Owners of multi-op companies like the one I work for, Jerry Bruno Productions are used to looking for and recognizing the traits that make can make great DJs. But many (most?) DJs don’t run companies with many different artists and may not regularly have to evaluate other DJs. But for anyone who is selling their own services in the field and wants to continually grow and improve, the more important task may be to regularly evaluate yourself. So in the interest of that self-evaluation, one of most important questions you can ask yourself is “would you hire yourself”?
I try to ask myself that question all the time. Not so much from the standpoint of my being hired as part of a multi-op system to train over time and work many different types of events, etc. Of course I can handle the low-risk events like the corporate cook-out or the backyard birthday party. But what about hiring myself for a once-in-a-lifetime event for someone I love? Like my own daughter’s future wedding for example. Would I stand up to my own scrutiny then?
It may seem obvious that the way you’re doing things as a DJ is probably the way you think they should be done. But I think it’s easy to lose perspective from inside the bubble of being behind the mixer for the same old, same old gig after gig. Just because we’ve done things a certain way for years, doesn’t mean those ways are what is turning the market on currently. For true growth, we have to force ourselves to take frequent, objective looks at ourselves as DJs /MCs through the eyes of new perspective clients.
Here are some things I know I would be looking for in a DJ:
Impressive, classy marketing materials. No cheesy homemade websites with lame gifs and links that don’t work. I would be looking for a professional, clean website featuring video of some sort. I would prefer seeing some video that showed the DJ’s skill at announcements and formalities (I don’t need videos full of crowded dance floors with spinning lights. I’m confident that if the important factors of a reception environment that encourages dancing are in place, guests will dance). I’m also interested in interview-style videos that clearly show the DJs face and I can hear her speaking voice and some of her thoughts on special event entertainment. The next best thing to a sit-down interview. Also, almost every wedding reception has a professional photographer of some sort. I can’t believe that a DJ who has done even a small number of weddings can’t forge a relationship with a photog who would be willing to snap a cool shot of the DJ. Showing professional photos of the DJ (properly credited to the photographer) not only looks classy and professional, but also shows a connection to other vendors which is so important to a creating an on-site team.
I would prefer a DJ who could demonstrate some history of experience in entertainment with a little wider scope than just DJing. We all agree a DJ does so much more than play music. Other performing arts experience of some kind tells me this person knows how to carry himself in front of an audience, react to an audience and knows that even in an emergency, the show must go on. I don’t want or need the DJ to “perform” at my kid’s wedding, but knowing that he has performed in the spotlight in other areas lets me know his MC skills will probably be just fine.
If I’m hiring a DJ for my kid’s wedding, I need absolute dependability. Proof of insurance, membership in professional organizations, testimonials and references along with state of the art equipment are all essential for my hiring piece of mind. I don’t necessarily need to know what the equipment is. Just that it won’t break down, it’s aesthetically pleasing and will sound excellent for my guests. I would also like some assurance that the DJ has a good working knowledge of current music trends and hits. I won’t quiz them on this week’s Billboard Top 40, but I need to know the music mix will be fresh and relevant.
There are a lot of moving parts to a wedding reception. I would need to know that my DJ is organized and sharp. Does she reply to emails promptly? Is she on time and prepared for our client meeting? Is the contracting and scheduling paperwork clear, concise and in order?
I would like the DJ to look nice. I don’t mean they have to be gorgeous (although that doesn’t hurt). Rather, I’m talking about being dressed neatly, in fashion, groomed nicely, etc. Even if they’re not wearing a tux to our client meeting, I can still get a feel for how they present themselves and their physical appearance.
And of course, I would also prefer my DJ to be nice. A pleasant demeanor with a good sense of humor is always a good thing.
These are just a few of the things I might look for in a DJ. I’m sure the list is as long as there are people to make lists. But if you’ll notice, there’s one thing that isn’t on my list. Price. I really believe that if I found a DJ that had these characteristics to put in charge of the most important element of my baby girl’s reception, price would probably be one of the last things I’d be concerned with.
I certainly don’t mean to imply that I possess and have mastered everything on my DJ wish list. Believe me, when I look in the mirror I can see just how much work I continually have to do. But the point is, I DO look in the mirror. So if you do too, would you hire YOU?
What’s on your list?
Filed Under: Exclusive Online News and Content, Performing, Weddings
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