DJ Diversification – Paphos Photo Booth

This year will see me hanging up my headphones as I withdraw from performing at weddings in Cyprus. My last event will be on November 30th. The thought of no longer being involved with the wedding industry is quite scary. Therefor I have decided to continue with my one to one coaching and mentor program and also to launch a new Photo Booth hire service based in Paphos.

girls

Paphos Photo Booth will provide a Magic Mirror hire service to Brides and party people throughout the Republic of Cyprus. The very latest in Photo Booth technology brings a fun and crazy atmosphere to any party where people gather to have a memorable time.

love heart

Touch screen technology allows guests to sign their name, write a message  and add an emoji or two to the final printed picture. How cool is that? The Paphos Photo Booth Magic Mirror is also supplied with a comprehensive array of props including party hats, outrageous glasses and inflatable instruments.

ten seconds later

Print delivered

The photograph with a customized frame commemorating the event is delivered within ten seconds from the side of the booth. Double prints are also available so that the party host can have copies of all of the action from the party.

Full details of my new venture can be found by following this url

www.paphosphotobooth.co.uk 

I’ll keep you posted as to how the new venture develops over the coming months. Meanwhile if you have any questions or would like to know more about obtaining a Magic Mirror and setting up a similar venture please contact me.


2013 What a year it’s been so far!

First DJ Workshops in Scotland

The year got off to a whirlwind start with Southampton, Reading, Maidstone and Glasgow. “The Specialist Wedding DJ A-Z” was attended by 50 DJs from around the country and was a resounding success. Feedback from the delegates was very positive. Many of those who attended have since reported an increase in confidence and this is reflected by an increase in bookings and higher fees for services offered.

Wedding Marketing for DJs – The Book

new book cover frontIn February I received a phone call from Eddie Short the editor of Pro-Mobile Magazine. He asked me if I would be available to attend the first ever Pro-Mobile Conference in Oxfordshire in March? He also asked if I could present a seminar and casually dropped a bomb which took my breath away. “oh, and I’d like to finish the final edit of your book and launch it at the conference”.

The following four weeks were frantic to say the least. Not only did we have to revisit every word in the book, we also had to sort the art work and arrange printing and distribution. Eddie did a fantastic job. The book was proofed, printed and delivered with only a couple of days to go before the conference. Meanwhile i prepared my seminar, “Ten Top Tips for Wedding DJs” and crossed my fingers that all would go well.

Lifetime achievement award.

Little did i know, as my wife Carol and I boarded the plane, that Eddie and Co-Producer Mark Walsh had a surprise waiting for me. On the evening of the first day of the conference everyone attended a celebration dinner. The evening was an opportunity to network and to relax and be entertained among friends and colleagues from all over the Uk. Jim Cerone from the USA was the guest of honour and he was accompanied by his wife and sons. I was looking forward to the evening yet had no idea what was about to take place.

pro mobile conference

pro mobile conference

You could have knocked me over with a feather when Eddie stood up, went to the stage and announced the first ever Lifetime achievement Award for services to the mobile DJ community. I couldn’t believe my ears when my name was mentioned. Carol had to pinch me and when I accepted the award from Eddie. I was, for the first time in my life, speechless. It is a great honour and I’m humbled to think that my work has been recognised in this way by my peers for which i thank them most sincerely.

More Workshops.

While in the area i took the opportunity to repeat the January workshop for those who couldn’t make it and also repeated my original workshop, “Wedding Marketing for DJs”. Once again I brought the workshop to Reading, Bolton and Glasgow.

Wedding in Cyprus.

Upon our return to Cyprus I hit the ground running with the first of my weddings for couples who fly from The Uk and Ireland for a small intimate wedding in the sunshine on the “Island of Love”. The Summer was steady if not busy, considering the economic climate and problems with the local banking crises which had an impact in the short-term. Strangely July can be a quiet month for weddings on the island. This is probably because temperatures soar into the mid to high thirties centigrade and prices for flights and accommodation tend to be more expensive. The same can be said for August but the schools are on holiday and it’s easier to arrange for guests to fly out and accompany the bride and groom so August tends to be a busy month for weddings.

BPM Show – Birmingham – September

I love this show. It’s the biggest and the best of them all. I’ve been associated with it, in one way or another since before it’s inception. Mark Walsh and Eddie Short [and their team] work tirelessly to produce and present a spectacular three-day event which covers the whole spectrum of DJing. Alas, due to commitments in Cyprus, I could only attend the Monday this year. I was scheduled to present, “Ten Top Tips for wedding DJs” at 1.00pm in one of the four areas set aside for education. My area was sponsored by The National Association of Disc Jockeys and the line-up included Darren Latimer, myself, Tony Winyard, Paul Askew and Mark Walsh.

old friends with Justin

old friends with Justin

It was an afternoon when time whizzed by. It was fantastic to meet friends old and new. unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to spend with everyone as i would have liked. My Seminar was really well attended. Standing room only meant we had to encourage people to huddle-up and make more room. Afterwards i spent time in the NADJ networking area where I chatted to many new people who had questions to ask and wanted more information about what i do by way of education.

New Workshop.

Birmingham also saw the debut of my new workshop Entrances and Spotlight Moments. This workshop draws on content from Todd Mitchem who demonstrates how to recognise and use the focal point of a room when making introductions. This is a much more “Hands On” workshop and it encourages the attendee to grasp new ideas and techniques and practise them before his peers.

For the first time in Birmingham i held three workshops back to back. the idea was to provide a “Fast Track” experience for anyone new to the concept. It was hard work but very satisfying to see wedding DJs prepared to devote so much time to improving themselves and their services.

My trip was completed with yet another couple of workshops in Reading, Maidstone and Glasgow. once again i was humbled by the number of talented DJs who came along and shared their experiences. Unfortunately i was taken quite ill on the night before the Glasgow workshop. I had been vomiting during the night and was nowhere near my best in the morning. However i struggled through and hopefully the guys didn’t miss out too much compared to my previous presentations.

Wedding Day Secrets –

Facts the Industry would prefer Brides don’t know.

Wedding Day Secrets

Wedding Day Secrets

This is the title for my new book for brides. I wrote it in July and managed to get it from conception to publication within four weeks thanks to a little help from my friends. Alan Marshall, Gary Evans, Paul Taylor, Stephen Davies and Tony Winyard all helped keep me focused and reigned me in when i got too controversial. The book takes the stance, “Brides Don’t know, what Brides don’t know”. this is the first book written by a British DJ which attempts to explain what actually happens on the day of the wedding. It focuses on Entertainment and the value which this brings to the occasion. The book is available as an e-book from Amazon in Kindle Format. It can also be read on any smart phone, i-Pad, laptop or PC by downloading the free apps from the amazon web site. I would recommend the book to all DJs as a reference guide and also to all future brides as an illustration as to how to achieve a day which is truly unique, fun and memorable.

Music Open Pafos 2013

Once again i was asked to co-host the third international festival for young opera stars in Cyprus. The evening took place at the Coral Beach Hotel in Coral Bay and it was a sell-out.

Music open pafos

Music open pafos

500 people were entertained to music which celebrated the 200 year anniversary of the composer Verdi. My co-host, Natalie made introductions in Greek and Russian while i did my best to offer translations in English. It was a difficult week working on the script and presentation but all turned out right on the night.

Bristol and Bolton –

Entrances and Spotlight Moments

I’m currently working on the final preparation for another couple of workshops in November. the hotels are booked, My flights have been arranged and all we need now are a couple more  brave DJs to join us for another adventure into the world of weddings and how to do things differently.

As ever I would like to thank everyone for their continued support, it means a great deal to me. I would love to hear your comments and suggests. please use the contact box underneath.

cheers,

Derek.


Playlists and time-lines

Don’t you just love it when you receive a playlist from a bride and you just know it’s either too long or too structured.

As you may be aware, dear reader, I reside in Cyprus for most of the year and my clients are visiting the island to be married. Usually there are no more than thirty guests at the evening reception with a maximum so far of fifty on one occasion.

usually the wedding takes place between four and six in the afternoon and is followed by a drinks reception and the inevitable photographs including final shots taken as the sun sets which is around eight o’clock in the evening.

Dinner will be served anytime from six o’clock onward and speeches and those sunset photos will be intermixed within the time-line according to the venue and event coordinator’s agreed instructions from the bride.

Cypriot meals have a tendency to take far longer than those in the UK. Traditionally a meal is the time for relaxation, conversation and no one is watching the clock. This can come as a big surprise to visiting families from the UK. Inevitably this time factor eats into the allocated time for dancing. Believe me I’ve been present when the first dance scheduled for 8pm has not taken place much before 10 o’clock.

I guess we could lay the blame for this on the wedding event planners and the venues for not advising the bride or sometimes on the waiting staff for not being organised. However none of this prepares the DJ for the frustrated bride who simply wants to do her first dance and get the party started, especially when she has supplied you with a playlist running to four hours or more of music.

Communication is vital to avoid such situations alas very often the DJ has no or very little contact with the bride before the day of the wedding. All communication is with the tour operator or the venue and the DJ is only given the playlist and expected to fit a quart into a pint pot![ or whatever the metric equivalent may be]

Example 1

Music – DJ Play List edited

My first reaction to this list was that it contained far too much music. It had a running time of seven and a half hours. I was also concerned about the bride’s allocation of times when music selections should be played. Apart from the early music for dinner I was concerned that her choice would be too much to her taste and not that of her guests. I doubted very much I could stick to this list and provide entertainment for all of her fifty guests. The reception was to be outdoors by a pool and music volume would have to be reduced significantly after 11 o’clock with the party finishing at 12 midnight.

Anticipating not being able to play all of the music I asked the bride to highlight in bold her “must plays” and then proceeded to refresh my memory by listening to the selected tracks and graded them by scoring each track as a 1 = great tune, 2 = definite maybe or 3 = doubtful to be well received.

On the day we juggled the photographs and the speeches by starting with the father of the bride’s speech and then taking the first course of the meal while the bride and groom went for their sunset photos. We then carried on with the other two speeches and toasts prior to the main course being served.

The mood was lively and it became apparent that i would not need to add much more to  the older music selections. In fact I opted to introduce her “Other special requests” during the meal and was amazed when people started dancing at their tables and in front of my DJ booth. Before I knew it we had a party on our hands before desert had been served or any of the three spotlight dances had taken place.

We had to put the brake on, call a halt to the open dance and introduce the three spotlight dances. I suggested we start with the father daughter dance so that dad could hand his daughter to her new husband for their first dance. This worked really well. Finally we took the brake off and invite everyone back onto the floor for the third spotlight dance and sure enough our party was back on track.

It turned out that this bride did indeed know her family and friend’s taste in music very well. She was up for a party and so where all of her guests. My challenge was to keep to the time line. I managed this by editing her playlist with brutality. I stuck to her “Must Haves” and then selected according to my own scoring system. I removed over three hours of her music selections while retaining the order of her music choice rearranged into a more acceptable structure which maintained the energy and delivered a packed dance area throughout the night.

Indeed the night was so successful that they asked me to relocate to a room indoors where we continued to party on for another two hours.  So I am delighted to say that my apprehension and doubts were unfounded and on this occasion my bride had proved to be the exception to the rule. She really did know better than me. I however used my experience and knowledge to take her idea and programme a playlist which evolved in real-time on the night. Together we produced a fantastic party which I am sure everyone will remember for many years to come.

Example 2

Wedding Play List edited

The first thing I noticed about this playlist is that it had three and a half hours running time and that most of the tracks were popular choices which would work fine. Then I realised my bride wanted them playing in decade order starting with the sixties and working toward the present day. She later added another six current chart hits to the list.

I have previously encountered such lists with a similar structure and was aware that this may not be an ideal way of presenting this music for maximum effect. I had also noticed that the start time was 5.30pm. Upon arrival i was told that was the time of the wedding ceremony and that dinner would not be served until 7.30pm. Fine.

Once again the issue of speeches and time taken to serve and eat the meal were of concern. My bride was very demanding and was keen to squeeze in as much music as possible however she did not appreciate how long the meal would take. She had arranged for a videographer to come back at 9pm to film her first dance. When he returned some guests where still eating their main course which was the third item on the menu that night. Deserts where still to follow and so too were the speeches.

Eventually it was decided to hold the speeches once everyone had finished the main course. Desert would be relegated to after the first dance. I arranged with the bride and the videographer to insert a second dance into the scenario as the first dance was to be a special routine created by the B & G.

It was gone 9.30 before we introduced the B & G onto the dance floor and then invited the rest of the guests [only 24 in all] to join in to “My Girl” by the temptations. The instruction was to carry on with the playlist which i did. Once again I had to be brutal with removing tracks I believed would not work and also rearrange the running order to get best results. I removed one and a half hour’s worth of music yet kept the floor steadily occupied throughout the night. We had planned some slower quieter music for the final twenty minutes and finally finished on a high with “500 miles”

A good time was had by all and we finished on time which was essential as by law in Cyprus you can can not go on after midnight. All outside music has to be off or else you risk your equipment being confiscated and a hefty fine.

Conclusion

I don’t always know best despite my thirty odd years playing music at weddings. Brides sometimes do know better than us. Even with the best of planning time-lines slip. My job as the DJ is to make the music fit. I need to use my programming skills to ensure that the right music is selected and organised into the best order with the most chance of delivering a full dance floor to the satisfaction of my client. On both of these occasions I can honestly say Job Done!