In 1994, I moved from the Midwest to Arizona, working for a major telecommunication company. More importantly, partnering with future Brick Cave author J.A. Giunta, we started a literary magazine called Anthology. Also in 1994, I co-founded a poetry slam in Mesa called the Essenzaslam Poetry Slam. These two developments would reverberate to this very day- Anthology still exists as a 501c3 non profit and produces literary events such as the Mesa Book Festival, the Cirque du Livre Writer's Conference and the Roadside Book Festival, and I am the Executive Director. In 1996, another of Brick Cave's future authors, Sharon Skinner, joined the magazine as (eventually) Executive Editor.
For the next several years, I would learn how to manage a periodical publication (Anthology the magazine would last for 10 years) and organize public events around performance poetry with sometimes as few as one person to as many as hundreds of attendees. A production schedule is a critical component to effectively organizing and presenting compelling content, and I would able to utilize the skills I learned with Anthology to begin recording and releasing both live albums and studio recordings of performance poets, as well as produce several Video releases over the ensuing years. (Curious? Amazon here, here, and here for some of the albums and here and here for the videos)
In 1999, I partnered with an entrepreneur in the streaming media space, the founder of NetRadioLive, and we created content in the RealAudio streaming format, both live and pre-recorded, which we had available until 2001/2002. I still have many of the recordings on CD, and maybe at some point I will make them available but you can see one of the original websites here. I also started our own internet radio station hosted on a Darwin Streaming Server, but that's a story for another time. I am a big fan of tech, and to this day open source drives much of Brick Cave Media's operations.
In 2002, I started to work to tie properties together. I founded The Anthology Café in DT Mesa, a literary themed Coffee House. We hosted poetry slams, had a full wall display of Anthology magazine and worked to partner with the Mesa Arts Center on literary programming. One of the pictures on the Brick Cave home page depicts a shot of the crowd and the wall. The Coffee House closed in 2005 when the space we were in came up for redevelopment.
This brings us to 2006, the founding year of Brick Cave Media and the realization that there was an opportunity to create a new type of business that supported spoken word artists at a new level. One of the poets that had been performing in the Poetry Slam (which, by the way, would continue for another year, finally wrapping up in 2007, for a 13 year run), Bill Campana, had decided that he wanted to release a CD of his performances between the year he started (1997) and 2005. Originally conceived, the focus of Brick Cave was going to be more of a promotional engine. I thought it would be good to give a for profit organizing entity to collect and promote the video, audio and books of poetry produced by the poets. By that time, we had collectively seen that the lifetime of the poetry slam itself was drawing to a close, and so we were looking to transition to a new model to promote the spoken word community and the poets in it. It became obvious not long after that Brick Cave would need to be more than that. The three dragon logo would come later, but the idea that the business would encompass Audio, Video and Print media was born. The first project released was The Hit List, a 3 album CD set by poetry Bill Campana, still available to this day (Album 1, Album 2 and Album 3).
2008 was the second milestone year for Brick Cave, and all because I wanted to make a cheezy kaiju movie. Within a year, working with fellow poet and actor Brent Heffron, Artist Mike Robinson and Cinematographer Kent Markwart, the Journey that would become the movie Sacrifice began. The current Brick Cave Logo (the Three Dragons Logo) was also born this year, designed by Michael Robinson. The project took 2 years, had a full cast and when completed, found a small but loyal following (you can see it here). What followed was a second short film, Yellowstone Sunset, in 2011 but that's skipping ahead, because…
2010 was the pivotal year for Brick Cave as it exists today. J.A. Giunta (you remember him all the way back from the first paragraph?) reconnected with me as he had written a trilogy of fantasy novels and had tried unsuccessfully to publish them himself. He called and said, "Hey, I need you to publish these for me." Two things worked in his favor on this- 1) Amazon had JUST started promoting Kindle as a digital reading option, and I was curious and 2) Spotify was putting the writing on the wall regarding the continuing revenue strength and viability of offering only audio. So, we took 5 stories, published them as Kindle books, and started generating revenue.
2010 was also the year we started doing appearances and events- Our first event was Phoenix Comicon (as it was called that year) and it was originally to support the Sacrifice movie, but as we started to produce more books, the appearances became about the books and authors.
After producing a 3rd film in 2015 (Sum of Its Parts, written by J.A, Giunta), I decided to dial out of the film business for a bit, focus on books (and audio books), and build a library of content that we can later return to with the financial strength to make the films they way they SHOULD be made.
What you need to know about me? We'll, I hang on to people. Our core group of Brick Cave authors are people I've known on average 15 years, some as long as 26. Most of them pre-date Brick Cave itself, and they have all been engaged and supportive in making Brick Cave a success. I know the path forward, and I have kept my eyes and ears open watching and learning media trends over the last twenty years. I believe in the talent we work with, the stories they tell, and the composition of their character. As an investor myself in Brick Cave since day one in addition to being it's primary driving force, I have worked hard to bring people into the effort that are eager to roll up their sleeves and get to work. I myself have released 2 albums of spoken word material (here and here). I also co-write on some of the stories we publish and will have a manuscript released sometime soon :). Obviously, I am a big Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Poetry fan.