Panic Button By:Geoff Short

December 30, 2012 by CHAUVET DJ

Any good DJ worth his weight in MP3s has a back-up plan in case Murphy’s Law kicks in at a gig. There’s a ton of advice available about back-up plans. Not so much about the psychological impact of DJ panic when things go wrong. Panic kills. I was a lifeguard throughout high school and college. We learned the first option to save someone drowning is to reach something long to them and pull them to safety. If you approach a drowning person who is panicked they will most likely drag you down with them. On a gig, panic can drown the event as quickly as a floundering swimmer. You lose control to think and act quickly. Survival is the only instinct that kicks in. Being able to calmly come up with a solution goes right out the window. We’ve all had flashes of panic on gigs. Forget the sync button. Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a panic button for those panic-inducing situations on gigs? Just press the button and poof! Problem solved. Panic recedes. Here’s a few of my mental “panic buttons”.  I’ve had to use them before to save myself from drowning.

The moment of panic when a track is running out and you don’t have the next track cued up.
Panic Button: Have a “ready” track always cued up on an external device like an ipod or ipad and press play!! It may not be the best mix, but it beats dead air.

The moment of panic when you accidentally stop a track
Panic Button: Prepare an emergency announcement that makes it look like you did it on purpose. Try something with a sense of humor like “We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for this song especially dedicated to the newlyweds!”

The moment of panic when you realize you introduced the wrong name
Panic Button: I’ve done this. There really is no panic button available. You screwed up. Deftly apologize, correct yourself and move on.

The moment of panic when you realize you forgot your shoes
Panic Button: Pack an extra pair of shoes, or tie or black pants or whatever…duh.

The moment of panic when you realize you don’t have your printed timeline
Panic Button: Print outs, while handy, are really so “1990’s”. Input your timelines into an online cloud-based service like Drop Box or Google Drive. That way your data can be accessed on any device you most likely would have with you any time like your phone or laptop. AND you can still print out copies if you need to.

So now that you have a few more buttons to push, don’t panic.  Jump on in. Lifeguard’s on duty and the water’s fine.

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