Taking The Guests On A Journey | The Q Corner, Where Quality Meets Quantity By Mike Walter


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FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM FERUARY 2010
I recently saw a list of the Top Grossing Movies of the past decade and it made me think of what we do as Mobile DJs each and every weekend. And why, if you’re good at what you do, you can make a pretty nice living at it.
I know, I know. How do Hollywood’s most successful movies translate to Mobile DJing? I’ll explain. But first, here’s the list:
1. Lord of Rings: Return of the Kings (2003)
2. Pirate’s of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
3. The Dark Knight (2008)
4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
5. Pirate’s of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)
6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
8. Lord of Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
9. Shrek 2 (2004)
10. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
The first thing I noticed was this: two Lord of the Rings movies and four Harry Potter. That’s six of the top ten movies that are complete “fantasy” movies. I mean fictional movies have always been a popular form of “escape” for society, but fantasy movies (with Hobbits and wizards, etc) take it a step further. They allow the viewer to completely leave their everyday life and spend two or three hours in another world.
What we do is similar. We take guests to a party and allow them to completely leave their lives for four or five hours. We give them a chance to escape into a world where the reason for this celebration (whether it’s a wedding, mitzvah, or whatever) is the only thing that matters. They can leave their concerns and bills and worries in the car and focus on the guest of honor. And if we are good at what we do, we’ll get them to dance and sing and clap and maybe even shed a tear; all things that most people don’t do in their everyday walk of life.
Entertainment, at its core, has always been about escape. It’s why we scream for our sports teams and why we pay to see our favorite bands perform live even though we have all of their CDs. And it’s why clients pay us good money to DJ their events. Because they want someone with the skills to make their celebration an escape from the mundane.
The next thing I noticed about that list is that every one of those movies has an essential common factor. You spotted it too, right? I mean it’s right there in the title of all but The Dark Knight.
Every one of those movies belongs to what Hollywood calls a franchise.
There have been three Shrek movies, six Harry Potters, three Lord of the Rings (the first one barely missed making the top ten last decade,) three Pirates of the Caribbean (with a fourth one in the works), and who could count how many recreations and spin-offs of the original Batman comic.
That’s because Hollywood knows a basic truth about entertainment: most people like familiarity. It’s easier to go to a movie when you already know the characters and are familiar with the story.
And how does that dovetail with what we do?
I shamelessly admit to playing most of the songs on the Mobile Beat Top 200 list. I am a proud member of the “We Are Family into Celebration” club. I’d rather do line dances at a party than not do line dances (the final decision, of course, being my client’s.)
I realize that it is not my job at an event to “break” new music. I leave that to the radio stations and club DJs. My job is to take the music that guests at my parties are familiar with, and give them what they want. Sure I hope I put my own unique “spin” on it, whether that involves programming or MCing, just like I’m sure every movie maker hopes to put their own unique spin on a Batman or Pirate movie. But I bank on most people’s comfort level with the familiar and after twenty-plus years of DJing, I’m glad I do.
Those ten movies grossed over ten billion dollars worldwide last decade. That’s a lot of money for entertainment. It’s a lot of movie tickets sold to provide an escape. I think we all benefit from that very same need, for society to leave their lives from time to time and go somewhere different.
I think about that need often as I prepare for my events and I hope I provide it for my clients and for their families and friends. I’m no wizard or pirate, but I do my best to help people escape.
Mike Walter is the owner of Elite Entertainment of New Jersey and a nationally recognized expert in the area of ​​multisystem company development and staff training. You can contact Mike at mikewalter@discjockeynews.com.


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