School & Teen Events Big Dance? What is success?

IceBurghDJ

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 17, 2015
1,697
57
Western Pennsylvania
iceburghdj.com
So I posted last week inquiring where to place speakers at a HS dance.

Well, turned out to be the smallest dance I've ever done. And that caused a change in setup.

They marketed it for 2 weeks..didn't sell a single ticket till wedneday. typical dance there has 150-200 kids. They emailed late thursday thinking they may cancel. Low ticket sales.

how low? Final count..30.

They had the folded cafeteria table setup as a 'wall' halfway across the room so that was my backing...sounded good and the kids had a great time, as did I.

The DMX stayed functional all night. Still have some issues, programming I think, to work on.
Only one song cleared the floor..one they've requested in the pat (ray bands). Thotiana was requested to be replayed.

Like the last dance, africa was a hit, rick astley, and of course Queen's bohemian rhapsody. Bee Gee's Stayin' Alive was requested and filled the floor. hmm. Disco may be coming back? LOL
 

DJ Ricky B

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 9, 2015
3,868
36
So I posted last week inquiring where to place speakers at a HS dance.

Well, turned out to be the smallest dance I've ever done. And that caused a change in setup.

They marketed it for 2 weeks..didn't sell a single ticket till wedneday. typical dance there has 150-200 kids. They emailed late thursday thinking they may cancel. Low ticket sales.

how low? Final count..30.

They had the folded cafeteria table setup as a 'wall' halfway across the room so that was my backing...sounded good and the kids had a great time, as did I.

The DMX stayed functional all night. Still have some issues, programming I think, to work on.
Only one song cleared the floor..one they've requested in the pat (ray bands). Thotiana was requested to be replayed.

Like the last dance, africa was a hit, rick astley, and of course Queen's bohemian rhapsody. Bee Gee's Stayin' Alive was requested and filled the floor. hmm. Disco may be coming back? LOL
Disco never went away...


...As for the small turn out. Goes to show that most students don't care to be at a dance these days.

...My son's school's PTA put on a spring "sock hop". 1.5 hour long dance. The DJ was someone that somebody knew. I was told the speakers sounded horrible from my wife and son. ...About 70 kids showed up out of a school of like 600 students. So about 10% to 12% of the student body. I think tickets were like $4 or $5 per student.
 

IceBurghDJ

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 17, 2015
1,697
57
Western Pennsylvania
iceburghdj.com
I don't know what tickets were for this dance. the last dance my daughter went to was $10 or 12...freshmore maybe? freshman/sophomore only. Seems high IMO.

Not sure who all they use for DJs there..I know one and he's not into playing most of what they want to hear.

I need to work on building my brand - i'm getting there - they MUST know my name so next time they have a dance they go "Yeah, ICEBURGH!" - lame Djs (songs, lights, sound, whatever) won't bring out the kids.
 

djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
4,487
32
NJ
www.djtaso.com
School dances need more than just good music to be successful. We live in a day of instagram and "instagrammable moments". What that means is that if a kid doesn't get excited enough to share and showcase the event, then it's unlikely they'll want to go again in the future. To make this happen you need to know your music, have amazing lighting, and even bring out some cool effects like co2 or confetti or anything to create these "instagrammable" moments. When others see pics and videos on their stories, they'll want to be there in the future as well, and that's what helps grow a crowd. Nowadays, the way millennialls and teens talk about a social event is more like "did you see anyone post about it" or "did you check out any pics or videos about the place on insta"... meaning if people aren't posting about it, then it must not be worth attending. Ticket prices mean nothing... it costs $15 to get a ticket to a movie, so whether the price is $4 or $20 the attendance will be just around the same. I do dances where they charge $10 and some where they charge $25.... the $25 has an attendance 3x the amount that the $10 ticket gets... why because it has much more hype surrounding it... and we also bring out our biggest production with lots of cool stuff, and by the end of the night there's hundreds of posts from kids online.
 
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IceBurghDJ

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 17, 2015
1,697
57
Western Pennsylvania
iceburghdj.com
school has a STRICT no photo policy. Kids taking pics can be suspended. I was told no pics, no video, no posts, no sharing - PERIOD.

Never had this issue in the past at this school or any other. Might have been able to get away with it except for the explicit i had to sign it to do the dance form.

yeah, THAT strict.

With me AND all the kids.

I don't know why they're so anal, but they are.

MAybe this is why attendance is down...no instagramming of previous events!
 

IceBurghDJ

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 17, 2015
1,697
57
Western Pennsylvania
iceburghdj.com
Well, that's very difficult to do here.
Student gov't does some dances.
parents others.
booster orgs do some.
Teacher advisors do some. this past saturday I was contacted by a teacher I never head of - the chaperone I knew, he's the sophomore class advisor, but said "it's totally up to the kids"...they got my name from my son, who was a approached by a former graduate that is still doing odd jobs at the school.

I've done a few for the administration, prom committees (different every year), a non-profit outfit that does 4 dances (including prom) at one school and got a new president this year and she started calling around.

I did 2 years of middle school, those kids moved up and new kids chose a different DJ, and everyone said he sucked. MAYbe next year i'll be back?

How does one market to a jr high student gov't?

One friend said all this info (teachers, dances, etc) are decided at their august school board meeting and I get the minutes I can get the who/what/when/where. But not all schools work that way.

I know from the picture end of things: one school the yearbook advisor decides the photography, anotehr it's the school board, another the principal, another one principal decides for all the schools...

And many of these decision makers change year to year.

More than 5 years of repeat business.
 

IceBurghDJ

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 17, 2015
1,697
57
Western Pennsylvania
iceburghdj.com
sushi ds.
did great for several years, rarely an issue. the acrobat got odd at times, but it's old tech.
used donner wireless..it quit working 3 events ago..no idea why, been to busy to troubleshoot it.

Did a dance..all was fine.
Did a dance a week later and SOME fixtures froze up part way thru the night.

Upgraded the software (upgrade/update combo) and that seems to have helped a lot.

I still have issues at times..could be my programming.

How IS one supposed to setup their dmx?

Per fixture? then you can choose say, red par and blue kinta, add uv or laser as you see fit.

OR setup a 'slow dance', a 'regular dance' and a 'hi energy' and a sound activated one.
that works - bit seems to me repetitive after 2 or 3 hours.

So I have those 'main' programs, variations (slow all color,slow just blue, slow fading)
For school dances I bring laser and moving heads. Should they be part of the pre-set dance programs, or totally separate?

As one turns on/off all these programs shoudl they all end/execute PERFECTLY? or will a memory leak cause minor issues?

For example, during a slow dance I turned on the UV lights...they would be on for say, 10 seconds, blink twice, and solid for 10 seconds. ONLY during teh slow dance program...I assume a programming issue.

During the regular dance ONE moving head was 'lazy'...other programs it was fine. Again, programming issue.

The laser (part of a kinta fx) has red, green and red/green programs. I've had issues with red/green in the past locking up, turning off the kinta when the laser was on, etc. Well, tried it during a slow dance and got NO laser...fine during other programs.

And at the end of the night the blackout program failed to function.

LIghting was: 2 venue slimpar64, 7 channel on same address. Mini Kinta, mini kinta FX, diff addresses, 2 eco uv bars, same address. 4 moving heads setup as 2 pairs per address. I skipped the acrobat this time and things did work better. No terminator this time - rarely use it, never noticed it to make a difference.

Software is lumidesk.
What are you using to run your dmx?

cc
 

djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
4,487
32
NJ
www.djtaso.com
school has a STRICT no photo policy. Kids taking pics can be suspended. I was told no pics, no video, no posts, no sharing - PERIOD.

Never had this issue in the past at this school or any other. Might have been able to get away with it except for the explicit i had to sign it to do the dance form.

yeah, THAT strict.

With me AND all the kids.

I don't know why they're so anal, but they are.

MAybe this is why attendance is down...no instagramming of previous events!
Well if no one can ever show that the event even took place, why would kids go in the future when no one talked about it. Shocked that the kids cant take pics of themselves though.
 
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djcrazychris

DJ Extraordinaire
Jun 12, 2018
2,656
45
sushi ds.
did great for several years, rarely an issue. the acrobat got odd at times, but it's old tech.
used donner wireless..it quit working 3 events ago..no idea why, been to busy to troubleshoot it.

Did a dance..all was fine.
Did a dance a week later and SOME fixtures froze up part way thru the night.

Upgraded the software (upgrade/update combo) and that seems to have helped a lot.

I still have issues at times..could be my programming.

How IS one supposed to setup their dmx?

Per fixture? then you can choose say, red par and blue kinta, add uv or laser as you see fit.

OR setup a 'slow dance', a 'regular dance' and a 'hi energy' and a sound activated one.
that works - bit seems to me repetitive after 2 or 3 hours.

So I have those 'main' programs, variations (slow all color,slow just blue, slow fading)
For school dances I bring laser and moving heads. Should they be part of the pre-set dance programs, or totally separate?

As one turns on/off all these programs shoudl they all end/execute PERFECTLY? or will a memory leak cause minor issues?

For example, during a slow dance I turned on the UV lights...they would be on for say, 10 seconds, blink twice, and solid for 10 seconds. ONLY during teh slow dance program...I assume a programming issue.

During the regular dance ONE moving head was 'lazy'...other programs it was fine. Again, programming issue.

The laser (part of a kinta fx) has red, green and red/green programs. I've had issues with red/green in the past locking up, turning off the kinta when the laser was on, etc. Well, tried it during a slow dance and got NO laser...fine during other programs.

And at the end of the night the blackout program failed to function.

LIghting was: 2 venue slimpar64, 7 channel on same address. Mini Kinta, mini kinta FX, diff addresses, 2 eco uv bars, same address. 4 moving heads setup as 2 pairs per address. I skipped the acrobat this time and things did work better. No terminator this time - rarely use it, never noticed it to make a difference.

Software is lumidesk.
Id highly recommend the ADJ MyDMXGO set up...or possibly the LIGHTRIDER software for use with your Sushi... although it seems a bit tricky to hook it up and pay the yearly premium for use... honestly... for a one time fee of 200 bucks...the MyDMXGO is an easy and simple solution.

I made 40 presets with mine...10 slow...and the rest fast and medium fast ...usually choosing color combos that worked well together ...i like themed presets...like one i named "THE HULK" ...its purple and green ....another "COTTON CANDY" ..pink and light blue... another "COPS" ...red and blue ..."LAKERS" purple and gold....etc...etc...

not sure what to say about the issues u were having with the donner...mine has worked quite well for over a year...but i figured they might have a shelf life

cc
 

Handinon

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 1, 2014
2,033
72
Taso has hit on a very important point - but I don't think it's just limited to our youth.

I spend a lot of time looking at YouTube videos - not out of choice - but because that's where the information is now. There has been a shift away from the written word. Why? Much of what we buy no longer comes with instructions, but instead a phone app which will also point to a video. Why?
IQ Problem
 
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rickryan.com

DJ Extraordinaire
Dec 9, 2009
11,970
54
Hendersonville, TN
www.RickRyan.com
Id highly recommend the ADJ MyDMXGO set up
I'll second that. As someone who has struggled with DMX software for several years, this tool was the best investment in quite a while. Used it on my first gig this past weekend with wireless Donner dongles and it was flawless. I used an Amazon Fire HD8 tablet, ran me $80 at Target.
 

Valerie Hicks

Moderator
Staff member
More than 5 years of repeat business.
Repeat business is the ultimate gauge. We have schools we've worked for over 15 years. I have a couple who call me to set their prom or homecoming dates as soon as the school schedule allows, and they decide on their date (even setting the homecoming athletic schedule) based on our availability. One school typically books 3-4 years out to ensure their date is reserved because they are not flexible on the date and as such missed us once...never again.
 

DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
11,096
Oklahoma City
More than 5 years of repeat business.
Disagree... If you do weddings, even if the couples divorce and remarry, most are unlikely to use the same DJ they used for a previous wedding (superstition). Sweet 16, Bar Mitzvah... only one-time events. Even anniversary parties; most are one-time or maybe every 5-10 years. I have one Halloween party that I do every year, and there have been several fund raisers I’ve done multiple times, but events are rarely repeated; at least there’s no guarantee they’ll be repeated. Yes; if you do school events, they are generally held every year, but themes change sometimes, so you (the DJ) may not fit the theme.

If you get ALL your business by referral (and I do); THAT’S success.
 
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rickryan.com

DJ Extraordinaire
Dec 9, 2009
11,970
54
Hendersonville, TN
www.RickRyan.com
Repeat business is the ultimate gauge. We have schools we've worked for over 15 years. I have a couple who call me to set their prom or homecoming dates as soon as the school schedule allows, and they decide on their date (even setting the homecoming athletic schedule) based on our availability. One school typically books 3-4 years out to ensure their date is reserved because they are not flexible on the date and as such missed us once...never again.
Your longevity speaks volumes to your quality. It does raise a question that I'd like to know. My experience with schools is that the sponsor or person(s) in charge change pretty frequently, and the level of control that some want to exert comes into direct conflict with us doing our jobs. I can't speak for you but my experience has been that whenever I run into a new Principal who wants to over-control the music, he's going to end up killing the event to where the kids stop showing up and the event dies a natural death as a result. Do you have any insight or special tricks/advice on how you effectively deal with these personalities? How do you prevent them from killing your gig?
 

wifedj

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 20, 2008
1,388
Your longevity speaks volumes to your quality. It does raise a question that I'd like to know. My experience with schools is that the sponsor or person(s) in charge change pretty frequently, and the level of control that some want to exert comes into direct conflict with us doing our jobs. I can't speak for you but my experience has been that whenever I run into a new Principal who wants to over-control the music, he's going to end up killing the event to where the kids stop showing up and the event dies a natural death as a result.
That happens as well..but they may also just move to another nearby school and if a valuable and mutually beneficial realtionship has been established, you can move with 'em and add that student body to your audiences.

Do you have any insight or special tricks/advice on how you effectively deal with these personalities? How do you prevent them from killing your gig?
I know you were asking Valerie, but I has some, albeit different experience and offer the following:

There are no magic elixirs or "tricks"...simply be honest, fair, professional and provide them with the results they request and that you promise to provide.

Respect and honor their rules and standards as they have, or should have a higher responsibility for the behavior of and influences on their student body. Just know that displaying your "wikkid awsum" dj mixing and programming skillz are substantially less important than the standards they rightfully expect you to uphold.

Take the necessary actions to assure they are aware that you appreciate their business and will make every effort to grow and improve so that you can continue to provide your unique and professional entertainment talents and service to their events.

You may gain more than a client, you may earn a friend.

You can't win 'em all but you can win often enough if you try.
 

rickryan.com

DJ Extraordinaire
Dec 9, 2009
11,970
54
Hendersonville, TN
www.RickRyan.com
Respect and honor their rules and standards as they have, or should have a higher responsibility for the behavior of and influences on their student body. Just know that displaying your "wikkid awsum" dj mixing and programming skillz are substantially less important than the standards they rightfully expect you to uphold.
Nice try, but often times, that ain't enough. Like the private school that I worked for several years, the last of which they sent over their complete "must play, must get permission to deviate" list. With most school accounts that I've run into, the admins are going to step on themselves and of course the DJ is the guy that gets thrown under the bus. It doesn't matter how many back-flips you do, THEY are the ones who screw it up. I quit looking for school accounts because of it. I have one left, which I've done their prom for a number of years now (don't remember exactly how many, less than 10) but that one is precisely because the sponsor doesn't change and she trusts me to do the job. I no longer have the desire or patience to kiss the backside of Principals who can't understand why students won't show up for their dances where Elvis is the most hard-core music allowed.
 
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wifedj

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 20, 2008
1,388
Nice try, but often times, that ain't enough. Like the private school that I worked for several years, the last of which they sent over their complete "must play, must get permission to deviate" list. With most school accounts that I've run into, the admins are going to step on themselves and of course the DJ is the guy that gets thrown under the bus. It doesn't matter how many back-flips you do, THEY are the ones who screw it up. I quit looking for school accounts because of it. I have one left, which I've done their prom for a number of years now (don't remember exactly how many, less than 10) but that one is precisely because the sponsor doesn't change and she trusts me to do the job. I no longer have the desire or patience to kiss the backside of Principals who can't understand why students won't show up for their dances where Elvis is the most hard-core music allowed.
Addressed in the following "You can't win 'em all but you can win often enough if you try."