Sam DeAngelis: The SLDean Interview

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At a time when I was going through a personal dark period without a pair of blades to call my own, Sam reached out to me offering me blades not even knowing me all that well. That is a testimony to his generous character. While working on this interview I learned a lot about Sam DeAngelis through his detailed answers making this one of my favorite interviews that I have ever done for ShutupandSKATE. He definitely deserves all the exposure that is coming his way and I would like to wish him the best on his current trip to Africa with the Spine Africa Project.

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SUAS: Welcome to my little nugget in this “industry” of boulders ShutupandSKATE! What is up Sam DeAngelis and what is going on in your life these days?
SD:
Just got home from filming a wedding with Thumper Nagasako in Reading, PA. Yes, Thumper the vert rollerblading professional! He spends the summers in Woodward, PA and splits time between filming weddings and skating the camp. I’ll be staying with him the first week of August to shoot some blading for Camp Woodward’s annual video..Stoked on that.

SUAS: Just hearing the name Thumper Nagasako brings back my fondest memories of blading. I still have Daily Bread magazines with him in it! How did you two connect to work together on capturing a couples’ most intimate moment?
SD:
I’ve been heading out to Woodward to work for the past 4 years now. The atmosphere at Camp Woodward creates a sense of belonging unlike any other in the world…Imagine a village owned by skaters, void of judgement, and surrounded by quarter pipe.

It’s heaven.

Whilst working as a counselor the first couple of years, I became tight with Thumper Nagasako and spent most of my free time skating with Franky Morales. I filmed a One Minute One Spot with Franky at the Cloud 9 dragon ledge and spine and this was the moment that launched my relationship with Be-Mag.

That same year I shot some photos with Thumper and also cut a small piece with him. Since then, my relationship with Michael Bennett and Camp Woodward spawned into a filmer visitation basis. This year I will stay the week with Thumper and have full access to the camp to capture photo and film for the annual Woodward Colony video. As the years went on Thumper became sort of a mentor to me. His company Hi Focused Videography covers weddings from the East Coast to Hawaii. Eventually I got into weddings and sought Nagasako’s help. Since then I have been studying with him and shooting some weddings in PA..Goes to show that an ambition and personality can take you further than you ever intended.

SUAS: It is always inspiring to see a fellow blader expand their talents beyond just skating but still include skating in what it is that they do. What transpired inside of you that made you want to pick up a camera, take great photos, create memorable edits and even organize blading tours?
SD:
Ever since I was a kid my mother pushed and encouraged me towards art..I started with drawing then moved to photography during high school which eventually evolved into videography. I have been filming for as long as I have been skating, which is about six years. After I got into filming I decided to go back to college and get a second bachelor’s degree, this time in English, to help with my screen writing skills. Once blading came into the picture I finally found a way to take my creativity and turn it into something lucrative.

The most beautiful thing about blading is that I have unlimited access to some of the most talented athletes and photographers I’ve ever met. In six years I went from a kid with a handy cam to owning my own business with clients such as Slick Rick, LA Boxing, and some of New Jersey’s leading medical professionals. It just takes practice and use of your resources..

We are surrounded by talent! Use it!

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SUAS: I know that you’re not filming with a handy cam anymore so what is your main camera setup that you are currently using for photography and filming?
SD:
Right now,I am working with a 7D. I bought it used off of David Toro, design artist and owner of ODNY. I purchased the body with grip and kit lens for about half of what the body alone costs..This was a huge come up for me. I still rock my t2i as a camera too every now and then but there is no going back from the 7D. Besides the occasional tendency to overheat I highly recommend Canon.

As for glass I am working on my collection..I shoot a lot of short films with fixed lenses which I love to use and have incorporated into my blade videography. A fixed 85mm or 30mm will take you a long way with image clarity and shallow depth of field. Although, they are a bit harder to work with because they lack zoom capabilities.

Rack focusing for the win!

SUAS: And in a few weeks you will be packing up all of this very equipment for your upcoming trip to South Africa. What part of Africa will you be in, for how long and what will you be working on while you are there?
SD:
The Spine Africa Project (http://spineafricaproject.org/) focuses on the treatment of spine injuries, the education of local doctors, and social change in The Congo. For the past three years, two doctors located in northern New Jersey have made strides to visit The Congo twice annually to treat young men and women afflicted with spine injuries due to the hazardous working conditions in South Africa. This year the doctors have decided to bring me along to help create a documentary film concentrated on the relief of spinal injuries and the decaying socioeconomics of those born in The Congo.

I will be working at the Panzi Hospital in the heart of The Congo for the first two weeks in September and staying in a nearby resort. The resort is 7 miles away and takes over 45 minutes to get to due to the horrible roadways and poor infrastructure. Not to mention the fact that there is a civil war in Rwanda.. Miles from Panzi Hospital.

SUAS: Well, at least you’ll be a safe enough distance away from all of that. Let’s talk about EFNY, what exactly is Escape From New York?
SD:
After spending a month and a half in California and seeing how developed the West Coast skate scene was compared to the East, I decided to try and do something about it. I realized that the only way to show off New York’s talented bladers would be to take them out of their element and give them the focus they deserve. After 3 separate weekends escorting, lodging, and documenting 12 of New York’s most talented skaters along with 3 special guests, I’m proud to say the tour was a complete success. We escaped New York City and headed to Baltimore MD, Boston MA, and Rochester NY.

Why escape?

Because, although NYC is the greatest city in the world..

She keeps prisoners.

Some inmates never see what it’s like on the other side of the tunnels.. Sometimes by choice and at most times not.

I believe progression is leaving one’s comfort zone to feel the world beneath their feet.

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SUAS: And to sweeten up the deal for the supporters out there it will be released online for free. What made you go this route?
SD:
As this is the inaugural year of The Escape from New York Tour we want the project to be accessible to everyone. The main objective of this tour is to raise awareness toward not only blading as a sport, but also to expose the endless talented athletes in New York. Throughout the tour, pre planning, and post production we showcased New York’s rollerblading talent in a way never done before.

As we plan for the future, we promise to involve industry sponsors, investors, air travel, and new exciting ways to expose New York’s talent.

Awareness is key!

SUAS: Aside from the photography, editing, trips outside NY, and blading what do you do on your downtime away from the many hats that you wear?
SD:
Aside from work, travel and blading..I sleep.

Hah, well I try to sleep at least. I have a pretty sweet studio/crib in East Hanover NJ. I live there in my private 2 floor guest house with my cat, Pixel (recently dubbed Mega Pixel due to his rapid growth) and soon my beautiful girlfriend Jill will be moving on in. She is a very talented and creative writer and has tremendous positive insight into my work.

Besides catching up on sleep and winding down with Pixel, my passion is writing.

I just finished production for a 22 page short film I wrote named “Fish”. We are now in the post production stages looking toward the Sundance Film Festival deadline in late September. We plan to have a huge NYC premiere in November..

You will certainly get an invite LB!

SUAS: And I’ll definitely attend! Rollerblading over the years has created a lot of household names but there are also a bunch of Videographers & Photographers that deserve recognition for showcasing these talents. Whose work do you feel have taken blading to that next level and who do you see as the next wave of Videographers/Photographers that will be in the spotlight soon?
SD:
I’ve only been blading and submersed into the scene for about 6 and a half years. Within this time I have witnessed some of the most talented blade videographers and photographers go above and beyond for skating. As far as videography, I watched Erick Rodriguez come up make a huge impact on the game by defining Razors style and building a consistent video template for one of rollerblading’s most prestigious companies. He and Rachard Johnson have now built a dynasty which covers West Coast blade life to the nines.

You cannot deny that Adam Johnson is doing this right! His tours with bladers from all over the US have made a huge impact on standards for our industry. Each film he produces, Johnson proves that it’s not about the HD and clean look, but rather the pin pointed film skills mixed with extremely talented athletes that makes a blade flick worth watching.

Neck and neck with Johnson is Ivan Narez. Who seems to push the bar further and further with each Valo video. As Jon Julio takes the world’s most prestigious crew of skaters on annual international tours, I can expect only the best from blade videography and industry exposure!

I cannot forget my friend Lonnie Gallegos who holds it down for The Conference! A genius behind the lens, Lonnie doesn’t seek much recognition for his work. His website blading.info has gained international acclaim and harnesses only the important news in blade history. Lonnie has also made an impact into the LA film industry and has worked on epic projects such as The Dark Knight!

I cannot forget to mention my NYC dude on the come up Sean Grossman. Grossman has been filming for about 6 months now towards a new film out of New York City! “Big Apple Blade” will be the best thing to come out of NYC blading since the B Unique videos! Stay tuned..

As for photographers, there are too many to mention!

I have always looked up to the legendary John Haynes. His work never fails to amaze me and his humble being transcends through his talents! He continues to mentor me through my successes and I appreciate all that he has bestowed onto me..

As for local stand out photographers.. There is no doubt that Shawn Engler is as professional as they get! He has the ability to see something in his head and produce it without fault. On the EFNY tour, Engler laced some of the most amazing shots I have ever seen. He has a way of making the impossible possible!

I would have to say Ryan Loewy is also the cream of the crop! He is the most devoted and talented portrait photographer I have ever met. He brings his talent from SVA and intense knowledge of the camera to assist the blade scene whenever he can. You can find Ryan at just about every event on the East Coast, producing amazing photos for an industry with nothing to give back!

I know I have forgotten several photographers and videographers that I have closely followed and looked up to over the years..This industry produces some amazing media talent!

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SUAS: Rollerblading has definitely made an impact on your life and created opportunities for you along the way, did you ever expect it to change your life the way that is has so far?
SD:
Rollerblading has changed my life.

The most beautiful thing about blading is that it has the innate ability to turns simple hobby of filming and photography into future career opportunities… Retired pros such as Vinny Minton and Thumper Nagasako both run extremely successful videography businesses which have branched their success out way past the bubble of the blade industry.

As an aspiring photographer and videographer, the industry gave me a place to expose my work and most importantly feel like I am at home. With endless support from media outlets such as Skatelife.TV, Be-mag, and ONE Magazine I have been able to make a legitimate come up in the blade industry. This support has most importantly allowed me to build a portfolio used to tap into several other industries with the need for film and photo work.

I have now successfully immersed myself into the healthcare, television, music, and fighting industries. I owe everything to the support of my peeps and fellow bladers throughout the years..

THANK YOU!

SUAS: Last words and/or shout-outs?
SD:
I’d like to shout out all my blade homies in NJ and NY! We have grown so much over the years and as long as we CONTINUE TO SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER, nothing can stop us!

Stay tuned for a strong New Jersey presence in this years Battle My Crew Vol 5 and keep on the look out for some new blade edits from SLDean Studios!

Thanks for reading..
Stay Rolling.

CHECK OUT SOME OF SAM DEANGELIS WORK
NYC Street Invite for Be-Mag

Wake Schepman “Drawing Lines”

Ramelle Knight “One Minute at Shield’s”

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3 Responses to “Sam DeAngelis: The SLDean Interview”

  1. Its good to read, that other people are doing great things, about our sport in different ways, around the states keeping us alive.

  2. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment but after
    I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr…
    well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say superb blog!

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