Growing up just outside of Philadelphia in a small NJ town, I was always the kid bouncing between different social worlds unable to figure out why “these” kids wouldn’t hang with “those” kids and how the “other” kids got that label of “other” in the first place. I was the ‘athletic nerd’ up until high school when I became the ‘artistic nerd’, picking up the clarinet and creating mixtapes for my friends using my dad’s audio recording equipment (he gave me free reign as long as I promised to turn all the knobs back to how I found them when I was done). I joined the high school marching band and, later, the jazz band & theater club. It was there that I discovered my place on stage, but as much as I loved all the performing, I still hadn’t found my true voice. It wasn’t until college that I came upon performance poetry. I began attending a weekly open mic on campus where I not only discovered my own voice, but hundreds of other voices from all the kids– these kids, those kids, the other kids– all sharing their truths in this unique forum, both brave & vulnerable. I became a regular, showing up every week with a new poem to share. After a couple years, the guys who hosted the open mic graduated. I didn’t want to stay on a poetry-less campus, so I decide to keep the event alive and host it myself. That’s always been me; ready & willing to make the moves it takes to create the world I want to live in.
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
SlamFind is an app & web platform meant to connect poetry fans with live poetry, no matter where in the world they live. I’d been a touring performance poet for the better part of 10 years, performing primarily for middle & high school kids across the US, and after each performance without fail, a kid would come up to me and say something to the effect of, “That was great! I thought poetry was boring; I didn’t know it could be like that! Do you know where I can find more?” And the answer for far too long was,
There was no resource, no directory, not even a proper Google keyword one could search to find a poetry open mic in your area. So I picked up a 2nd job at an organic burger restaurant in my neighborhood to fund the creation of SlamFind. The SlamFind app has a directory to all the poetry slams & poetry-friendly open mics in North America, searchable by city, state, or day of the week. You search and it’ll tell you when, where, and everything you need to know to find & show up at a live poetry event.
Another big part of SlamFind has been the videos. Over the past 2+ years, I have personally traveled to, filmed, and edited hundreds of poetry events across the US, posting all the great poetry I find to the SlamFind YouTube channel. One thing that had always rubbed me wrong about poetry videos online is that the often volunteer-run venues where these videos are shot are often left out of the loop, so I came up with a model where I share the YouTube ad revenue with the venues to help them keep doing what they do. And thanks in no small part to my recording experience on my dad’s equipment so many years ago, I’ve been able to squeeze some pretty good quality videos out of my gear. But by far my most proud moments come when I’m at a poetry event and someone comes up and tells me that they found & attended their first live poetry show thanks to SlamFind.
The next iteration of SlamFind is what I find most exciting. I want to bring the mission statement to the forefront and begin live streaming these events to truly bring the live poetry experience I fell in love with to the world. Not everyone lives in New York City with live poetry events at their fingertips every night of the week. But soon with SlamFind, where you happen to live will not dictate your access to this art form that has the power to change lives. And since society is nothing more than a collection of individuals, enough changed lives equals one changed world.
What is the purpose of this loan?
This loan will allow me to purchase a live streaming encoder ($1,000), a live streaming broadcast switcher w/software ($1,200), and all the necessary cables/adapters/mounts ($300) in order to broadcast from any venue regardless of their in-house technical capabilities. The remaining $500 will go towards revamping the SlamFind website in order to host these live stream broadcasts.
With this added dimension to my business, SlamFind will stand alone as the only freelance live streaming provider in the now-booming poetry market. It will also allow me to provide live streaming service to other artists in the NYC community, creating a hub around which many additional revenue streams can flow. And as a full time artist living with my full time artist fiancée (wedding Labor Day ’17!), this could truly be the thing that makes the rest of our lives happen.
Years in operation: 1 year – 3 years