Category Archives: Experiences

Wrap up of 2011

This is a couple of weeks late, but I am still a work in progress when it comes to blogging!

I first want to graciously thank everyone that made 2011 a fantastic year for me! I’ve had the opportunity to be part of some of the most heart touching events I’ve ever seen (to date!)

There have been some new experiences and unique ideas for future events, which I look forward to implementing, thanks to my client’s forward thinking :-). I’ve had the opportunity to finally work with Joanne Bartone and Karen Wainwright of Joanne Bartone Photography, and also Leeann Marie Golish of Leeann Marie Photography. Both whom I really admire. This year has also given me the pleasure of working with David and Sara Frye of Magic Your Way Weddings, whom I hope to work with again! They did a fantastic write up of me in their blog, I really appreciate that. I cannot forget the other entertainers that have sent me referrals, namely Kelli Burns, and Jonathan Mihellis, they have sent me countless client referrals, with no reservations about my commitment and ability to perform well. And not asking for anything but reciprocation in return, that is gold to me.

Of the many venues I’ve worked this year, 3 stand out as my favorites. Simply because they didn’t treat me as just another guy passing through. Suzi Hawkins of the Mayernik Center, Tony Lee of the Renaissance Pittsburgh, and Tawnya Rockwell of the Youghiogheny Country Club. It always makes my day to know when I am working with someone that takes just a little time to be attentive and respectful, thank you all!! Not at all least, one of my favorite people on the planet, Erin Calvimontes of Divine Celebrations , planner extraordinaire, always a pleasure to work with you!

And finally to my Nameless family, whom there are too many to mention:
You have brought me into your lives, if but for a moment, to be part of some of your most memorable events. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for allowing me to do what I love, I cannot describe how awesome that makes me feel…. BRING ON 2012!!



Lost in translation, misunderstanding, what did you say?!?!

In no way is this intended to be a rant, but a shared experience, because good or bad, I believe all situations have potential for teaching something. When met with an unpleasant experience, I find it therapeutic to get a sense of closure.

I was recently contacted by a young woman inquiring about my services, and the following transpired:

Hello Jane (not real name),
Thank you for considering Nameless Entertainment for your big day!
How may I be of service?

I need a price and a break down for the times needed. Thank you Jane

If I may ask, how did you hear about me? Also, without sounding too forward, what is your projected entertainment budget?
I have a great deal of respect for mine, and other people’s time, and I truly do not want to waste yours, if I do not match what you were expecting.

ABC photography. And honestly wasting time is sending e-mails back and forth. Just please give me a price sheet and break down. My budget depends on that is included so I can not answer that. I believe a DJ is what makes the wedding therefore I want a good one and a RESPECTFUL one.
Thank you

My service is tailored to the requests of my clients, and the pricing is according to the amount of time needed, location, multiple set ups, and any add on services.
It is not my intention to be disrespectful, and quite honestly, when the first question is pricing, I usually do not book the event. If asking a few questions is wasting your time, I respectfully appreciate the time you have given me, and wish you well.
You may be more comfortable with someone else

Thank you.

Well maybe next time you should read my information before email me back. I said 6.5 hours. ceremony and reception. and I am not sure what you have to offer for “add on services”, so that is why I am asking. Maybe you COULD book people that as about pricings if one, you listened to what they ask for and two were respectful back. I will NOT give anyone a budget because the budget is based on the services. However, I do work for a catering business on the side and I will be sure to tell them about my experience! Being the “owner” you should know people what a break down of what each thing cost so they can add certain things in their budget. In my situation I was willing to spend the money for a great dj, instead you judge be and thought I was being a cheap ass. So I will spend my money else where.

In my defense, a lot of times, people just throw information at me with no particular knowledge of exact times, or direction of events. This one just happened to be on top of things, and I didn’t catch that. She also stated that she was in the service industry and I should know better to address people that way. But if she was in a similar line of work, I would have hoped she would understand the difficulty of selling services vs. goods. I once again explained to her in another e-mail, that out of 100 times I’ve heard that question, 99 will not reply back, once I’ve given a price. She just happened to be #100.

After our exchange, I really felt no party was at particular fault, the unwillingness for either of us to bend, shows what happens when two strong willed forces oppose each other. In this ever growing industry, things are not so cut and dry as “what’s your price?”

I ask specific questions to not only see if I fit a prospective clients needs and budget, but also to get an idea of how receptive they are, as I don’t see them as walking dollar signs, but as people, regular people that I might want to get to know. When you trust someone with the responsibility of a lifetime memorable event, I would hope you’d want someone that isn’t all business.

I am one of the most sincere and honest people I know in this business, and I understand trust issues. I try to be as reassuring as possible, so my potential clients don’t get that car salesman feel, like if you tell me what you have to spend, I’ll take every dime.

This person thought it best to reprimand me about my approach, but she was honestly the first one I’ve encountered, that got offended when I used this line of questioning. After it was all said and done, I apologized for offending her, but I’m sure, no matter how accommodating I was, she was convinced of bad business on my part. I even went so far as to publicly apologize on Facebook, not as an admission of guilt, but rather as an acknowledgement of our misunderstanding. I realize, I cannot be an “everyman” but booked or not, I would never want anyone to walk away with a bad taste. I truly believe, had she allowed me to call her, and explain over the phone, the situation could have been settled more amicably.

The bottom line…. We both approached the situation in a manner that was not befitting each other, and the end result is us not working together. As we all know, anything written, tends to get lost in translation, when we don’t want to write out our complete thoughts.


Good isn’t cheap, and cheap isn’t good

As I strolled through Carson Street on some much needed R&R from a busy weekend, I glanced over to a tattoo shop that posted an interesting sign:

A good tattoo isn’t cheap ~ A cheap tattoo isn’t good

It got me thinking, how true this applies to anything of value. And being an entertainer, losing jobs to people that are undercutting me, and offering a lot less in the quality department, had prompted me to write my own interpretation of this insightful quote.

Yes, the old cliche, “you get what you pay for” comes to mind as well, but obviously, you can’t beat this horse enough. I have been a victim of price hunting as well, but it didn’t take me long to learn my lesson. (Short story: I bought an elliptical machine from a popular sporting goods store, simply because it was cheap, and I thought it would do the job, I broke it in 10 days. I got my money back, and went to buy one that was more expensive, but after purchasing, and owning it for over 10 years, I see where that extra money went!) Fortunately, I was lucky enough to return the item that disappointed me. Things that are not recoverable, like tattoos, and once in a lifetime events, not so much.

I’m not suggesting you break the bank when you make such decisions, no one should ever risk financial ruin when trying to obtain what is important to them. What I am saying, researching what you are shopping for to fit your needs, and really openly exploring your options, saves you a lot more than money. And quite frankly, cheap has always proven itself to never be good.

Tips for navigating bridal shows….. Just a few hints.

Brideshows, bridal fairs, bride expos, wedding productions…..
I fondly refer to them as “The Circus” Even though they are a necessary evil for me, I love doing them, because the atmosphere presents many new opportunities for me. Whatever you know them as, you can find lots of valuable information, if you are focused, and up to the challenge. These helpful hints may guide you along, so that your experience will be more pleasant, and you can get on track to planning your dream wedding.
Here goes…..

1) Wear comfortable shoes:
Although being fashionable is always good when you are out in public, this is really not the best time to be cute. Convention centers have hard floors, and even when you go to a hotel show, where the floors are carpeted, there will be lots of walking involved. If you want to last more than a half an hour, do yourself the favor.

2) Don’t go alone!:
Ever heard the term, “There’s safety in numbers”? I’m not saying you have to bring an army with you, but it does help to have one or two people to discuss important matters with you. Preferably someone that will actually be involved with your wedding, and can offer differing opinions or reinforce your decisions Your MOH, mother, and (depending on whether or not it’s football season) your groom to be, are definitely good people to consider tagging along. Some vendors can be really aggressive with their approach, and you become an easy target, which could sour your taste about attending another show.

3) It’s best not to send a proxy:
I’ll tell you why. Even someone with the best intentions, will never be as excited as you are about your big day. I’ve seen it a hundred times. Parents, siblings, friends of the bride and groom, will blow through the building as quickly as possible, and gather tons of information for you, leaving you to sift through two bags full of fliers and cards, thus putting you back at square one…. Having no idea where to start 😦

4) Try to attend more than one show:
The number of vendors available for each category is astounding. There is quite a bit of information to process, and trying to find the right fit for every possible vendor in one show, can be really overwhelming. Try to focus on 1-3 things at a time, and take each show in small doses, there is a lot to see, and with patience, you’ll get through it just fine.

And last…….

5) Try to be in a good mood 🙂 :
This is also something I’ve seen a lot of. When you are in a bad mood, you make bad decisions. Come on, it’s your wedding!! What ever may be the cause of you not being happy at the moment, could really stress you out when shopping around for your vendors, and a rash decision could result in buyer’s remorse. But if you absolutely HAVE to go in a cranky disposition, remember #’s 1 & 2, comfy shoes, and lots of friends!

These are not words to live by, because I’m not telling you what you have to do, but from my experience as a vendor, and from what I’ve observed, this can definitely help, as you search for the people that will make the day of your dreams come true.

Hope this helps 🙂

The usefulness of vendor reviews – Do you find them useful?

As you embark on the daunting task of planning one of the most important events of your life, a question comes to mind: Where can I find the most useful information to make an informed decision? (other subjects to follow)

One of many places you may seek, is a chat-board, or review site, populated by recently married brides.

The question I have, as a vendor myself, How much of your decision to hire someone, depends on the opinions of what others said? How openly do you evaluate each post, do you look for multiple reviews, and do you feel you can trust the opinions of others to point you in the right direction?

From honest experience (and this will be the last time I mention my self) I’ve had many positive reviews, one mediocre, and one from someone whose event I didn’t even do. So I have mixed feelings about this subject, and asking for reviews is like pulling teeth from a wild boar!

So you’ve found a vendor you like, you’ve met them in person, but before you make the jump, there is some last minute checking you’d like to do. Here is the tricky part 1) You cannot find anything, or very little about this vendor. 2) You find loads of reviews, but a high percentage are negative. 3) The potential vendor has nothing but shining reviews, and you are seemingly impressed. Which would have the most influence on you, and which the least?

The unfortunate truth about reviews is pretty much the same as anything else. A harmful review can be written by someone who found, or experienced something wrong with everyone, except the vendor you like, but being caught in the crossfire of anger, they found the smallest mistake and exploited it. A good piece of advice would be, don’t write a review while you are in a bad mood. Other instances may have included another vendor disguised as a recent bride, or worse yet, an individual with a strong dislike for a vendor they’ve never used. These harmful reviews could sabotage the outcome of your chosen vendor’s success.
Some vendors are not completely innocent. They will sometimes pose as clients on different chat-boards, and boost themselves with overwhelming reviews.

There is a definite positive side to reviews, and although very helpful at times, like any amount of research, you must trust your own judgment.
Other ways that review sites can be of better use to you, is having the reviewer’s basic contact information available, so that you may gain some insight, by speaking with them about their event experience with your chosen vendor.
If you’ve found a review to be helpful, it would be reciprocally helpful to others, to write one yourself, and also make yourself available for inquiries about your experience. You have a great deal of power to express what may potentially influence someone’s decision, just as you were influenced by what you’ve read…..

Was that helpful? I hope it was!

A welcome change

This is a story I would like to repeat a thousand times!

I recently met a couple that are getting married soon, and could have sworn they read a page from a book I haven’t written yet.
The future bride and groom were very excited to talk about what they wanted for their reception, and, more importantly, wanted to get to know me!

For the first time in my career, I had a couple actually tell me how annoying it was, to hear from DJs telling them about what speakers they used, how many songs they had, and what kind of lights they used. I found it quite refreshing, they were more interested in my personality, and what I would do for their wedding reception, as a performer, as opposed to asking how many speakers I would bring. They were confident enough with my professionalism, to know I would have the appropriate equipment necessary to do my job.

The fact that this couple was comfortable with me as a person, and happy to meet me, made the experience enjoyable for both sides, and we booked the reception without hesitation. Things go much smoother with informed consumers.

I wish they could all be like that 🙂

A bride’s horror story (You truly get what you pay for)

I’ve told this story many times, but I thought it was an important subject to discuss (briefly).

I was contacted by a potential bride in the latter part of 2008, for a wedding that was to occur in April 2009. The interview was going nicely, until the price of my services was mentioned. I explained the advantages of her going with Nameless Entertainment, and the value received would far outweigh the price. I did not hear from her again.

The reception happened to be at a venue where I am very popular, and referred many times. To my surprise, I got a phone call, on the day of the wedding, 15 minutes before it was supposed to start, asking if I could come and help a bride who had been stood up by her DJ. After some recollection, I concluded that this was the bride who would not consider my services based on my pricing. She instead, went with an agency for less money, and not only gotten stood up, the original DJ she hired from that agency canceled on her the night before. A DJ was found as a replacement, but she had to pay that person, along with the money she had already lost 😦

I naturally felt bad, but was not in a position to help this particular person, I was already obligated to another event. I never want to see someone’s special day ruined, but due to shoddy planning and cutting corners on something as important as entertainment, (in this case, the entertainer even showing up) the bride ended up paying even more than what she would have, had she hired me, or considered my services in the first place.

I implore anyone shopping for a DJ for their event, get to know the person, and what they can offer for your event, instead of what they are charging. What you think you are saving, may cost your more in the long run!