It’s been my prayer for the universe to provide me with inspiring creatives and artists that will motivate me to be a better person and contributor. I want to do better and be better, and one way to do that is to surround oneself with hardcore workaholics and hustlers. One of the people the universe brought into my world was Quayshaun Carter who is the CEO of Que Records -- but before I dive into Carter’s history and Q&A, I want to congratulate him upon learning one of his clients, Shamel Hughes, was nominated for 2 Grammys as a sound engineer.
Quayshaun has worked with some of the most influential executives and artists in his 30 years in the Music Industry. He has assisted in generating well over 100 million dollars in revenue for companies such as Uptown records, Ruffhouse/ Columbia, BMG, and Tommy Boy Records. As an artist Quayshaun was signed to Epic Records in 1990 and managed by Top Ten Entertainment. Top Ten's owner, Darrin Chandler, with Industry legends Jimmy Maynes and Jimmy Jenkins; AKA Jimmy Love, collectively taught Quayshaun the ins and outs of the industry, followed by years of experience and tutelage from much of the most successful executives of the era. Quayshaun toured with the likes of Jodeci, Father MC, Mary J. Blige, Boys II Men, F.S. Effect, Small Change, Big Daddy Kane, Eric B & Rakim to name a few. This later turned into an independent promotions position under Jimmy Jenkins at Uptown Records. From Uptown Records, Quayshaun went to work for Frank Toro at Tommy Boy Records in the Marketing Department. With these experiences, Quayshaun worked on some the biggest projects of the era, such as Notorious BIG, Total, Coolio, Naughty By Nature, and De La Soul. After a successful tenure there, Quayshaun began to independently promote projects with Timlan Entertainment via Anton Barnes according to his LinkedIn page.
In a recent recorded interview with Quayshaun, I asked him some questions about his more recent path and success in the film industry. I chose questions and answers that were the gold nuggets of our conversation but the entire interview can be listened to here.
Tell us about your new direction on the film side of entertainment!
I have the same youthful hunger and desire to make something out of nothing again … it’s different but has a lot of similarities to the music industry, but there are still differences in terms of the way it operates – the politics of it. I have been able to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time and I accredit that to my experiences in the music business. There are certain things and rules and conduct of entrepreneurship that carry over into any industry and I was blessed to be taught by really wise men.
What are some of the differences?
The one major difference is how you get a film funded. I think it’s difficult. In the music business it’s difficult to get to the right people but once you get to the right people, if they want to do it everyone will jump in and contribute to the project getting done. In the film industry it’s a lot different because if you get to an actor and they like your script ad they want to do it – they don’t necessarily help you get it done. Or if you find an investor who likes a script and wants to invest in it, they don’t help you get the talent attached. And you really are kind of just left to figure it out on your own and you have got to be really creative. I was fortunate enough with my 30 years of experience in the music industry, I’ve made quite a few relationships on the film industry side and I have met quite a few people who have been able to mentor and guide me through the transition, so I’m very lucky.
What are some of the recent projects you are working on?
Right now we have about 10 movies closing. Some of the stars of those movies include are Uma Thurman, Ethan Hawk, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Bradley Cooper, Will Pharrell, and Kevin Costner. We are in the process of closing. I can’t divulge the names yet because we are still in the stages of finalizing agreements and funding is about to take place but once it goes up on IMDB then I will be able to go public about it.
What are the similarities or parallels you see between the music and film industry?
The real parallel is all about the consumer and the temp of the consumer and the mood they are in. The type of movie you put into the marketplace is really driven by what the consumer seems to be looking for. Whether it’s an action film, a Sci-Fi, thriller or if it’s a romantic comedy. The type of romantic comedy or action film worked on is dictated by the demographic or temp of what the consumer looks like and you kind of base that to the movies that are similar in genres and style to the one you are doing, and how well they did in the marketplace. Then you can kind of gauge if you think your movie will do well. It’s difficult to gauge sometimes because it’s so volatile.
There are plenty movies that people thought would do well but didn’t, and then there are movies people didn’t think would do well but did. I think that is based upon how well they presented or advertised the film to the consumer – especially when you think of a movie like Get Out. The budget for the movie Get Out was only 4 million dollars but as of today they’ve grossed about $550 million dollars and is an incredible leap from where they started to where they are at now. It’s a phenomenal success on the movie and they predominantly promoted the movie on the internet. It’s a combination of comedy and horror but it touches upon a sensitive issue that is active and currently being experienced by everyone today. All of those experiences have a lot to do with movies.
Music is more about moods and feelings. If the economy is doing well, people want to be relaxed and they want prolific music. When the economy is not doing so well people are stressed and struggling to pay bills, the last thing they want to do is direct brain or thought energy on trying to figure out how well written a song is. Typically, the music will be a lot less prolific. That’s kind of where we are at now and that is why the music that is winning today is winning because it is an escape from the stress and struggles of everyday life as opposed to when things are going great then everyone wants something to challenge them with.
What kind of mood do you think the consumer is in right now in the music and film industry?
I think when you see what’s going on, it’s clear people want to be looking for an escape. Reality TV is dominating the television stations and people want to escape their own stress by watching others do stressful things to each other and to themselves.
Marvel movies right now wins and is a guaranteed seller. Even in movies people want to escape from every day struggles and be completely entertained and detached from real life situations. But you also see the trend is starting to change with movies like Hidden Figures and is doing well at the box office – it’s clear people are looking towards inspirational films to uplift their spirits. It gives us the opportunity to take advantage of all those moods. And also, we have to be trend setters and we’ve got to kind of be predictive and see where the trend is going and what seems to be the next movement and try to supply ourselves with enough content going into the new direction or new wave whether it’s music or film, so that we can be at the edge of the movement or wave and take advantage of it before anyone else does.