Tuesday, June 28, 2011

An overcast day on your wedding....

Many brides wish for a wedding outside in bright a bright ray of sunshine for their backdrop. Though many say that they don't want it to rain on their wedding day, some people and cultures believe it is good luck.

Many people don't know that as a wedding DJ, I also do some photography.

For a photographer, rain wouldn't be ideal, but sunshine isn't either. I actually really like a bit of overcast with interesting rain clouds approaching. Here are a few shots I have taken to help illustrate what I mean. The first two with the dock is from a wedding at Crystal Cove, just this past weekend.

This second photography set is from a shoot I did in Fonda, NY about a year ago for a different couple. Both shoots have a soft natural lighting that is difficult to duplicate artificially.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

DJ RULE #1: Timing is Everything

Being booked a lot and very busy, means I often have to turn work away. I hate it, but it happens sometimes. Some people have asked me what to look for in a DJ. I always tell them that they need someone who knows about timing. Timing is everything. There is a time and place for everything.

DJ RULE #1: Stealing The Spotlight is something your DJ should never do. If they refuse to work with you on your requests, this is a clear red flag that they may think they are a superstar. However, on your wedding day, YOU are the superstar, and they should be willing to work with you at all costs to make the spotlight shine on you.

Many of you know that I have a backgorund as a ring announcer in professional wrestling. I also have had my hand in the pro wrestler/personality mix. I did both. Wrestling is all about timing and so is song selection and mic work when you DJ.

In pro wrestling, you have to work well with your opponent in order to look good, and also make them look good. There is a whole philosophy in old school professional wrestling, back in the earlier days up to the 80’s or so, where you did not want to “steal heat.” Stealing the heat would mean to take the spotlight off of the person that really should be shining at a particular moment, for your own personal gain. I guess I have applied this to my disc jockey philosophy and it seems to work.

Acting as a DJ, it is easy to “steal the heat,” or steal the spotlight at any given time. We have all probably been to a wedding where the DJ talks way too much, to the point of nausea. A good DJ should be informative and funny, but also professional and only offer humor or wit in moderation. Unfortunately, sometimes this is something you either have or you don’t, much like most of the successful wrestlers out there. It is hard to teach charisma and likeability.

I believe that on the bride & groom’s special day, the DJ has to think about timing. The disc jockey and the other wedding professionals need to let the new husband and wife shine and do everything in their power to make this happen. This means on the microphone, in mid-activity, and also behind the scenes.

A good professional wrestler or pro wrestling personality, has to know how to make others look good at, often at their own expense, for the good of the show. John Cena, The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin would be nothing today, if they didn’t at some point try and make their opponents look good. The performance is better when both sides have decent input. If a superstar wrestler were to run in and destroy each opponent taking no offence in return, people would get bored very soon.

I think what has made me popular as a wedding DJ in Troy, NY is that I am a personality, but I don’t hog the microphone or scream for the guests to look at me every moment for some ridiculous unwanted commentary or shtick. I try my hardest to make everyone have fun and push no agenda. Many DJ’s think that since they are a paid entertainer, it is their show and think the spotlight should always be on them. However, this is incorrect, especially so at a wedding.

I have been told by many people in my life that I can be a very funny guy, at times. Therefore, I chime in the microphone when I can and add some good spice to the event. However, I never ever overkill and I know my role. While it is true, I am paid to entertain, I focus on entertaining by providing the appropriate music at the appropriate time and read the crowd to provide the music that they like, which ninety percent of the time, I am playing songs that I would never listen to on my own.

It is all about reading the crowd and playing stuff at the right time.

You can reach kenny at TheDJservice.com


Monday, June 13, 2011

Waterford Banquets & Saratoga Elks Wedding Catering/Hall Review

A great company called Waterford Banquet caters all over the Capital Region and other areas nearby, but it is most noted for being the in-house food provider at The Saratoga Elks, Saratoga Springs, NY.

At the Elks, Waterford Banquets had a good little spread for a recent wedding I was the disc jockey for. Their prime rib, which I would classify (size-wise) as decent medium cut of beef, was a pretty tasty dish. On their website, I believe it is somewhere around $23 a plate. That actually for a wedding dish, is a competitive bid and a pretty good deal. You can spin by their web site for the menu pricing by clicking here.

Overall, the hall is pretty good for an average-sized wedding. not too small and not too big. It seems ideal for weddings between 125-200 guests.

At The Saratoga Elks which is very conveniently located by 87's Exit 15, they have a very modern look with great lighting, for what most would expect from an "Elks Club." The hall itself features a nice bar and a fairly new dance floor. For the vendors and decorating purposes, they also have good access to the hall itself with a back door, that you can pull right up to. There is also great air conditioning (I was actually cold, and many electric outlets for your convenience.

I would rate them about 8 stars out of 10, only subtracting a little for an unusable disco ball (people wanted me to turn it on as the DJ, but it didn't work) and a few minor eye sores, like the Elks Logo sign in the banquet hall and what I believe was a bingo board on the wall covered by curtains.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Franklin Plaza Banquet Hall Review – Troy, NY

I am not sure if you have been there lately, but The Franklin Plaza Banquet Hall of Troy, NY is a really great option to hold your wedding or any high-end event that demands class and elegance.

Quite often, due to the state of economy, I am the one who ends up paying attention to most of the minor details of big events myself, working as a DJ and often pinch-hitting as the client's event planner. However, I barely needed to step up at a recent gig that was held at The Franklin Plaza. If you choose to book the Franklin Plaza, I think you will agree that the staff does a super job making everyone feel comfortable, while paying attention to fine detail.

One thing that really helps is that the management do not cheap out. They are not afraid to put many employees on to make your event move more efficiently. Quite often, many halls only used 3-5 servers, but at Columbia High School's recent prom, I easily saw 8 -10 employees.

Another perk I wanted to highlight here in this review, is Franklin now has their own in-house dance lights! Greg Cushman, the hall manager, mentioned that the system is brand new, as the lights were installed only a few months ago. From the looks of things, The Plaza spares no expense in ambiance. As a great extra bonus for booking the hall, the multi-color LED lights with programmable DMX technology are free of charge to the customer, and available at the flip of a switch. The thing that really makes these lights neat is that they were installed high up in the corners of the dance floor and out of sight; perfect for photography reasons. They also have some very impressive back lighting built into the walls!

You will not be disappointed with the food either. The selection and quality is delectable to say the very least.

Overall, I give The Franklin Plaza of Troy, NY 4 1/2 stars out of 5, subtracting only a half a star for location-related reasons that cannot be helped. It is a very convenient location in the heart of Troy, right across from Dinosaurs BBQ. However, there is medium to limited parking, and I ran into a few unsavory individuals who made things difficult to unload. (I think some homeless guy spit on my car in the parking lot, because I was unloading and didn’t have time to listen to his sob story setting up!!! Incidentally, if you see this Redd Foxx look-alike, shoot me an email so I can knock the last two teeth out of his mouth.)