Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Is it really all about the food?

Food is important on your special day, if it is great, it is a big plus, if it is bad you are doomed. The main reason it is so important is to keep your guests interested in everything else that is happening. When people get over hungry, they get cranky, fidgety, anxious and UN-interested. Knowing this, the timing of the food is actually more important than the food itself. Thus the timing of your Wedding sets the tone for the whole event, and the whole day for that matter. If your Wedding starts at 11am, people will already be starting to get hungry, and they still will have to wait to re-energize until 1 or 2pm by the time the ceremony is over, then they move to the reception site, wait for your photographer to finish with pictures, and various other things that need to happen before the food in on their plate in front of them.

You should try to time your Ceremony shortly after a normal meal time, but not so close to a meal time that guests miss the previous meal before the event. Also you must make sure that once you set the timing, you stick to it. I MC’d a reception a while back on a hot summer day and the Wedding was late, the pictures took forever and the meal was served over an hour late. This is not a good thing, prime rib doesn’t wait well and neither do the guests. This is something that can happen even with the best planning.

As a Bride, it is hard to understand how overwhelming your special day can be. There is a lot going on at any moment. Professionals in the business have conditioned themselves for these things, but the main actors in your special day come in with little or no training. Your folks, your bridal party, the Groom and groomsmen, transportation, water heaters keeping up with 10 showers. It is easy for the schedule to snowball with minor delays one right after another, none huge derailments, but combined - disastrous.

Make sure you leave extra time in your schedule the morning before. You need a bit of time to relax and allow for minor things that just happen. One thing that you do need to do, even if you never do it on other days, is stick to the timing that you have set.

Back to the food- what you have is not nearly as important as if it is served on time. The best Chefs will stick to the schedule that you have given them. Their food deserves to be served at its best, and its best is on time. Even EggSalad sandwiches suck when they get crusty on top, and then there is the whole mayo bacteria thing! Cooking Lobster for 100 people is not easy, serving any meal for 250 people is all about timing.

One other thing about the food, for me, as a professional- I do not eat at your function. I eat well before and after. Maybe I will drink a protein shake during or something and I drink plenty of water. As an MC and DJ, one of the most important times for me to be paying attention to what is happening and about to happen, is during dinner. I am out and about, talking with the Bride, visiting tables, getting requests, making sure that the next event is prepared. For me, food makes me tired, and I need my energy to be on 10 throughout your event. High Energy is contagious, and at the very least keeps your guests interested in what is happening. I know a lot of professionals that thrive on what you are going to feed them… I do not, as a matter of fact, I tell my Brides to make sure not to count me as a meal that they have to pay for, I don’t eat it anyway.

So what time should your event be? There are a lot of things to take in to consideration. When can guests most easily arrive? When can you be ready? What temperature will it be? How late can your Venue allow loud music? How long will the flowers stay perky? Are you having appetizers, then dinner?

I am currently working with a Bride who is going to have food ongoing throughout the entire event, no sit down meal. No worries about guests getting too hungry, or the food being ruined. Let’s face it, it is really not all about the food, it is about the events of the most special day of your life. If you plan a bit, there will be no distractions and everyone will be energized and excited about all of the special traditions that you will be creating on your special Wedding day!

So, really, it is not all about the Food, it is about your Wedding, joining with your partner in life. Plan ahead, stick to a schedule, and hire the right professionals that will make things follow those important timing issues, so you can go through your day just getting married and partying with your friends and family.

Need help creating the right timing and atmosphere? Call me… my first planning consultation is without any obligation. Let’s find out if my services are a match for creating that special event!
Ed McCurdy MC/DJ  VJEd

“Why just listen to music, when you can watch it?”

I can create instantaneous slide show of your wedding pics on my multiple screens in time for dinner!

Picking Venders for your Wedding

You need the right allies in this task immediately. Most don't think about it, but if you hire the right Entertainer, yes the person that can actually make things happen at any given time on your special day, they will likely lead you in the right direction once they have listened to all of your dreams for the day.

If you have already decided on the Venue, most good ones have a person to help you with this very important planning. Make sure that you voice all of your ideas early, and find out if that person is actually listening to you, or leading you along some path that "is the way everyone does it".

One of the reasons that I have done so well as an Entertainer, is that my "Radar" is always on. I am a listener. I also have the experience to ask the right questions. I know how long it takes for things to happen, I know how to create moods, and change them in an instant.

A good Entertainer, is also your best friend during the months of planning that you have ahead of you. They know how to listen, then give advice, and back off to allow you to make your own decisions. There are a few of us out there that pay attention to this first and foremost. Make sure whoever you choose gives you this impression every time you talk to them. You need to be excited about them, if you are not, your guests won't be. You should consider having your Entertainer attend important planning meetings, especially with your Venue.

You will be spending a considerable amount of cash getting ready for this big event, make sure you have a great team on your side as well. When you hire a great Entertainer, they are not just working 5 or 6 hours on your special day, they are working and available for you 24/7 during the hard months of planning. Congratulations and Cheers... lets make 2013 the best year ever... Together!

Ed McCurdy MC/DJ (VJ Ed)
Its all about the SMILE :)

My new ad on Z107.3

Here is my new ad on Z107.3 that includes a great discount for Brides during January 2013. Book now, get the great discount and make sure your date doesn’t get taken. I am available for a free no obligation planning meeting before you decide. Let’s get together and get your ideas on paper to create the event of your dreams!

Entertainment... (Really?)

I have been in the Entertainment Industry now for nearly 20 years. One of the things that is taken for granted in this trade, is people just expect that everyone that says they are an Entertainer are in fact Entertainers. The only real way to know for sure is to take the "temperature" of the guests that are in attendance of the function.

How often have you attended a function, eaten the food, stayed for the speeches, and the prizes and then quietly evacuated the premises because you are about to fall asleep from sheer boredom. It seems like more and more of these events seem just like the last one you evacuated previously. The Wedding happens, the Company Presentation happens, The Birthday Party, The Lobster Feed, The Summer Bash, whatever the function is, they all blend together in to the same old same old.

The reason you want some Entertainment at your event is to keep people interested, have fun together, and eventually "remember when we did this" conversations happen years later. If the "remember when" moments never happen, your party is essentially a failure. The sad thing is, these moments are rarely planned in to an event. Once the party is underway, there is little that can be done to save poor planning. A great Entertainer can rescue an event like this (I make it a point to continually interact with the attendees so I know the "temperature"), but planning ahead makes all of the difference.

If you are planning an event, you should consider including your Entertainer in the planning meetings. A real Entertainer has enough experience with different kinds of people and events, which is vital information while planning. The other communication that is vital, happens between your committee and the Entertainer that educates Him/Her about your attendees, and the theme that you want conveyed. The collaboration should help you create special events during the evening that will keep your attendees interested, and more likely to participate, and even more likely to have that "remember when" experience as well.

I have specifically developed my Entertainment System to be able to accommodate many different types of entertainment. I have multiple Video screens for Presentations, Corporate Videos, Photo Slideshows, Visualizations, Music Videos, and Karaoke. I have computer controlled LED DMX Lighting for Dancing and Mood Lighting. Then there is the capability as an EmCee for Games, Interviewing, Dancing, Announcements, and introductons. Add to this a state of the art sound system, Shure Wireless microphones, Huge Music Video, Karaoke and Music Library, and Computerized System that allows instant requests. If you have talented attendees, I have the capability of plugging in their instruments to my system, or provided music track background for their performances. And now I even have the capability of Music Production, Recording Studio, and Video Production if you need an eye catching Presentation.

If you want your Event to be memorable, make sure you plan ahead, and Hire the right Entertainer to help you keep your theme on point and on schedule. If you are, or someone you know is, planning an event, please give me a call. My first planning meeting can be scheduled with no obligation. What better way is there to find out if Ed McCurdy MC/DJ is the right Entertainment for your very important event?

Call me now to check availability and reserve your Date!

Ed McCurdy MC/DJ (VJ Ed)

Eye Catching Setup

Monday, January 23, 2012

Singing Tips - Part 1 Diaphragm

Yea, Yea, I know... I am not a "Great" singer, more like a Good singer of a large variety of different styles of music. If I was a Great singer, I would have made my millions while I was much younger. I do however have fun singing, and do my best to make it un-painful for my audiences. So why am I giving advice, being the novice that I am. Well I hang out with a lot of novice singers. We have good voices, and through this Karaoke jam that we have created we have found that we get a little applause now and then, and it kinda feels good, and hearing ourselves over a nice sound system kinda adds to our presentation over singing in the car or the shower.

I am no expert here, so take my suggestions how you want. I have learned a few techniques over the years that are certainly worth passing on. While breathing is very important for holding those notes, more important is the use of your diaphragm. No not that one, the one that exists in your body just below the center of your ribcage. When you sing, you actually should not be using massive amounts of air from your lungs to push the notes out. If you use your diaphragm correctly while singing you should be able to project your voice at its most powerful state without blowing out a candle six inches from your mouth.

Now don't catch your hair on fire trying this, but it is absolutely true. Try it. First lets see how to find and use your diaphragm. There are some actual exercises that you can do to enhance the use of your diaphragm. Place your hand at the center of your rib cage and make the che che che sound. You will feel this muscle tightening up, that is your diaphragm. If you tighten that muscle while you are singing you will project your voice rather than blow your voice out with air. Like any other muscle, if you don't use it, you lose it. To prepare your body to start using this muscle, you need to exercise it. Try this:

1. Make the Che Che Che sound, (like the little engine that could)  but thrust it as hard as you can 20 times

2. Then do the same saying Pa Pa Pa, with emphasis on the consonants, almost holding your breath before you release each sound, 20 times again.

3. Then the same with The The The.

by now your diaphragm will feel like you have been pumping iron if you are doing it correctly. Now try singing with the candle in front of you holding your diaphragm tight and you wont blow out the candle.

If you can exercise this little muscle enough, and then remember to use it to sing with rather than a volume of air, you will be able to hit notes better, project them and not ruin your throat, and also hold notes for as long as you can hold your breath. This doesn't work for every style of singing, sometimes you need to use some air too, but it is one more tool in your arsenal.

I will have other tips for singing soon, like shaping your mouth, position of your chin cool little tricks that allow us to hear the finest part of your human instrument. See you at my shows!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Growing the Entertainment Biz

Just want to take a minute to thank all of my comrades in the Entertainment Business out there. One thing that I have really noticed from last year is the ability of us all to join forces and work together to increase attendance at all of our events.

Facebook has probably done more for communication and advertising our events, but just having your own page limits the exposure for each event we perform at strictly to those that follow us as individuals closely. Through networking and real friendships with our peers we have been able to multiply the number of people that find out about any given event at which we are performing. Our working together promoting each other has helped all of us get more gigs, increase our attendance, and then get even more gigs.This excitement transfers to more fans showing up at any given gig that we do.

I was going to tag all of you that I am referring to, to thank for this wonderful networking, but I didn't want to miss anyone, because you are all so important. The Venues, the Bands, the DJ's, the Solo Artists, and the Fans, are all equally important in the growth of our industry. Just know that I know, and I am sure that you have realized or are realizing that we are not competition, or enemies, rather all in this together. More and more of us are banding (no pun intended lol) together and sharing leads, and recommendations, and fans, and venues and eventually even the wealth. We have finally realized that the more people we can get interested in coming out to our shows, the more hooked they will be at coming out to have a good time even more often.

I can only do so many shows a year. When I get booked up on any given date, I still get calls for that date. Knowing people in this business gives me the ability to be a problem solver for customers, and a marketing asset for my peers. What goes around comes around. 4 shows that I did last year were referred to me from those that you would think were my competition turning into real profit dollars for me. I was able to return the "favor" 3 of 4 times, but the good news is, we aren't keeping score.

Here is to more of the same in 2012, we can all use a boost in sales. A big thank you again to my partners in Business... that is you! the Venues, the DJ's, The Bands and especially the Fans!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

When Should You Hire Your DJ FIRST ?

So, you've decided to have an event (Wedding, Birthday, Anniversary, Business Party, etc). You think you know where, you have ideas for food, you know which people you want there... Now what to do for entertainment?  The earlier you bring the Entertainment to the mix, the easier it will be to develop the Theme for your party. The capabilities of the person or group that is your entertainment will define the flow of the evening. You know people will eat. You know people will have cocktails and socialize. Then What?

     Most often, people plan nearly their entire evening and then remember... oh we need a Band or a DJ, or Magician, or something. This is totally backwards. Especially now that more and more people are having events not at a traditional Venue. Most Venues have a person that has great experience in managing the Flow of an evening. A good Entertainer has this capability as well. The right Entertainer will sit down and help you plan the Flow of your evening, and help you develop a theme that will forever be remembered by your guests.

     Included in my services is my expertise in event planning. I attained this experience from being totally sensitive to the attendees at many different kinds of events. One thing that I have found over the years is the importance of having a person in charge of mingling with the guests, constantly taking their "temperature". You will find that most entertainers and DJ's take this temperature from the Stage. However effective this is... nothing matches going out and talking one on one with your guests. Over the years I have carefully manicured and upgraded my equipment to make it easier to spend more time moving around the room and visit with your guests. I also move quickly, bouncing around the room, back and forth to my equipment, and back out with the crowd.

     We used to judge the "Temperature" of the crowd by whether or not they were dancing. Fact is, there are a lot of people out there that enjoy watching and listening. By playing the right music, you will get the people dancing that dance, thus giving the people that watch and listen, something to watch and listen to. Once in a while even the hard core dancers need a break or get thirsty. Now is the time for all the Girls to come up in a group and sing a couple of tunes, then maybe the guys, or maybe its time to play Minute to Win It. Oh, and now the Dancers are back, 4 or five songs later, its time for a slow dance... turns out the dance floor is packed with lovers... time for 2 slow dances in a row.

     If I am watching from the stage, I may even have an educated guess about what to do next. But, by talking with all of your guests earlier in the evening, I know that there are 5 women out there that will definitely be entertaining crooning out a couple of "girlie" tunes, and so n so's grandfather has this awesome rendition of Frank Sinatra, and your cousin's daughter who is only 8 sounds just like Taylor Swift. And then there was the advice from a couple of people that said "whatever you do, do not give the mcrophone to Uncle Charlie.. you'll never get it back", which might be ok, but in this case no one wants to hear from Uncle Charlie.

     Bring in the right DJ or Entertainer early in the planning stage, and these things can be put into the mix on purpose, leaving spontaneity for even more interesting developments. Your DJ should not just play music, he should be an MC. That is short for Master of Ceremonies. There are some bands out there that do this well, but if you have a band, you might still want a DJ to fill in the major MC skills and play during the bands breaks. Bands generally take 15 to 20 minute breaks every hour, unless previously arranged.

     To answer the title question, "When Should You Hire your DJ FIRST?"... I say always. Great Entertainment will get remembered long after the wonderful buffet has been digested.

     If you are planning an event this year, I am willing to do my initial consultation at no charge or obligation. This will help begin the initial planning, and find out if I am a match for your event. If you haven't thought of having an event this year.... think about it ... life is too short to miss great times with great friends!