February 7, 2012

Not Quite “Day 1” Yet…

It's Monday afternoon, the day before the first official day of Mobile Beat and I have just returned to my motel room after attending three very informative seminars. My imagination is stirring with bite sized nuggets if inspiration and now I'm attempting to record it down onto my keyboardless iPad (note to self… bring laptop next time). After a nice morning workout, followed by a greasy breakfast, I headed to Ballroom B to hear Ron Ruth speak about Walt Disney's philosophies of “guestology” and how those philosophies can be applied to the Mobile DJ industry. This was a particularly apt topic for those who specialize in the wedding industry. Like Walt, Wedding DJ' are in essence deeply involved in creating lifelong memories. Ron Ruth is a self proclaimed “Disney Geek,” … but much in a good way. He has thoroughly examined the Disney legacy, not to mention he has made DisneyWorld his sole vacation destination for several years. Watching Ron Ruth's enthusiasm on stage was nothing less than infectious. RonRuthWeddings.com

Unfortunately, I walked in late to the next seminar titled, “Taking Your DJ Business to the Top,” provided by Alan Dodson. Mr Dodson provided some humorous, yet scary contrasts between some great mobile DJ websites, and not-so-great ones. He did the like with various DJ related business cards. He displayed one REAL example of a business card where a young ethnic DJ was looking through a riflescope at the reader. The tag line read something like, “blowing up the competition”… Complete with picture of a Mosque in the upper left margin of business card. The audience broke out in a politically uncomfortable laugh. Despite the not-so-adequate acoustics of the room, Mr Dodson's message was clear. If one wants to succeed in this business, one MUST be conscious of their public image. Alan Dodson is DJ and Entertainment Director of, “An Unforgettable Event, Inc.”

Last on the agenda was one of my favorite speakers, Tom Haibeck, author of, “Wedding Toasts Made Easy”. Tom's speaking style is very low-toned yet concise. Nearly every bullet point of his message was a gem that evoked a nerve of excitement within a roomful of aspiring DJ's (myself included). Not only do we have the opportunity to celebrate one of the most important days of people's lives together, but we can make a handsome living doing so. I felt silly for not knowing who Colin Cowe is prior to this seminar, but was certainly pleased to find out that his base fee for wedding services rendered is $250,000 for each of his signature weddings. I can't wait to find out how much David Tutera charges! There is hope for a new level of success in this industry after all. There is redemption for an industry long associated for its “cheese factor”. Haibeck went into detail of how to handle oneself within the mainstream media, particularly when dealing with reporters. It was an excellent moment to learn more on a topic lightly touched on in past MB Conferences.

Tomorrow it only gets better! We have three marquee presenters who are sure to generate a lot of excitement. In particular, my greatest mentor in this industry will carry his message, “Getting What You're Worth 2.0”. Mark Ferrell is one of the few speakers who can truly capture the collective attention in a roomful of rowdy DJ's. He and his wife Rebecca have devoted much of their career to elevating the standards within the Mobile DJ industry by taking their message on the road. I was fortunate enough to hear Mark speak at his first MB Conference many moons ago. I have been a fan of his ever since.

Its been an exciting [pre]conference so far :-). Its the first time in several years I've attended this event solo. It's also the first time I have come to Las Vegas two days before official conference kickoff. I'm seeing many familiar faces, and a myriad of newcomers as well. I'm confident attendance is up after a hard-felt recession and I'm equally as confident that these conferences will continue to get better and more exciting with each new year. As for tonight…. I'll be heading out for my annual ritual of watching Cirque du Soleil shows. I haven't purchased a ticket yet, but I'm leaning toward watching “Zumanity” for my third time :-). Can't wait!

Santiago (James) A Naranjo

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