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I was twelve when the Buggles released “Video Killed the Radio Star.” I was fourteen when MTV kicked off with the video of that song. My teen years were spent watching videos of my favorite artists. I no longer needed to hear their new single, I needed to “see their new video.”
I was twenty-two when I started at Star DJs. At the time they were using demo videos to sell their entertainers. It was a unique concept at the time and it set us apart from our competition.
I was twenty-seven when I left Star and joined Elite Entertainment. I partnered with a guy who didn’t have a demo video. He had a strong referral base so he was working steadily but I was confused at why he never put a video together. I made that one of my first goals at Elite, to have demos of all of our DJs. By this point, the early 90s, the concept wasn’t so unique and I felt we’d never be able to sell our DJs without them.
For years I helped to edit our demos. When I got raw footage of a great party that one of my DJs threw, I would book time in a studio and sit next to the actual editor. I would point out shots I wanted and recommend different effects but the editor was the one pushing the buttons and turning the dials. This was still the days of videotape and I never took the time to learn what the editor was doing at the board nor did I ever invest in my own editing station.
Today, video is ubiquitous and technology has made it easier than ever to get in the game. I was of the first generation that needed to “see” everything. People younger than me have never known anything but instant video. Nowadays, if you hear about a great play in a college football game, or a hilarious comment on Jay Leno last night, you just run to your nearest computer and you’ll find a clip in minutes. Bored? Sign on to YouTube and just start jumping around. I mean, the song “Chocolate Rain” has had over 30 Million views (and I only account for half of those – I love that song!)
The goal I set for myself early on, to have demos of every one of my DJs, is no longer a luxury. It’s a necessity. Nowadays I don’t book studio time with an editor. I edit my own demos right on my laptop and then upload them to Youtube. Sometimes within a week after the party. And I’m not alone. DJs everywhere are realizing the power of video and the need for instant access to our demos. Do a search for “Boom Entertainment” or “Hurricane Entertainment” on YouTube and you’ll see what I mean (unfortunately there are too many “Elite Enterainments” in this world to do a similar search and find our stuff.) Or take a look at all the Peter Merry interviews that have been uploaded (he’ll be on Oprah’s couch someday, I just know it.)
I use a very simple editing software called Vegas. It was easy to learn and a pleasure to use. If you’d like to see evidence of my work, type all this nonsense into a web browser http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4INQvCO7XeQ. This is my latest demo of one of my DJs, Dominic Sestito. I don’t put myself up there with the Boom Entertainment guys just yet but for my purposes it works and it helps us sell our DJs.
If you aren’t utilizing the power of video yet, and the free hosting capabilities that YouTube and other sites like it offer, ask yourself why. More and more people are going to the web for their searches. Whether it’s to find that funny video clip from Jay Leno, or the entertainment at their wedding, most people begin their searches online. And today’s generation of bride doesn’t want to read text. She won’t even be impressed by a great picture or two. No, today’s bride wants to “see” for herself what you (or your DJs) look and sound like. Video may not have killed the radio star, as the Buggles predicted almost 30 years ago, but it has changed the way people view the world. And if my clients are looking to view a DJ, I want my stuff out there where they can find it.
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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