discussed at our events and conferences such as “Authenticity.”  We hope to create a platform that extends the conversation, provide insights and tools and adds a layer of education and inspiration to what you may already find on another site. In addition we hope to become a conduit for those who are interested in the Youth Market and Culture, whether it’s a brand, creative agency or the media, to look to us to provide assistance and consultation toward insight into this growing segment. 

We have other exciting news we hope to announce to our members here shortly.

And the 2 questions we ask everyone…

What’s your motto?

I don’t really have a motto per se. Instead I carry around 2 quotes with me everywhere I go that I find profound.

“Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.” – Charles Eames

“The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.” - Wilhem Stekel, from “Catcher In The Rye”

What did you eat for breakfast?  

Acai from Banzai Bowl

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Rob Kalmbach: Snapshot rider

At BeCore we love to work with people we who we would gladly share a beer with any day of the week, photographer Rob Kalmbach is one of those guys. Trustworthy and fun to work with, Rob loves what he does and it shows. Based in LA (Venice) and NYC, Rob is an Editorial & Commercial Art Photographer who creates content as a director of photography in both motion and still media. His passions include photographing people, kite surfing, skiing, playing the banjo, and rare odd moments. He shoots every single day and makes a killer granola (thanks to his Grandma).

Also do you know anyone else who has kitesurfed in the middle of NYC? We didn’t think so, get to know more here…

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1.   You photograph many different mediums, what has been your favorite project so far?

One of my favorite projects titled “Sky Scraping” took me to the streets of New York City with a small crew and was all about a sport I love, Kitesurfing.  I came up with the idea of a displaced athlete, in this case a Kitesurfer landlocked in the big city, and just went out and shot it with lots of help from friends and family.  I think those are the best projects, the ones that are spur of the moment and are completed with lots of support from people you care about.

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2.   What is you camera of choice?

     Original Canon 5D with a fast lens.

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Tell us about motion photography. How does it differ from still photography?

Working as a DP on commercials and films (photographing motion) there tends to be more planning + prep work involved. Everything gears up, layer upon layer to get the perfect shot including how the camera moves through the scene to creatively tell a story. Actors hitting their marks, audio, steady hands all play into motion where as shooting stills for me is more of an organic process where I can slowly build up to that perfect shot which in reality may only last 1/1000th of a second and end up as my feature photograph.

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When shooting editorial prints, does the client typically have a set plan, or are you able to use your creative freedom?

There is always a rough plan and a conversation about what the client would like to end up with. But with a lot of jobs these days a client may want coverage of everything and not know exactly what they are going to do with the results.  I prefer to have a shot list so I know what is desired, and then build and bounce around the room based on the original list.

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In you biography, you mention that you shoot photos every day. Aside from photography, what do you do in your free time?

I make my own granola from my grandma’s recipe.  I kitesurf in waves, the bigger the better. I grow a garden and love to travel.  I have two cats and a lovely wife who are all very cool with the crazy shit I do.  Hiking, live music, organizing stuff in my house into little piles, banjo playing, skiing, and most recently collecting stickers and old radios.

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How does photography inspire you?

I wish I had a mind altering answer to this question and could get all metaphysical and explain how photography inspires me in a way similar to the slithering inspiration of a slug’s sensation to morning dew. But the truth is I love the feeling I get with a camera in my hands and some color in front of my eyes. 

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What has been the most interesting thing you’ve seen while photographing? Where were you?

I was in Shanghai China on assignment for a book project where just about everything was interesting and came as a shock to my heat-fogged lens.  Squatting on the sidewalk a man was sitting with his spread-eagled baby checking the child for abnormalities on his penis and balls, sort of massaging the area while inspecting it very closely. Next to him an elderly well-dressed couple ordered a live chicken and had it beheaded and cleaned so they could enjoy it for dinner that night.  The blood from the chicken was running down the sidewalk like a river toward the baby and father. It was all very strange, and wonderful and in the words of Johnny Utah I thought to myself “feels good to be alive doesn’t it”

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Tell us about your development as a photographer. What have been some of the challenges you have faced?

Being paid properly for a job can be a difficult task. Sometimes it’s hard for a client to understand all of the work that happens after the actual photo shoot is finished.  For every hour of shooting there may be three or four hours of edit time.  Another thing that makes the business side of photography tough today is that there are a lot of people who turn into self-proclaimed magic photographers after a trip to Best Buy having just purchased a new SLR.  The challenge is convincing the world that you have some training, experience, and a good eye. Then being able to back up your skill with creative ideas and fresh solid photography.  image

Do you prefer photos that are raw, or do you like adding your creativity with retouching?

I prefer to add my own spin on almost all of my work.  Having trained in the darkroom working with light as a tool that has the ability to change the mood and scope of a photograph, it is a natural process for me to spice things up a bit.

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10.You have quite a few photos of Venice, California on your blog. What is you favorite part of the Venice scene?

The beautiful and freaky people of Venice are alive!  Venice is so full of life and characters that it puts all of the other neighborhoods and cities to shame.  Seriously, you just have to open your eyes. Venice is the end of the line for a lot of hungry people, hungry for fame and hungry for food, they are all out there hiding in the alley ways, on the streets, in the cars, in the ocean and under blankets.

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And the 2 questions we ask everyone…

What’s your motto?

So far so good. 

What did you eat for breakfast?  

A blueberry muffin, coffee, then granola (Grandma’s recipe) with blueberries and some blackberries in it, then more coffee.

You can follow Rob and his adventures here:

Website: http://www.robkalmbach.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/robkalmbach

Twitter:   @ROB_K_PHOTO

 

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Corey Reed: Ride With Core

Meet Corey Reed, a 30 year old blind, below-the-knee amputee who is making a name for himself as a professional adaptive athlete. His accomplishments as a professional adaptive athlete are apparent in his sportsmanship and never-give-up attitude, which he portrays in every wake of his existence. Corey is the first adaptive athlete to compete in an able-bodied CrossFit competition with team CrossFit Los Angeles in the Phoenix Europa SICEST of the Southwest 2012.  He is also perfecting his sport as a skilled wakeboarder and enjoys the exhilaration received with free-style snowboarding. In 2012, he became the first blind athlete to participate in the Extremity Games and is always looking for new opportunities to push himself further and become better.

We sat down with Corey to ask him some questions about his mission in life, Ride With Core, which can be described as; providing inspiration to others, and showing individuals that regardless of where you are, or where you have been, you have the power to change your lifestyle and overall outlook on the world if you dedicate yourself in doing so.

We dare you to read this interview and not come out of it completely inspired.

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You truly are an inspiration! During your journey, who have been the most inspirational people in your life?

My fiancée has been the biggest inspiration in my life. She gave me the confidence not only to accept my disabilities for what they are but also to see things in a different way. Along with being my biggest supporter, She is my rock. Along the way„ I have also been inspired by other adaptive athletes, such as Amy Purdy, who is a double amputee on the US Paralympic snowboard team, and Eric Weihenmayer, who was the first and only blind man to summit Mount Everest and is currently training to solo the Grand Canyon in a kayak.

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Of your recovery process, what was more of a challenge for you, the physical or the mental recovery?

The mental recovery was by far the most challenging. The physical recovery was much easier, because it mostly involved getting used to the feel of a prosthetic. I have been an athlete my whole life, so I knew the effort it took to regain my strength. I have definitely surpassed my physical barriers. I am now healthier and stronger than I ever was before the accident. The mental recovery is an on-going process, because I continually face new challenges every day. Every morning I wake up and I am forced to make a choice about my attitude and my outlook for how I will approach that day. 

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Tell us about the Ride with Core organization. What is your goal for this project?

I have established a lifestyle brand, RIDE WITH CORE, which I hope will motivate other people to strive for a healthy and active lifestyle. It is inspired by my life and achievement and trials and tribulations, and the lifestyle that I live through fitness, nutrition and a strong spiritual grounding. RWC also draws inspiration from the action sports culture rooted in Southern California. In the future, it’s my hope that RWC will evolve into a nonprofit organization that will eventually provide scholarships for other adaptive athletes for either equipment or to attend camps at organizations that have impacted my life. My ultimate goal is to have a fitness facility combined with a skate park. The idea behind this is to create a place of community for youth to stay off the streets and excel in action sports as well as a place for parents to have a place to stay physically fit. This facility would also host youth and adult camps that target RWC’s philosophy of staying balanced through mobility, fitness, clean eating, action sports and spiritual wellness. That’s ride with core!

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You are already an inspiration on so many levels, but you are currently in the process of training for the snowboarding Paralympics and adaptive wakeboarding. How is your training going so far?

As of summer 2012, para-snowboard was added to the Alpine Skiing Program for the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia. While I was training for my first boarder cross competition, I was informed that the visually impaired division would not be included in the games. I would have had to qualify as an amputee, and the numbers that those guys were putting up would be next to impossible to match as a blind rider. So I chose not to pursue snowboarding at that point. During this time, I had been utilizing crossfit, which is a high intensity strength and endurance fitness program, for my snowboarding and wakeboarding. I decided to pursue crossfit as a sport instead of simply as a fitness program. While competing on the Crossfit Los Angeles team last October, I became the first blind amputee to compete with able-bodied athletes at one of the largest crossfit competitions on the west coast. I am continuing to compete in wakeboarding and have competed in the 2012 and 2013 Extremity Games, which is basically the X-Games for people with limb loss and amputations, in the elite division as the first blind athlete.

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You said your life changed for the better after your accident. How do you maintain your positivity despite all of the challenges you have faced?

There are a lot of things that keep me positive including surrounding myself with positive and healthy people, making choices to better myself every day, and most importantly, my faith in God.

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Crossfit seems to be the new trend. Tell us about the fitness program and what you love about it?

I was never a fan of the traditional way of working out. Standing around socializing at the local gym, throwing in a few bicep curls and bench press routines followed by a mellow run on the treadmill while barely breaking a sweat wasn’t for me.

Crossfit combines basic gymnastics, power lifting, and basic functional body movements at high intensity. Your basic crossfit class is typically an hour long. A 15 minute mobility warm-up, 20 minutes of skill work, 15 minutes of high intensity WOD (workout of the day), and 10 minutes of mobility/cool down. I love crossfit, because it not only addresses the importance of functional body movements but also the importance of mobility and clean eating, which incorporates all aspects of my philosophy and pursuit for fitness.

A lot of people who stumble upon crossfit are intimidated because the way it is portrayed on TV and in the press. The marketing is focused around the Reebok crossfit games, which crowns the world’s fittest man and the fittest woman after several days of grueling workouts. These are your “beast mode” types of athletes, who have trained in crossfit for many years. This is the sport of crossfit, not the amazing fitness program it really is.

Crossfit is geared towards any type of athlete, ranging from the entry level athlete to the seasoned athlete. I would highly recommend crossfit for anybody at any level for their fitness program. There are 6000 affiliates worldwide so I am sure there is one close to you. Check it out.

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Outside of physical activities what are the other passions in your life?

I absolutely love to travel. I love the unknown and the adventure it brings. Music is also a big part of my life. I also love custom cars and motorcycles. One of my greatest passions is acting as a life coach for the youth, whether it is through speaking at schools and churches or through one-on-one interactions, serving as a big brother to them.

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What has been the best advice someone has ever given you?

I have had a lot of great advice, but what really stands out to me are the people have supported me and continue to support me on my ride.

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And the 2 questions we ask everyone…

What’s your motto?

RIDE WITH CORE

What did you eat for breakfast?

I had smoked tri tip (from last night’s dinner), 4 scramble eggs, 1 avocado, 1 cup of spinach, and I washed it down with a protein shake that includes raw oatmeal, almond butter, weigh protein, banana, topped off with some almond milk and then blended up. Boom! That’s RIDE WITH CORE!