I was approached by a mother and daughter at a recent bridal show, and the mother asked, “Do you charge extra for personality?”
Unsure of what she meant, and thinking that she might be joking, I answered with, “Whose personality do you have in mind?”
She wasn’t joking, in fact, she seemed a little angry. “I just talked to this DJ downstairs, and he told me they charge $300 extra if we want ‘personality’!”
I was floored. In 33 years in the entertainment industry, I had never encountered a “personality surcharge.” The whole idea was mind-boggling, and I completely understood the woman’s outrage. I assured her, “NO, we don’t charge extra, for anything. I don’t believe in that.”
Still in disbelief, I checked on her claim, and learned that she spoke with a franchise DJ entertainment company. They advertised a low base price to lure customers, (HINT: avoid any talent-based service that markets on price!) and then tried to up-sell by explaining that the base package was just a small sound system and an operator who was a trainee, to “just push Play.” The cost was $300 more if they wanted an experienced DJ and Emcee, who used the microphone. Also more for satellite speakers, wireless microphone, lighting, special music, ad infinitum. The old “Bait-and-Switch” trap.
This is wrong on several levels. First, it is a misleading marketing practice; dishonest in my book. And more importantly, you never trust your wedding to an amateur! The most important celebration of your life requires an experienced professional, and is no place for on-the-job-training for a young DJ wanna-be!
The whole concept of DJ “personality” has always troubled me. It has always been my strong feeling that for the milestone celebrations of your life: your wedding, birthday, graduation, anniversary, bar mitzvah, reunion, or retirement, that the Emcee should not be the star of the show. At a wedding, the bride and groom are the stars; at a birthday, the birthday boy or girl, etc. A DJ with a powerful personality that overshadows the bride or the birthday honoree is simply not appropriate.
THE PRIME DIRECTIVE: Thou Shalt Not steal the bride’s fire!
An experienced DJ and Emcee acts as a host, an announcer, and a facilitator. He controls the flow of events and keeps everything on schedule. He coordinates with venue management, food service, decorators, photographers, lighting designers, entertainers, and the host family, as well as guests who will give toasts or speeches, and people who will be introduced.
Yet a truly good Emcee certainly must have what is called “personality.” But experienced professionals know it should be the personality of the event, not of the DJ!
At my events, I always strive to be pleasant, smiling, and happy. I present an up-beat, positive and fun mood, even to the point of being joyous. It can be contagious, and my goal is to communicate to all the guests that we are gathered to celebrate – joyfully!
Unless asked by my client to do so, I never say my name. It’s not about me; it’s about the people being honored at the event.
If that is what you call “personality,” there’s no charge – it’s part of the service.