Gabe Cuomo, a University of Georgia graduate, fell in love with photography, cinematography, and the magic of storytelling told by the picture behind the lens of the camera. A passion that bloomed into a career, Gabe created his own entrepreneurial company, The Wily Breed. Gabe aims to grow not only his company, but also his talent as a filmmaker. Gabe's adventurous and fearless attitude is why he is our #MCM. Gabe's free-spirited energy and determination shows his drive to keep going after what he loves.
1. What's your story? What makes you unique?
Our story feels like a coming of age for 20-year-olds. We’ve all grown up with this child-like sense of fantasy, and individually we sculpted what that would look like in this very “adult” world. I think what makes us unique is the ability to see the difference between childlike and childish. Then applying that model to how we go about telling stories and interacting with new friends and clients we meet along the way. Together we’re able to tell a story greater than any of us individually, and with a similar mission we can do so without losing our sense of awe.
2. What motivates you?
Some of my favorite storytellers of all time is C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. What they did was not only empower people, but entertain people. I have many close friends that would say Lewis’s rhetoric has inspired them to see this world in a more beautiful light. He once used this word - that I can’t now remember - that talked about this emotion of joy that is so overpowering you can’t help but feel urged to cry. That chance for people to glimpse that feeling, and see God through it, is why I do this.
3. Who is a hero of yours?
C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and J.J. Abrams
4. Give us a road map of your career. How did you get to where you are today?
My junior year of college I took a photography class - after years of taking different, difficult entry level courses - and something just fell into place. I felt i knew afterward that I wanted to tell stories for a living. So I dropped my business degree, finished my psychology degree, and fast
tracked my new mass media arts degree (essentially a media production degree.) I finished on time, and from there started freelancing, interning with IMG, and working as a personal trainer. Quickly I realized I was doing way too much. I soon dropped IMG to pick up more hours training, and seeking out more jobs as a freelancer. Which luckily went hand in hand as my gym, Core Blend Training, picked me up as their media producer.
From there it was long hours of working on somewhat boring videos for a year and a half. I got the chance to do a few cool ones - including a music video for an Athens artist named Matt Martin, and promotional video for a new company called The Wish Dish, and a documentary for an Olympic Shot Putter named Reese Hoffa. It was really hard. I didn’t quite know when to stop working, I wasn’t making a ton of money, and I was creating things a lot of the times on my own. It was at that point my friend Nick Williams and I decided to start a small company called Digital NGen, which quickly fizzled, but not without learning what it would look like to make something successful. So after a year I decided that storytelling was really where my heart was, and I needed to move to somewhere with a bigger community for it.
That landed me in Atlanta, and from that place of a fresh start I decided to start working on a personal brand. I decided immediately that I wanted it to have room to grow - I didn’t want my name on it, I didn’t want it to be just some DBA name, I wanted a model that could shift into something fully fledged. At this point I had a ton of new friends that were graduating and feeling similarly confused about their future in this industry, and so I planned on creating something to showcase all of us at the same time, something that could really help everyone I knew that was coming out of college hoping to make a living with a camera. That’s really what started The Wily Breed. Soon Nick Williams, Sean Bradley, and Trevor Blesse where all being added as contributors, and finally about 2 weeks ago we decided to really commit to doing this together and seeing what could come of it.
5. What's your future plan? Your goals?
Right now, just get TWB off the ground. Create a name for ourselves, get an office, create a steady flow of clients - you know, the adult things. Our goal is to become better filmmakers. We hope to be able to travel, and with our proclivity for the outdoors, really try to aim for adventures in the outside realm. Then by doing that - master storytelling itself and motivate others to seek out wonderous places.
6. If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?
Be patient, and stay off Instagram too much. Comparison is a thief to success, and my own grain of salt there is that simultaneously you need to view people who are better than you. If you want to be a great cinematographer, watch great cinematography. If you want to be a better storyteller, consume great stories, but be careful of the temptation to believe you’re not capable. I think God gives us passions for a reason, and if your patient, ask, and listen you’ll find what it is you should be doing. That I promise.
7. What is something you feel strongly about (a cause, belief, etc.)?
My faith is a huge part of my life, and I think that is inseparably knitted together with my love for fantasy. I truly believe that good fantasy stories should be part of every child’s life. Ultimately fantasy has taught me more real lessons about God, nature, and hope than anything (second only to God himself.)
8. What's one of the coolest things you've ever done?
I’d say learning how to invest in people. Few things have given me quite as much happiness as this venture, and I still can often be terrible at it!
9. Anything we haven't asked that you'd like to talk about?
Get outside! It’s fuel for the imagination, and the backbone of fantasy. I doubt star wars got it’s start without a few chilly, late night stargazing sessions.
If you would like to reach out to Gabe Cuomo for mentoring/networking opportunities, you can reach him HERE.