Sunday, August 23, 2009

Working with a wedding coordinator

I DJ'ed another Soundsations wedding last night at the Red tail Landing Golf club near the Edmonton international airport. It was a real barn-burner The dance floor was kept busy all night. There were no real lulls in the action, which is unusual. I don't think it's necessarily that I did any better of a job as the DJ than normal. It was just a really great crowd that was ready to tear up the dance floor. The couple had hired a wedding coordinator, so as the DJ I needed to work with her.
Most wedding coordinators I've worked with do a great job and last night was no exception. Everything ran extremely smoothly and relatively on time. I do find however that wedding coordinators will either have the attitude that they are there to work with you, or you are there to work for them. Obviously I don't have any issues with the first type. I understand though that there are lots of fly by night, unprofessional and inexperienced DJ outfits out there and this undoubtedly has shaped the way some coordinators have come to deal with the DJ's they work with.
I have lost count of how many weddings I've done. I would estimate at least 40 per year for the last 15 years. Definitely far more than most wedding coordinators in the business. Of course they don't know this and it would sound boastful to tell them. All I'm trying to say is that it's nice when you are treated as a professional and there is an attitude of working together to provide the clients with the best experience possible.
I said I would post some photos of my new lighting effect, so here are some. It did stop spinning about 3 hours in to the dance. So if does that again next weekend it's going back.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A new DJ lighting effect

Last week I purchased a new lighting effect to take with me to my DJ gigs. It is a simple LED device from American DJ that pretty much simulates the mirror ball effect. I tried it out last weekend at a wedding dance (through my DJ company Soundsations). It works very nicely and saves me some set-up and tear-down time. When you DJ every single weekend (sometimes twice on a weekend) saving a few minutes is very welcome.
It puts out 34 spots of LED light and spins them around the room and can be run all night. Its much smaller than a mirror ball and less fragile. The bonus to me is I only have to set it up on its own whereas the mirror ball required setting up the ball and the pin spot at some distance from the ball (I actually usually used two pin spots) meaning lots of extension cords and duct tape.
Ill try to get some photos of it in action at this upcoming weekend's wedding to post.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Another great dance with a few challenges.

Last night I played DJ again through my mobile DJ company Soundsations at the River Cree hotel in Edmonton. It turned out to be a fantastic dance with lots of action on the dance floor until 1:30am.
The bride and groom had hired a wedding coordinator who did a great job of having everything organized and kept things running pretty smoothly and on time. The only snag was that the couple had rented a screen and projector from me for a slide show and there was absolutely no space left in the room to set it up.
I had to have the banquet staff rearrange tables to make room which is not that easy for them once they have everything set up already. This led to another challenge in that where the projector ended up in the room was quite far away from my DJ console. This made running an audio cable to the presenters laptop difficult.
Of course everything got worked out in the end and all went well. This does reinforce for myself the need to let customers know that they need to make sure their venue knows the set-up requirements for their event. Also customers need to know audio to be patched through the DJ sound board should not be 100 ft. away from the board. I always mention these points, but sometime to no avail.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Handicapping your DJ

I thought I would post a few thoughts regarding the advantages and the disadvantages of brides and groom creating their own play lists for the DJ. I'm thinking about this because I did a Soundsations (my mobile DJ company) wedding dance in Edmonton a few weeks ago where the couple had provided me with a list of about 20 songs that they definitely had to have played and about 10 songs or so that they didn't want.
Normally when I meet with a couple at booking time I tell them that, of course you are welcome to put together a list of must play and do not play music. After all, It's your big day and you're the customer. I usually also say though, I can only play so many songs during a four hour or so dance, so if your list of must plays is huge, I have no flexibility to play other guests requests. Also, if what you have listed isn't working, I don't have as much flexibility to try and read the crowd and play to them. It could be that you don't care if the dance floor is busy, as long as you're hearing the music you like, but that isn't usually the case.
I also warn couples that chances are someone will request the very songs you've asked not to hear. These may also very well be the exact songs that would get the dance floor busy, even though you might cringe when you hear it.
An experienced DJ that has performed hundreds of dances knows what the average mixed aged crowd will respond to. They will also be able to adjust what they are playing based on requests and a little trial and error. Dictating a huge must play list to the DJ severely handicaps the DJ's ability to do this. It is also quite awkward for the DJ to have to tell guests "I'm sorry, the bride and groom don't want to hear that song.".
In the end of course, the customer is always right. but if close to a 500 weddings worth of experience is worth anything, my advice would be that if you have music you definitely have to hear at your dance, give the DJ a list of no more than 10 songs or so. Also keep your do not play list to a couple of songs at most, or even better, tell the DJ only to play them if requested.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Well, I guess a year and half is a long enough break from blogging. I should get back to it. So here we go.
I've continued to be busy with my DJ company Soundsations. I've lost count but I've worked either a wedding or some other type of function pretty much every weekend since my last blog. Of course I've taken a few weeks off. We took the family to Hawaii, and a few other smaller vacations.
I have also spent some time updating the Soundsations website. It is now a flash based site so it looks a little fancier, but I still tried to keep it simple. I also updated the music library which is now approaching 500 pages.
Anyways, I have to run now, but I will be posting regularly now (I mean it this time!).