There's really nothing more "Hollywood" than ringing in the New Year at a multi-stage party on the Paramount Studios lot, surrounded by celebs, plenty of liquor and enjoying a live performance by Katy Perry. That event was Gridlock 2008, brought to life by Brett Hyman, President of Night Vision Entertainment. After studying Business Entrepreneurship and Political Economics at Tulane University of Louisiana and USC, Hyman jumped into the world of Hollywood event planning and marketing back in 2005 and now produces events at some of the hottest clubs around including Les Deux, Coco de Ville and Tao.
How was your experience at Tulane? Did you know then that you wanted to get into event planning?
Tulane allowed me to really combine my event planning ambition with my concurrent business education. From my first day at Tulane, I started working with local venues like House of Blues and our college bar, The Boot, in order to set up cool events. However, I kind of fell into it when I moved back to LA.
How did you first get started in Hollywood club promoting, events etc?
When I came back to LA, I was simply going out to nightclubs, networking and meeting people, and an owner of club approached me to start promoting. I looked at it as a short term job but I eventually found the niche in which I developed Night Vision as a viable company.
How did you get Night Vision off the ground? What kind of business plan or funding did you have?
When I came back to LA, I was studying at USC Business School and I started to write an analysis of the nightclub business for a final entrepreneurship project. In doing so, I just got very interested in the industry. We did not need any major funding, I just started subpromoting for one club, and added a new night, and then started doing larger and larger events.
What's your biggest success story to date?
I would say Gridlock must be the most successful event. The shear size and scope of the event, coupled with the massive marketing and PR machine attached to it-impacted hundreds of thousands of people. It elevated the profile of Night Vision to be the producer of the largest New Years Eve event in Hollywood. I'm extremely excited for the opportunities that are materializing as a result of the event as well.
Do you have any event disaster stories?
Well in college i definitely had my share of failures. The most ridiculous one must have been when I produced a concert with Lil' Jon performing during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. What I didn't realize is that the main blvd would be closed from 7pm-11pm, and made it almost physically impossible for people to reach us unless they walked like 5 miles!!!
How competitive is it between promoters/event planners? Is it like playing Hollywood Monopoly?
The industry is extremely competitive, because everyone wants to be the top dog in the game. The reality is, many don't have comprehensive or long term business plans, so there are really only a few that make it a legitimate and profitable enterprise. That being said, there are politics to be played with club owners and other promoters that seem to rival the intense business dealings of high powered agencies. Lately, I've been seeing a substantial increase in some of these cutthroat politics.
What do you say to people who are tired of the whole 'velvet rope/bottle service' scene?
I say, I'm one of them. I think there's a great opportunity to bring in a new concept to Los Angeles, and I'm planning to lead the frontier to transition from the current formula by introducing my own spin on Hollywood club culture. But on the other hand, you should keep in mind that the velvet rope does have it's purpose. It allows us to maintain control over these clubs and ensure the events go as planned. The velvet rope is what a lot of these people demand. They want exclusivity. So people who are tired of it are the people that we shouldn't be targeting anyways.
What's the hottest club in Hollywood right now? What kinds of trends do you see coming up for the Hollywood scene?
The trends that I'm noticing is that people aren't passionate about nightlife anymore. There used to be a day when people would just hit up places like Las Palmas or Nacional every tuesday or wednesday for years upon years. Now people getting "over" a club in a matter of weeks. Some people attribute it to a saturation of venues, some attribute it to just weak design- but I think it's a matter of uniqueness. People want something different, and just a few places are actually raising the bar.
So as for hottest clubs...I think Les Deux was just a brilliant design with owners that worked VERY hard to support the business- and it paid off. That place is still going very strong, and it's lasting longer than any other place I've ever seen other than maybe Garden of Eden. I do think, however, this new club My House is going to get a lot of attention. It's an unbelievable design, and the strategy behind it is very unique and will appeal to this disillusioned market. And in about 12 months, I will introduce my own concept, which is completely contrary to the ideals of a nightclub, but will very much appeal to that market.