by Colin Powers
If y’all haven’t noticed on the college/high school drop down menu, we have recently launched a partnership deal with the pre-eminent mix-tape engineers in the game today, Ballislife.com. For the past four years or so, the guys at BallisLife have been churning out some of the highest quality, best edited, and most entertaining bball videos on the market. Splicing original footage and downloaded moving pictures, the work at BallisLife has consistently given witness to some of the most precocious high school, street ball, and college players in the country. They have come a long way in a very short period of time, and continue to aspire to bigger and better things.
The Ballislife project was initiated by and materialized under Matt Rodriguez in 2005 without any real ambitions of creating a business, per se. As he put it, “I started with a couple of friends just as a hobby, something to do, you know, with mixes, streetball, and the high school game. In the beginning I was mostly just downloading footage and editing videos together.” This passion evolved as time went by and Matt began collaborating with Arek Kissoyan. From the beginning stages of their partnership, the quality and pioneering nature of their work attracted crowds of followers across digital media, building the company’s brand and cementing the duo as some of the best in the game. In the past few years, Ballislife has continuously set the standard for mix-tape production and pushed the envelope on what is possible in their field. Rodriguez says, “We’re bringing something new all the time. We’re the first to be officially credentialed at different basketball events and venues, the first to do high school mixes using our own footage, the first to use sound-clips. Arek was the first to bring a lot of different editing and filming techniques to the mix-tape medium, and I think that’s really set us apart.”
Scavenging through their site, you’ll find yourself staring at some of the biggest youtube basketball mix-tape videos that have surfaced in recent years, the videos that helped introduce the world to the talent that was about to take the NCAA and Pro ranks by storm. Indeed, Ballislife mixes of Brandon Jennings, Demar Derozan, John Wall, Jrue Holiday and Kevin Love helped establish the young bucks in the public consciousness. And while the site attracts a good deal of traffic for its more localized high school and college coverage, as Arek put it, “Our biggest market is still definitely with the top high school prospects. People are always interested in checking out the top high school guys, the guys who end up in the Pros. Those are still our biggest draws.”
As may be obvious, a bunch of the players I mentioned above are west-coasters, and their prominence on the site is because Ballislife is based out of Southern California. Consequently, much of the original filming they do is focused on that SoCal demographic. But besides the beautiful weather, beaches, and quality hoop (minus the Pac 10 this year) found out in Cali, the guys have also benefited from some business opportunities particular to their locale. Arek describes it, saying, “We have had a few people approach us about taking Ballislife into TV, coming up with ideas to create a TV show. Maybe not national but locally for Southern California, which would definitely be something we’d be interested in.” That’s Hollywood for you, where chances will be given to highly skilled video producers like the Ballislife crew. Their dexterity in their craft has already led to successfully forays into music video production as well.
The future in media in general is a dynamic one, its shape and direction constantly shifting and evolving. Ballislife is more than ready to meet the challenge, however. Their prospects look good, with a number of things on the way that will once again up the ante for the mix-tape culture. As Arek said, “We are working on producing another DVD that we want to be hands down the best basketball DVD, period. We have so much footage already compiled, most of it you’ve already seen on youtube in our videos, but never compiled on one DVD. This is where we’re gonna stamp our name as the best mixing crew.” Their influence is already fundamental to the mix-tape game if you only look at all the people emulating their production techniques; as they say, imitation is the highest form of flattery.
Beginning with high school coverage, then streetball, then college, then some work with the League, the guys hope to take the company to the highest forums of hoop. Nevertheless, they have never forgotten their audience: the mostly younger generation of fans that helped build them into the renowned entity they are today. Rodriguez soon hopes to be able to offer some resources to these kids that will help them with their own games, saying, “A lot of high school and middle school kids really value our opinions. If Ballislife says it, they take that word over a lot of other people. So we want to start with some videos aimed at the younger kids to help them, help them with learning the game, help them to get better.”
If their track record gives any indication, Ballislife will succeed in this venture as well.