I did something I've been wanting to do for years this week. I went through a grueling two day workshop with Randy Bartlett.
I'm fully aware that you are sitting there saying "Randy WHO??"
Let me explain. We all have personal heroes that are not typical household names. A lot of times these heroes are known within our industry of choice. For instance, if you were to ask a Wedding DJ if he knows who Randy Bartlett is, he will probably respond with a mile wide grin. Randy is one of the top five entertainers in our industry. He IS a household name in my household and has been for at least ten years.
I've been in the presence of Randy in the past at conventions. I saw him from a distance. And I wanted to approach him and tell him how much his educational DVDs had shaped my career, made me who I was today and it was teachings that kept groceries on my dinner table.
But I couldn't. I was in such awe of the guy and the thousands of lives he had made better across the world that I was frozen with fear. How do you NOT say something dumb in front of your heroes and regret it the rest of your days?
So when I heard he was having a two day Microphone Workshop in Atlanta, I signed up without thinking about it. I was not going to let Randy Bartlett leave this world without me shaking his hand and telling him how much I appreciated him.
The workshop was Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. I arrived in Atlanta on Monday and began planning what I would say to him the next day. Then a message popped up on our Facebook group ... whoever wanted to go to dinner that night needed to meet in the hotel lobby at 7 pm.
I'll admit ... I was like a six year old who was told they were going to meet Santa at 7:00. I changed my clothes three times. I brushed my teeth until they hurt. I put on extra deodorant in case my impending nerves required another layer.
At 6:50, I headed to the lobby. I was the only one in the lobby. Good. I pride myself on my punctuality therefore ... so far so good.
At 7 pm, the skies parted and Randy Bartlett (and two other people who I thought may have been his posse) descended upon the lobby. At the time, I thought someone had started playing the Hallelujah Chorus but soon discovered it was only in my head. With knees shaking I approached the man, the myth, the legend. I extended my hand toward him, locked eyes, smiled and said:
Certainly not the dumbest thing I could have said but not exactly the opening line I had practiced thousands of times over the years.
He gave me a warm smile and said "Hello", probably because he had no clue as to who I was since I wasn't a household name in our industry.
I then introduced myself and pleasantries had officially been exchanged.
While we waited for other DJs to come to the lobby, at some point I managed to very subtly stand next to him in a small circle. I smiled ... a lot ... which is probably pretty creepy because I wasn't engaged in the conversation. It was a couple of DJs talking about their golf game. My total experience with golf consists of two things ... caddying one time for my Dad when I was 9 (I hated it) and switching the channel quickly whenever I accidentally stumble across a golf game on TV.
But there I was, silently grinning like I understood bogies and swing techniques and if a good score was a low number or a high number while I listened to these guys talk about a game that had never intrigued me.
Finally, it was decided nobody else was coming and we should go eat. That's when I did a quick head count.
There was David and Lisa. They were the lovely couple who executed this entire workshop.
There was me. I was the lumbering mute guy.
And there was Randy.
Four of us.
Now ... quick backstory ... I am incredibly self aware of possibly making bad first impressions when I meet people in large groups. So I tend to listen and observe more than talk. Mainly so I don't say something stupid like "My cats sure have a lot of fur. Probably too much fur. I wonder if I should shave them. Do you shave your cats?" I've noticed over the years, that's probably not the greatest ice breaker when first meeting people.
But once we sat down in our booth ... David and Lisa on one side ... me and Randy Bartlett sitting side by side in a booth like I had always dreamed it would be ... and the conversation began to flow.
We talked about the business, how we all got started and our lives since Randy didn't know us well but I had been a fan of Randy's for so long I could recite his Social Security Number backwards and forwards.
We even got a picture.
And this moment marked the beginning of a two day workshop where I gathered so much knowledge on how to better do my job as an MC that I feel like I owe my past clients a huge apology for the lame jobs I did for them. Because my future clients are the ones that are REALLY going to shine.
The workshop was full of great DJs from as far away as California and North Dakota, DJ's both new to the business and veterans. ALL of us walked away with the knowledge and confidence that we can be the best MCs in our respective areas.
So thank you to the other three people in that picture ... David and Lisa Alexander who worked endlessly to get this workshop not only up and running but highly successful for all in attendance. And the man himself for making all of us ten times as good as we were last week.
Now ... let's party!