This blog, along with several others by our event brethren, has recently been inundated with articles relating to the “relationship” between an event entertainer and their client. In the grand scheme this is the most important part of planning an event or private reception – an event will not reach its’ potential if the client and entertainer are not on the same page. The priority of the entertainer is to satisfy the needs of the client, as well as push the event to the next level. Once the planning part is complete, the weight lays solely on the entertainer and his/her staff. The one fact that cannot be ignored is that any multi-faceted event requires two skills that are often ignored in a landscape flowing with “individuals”; the skills are simple, they’re called “communication” and “teamwork”.
A few recent entries to this blog have served as inspiration for what follows, beginning with an article by Tony Donato detailing what a client should expect from their DJ:
This is the final chapter in a “trilogy of thought” that deals with the process of planning and executing a memorable evening.
The private event entertainment industry is a victim of the “too many cooks in the kitchen syndrome”; simply put, between the MC, DJ, Photographer, Videographer, Caterer, Decorator, Planner, or any other event vendor involved in the project, it can a handful keeping everyone on the same page. Each person working an event has a responsibility to perform at the highest level, but the results are in direct relation to the other variables. A photographer needs to capture specific moments that will be cherished for years after the event, but they cannot freeze that moment properly if the subject of that image is not prepared for it. In order to be sure that each moment has the chance to be perfect, it is the duty of the staff to coordinate in advance. As an entertainer I am aware that we are – typically – one of the final stops during the planning process; however, we may be the most vital part of the event.
Much of the staff at Cutting Edge Entertainment have been involved in event entertainment for over a decade; many of whom have been tasked with every aspect of event entertainment (MC, DJ, Dancer, Salesperson, Manager, Technical and/or Sound Engineer or lighting designer) at some point of their tenure in the industry, myself included. Having been blessed with the opportunity to work on each facet has given me a respect and rounded knowledge of the responsibilities for each team member. It is said that a “team” is only as strong as its weakest link; however, it’s the responsibility of the team itself to know, and therefore capitalize on each others individual strengths. The determining factor of a successful event may hinge on the ability of the team to streamline the requests of the client. Luckily, the staff at Cutting Edge prides itself on not just our customer service, but our team communication. This begins with the camaraderie that develops between each member of the team; this was never more apparent than on March 28, 2011 during our most recent photo shoot.
Team Cutting Edge gathered for an evening that would allow us to expand on our recent marketing explosion – namely, the outbreak of recent posts to the blog; as well as photos and videos on Facebook and YouTube. It was also an opportunity to bring the entire cast and crew together for a night of pizza, laughs and some great photo moments. Each type of event takes a different approach in regards to staffing – e.g.; a wedding will provide both an MC and a DJ (the first to coordinate and lead, the second to provide a constant ear on the audio quality), while a Bar/Bar Mitzvah may provide a MC, DJ, as well as several motivational dancers, a lighting technician and possibly a video simulcast operator – and many of the team members will perform at numerous events, over the course of a season, and never bump into one another. This is my favorite part of working with Cutting Edge; the people and the relationships that begin as strictly business, but turn into lifelong friendships.
The photo shoot itself was an “on-the-fly” production. We had a concept in mind, but the evening was quite organic. Everyone arrived ahead of schedule to begin their allotted tasks; the DJ’s and crew began to construct our biggest setup – including plasma displays and a full overhead light show – while the Dancer staff (cast) began costume changes and photo-appropriate make-up application. I volunteered to take the lead with the construction of the equipment to keep the evening flowing smoothly; it was made easier since our entire staff was in attendance. This was a chance to me to take charge, thereby flexing my directorial ‘muscles’, working a highly efficient and self-motivated team. It is also an opportunity for both staff and director alike to learn and become more accustomed to one another, our abilities and skill sets, thereby strengthening the team even more.
This is also the ideal opportunity for people to see both sides to someone’s personality. Speaking for myself, I tend to straddle the line between business and playful, (I am an entertainer after all). Basically, I will be “all business” one minute and “bouncing off the walls” the next. I believe the balance is necessary to being successful in this industry; we are required to be organized and “business-like” in our approach with clients, yet “fun and animated” during meetings and at the event.
Some would say that you have to be a little crazy to be in this business. I tend to agree with them.
It’s nice to have people around you that fit the same mold.