Planning every detail of an event can be overwhelming: the invites, the caterer, the décor; oh my! The easiest and most fun part of the day should be the entertainment! Below are some questions you should ask any type of entertainment you’re looking to hire:
1) Do you have my date available?
This seems like an obvious question. However, you’d be surprised how many potential clients provide lots of information while excluding the date. Ask this question first to avoid any wasted time. We know planning an event means every moment counts. Give this essential information upfront and go from there!
If the entertainer does not have that date available, don’t hesitate to ask if he/she has any recommendations. Often time, entertainers have a network of people who are trusted to provide a great service.
Let’s say the date for your event hasn’t been solidified-don’t be scared to still call! It’s still ok to ask about details (price, set up, etc) without knowing officially what you want.
2) How long have you been doing this?
In the entertainment world, experience is key! Those with lots of experience will provide the more professional and more entertaining services. Experience brings the entertainer the knowledge to work through issues like time changes, weather issues, and many more. I once arrived at a show where the power had gone out and there were 200 people waiting to be entertained. My vast experience allowed me to both come prepared and deal with the situation at hand.
When speaking with potential entertainment, ask how long he/she/they have been doing this. There is no right or wrong answer here-some may say 2 years, others 20. You will also have to factor into your budget that those acts with more experience will most likely be a higher cost.
3) What sets you apart?
Want your guests to have a uniquely memorable experience at your event? When your guests have a great experience, they’ll leave talking about your event for a long time. That makes you and your event-planning skills look good! And who doesn’t want all of that!
When looking for entertainment, look for someone or something unique and interesting. An act that is something like your guests have never seen before will be way more memorable than something a bit more typical. If you’re booking a magician, maybe stray away from the top-hat-and-cape-guy (unless that’s exactly what you’re looking for). Look for a DJ that maybe offers video, lights, or a karaoke package. The more unique and interesting, the better the event will be!
4) Explain your room set up and ask what the entertainer needs.
This is a giant must for your entertainment. Each type of entertainment will need specifics-a circus act needs space, a magician needs volunteers, a DJ needs an outlet, etc. Explain how you plan to set up your event space and ask the specifics of what the entertainer needs. Will you have high-top tables, or will people be seated around dining areas? Is your event outside near a fireplace with a bar in the center? Will it be in a cafeteria, a ballroom, or a backyard? Be specific when explaining how your event space is set up.
Include, as well, what your guests will be doing and if there is any other type of entertainment booked. Will your guests be arriving at different times over two hours, or will they all be seated for a plated dinner? Will there be a DJ, Photo Booth, etc? Any specifics will help!
Most requests will be simple and completely doable. I ask for things like drinking water, an outlet, and, depending on the show, a slightly-specific room set up (mainly no dance floor between the audience and myself. The dance-floor-of-doom, as we lovingly call it in the magic business, is a vacuum of energy between the performer and the audience).
However, if an act starts requesting interesting things, like 3 empty egg cartons, a bottle of wine, and a small dog, this might be outside your ability. The entertainment should be the easiest part of your planning, not the most elaborate, even if it looks it!
5) Will my guests be involved in the show?
This question may only be for specific types of acts-jugglers, circus, magicians, etc. You may not think to ask this of a DJ. However, the DJ at a recent wedding event was teaching the guests various line-dances. That way, if you didn’t know the dance to start, everyone could participate. The DJ even came to the dance floor and helped anyone in need. This is a DJ I would recommend!
Your guests are going to remember seeing their spouses, coworkers, and friends be apart of the show. If it’s someone’s special day, i.e. wedding, birthday, anniversary, etc, the show should feature a specific spotlight on the celebrated person/people. Imagine going to your company holiday party and seeing your boss laughing, smiling, and completely in on the action of the show. How fun is that!
Look for entertainment that is going to be highly interactive-the more hands-on the audience is, the more memorable the event will be!
Here are some other questions that, although they didn’t make the top 5, are still important:
6) Is your act clean?
Depending on your event, you may focus on having a clean, family/business-friendly act. Be sure to ask if the performer is able to perform a completely clean act. Even specify certain concerns you may have-will there be an innuendos? Maybe you need to have a completely clean playlist. Whatever your need, just voice your concerns before the event.
7) Will my guests be embarrassed as your volunteers?
You definitely don’t want your guests to leave the event embarrassed and upset. It’s a good idea to open up the conversation on how volunteers are treated on stage. You may even be looking to throw a bit of embarrassment towards your boss or the birthday person. Check with the entertainment on what that means to both of you; will a volunteer be asked to take off his shirt or a women be hypnotized to do a lap dance? If that’s what you’re looking for, then great! No matter what you’re looking for, just ask so everyone is on the same page.
8) What do you need from me the day of the event?
Besides room setup, access to an outlet, etc, some performers may need a “dressing room”, or a room to store some extra supplies. Depending on the event, the entertainer may ask for a few different, simple requests. These requests are based off of our experience end expertise to make your event and the entertainment run as smoothly as possible.
Overall, the best thing you can do with your entertainment is communicate. If there is someone who really wants to volunteer for the show, or someone who doesn’t, just let your entertainer know. With vast experience, your entertainer will work with you to make your event completely unforgettable.