Justin Moss, Taking Paintball Beyond

Justin Moss, Taking Paintball Beyond

Tinley Park, Illinois
by Bea Youngs

Playing Paintball as a Young Gun
If you’re around the age of 13 and keep asking yourself the question, “How can I afford to play paintball?” Well, how about starting your own business? You’re only 13, you say? Justin Moss, former pro-player on Fury two years ago, was raised to be an Entrepreneur. Born and raised in Staten Island and Brooklyn watching his father run a business and receiving crazy ideas from him mom that worked, he simultaneously started his own baseball card business and began playing paintball at the age of 13. At 16, he delved into the underground and began producing rave parties. Now at 24, Justin lives in Denver, Colorado, and is the owner and a player on his paintball team Afterlife, which is named after an entertainment business he owns with his partner Todd Ross. In his free time he is also the President of Shutdown Productions which produced Beyond 2002, the biggest extreme sports and music festival in the country held in Miami, Florida.

Justin Moss
“You’re very mature for your age” is something Justin has heard often throughout his life. Most 24 year olds I know are not as successful as Justin nor have they experienced as much as he has in the business realm. To put it in the words of TC Paintball’s Alex Reed, “Justin is so cool” and this he is! Justin has a knack for being a visionary, a person who knows what the trend is and doesn’t have to do an extensive and expensive research survey to determine what truly is “cool”.

A Visionary
He smiles as he says, “Every day I go around and put on my hat backwards and I’m cool, or at least that’s what I’d like to think I am!” For Justin, being just that along with being a younger-than-usual event producer helps a great deal with billionaires and sponsors who support his projects. It’s evident that Justin’s older aged competition vying for sponsors and financial supporters producing an event catering to the younger generation don’t hold a candle to what Justin and his partner, Todd Ross, are capable of creating and proposing.

Wearing the "Adult Hat"
Justin knows when he needs to wear that “adult hat” and put on the professional image. That’s part of what makes him so exceptionally unique, so motivating for all of us, regardless of age, proving that if we really do want something bad enough, hard work and perseverance is all we need. Beyond 2002 was a great event, so I interviewed Justin about the event and found out if Beyond 2003 was in the works? This is what he had to say.

When was Shutdown Productions established?
Shutdown Productions began in 1988 with my partner, Todd Ross. We started out as a record label and we signed some artists, then we decided that we weren’t interested in the recording arts. It’s even tougher than live concerts; you have to really get in there and it can sometimes can a bit ugly. So we came up with a show called Beyond 2002 and it was a multi day extreme sports music festival and it took us about 2-3 yrs to come up with the money and put the show together; it launched in 2002.

For Beyond 2002, there was a lot of support from sponsors like Sobe, Kodak, Frito Lay, to name a few, but why wasn’t there more support from paintball companies?

Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg
The problem was that no one took the event seriously and when I went to them and said Tony Hawk along with Snoop Dog would be there, they thought, “you’re out of your mind.” Then finally when it all started, the phone started ringing off the hook. Alex [Reed] from TC Paintball was the only paint sponsor that said they really wanted to do something for the event. Also, WDP supported the event and spent a lot of money by coming out to Miami. WDP has always believed in what I was doing. As a matter of fact, I helped WDP produce and bring into fruition the first Heaven along with Ed Poorman, who brought that to life. Now after it’s happened [Beyond 2002], there are still a lot of skeptics because unfortunately I dropped the ball a little bit on the paintball event but there’s only so many things that my brain can handle.

What exactly happened after it was all said and done? Some criticized the event saying that there were not a lot of attendees there. Some also mentioned that there were some problems with the way the paintball segment of the event was conducted.

1st: Lack of teams

Lack of Teams
My friend Ed Poorman brought some of his Avalanche players and also got some of the Dynasty boys to come out there and formed an Avalanche/Dynasty team (Dynalanche). Kingman brought out Bad Company, but I was hoping that more teams would’ve been there. It was hard for some of the pro teams to come out because it was right after the Millennium Series Portugal 2002. But, it’s important to mention that we were the first ones to ever make a straight up player’s area where players get locked in from the normal public, for security reasons.

2nd: Noise interference
Another problem was that we put the stage too close to the paintball arena so there was a lot of interference there. Also, I am sure that a lot of the players didn’t want to play paintball and would have rather listened to Stone Temple Pilots!

Dynasty Showed Up
3rd: Paint issue
The paint was a last minute thing and so Alex [Reed] got us the best paint possible in such a short amount of time.

4th: Reffing
The reffing wasn’t very good.

It was just because I had brought in two people to handle the paintball side of things and I didn’t oversee it enough, when I should have. Unfortunately the balls got dropped, and you can only do so much.

What was your goal for Beyond 2002 attendance?

Support from Ed Poorman
The goal was 60,000 attendees a day. We got clobbered as far as that goes financially, but what people have to understand is that, concerts, especially huge ones like that aren’t expected to make money the first time around. Woodstock didn’t make money the first year, and it didn’t start making money until the third year, I believe.

Our biggest goal was to make it a pilot program, to see how to arrange it, how the media took to it, how the sponsors took to it. I love my sponsors and my team in paintball, but they don’t compare to Frito Lay and Kodak. These are Fortune 500 companies that shelled out a lot of money to be at Beyond 2002 and they are going to do it again because of what we put together.

Avalanche, too
We wanted to show the world that it could be done and be dubbed as the biggest music festival in the country, which we were. Regardless of how many people showed up to see it, we had the best artists in the world there, and that was unmatched. Now what we have to do is find our crew that we will be working with; who is going to be around and who’s not. Then we can determine who we need to bring in, and who’s more qualified. We brought in a big heavy player from the hip hop industry so in the future, we are going to have a lot of hip hop artists that normally don’t do tours.

When will there be another Beyond?

It’s either in 2004 or 2005, we’re working on the financials right now. We’ll be going to two cities: one on the east coast and the other on the west. We’re also going to Japan so we need a bit more money than we needed back when we did it in 2002. As far as the paintball end of it is concerned, I’d like to hand it over to the NPPL and Pure Promotions.

So, you are in negotiations with them right now?
I’m talking with them and handling a few other things right now, and we haven’t gotten to “Beyond” yet. What it’s going to boil down to is how much industry support we get and financially what I am able to do for the paintball industry. One of the main goals for my production company is to make sure that paintball is out there. I am working on a lot of stuff; a TV deal with Fox Sports. But there’s a big problem with the paintball industry in that they don’t work together, forget about the NPPL & PSP split,

Chuck Hendsch
there are some [in the paintball industry] that are so thick- headed and that’s a problem for me.

I’ve spoken to Chuck [Hendsch] and he has expressed interest in doing the paintball event, but unfortunately they are going to have to do it my way. Production of a full event like that is a lot different than the traditional paintball event because there are a lot more security issues that we have to go through, funding issues, venue permits, etc…

Have you looked into Will Smith playing paintball?
Will Smith was actually at Beyond 2002. His son was doing a modeling thing in South Beach and his publicist called my publicist and asked if he could come with his son and meet Tony Hawk.

What other celebrities were there at Beyond 2002?
There were a lot of people there, even Emmanuel Lewis (the kid from the hit TV show, Webster), some of the Minnesota Vikings were there, Ricky Williams (Miami Dolphins Running Back), to name a few.

What are your thoughts on if and why is it important to have famous celebrities participate in the sport of paintball?

B Real Posts Up
I think that it’s very exciting, they bring some realness to the sport, they prove that anybody can play and that you won’t get hurt. They bring their star stamina and they bring other people to play (because of their fan base).

What is the problem with getting connected to a celebrity’s fan base?
Yea, the problem is that you don’t see Will Smith’s publicist getting Will into the NY Times, Washington Times, or the LA Times playing paintball, and that is something that I am kind of upset about.

Rapper Ice-T
Rapper Ice-T
My publicist handles accounts like Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello and they took me on and said we believe in what you are going to do and if you notice, we have articles in the LA Times, NY Times, Pollstar, and some of the other largest media outlets in the world talking about me as a professional paintball player and producing this show that helps paintball. That was a big thing for my publicist – let’s show a pro paintballer that is not only just playing paintball but also producing these massive events including paintball. You won’t see Will Smith’s publicist doing that because they don’t feel like it’s newsworthy.

SoBe Half-Pipe
SoBe Half-Pipe
The other problem is that some people in the paintball industry, and I love everybody in the industry, just take-take- take from people. I pay my publicist a large sum of money and I can just imagine what Will must be paying (probably $10,000- 20,000 a month) to make sure that he has a good image and what not. But you are not going to see a paintball company approach Will Smith and say, “Hey Will, I will tell you what, we’ll give your publicist some money, we’ll even pay some of the media, to make sure that people in the world, not just paintball players, but everybody in the world knows that you are starting to play paintball and that our products are helping you play paintball.”

They are not calling the media buyer and asking what they need to do to get paintball all over the TV, they’re just buying time in Vegas, in LA, and that is the big difference between the NPPL/PSP vs Beyond 2002. We bought air time all across the country, radio advertising nationwide, we were on RollingStone.com, MTV.com, pollstar.com, all these major media outlets picked us up because of our publicist and because we were buying time.

What makes you stay in paintball?

Boarders competed for Big 
Boarders competed for Big Air
Industry wise, I stay in paintball because I love the sport and I know that we can grow even more than we have in the past two years. Everyone wants to get paintball on TV, but unfortunately I know that it’s not going to happen for awhile except for maybe small doses here and there. I stay too, because I don’t want the big dogs of the industry to forget about me and you are always going to need the big industry leaders like Dave Youngblood, Brass Eagle and JT, and Ed Poorman with Warped Sportz. Even when you bring big guys like Sobe, you still need to represent.

What is your goal within the paintball industry?

Daredevil Moto-Crossers
Daredevil Moto-Crossers
I want to be the next Ed Poorman but bigger. I want to have my team playing in a stadium, I want to have my team wearing Sobe jerseys, like a NASCAR owner. First of all, you need a lot more money, things like that are going to take a lot more money than a lot of these owners are willing to shell out. I know that there is going to be a next level of owners and I am going to be one of those owners on that next level where my team shows up in a tour bus and behind it is a big trailer.

Breakdance competition
Breakdance competition
And I think Justin can do it. He has lived through and has learned a lot. His brain works in mysterious ways and his crazy ideas that work have brought him success. Now how’s that for inspiration! To learn some more fun facts about Justin Moss go to my website www.beayoungs.com

BMX competition
BMX competition
If you are around the age of 13, what business would you start if you could? What's stopping you? What do you think about celebrities like Will Smith, William Shatner, and B-Real participating in paintball? Is it newsworthy to you? Do you feel that people receiving free paintball support just because they are mainstream celebrities is fair? Why do you the way you do? Let’s discuss it below!
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