“I love to entertain and make people smile,” says Meir Kalmanson. Kalmanson is the founder and creative director of AMK Productions.
Many of you know Kalmanson from his Youtube videos, two of which went viral. “High Five New York” featured Kalmanson giving high fives to people in midtown Manhattan as they were waiting for a taxi. Kalmanson, who notes he made the video just a couple of months after moving back to New York City from Connecticut, says he noticed “people were in a frenzy as they waited to get a taxi.” He adds, “They were in a perfect position to get a high five.” The goal was to help the people relieve stress and bring them back to the present. The response to both the high fives and the Youtube video were “incredible” says Kalmanson.
A second Youtube video which also went viral was “Sleeping on Strangers on the Subway.” In it, Kalmanson is riding on the subway and pretends to fall asleep on people’s shoulders. It was a social experiment to see how people in the “city that never sleeps” would react to someone taking a nap on their shoulder. Some people were clearly annoyed by this stunt while others graciously allowed him to rest on their shoulder.
Kalmanson has always been outgoing and charismatic and had a lot of energy growing up. “At the beginning of high school, people wondered when I would calm down,” said Kalmanson. He attributes his energy and positive spirit to his parents, whom Kalmanson describes as “young at heart” and who taught him to be kind and bring joy to others. He took the message and ran with it, volunteering for Jewish organizations around the world and more recently joining Chai Lifeline by being division head in its summer program, Camp Simcha, as well as volunteering through the year.
It was while on a Kiruv mission in Manchester, England, that Kalmanson discovered his interest in video. “My first video was made in Manchester, and people were really entertained by it. I realized how much I enjoyed telling a story and bringing across a message through the medium of video.” The video featuring Kalmanson going around Manchester was part of a presentation he made in public schools. “Kids loved it [the video], and they came to the program I was pitching. That’s when I realized, this is it! I love doing this.” The program referred to is “Teens Night Out”–one of the programs Kalmanson was running as part of his Kiruv year abroad.
This first successful effort encouraged Kalmanson to continue making videos, and he started doing so on a regular basis. Family members and friends saw the videos and began asking Kalmanson to made videos/montages for their simchas. This ultimately led to Kalmanson creating Elite Entertainment. The company makes video/picture montages for simchas including weddings and bar mitzvahs.
Kalmanson says making the simcha videos is tedious and challenging work, yet ultimately very gratifying. “It’s not just another video; I work closely with the family to understand what type of feeling and vibe they would like and work with them to create something quite special and memorable.” Kalmanson views the clips and other materials that the family provides. “When I watch the clips, I feel like I am going through the family’s history. By the time the video is complete, I feel like part of the family.” He looks at the video as something very special that the family will keep forever and pass along to other family members and friends. Kalmanson’s also happy to relieve some of the stress that comes with making a simcha and feels gladdened with each satisfied customer.
“I love to make people smile and to entertain, and I get to fuse those passions,” says Kalmanson. He does this when serving as a Master of Ceremonies, which is another service that Elite Entertainment offers. “I pride myself on being unique with my high, contagious energy,” says Kalmanson when referring to his MC work. He believes an MC’s job is to draw the guests in, make it fun for all ages, and pump up the simcha. Kalmanson says his years of working with children, teens, and adults serves him well in his role as MC. “I have my own set of skills and there is no other Meir like me,” says Kalmanson.
In addition, Elite Entertainment makes promotional items or memorabilia with customized logos. Kalmanson does this in conjunction with his father who has been involved in the promotional products industry for many years. “We pride ourselves on our top-notch customer service and high-quality products.”
In addition to Elite Entertainment, Kalmanson continues to make Youtube videos. He is in talks with other big Youtubers about collaborating and with big-time movie producers. Whatever he does, Kalmanson wants to make people smile and spread joy.
To find Meir Kalmanson and Elite Entertainment on the web, visit the following links:
By Larry Bernstein