Working for the sound company did provide the perfect chance for Sam to save up money for his own endeavors. He quickly built up his video gear and lighting, he upgraded his sound system, bought a few microphones, got a new laptop, and when he finally parted ways with the sound company, he bought his own professional camera.
Confident that he could succeed on his own, the idea behind Nag Smile Productions was born. Sam didn't want to be labeled as just a DJ or Videographer, so he started a company that would offer many of these services. While he had been DJing professionally for over 10 years at this point, as well as being a successful wedding videographer for a few years, there was another interest that he wanted to include in his company, photography.
DSLR Cameras had come a long way in terms of technology and quality and Sam found a great one to not only capture beautiful pictures, but also shoot high quality HD video. After purchasing the Canon 5D Mark II, Sam began having photo shoots with friends and family and then quickly moved into paid works of headshot photography, family photos, engagement pictures, and wedding photography.
With everything falling into place for Sam, he continued to build his collection of gear and equipment and decided it was time to officially launch Nag Smile Productions.
So here we are! Sam is busy splitting his time between DJing, videography work, photography, as well as making his own short films. He is also still very involved in the audio industry and produces, records, and mixes music in his own home studio. He would love to work with you, so please contact him here regarding anything he can do for you in the world of music, video, or photography, or visit the DJ, Video, Photography, or Audio page to see exactly what services Sam has to offer.
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Sam continued to perform live with his hip-hop group and the shows began to expand even further. Small tours brought him to Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Omaha, Fargo, St Louis, and all across Iowa and Minnesota. Performing everywhere from small town bars for locals to big time cities opening up for national acts.
"Doing shows in tiny bars in small towns really makes you appreciate performing live in front of a thousand people in a club on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood!"
Being on the road brought a lot of down time for Sam and he passed time by filming things on his personal video camera. He then decided to begin shooting and editing together music videos of his performances and travels. This sparked another great passion that he had as a kid, when he would film himself and friends playing sports or performing stunts around the house. After posting a few videos online, one of Sam's friends asked him something that would forever change his life. "Hey, Sam, would you be interested in filming my wedding?"
Sam jumped at the opportunity and did everything he could to prepare. He borrowed a nice video camera from a friend, used a tripod from another friend, and bought a few accessories to help him out with the shoot. While the entire filming process was an educational experience, it all turned out well and made Sam really love the work he was doing. More wedding videography opportunities arose and eventually Sam decided to also start offering to DJ weddings as well. While Sam was in the midst of booking as many weddings as possible, another opportunity arose that he couldn't pass up.
A local live sound company in his home town of Cedar Rapids, IA was hiring an engineer to run sound at concerts and festivals. Sam sent in his resume, was offered the job, and accepted it. He went to work after his final outing as a live performance DJ. Sam moved back to Iowa to start his new job and that summer got to work with many great bands such as Reel Big Fish, The National, Josh Gracin, Super Mash Bros, Chris Cornell and more as well as orchestras, choirs, stage plays, and magicians. It was an interesting change from being the one performing to the one behind the scenes setting up and running sound. While Sam enjoyed what he was doing, he couldn't shake the desire of wanting to DJ and do his own video work again.
Sam has always had a love for music and video. He learned to play the piano and drums as a kid and continued taking lessons as he grew up. Eventually these skills transformed into music production and recording. After working with numerous local musicians and developing a passion for his work he decided to take things to the next level and attended the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences in Phoenix, AZ. While at school, Sam studied audio recording, mixing, production, live sound, and film composing. Another area of focus was learning the top audio computer programs used in the industry including Pro Tools and Logic. Sam graduated from the Master Recording Program II in 2004 and earned multiple levels of certification in Pro Tools.
After graduating from the Conservatory, Sam moved to Los Angeles, CA to begin an internship at Studio Atlantis in Hollywood. While completing his internship, Sam gained even more knowledge and experience as an audio producer and engineer. Shorty after completing his internship, an interesting opportunity presented itself. A musician from his home state of Iowa contacted him about recording and mixing his new music. Sam accepted and began working on his music while still in California. Eventually everyone decided it would be better for him to be in Iowa full time as they had another proposition for him… to be their live performance DJ.
DJing was another passion of Sam's. He had owned dual CD players for many years and got his first set of turn tables in 2002. He instantly began to practice the art of mixing music and scratching. This also began his record collection which is currently in the thousands. When Sam moved back to Iowa in 2007, he quickly began working with his new team. After recording and releasing successful CDs locally, it was time to hit the road and spread the word. Like many musicians, the shows started off small. "We would do live shows any place we could find that would allow live music." Sam was constantly performing all across Iowa and eventually branched out to Nebraska and Minnesota.The Twin Cities had a fantastic local music scene and after performing at a bar in Prior Lake, Minnesota one night, he was approached by the owner and offered a position to be the resident DJ at their bar. He gladly accepted. Another move was in store as Sam made his residence in the Minneapolis.
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