"Who do I think I am?" goes through my brain from time to time when I take on a big challenge. It was definitely going through my mind as Mark Ferrell's Silver Level MC Workshop began. It was me, a non-DJ who wants to improve my public speaking abilities, and 6 professional wedding DJ's all in a room working hard to improve our Master of Ceremonies skills.
I can best describe my experience using two illustrations.
The first is of day one. I told Mark at the end of the day I felt like a "My Pretty Pony" hanging out with a bunch of professional polo ponies. LOL
Did I feel intimidated? You bet! Did it matter. Nope, not at all. The entire purpose of a workshop is to try new things, stretch beyond your comfort zone and forget all about being perfect. To me, the trick to getting the most out of a Mark Ferrell workshop isn't to go seeking approval, it's about being open to and receiving suggestions. Do that and you'll have a great experience!
By Day 2 this is how I felt. I think I did a pretty respectable job of keeping up with the DJ's in the room. Was I perfect? No. Did I learn a lot? Yes! Would you learn a lot (Wedding DJ or not) taking the same workshop? Absolutely!
The best part is that as challenging as the workshop is, it's also equally fun. I swear I can't remember laughing as much or as hard for two days in a row as I did in this workshop. Everyone had such a great sense of humor about our flub ups and we laughed at ourselves as much as we laughed at each other. IMO the camaraderie that developed in our little group was truly special.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for my fellow workshop attendees. Though some have been DJ's longer than others and we are all at different levels of proficiency, the one thing we all have in common is how much we care about our clients. They all worked really hard. I was so impressed by each and every one of them for their desire to improve and become the best DJ's and MC's they can be (for the benefit of their clients) that I want to share their names and websites with you. They were:
Carl Mindling - www.iMCevents.com
Robert Kusters - www.SiliconDJ.com
Ron Grandia - www.RonGrandia.com
Matt Graumann - www.MattGraumann.com
Matt Mitchell - www.jnedj.com
Alan Chitlik - www.PugetSoundDJ.com
From left to right: Carl Mindling, Me, Ron Grandia, Alan Chitlik, Mark Ferrell, Robert Kusters, Matt Graumann, Matt Mitchell and Rebecca Ferrell.
For as long as I can remember my parents always taught me that if I was going to do anything, do it right. Do it to the best of my abilities. But countless DJ's settle for far less than their best. Even more surprising is that Brides and Grooms are willing to accept their sub standard services and will hire them to DJ and MC their weddings. I blogged about it here: How Much Should Your Wedding DJ Cost?
I will say it was disheartening to me that there weren't more DJ's in the class. Professional training for DJ's by qualified instructors is very hard to come by so when someone of Mark Ferrell's stature comes to town for his annual workshops, and knowing there are literally hundreds if not thousands of DJ's all around the Greater Bay Area, it kind of drives me crazy that more of them aren't taking them!
So to brides and grooms around the world I can only reiterate to qualify who you hire. Make sure you are hiring the most talented and caring DJ/MC that fits your budget. They're out there. Unfortunately the great ones are few and far between which is why I went ahead and included the links to the websites of my fellow attendees. Someone needs to help you locate them! The difference between my recommendation and many other lists and advertisements you'll see online is that I am choosing to share their names because I want to. None of them asked me to or paid me to do this.
For any DJ's who want to join me in the incredibly rewarding quest for improvement please visit Mark Ferrell's website by CLICKING HERE to learn more about the workshops and other offerings he provides.
ETA: Mark has just added another Bronze Master of Ceremonies Workshop on November 16 & 17, 2011 in San Jose! So if you didn't make it last week you have a second chance to attend. Awesome!
A tremendous thank you to Mark and Rebecca Ferrell. As I said on Facebook this morning:
Mark Ferrell you ROCK! For me your workshops are the most fun, transformative and amazing places to be. EVER. Challenging, yes. A little embarrassing? Sure (but only for that first minute). Once I'm there and "all in" there is no such thing as embarrassment or humility, only the opportunity to improve. The rewards? Let's see, more effective speaking skills, better presentation skills and as a bonus I make new friends each time I take a workshop.
Wishing the Gold Level MC Workshop started today. I'm ready for more!
Here's the post about when I took Mark's Bronze Level MC Workshop a year earlier: Mark Ferrell's Master of Ceremonies Workshop