Tips & Tricks From DJ Expo ’16
This year’s DJ Expo, held Aug. 15-18 at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J., once again featured useful educational content delivered via the tried-and-true annual feature seminars, supplemented by a track of specialty presentations geared towards a variety of interests.
Here are some of the highlights:
All-Star MC Secrets Revealed. Chaired by Maryland mobile Steve Moody, this year’s panelists included Christopher Atwood (Absolute Celebrations), Pascal Levesque, George Kramedas, Joe Bunn (Bunn DJ Company) and Adam Weitz (A Sharp Productions).
Atwood suggested that when dancefloors are empty, it’s time for MCs to work harder. One way to quickly pack the floor is to use passive-aggressive guilt-based techniques. For example, the MC invites “all the couples who are happily in love” to enjoy a slow dance.
Atwood also recommends interacting with guests via text message. One recommended product for texting is JammText (for more info visit mixcityinc.com).
Kramedas is another MC who endorses the use of fun, guilt-based techniques (subject to the consent of the wedding couple). For example, in his “Conga Love Line,” he entices guests to join by stating that “the longer the line, the longer the marriage.” Kramedas also recommends using grandparent dances at events. His top song pick for this special dance is “Grandpa” by The Judds.
Canadian Pascal Levesque reminds wedding guests to “get involved” and that their participation is the greatest wedding gift to the bride and groom.
Moderator Moody agreed, stating that “people want to help and all you need to do is ask.” When teaching dances, Levesque instructs on the fly so that no dead air is created and energy levels remain high. He added, “Dancing is a shortcut to happiness.” To further put dancers in the mood, Levesque often uses music videos of dancing cartoon characters.
Bunn focused his remarks on microphones and mic technique, advising MCs to speak in a conversational tone, not in a big radio announcer voice. When presenting the microphone to a guest about to deliver a toast, the MC should serve as a “toast whisperer” reminding the speaker in a whisper to hold the microphone right up to their mouth.
Weitz advised that for maximum emotional impact for a Father-Daughter Dance, the proper sequence of events is (1) for the father to deliver his customary toast, followed by (2) presentation of the video montage, and concluded with (3) the Father-Daughter Dance. For grand entrances, Weitz likes to get guests on their feet and to the dancefloor early, creating a “catwalk-style” grand entrance that raises energy levels and looks great on video. Finally, Weitz recommends that MCs acknowledge the bridal party with a shout-out during the grand finale.
More Keys to a Great DJ & MC Performance. Mike Walter (Elite Entertainment) dispensed a wealth of tips relevant to music programming/mixing, MCing and sales/marketing. Walter states that DJs must do their homework and evaluate a playlist in depth prior to the wedding, familiarizing themselves with any unknown tracks.
A thoughtfully crafted and skillfully mixed dance set results in a better party experience for guests. DJs can review video footage of past events to observe how well (or not) dancers responded to an incoming track. Rather than always being agreeable, a part of providing great customer service is occasionally questioning a client’s playlist by saying, “Let’s talk about this.”
Walter recommends that MCs break the “fourth wall” allowing themselves to interact with and entertain guests on a more personal level. MCs should never ask to do things that they themselves are not willing to do. DJs should never judge a crowd too early. Focus on what is working — and keep smiling.
Finally, Walter challenged DJs to ask themselves, “What is your why?” In other words, to stay inspired as DJ-entertainers, we must occasionally remind ourselves why we got into this business in the first place.
Social Media Madness. Wedding specialist K.C. KoKoruz (Keith Christopher Entertainment Group) stressed that the most important metric in social media is the level of engagement (click-throughs, likes, comments, shares) — not the number of followers. On the Facebook insights section, page managers can easily discern the success of posts and identify characteristics of winning posts.
KoKoruz recommends that DJs consistently post to their Facebook business page, and then from the business page share these posts to one’s personal page. Personal friends who enjoy the content will eventually like your business page.
Regarding the rhythm of brides on social media, most consume vast amounts of information during their engagement. DJs should seek to be a provider of useful information during this period and take care to craft interesting and informative storylines. After the wedding, most brides lose interest in weddings and tend to unfollow their wedding vendors.
The big mistake that KoKoruz sees DJs making on social media is the self-centered “look-at-me” style of posts. Even the popular “V-Log” tends to be self-indulgent with the DJ focusing on himself and his equipment. KoKoruz states that DJs should always ask themselves before posting, “Is this post interesting and/or educational?”
As a successful case study, KoKoruz cited the “Tasty” instructional videos that teach viewers how to prepare gourmet dishes in just a minute or two. DJs must strive to be better storytellers.
While not mentioned in KoKoruz’s seminar, one DJ company who I believe does an excellent job in storytelling and creating user engagement on social media is Jack Bermeo’s LJ Productions. Check out LJ’s Instagram account at “LJDJs” for a sampler of its posts. Bermeo takes a typical event photo and then adds a thought provoking meme to make it more interesting to viewers.
For those DJs dabbling in Facebook Live video simulcasts, KoKoruz advises that you script out scenes in advance and do not wing it. Without proper advance thought on the reasons for the live broadcast, the DJ could inadvertently come across poorly. Finally, KoKoruz reminds those of us posting videos on YouTube to tag them properly as YouTube is a huge search engine owned by Google.
Stay tuned next month for more tips and tricks dispensed from the 2016 DJ Expo.