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Before moving to Fort Collins, Taylor Calmus, 35, was just another aspiring actor in Los Angeles, raising a family and working a full-time job and side hustle between auditions.
When he and his wife, Heidi, decided to ditch the sandy beaches of California for the mountains of Colorado, Calmus created a YouTube channel that would allow him to continue to create content no matter where they lived.
Calmus was inspired to create the channel, which he calls “Dude Dad,” after seeing that there were tons of vlogs, blogs and videos dedicated to moms and the issues and challenges they faced raising kids, but not really anything for dads.
“I’d seen a lot of mom vlogs, but there was nothing out there for dads,” he said. “I wanted to share my experiences as a dad and fatherhood.”
Dude Dad features funny and entertaining videos on different subjects and experiences about parenthood, marriage and life in general ranging from juggling multiple kids and Target runs to the joys of coffee creamer and getting in some “mommy and daddy” time.
Calmus and his family moved to Fort Collins in 2020 after purchasing a house they had only seen in photos and video, never stepping through the door in-person until they had keys in hand.
For most folks, buying a house unseen would be risky and unimaginable, but for Calmus, he knew he had the knowledge and inspiration to turn the Fort Collins property into the family’s perfect home.
His most recent home renovation project encompassed redoing the basement, which he posted video of on his Dude Dad channel. The video shows how Calmus turned a bleak and ordinary room into a family friendly room with a warm environment and custom cabinets featuring programmable LED lights.
While he makes the entire process look easy, Calmus admits the job was quite a bit of work.
“I’ve been doing this for years and years and years, so it’s not so easy,” he said. “Even I still struggled, which was shown in the last bit of that video. I show how I screwed up my clear coating at one point and had to sand it all off and start all over again.”
Tools that Calmus thinks every household should have in their garage include the basics — a screw driver set and a hammer — as well as a good power tool set such as an impact drill, a circular saw or a jig saw.
“With those tools you can pretty much do all the basics,” he added.
Calmus’s Dude Dad videos caught the eye of “Fixer Upper” hosts and husband and wife team Chip and Joanna Gaines after Calmus challenged Chip to a playhouse build-off with proceeds from the event benefitting St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
“Chip and I are very similar in that we are these DIY guys who are these goofy dads, and I was always really admired him and his show and how cool it would be to work with him,” Calmus explained. “So I created this challenge video and got it out there, and they accepted. We ended up raising $1.5 million dollars for St. Jude.”
The playhouse throw down showdown resulted in not just raising money for the hospital, but also in a partnership with the Gaines’ Magnolia Network for a show called “Super Dad.”
The show centers on Calmus helping “aspiring DIY dads turn their kids’ outrageous backyard dreams into playtime realities,” according to the show’s online description.
Throughout the show, Calmus has helped dads complete backyard projects such as a castle, pirate ship, fort and zip line, proving that with a little help, all dads can be super dads.
“It’s a whole different beast, and it’s fun because we get 30-minutes to tell a story so you have a lot more room for reality to play out and to dive a little bit deeper into the story,” he said. “And the projects all got bigger. But it is a ton of work. I’ve never worked harder than trying to make a TV show.”
While Calmus is teaching fellow dads how to create amazing backyard contraptions, he’s also taken away some lessons about being a dad from the men he worked with on the show.
“I’ve got three kids and I am tired all the time and one dad told me, really simply, that if you’re tired, then you’re doing it right,” Calmus said. “And that really struck a chord in me. If you’re tired, you’re putting in the effort and the work.”
In addition to the “Super Dad” show and his Dude Dad videos, Calmus has created his own line of merchandise that includes t-shirts, hats, an apron, coffee mugs and a dude-focused diaper bag, complete with adjustable gear straps, carabiners, exterior beverage pocket and not one, but two bottle openers.
He also wrote a book, “A Dude’s Guide to Baby Size,” that helps soon-to-be fellow dude dads through the “wild ride that is forty weeks of pregnancy.”
After having three kids of his own — Theo, Juno and Otto—and another on the way, Calmus has extensive first-hand experience in navigating pregnancy and post-partum.
When it comes to his future endeavors and where he sees Dude Dad going, Calmus explained that his purpose is more than just entertaining people, it’s helping dads connect with their kids and make memories, even if it’s as simple as making a slip-n-slide out of PVC pipes and pool noodles.
“The reality is that kids are going to be impressed with whatever you do. They are just going to be glad, and they’re going to just be excited that you did something for them,” Calmus said.
For more information on Dude Dad videos, “Super Dad” or to purchase some swanky swag from the online influencer, go to www.dudedad.com and https://bit.ly/3QVdQlj.
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