DJ Expos, Think Tanks and Snapchat
As I’m preparing for this years annual DJ Expo, I’m reflecting on years of training and education from so many great sources and I know other people are on the fence about going to conventions. Hopefully this blog will shed some light on this event and all training throughout our country each year as well as two other hot topics in our industry and world right now.
In 2007 I went to my first ever DJ training, the DJ Expo, with a group of about 5 other DJs (club jocks) and we made it one big party. DJ Expo was at the convention center that year back off the boardwalk. We did NOT get full expo passes, but did have a great time. We looked at some cool gear, and basically spent our days hanging out on the beach, boardwalk and recovering from the night before. It was, a total waste of time… and here’s why.
2008, only one other DJ wanted to go back to the Expo, so I said “Hey, why don’t we spend the extra money and see what these seminar things are all about?” He agreed and we did. Walked into the first class and Holy Sh*t! (censored for Steve M) I was, we were both, dumbfounded. We hit two seminars that morning and both were jaw dropping. I mean, we are DJs, we already know it all, why in Gods name would we need anyone to tell us what to do right? Mike Wieder from Ultimate Sounds in New Jersey did a wedding seminar and showed us all kinds of new ideas, and more importantly, solutions to situations that may develop during weddings we had yet to encounter. We also saw the Elite Entertainment Showcase Seminar and that was off the charts educational and inspirational. Great emcees, dancers and singers leading us through an approx. 45 mock reception flow and giving us all kinds of new ideas. There were more seminars of course, and we brought back the knowledge we learned that week and actually used it that weekend at events! We met a lot of super cool people too from around the country and even got to watch some of them participate in an Emcee competition on stage, where we got even more ideas. We danced and partied too, but the educational aspect was astounding. From there, there was no looking back…
Since then, I’ve gone every year with various people, continue to learn more ideas, make more memories and some new friends too. I’ve taught some seminars, competed in the competitions (and won many times) and really enjoyed the overall learning experiences I have had. Bottom line is A) you have to get there B) you should attend the seminars too. There’s also the huge benefit of learning just from hanging out with people at night, in the hallways, over dinner and making new connections. I’ve attended the ADJA convention in Vegas from 2013 until its last year in 2015 as well as Chicago's Marquee Show and those too were great educational events. Through attending the first DJ Expo in 2007, I got involved more with national mentors, started our own ADJA chapter in Upstate NY and attended many events with other groups too such as New Jersey Disc Jockey Network and other chapters of ADJA throughout the Northeast. Moving over into wedding planning, I’ve attended state and national ABC conferences (but those conferences lacked tremendously in content compared to DJ conferences), Sandals Travel agent trips and regional training over the years that have helped me grow and succeed. You can too! It’s totally worth the investment and taking time off if you have a full time job, to grow and learn new ideas so you do not become stagnant in your performance or in business operations.
All the learning and sharing was an overload!!! I was taking every class I could afford and traveling all over. I could not simply believe how awesome it was and believed everyone shared so freely, so I reciprocated too. It was in 2014 I learned about the DJ Think Tank, a group of many of these same nice folks I met and learned from over the years at Expo and conventions. At first I was in shock...a private group where they don’t share? Many feel that way today too. Reality is private groups of like-minded pros in all industries exist everywhere in our society. I feel while much of their content at their meetings or in their chat boards may not be public, most of these folks do offer up some educational value to the DJ industry as a whole, even if it be months after or next year. People learn at different levels and in different seasons. Even when I attended the first seminar in 2008 the stuff shared with me may have been around for years already, but I learned it then…and was forever grateful. It changed me and my outlook on my events so quickly and made me want to be better. Don’t let private groups bother you. They should benefit the members of the group, no matter who is in them, and even if it’s people we learn from, there’s still a good value from continuing to support them and their training, even if you’re not getting all of it.
Some of my most beneficial training included: The Professional Process, taught by Peter Merry, 14 Stories Gay Wedding Institute Certification taught by Bernadette Smith, and both Randy Bartlett’s and Mike Walter’s Emcee workshops. Anything Alan Berg teaches is gold too! I would be selling these next two guys short since I am a very interactive DJ/Emcee, not to include any training, seminar or idea I got from my friends Jake Jacobsen of Affair 2 Remember DJs in NJ and Mike Alevras of HVE Associates in the Hudson Valley area. Finally, while there are tons of people I am leaving out, any passion related or educational event Sean McKee puts on is worth the time invested, just for the inspiration alone!
This year at DJ Expo, I have the honor of recapping the last 10 years of Expo in a new seminar...bringing back awesome nuggets learned from others, along with 10 other contributors each giving one of their own from any year they attended. One nugget I already got from one person is actually from 21 years ago and still holds true today without a doubt!
As far as Snapchat goes, I have an account, used it a few times, and it seems it's quickly becoming a thing of the past while IG stories takes over for adverting purposes. Like my good friend and wedding educator Alan Berg said many times: Pick three social media sites and do them well. I chose Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest as my top three, though I am active on many. If you want to follow or connect with me on any of my platforms, simply click here. See you at the next training!
Couple of past seminars I participated in or hosted, of the many. :-)