Things we did before we were experienced

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sawdust123

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Staff member
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Nov 10, 2006
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Ventura County, CA
What is something you did pretty regularly when you first started doing paid gigs that you no longer do.

For me, it was carrying repair tools. Screwdrivers, soldering iron, solder, meters, and other stuff came with me on every gig. I'm handy and can debug things pretty quickly. In fact, I just fixed a new JBL EON Compact yesterday. It had a bad switch on the printed circuit board. However, when I first started, I thought I might need to do repairs at a gig. I then realized that this was a stupid idea. Repairs take too long. I built a lot of redundancy into my systems and carry spares where necessary. The tools now stay at home.
 

DJ Ricky B

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 9, 2015
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For Me...

1. I would only PLAN for enough time to show up 1 hour prior to start time, and think that was enough time for setting up, and being ready to go. (Now I show up 90 to 150 minutes prior to start time.

2. I would wear a Tuxedo to ALL Weddings. It was the thing to do to be a professional DJ at the time. After a while I realized I was too over dressed for some of the weddings. Then Tuxedos really started to fade away around 2008, and I bought a suit to wear. By 2011 I was wearing a Tux maybe 25% of the time. Last time I wore a Tux was in June of 2015.

3. I would Load my Car (At the time it was a 1994 two door Pontiac Firebird Formula) the morning of a gig, and often I would load up my vehicle, then go get dressed and get on the road.
- I started loading my vehicle the night before events around 2010.
4. I would BURN CDS with the Wedding Ceremony and Important reception songs on it FOR EVERY WEDDING. (I usually gave the CD in a jewel case to the couple at the end of the wedding (If they were still there).
5. (From years 2003 to about 2012) I would have a PLANNING MEETING in person with EVERY COUPLE. Just how it was. That really started to change in 2012/2013, and I went from like 95% of my couples meeting me in person down to about 60%. Then by 2015, it was down to like 10% of couples met with me. Now, NONE OF THEM DO. Everything is via Phone or Google Meet Video call.
6. I use to have cases for equipment. Everything was in a case. Now everything is in Bags.
7. I use to spend time practicing and pronouncing the bridal party intro. After the first 150 weddings or so, I stopped bothering to do that. I just automatically do the intros these days, and I hardly spend time practicing names or even think about what I will say. I just do it, and do it well! LOL
 

TwinSpinDJ

Up-lighting
ODJT Supporter
When I first converted to digital I carried a case of CD (go to tunes). Subsequently, stopped carrying the road case of CD in lieu of backup laptop.
Used amplifier and mixer and passive speakers. Ditched that amp and passive speakers for RCF 15" subwoofer and 12" top (ART system). Used to load gear in back of Nissan truck with cap but purchased 5x8 Trailer with ramp and side door and inside lights.
Use to carry truss for lighting but gave that up for light trees.
 

Scott Hanna

DJ Extraordinaire
ODJT Supporter
Oct 25, 2006
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Cleveland, OH
www.djincleveland.com
I used to have printouts for everything for every gig. Many gigs were 25 or more pages with planners, announcements, requests, notes, directions, timeline, etc.
Now, all information is sent electronically. Anyone that wants to print out can, but everyone uses an iPad/tablet
 

DJ Ricky B

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 9, 2015
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I thought of something else....

I use to print out MAP QUEST directions to all of my events. ...MAPQUEST!

I switched to printing out GOOGLE MAPS directions probably around like 2012 or so. I still print out Google directions TO EVERY EVENT...Even when I know where I am going. The difference is that now I can print out directions with click of a button from the event details tab on DJ EVENT PLANNER. On top of that I now use WAZE on my phone when in route to my events. I was using Google Maps for the longest time on my phone, but find that I like WAZE more as it is better with traffic, and telling me if a Cop is on the side of the road, and speed cameras.
 

Scott Hanna

DJ Extraordinaire
ODJT Supporter
Oct 25, 2006
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Cleveland, OH
www.djincleveland.com
I thought of something else....

I use to print out MAP QUEST directions to all of my events. ...MAPQUEST!

I switched to printing out GOOGLE MAPS directions probably around like 2012 or so. I still print out Google directions TO EVERY EVENT...Even when I know where I am going. The difference is that now I can print out directions with click of a button from the event details tab on DJ EVENT PLANNER. On top of that I now use WAZE on my phone when in route to my events. I was using Google Maps for the longest time on my phone, but find that I like WAZE more as it is better with traffic, and telling me if a Cop is on the side of the road, and speed cameras.
I cannot remember the last time I printed out directions… or anything else event related.
 

DJ Ricky B

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 9, 2015
6,917
5,200
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I cannot remember the last time I printed out directions… or anything else event related.

I am always in the mode of thinking "Back up" in case something were to happen to my phone while in route. "Chance Favors the Prepared"

Print out my planning form, and timeline for every event too even though I can look it up on my laptop. Good for writing notes down on as well.
 

Scott Hanna

DJ Extraordinaire
ODJT Supporter
Oct 25, 2006
7,715
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Cleveland, OH
www.djincleveland.com
2 iPads and an iPhone. :). Important docs and maps are downloaded on devices so all can be accessed if no network is available. I never rely on 1 device or a network.
 
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dunlopj

DJ Extraordinaire
Aug 14, 2008
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Belair MD
...went to vests at one point & people still thought I was the wait staff!
Same here. I stopped wearing the JACKET but kept the vest, but I wore a dress shirt that closely matched the bride's reception color.

So I had MANY beautiful shirt colors to pick from...not wearing a WHITE dress shirt made me look NOT like wait staff.
 

TwinSpinDJ

Up-lighting
ODJT Supporter
Tux shirt and bowtie and matching vest. If really hot, no tie but tux shirt, black slacks and black Reebock walkers. Always had the 2x2 puzzle squares to stand on behind DJ table.

Still use 5x8 printed "cue cards" for weddings; Intro List, Program, Music Play List. Made two CD's for each wedding in case malfunction of CD player. Gave one copy to B&G at end of Reception along with printed Program so if they ever wanted to renew Vows, they had the Intro music and Special dance songs...AND all of the players.
 
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MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 16, 2011
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I forgot about tuxedos. I can't recall the last event I wore one at. I hated getting confused with the wait staff. I also used to burn CDs with special songs. I also used to create a folder on an iPod for extra redundancy. I finally went to an extra thumb drive and DJ MP3 player and my phone.
What about when none of that was possible many years ago? Lol.
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 16, 2011
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I used to do any event just because there was money to be made. At my age now and my experience, I'm more selective about the private events I will agree to do
 

ABETTERDJ

Nationwide DJ-photo-video company
Sep 8, 2021
37
80
64
Nationwide
www.abetterdj.net
I used to have a case with 1000 CDs in sleeves and a song book. I knew where almost every song was but I let guests browse through the book to make requests. I had custom slips for them to put down the disc and song numbers. I had to bring it in with a dolly and get one of the staff to help me lift it onto a table. At that time my system, lights, etc weighed about 750 pounds. My rack was 54" tall and included backups for every component. Everything was prewired and I made a custom drawer on the bottom that held he power and speaker cables. All I had to do was open the drawer, grab and plug in the cables, throw the switches on the power strip, and I was ready for sound check. Setup back then was about 6 minutes once I made 3 trips from the van. I ran QSC amps and JBL JRX 125s with dual 15s. That system served me well until one wedding I did at a mansion. The ceremony and reception were literally a block down a hill with thick grass and soft ground. My cart wheels were sinking half way in all the way down the hill. After the reception the wheels wouldn't even turn on the way up. I dragged dead weight up a block long hill. After the 3rd trip I told my late wife it was the last gig we would ever do with that system. In the morning I sold the entire system to a bar. I guessed it was finally time to go digital LOL.
 
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MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 16, 2011
12,119
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I used to use CD's to DJ with. I had several books with CD's in them and I made sure I had 2 copies of each CD. Since I became a computer DJ I no longer use CD's to DJ with. I gave the CD books to my old GF. I now have several portable HD's that has the music on them. I never planned to become a computer DJ. My partner pushed me in that direction and only a time ago I showed my friend how much better it is to use a computer with a HD, software program and a controller. He uses the same controller I do and has one for backup just like me. We both use VDJ. Since becoming a computer DJ I asked him how he likes it. Once he got used to it he loves it. The same with me. I will never go back to using CD's to DJ with.
 

ABETTERDJ

Nationwide DJ-photo-video company
Sep 8, 2021
37
80
64
Nationwide
www.abetterdj.net
I used to use CD's to DJ with. I had several books with CD's in them and I made sure I had 2 copies of each CD. Since I became a computer DJ I no longer use CD's to DJ with. I gave the CD books to my old GF. I now have several portable HD's that has the music on them. I never planned to become a computer DJ. My partner pushed me in that direction and only a time ago I showed my friend how much better it is to use a computer with a HD, software program and a controller. He uses the same controller I do and has one for backup just like me. We both use VDJ. Since becoming a computer DJ I asked him how he likes it. Once he got used to it he loves it. The same with me. I will never go back to using CD's to DJ with.

Check out Virtual DJ Studio. Different company and amazing DJ software. I've been using it for about 10 years. It's a game changer. I don't even have to use a mixer OR controller. Straight high quality digital music direct to my speakers!