I picked up another small graphic design job today! I met with my buddy, Adam, (socially distant, outdoors and with masks on) to discuss redesigning his bands logo. We talked about what he and his bandmates have been through over the years and their plans to release their first LP. I also talked about how I've been considering doing more graphic design work for clients now that Covid has taken away my DJ & vending gigs. His band logo, and the other design I've been working on, are good first jobs to help me get my feet wet doing freelance work, which has never been appealing to me before.
I DJ'd an outdoor wedding reception at a private residence on Saturday. It was my first event since the Covid-19 shelter-in-place order started in March. We took precautions to minimize spreading germs:
I did some protesting last week and I'm DJing a wedding reception this Saturday so I went in to get tested for the Coronavirus this morning. I was told to stay home till I receive the results which can take 24-48 hours. I hate waiting on results like this and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the results come up negative.
About a week & half ago I asked people on Instagram to send me song requests so I can record a mix. I got a whopping 3 requests. They were, "Big Pimpin', Lookout Weekend and El Sonidito" (the beep beep beep song.) Today I set up the rig and recorded a 5-minute mix using 5 songs.
I'm taking requests again for the next mix.
I recorded another quick-mix set. 14 minutes of 80s rock. It took me all day to pick songs and set cue points but I'm happier with this mix than yesterdays.
My work requested some recorded mixes of music I'd play at weddings, that's quick-mixed in & out of. I tried a few days ago and couldn't do it. My mixes fell apart after a couple songs. I feel that most music I play at weddings sounds better when people are dancing to it. Without an audience, most wedding dance music feels flat to me. Today I tried again but used a few songs I wouldn't normally play at events, focused on what makes me dance and had fun with it. It took a long time to choose the songs and listen to them to find the in & out points. When I finally recorded it it took me two tries to get it right/good-enough. In the end I made this 13 minute mix that starts in the 60s and works its way to the 2000s
It was a nice day today so I set up the DJ rig in the back porch with the intent to record a set. The goal was to record a mix of songs I'd play at a wedding and quick-mix in & out of each song (not play the whole thing.) My plan was to mix and record different sets based on decades starting with the 60s. I listened to, and prepped, a bunch of music before mixing. Because I'm used to playing full songs at events I had to listen to the music again and find points to mix in & out of. That took a lot of time and when I was ready to play none of my mixes were sounding good. They'd fall apart after 2-3 songs. It was really frustrating and in the end I had nothing. I didn't even have fun. I might try again tomorrow with different music and not quick-mixing.
This afternoon I went on Instagram Live and DJ'd a 90-minute set and only stopped when I was booted off Instagram, when it detected certain copyrighted songs. There was a 30-minute chunk from my set, all 80s music, that Instagram won't let me share so I did a screen recording and uploaded it here. The 1st, 3rd & 4th sets (as of right now) are up for a another 18 hours on my Instagram (@frankiemcfly) Enjoy!
With all the downtime, I decided to get started with spring cleaning. I'm on that Marie Kondo sparking joy shit. Every year or so I go through all my crap and get rid of the stuff I don't need. Today I pulled a stack of old Thank You cards from brides & grooms I DJ'd weddings for. Sometimes I do good work.
You know, that mouse guy...
I had the idea for this last year. I drew it out in Adobe Draw but didn't like the way it came out so left it alone and forgot about it. I still had the reference pic on my iPad so I gave it another go tonight and was much happier with the result this time around.
I figured it was only a matter of time until weddings started getting canceled due to Covid-19/Coronavirus concerns. Tonight I found out the wedding I was supposed to DJ in two weeks got postponed. Last Friday the fundraiser I was working got canceled that very same morning. DJ events at this time of year are already slow to begin with. So are the festivals where I sell my shirts. Two events that I was going vend at next month also got canceled this week. I know I shouldn't complain and I will try and remain optimistic, but damn, most of my income comes from working events. I'm going to try and file an unemployment insurance claim next week. I'll also need to contact my bank regarding my car loan and my credit card provider to see what my options are for late payments. Money is gonna tight the next few weeks, or months. Aside from that I'm doing my best to stay healthy and positive during this weird & uncertain time. I hope you and your loved ones are too. Let's hope we get out from under this soon.
I was supposed to DJ an event tonight but I got text this morning saying it was canceled due to Coronavirus concerns. Bummer, because I really needed the cash. This time of year is already pretty slow for DJing. I did wake up to some good news though, an online t-shirt order came in. Before I got notified about the event being canceled I was planning on just bagging the shirt and sending it off. After getting word that I wasn't gonna be working I started drawing a Thank You card for the t-shirt order. I drew my head first then the tentacles & letters with pencil. Then I inked it with a couple Micron pens and fixed a few mistakes with Pro-White. When I was done I threw it in the bag with the t-shirt and a couple SJ stickers and delivered it. The customer lived 15 minutes from home so I figured I'd save him a couple days of waiting for it to arrive by mail.
This weekend and last weekend I DJ'd doubles. Friday & Saturday gigs. Tonight, and last night, I DJ'd at the same venue and was able to leave the rig setup overnight. Today I came already dressed in my suit, versus load-in clothes. My dinner was waiting for me when I arrived. And I had a fun dance floor going for most of the night. The only issue was my DJ laptop freezing half hour before the end of the night. It killed my dance floor. I played some Spotify music playing from my personal laptop while my DJ laptop restarted and got the dance floor going as soon as I was up and running. Unfortunately, there were only half as many people by then. If it wasn't for that incident tonight would have been perfect.
Gig number 2 was another holiday party. No theme, just a straightforward cocktail hour, dinner & dance. There was some cool lighting in the room and some garland for the rig. Next weekend is another double which is great since January & February are usually slow.
Another year of changing in restrooms. Tonight's gig was a Roaring 20s themed so I played ragtime & jazz during cocktail hour (it sounds better on paper than at a party) then electro swing at dinner to liven up the event. During open dance I played modern music from the 80s thru 2010s. It's weird to think that all new music going forward will be labeled "20s music." My Spotify is ready. I just hope the new 20s music works better at events than the old 20s.
My last event of 2019 was a holiday/birthday party with Santa Claus, face painting, balloon artist, photo booth and karaoke. It was actually really laid back. I played background music during cocktail hour and dinner then opened up the karaoke after we ate. Only a couple adults sang at first then the kids went at for the rest of the night. Check out the video of the kids battling each other with balloon swords and axes. They even had balloon holsters for their balloon weapons.
I DJ'd my first holiday party of the season tonight at Levi's Stadium. It's a nice break from all the weddings. There's way less notes & music to prepare. It's way more casual. Less MCing. More music I don't usually get to play at weddings. Tonight's client had also booked casino games and a photo booth so I mostly played fun background music while people ate and played the games. I'm DJing a few more holiday parties this month and next before it slows down and wedding season starts ramping up again in March.
I DJ'd a daytime wedding today. The ceremony was at 11:30 AM and the event ended at 4:30 PM. In my experience, it's super rare if anyone dances at a daytime wedding. I think it's partly because it's still bright as day outside and most people won't get on the dance floor unless it's dark. I also think people don't drink as much during day weddings, compared to evening weddings, and booze gets people on the dance floor. I didn't think anyone was going to dance after dinner/lunch today. What I thought was going to be the nail in the coffin was the venue's strict sound restrictions. The speaker volume had be brought down really-really low during open dance. The volume on the dance floor was so low you could talk over the music. All the guests outside and in the room next door couldn't hear my music or announcements because the volume was so low. No one was even in the room I was DJing in for the first 3-4 songs after opening up the dance floor. I went around and invited to people to come in and dance. The bride, groom and flower girl came in first and soon more people trickled in. It would get quiet and awkward at times while people danced so I got on the mic often to announce songs & give shoutouts I explained that the venue made me turn my speaker volume down but they could get loud and make noise. I somehow managed to keep them on the dance floor till the last song. It felt like I MC'd the dance set instead of DJing it.
There was a bunch of Halloween candy & mini comics leftover from last night. The comics are pretty rad, they come in 25 packs to give away to trick-or-treaters or use as party favors. Today I thought it would be cool to slip a comic and some candy into the bags of anyone who orders a shirt online. I also made shipping & handling free.
On Saturday I'm working a wedding in Soquel and Sunday morning I'm DJing a memorial in San Jose. This is a first. I've never worked a memorial before. All I was given was a loose timeline and bunch of music. Normally I'd be a lil nervous going into a situation like this but I'm working with a professional event planner, that I've worked with before, and after our phone call today I'm feeling alright. We'll see how it goes.
On Sunday night I'll be picking up my San Jose shirts from the printers. Then I gotta count, fold & sort them all and update my online store's inventory. There are a few people waiting on those shirts and I can't wait to get them out.
This was truly a challenge and I'm happy the way my drawings came out. I like them much better than my drawings from the previous two years. This year I drew everything on a separate sketch book before drawing it again in my main book with pencil then inking it. I basically drew each image three times. I used different sized Micron pens, including the Graphic pens and brush pen. When I made booboos I used a white Gelly Roll pen to cover it up. All 31 drawings are original, even tho I copied a few things from last year, and I didn't use any of the official #inktober prompts. If you haven't already figured it out, the number for each day serves as the border to the drawing. If you followed me on Instagram, and viewed my stories, you saw that I added a song to each drawing. The songs usually had something to do with the number or image. That was my DJ brain getting involved.
I DJ'd a corporate event tonight and dance floor was empty soon after we opened it up. Not just the dance floor but the whole room eventually emptied. Everyone went outside to the patio. It's a beautiful venue with string lighting outside, fire pits, heaters, and a bar so I can't blame them. But it got me thinking about my first few years DJing. I used to hate when nobody danced. I felt like I failed to do my job. It would ruin my weekend, sometimes my whole week. What made it worse was playing fast, upbeat dance music to an empty dance floor. After a few more years of DJing I realized there will be occasional empty dance floors but instead of playing nothing but dance songs I've started playing more laid-back & less dancy music. Stuff I usually don't play during dance sets. I figure if people wanna lounge I'll play more lounge type music. Today I don't feel bad if no one wants to dance.
The video below is from a wedding I did exactly 3 years ago today. It was as hot as hell inside and everyone, except for one older gentleman, was hanging out outside or had already left. It was just this one man sitting in a chair directly across from me. The song was the bride's request and it was just too funny so I filmed a bit of it.
Saturdays are for weddings. I've been DJing for 5 years now and this is my usual routine:
And that's it! Super easy, right?
Now that I spend more time on my own business it's getting harder to switch my brain back in to wedding mode, especially after a couple weekends of vending t-shirts and no DJ gigs. I spent whole day today going over notes, timelines, emails and music requests for my next two weddings for this Saturday and next Saturday. I also had phone meetings with both brides & grooms today after preparing all their wedding music on my work laptop. I like to play the music back for them to make sure I have the correct songs for their ceremony and formal dances as we walk thru their wedding day. After the my last phone meeting tonight I was drained. My eyes were tired from staring at laptop screens and pages of notes so I drew myself for Day 2 of Inktober.
I keep a checklist of all the gear I use at events. This way I don't have to spend time looking for things before the day-of. Just grab and go. All the smaller items go in plastic tubs, I got this idea from my DJing job. I used to use two big tubs (with orange tape in pic below) but recently switched to three smaller tubs. (yellow) It's a little easier moving around three smaller tubs than two big ones. I also used to carry a bunch of items I never used so now the big tubs are for storage. Today I went through my tubs and checklist and made sure everything was in there and left them ready for this Friday's Street Mrkt.
That's how I roll.
I worked on the mural about 10 hours a day. Monday thru Thursday.
I DJ'd a 2 hour middle school dance on Friday night and a 5.5 hour wedding Saturday afternoon.
They were all a challenge but they were all wins. My brain is mush right now from lack of sleep.