AUG. 19, 2021

KEYNOTE SPEAKER
 

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MIRIN FADER
AUTHOR FEATURE WRITER
THE RINGER

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In fifth grade, Mirin became the first girl to join her elementary school’s all-boys basketball team. The boys didn’t like it, they didn’t pass her the ball, they guarded her tougher than usual, even pushing her to the ground and sending her to the Emergency Room once. But she loved the challenge, so she kept coming back. She’s still coming back. Hoops led her to writing. Writing leads her back to hoops.

Mirin is a staff writer for The Ringer who focuses on long-form, human-interest features on all sports. She just released her first book, Giannis: The Improbable Rise of An NBA MVP, the definitive biography of Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Her goal is to tell interesting, compelling stories about people that happen to play sports. She’s profiled some of the biggest names in sports. During her previous gig as a staff writer for Bleacher Report’s B/R Mag, from 2017-20, Mirin traveled to freezing-cold Prienai, Lithuania, for three weeks to profile LaMelo Ball and LaVar Ball, chronicling the chaos surrounding America’s most famous basketball family, and then traveled to Australia the following year for two weeks to profile LaMelo again as he prepared to be a top draft pick. She profiled the late Gigi Bryant, writing the first story that centered her as a talented player, exploring who she was as a girl, friend, and teammate, too; while also profiling the late Angels pitcher Tyle Skaggs, talking to his mother and wife about his overdose and who he was as a human being, the life he lived. She’s also profiled some of the world’s best women athletes, too, including  Breanna StewartMikaela ShiffrinSabrina IonescuCoco GauffLiz Cambage and Mallory Pugh. She’s tackled sensitive topics, such as writing about the murder of Indigenous women through a profile of distance runner Rosalie Fish; the suicide of a 13-year-old football player named James Ransom, and the questions it raised about CTE, mental health and youth sports; as well as brain trauma and CTE in U.S. Women’s Soccer, and the prejudice that a Black transgender runner named Andraya Yearwood faces to compete. She also profiled Roberto Aguayo, the greatest college kicker who suddenly couldn’t make a kick once he reached the NFL.

In the words of Folio Magazine, which named her a Top Woman in Media in the “Up and Comer” category in 2019: “Fader has a specific way of telling stories that allows her readers to feel exactly what she is conveying. Her journalistic accolades are plentiful, which is not surprising for a writer that has an affinity for capturing the grit, emotion and physical hardships that comes with athletes. Fader’s stories have energy as well as a unique approach to reporting—much like the subject matter she covers.”

Her LaMelo Ball story from Australia, and her CTE and women’s soccer story, were both named notable selections in the 2020 Best American Sports Writing, and her LaMelo Ball Lithuania story was a notable in the 2019 Best American Sports Writing. She was also a 2020 Dan Jenkins medal finalist, a prestigious honor in sports journalism. She was the 2021 recipient of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Rising Star award. Twice, Mirin has won first place in the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association for Magazine-Length features (in 2020 for her Gigi Bryant profile, and in 2017 for her Mo’Ne Davis profile). The Associated Press of Sports Editors (APSE) awarded her Top 10 honors for Best Explanatory Story in 2021 (Tyler Skaggs story), 2020 (CTE Women’s Soccer) and Top 10 honors for Best Feature Story in 2019. She won first place in the 2019 Los Angeles Press Club Journalism Awards for best sports feature for her LaMelo Ball story; first place in the 2019 Orange County Press Club Awards for her Ransom story. Her work has also been honored by the Pro Basketball Writers Association and the Football Writers Association of America.

AUG. 20, 2021

KEYNOTE SPEAKER
 

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BRANDON ROGERS
YOUTUBE STAR
FILMMAKER

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  • YouTube

In 2006, Brandon graduated from Livermore High School and sought to make it in acting. After several auditions didn't work out, he started his own YouTube channel and began writing, directing and starring in his own sitcoms and sketch comedies. The Las Positas College product fell in love with filmmaking. He was a natural with his comedic talent and eye for editing.

He built his audience from the ground up, organically, and was even featured in The Express, the newspaper at his college. Brandon has sold out theaters in Livermore, Vacaville and Hollywood, and has had his work presented at international festivals and at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Rogers began creating videos for his job in Los Angeles at a personal injury law firm where he made documentaries that were shot by Gabriel Gonzales on the daily life of plaintiffs that were used in court. Rogers had the idea to make humorous versions of these documentaries with Gonzales and started his YouTube channel on January 7, 2006 as "HotBananaStud."

Rogers first gained recognition in 2015 when a Vine user uploaded six-second clips of his videos without crediting Rogers. After a clip from one of his videos — 'Try Me, Bitch', which is a clip from his video Grandpa Hates Valentines — went viral on Vine and it was featured on Fine Brothers Entertainment's React series, the original creator of the video became publicly known, and Rogers quickly gained online fame. In January 2016, Brandon was invited to be a reactor in The Fine Bros. series 'YouTubers React'. In 2016, Super Deluxe offered to produce a show for Rogers. The show, Magic Funhouse! was available on Fullscreen's short-lived subscription service and was the service’s most-watched original show. In 2017, Rogers was named a New Face: Creator at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival. In 2018, Rogers was a 10th Annual Shorty Awards finalist for the Best Youtube Comedian award. In 2019, Rogers collaborated with Comedy Central for their "Under the Influencer" program which had him take over the company's social media platforms for a week.

 

Rogers is a four-time winner in The Streamy Awards, winning for costume design, comedy, scripted series and acting. He had three other nominations and in 2018 was a finalist for Best YouTube Comedian.