Questions To Ask When Interviewing Any Entertainer
Following are a list of questions that you should consider when you are booking an event. Some are things you should ask of your potential DJs and some are things I get asked frequently.
**Will YOU be my entertainer?
This is a crucial question. My answer is Yes! I, Sean Hearn, will be your entertainer, if you hire Music in Motion. Unlike many mobile DJ companies that have multiple "canned" shows sent out on the same night; with Music In Motion, every show is designed and performed with your goals in mind. I personally help plan with you; so, you can feel assured that things will be handled properly. Beware of the bait and switch that has you impressed with the entertainer on the phone, but leaves you unhappy with a stranger at the show. I only allow one show a night to insure that you have my full attention. Also, this way I can always start earlier or play longer if need be. With my company, you are personally speaking to and planning with the one who will entertain you - isn't this the way it should be?
**How much experience will my entertainer have?
Since I play all my own shows, you are assured that you will get 30+ years experience every time you hire Music in Motion as your entertainer. Beware of the company with multiple shows that boasts 15 or 20 years of "COMPANY" experience. Their main performer/owner may actually have that much and be great, but chances are strong (especially in the small talent pool in this area) that their hired hands have far less experience. Furthermore, as the owner, I realize the importance of making the event run smooth and be memorable. I work hard to individualize each show. An employee punching a clock may not take the show as seriously or truly understand the long term repercussions of a poor or lackluster performance.
How much help do you lend in planning the event?
I would answer by saying as much or as little as you want. Experience is one of my strong points. With all my years of experience, I have seen a great many receptions, dances, and parties. I would never push my ideas, but I definitely enjoy helping to smooth the edges. I feel like it is my responsibility to help make your event the best it can be. If I see that you have something planned that may cause an unwanted ripple, I will mention it and offer my suggestion. If you still want it that way, it is your event; so I will do what you want. I try to make every event as special and perfect as possible and I am never more than a phone call (479) 461-3539 or an e-mail away should you have a question or need a suggestion. My goal is to get to know you and find exactly what your hopes and dreams are for the event and make it happen.
**Should I tip afterwards?
This is really up to you. At the end of most of my shows, I do get a tip and usually a hug from the bride and or the mom who helped plan the event; instead of the standard handshake received by most. I think if you feel compelled, then do reward your entertainer with a tip; if you don't, you shouldn't.
Is your company a business or just a hobby?
Well, I do have a day job; so I can see where you might make that false assumption. I have been performing for 30+ years (since 1987). I have thousands of dollars invested in equipment, carry insurance, have over 22,000 songs and videos, and for some shows it takes a 16 foot enclosed trailer to carry everything I need for that event. I perform an average of 50 shows a year and would guess I have been a part of 1800+ events. I personally show up for every show that I am contracted to do and proudly put my name on each and every one! That feels like a business to me!
Will my DJ be knowledgeable on a wide range of music eras and age groups?
Yes, I have an excellent working knowledge of music, ranging from big band - all the way to current top 40 hits. If you want to know more about me personally and how I gained my experience, read the BIO PAGE. The majority of my parties now consist of wedding receptions and corporate functions (over 50%), so I must be well versed in playing to a wide range of ages and ethnic backgrounds. Since these types of shows make up the majority of my events, I get lots of experience playing classic rock, country, disco, and crowd favorites like the "Cha Cha Slide" and the "Cupid Shuffle". I also play several proms, school dances and fraternity functions. For these types of youthful, progressive groups, I have to stay current and well versed in beat mixing and creating small remixes on the fly.
Is your show a good value?
This depends on your needs. I am not the most inexpensive DJ out there, but you will get what you pay for. When you pick a professional like a doctor, dentist, or lawyer, do you shop strictly on price or do you hire the one who will do the best job? Lower dollar shows bring poor sound equipment, a limited selection of music, and most importantly, a severely limited degree of experience.
With me, you don't just get a juke box to play songs. I'm a professional DJ:
- I help you plan and organize.
- I give you ideas and solutions to maximize your event.
- I host your event by not only leading you through the many phases, but by reading your guests and properly selecting the appropriate (FUN!) songs.
- Lastly, I lead by example. When needed I will get out on the floor and teach the Cha Cha Slide, Wobble or even the Chicken Dance.
Lets make a comparison of your entertainer to the other things you spend money on like the venue, food, drinks, invitations, decorations, outfits, flowers, candles, etc. Your entertainer is what keeps your guests there. A good entertainer is a protection on the return on your investment. For example, at a (4 hour) average reception, after the first hour or so, your food and cake are done. This makes your entertainer responsible for over 75% of the time, yet my fee isn't anywhere near 75% of your expenditures (it is probably less than 10%). You have probably been to a boring party or reception - what happened? How long do you stay? If you choose an inferior show, your guests will most likely leave after the meal and the cake - and you don't want that! Furthermore, look at the overall picture - what is your primary goal - a dinner or a celebration? You should allot your money accordingly. The music and lights will make or break the night, so hire the best entertainer you can afford within your budget.
Do you provide a written contract?
Yes, this way everything is ironed out beforehand and there are no surprises at the last minute. Also, after receiving the contract and booking fee, I send out a party planner. This will help you to organize what you want and how you want it handled. The planner also insures that I know exactly what you want and even what you don't. The planner targets not only what you want, but also scheduling, some specific song requests, names I may need and things or songs that you may wish to avoid. Both the the contract and Party Planner are key parts to your event being a success.
Do you have back-up equipment?
Yes, even professional equipment can fail. It is important to know that your entertainer is prepared for any situation…just in case. I have 2 sets of professional, powered speakers. I also bring 2 laptops, both of which have complete sets of music.
Do you have professional sound and lighting equipment?
Yes, I use JBL - Powered speakers. I play all of my music through a laptop via MP3s, through a software program called Virtual DJ. VDJ is one of the newest and most used programs on the market. My lighting is all American DJ, Martin and Chauvet. My microphones are Shure. There is a major difference between home and professional equipment! Make sure your entertainer uses the best.
Will you listen to my thoughts, concerns, and input?
Absolutely! I feel like my equipment and I are tools to make your event special, memorable, and personal. I have even developed a planner that I use to gather pertinent information prior to the event. I want to know what you like, what you want included and what you want the schedule to be. This helps you get organized and gives me a written plan of events which eliminates omissions and decreases complications.
You say you handle things and reduce stress, what does this mean?
I am your master of ceremonies. Once we have planned and I have a good idea of what you want and what you don't want - I handle it for you. I run your event! I use your planner all night. I follow the schedule you have created and I make the transitions for you. Say we are done with the dinner at a reception. Next on the list is the toast and cake. I see everyone is through the buffet and about done with their meal; so, I come to the bride and groom, tell them it is almost time for the toast and cake and ask if they are ready to proceed. They say yes, so I do my thing. I go to the head waiter and have them distribute the champagne. I go to the best man, give him the cordless microphone and explain his role, where to stand, etc. I get on the mic and announce that we will begin the toast and cake cutting in 5 minutes, that this would be a good time to powder their nose, freshen their drink if needed, or gather anyone who is out of the room. I add that the wait staff will soon begin passing out the champagne, please save it for the toast. Basically, I run things and you can have fun and enjoy the night knowing that I will make it happen.
What if my entertainer can't perform?
While there are no absolutes, I don't put performances in the job category of being able to simply call in sick. I have contingency plans through networking with other local DJ companies to handle problems should the need arise. This insures that you will always have a DJ for your occasion. Knock on Wood - but in 30+ years of performing, I have never let anyone down! I have personally attended every show that I have been contracted to play. I have shown up with my leg in a cast, but with a helper to set up and tear down. I have shown up with a fever, but with a helper to set up and tear down. I take entertaining very seriously.
Will the music be played at the appropriate level?
This is a great question. Louder is NOT always better. It is interesting how many times I am approached during dinner by one of the older guests and complimented on how soft and pretty the music is. I usually laugh to myself and think, stick around for the dance, you won't be nearly as impressed. This is because I know that dinner level is far less than it will be for the actually dancing portion of the night when the lights go down and the volume goes up. Being a professional, I have developed the knack of reading crowds and situations. This allows me to keep the dinner music in the background where it belongs, while knowing when to pump up the crowd when the dancing is in full swing. This also goes to speakers and placement. Since I use professional equipment and place them in the optimal spots, the room sounds great. DJs using home or aged equipment may have to play louder to try to get the proper coverage.
Will my entertainer dress appropriately?
Yes, I always discuss with the host how he or she wants me dressed. I wear anything from a tux, to a coat and tie, to a logo embroidered button down shirt with khakis. My dress depends on the situation. If you look throughout the page you will see me in costumes also. I have dressed in costumes for theme parties like Halloween, sock hops, and rodeo dances. When I do a car show, I wear shorts and a logo shirt. I do everything in my power to make sure your party is perfect; it is important that I look the role. I also think this goes a long way to making me approachable. I want you and your guests to feel comfortable coming to the booth and making requests or asking questions. If I am wearing a tux at a barn dance, I would be grossly over dressed and not fit in. So, yes, I will dress appropriately, but his doesn't always mean coat and tie; sometimes to make your guests comfortable, less is more!
Does the set-up and/or tear-down time affect the time I have paid for?
No, the time starts when I play the first song or make the first announcement and runs continuously until we are done. If you pay for 4 hours, your clock starts when I turn my system on and stops when I play "Happy Trails."
Do you play requests?
Absolutely, unless you tell me not to - I want input from you and the guests! I know the "must play" songs that will work and encourage suggestions not only from you beforehand, but from your guests throughout the entire evening. I am concerned with not only what you want, but also with things you don't wish played. I bring a full library of songs that range from the Big Bands of the 40s to current Top40 releases being played on the radio today. I welcome suggestions from you and your guests and then build sets around the suggestions.
Do you take breaks?
No! From the time I turn the key to the system and fire it up, to the time I play that last song, I will play continuously. My show is a lot like a roller coaster. It flows continuously from start to finish, speeding up, slowing down, and taking lots of fun turns along the way.
How involved are you on the microphone?
My answer is whatever you want it to be. I ask this question on the planner so I know how involved you want me. I don't overdo it. I will speak and announce new portions. I will interact (tactfully) with your guests, and attempt to keep things flowing and interject some fun; but I do not take over the spotlight! Once again, I am there to enhance your good time, not to steal the show. This is something we discuss before the event.
How far in advance should I book?
Unfortunately, I don't have a good, solid answer to this question. Although I have bookings that extend over a year into the future, some folks call only a few weeks prior and are lucky enough to find their date still open. All of my dates are on a first come, first serve basis. You are not assured a date until you have paid the booking fee and received your signed contract back with my signature and a receipt for your booking fee. A general rule of thumb is 6 months in advance and even further in advance during peak times like May & June, holiday weekends, etc.
Will you have my favorite song?
I will if you tell me in advance what it is. No one will have every song, but with over 22,000 MP3s, I will have most. In the pre-event planning, I will inquire about specific songs and/or groups to assure you that I will have those. In the rare occurrence that I get stumped onsite by you or one of your guests, I always reply the same thing: "Next time you see me perform, ask again, because if it is sold - I will have it next time!"