Matt Meyerson, Founder of RPRT Management and talent manager to the man of the moment wingsuit-flyer Jeb Corliss, one of the biggest extreme sports stars in the world, gives us a unique glimpse behind the scenes of the action sports management industry from his gaff in Venice Beach, California.
You represent an exciting array of clients in the action sports industry – Jeb Corliss, Curren Caples, Roberta Mancino to name a few – how does repping them work on a day to day basis?
What I love most about my job is that every day is different. One phone call can change everything. Days are filled with everything from meetings to contracts to media requests to sponsorship negotiations to filming to helping clients plan future projects. As exciting as my day-to-day can seem though, a lot of what I do involves mundane tasks like coordinating schedules, booking interviews and reviewing contracts.
We have a solid roster of clients across a handful of sports (surf, skate, BMX, B.A.S.E./wingsuit, snowboard, adventure, muay thai) so the diversity of what we work on is quite varied. That is what keeps my interest. I suppose I get bored easily. That being said, I usually also get myself involved in side projects as well that capitalize on my relationships within my little world. I still enjoy working on film/TV production, product development and marketing/PR of brands.
Your clients are known for being bold, athletic, danger lovers – can you give us some examples of exactly how crazy their activities can get?
Ummm…two words…Jeb Corliss. He pretty much sets the standard worldwide for being bold and dangerous. Whether it’s Curren Caples feeble grinding a 22 stair set or Brian Kachinsky doing a 180 back ice pick down a rail while going mach 2, our clients all do the most incredible things. I am in awe of them on a daily basis. Even the things not considered bold or daring I am in awe of.
Our clients Amber Arbucci and Arto Saari (2001 Thrasher Magazine Skater of the Year) are proving themselves to be incredible and in demand photographers. To see their works getting shown in galleries and showcased by major media gets me equally excited as when they swim with great white sharks or front board El Toro. I suppose I am excited by anyone who is exceptionally talented whether it be in sports, music, the arts, etc. They say “surround yourself with people better than you are.” I have definitely done that.
As you mentioned Jeb ‘the birdman’ Corliss, let’s chat about him, he has just completed an incredible feat of flying through a 25 foot wide and 900 foot tall fissure in Mount Jianglang, China – How much preparation did you and he have to go through in order to make that happen?
The crack was actually only about 15 feet wide when he came out. Talk about insane. The thing with Jeb, that a lot of people don’t realize, is that he is not insane. Everything Jeb does is calculated and well thought out before he even attempts to train for it. Jeb is constantly training and seeking new and exciting ways to push his sport.
However, Jeb’s real job is risk assessment. If something is not feasible in his eyes he isn’t going to attempt it. Lucky for the world, Jeb is one of the best and boldest alive and has provided us with some pretty spectacular stunts. Hundreds of millions (actually into the billions some years) of media impressions a year don’t lie. For the “Flying Dagger” stunt, Jeb has basically been preparing for the better part of this year getting himself completely healthy from his ACL surgery and training for the summer in Europe and beyond.
Jeb even got to work with some highly confidential augmented reality technology that allowed him to practice the “Flying Dagger” in open space while “seeing” the actual mountain he was to fly through in China in front of him. This technology is going to revolutionize his sport, as well as so many others once it gets in the hands of the general public and Jeb was the first to get to play with it.
Which of your clients should we be taking a closer look at, who has some particularly exciting activities coming up?
Jeb Corliss, of course, has some more fun tricks up his sleeve for 2013/2014. Always keep an eye on him.
Roberta Mancino will be hosting a television show in Italy and releasing more episodes on her EPIC TV web series.
On the BMX side of things, Chad Kerley (X Games gold medalist) has two parts dropping (Markit, Dan’s Comp) and will continue his dominance in the streets along side Jeremiah Smith, who showed the world this year at X Games why he is one of the best in the world.
Also keep an eye on some cool things coming out the Brian Kachinsky camp and his private park www.insidethebakery.com.
I expect great things from newly minted pros Curren Caples (who won his first silver and gold medals this year in X Games skatepark) and Louie Lopez (who just got 3rd at Kimberley Diamond Cup and skates in his first Dew Tour in a week) and Geoff Rowley is working on the Vans video part and an Epicly Later’d for Vice.
I am hoping to sign a hot new surf prospect who is killing the competition. I look forward to being able to announce her soon. I think she’s going to be a world tour threat within a couple years and she has the look and personality to back it as well. There is always so much cool stuff to follow up with that it makes my head spin.
Some of the skate clients you just mentioned, such as Geoff Rowley and Ben Nordberg hail from the UK. What do you do to keep your finger on the pulse of who is up and coming globally?
This is a tough thing to do. I am avaricious when it comes to keeping up on industry news and media. I am constantly perusing all of the industry websites and blogs, watching edits, talking to brands and seeking out as much information on what is going on in my world as well the worlds of branding, marketing and economics.
As much as I try and stay up on everything it is virtually impossible but at least I stay somewhat in the know. A majority of the top athletes live in Southern California because the industry, for the most part, is here. Ben Nordberg just moved to Hollywood from England to be in the thick of the industry and that has really helped him get more exposure. He is such a rad skater with amazing style (on and off the board). What better place than Hollywood to showcase that?
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
I would have to say reading people’s minds. That would certainly help me get a leg up during negotiations.
Action or non action related – who do you most admire and why?
My mom. She managed to run a home business, buy a handful of properties and she raised four kids, sent them all to college and created an amazing life for me and my sisters off of her blood, sweat and tears. She did it selflessly and often at the expense of her own sanity and happiness. I also think Richard Branson is pretty bad ass.
What 1 thing would make your life better?
A private jet. So I can get the hell away once in a while to find some warm waves.
Do you do any extreme sports yourself?
I wouldn’t call anything I do “extreme” anymore, but I still love to surf and skate as much as possible. I still tool around on a BMX bike a bit and box/spar three days a week. That’s about it. I am always nursing some injury or another. Getting old sucks.
What attracted you to the action sports talent management industry?
It sort of fell into my lap in a round about way but the reason I stuck with it is that I get to hang out with my friends and do some really cool things while making sure they can focus on following their passions to be paid professional athletes.
Tell us a secret…
I don’t tell secrets, but I know soooooo many good ones.
Finish this sentence:
Not many people know this about me but….. I suck at interviews. I am so self conscious of my answers. I’m always worried I will come off like a total kook.
If you weren’t doing this job, what do you think you’d be doing instead?
I would either be working in espionage or venture capital.
What are you most looking forward to professionally in 2014?
Just continuing to grow my little agency and watching my friends dominate life with a smile on their faces, a few bucks in their pocket and the knowledge that they belong to an elite club of people that actually pursued their passion as a vocation.
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