Electing Your Entertainment

On Tuesday, November 2nd, we went to the polls to elect our leaders.  We watched as millions and millions of dollars were spent marketing and packaging candidates to make everyone look good, so that we would vote for them. 

But really, most of the time, most of the money and effort were spent trying to smear the other side.  It’s icky.  I began thinking about how we, as entertainers make our case to you, the consumer, to get you to “vote” for us.  I often talk about the difference between what we do and what other DJs do, but because I don’t want to “smear” other DJs, most of the information is kept from clients.

Because we own a videography company, I have a lot of video of other DJs in action.  Frankly, most of it is mediocre at best at embarrassing at worst, but I can’t show that footage to clients who are searching without looking like I’m slinging mud.  I just had a client tell me that they chose another DJ company who they think will offer the same service we do at a lower price.  It was a great couple with whom I really connected and for whom I really wanted to create an awesome experience, so I was quite disappointed to find out they had chosen someone else. 

Beyond my own personal disappointment, I know they’ll probably end up “satisfied,” but I also know they won’t get the quality of experience for their guests they would have had here.  I know, because I have footage of that DJ trying to copy our style of fun, personal introductions and really, it’s almost embarrassing how poorly it’s done.  But I can’t say that, can I?  If they saw the video of that company trying to do what we do, they’d be shocked, but they’ll never see it, because I just can’t do that.

What would YOU want me to do if you YOU were that client?  Be gracious and wish you well, knowing full well that you aren’t getting what you think you are, or say, “Wait.  Let me show you something!”  I suspect most would elect for me to take the high road, which I did, as always.  Unfortunately, at almost every wedding where we perform, we are approached by guests who tell us what a great time they had, and who wish they had known about us for their wedding.  They usually tell us their DJ was, “fine” or “ok” but no comparison to what they’d just seen.

We’re not going to play dirty politics.  I’ll show video of our performances and I’ll even show other DJs, usually from out of the area or if we can show a video without divulging who the DJ was, I’ll do that so our clients can see the difference, but much like elections, the best doesn’t always win.  Sometimes it’s whoever spent the most money marketing or who simply offered to do the “same thing” at a lower price, only to disappoint on the big day.

If you knew what the real voting records of candidates was, it would be easier to choose.  Make sure you know what the real performance skills are for your Master Of Ceremonies or DJ, not just a bunch of people dancing.  Dancing is the easy part.  Make sure you choose someone who can make your reception fun for everyone for the first two hours, not just the last two hours.

Vino Con Brio: A Superb Wedding Venue

Vino Con Brio, located just south of Sacramento in the vineyards of Lodi is one of Premier Entertainment’s favorite wedding locations.

Because we work so hard to make every wedding unique, we’re always looking for locations that don’t look like just another wedding ballroom, and Vino Con Brio fits that bill!

Owned and operated by Renae and Mike Matson, and run with the help of their daughter, Anne, this is a beautiful, comfortable oasis, perfect for an outdoor wedding with no pretentions.

Ceremonies are held on one side of the house, which doubles as an changing room and gathering place for the VIPs. There are several different configurations for the ceremony, by a lake and an awesome willow tree.

Guests then take the short walk to the opposite side of the house, where the tables for dining are set under a huge oak tree in the center of the yard. You really have to see it to appreciate it.

And more than the beauty of the location is the heart of the family. Renae is always on hand to keep everyone on track and it seems our couples are always hugging her like old family. Renae genuinely loves having weddings at Vino Con Brio, and it shows. Maybe it should be called Matrimoni Con Brio!

To schedule a site visit and consultation, contact Renae Matson at 209-712-7615 or you can call the winery directly at 888-410-VINO

Come To Your Senses

Over the past 15 years, I’ve had the opportunity to attend countless DJ gatherings, conventions, confabs and trainings.   More often than not, I’m a speaker, but at last year’s Mobile Beat Conference in Las Vegas, I was just an attendee and I had the opportunity to listen to a fellow WEDGuild member, Jim Cerone, from Indianapolis, give a terrific three part seminar called “The Perfect Host.” 

Jim broke down the keys of what he calls a “Perfect Host,” and what the WEDGuild calls a Wedding Entertainment Director™, into ten senses, and talked about how we use these senses to give our clients “The Best Wedding Reception…EVER!”

I’ll list them here, and frankly, I don’t know how much of my take is from my brain and how much is from Jim’s, but what really matters is that all of this goes into the wedding celebrations of our clients.

  1. Sense of adventure.  This is not some rote thing we do, another gig, another Saturday night of playing the same old songs and saying the same old clichés.  This is a once in a lifetime event for our clients, a night that will live forever for them, good or bad, and it’s a great adventure.  I’d add to this a sense of enthusiasm.  I’m lucky.  It’s built into me.  I’m just an enthusiastic guy and I love the adventure of something new.  A brilliant way to kick off the list.
  2. Sense of Purpose.  One of the things I’ve railed about for years in my seminars is that as a DJ or Master of Ceremonies, it’s imperative that one has an objective, a goal, with everything we do.  Every announcement, every song, every gesture, should have an objective, or as Jim calls it, a purpose.  What is our goal here?  Our goals are determined by our clients’ goals.  Sometimes it’s wild energy and sometimes it’s subdued appreciation, but if we don’t have an objective, a sense of purpose, we are unlikely to accidentally reach our goal.
  3. Sense of Empathy.  I’ve often said the best thing I ever did to understand this business was when I planned and participated in my own wedding.  Now, having been in the business since 1988, I have the perspective of not only the groom, but also of a dad.  I’m the age (or close to it) of many of the parents of our couples, and I absolutely have empathy for both generations.  Empathy of trying to create an incredible wedding on a very tight budget, empathy of wanting my friends and family to feel what we were feeling, empathy of wanting a lot of dancing, but not being much of a dancer myself.  Oh, I empathize.
  4. Sense of Atmosphere.  I think too many wedding vendors get so caught up in their own job, that they lose perspective of the big picture.  For years, we’ve tried to explain to our clients how important the first hour of a reception is to the success in the last hour.  The atmosphere created with lighting, music, décor, catering staff, photographers, videographers is so important.  Understanding and helping our clients to understand the importance of atmosphere is one of our most important jobs.
  5. Sense of Self and Selflessness.  I LOVE this one.  I can’t begin to tell you how many clients have said to me over the years, “I don’t want a DJ who is the center of attention.”   The problem is, none of the worst offenders ever think it’s them.  Being aware of what our presence does to the event is critical and understanding that making the moment is far more important than being the moment is the key to our success.  Probably 90% of the awesome moments we create at receptions aren’t even directly attributed to us, because I prefer it that way.  Selflessness.  It’s just not about us, is it?
  6. Sense of Tact.  I don’t understand why this one is so hard, but it is.  On my original DJ Training DVD, The 1% Solution, I show a video clip of a very talented local DJ violating just about all of these senses, saying some incredibly inappropriate things during the garter removal.  Although you can’t ever see the DJ, he has enough of a reputation locally that most people have figured out who he is.  He’s tacky.  He thinks a laugh is a laugh, nevermind the situation.  He approached me at a professional mixer recently to tell me he had seen the video and was laughing about it.  He went on to brag about how he charges so much less than me and all the other top end DJs.  He did all of this in front of other wedding professionals.  No sense of tact.  And that’s why he works so cheap.
  7. Sense of Humor.  Although this might be the most important one as a Master Of Ceremonies, it’s also the most dangerous.  See above.  Ever see someone “trying to be funny?”  It’s like listening to someone “trying to sing.”  It’s painful.   And that doesn’t even take into account that even if it’s funny, it’s still not necessarily appropriate.  I would add to Jim’s list, a Sense Of Appropriate Humor.
  8. Sense of Appropriateness.  Ah, see, he even thought of that.  A wedding is a celebration, not a frat party.  Although some weddings are off the hook wild and crazy, it’s still important to grasp the appropriateness of everything from volume of music to lyrics to lighting to humor.   I play golf every week with three other outstanding wedding professionals, and our behavior and language on the golf course is appropriate there, but very inappropriate at weddings.
  9. Sense of Timing.  I don’t even know how to explain this one, but I sure know it when I see it.  We all know how important timing is in comedy, but it is for drama as well.  The power of the pause is incredible.   Even in mixing music, the difference between a packed dance floor and a handful of dancers can be as simple as the timing of the music choices and the mixes.  Let Me Clear My Throat by DJKool is an awesome party song, but if I ever started a wedding with that, we’d kill the dance floor for the whole night.
  10. Sense of Fairness.  This is a testament to Jim’s upbringing and gentility.  Frankly, I would have never thought of this one, but it’s the big picture mentality, not seeing just how something affects one person, but everyone.
  11. I would have substituted a Sense of The Big Picture.  Knowing everything that’s going on, all the time.  This job requires great peripheral vision, the ability to hear a conversation while having another and the ability to multi-task in the face of overwhelming odds.  Part of the big picture means understanding that not paying attention to any one of these senses renders everything else useless.  Do 10 out of 11 but with no Sense of Tact?  Everything except Purpose?  Or  Appropriateness?  I wouldn’t want to be a guest at that wedding.

  It takes someone as genteel as Jim Cerone to put each of these senses into a manageable, specific list and I want to thank him for it.  It’s a great lesson to us all to keep our senses about us!

It’s “The Same Thing.”

It’s very difficult to sell our service to those who haven’t seen it. 

It’s difficult, because all “DJs” do “the same thing,” but only in the same sense that a running faucet is “the same thing” as Niagara Falls.   It would be unlikely that someone would describe a running faucet as breathtaking, or travel very far to see it. 

Imagine an amateur magician  doing “the same thing” as Penn & Teller.   Now imagine an amateur DJ at your wedding reception.  Ouch.

Analogies abound, but like any other kind of performance, “the same thing” doesn’t mean the same as “the same result.”

I play golf, just like Phil Mickelson.  He just scores a little less. 

I’m married, just like Tiger Woods.   He just scores a little more.

So I guess it depends on what we’re comparing.  I think Tiger is a better golfer than I, but I think I’m a better husband.

All DJs do “the same thing,” and while we’re flattered to be copied so frequently, it’s frustrating trying to explain to potential clients why some DJs charge less for “the same thing.” 

Ever see a great comedian?  Ever see someone “trying to be funny?”

Ever hear an extraordinary singer?  Ever hear someone “try to sing?”

There are a lot of DJs out there who try to do “the same thing” as Premier Entertainment, but who get a completely different result.  Groans instead of laughter, silence instead of applause, empty dance floors instead of a raging celebration.

So it’s difficult for us, because we certainly don’t want to be bashing other DJs, but we often find ourselves in the unenviable position of trying to explain the difference between what we do and what others do. 

Sure, McDonald’s does “the same thing” as Biba.  But it’s a different experience, no?  Now I realize that Biba is not a restaurant you go to every day – only on special occasions.  But isn’t your wedding day a special occasion?   Don’t you and your guests deserve a better experience?

You Talk Too Much

One of the most common things we hear from the clients who haven’t yet seen us perform is, “We don’t want a DJ who talks too much or makes it all about him.”

This is certainly understandable and while we agree, the issue is how to make sure you get what you think you’re getting.  It’s not really how much the DJ speaks, but how well the DJ speaks.  Some people are easy to listen to, and others, not so much.  A speaker who is well spoken, enunciates well, is concise and engaging is a pleasure to hear, but one who doesn’t choose their words well, stumbles and rambles is a chore.

Nobody ever intends to hire a bad DJ, or one who isn’t good on the microphone, but how do you make sure what you’re getting?  Checking references is the best.  Ask several of their previous clients specifically about their speaking skills.  Ask to see video of the DJ making announcements.

Or, just watch this bad example.  This video is taken from a training video on how to be a good DJ.  We disagree.  We think this is everything that’s wrong with DJs.  If this is what you want, you won’t want to hire Premier Entertainment.