Whether you are throwing a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Corporate Gala, Wedding or fundraisers the fact is this, the entertainer or entertainer(s) you hire will make or break your event. This means the MC and DJ are the most important elements of your event. You definitely don't want to hire someone without thoroughly vetting them first. Here is a list of questions to ask when you meet with potential MC and DJ companies to find the right fit for you.
How long have you been doing this professionally?
Why You Want to Know: Don’t be fooled! In this business, experience matters. Is this their 5th or 500th event. If you want an entertainment experience, ‘experience’ being the optimal word, you don’t want to be someone’s guanine pig. If you want a professional elegant cocktail party with lots of casual conversation, someone who typically works in bars and clubs might not be your number 1 choice. If a DJ describes him/herself as rap DJ there is a mismatch. (And if you're having trouble determining what kind of DJ you want, do some research. Start with their social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This is where you can see for yourself who they really are
Can we come take a quick peek at an event/party you're working?
Why You Want to Know: Seeing MCs and DJs perform live will give you the best idea about what your event entertainment would actually sound and feel like. While most DJ companies and the couples that hire them mutually agree in advance that the event is closed to prospective clients, some will have streaming video access which is the next best thing " for you to view and see whether they're a good fit or not.
Do you know our reception space and its acoustic, power and amplification requirements? If not, will you check it out beforehand?
Why You Want to Know: Your DJ company may need extra wires/cables, extension cords, a backup generator or other supplies, and it's important to know this beforehand. If they don't want to check out your venue, cross them off your list.
Can you play songs that are important to us, such as a traditional Jewish (huge for Mitzvahs) tunes or a favorite pop hits?
Why You Want to Know: All DJs should have digital access to a list of songs, anywhere, anytime from any place. This is 2018, not 1998! For Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, the DJ MUST be able to play or download your tune. If a DJ says "yes," they need to play it. Again, all DJs have online access to music sites and can readily download or play your tune on the spot (Your DJ should check WiFi access before the event)
Tell me about your lighting or any other special effects?
Why You Want to Know: Beyond music, most pros bring special lighting (including LED and laser light shows) and/or effects, like a sparkle show, fog machine, while others will stick to the tunes. If your DJ does amp up his performance with specific effects, they may be standard or they may cost extra, so ask and get all prices written into your contract. Most DJs will package these ‘extras’ for you so ask them about each package and what is or isn’t included.
How long does it take to set-up your equipment?
Why You Want to Know: The day of the event, you want to be sure (and not think about) the DJ set up for your event. For standard DJ set up set up time is usually 30-40 mins, more elaborate packages that include lighting TV trusses, stages and extra speakers could be 60 mins or more. There is usually a person from the company there 1.5 hours prior to start time.
How do you ensure a comfortable sound level for all the guests?
Why You Want to Know: You want to have a plan for dealing with volume control and sound-sensitive guests. Here's the deal: What your 13-year-old guests think is the perfect volume is different from what your 89-year-old great-grandma is willing to put up with. If you have a fun dance-off going, you don't want people who aren't participating to have to shout like they're at a crowded bar. Most experienced DJ companies will monitor the volumes throughout the event to ensure we don’t have sad faces L due to excessive volume.
What do you typically wear?
Why You Want to Know: Most experience MC DJ companies typically wear all back or for Bar Mitzvahs or specialty events add in some color (colorful tie, shoes, etc.) If your event is back tie required, tell the DJ they need to dress accordingly. (Black pants, black shirt, etc.) We do! J .
How many hours are included in the package?
Why You Want to Know: Most DJs will have a minimum amount of time they'll play (usually 4 hours). You want to know what is included in the package. Most events will include 4 hours for the main event or reception and 1 hour for cocktail music. Tip: confirm the total hours the DJ Company will perform to ensure there will be no gaps during that time.
How do you handle song requests?
Why You Want to Know: Check what the protocol will be for making sure your guests hear their favorite tunes—if you even want them to have that creative control. A particular DJ may prefer to get requests in certain ways (probably not shouted at them while they're working). Tip: provide the DJ with a top 10 list of songs/artists/gene and tell them to play those songs and allow the DJ to throw in additional songs you may not have thought of
Tell me about the MC? (I love this question)
Why You Want to Know: I love this question! J Your MC is the voice and representative of your event flowing smoothly and ensure everything and everyone are on time for intros, speeches and the like. The MCs job is to energize your guests, help them feel comfortable, engaged and connected. Clarify this before you hire them. Tip: find someone who is passionate about what they do. Ask them. Why do you do what you do? They help It isn't guaranteed that your bandleader or DJ will introduce the speech givers, announce your first dance or tell people when dinner is served. Sometimes, a planner will do that or even the best man or maid of honor.
How many events do you typically do in a year?
Why You Want to Know: Similar to question #1 you're trying to determine how experienced they are—not only how long they've been doing events, but also how often. Both are important to understand how well they can handle your dance floor. Ask to speak to some previous clients. Online reviews are ok, but being able to chat directly with clients who used this DJ can give you a clearer picture of what they're like to work with. Tip: How many weddings, Bat Mitzvahs, etc do you do every year. What percentage are weddings vs Mitzvahs, etc?
Do you have another gig before or after ours?
Why You Want to Know: If they don't have anything after, ask what the overtime fees are if the party is still cranking past the end of the time on your contract. And if they have one before, ask what will happen if the other event runs over. Tip: make sure the DJ company can absolutely 100% cover your event in the event another one runs over time, and with the same experienced DJ/MC.
Do you have liability insurance?
Why You Want to Know: You need to be sure you, your venue and guests are protected in case of an accident. A true pro will offer to show you their certificate. Tip: don’t tell me show me – get a copy of the policy.
What's your backup plan if there's an equipment malfunction?
Why Do You Want to Know: Most DJs will prepare for an unexpected event—for instance, a laptop or speaker blows out. But it's best to double-check they have a backup plan. If the plan B equipment isn't in the DJ's car, you'll have a lot of silence at your event—and it won't be golden.
What's your cancellation policy?
Why You Want to Know: If you change your date or change your mind on your music (it happens), what are the repercussions? Tip: most pros have a clearly written cancellation policy in their contract. Tip: Ask to see and read it before you sign.
How do you motivate the crowd to dance?
Why You Want to Know: Most MCs who have been working for more than 8-10 years should know how to handle this. Also, DJs and MCs will teach the latest dance and vocally encourage guests to step onto the dance floor, while others will just select songs that will naturally get people moving. Choose someone who uses a technique that you like. Tip: ask to meet or speak with your MC. High-Energy is KEY! A High-energy MC doesn’t mean he screams at the top of his lungs. If that happens, run the other way FASTS! Ask the MC, what is your ‘goto technique’ to motivate people. Get the details.
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