This is the next installment of my recap from the Mobile Beat Show & Conference in Las Vegas. In the last post, I covered the pre-show dinner and presentations by Mark Ferrell (You Only Get One Song) and Mitch Taylor (Ace of Sales). I’ve got three more for you today.
I’ve still only scratched the surface with these. Why? Because while not everyone fully understands what it takes to be a professional entertainer, especially in the wedding industry, I can’t give away everything to [entertainers] not willing to invest in themselves, their company, and even their own clients.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Larry Williams | B-Sides
We are, after all, entertainers. The music we play started in a time of the 45 RPM record. As Larry Williams pointed out, the B-Side of a single was a track designed to show the diversity of an artist. It showcased not only what you needed (the mainstream song), but what could also be achieved (the creativity of the artist).
“The status quo isn’t working,” said Williams.
Are you noticing a theme? Larry further painted this picture by showing us some video footage. This wasn’t any footage, it was from a recent bridal show where Larry attended as an interviewer. He asked couples about their perception of the wedding DJ. It didn’t take long for us to see that the “status quo” to many brides comes across as “cheesy” and “loud” and “obnoxious”.
Larry encouraged all of us to unveil our own B-Sides, the services we offer that are unique. I agree.
Randy Bartlett | Behind The Scenes
If there is one thing that often goes unseen by our clients and their friends and family, it’s the inner workings of an event. Randy Bartlett reminds us that, on that special day, this is a good thing. At one point of Bartlett’s presentation, he asked us to compare a Broadway Production to a High School Play.
“It’s not about [the DJ’s] experience. It’s about the bride and grooms experience.”
As the title suggests, behind the scenes is where we work out real magic. Most of what we do is and should be behind the scenes. We are prepping the best man for his toast, we are informing the photographer of the first dance timing, The ultimate goal is for us to create incredible experiences for our clients.
Sometimes we try so hard to educate our clients of the fact, one that Bartlett reminds us — being Master of Ceremonies is more than making announcements and playing music. It’s a real job.
Wedding Entertainment Directors (W.E.D.) Guild | Open House
If you ever wondered what the highest level of achievement the professional wedding entertainer can attain, that would be Wedding Entertainment Director. Okay, perhaps that’s not true. I know many guys going around and making a great living as MC and DJ in their market. I also know some of the brightest, most creative, and most inspiring individuals in the industry, and darn near all of them are Wedding Entertainment Directors. Why?
Well, several years ago, a disc jockey by the name of Peter Merry spoke at Mobile Beat. See, Peter had written a book and decided to turn the industry upside down. Everyone was astounded at this book – perhaps mostly because it wasn’t intended for DJs, but rather for brides and grooms looking to get out of the average run-of-the-mill wedding reception. What really shocked everyone though, what when Merry told everyone at the end of his presentation that he was no longer a disc jockey. Starting that day, he was a Wedding Entertainment Director. [CUE: Standing Ovation]
Wait…what? How do I become one of those? Well, if you’d like, you can read the full three page application requirements, but in short it requires a bit of heavy lifting. And they take this seriously. First, you have to become buddy-buddy with one of the current twenty-two (yes, that’s the current world-wide member count) for a sponsor letter. Fortunately, I know most of them, and even took training from Peter with about a half-dozen of them two years ago. That is one item I can check off the list.
Now on with the other twenty-four requirements. These range from verification documentation (you must be in business for at least five years), reference letters from past clients and other wedding professionals, proof of liability insurance, samples of personalization and creative situations we have created, samples of our event direction (see Behind The Scenes with Randy Bartlett), and several videos that display our live performance and spokesperson qualities.
Then the hard stuff begins. We have to pass a 3/4 vote from the Advisory Board. Once that happens, we are grilled by the four person board via a 30-minute phone interview. Assuming they are still satisfied, another vote is taken and if you pass, you’re in. Yes, there are some fees to go with this, but anyone is welcome to apply.
My friend and current W.E.D. Guild member, Mitch Taylor, said that he set out to become a member within one years time, and succeeded. I know that I have what it takes, just not all the assets. I’ll be taking the next few months to acquire or record video, and complete all other requirements. My personal goal is to have my application in by the end of summer, and no later than this time next year I hope to make the announcement that I am officially a Wedding Entertainment Director.
The open house concluded with a full presentation of Peter Merry’s “Make It Fun” seminar. I was surprised at the small number of entertainers in attendance for both the open house and “Make It Fun” – but that just means that fewer individuals have that knowledge or desire to become better. For this reason, I have decided not to post a short review here. More power to me in my own market. 😀
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Mitch Taylor | Creative Consultations
The final presentation that I officially attended at MBLV this year was by my good friend Mitch Taylor. Let’s face it, sales will always play a part of this business. I can’t just show up at a wedding, play, and expect to be paid at the end of the night. Despite the need for negotiations, who said that it had to be stuffy and all business?
Mitch reminded the audience that we – as sales people – need to start in the morning with an “Attitude Affirmation.” He told us what the six questions were to ask before each initial consultation, and then six steps to break out of the boring, stuffy meetings. After all, we are DJs – this is supposed to be fun!
With so much to do at Mobile Beat, there was too much information to squeeze into just two posts. Perhaps down the road I’ll recap some of the parties and entertainment that kept everyone going long into the night, and groggy the next morning. Keep in the loop by subscribing to my blog now!
• Did you miss the first post? Read Part One now!