5 Reasons to Jumpstart Your School Dance Planning (& School Dance Planning Tips!)

school dance planningWhen you’re planning an awesome school dance, there’s not a moment to lose. We think everyone has a memory or has been to a dance that was hastily thrown together, or thrown together without any school dance planning, and the result is the same: boooring. And don’t think that planning by committee has to slow down or delay planning your homecoming, fall, spring formal or prom; with a little bit of delegation and regular meetings, you can jump start your school dance planning. What’s the rush? Staying ahead of the game with your school dance planning is important, and for five very good reasons:

  1. Get the best DJ. You don’t have to hang the decorations, or set the play list yet. But you do need to get on the calendar of the right DJ service to guarantee school dance success for your Homecoming or Back-to-School dance (perhaps even think ahead to Prom to save money). Anybody can play music, but selecting the right DJ that has the rockin’ play list that keeps your school dancing for the whole dance (because we’ve all seen those dances where kids fade early) is important. Contact your DJ right away, because the best school dance DJ’s calendars fill up fast.
  2. Save money. Check to see if your DJ service has a referral discount or an early booking discount. Often, DJ services will charge you less if you refer other clients that book their services. For example, Post Prom DJ offers a 50% discount for your party when two other schools, corporations, family members of friends confirm their party. So think BIG within your network. Save money for your school dance by asking your company to book with the same DJ for their corporate Christmas party, and ask one of the previous school classes to book with that same DJ for their 20th Class Reunion.
  3. School dance planning takes research. Each committee member is going to need time to research decoration, entertainment and food options that fit your budget. Take your DJ for example. Now is the time to find out what school dance packages are offered, and how they fit in with your budget. You want a package that fits the size of your dance, and the gym or venue that you’re using. Selecting the right package also means making sure you have enough money in your budget for refreshments and decorations. If you have to set a ticket price, researching your dance expenses ahead of time ensures you set the right price so you’re not left in the red.
  4. You can start promoting (and recruiting help!) ASAP. If you have the ticket prices, the theme and the entertainment set, you can get a jumpstart on promoting your school dance. That means more chances to push the event out on social media, in your school announcement, at school events, and anywhere else you choose to promote.
  5. A well-planned school dance is worth it. Doing your homework ahead of time means a memorable school dance with the right DJ, right ticket price and even cost savings with referrals. So don’t procrastinate like you did on last year’s book report; prove you’re the head of the class by planning your school dance before the due date.

Answers to all Your Outdoor Movie FAQ’s

outdoor movie screenWhat kind of party or events can you show an outdoor movie at?

Any kind! Indoor or outdoor. We’ve given you a few ideas in our recent blog post.

What is included in your outdoor movie packages?

We provide everything you need:

  • Support before your event and for selecting and obtaining a legal copy of the movie in the format you need,
  • a large inflatable movie screen,
  • a knowledgeable crew for screen set up, running the movie and take down,
  • on-site back-up equipment.

What size outdoor movie screens do you offer?

We have 15 foot, 20 foot, 30 foot, and 40 foot tall inflatable movie screens.

What is the actual height and width of the movie screen we will be getting?

We have some of the tallest outdoor movie screens in the Midwest! Our biggest screen is about 40’ tall and about 40’ wide.

Are your screens Inflatable or Non-Inflatable?

Our screens are all inflatable. Inflatable screens are designed to set up quicker and withstand a greater wind. Our screens are custom made for us and are the best quality out there.

Do you offer any pre-movie entertainment?

Yes, we would be glad to play some music and do some interactive things before the movie starts. Also, we can provide cartoons or music videos at no additional charge.

Can you play full screen as well as wide screen movies?

Our screens are either ‘full screen’ or ‘wide screen’ format, so you will never have the ‘black spaces’ on the sides of the screen.

How many crew / technicians will you send to our event?

Depending on your event needs, we always try to send a two or three person crew to your event.

Do you have any special set up requirements?

Yes, please see our ‘Movie Rider’ for a complete list of requirements.

What is your inclement weather policy?

We would ask that you have an alternate indoor location in the event of rain or wind. But, we would also be willing to come back on a mutually agreed upon make up date.

How much insurance do you carry?

We carry a two million dollar liability policy. Copies or additionally insured are available by request.

What is included and what do we have to provide?

Basically, you provide the location, power, & the movie. We will provide the rest.


Please contact SWANK Motion Pictures at this link: http://www.swank.com/ for more information.

How can I get more information about outdoor movies?

Contact us! We’d love to discuss your event or party and answer any questions you might have about our outdoor movie screens.

10 Events & Parties Perfect for an Outdoor Movie (Screen)

outdoor movie screenWhen you think of an outdoor movie, it probably brings to mind nostalgic pictures of those old drive-in movies with the grainy pictures and classic cars. It’s time to replace those pictures with images of today’s outdoor movies, huge screens surrounded by people on blankets in your backyard or at a community summer party where people can watch from the comfort of their cars, on bleachers, in lawn chairs or on blankets. Right now outdoor movies are all the rage across the Midwest, because (most importantly!) they’re fun, the huge movie screens attract teens, families and everyone to parties and events, and outdoor movies give any party or event a unique form of outdoor entertainment—any event or party, such as our 10 favorites:

  • Baseball or softball game. Host a movie after or before a game as an extra incentive for your fans, a great way to end a softball tournament, a way to generate revenue with a movie in the parking lot or as a draw to your festival.
  • Summer festival or Fireman’s Picnic. Hosting a street or community summer festival? Preparing for your annual Fireman’s Picnic? Draw families down with a movie in the park, or end your summer festival with an outdoor movie so you can sell out your concession stand or host a movie at the pool in your park. Advertise a dinner and movie in the park for a fundraiser at your Fireman’s Picnic. The sky’s the limit for ways that you can use and market your outdoor movie.
  • Parking lot or ice cream drive-in movie. Want a way to say “thank you” to patrons of your restaurant or ice cream stand? Need a unique form of entertainment for your grand opening? Need a way to draw families in for more night business? Host a drive-in movie in your parking lot, and make sure you serve refreshments. Or make your drive-in movie a regular event, with regular revenue coming in.
  • Waterpark or pool party. Host the ultimate pool party at your pool. Keep everyone in the shallow end, and open up the refreshment stand so people can enjoy treats on the pool deck.
  • Block party. Want to meet and mingle with your neighbors? How about a pool party (think plastic flamingos) or glow-in-the-dark party with an outdoor movie? Make sure your guests know your theme. For a glow-in-the-dark party, think glow sticks and lighting that everyone can wear while watching the latest summer flick.
  • Birthday party. Looking to throw the next Sweet 16 birthday party that makes you a hero? Want to plan a birthday party that your friends text about all summer? An awesome birthday party requires more than good food, more than a lot of guests, more than free wi-fi. No, an awesome teen birthday party requires a “go big or go home” mentality (and we’re not just talking about the movie screen). An awesome birthday party requires the whole teen birthday party package: food, accessories and outdoor movies that keeps everyone going through the night.
  • Lake association party. If you’re looking for a way to get your lake association together, host an outdoor movie that people can watch from their boats. Choose an area for your movie, and spread the word. It’s a good way to get people’s attention, and let them know the benefits of your association.
  • Teen hangout. Want something fun for your church youth group to do? Do you need entertainment for your next teen group ice cream social? You provide the ice cream, and we’ll provide the big screen and AV equipment that’ll blow your teens away.
  • Sports team last game. Want to end your season with a bang? Have a get together at someone’s home, on the court or at the field after your last game of the season. Have someone make some popcorn and pass out glow sticks to the kids to your end-of-the-season outdoor movie.
  • Company picnic. If you want unique company picnic entertainment that shows your employees and their families how much you appreciate them, host an outdoor movie. Set up an ice cream sundae stand nearby and have your company managers serve, or hand out glow sticks to the kids. If you want another fun way to entertain the kids, rent a bounce house for some pre-movie entertainment. All together, it’s a sure-fire recipe for company picnic success.

Have any questions about how to make your outdoor movie night a reality? Ask us. We can answer any questions you might have, and can make sure that we fit your event with the outdoor movie screen that fits your party or event and budget. Best yet, we can make your vision of an outdoor movie a reality—and fun!

5 Ways to Make Your Summer Event Bigger

outdoor movieIf you’re planning an event for the summer, you are asking these party planning questions: How can we make our community event BIGGER than last year? How can we entertain teens (we have a suggestion) at our Fireman’s Picnic, block party, town party or summer festival? What is going to bring in families? What is the perfect draw for adults who spend money? How can we make an event schedule for all the different groups in our community? How can we increase revenue from our summer event? We’ve got a few suggestions, being that we’ve been at a few parties (or a few hundred or thousand…):

  1. Outdoor movie. Nothing makes a statement like a 40 foot blow-up screen, or 30 foot, or 20 foot screen with the latest summer flick at any type of venue you want (baseball stadium, pool, parking lot, etc.) Invite teens, kids and families to come and enjoy a movie on a huge screen. The movie provides the entertainment, and you provide the popcorn, refreshments, drinks and whatever else you think the teens would dig!
  2. Teen tent. A teen lounge invites teens and kids of all ages to come in and play video games, socialize, listen to new music and videos, text their friends (and people they’d like to meet) on big TVs, watch sponsor ads and announcements on the TVs, purchase food, drink and items from your vendors, and most of all, have a place to hang. At night the teen lounge kicks into high gear with cool mood lighting! No band or entertainment needed. The music and videos get turned up a notch (or a live DJ can spin). The live texting and your sponsor ads continue to roll, and the lines for the video games get even longer.
  3. Pool party. Do you have a pool at your rec center, country club, water park or in your community? Want to show your residents (and their teens) the value of their membership? Host a pool party with water slides, swimming and an outdoor movie. Ramp up your pool party with glow in the dark jewelry for kids and refreshments. Or bring in a DJ to make the pool party a dance party in the water.
  4. Kid’s activities. One of our favorite highlights of any party is a jump house. That’s right, a jump house—those inflatable play jump houses that kids swarm to like bees to a perfume bottle. These inflatable fun houses are often overlooked by event planners (probably because they’re not 5, then they’d always be remembered!), but can make any event successful and enjoyable—by kids and parents! In addition to a jump house, consider asking volunteers to coordinate other fun kid activities such as a face painting station, big wheel races, give away or sell balloons or glow sticks.
  5. DJ. Bring a DJ in to get the party going, or keep it going until curfew. A DJ works great in a teen or adult tent, and can develop a play list that fits with whatever crowd you expect. A DJ also is ideal if an awards dinner is part of your event, and for several other reasons which we addressed by busting these common DJ myths.

To finalize your schedule, contact a party company to inquire and confirm details of your event. Then, start promoting in your community. Print out posters. Spread the word. Hang signs in strategic locations. Ask your sponsors to pass out flyers and add the information to their newsletters and customer emails. Run radio ads if your budget allows. With an excellent marketing and promotion strategy, and a stellar schedule of events and crowd draws, as well as some beautiful Wisconsin weather, your event can be bigger than ever before—and more fun for everyone involved.

Tips for Choosing the Right Wedding DJ

outdoor wedding dj set upJune is the most popular wedding month (as you can tell from looking at our calendar), and also a great time to answer any questions you might have about finding the right wedding DJ for your wedding day. Whether you’re planning an outdoor wedding, a destination wedding on a lake or a more traditional wedding at a local reception hall, a DJ can give your wedding celebration the ending that caps off your special day. They can also give you a master of ceremony at your reception, light dinner music, lighting, ceremony music and anything else your wedding needs. So how do you choose the right wedding DJ for your big day? Start by asking us the right questions so you can make an educated decision and choose the right wedding DJ (plus we’ve also included other common questions that brides-to-be and grooms-to-be have asked about our wedding DJ services):

What questions should I ask the DJ at our initial meeting?

10351650_702289986484692_8804590706548801766_nOne of the top questions should be, “are you available on the day of my wedding?” Other questions to ask your DJ during your initial meeting should include:

  • “What is your pricing?” “How much of a deposit is required and when will the balance be due?”
  • “What do you offer as part of that price?”
  • “Do you offer lighting?”
  • “Can you do….” (Ask this question if you have a really special request)
  • “Will you travel to our reception location without a travel charge?” (This is a common question you should ask if planning a destination wedding.)
  • “Can you provide us with any references?”
  • “Do you carry Insurance and can you provide proof of insurance?”
  • “When do we meet with you to discuss details of the wedding?” (If you use our services, you will meet with me (Charlie) personally once or twice during the early planning stages, and then again at least once or twice about a month before your wedding date.)
  • “Do you have back up DJ’s and equipment available?”
  • “Is dinner music included in our package?”
  • “Will the DJ’s be in formal attire?”
  • “Will one of the DJ’s act as Master of Ceremonies (MC)?”
  • “How many years wedding experience do you have?”
  • “How do we contact you?”

When should I make special requests?

If your special request for your wedding is unique, ask the question as soon as possible. For more common questions, such as songs for dances, names and other information, give the information to your DJ when they ask in planning meetings or via email.

How soon should I book my wedding DJ?

wedding dance floor w/djThe simple answer to this common wedding dj question is: as soon as possible. Some couples book a DJ more than a year before their wedding, so make sure you get on their calendar as soon as you have your wedding date set and are ready to make the initial payment to reserve the date.

What other ‘extras’ come with a wedding DJ?

You name it, we can probably do it. A wedding DJ can offer lighting, projector screens, audiovisual equipment, light up dance floors, inflatable screens, party decorations…you get the idea. We can even provide a bounce house for your outdoor wedding. If you have an idea of a party extra that you want, or need inspiration, ask your dj via email or Facebook what they recommend to make your wedding reception a night to remember.

How much does a wedding DJ cost?

wedding dj dance floorContact us, and give us the details of your wedding reception. We can give you an estimate of the cost of our wedding DJ services. Be sure to mention any lighting or audiovisual needs you might have (such as if your wedding is being held outdoors) so we can give you an accurate quote.

Did we answer your question about a wedding DJ? If not, send us an email or ask us on our Facebook page. We’ll be happy to answer your questions, and to make your wedding reception and first dance an awesome dance party that you’ll remember for years after your wedding day.

Backyard Party Planning 101: From Planning Until Awesome Party End

backyard partyIt’s a great time to plan a backyard party to celebrate an anniversary, mitzvah, birthday, new neighbor, new puppy, old friends, home owners’ association or really, anything. Any day is a good day for a party with friends, family, neighbors, co-workers…you get the idea. But do you have any idea where to get started with your party planning?

Date. For a backyard party, set the date that works for your immediate family and closest friends. Reserve a tent if needed. If your backyard party requires use of your street, such as a neighborhood block party, contact the authorities to find out what dates you can shut down your street.

Theme. Select a theme, and use it to plan your refreshments, decorations and entertainment, even if you use it in subtle ways.

Food. Food is an integral part of every party (you’ve heard the expression, “come for the food, stay for the party” right?), with many different options. If your party is being held in mid-afternoon, a luncheon, or a late evening affair, make your party an assortment of finger food and appetizers that fit with your theme. Having a party that spans the afternoon? Host a buffet meal, so you can have warm food for all your guests as they come.

Decorations. Choose decorations that fit the occasion and theme. If it’s lighting you wish, check with your deejay about dance party packages with bright lighting that sets the mood of your party.

Entertainment. Want a rockin’ party? Hire a deejay to set the mood. Deejays also have a few more benefits for a party, and can also provide lighting, jump houses, outdoor movie screens and glow sticks for a fun, entertaining night.

Keeping all your details organized is the key to successful party planning. Create a checklist and timeline so you can stay on top of things, or use one of these party planning apps. If you have questions about audio visual, lighting or entertainment, contact your deejay. An experienced deejay has seen a party or two (or three or a hundred) and can make recommendations about what they’ve seen work best. They’ll do their best to help make sure that a great time is held by all—from party planning until the last party guest leaves.

5 Teen Birthday Party Ideas That Make You Look AWESOME

summer partyLooking to throw the next Sweet 16 birthday party that makes you a hero? Want to plan a birthday party that your friends text about all summer? An awesome birthday party requires more than good food, more than a lot of guests, more than free wi-fi. No, an awesome teen birthday party requires a “go big or go home” mentality (and we’re not just talking about the movie screen). An awesome birthday party requires the whole teen birthday party package: food, accessories and entertainment that keeps everyone going through the night.

Drive-in movie. Pick out the movie everyone loves (especially the birthday boy or girl!) and gather everyone around an inflatable 12-foot movie screen (perhaps in cars?). Or raise the coolness factor of your party and put the big screen in front of a pool.

Glow-in-the-dark. Make sure you tell your guests to wear black and white, and purchase lots of glow sticks and glow-in-the-dark jewelry. Use glow-in-the-dark plates and cups, and make your centerpiece a chocolate cake (or cake pops!) with neon frosting splatters everywhere! Make the night unforgettable with a glow-in-the-dark dance party, including lighting that makes their jewelry and glow sticks look awesome.

Gaming. Set up a Mario Kart marathon in your backyard, or plan your birthday party around another one of your favorite games. Make or purchase refreshments around your favorite game, and plan your décor accordingly. Spend a night gaming with extra large screens and a host of friends.

Ball game. Rent a baseball park and host an impromptu birthday game. Finish the night off with a big screen movie with everyone on the bleachers with popcorn and peanuts (or ice cream?).

Barn party. String lights everywhere, and create a real country atmosphere with hay bales and a wagon ride. After your wagon ride, return to your decorated hay loft for a country ho-down with a DJ.

Once you’ve chosen a theme for your awesome birthday party, contact the professionals to coordinate entertainment (your drive-in movie, DJ, etc.). Send out the invitations, purchase all the supplies you need for your party and get ready to enjoy an awesome birthday party that everyone’s talking about for months.

5 Graduation Party Ideas that Save Your Guests from Boredom

graduation dance partyWe’ve all been there: your third cousin twice-removed is having a graduation party, and everyone is standing around. There’s another relative you don’t know in the corner looking bored, and a group of teens in the corner on their phones. Everyone’s bored.

So how do you avoid that scene at your graduation party? The easy answer is entertainment. Give everyone something to do. Whether you’re hosting a graduation party with all of your friends or a family affair, provide some fun:

  1. Jump house. If you’re inviting kids to your party, give them an outlet for all that energy—and an extra incentive not to play in the mud puddles. A jump house, or bounce house, is the answer and it’s a budget-friendly party option.
  2. Big screen movie. Bring back the feel of the old drive-in movies. Set up a big screen in your backyard with a movie, or up the ante by hosting a movie in your pool. With a 12’ movie screen and a sound system that can blow your guests away, you’re sure to enjoy your graduation party.
  3. Karaoke. Who says karaoke is dead? Give your Aunt Jane a reason to belt out her favorite 80’s rock hit, or your friend a chance to show off her dance moves.
  4. DJ. Serve up the ultimate graduation dance party with all your friends. Choose your favorite songs, and add some cool glow stick jewelry to give your party a cool glow. Pick your favorite theme and your favorite songs to make it a night everyone remembers for a long time.
  5. Gaming. Another option is a gaming party with a Wii or Xbox. How much fun would it be to set up the ultimate Mario Kart tournament with your friends at your graduation party?

Another fun option for a family party is yard games such as bean bag toss or yard dice, depending on your guests. Mix it up. Contact a party company for rentals and choose your favorite entertainment options, such as a jump house and yard games or a big screen movie and a pool to make your graduation party an event to remember—and a party where no one is bored.

5 Ways to Take Your Summer Party Entertainment to the Next Level

summer partyIn the midst of summer party planning? Trying to take your softball tournament, Fireman’s Picnic, summer festival, teen party to the next level? We know a thing or two about parties, and can make some suggestions (five suggestions to be exact) that take your summer party entertainment from 20 years ago into this decade. Best yet, these summer party entertainment ideas are sure to please any demographic of guests, from the youngest to the most experienced.

summer partyBounce House. There’s not a summer party around that wouldn’t benefit from a bounce house. Read more about the benefits of a bounce house, and the kinds of parties suitable for a bounce house (and then add yours to the list).

Gaming systems. Even an outside summer party can benefit from a gaming system, like a Wii system. The system can be paired with a large screen and a competitive spirit that takes your summer party to the next level and keep it going for hours.

Karaoke Player. The fun of karaoke has not lessened over time, especially with the right songs and equipment. Get your guests jumping with a karaoke machine and lighting that can get a crowd at a water park, teen birthday party, Fireman’s Picnic or any summer party up on stage.

DJ. For a younger crowd, pair a DJ with an interactive teen tent so they can text and enjoy technology as part of the fun. For a more mixed demographic, invite a DJ into the mix so your guests can enjoy dancing and music as part of the summer party.

outdoor movieOutdoor Movies. How’s this for fun? Take your summer party to the next level with a big screen, Blu Ray Digital Sound & Video. If your crowd is in a parking lot, you can also use an FM Transmitter to listen to the movie through car radios.

Need any more ideas? Contact us. We can tell you what we’ve seen work, and what has bombed at other summer parties. We can also make recommendations based on the demographic of your guests, and type of summer party. Whatever you choose, you’re sure to blow your guests away with these five next-level summer party entertainment ideas, lots of promotion and a great lineup of summer fun.

5 Summer Party Details to Nail Down BEFORE You Call the DJ

summer partyYou’ve got a lot to do to get ready for your summer party. Though this cool spring weather may not have you in the mood for discussing outdoor entertainment, now is the right time to efficiently check those details off the party planning list. Don’t delay; whether you are trying to reserve a teen tent for your younger festival goers, a drive-in movie for families attending your Fireman’s picnic or a DJ for your wedding, booking your DJ now ensures that you have quality entertainment confirmed now so you don’t have to worry about it later.

So what do you need to do to book a quality DJ? Know the signs of a good DJ, and what details you need to have secured (or at least a general ideas) before you call the DJ:

  • Date. This summer party detail should be a bit obvious. A DJ cannot tell you if they are available unless you have some idea about the date (or possible dates) of the event.
  • Location. If you only have the date and location, be sure to call the DJ and get on their calendar. The best DJ’s calendars fill up quickly.
  • Event timeline. What time is the dinner or lunch? Will you need background music or announcements at your summer party? When will the dance start? These are all details that need to be set in advance.
  • Requests. If you have requests for songs or have asked your guests for requests on the invitation, send or discuss the list with your DJ in advance to ensure that your songs are played.
  • Event formality. Want your DJ to dress appropriately? Discuss it with them before the event.

Another tip: if planning an outdoor summer party or festival, contact your local municipality for information about laws concerning curfews and volume. You don’t want neighbors complaining and tickets to put a damper on your summer party. What you do want is a quality entertainment; contact a good DJ to get your summer party finalized so you don’t have to worry about this important party detail later.