Ego, Other Vendors and What Sets Off My B.S. Meter

June 29, 2019 by Michael Cordeiro

Try as we might to make sure we have all the details for our events, clients have a habit of hitting us with surprises. How many times has a client answered, “No, nothing else” after asking them during your final pre-event phone call if there was anything special or extra you should be prepared for? I love the look of sheepish surprise on their faces when you ask why Cirque Du Soleil performers are setting up in the middle of the dance floor. “Oh, we didn’t tell you”. Um, no, you did not.

That being said, I usually do my best to roll with any surprises, bite my tongue and make sure the client and their guests have a great time. Playing well in the sandbox goes a long way. We’re all used to a videographer needing a line out for sound or the client hires a singer or comedian who needs our microphone to do their act. No big deal. You look great when you make them look good. Although, it can be very frustrating when those other vendors become overly demanding. They forget that you’re doing them a favor.

I recently had a sixtieth birthday party for a family that I’ve done several events for. The guest of honor is mentally challenged and about a dozen of the guests were as well. If you have never worked with Special Olympics or the mentally challenged (not just physically handicapped) there are a few specific details to keep in mind in regards to sound and lighting. Definitely no strobes or flashy lights. Those can cause seizures. Sound volume can be challenging. Most DJ’s shy away from these events, but they can be so rewarding. These kids have a lot of love to give.

That being said, my client had hired a Michael Jackson impersonator. I found out two days before the event. Cool beans. I told her to have him call me to go over details or email me his number and I would call him. That didn’t happen, so the night of the event I show up to set up and he comes in to get ready with a huge cart of equipment. Naturally my curiosity is peaked. What is all that gear for I ask. My show he replies. How long is your show I say. His reply: about 25 minutes. I’m thinking, why you need all that stuff, man?

He proceeds to tell me that his shows are really big, loud and interactive. He has trussing with laser lights and moving heads and wants to know where my subs are. I had two EV- ELX115s which were more than enough for a sixtieth birthday party with about 100 guests. Most of which were over the age of forty, plus all the handicapped guests. This was a room I had played a few hundred times over the last twenty plus years. Pretty sure I had the sound down.

I politely asked him if he was aware of the handicapped guests coming that night. He said no and that it doesn’t matter. I explained to him that the flashy lighting may cause seizures and we should stick to the wash lighting I brought for the dance floor. That’s when he tripped my B.S. meter. You know, that little internal voice that starts yelling, “Warning, Warning” when someone full of cow pucky starts spewing a steady stream of verbal diarrhea.

He proceeded to tell that he’s been a DJ for over forty years. I’m fifty and he’s younger than me. Do the math. He also told me that he usually brings four tops and two subs plus lighting for his 25 minute performance and that it takes him like three hours to set up. My little internal voice is screaming now. But, hey, maybe I’m wrong. Then he tells me that for the past 28 years he’s been the DJ for the longest running old school night in New England. Thousands of people fly in every year from Miami and all over to Providence for his show at a certain downtown hotel. I’ve played that hotel ballroom. Max it holds about 450- 500 people. I called. they never heard of him. All Ego.

I think the topping on the cake was when I suggested he just tie his laptop into my controller via the auxiliary line out. I asked him if he had an RCA to 1/8th cable. Of course not. He’s only been a DJ for forty plus years, does all these “amazing” shows and a host of other things he was bragging about, but isn’t prepared with a basic little DJ cable we all carry? My “BS” meter is pinging off the charts. Yes, we used mine.

Maybe I’m being a little harsh. I don’t think so. When a client hires me for an event I show up with everything I need to do my job, plus back up. I would think that is a standard in our industry. I don’t rely on other people or the venue to take care of me. That’s a recipe for disaster. My point is that if you are being paid to provide a service you should bring everything you need to do your job or be ready to pay a fee for using someone else’s equipment. Sound fair?

At the end of the event was the client happy? Yes. Did the performer do a good job? Yes. Was the birthday girl overjoyed? Yes. Does all the behind the scenes stuff matter to the client? No. My point. Leave your egos at home. Play well in the sandbox. Focus on your clients. Treat other vendors with professional courtesy. Rant over.

Filed Under: Mobile DJ Business