Event Review: CARBON Day Two (Part One)

Last day of the CARBON Festival brought on a bittersweet feeling. You knew that the end was near but you didn't necessarily want the weekend to be over. Saturday brought so much to the table. You could only hope that Sunday would bring the same. Expectations were set, but were they met?

CARBON 2013 - Day Two

After only getting very few hours of sleep, and almost all the attendees most likely nursing hangovers, some geared up to wake up a little early for the SNEAKER FREAKER Swap Meet happening at Melbourne Central. I, on the other hand, along with a few others I’d imagine, decided to catch up on a little shut eye before CARBON’s last day of events would occur.

Sunday was the last day of the CARBON Festival and I was rather excited to see and to be in attendance for Forum C: New Media. With a panel of speakers including Andrew Montell, Eddie Huang, Jeff Hamada and Lawrence Schlossman, this was the Forum I was most interested in.

As a writer, a blogger, and somewhat of a creative trying to forge an identity in the digital world, this is the Forum I wanted to gain knowledge and insight from. CARBON’s website pretty much sold it to me on their description on what we would be experiencing: “CARBON attendees will hear from a range of individuals who have forged successful media profiles and platforms in the ever-changing contemporary media landscape.”

CARBON 2013 - Forum C_Andrew Montell

First up was ACCLAIM’s head honcho, Andrew Montell, and I’m sure many in the audience asked themselves the exact same question that appears in the picture above. But the more Montell spoke, the more you felt he deserved to be up there. Montell has been in the media game for a long time, starting up his own hip hop magazine with friends prior to ACCLAIM along with some other regrettable ventures, and throughout that time, he learnt many things: what to do and what not to do.

Here is a little summary:
DO: Take risks. Make mistakes. Learn the hard way.
DON’T: Lose focus.
DO: Choose the people you work with carefully – In the past, Montell went into business with friends that left him bankrupt, but having interns working with him for ACCLAIM has been somewhat of a good omen. Most of his staff today started off as interns for the magazine. “The best thing you can do is reward your interns with full time employment.”
DON’T: Bite off more than you can chew.
DO: Research. Know what you’re getting yourself into.
DON’T: Let (someone like Montell) scare you from pursuing your dream.
DO: Learn to hustle.
DON’T: Assume your audience doesn’t ‘get it’. “It’s your passion, not theirs. Learn to communicate [your vision] with your client.”
DO: Learn to sum up your product in one sentence. E.g: ACCLAIM = Style + Bad behaviour.
DO: Compromise.
DON’T: Compromise your integrity.

“Always ask yourself, am I proud of the work I’ve done?”

DO: Diversify. Evolve. Delegate. Learn from your mistakes.
DO: Have fun! “Set a goal, work hard and see it come to fruition.”

Montell also added in this quote to his presentation which I thought was worthy of a share. If you can’t be bothered to read this entire review, at least read this.

CARBON 2013 - Forum C_Work Is Worship

To most people, you probably wouldn’t recognise this person’s name: Jeff Hamada. But if you’re a fan of art and design, you should definitely know his art blog Booooooom! Hamada was both charming and entertaining. He dropped knowledge, not only on the internet and blogs (even promoting his other blog of cute animals a few times), he also showed us his movie editing skills from his college days, and he offered up some great advice too:

“Control your online identity.”
“Ask yourself, where is my blog in the spectrum of other blogs?”
“Go the extra mile (or kilometre which is less than a mile).”
“Put yourself in situations where you CAN fail. Put yourself in situations where you don’t know what’s going to happen. TEST YOURSELF.”

CARBON 2013 - Forum C_Jeff Hamada

And although I’ve heard many others speak on the topic of blogging vs making money, for some reason, the way Hamada explained it made perfect sense. Maybe it was his entertaining nature that really made his advice stick out in my mind. There was a story attached to his explanation that I don’t remember, but if you are a blogger, you should know that what Hamada said is 100% true: “It’s not about making money.” Now, if only I can convince everyone else of this.

Lawrence Schlossman is the man behind the Complex-owned blog Fuck Yeah Menswear and was next up on the podium. To break the ice with the audience, he asked every single attendee to give him the finger so he could take a photo and send it to his mother. What a loving relationship they must share! Haha.

CARBON 2013 - Forum C_Lawrence Schlossman

Schlossman is also known for his other blogs Four Pins and How To Talk To Girls At Parties, but admitted that he has only been blogging since 2009. Only three years into the game and he has already been killing it! Everyone should take a leaf out of this Schlossman’s book – which you can purchase here.

But in all seriousness, besides knowing more than a thing or two about fashion and menswear, Schlossman also had some great advice to share including these two that stood out most to me:

“Find a passion and pursue a hobby (to avoid killing yourself).”
“If you can be thoughtful and intelligent about what you want to say, it will evolve with you as a person.”

CARBON 2013 - Forum C_Eddie Huang

Most of the audience, I believe, was most interested in seeing the next person – Eddie Huang – speak. And as a special treat for the audience, he was introduced by Jasper and headed to the stage to the soundtrack of KRS 1’s ‘9mm Goes Bang’. Nice.

Huang is the dark horse. Although most know him through his VICE show “Fresh Off The Boat” or his recent memoir of the same name, as an individual, he is someone that you would not expect. This guy is smart. Wise. And filled with so much passion for what he wants to achieve. It’s contagious.

His main focus throughout his presentation was not to be sold, and to not allow anyone to shame you. He referred back to a timeline of events that illustrates this including an excerpt from the biography of MalcoLm X, reiterating that “the government tried to shame Malcolm X and his family, but X never allowed it to happen”. See what I mean? Wise.

From Malcolm X, he went on to talk about ODB and Mayer Rothschild, up until today where he related his point to GIRLS creator Lena Dunham and how he loves how “she owns it”.

Here’s a few key notes I jotted down during Huang’s presentation:
“Before you have a business or a brand, you have to understand who you are at the core.”
“Control and own your identity.”
“Don’t support businesses that have opposing ideologies. They don’t have power, unless you give it to them.”
“Don’t gamble against yourself.”
“Everybody fails, everybody falls.”

The more I heard Eddie Huang speak, the more it hit me right in the core what he was referring to. Huang gave more than just an informative and wise presentation. It was also very inspiring. In a sense, it kind of gave me a bit of a kick to get some work done. And to keep working.

CARBON 2013 - Forum C_New Media

I know I havent spoken very much on any of the Q+A sessions after the Forums thus far, but in all honesty, the questions and answers were on topics that we’ve all heard about before – again and again, repeated over and over. This particular Q+A for Forum C, however, was worth sticking around for. It made me sit up and listen and I’ll be honest, if there wasn’t a time limit, I would have liked for the Forum to go on for much longer than it was intended for.

Here’s a couple of highlights of the questions/topics that they covered and the answers that each speaker shared. The best part? The speakers started asking each other questions and Huang and Schlossman even had a live debate on ‘menswear versus streetwear’. That doesn’t happen everyday.

THE PROBLEM OF PROCRASTINATING
“If it’s something you’re not stoked on, why are you fucking wasting your time?” – Lawrence Schlossman
“If you have the problem of procrastinating, it’s what you’re doing.” – Jeff Hamada

FINDING A UNIQUE VOICE AND/OR FINDING ONE
“Be honest and work honestly.” – Andrew Montell
“Surround yourself with like-minded people.” – Jeff Hamada
“Your voice is your commodity. Don’t rush. It’s a slow burn.” – Lawrence Schlossman
“Honesty and sincerity will come across if you have it. If I don’t control it, or harness it, other people will fuck with it.” – Eddie Huang.

GENERAL ADVICE
“If you’re not failing, or haven’t failed – you’re not trying hard enough.” – Jeff Hamada
“It’s important to not ditch things, but evolve it.” – Eddie Huang
“Don’t think about your who will see your work. Just do something really well.” – Shawn Stussy via Jeff Hamada

If you haven’t already figured it out from my very detailed recount, to me, Forum C was the best Forum of the entire weekend! Straight up.