What Is Your Role At Events?

February 28, 2020 by Michael Cordeiro

Imagine your in charge of an event with over 800 people. The event is outdoors and you have multiple things happening at once. You need 200 people to play their part on cue and the other 600 to cheer them on enthusiastically at the right moment. Suddenly one of your 200 forgets what they’re doing and throws everything off. What do you do? Can you reset?

I was in this exact situation last weekend while working on a new Disney movie in Boston. I’ve been doing back ground work for almost ten years now. This particular scene was a holiday parade. We were shooting over night on a few shutdown streets in the middle of Boston. We started rehearsing the scene about 5pm ( the temp was 50) and went to live takes about 9 pm (temp now 37).

I was cast as a parade float handler. This was a real float. Not a toy balloon. A giant 25 foot round helium filled floating wreath. There were nine of us on the ropes. None of us had any training on how to make these things move. It’s not that easy. Each team member had to keep the right amount of tention on their rope so that the float would fly upright and straight. We got a two hour crash course. At first the float was going every which way. Banging into us and twisting in the wind. By the end of the shoot we came together as a true team and were able to make that wreath dance on cue!

The parade consisted of a few floats, a fire truck, about 50 real beard santas, a team of majorettes and about 600 “spectators”. All extras for the shoot. When the director yelled “ACTION” each person had to play their respective part. The trucks had to move, the floats had to move, The santas do their thing, the majorettes twirl, the lighting and music work and the crowd cheer, all in sync.

What happens when one of the majorettes drops their baton or one of the floats starts going crazy in the wind? Cut, reset back to the beginning and do it all over again. Directors have that luxury, DJs don’t. We get one shot to make it right. That one scene took over 30 takes from different angles and we shot until 4 am in the cold (temp now 21). Over thirteen hours on set. Almost like a wedding. Arrive a few hours early, set up, sound check and go over details, execute, party, pack it up and go home. Imagine having to do the cake cutting or intros 30 times to get it right?

I’m never going to get rich off of background work but the learning experience is invaluable. Watching and listening to the director, understanding why he changes minute things or moves people around translates directly into creating great events for my clients. Have you ever actually asked yourself what your role is at an event? Who are you to your clients? Why are you there?

Are you just a human Ipod? Are you the Master of Ceremonies, coordinator, game leader or combination of all of those? The ability to mix and choose the right music for an event is key to what we do, but it is only one of the skills necessary to create a truly memorable celebration. The ability to lead, coordinate and direct is a totally different skill set. Putting yourself in an environment like theater or improv will greatly increase your talents.

Clients hire us because they believe we are going to make their celebration fun and memorable. The equipment we bring and offer to them is just an added benefit, not the main course. We sell them on our skills and ability to make their event stress free. We only get one take to make each event awesome. Stepping out of your comfort  zone to learn some new skills will only help you to be more confident when unique situations arise at your events. Want to really challenge  yourself? Come to MBLV 24. Expand your role and create better events.
I hope to see you and grab a coffee at MBLV 24 in March.

Filed Under: Digital DJing, Event DJ Tips, Mobile DJ Business, Mobile DJ Career Development, Mobile DJ Misc, Mobile DJ Performance Tips