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Meet Sean Michael Smith of PunkTown TV (PunkTown Media)

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sean Michael Smith.

Sean Michael, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Honestly, there’s not a whole lot to tell.

I was born on a little ranch out here in California, my family didn’t have much but I grew up happy and healthy. I was homeschooled, like all my siblings, because we were too far from any school and if I’m honest, my parents probably wouldn’t have been able to afford it even if the distance weren’t a problem.

When I was about 8 years old, I picked up an old film camera that had belonged to my grandfather and I started taking pictures. From then on, I just kept picking up old cameras and taking pictures. Then, in college, a professor convinced me that if I really loved it that much, I could probably do it with a digital camera as well.

Slow on the uptake, but it eventually grew on me. All things said and done, I was glad it took me so long to come over; because when I finally did it reinvigorated my love for the capturing of an image and it taught me a whole new way to see the world for the third time in my life.

I reconnected with my eldest brother in 2005 (who had grown up overseas with our grandfather) and in 2012, we founded our first company, which eventually gave birth to Punktown in 2016.

Punktown (Punk as in genre literature i.e. Steampunk) is a platform and resource for creators, like a home of sorts, structured around fostering growth, creativity and community. Made by us, for everyone who’s willing to grab the hilt and walk into battle (I love a bit of theatricality).

I love what I do, and getting to create these astounding moments with so many incredible people… I honestly know that I am an incredibly lucky individual.

This place and time was a one-in-a-million and I try to live with that at the front of my mind. It’s the fire behind my glass.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As a ki,d I would have told you that the world was perfect. Looking back on it with experienced eyes, I’m lucky to be where I am today.

Where I grew up was desolate, but rough. Living in the middle of nowhere meant that there was always a meth lab exploding somewhere, or drunk ex-cons shooting up random houses.

Because of my parent’s financial woes, my education did suffer as well. I did not learn to read till I was 10 and still, struggle with mathematics to this day (but who doesn’t?).

Reuniting with my brother gave me a little bit of solid ground and once I was back on track, there was nothing that could stop me.

It’s never been easy, building what I have from nothing, but it has always been worth it.

I have cried and bled through the years, sometimes literally. Every single drop has been worth it. Most of the people I grew up around, died young or ended up incarcerated. Some angel out there was looking over me and I stand here against all odds.

To anyone reading, I’d like to say this: Hard times come and go but they absolutely never get easier. You will get stronger and eventually, hard times will fade into just being ‘times’ and you will find yourself so far above them, you hardly remember what they felt like.

Please tell us about PunkTown TV (PunkTown Media).
I get this question a lot and I honestly don’t have a good answer!

We started out as a creator resource (video, photo and branding services). We always knew we wanted it to be more than that, but I don’t think even we could have predicted what it would become.

We have partners network with a reach more than one million strong. We’re opening up our creators’ network this summer to give creators an opportunity to work with the professionals and passionate creators we work with.

We provide some of the most unique wedding and personal photography/cinematography services in California, we offer online store services, we provide branding and career help for new and old media pros, programming and game design, graphic design and animation.

Companies and individuals can also hire our partners as influencers or even commission them for projects through us!

So, we dabble in a bit of everything you might say.

The biggest difference between us and anyone else is our focus on creators. Any creator who works with us maintains their individuality and intellectual properties. Every new resource we acquire, we find a way to share it with our creators.

We noticed how hard it was for the “little guy” to get started in the industry, and how cut-throat things were at the top. So we decided to become the sword and shield for creators, we handle the business and they do what they are best at, whatever that may be.

We have quite a few new projects on their way, but I can’t speak on them just yet. But I will say this, on all counts, what we’re planning has never been done before… so stay tuned!

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Shooting grainy, light leak filled, photos from an old Canon Pellix for sure. But a close second is my brother telling me stories (he writes fiction). Most of my dreams growing up were either his stories or photography ideas!

Pricing:

  • Engagements Starting at $450(15% of both when booked with a wedding)
  • Weddings Starting at $1100(15% of both when booked with an engagement)
  • Portraits and Headshots Starting at $40
  • Studio services starting at $50

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

@sea.bash, Raven Cosplay: Angiviper @Angiviper, Harley Quinn: Luara Sammons @thelaurabyrd, Angsty Teen: Coonbor @tasty.android, 20’s Heart Throb: Tayliss Forge @taylissforge, @Handles

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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