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The Reel Deal

THE BIG BREAK INTERVIEW:
Dominic and Michele
DMDJs and BOBBY's WORLD

Upon meeting Dominic, owner of DMDJs, and Michele, owner of Bobby’s World, I thought "family." Dominic began the interview with his own questions making sure that we were doing well before we began. Both are appreciative of new ideas and attentive to detail. They know how to cater. However, even the most well thought-out parties never prepare you for Mother Nature. Accustomed to all the adversities they may be dealt in the toughest of times or weather, they adjust. Their dedication to have a good time regardless is no surprise they are the ultimate in party planning.

BIGBreakNY: What prompted you to start this business?
DOMINIC: I started the business as a young teacher looking to pursue a music career. I started doing family functions at 12 years. I realized I needed to be out there. I went from playing music to grabbing people to encourage them to dance. I would grab that mic and realize I could not stop talking. I realized I had a niche for entertainment. It was all word of mouth. It went from family to friends to people on the outside. I started to get into lighting and costumes. To this day it is still pumping through my veins. I am the master of ceremonies. I change into various costumes, 50s, 60s, 70s, Latin. I sing karaoke-style Sweet Caroline, De Lauded by Dean Martin or Summer Wind after the first meal to get the party started.

BBNY: Do you present a standard routine at parties?
D: I am not a format person. If you have seen me once, it does not mean you will see the same performance again. I am out for certain jobs. It is an art. The music will be different because the people are different. Every show is always new.

BBNY: Are you a one-man show?
D: No. I work with a DJ, an MC, crowd motivators, dancers. When you have 300–400 people at an event, you need people at all corners to conquer the room.

BBNY: How do you find the people you work with?
D: We advertise and audition talent. We are who we are because of what we have accomplished over the years. Our clients will be provided for the type of event. Most of the young people who work for us love kids, and are pursuing careers with children and/or are actors and dancers.

BBNY: What makes your events different than any other?
MICHELE: Sweet Sixteen ceremonies or bar mitzvahs, we put together a CD of songs for the candle-lighting ceremony as an extra. Weeks before the event we ask them to select the songs that mean something to them.

BBNY: Michele, what made you decide to join DMDJs?
M: Bobby’s World and DMDJs are two separate companies we cross-promote. We decided eight months ago to collaborate our talents because family entertainment is rare to the five boroughs. If you have 100 adults and 30 children, your music has to go across the board, so I fell into the DJ side of it, because it was all about the DJ and the entertainment.

BBNY: Michele, how did you get started in this business?
M: I got started with two-hour gigs above a bagel store doing face painting and selling hot dogs. Then, I worked out of a 3,500 square foot facility. Finally, I decided to go mobile and bring the party to you.

BBNY: What would you bring to the parties?
M: The limbo, the hokey pokey, and the chicken dance. Sand art, face painting, cotton candy machines, spin art…

(And the three-page fold-out brochure goes on and on…all I can think of is a fair has showed up in every child’s backyard.)

BBNY: This is party planning on a grand scale. This is like no birthday party I have ever had. I am calling mom and dad. I am feeling a little gypped right now. How do you bring people out of their shell?
M: The one-hour costume character party. It is all about personality. If the girls walk in with humdrum faces and an attitude, no five-year-old child is going to accept that. However, if they walk in as if they are the good time and it is all about them. Hi! Big smile. I have face-painting, balloons, tattoos. Even the most introverted child is going to come out of their shell. It even works for the adults.

BBNY: The face-painting?
M: No. I can tell when someone really wants to dance. It begins with the tapping of the hand on the leg, or the foot tapping under the table. So, I will do whatever it takes to get that person out on the dance floor. I do not know you. But it is not about me, It is about you having a good time. You get the people up there. You try to make it as uninhibiting as possible.
D: We all have natural talent. This energy is within all of us. People are just waiting to release. We permit a great time.

BBNY: Give me some examples of great times?
D: We can do a small play or a Broadway show for your event. Picture montage for weddings. We have a live camera that while taping is shown on the screen. Everyone can see.
M: We have to make that party feel like it is the only party that is important.
D: I have done a party for handicapped children, where the parents cried and thanked us at the end saying they have never seen their child laugh or have such a great time.
M: It is all about making people happy. The attendants are known for occupying the children, while the parents can have their fun too.

BBNY: If I want to plan a party with you, where would I begin?
M: It is by appointment. Initially, we discuss how moderate or elaborate an event you are planning. Throwing ideas back and forth. Themes. Details. For example, if it is a Sweet Sixteen party, every Sweet Sixteen has their name in lights. Where do you want to focus money, on the centerpieces or dais?

BBNY: What is a dais?
M: The guest of honor’s friends’ table. Most Sweet Sixteen parties have become debutante balls. There would be a dais. The bridesmaids table at a wedding is also considered the dais.

BBNY: Would I need to provide the party favors?
M: We provide everything through our company. We can get anything and we do a lot of in-house work. Favors, keychains, magnets, photo fantasy (superimposed pictures in film posters), wine labels, custom-made T-shirts…

BBNY: Is the sky the limit?
D: Yes, we would take that and run with it. We have been as far south as Florida and as far west as Colorado. I am not afraid to go anywhere. As long as you have the equipment, I will go anywhere.

BBNY: The fact that you will go against any adversity is impressive. I can not even imagine if my parents paid for my wedding that was rained out or worse. I would be a wreck. Yet, you both are willing to perform regardless.
M: Even with the blackout we would have gone, had the caterers not canceled. We had the back-up generator loaded up and ready to go. We had flashlights looking for equipment. It was fun to think we were going to do this. We were going for it.

BBNY: What is your most memorable event?
M: One time I had to roll a whole console in the wind and rain down the rocky pier to a party on a boat. Soaked form head to toe, I am their only entertainment. As I recall, that was probably one of the best parties we ever had.

BBNY: Dominic, your most memorable moment?
D: My truck would not start in a thunderstorm. The battery was dead and I had no jumper cables. I asked the maitre d' for some assistance. He said according to their rules and regulations they can not help anyone in any situation. I tried to figure out how to start the truck, bribed the maitre d', soaked bringing the stuff out down the fire escape stairs and I had left the truck running. Usually, you are subject to go around the back to keep the place looking pristine. The party was over. I had all the vinyls in a hand truck. I was still in my tuxedo and dress shoes. My partner had the top of the hand truck and I had the bottom. I was almost to the bottom of the last stairs and I started to lose my grip and my partner let go. To avoid me falling down the stairs with the hand truck on top of me I held on the side of the railing. I watched 15 tumbles down the stairs. Everything went underneath the stairs into the mud. It was dark and I had to put the high beams on and my pants were full of mud. Now, I always bring a change of clothes. It is still fresh in my mind. Even though that was four or five years ago… Slipping and falling. (He laughs.)

BBNY: Despite this you still are game to go back for more.
D: I love a good challenge and will take on what I have been given.

BBNY: What is your best business advice?
M: Ride the wave.
D: Although I don’t agree with what Al Pacino represents in Scarface, I love that quote: “The world is yours.”

The Ultimate Party Planning and Entertainment Center is located at 8424 13th Avenue. You may find out more information about DMDJs at their website, www.DMDJs.com, or contact Dominic by phone at (718) 748-1950. You may find out more information about Bobby’s World at their website, www.BobbysWorldPCinc.com, or contact Michele by phone at (718) 748-3088.

 

© 2005 BIGBreakNY, LLC. No material may be reprinted without permission.