Mike Pierce wears many hats.
Sometimes, he’s a blogger and internet personality over at iWatchMike.com. Sometimes he’s a movie reviewer and connoisseur. Sometimes he’s an MC and promoter out on the Houston club scene. But the one thing that Mike Pierce, a.k.a. Mike The Movie Guy, never is?
Mike is the business of fun, being a cool dude to everyone he meets, and he’s damn good at what he does. “I’ve been in the entertainment industry for about 15 years now,” he recounts to me over email, ”I was asked by a Houston DJ, DJ Johnny, if I’d be interested in working at a new Houston radio station. I did everything under the sun for major and independent film studios – I did that for 4 years and finally decided I needed a break. I needed some “Mike Time”. I wanted to try and do what ‘I’ wanted to do. I decided to part ways with the agency to become an entertainment blogger/vlogger.”
It’s easy to see why he’s been anywhere and everywhere that entertainment takes him. Mike presents himself very off the cuff, but not without charisma; his ability to engage anyone that he comes in contact with is infectious, and within seconds he can bring even the most introverted people into a hysterical conversation. It’s refreshing to be able to talk to someone so earnest and excited, more so given the negative stigma associated with people in the entertainment biz. But then, Mike is all about avoiding all that negative stuff.
“What I’ve learned over the years of being in the industry [is] SURROUND YOUSELF WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE – NEGATIVE PEOPLE WILL BRING YOU DOWN.”
He knows what he’s talking about. “Because of radio politics, [afternoon DJ at KISS FM] Charles Chavez and I left the radio business and started Latium Records. I then got the ‘radio bug’ once again and decided to leave the record business to work for [what would become] Party 104.9I did that for 2 years and then got the opportunity to be the night jock personality at a hip-hop station in McAllen, Texas called 96.1 The Beat. I kicked ass there for 3 years and, once again, ‘radio politics’ got in the way and I decided to get out.”
The radio industry’s loss has become the film and internet’s gain. In less than two years, iWatchMike.com has exploded in popularity, and it shows no signs of stopping. Mike puts his same wit and charisma into all of his videos, and it’s like hearing one of your buds talk about the latest flicks or hanging out in the VIP section of the Club. Mike has taken the concept of the internet video to a new frontier, using startup Vaughn Live to broadcast from his perch high above the dance floor, bringing the whole internet into the club with him.
See? I told you this guy was cool.
“It’s about WHO you know, not WHAT you know. I’ve been lucky to have cool peeps that hook me up with stuff from time to time – good karma I call it.” ~ Mike The Movie Guy
MHL: You’re a fast talking, opinionated, uncensored kind of guy. Tell us a little bit about Mike The Movie Guy.
Uncensored? Ha! I’ve never heard that before, but now that I think about it, I guess you’re right.
Well, I’ve been in the entertainment industry for about 15 years now. After doing 3 years in the United States Navy as a cook, I received an honorable discharge and moved back to Houston from San Diego. I immediately visited the Art Institute and started the enrollment process for their culinary program. While waiting for the semester to start, I was asked by DJ Johnny [of KISS FM] if I’d be interested in working at a new radio station. I began answering phones for afternoon jock Charles Chavez and soon became his afternoon producer. That’s when my chef career was put on hold. I then got the opportunity to host my own weekend shows for about 2 years.
Then, because of radio politics, Charles Chavez and I left the radio business and started Latium Records. Over the years, we released the popular Latin World compilation series as well as several artist albums. I then got the ‘radio bug’ once again and decided to leave the record business to work for House Party 100.7. I was the Promotion Director and a weekend on-air personality. I did that for 2 years and then got the opportunity to be the night jock personality at a hip-hop station in McAllen, Texas called 96.1 The Beat. I kicked ass there for 3 years, but once again, ‘radio politics’ got in the way and I decided to get out. Then an old radio contact reached out to me and offered me a marketing/promotion position with his agency based out of Los Angeles. Yep, I worked from home! That’s when I got involved with movies. I did everything under the sun for major and independent film studios, did it for 4 years, and finally decided I needed a break. I needed some ‘Mike Time”. I wanted to try and do what ‘I’ wanted to do. I decided to part ways with the agency to become an entertainment blogger/vlogger.
MHL: Somehow, you went from those prior jobs into what you do now, working for yourself and talking about the things you love. How did you start with your site, your personality, and your brand?
I guess it all started with a simple blog. I made simple posts for about 3 years, then the stars aligned and I teamed up with a kick ass graphic design, photography, and web development crew in Houston called Impakt Design. We sat down and started working on ideas, how to make a ‘cooler’ me website. iWatchMike.com was born! [Laughs]
MHL: Houston isn’t really known for its entertainment scene. How is it trying to cover an industry from afar?
It’s not that bad actually, thanks to social media [Laughs].
In the entertainment industry, it’s about who you know, not what you know. I’ve been lucky to have cool peeps that hook me up with stuff from time to time – “good karma”, I call it.
MHL: Aside from your movie coverage, you work the local club scene and generally like to have a good time. How did you start with your nightclub scene, and what do you do out there?
Radio. That’s where it all started for me. I never really went to clubs before that. I found them boring. But once I started watching the ‘old school’ radio personalities doing their thing – I knew someday the mic would be passed down to me [laughs] and it was. At the moment, my job at clubs is to “Educate” and “Entertain”, by which, when I say, ‘educate’, I mean by letting the club goers know about the upcoming events, drink specials, promoting our DJs, our social media sites, pretty much everything for our clubs. When it comes to ‘entertaining’, I host our club contests, work with our Go-Gos, handle our live webcast shows, work with our promoters, and our Twitter and Facebook social media team. Yes, this goes on behind the scenes. I just don’t ‘talk on the mic.’ [Laughs] A lot goes on between the opening and closing of the club doors. I just wish more emcees or hosts got the bigger picture, that it’s not all about you, and getting laid. It’s about everything else. Then you.
MHL: Somehow, sometimes, you have to take some days off and kick it somewhere. Where do you like to go out when you’re not working or promoting?
Oh, that’s easy. The movie theater. I’m a movie watching freak. If I’m not at the theater, I’m watching something at home. If I get outside, it’s the bike trails. Fiona and I like to ride. [Fiona is his green mountain bike]
MHL: Houston isn’t known as an entertainment city. Sure, we’ve been recognized for our rap scene and life’s luxuries, but we don’t have the glamour or glitz of a New York, Hollywood, or Nashville. What needs to change?
I don’t know really. I guess it would have to be like the music industry, we’d need some cool directors from here to do something.
Well, now that I think about it, I don’t think we could ever be like Hollywood. To me, Hollywood is ‘motherland’ of movies and entertainment. It’s like The Matrix! [Laughs]
I don’t even think New York or Nashville could touch Hollywood either. I think if some cool movies came out of Houston, we could be recognized more…I’d take that. It’s better than nothing, right?
MHL: How can someone who hasn’t “broken” into the entertainment industry try and make their way in? What advice do you have, after all of your time building relationships and making a name for yourself?
I can’t really speak on the film industry, since I’m not an actor or TV star. But when it comes to the music industry, the old radio days are long and gone. If you’re an upcoming artist and have a song you’d like a DJ to hear – don’t come to the club at 1 o’clock and say, “Yo, can you play my song? It’s fire. It’ll get people dancing.” WRONG! Not a smart way to make a first impression. Don’t hand us a scratched CD with finger prints all over it. Most of the time, you have one try, so make sure it counts.
For my upcoming DJs: don’t be an asshole. Be humble. Remember, when you mix, it’s not what you like, it’s what the crowd likes. And most of the time, that’s what the girls’ like. [Laughs]
MHL: What projects do you have coming in the future? What can readers expect next from Mike The Movie Guy?
I’m going to continue my iWatchMike.com movie reviews, blog posts and giveaways. I plan on starting a new feature on iWatchMike.com called “Movie Girl of the Week”, where I’ll ask female movie lovers a set of questions and allow them to post some of their photos and social media links. I will continue working with my horror family at DownRightCreepy.com, I’m finalizing a blogger partnership with MTVTR3s.com, and I’m already working with NGL Media, but we’ve got some big plans in the near future. An iWatchMike Radio Podcast Show is in the works, and I’ll continue working with DjPenetrate.com, Rocket Dog Productions, and Impakt Designs on present and future projects.
And, finally, helping others where I can.
A big, huge Thank You to the wonderful, classy people behind Star Cinema Grill Missouri City/Sugarland for allowing us to take this photoshoot in their beautiful theater. Check them out the next time you want your dinner and a movie experience to be a little more special.