Me and My Shadow

May 8, 2017 by Joe Bunn

One of the most important parts of training a new DJ at Bunn DJ Company is our shadowing program. Before we even think about training a new DJ, we have them go out and shadow other top DJs within the company. Often times, I am hiring DJs that are coming from club backgrounds, or even once, a skating rink. How are they going to know if they really want to get into the private event/wedding DJ sector if they don’t actually go out and watch someone do it? I’ve had guys and girls come out with me once and go “Yeah, this isn’t for me” at the end of the night. I would much rather know that right off the bat vs. putting in hours and hours of training on my day off!

So what is “shadowing” at Bunn DJ Company? It’s pretty much just that. I tell the trainee, you’re shadowing DJ XXXX this Saturday. Put on a suit and meet him at the venue. I’m going to connect you guys with an email right now. From that point on, they don’t know it, but they are being tested. As soon as that gig is over, I’ll ask my veteran DJ several questions, “How was he/she on email?”, “How did they look?”, “Were they on time/find the venue OK?”, “Did they ask the right questions?”. At the gig, I just want the trainee to watch, and when not in the mix, ask the DJ questions. If they pass this “test”, then I’m going to invite them to further training at my office or a local venue. I usually try to do small groups of trainees at a time vs. one on one, but that’s another article altogether.

I do want to make another important point about shadowing. At no point would I EVER pay someone an hourly rate to go out and shadow me or one of my other DJs. In fact, I should actually charge them! They are going out and watching DJs with 20-30 years of experience go out and torch shows! If they even ask, it’s already a black mark on their record to be completely honest with you. I can get over it, but I won’t easily forget it. You’re wanting a job with one of the best DJ companies on the east coast, but you’re going to sweat me for $50 for training? Uh, no. Anyway, good luck training your DJs, it’s not easy, but so worth it when you get them to the point where they are as good or better than you! Pretty soon you’ll be taking some weekends off and kicking back! American Dream baby!

Joe Bunn Joe Bunn (53 Posts)

Joe Bunn started his DJ career at the age of 14 in his hometown of Wilson, NC. He did shows all throughout high school, college at UNC-Chapel Hill, and eventually moved to Raleigh, NC in the late 90s where he started Bunn DJ Company. The company grew from a couple of DJs to 15 of the area’s best mobile DJs. Over the past few years, Bunn DJ Company has expanded to Charleston, SC, Charlotte, NC and Richmond, VA. The company performs at over 800 weddings a year and another 400 private, corporate and charity events. Joe has been on the board of both ILEA (International Live Events Assocation) and NACE (National Association of Catering & Events). In addition, he is a writer for many national DJ publications such as Disc Jockey News, Mobile Beat Magazine and DJ Times. Joe still DJs almost every weekend, but in recent years has been helping other DJs across the country grow their businesses. He has given seminars at Mobile Beat Las Vegas, Wedding MBA, DJ Times Expo, local/regional organizations, NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill. He has also been hired by DJs all over the world to help their businesses in every aspect from branding to sales.


Filed Under: Mobile DJ Business