I have been professional entertainer for over 10 years. I have learned from experience some of the things that make an event run well and some things to avoid. I would like to share some of this information with you to help you choose the correct entertainment for your event.
First I am continually amazed at how much time, money and effort is put into selecting the menu, caterer, colors, arrangement of the centerpieces, location, and how secondary the choice of entertainment is. Here is an unvarnished truth. NOTHING AFFECTS THE SUCCESS OF YOUR PARTY, RECEPTION, DINNER OR EVENT MORE THAN THE ENTERTAINMENT YOU CHOOSE. – So do so carefully. To put it another way, no matter how much you spend on the food, venue, or decorations they soon be forgotten. But the entertainment will be remembered for a very long time. If you do not believe me, when was the last time you heard someone rave about the meal they had at an event three weeks later. Therefore, you need to choose your entertainment carefully. Your reputation depends on it.
I will not be discussing hiring a band or DJ in any detail here; however, much of this can apply to them as well. Generally speaking bands and DJ are what are considered “background” entertainment. While these are important they will not have nearly the impact on your event that a professional act can have. In fact, as long as they play appropriate music that people like at the right times a simply “adequate” band or DJ and still allow everyone to have fun. However, an “entertainer”, who provides a successful show can literally have people laughing, and talking about the outstanding event WEEKS LATER.
One of the first things you need to ask for when contacting a performer is a promo or promotional packet or at the very least a brochure. A promo packet will contain the following: a photo (or photos), a biography, a list of credentials including places he or she has performed, a list of clients he or she has successfully entertained, reviews of their act and testimonials from past clients.
Review the material carefully, it is not uncommon in this business to list prestigious places the act has supposedly entertained when in truth they have not. If there is any doubt ask questions. Make sure they are being truthful with you.
The most important item is a video or demo reel of the act. This may be provided on DVD but it is becoming more and more common to provide you a link to a website. This allows the performer to get the information to you more quickly and it also allows you and several others to review it independently.