Questions your DJ doesn’t want you to ask!
Ok, so not EVERY DJ… but let’s be 100% honest here; once a company is 100% legit, business costs skyrocket; this is why many of us charge what we do. Aside from delivering a stellar service, running a business isn’t cheap nor easy! Then again, planning a homecoming or prom isn’t much easier and trying to find the right company is tough enough as it is without trying to figure out what to ask while making sure you do due diligence. The list below is a small fraction of what you need to ask your production company (many DJs have evolved into this field of business) to make sure you’re covered 100%. Why is this important? One word: SAFETY!
Everyone has insurance, but the honest truth is that most “DJ insurance” or “production insurance” is bought online and they don’t check on us as often as you’d think. I could buy a cheap $399 DJ insurance which covers basic sound and lights; this insurance binder would satisfy county’s contract requirements, but if anything happened with the setup we bring out: WE WOULD NOT BE COVERED! But how? We provided proof of insurance! Well, just because someone has the insurance doesn’t mean they told the insurance company what they were bringing out. Here’s the tough part: insurance binders don’t explain anything nor will they ever. This is where you ask your DJ not if they have insurance, but instead ask: What type of insurance do you have and what does it cover?
It’s hard to qualify for Workman’s… TRUST US! However, if your DJ doesn’t have it, you better hope there’s a clause where he won’t sue you if he or his employees get hurt. Why risk it? Productions like school dances are dangerous! All it takes is someone slipping on a drink on the gym floor to launch a lawsuit if they have no Workman’s!
Every company says they have lights; or moving lights, intelligent fixtures, whatever the name may be. The honest truth is that most schools have ZERO idea what that light show entails. So ask! Your contact should be able to speak, enthusiastically, about what lighting they use, how they use it, and the effect it will create. Better yet, ask for videos of how the lighting goes along with the music and theme. No videos? Move on– you wouldn’t book a hotel ballroom without seeing it first, right?
Lasers will blind you!
This isn’t a joke. Did you know a laser that’s improperly aimed can actually hurt your vision and some can even burn flesh? This is why all legal laserists have a permit from the FDA called a Variance. By all means, don’t be afraid of using lasers at your dance. We do laser shows ALL THE TIME with no issues; but we’re also trained professionals with government papers that assure you that we don’t take chances! Not all lasers require variances as not all of them will blind your crowd (very few exceptions… very few); but a laser that doesn’t require a variance is one of 3 things: 1) a toy (meaning it won’t be very visible) 2) Diffracted – such as the starfield lasers which are very popular 3) Illegal.
Be safe! Ask your production company for a copy of his variance. Also ask about his emergency stop plan should someone get close to the beams (such as impromptu crowd surfers).
This is a huge debate amongst DJs: many argue that you don’t need to mix to create a good dance. This is sort of true, but with the average high schooler watching every famous DJ with a magnifier glass, I think you’ll get a unanimous decision that if a DJ can’t mix, then it’s going to be tough to seamlessly jump genres and keep everyone happy. Ask your DJ for videos of his performances!
In ANY industry, education is important. Did you know there are countless seminars and videos dedicated to our industry? Conventions such as DJ Times, Mobile Beat, Las Vegas DJ Show, NAMM, LDI, InfoCOMM and a few others are geared towards enhancing what we offer! (Fun fact: The worldwide-leading school dance education seminars are hosted by 4SchoolsOnly president, Arnoldo Offermann.) Ask your entertainer how involved in the industry he is and how he continues to perfect his craft! It’s not a make or break deal, but it sure helps to know that your team is committed!
That’s it for now… I’m sure we’ll offer a Part 2 very very soon! 🙂