We had the good fortune of connecting with Dennis Gelbaum and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dennis, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
For me it was always about being able to streamline the decision (and action/reaction) process. I’ve always been an effective and efficient problem solver, often times impatient if the process gets bogged down during the approval process. I love to create, present, sell and execute. Although the “execution” is my least favorite part of the process. As an Executive Producer, I know how to put all of the pieces together. As a Director, I know how to bring ideas to life, to engage, motivate and inspire others. As a company founder, owner and leader I know how to listen to clients, my customers and deliver results that always exceed expectations. I recently co-created with industry pro Wendy Kay, WENDEEMAD, a music artist development and management company. We work with music artists of all ages, genres and performance levels. And through our national Dream Night Talent Search events, we spend two days mentoring artists, refining their skills – stage presence, song selection, song writing, producing and most important creating their brand and managing their business. Make music – make money! We help artists focus on creating and running a successful business/ one that generates a conundrum flow of revenue. I started CMOHDALLAS to connect companies to experienced marketing pros to help them make their competition irrelevant. Many companies need marketing help but can’t afford a CMO (Chief Marketing Officer). We provide them access to great marketing talent to help them elevate and strengthen their brand. I created and manage ramp it up entertainment – a full service boutique brand experience agency – creating and executing innovative marketing, promotions and live, virtual and hybrid multimedia and interactive events for hundreds of clients in more than 35 countries engaging millions of participants. I started Production Concierge Services to provide production and post-production services and resources to support my projects.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I learned early on to never give up. I learned to enjoy the things I have and not worry about the things I wanted or thought I needed. My favorite quote comes from a Lee Ann Womack song, ”when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance…” I always dance. I know how to listen and how to get to and resolve the real issue (s) quickly. I’m not afraid to take creative risks. I’m not afraid to fail. I know that when one door closes, another door opens. I’m not about taking the easy way out or compromising. I’m often relentless, never overly cautious and always optimistic. I always wanted to create a product and have it featured in the Sharper Image catalogue. I created the Buddy Light Safety Leash using electroluminescent technology – becoming their #1 selling pet product. I wanted to write/publish a novel and I did, “Beyond Reasonable Doubt”– a character driven political, science based murder mystery thriller. that questions the validity of DNA evidence. I wanted to publish my poetry and with the help of Lisa Dee who introduced me to the amazing illustrator Christina Qualiana, I published “Something About Going Home”, a Collection of Original Thoughts On Growing Up, Relationships, Love, Sex, Dreams, Fantasies, Drugs, War and God. Having directed hundreds of national commercials, launching hundreds of products, I’m most proud of creating, co-producing and co-directing (with Vern Oakley of Tribe Pictures in Chatham, NJ) the interactive, web based series, “Get Fit With Alyson” and “Get Wii Fit With Alyson”. The series starred Alyson Stoner (Cheaper By The Dozen, Camp Rock) and launched the Nintendo Wii Fit. Each episode featured Alyson and a group of her friends dancing and playing on the Wii Fit and talking about important issues like self esteem, peer pressure, bullying, and other youth friendly and age appropriate and relevant issues. The show received great press coverage and led me to directing commercials for Guitar Hero, the #1 music video game in the world. The most difficult and most rewarding creative experience of my life/career is when I directed a series of commercials for Texas Special Olympics through LOVE Advertising in Houston, TX. Brenda Love and Margaret Larson (CEO, TSO) gave me an incredible amount of support throughout the process. I still get chills thinking about the experience. I’m often asked how did I become a director? I just did. It wasn’t something I learned in school. As an Advertising Agency producer and creative director, I just knew I could do it. And I surrounded myself with brilliant and talented people who knew so much more than I did that I couldn’t fail. Two of them were special effects genius Michael Lantieri and Production Designer/Director James Spencer. And having Arnie Blum, the head of production at BBDO and Phil Dusenberry, the Executive Creative Director of BBDO support me early on in my directing career didn’t hurt.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There’s so much to see in the DFW area. I’d have to lead the way to the hill country and the vineyards. Austin is great for live music and the scene is second to none. San Antonio is amazing around the holidays. I’ve got lots of favorite restaurants from the Magnolia Cafe In Austin to Flemings in Plano. And you just got to go to Shake Shack and North (for brunch) in Legacy West in Plano. The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and The Dallas World Aquarium and Zoo are must visits. The museums, the music scene, the many different communities make DFW a very exciting place.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’ve been very fortunate to have many mentors throughout my career. I’m most thankful to Valerie, my wife since 1998. We got married in Yosemite under Bridalveil Falls. Even when the idea was crazy she was always there to support me – emotionally and often financially. Through all the ups and downs,(and there’s been plenty of both) she’s always been my biggest supporter and cheerleader. I might not always listen and take her advice but she never says “I told you so!” For that I’m very grateful. The most important thing she has done for me, for us, was insisting we get a puppy – a chocolate Havanese named Jaxson. He makes us smile everyday. No matter how difficult things get, he helps us remember to enjoy the little things in life.I’m also so grateful to be the father to Zachary and Jeremy and to my first grandchild/grandson Owen Michael Gelbaum. Yes his initials are OMG – Jeremy and Brenna couldn’t resist.
Other: http://wendeemad.com/ http://rampitupent.com/