John DeMato Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing John DeMato
John DeMato is our guest today, on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots free podcast interview.
He is a lifestyle portrait photographer and image content creator who works with high-level entrepreneurs and thought leaders.
Through various industries to produce high-quality, highly-captionable images that present informational, entertaining and inspiring aspects of their brand to their followers.
More than just a photographer, our guest sets his clients up for success beyond the portrait session by coaching them on how to best leverage their image content for their websites, social channels, blogs, publications, advertisements and various other needs.
But you can certainly see a path that has joined the dots amazingly well, as after leaving New York-Hunter College with a BA in Media Studies, he freelanced as a Production assistant for HBO, whilst continuing his studies to gain an MFA in Television Production
And then for over 17 years worked as a television producer, and as a portrait photographer expert on several NBC Universal daytime talk and reality shows.
How The Dots Joined Up For John
So the dots lined up for him to go out alone and create his own production company, which he did in 2014, as he says “While my business began as a full-service photo/video studio, drawing upon my 16 years of video production experience, I now focus solely on serving thought leaders and entrepreneurs by providing them versatile, high-volume, high-production value image content that can be used for all of their content needs.
There’s a lot more to my sessions that simply taking pictures; before, during and after each session, I help direct my clients so that they can maximise value from our session. I help them identify their content needs, determine the types of images we must capture to fill those needs, and then execute the game plan.. Its nice to live the dream daily”
So was this a passion he perused through education and career, or like so many of us, just started to doing something until the passion was found?
And what is the hardest part of building his business, the sales and lead generation, or actually the content production?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only John DeMato.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with John DeMato such as:
How John recalls how he got to the point in his life where he found that his internal compass was pointing in the wrong direction, and the steps he took to getting it where he wanted to point.
How John manages to draw out the real character and personality in a photo, and why he feels it so important to do that thing.
Why John can now see that through his business clarity comes confidence, and with confidence comes value. Its a real circle of development that you have to go through.
We find out why John talks about his life as being within the matrix and outside the matrix and why he would never go back to where he was.
How To Connect With John DeMato
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Full Transcription Of John DeMato Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:34]
Yes, hello there good morning to you. This is Join Up Dots coming to you live from the United Kingdom across the world. And it’s gonna be another great show today because I’ve already been chatting to the guest and he told me he was a thief. And then he said he lied about the thief bit and then he’s he’s now I don’t know if he’s a liar. He’s a thief. He’s honest or whatever. But it’s gonna be purely motivational conversation at its best because he is somebody who I’m so glad he’s here. On the show because I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to anyone like this before. He’s a lifestyle portrait photographer and image content creator, who works with high level entrepreneurs and thought leaders of various industries to produce high quality high capturable images that present informational, entertaining and inspiring aspects of their brand to their followers. More than just a photographer, I guess sets his clients up for success beyond the portrait session by coaching them on how to best leverage their image content, but their websites, social channels, blogs, publications, advertisements and various other needs. But you can certainly see a path that has joined the dots amazingly well as after leaving New York Hunter College with a BA in media studies. He freelanced as a production assistant for HBO was continuing his study to gain an MFA in television production. And then for over 17 years worked as a television producer and as a portrait photographer expert on several NBC Universal daytime talk and reality shows. So the dots lined up for him to go out alone and create his own production company, which he did in 2014. As he says, while my business began as a full service photo Video Studio, drawing upon my 16 years of video production experience, I now focus solely on serving thought leaders and entrepreneurs by providing them versatile high volume, high production value image content that can be used for all their content needs. There’s a lot more to my sessions when simply taking pictures before during and after each session. I help my clients so that they can maximise value from our session. I help them identify their content needs, determine the types of images we must capture to fill those needs, and then execute the game plan. It’s nice to live the dream daily and I just bought he was taking photos. So was his passion he pursued through education and career or like so many of us just wanted to do something until the passion was found. And what is the hardest part of building his business, the sales and lead generation or actually the content production? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show, to start Join Up Dots with the one and only John DeMato. Good morning, john.
John DeMato [3:00]
How are you? Good morning David. Can I just say before I even begin talking about all that stuff that you just said beautifully your accent makes my wife sound so awesome. So thank you. Thank you for that. I’ll tell you what,
David Ralph [3:12]
I wish you followed me around just saying nice things in the United Kingdom because I don’t feel the same. They don’t feel the same about the accent in any shape or form. Because you guys you’ve kind of got the the sexy stuff I can think of sexiness. You think of Americans, don’t you away from Donald Trump, obviously, but everything else, sexy, sexy, sexy. When you’ve been called stuttering buffoons or evil villains. You think of British people, don’t you?
John DeMato [3:37]
You know what, I’m not gonna say that. No, I love your accent. I’m a big fan. And no, no, I think I think there’s enough sexiness to go around both sides of the pond as far as I’m concerned.
David Ralph [3:49]
So I’m gonna get straight into it because this sexiness that you’re throwing at me and I’m going to accept it, john. I’m taking it gratefully. Is that something bad if I was having a Photography session with you would you try to bring out the sex in what I’m doing? would you would you be laying me naked on a sheet with grapes all over me? How would you bring out that that Britishness of me?
John DeMato [4:12]
Well, you know what, it’s not just sexiness, David, it’s your all of your personality. That is what my job is. My job is to break down the walls, make people feel less weird, and in their head and uncomfortable about being in front of a camera, being in front of all these lights and doing all these things that they’re not normally into and just, you know, get them to be themselves. So whatever it takes, if it needs if you need grapes, if you need to be fanned. If you need some kind of motivational, little speech, I’m there for you.
David Ralph [4:46]
I’m talking about alcohol that does alcohol work. Do you have to get anyone really drunk so that they can sort of just be loose?
John DeMato [4:52]
Listen, you know, I’m not going to neither confirm or deny what kind of stuff is on set to get people comfortable, but maybe whatever it takes.
David Ralph [5:03]
So let’s just before we get into your history, I alluded to it in the introduction, but let’s talk about your your history of thieving, where you go into television studios, and you steal stuff or so you made me believe you beat yourself up as like a full time criminal. And then I’m out but it was thrown away and you just picked it up and took it home.
John DeMato [5:24]
And now I know I lied. I’m sorry. I tried to sound cool.
David Ralph [5:29]
So so it was that the best I tell you what he’s got behind him. He’s got a Viking helmet and I saw it and I thought that’s a bit bizarre because I haven’t met many people with Viking helmets. But was that the best or in your TV history? Did you have your eyes on certain stuff that you think Oh, God, if only I had that now that that would be worth millions
John DeMato [5:49]
of anytime that I walked past my old boss’s office, there was plenty of stuff in there that was worth some stuff, but I didn’t have any real designs on it. I didn’t have any real design. on it. Oh, no,
David Ralph [6:01]
no, no. Right. Okay, so your your business? Is it something that has been built out of passion? Is it built out of education? Did you go through the education because you didn’t know what else to do? When was this sort of seeds of photography born in you?
John DeMato [6:16]
The centre photography were built in me at the point of me figuring out in my life what it was that I actually wanted to do with my life. Because, you know, growing up I was in a family of people who worked hard and really preached stability and practicality and follow through and go to school, get an education, get a job, be responsible. And that’s that’s how that’s what got me to through the first you know, 35 years of my life and ads but, but somewhere about seven eight years ago is when something in me was like, I just felt like I was floating through life I was going through the motions I wasn’t really passionate about much. I enjoyed my job and television and I and while behind the cameras very passionate about it, but overall, there was something missing. There was actually a lot of things missing in many aspects of my life. And I picked up the still camera for the first time when I was in graduate school. It was a it just happened to be a class that I took as an elective. 35 millimetre black and white absolutely fell in love with the darkroom. It was something that was the most cathartic and enjoyable class I ever took, actually. And fast forward a couple of years and when I started having this feeling that something was missing, I picked the camera up again and I started just walking around New York City taking street photography shots, just random things, interesting compositions and I felt that catharsis again, and it really started to get Give me something to look forward to emits this staple job and health insurance, you being responsible, but I kind of enjoyed this. And that kind of started switching the gears. And then a couple of things in my life happened several years after my mother got sick with cancer and eventually, you know, she died and when she died, that really shook me up. And it made me think what the hell am I doing? I’m going to be in the ground before I know it and I’m doing stuff right now that’s not doing anything for me at all. This is a waste of life and I don’t want to be in my mother’s position down the line and think to myself, wow, I really dropped the ball on this whole thing. And I have a regret list that’s longer than it even should possibly, you know, humanly even be and it was very long and that’s really when things started to change. And then after about Eight months after she passed away I quit my job. I said The hell with it. I don’t have a plan but I know I want to do pictures I want to do something where I can be proud of what I do on a day to day basis and I actually feel good about myself waking up every morning
David Ralph [9:19]
let’s just take you back if you had so many bits in there, I want you to jump in I want you to jump in because that’s what I do. I jump in I jump in with my sexy British body flying. That’s what we do here. Now with yourself Was it a case when that because in Join Up Dots we find more and more about when something really feels good to you where you go. This is brilliant. I love doing this. You can really track with dots back to little john the real tiny little john, did you use to sort of do drawing and sort of creative stuff when he was a little kid? Was that your favourite thing? What was it about photography? And I was and you’re kind of an odd Isolated guy as well because you seem to me to be somebody that’s very comfortable being with people but you like to retract yourself and have quiet time isolating time
John DeMato [10:11]
Are you a mind reader? Are you mind reading me right now know that this actually yeah just
Unknown Speaker [10:16]
John DeMato [10:19]
I yeah, I come from a family of artists. My dad when he was younger did a lot of chalk drawing and sketch that led me to all of this stuff I had said previously so if we connect those dots you can see a clear pathway to where I am right now for sure.
David Ralph [10:36]
I’ve got a question for you john. And his deep question is a question that I think needs to be answered by by all Americans you know, in when you see some sporting event and I don’t know if it’s always sporting events, but I always call it the bumbum music when they go bom bom bom bom bom bom bom bom, bom bom. Well, and how is fat? Why did I play that weird music in sporting events, always wanted to know the So you seem a man who got your finger on the pulse.
John DeMato [11:03]
You know, actually, it’s funny you mentioned that because recently the New York Knicks basketball team over here. I think they spent an entire first half of the game without any of that. And people complained about no sound some of the players on the other team complained about that, because we’re so ingrained with that music. It’s just keep us keep keeping people’s attention. It’s an add world and we need constant stimulus stimulation. And we need to be constantly like up and excited and they play all that crap. I don’t like it. I don’t particularly care for all of that stadium stuff, but I get it, you know, but yes,
David Ralph [11:45]
any United Kingdom we sing, we go to sporting events and we stand and we sing songs and we chant. But I’ve been to a couple of events in America and you’re just eating hot dogs. That’s all that’s happening.
John DeMato [11:57]
You do a you’re doing a lot more in the stands over In England last time, I watched a couple of reports over there, I’d rather be eating hotdogs than starting wars in the stands.
David Ralph [12:09]
Doesn’t happen. It doesn’t happen. We just, I you never see any of that going on it’s fabric. It’s fake news. I’m throwing it back at you. You’re you’re your mental president is putting that out as fake news and I’m throwing it back I’m reclaiming our sporting right
John DeMato [12:28]
all right, listen, you know what I To be fair, I have never been to England but
David Ralph [12:33]
again, you lying again. You see I’ve got Yeah, I’ve got you John your lying again.
John DeMato [12:41]
That happens I know. You’re good. You’re super sleuthing me right now, David, you really are.
David Ralph [12:46]
tell you why. If you was a child of mine, I’d have you over my knee at the moment, john, the fact that you’ve got a bigger beard and I could grow then that’s just a bit weird. But other than that I’m fascinated about your your topic. Coffee business, and I’ve been going up and down your portfolio and looking at it. And it does bring out the element of the person. I was looking at it. And I was thinking, I’m quite intuitive with people anyway. But I was looking at it as thinking, I don’t actually know those people just from the image, which is very different from other website images that I’ve seen. But I don’t know what the difference is that there was something fundamentally different between what I was looking at yours and probably 95% of the other ones I see on websites. What is it? What is that super talent you bring in that makes me feel that I actually know these people?
John DeMato [13:36]
Well, well, first of all, thank you. Thank you. I appreciate that. It’s so funny. You bring that up, because yesterday I spent the day writing a blog about something that’s very germane to what you just said, which is the thing about a lot of lifestyle portrait photographers is that their main concern is To capture the most flattering angles of their clients now, as I, you know, there’s a lot of that’s important. Obviously, that’s super important. But that is not the end game. For me. That’s the starting point. Like it’s a given that you have to look good in your photos. But there is an added element of personality because what I strive to capture in each client is different facial expressions, body posture, head angles in order to elicit different types of authentic aspects of their personality, which is their brand, because nine times out of 10 I’m shooting solopreneurs so your personality is your brand, and it’s your business. So it’s all interconnected. And my job is not to just make them look good. My job is to make them look good and represent themselves because those photos are starting counting. conversations with people they’ve never met. So they have to be on point. And they have to represent who they are, what they’re about who they serve. And, you know, all of those important aspects of things when you want to know if you want to get in business with someone, and for thought leaders and for high level entrepreneurs that I work with, that’s the name of the game visibility. And when you have authentic, an arsenal of authentic images within your image library, and you’re pumping them out on a daily basis, it’s important to stay on point with that,
David Ralph [15:32]
because we’ve my show, hopefully, you can get the flavour of it already, but I like to have fun. I like to enjoy myself. I I try to blend 50% education and 50% Entertainment so that people can come to it every single time. Now I’m very aware that the photos that I’ve got on my website I basically took myself I just turned the webcam on position myself and the one that I’ve got on my homepage. I actually found it very hard to have my mouth Open With so it looks like I was talking and not having a stroke. It was, it was almost impossible. It took me about 30 goals to get to something that looks natural, but it was just me going and pausing bang. Can you do it? Can you can you bring fun and sort of enjoyment into it? Or would it be me juggling and spinning puppies and stuff?
John DeMato [16:22]
Do you mean to inspire yourself to actually be smiling in the shot?
David Ralph [16:28]
people when they come over to the site, they could look at it and go, Oh, yeah, okay. This is a business show, but it’s not the normal type of business show, you know, is it would it be gimmicks that you would be bringing into it if he was doing a Photoshop for me?
Unknown Speaker [16:42]
Um, I would say I would, um,
John DeMato [16:47]
you juggling that would actually be pretty awesome. I think. I think at the end of the day, it’s not, it’s not the one shot. It’s not the one moment it’s it’s and that’s kind of the point of what I do. It’s, it’s the series of images. So yes to all of it. Because what the whole goal of having these images to get people’s attention is to capture different aspects of your personality. So we listen, you want to spend some plates to maybe juggle a football, not a soccer ball, a football on your head on your knee, you know, in do that, you know, have you breakdancing somewhere in the middle of a street, we can do that, you know, but then you also need those nice photos of you where you don’t look, you know, like you’re putting on a show, because not everyone puts on a show all the time. It’s like there’s those quiet times like you were talking about with me before. You’re absolutely right. I love being around people, but I love my quiet time and my creative time, you know, so all of that stuff needs to be captured. All of that stuff needs to be presented and all of that stuff needs to be received by the people that you want to see it
David Ralph [18:00]
Well, let’s play some word spin. And then I’m gonna step you back to that moment when you’re laying in your bed thinking. I’ve been in TV long enough, now it’s time to go out. But scary time. Here’s Jim Carrey.
Jim Carrey [18:11]
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [18:37]
Now, you were saying that your dad was a very good artist, but he also set out a kind of path to you that get your education, get a job, be reliable, be stable. How do those words that Jim Carrey said how do they sort of make you feel when you’re listening to them? Do you reflect on your own life and see similarities?
Unknown Speaker [18:58]
John DeMato [19:01]
I also it’s not that I have regret hearing that it’s more of a thank God I’m not in that mindset anymore type of scenario. To be honest, it’s a it is scary to, you know, actually, it’s funny I refer to my life as both living in the matrix and then being outside of the matrix. Currently, I’ve been outside of the matrix for over two and a half years and you know, but before that, it’s like, as if you had no other option, but to be stable, you know, when I was back Back then, and now it’s like, how how ridiculous that sounds to me, but it’s that powerful those messages of, you know, playing it safe, and you’re not really playing it safe. That’s the whole funny part about it. That’s like what you you know, you lose that safe job. You know, it’s like, it’s not a safe job. Nothing is safe. Anything can go at any time. We can go at any time. So it’s important to make the most of it, take the risk, live in the fear do it anyway and get going.
David Ralph [20:09]
Now you had no plan as you say other than you wanted to take sort of photos and what you see in business and there’s there’s a journey that people have to go through. They start with a path that they think is right. And then they Hustle, Hustle, Hustle and little by little they kind of start to see actual the real path where they should be heading. But through that path, there is a value point that they have to pass through as well where they quite happily will go. My fees are eight grand a session my fees are 20 grand a session because when we all start we go okay, I do it for free. I do it for free or I do it for 50 pounds and and an ice cream on a Sunday afternoon. How did you actually proceed through from that from being the employee getting a wage because you’ve turned up to actually then going No, this is my price, not blinking. That’s my price and that’s what I want.
John DeMato [21:03]
It was a process that only started to really fine tune itself over the past four months to be honest with you, I spent when when I quit, I was in that, you know, I’m gonna do headshots and I’m gonna shoot all this kind of stuff and like you said, hustling, I lit I have seen more sweets to 16th and bar mitzvahs than I care to admit. But the the reality of it is, is it was it was a learning experience because through the two plus years of me, starting my business and, and trying to get this going, and then also, by the way, including video back into the phrase and promotional work and kind of like okay, maybe I should do this, I feel more familiar with it. Maybe I can make more money at it. And I’m charging and not not what I’m worth and then and then it took the help of one specific A client with very specific needs and she kind of took all of the stuff that was in my mind in terms of well what kind of style do I really want to shoot with? And, and and how, who am I going to shoot and where can I make the most money? And how am I going to make this work because this struggle is driving me nuts, shooting all different kinds of stuff, shooting all these kinds of crazy hours and not really being compensated for it for the for the amount of effort that I would give and this client came, I was like, I need this I need this I need this I need photos to promote my book I need my social media covered I need daily content, I need all this other stuff. And the next thing you’re now a brand was born and and a direction was was was put forth and all of a sudden everything made sense. And now I’m talking about it with people like you. So it’s pretty awesome.
David Ralph [22:52]
He’s awesome. And it’s funny because what you’ve done bear you have gone niche. We all hear that right at the beginning. Getting or niche I can never remember if it’s niche or niche. Now I spend too much time dipping over the pond and back. But whatever it is when you get smaller and smaller and smaller, and I’ve been through this journey as well, john that when I started, I became like a podcaster. And then I became a business coach. And then it almost became like a life coach. But now I just go No, podcaster podcaster. And actually, I’m saying to people, no broadcaster, broadcaster, and it defines me, I know what I can bring to the table. And it’s a tiny, tiny little thing. But there’s enough people out in the world that want that tiny little thing. Yeah, I say that to my wife every single night if you want the tiny opening, bringing it to you in love. But it’s a frightening thing, isn’t it where you think you’ve got to grab every opportunity, but actually when you pull it down and pull it down and pull it down, you find that the right opportunities come your way.
John DeMato [23:50]
It’s counterintuitive. I mean, it doesn’t make any sense. But when you start doing it, it makes total sense. And And not only that, but it gives you this sense of direction and clarity that on is really the, that’s the linchpin to all of this. Because with clarity comes confidence with confidence comes to anything. And that is what we’re calling for.
David Ralph [24:16]
And also with clarity, the content just writes itself. The photos just write itself. It’s unbelievable once you actually link it to something where you’d be laying there thinking, Oh, what should I do? What should I do, you don’t have to, it’s just obvious everything is, is I liken it to a tree where your branding is the trunk. And then your spin offs are like branches, but you’ve got so much content and it’s all the leaves. And for every branch, you can see thousands and thousands of photos and stuff that makes sense to that because it it comes into the trunk of the business. And I like that image in my head and I find it very, very useful to explain things that way. But once you get your trunk right, the branches makes sense and the leaves make sense. as well.
John DeMato [25:01]
And it makes even more sense because of the beautiful accent with which you just presented that.
David Ralph [25:09]
Yesterday I did i do want Actually, I’m going to come over to New York I want to have Chris Hemsworth body with my face on it Can Can you do that always is against the
John DeMato [25:19]
rules. We can do a little Photoshop for you. Absolutely. We can make we can make magic over here. Yeah,
David Ralph [25:25]
that’s what he did.
John DeMato [25:28]
Yes, yes, yes. But but but actually, but seriously, what you were talking about is absolutely on point that is so true, because I remember, um, maybe the first year, year and a half, I was out doing my own thing, to write content to, like schedule like posts and to like, write stuff that’s like coming from, it’s like, what the hell am I doing? I have no idea what to talk about because I could talk about one day portrait The next day I’ll talk about event photography. The next day I’ll talk about family portraits. The next day is headshots, and the next thing you know, I just get myself into a tailspin losing my mind, you know, like, what’s the strategy here? What’s the game plan? What’s the end goal? It’s like, Oh, I’m gonna get work. But it’s like, that’s not enough. Because there’s no direction. There’s no, there’s no purpose. And when you have that strong trunk all of a sudden, you’re right things. I mean, no, they don’t write themselves automatically but the germs, the ideas, the little grains of the nuggets, yeah, they pop up all the time, I have to constantly keep my phone open to my notepad. So I can write all these ideas down so that when it’s time for me to start, you know, writing new content or maybe develop another strategy or or to try to, you know, build a relationship with a different, a different avenue, perhaps within the fault leader track, you know, I write all these things down because they just Come to me like all the time and it’s a it’s definitely definitely a different ballgame when you have a brand and you’re I prefer Meech, by the way I like the way you said each so we’ll go with that one.
David Ralph [27:13]
What Why is it what do Americans actually save? Oh, because I’ve got all confused with that.
Unknown Speaker [27:17]
I say niche, but sounds nice sounds cooler though. But I think
David Ralph [27:21]
Yeah, but it also sounds a bit French and you know how asked United Kingdom feel about the French. So niche niche because if you go niche, you become rich.
Unknown Speaker [27:32]
That’s what they say. Oh, I like that. That is very, very true. Absolutely. Yeah, it is.
David Ralph [27:37]
So so we view life in how do you because as I say at the beginning, when you create all business, you are a kind of money whore you will do anything for money because you need to and you think it’s the last opportunity you’re ever gonna get. And so you’re whizzing around. Is it with Verve also come to you now is it word of mouth? How are you lead generating because I think that’s one of the things that People that terrified or, but we’re constantly in sales over time.
John DeMato [28:05]
You know, I, you could look at it as sales, I look at it more, it’s just outreaching and being able to provide value to people who truly could use my services. It’s a collaborative effort, and I hate looking at it as sales because the last thing I like to do is sell. I just like to be me, I just bring my passion and my excitement level to every conversation I have with people who are interested in working with me, and that’s how I approach that. But as far as lead gen, the the best way for me for my type of clientele is referrals. And that’s, that’s the bread and butter. That net also the main pillar of the way that I develop a lead generation is content. I’m a photographer, I produce content, the best way and I educate so I use my blog, it Use my social media posts to educate to, to to help people realise the importance of these images and what they could mean to your business and brands. So I, the way that I do it is just by producing content and getting the word out and doing podcasts like this. This is another way to do it as well, just to get the word out.
David Ralph [29:22]
I’m really fascinated by what you said, and only because it’s becoming more and more prevalent in my conversations. Certainly, three years ago, when I started Join Up Dots, it was never mentioned once. And the second year, I’m sure it wasn’t mentioned at all, but now it seems to be all the time, this kind of belief now and I’m calling it with my with my peers, anti selling where you are. being yourself. You are being fascinating. You’re being engaging, you’re making people want to look in your direction more than screaming, buy, buy, buy, it seems to be the way forward and I’m seeing more and more people embracing their authentic self and just being themselves having fun putting out on the on the blog or whatever, and naturally becoming successful before because of it and you do the same thing.
John DeMato [30:12]
Well, you know what it is David, I like to be very strategic about where I place my efforts in life. Okay, I, you know, and this is stemming from the days of run around like a psychopath trying to shoot everything that could possibly walk and move and pay me in cash. You know what I’m saying? So, for me, I really like to be strategic about that. And when you anti sell, like selling his work, selling his bs to I hate it, I hate the whole, like, let me send you an email and try to get your attention. It’s like no, no, no, no, no, the best way to do it is to just be yourself because that’s not work. It’s not work for me to talk. It’s not work for me to to be that excited about what I could do for you. Because Because legitimately, I love it. I love it. I’ve done it for free. If I could afford to do it, I would do it for free. But I’m not gonna say that too loud. But the point
David Ralph [31:09]
no one listens, john, no one listened to this show.
John DeMato [31:13]
Now the reality is, is that I genuinely I, I tap, I just tap into what it is. That gets me psyched. It gets me excited. It gets me going and, and nothing more excites me than the challenge of, of just capturing these images. It’s It’s awesome. So that’s what that’s how I sell. I sell exactly in that way. Just being myself and telling them what I could do for that’s it.
David Ralph [31:40]
And then how do you separate yourself from the creative beating up and I’ll give you an example with myself. I’ve done more than 100 shows now. And literally every show I do. I think to myself, I could have just done that I could have done you know it always it’s I’m reaching for perfection, which I know is not Never going to be there but is driving me forward. So even I do show off the show off the show. I’m aiming for something that was better than the one before. How do you not beat yourself up in sort of ohto sense but the light could have been slightly better the shade or whatever you look for how do you allow the creative process just to be set free
John DeMato [32:23]
from learning that beating the hell out of myself after having a bad go at it is not only not productive, but it is actually destructive. It took me a very, very long time to get to that place. I mean, I’ve been an artist my whole life in different incarnations. So critiques assessments, uh, you know, judging my own work, being judged by others, and then judging their judging, you know, all of that stuff. It’s, it could be a real, real crazy psycho negative loop and the way that I get around, that is By understanding that there is no such thing as perfection, there is no such thing as like having the perfect session or the perfect shot, but I’m not gonna lie to you. Yeah, those lights if I could have moved it an inch. I don’t think it pisses me off. Yes, it does. But you know what it also does, it motivates me to lie. All right, cool. Next time, learn life lesson a lesson learned, I’m going to, you know, remember to do this or I’m going to give myself enough time to do that, or whatever the case may be. It’s like, rather than looking at it as a way to kind of give myself a tongue lashing or more specifically, just having that negative feedback loop in your mind. And then creating anxiety and then creating anger and then creating fear that you’re not good enough and then that just thing goes and goes and goes and goes. Just cut that off. You’re like, Alright, dude. So you know, the lights a little off or their expressions a little weird, or whatever the case may be. Just be more cognizant of that the next time implement that and Move on. And that’s it. And that’s now how I operate. And it’s really saved me a lot of aggravation, because boy that I used to get aggravated at that stuff.
David Ralph [34:10]
But I can’t shake it off. As I say, I used to be a trainer and a stand up presenter for many, many years. And at the end of sort of training courses, what normally happens is you hand a sheet round and people have to score you on certain things. And mine always used to come back good. And I used to look at it and I used to think out of it saying, Oh, I could have done this I could, I never took the positives from it. Even now. 25 years down the line, I still have people come up to me and go, Oh, that’d be you doing that and training that and this was great. And that was great. I still every single time. It’s like making love john, I always think that sometimes you might be building up or making love to your most perfect woman. And when it happens all man, I’m going to be open to all demographics here, but you know your perfect partner, and afterwards you kind of think it was gonna be bad enough. You know, I’ve been building up to that and I’ve put so much work and effort into that I thought was going to be better. Do you not get that sort of flat feeling this or that the crap making love feeling?
John DeMato [35:12]
Uh, yeah, I do. I absolutely do. But again, I, I’ve really made a concerted effort to just focus on what’s going to make me a better photographer, what’s going to make me a better person? What’s going to keep my mood in the right place? And what’s going to keep me moving forward just in general because I have spent so much time doing exactly what it is you’re talking about. And I realise that I just, you know, and don’t get me wrong. Do I get I’m still I still have my frustrated moments. I mean, I have my occasional what the hell did I just do kind of moment Absolutely. But the difference now is the the the amount amount of quote unquote punishment time that I would present myself because I’m able to turn that negative feedback loop off faster than before. And that’s really and you know what it also is I think it’s also speaks to that clarity of purpose that we were talking about before that brings confidence. That’s integral in me being able to do it faster because of that confidence, because I have this direction, because I know where the hell I’m going for the first time in my life. And it’s, it’s able to cut that, that that crap on myself time down considerably.
David Ralph [36:37]
So before we move you on to the Steve Jobs speech that we listen to every episode, well, you’ve come a long way in three years. And as you say, the last four months have been a game changer for you. What were you aiming for now? Is it more of the same? Is it bigger, bolder? Is it more adventurous? How do you sort of keep that creative process says hi and not feel like you’re just going through the same things all the time.
John DeMato [37:04]
Well, first of all, everyone is different. Every challenge is different. Every room where a person sits is a different challenge to me. So it’s not it’s, it’s still, you know, fresh and new to me and people are different dynamics are different, you know, working in TV for 17 years and behind a camera and interviewing people, you know, you meet a wide collection of personalities, and you really get to see how people tick how different people tick as a matter of fact, and what triggers motivates different people like to me it’s like it’s like a it’s like a bit of pop psychology behind or personality profiling is more accurate in that sense, but and I find I enjoy that I enjoy that aspect. I enjoy the ability of, of getting people to will basically let’s be honest, I talk a lot of crap, make people laugh, and it’s really good time.
David Ralph [37:59]
I think Could you have found he got this Even though 16 years, 17 years, there will be times for that where you fell in love it, I hate this or this isn’t going as well. Can you only do what you’re doing now? Because of those 1617 years?
John DeMato [38:13]
Well, I don’t know, because I didn’t live that life. But I mean, if we’re doing hindsight, uh, yeah, I mean, the thing that I’ve been really kind of reflecting on over the past couple of months, even even a couple of months. The end of last year, is, you know, when I was just doing the TV thing, I was just so checked out of life, and I didn’t really, it was just Alright, we’re getting to the weekend. All right, we’re now going for holiday time off. Oh, now we’re on hiatus for two months and it’s just like, which I’m just chasing days off, just chasing days off and it’s like, well, you know, that kind of sucks now. It’s like when I you know, reflect on the day or reflect on what I was doing. Doing or think about what I need to do over the next two weeks or whatever it may be. It’s like, I, I reflect on the process, I reflect on the journey. I actually appreciate the journey now and I and I am very grateful for all the things that happened because now I know that everything I’m doing is solely geared towards me building myself up as I’m doing my own thing, something that I literally created out of nothing. And that’s an extremely empowering thing and it and it definitely is a huge engine and what’s driving me
David Ralph [39:34]
and that’s Do you have children, john?
Unknown Speaker [39:37]
No, I do not.
David Ralph [39:38]
Well, I’m gonna give you a child, okay. You can choose any nationality you want is up to you, but you’ve got this child. And this child comes up to you and says, Dad, when I grow up, I don’t want to go to university. I don’t want to go through the education system because I think it lacks inspiration and I can see but you’re having so much fun getting ladies to take their clothes off and dropping grapes. them, what are you gonna say? Are you gonna go like your dad did and say, No, you’ve got to get a proper job or would you say to him Actually, yes, it’s more important what you do afterwards and what you do for school, how you’re going to play it.
John DeMato [40:12]
I am going to basically not do what my dad did. No, I found my mom. Now, as a matter of fact, it’s like looking at these University costs now it’s, it’s depressing. I, I would advise the little one to follow, follow his or her passion to basically figure out what that is to find the find the things to help build up, you know, that those interests and to build them into something that can actually you know, sustain them. I think stability is overrated.
David Ralph [40:54]
And if I say to you, Dad, I come from Mozambique, so I can’t understand a word what you’re saying
Unknown Speaker [41:01]
How would you spawn then?
John DeMato [41:02]
Well, first I would get some kind of Google translation thing and then we would make that happen like it was the United Nations made it you know, get some earpieces, and we’ll make it work. See? Oh, that’s right. Like that.
David Ralph [41:13]
Yeah, perfect. entreprenuer perfect thinking you you see a problem and you find an instant way around it.
John DeMato [41:19]
That’s right. That’s, that’s what you got to do. But um, you know, yeah, it’s funny because I Yeah, wow. It’s now I’m actually reflecting on that very thought. It’s like that is really crazy. It’s like to to to actually have those words come out of my mouth five years ago, yada yadi a month. I never wanted this. I never wanted any of this. I just wanted to find another television job. I wanted to continue to work in that business. Because despite it not feeling fulfilled, I felt I was not fulfilled mostly because of just doing the same type of content over and over again for years on end. But what it really was is it just was nice. Wasn’t it wasn’t it because when I finally found my way, this way, you know, the feeling of doing what I do now is incomparable to anything I’ve ever done. So clearly, I lucked out, in doing what I did to get where I am. So
David Ralph [42:18]
well, let’s play some words now that have been around for 12 years now. And they’re more important than ever to listen to with, with fresh ears every single day,
Steve Jobs [42:28]
Steve Jobs. Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you Off the well worn path, and that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [43:03]
It does make all the difference, doesn’t it?
John DeMato [43:06]
It absolutely does. I mean, truer words have never been spoken. It’s, yeah. I mean, it’s not it’s not by happenstance that you end up where you are. And it’s, you know, I don’t know, fate or whatever it may be, but I’m more of a practically rooted person in that sense. And I would you know, it’s it’s the work you put in it’s the struggle you have it’s the fears that that you allow to define yourself until you face them meet them and move past them. it’s it’s a it’s an interesting thing. This life thing isn’t it?
David Ralph [43:42]
Always is and it leads me to an interesting question, but on the Join Up Dots timeline, we asked literally all our guests what their big dot would be what conversation situation being they’re trying to get away from, really kick started where they are today with the success that they have. feeling when did you suddenly think john? This is it? I know this is it, I noticed for sure.
John DeMato [44:08]
I would say the big, big big to put me where I am right now was in with that conversation with that client back in October of last year, when this niche fully developed itself or was born really. That was the moment that I realised that I can create portraits that are a confluence of all of the things that I love about all of the photography that I shoot into it also encompasses the style of the video that I that I shot and it just all came together and ever since then, there’s definitely been a much more inspired effort on my part with everything that I do. That’s what really in my life because as you know, you know When you develop confidence in one area of your life, it’s not like it’s compartmentalised in your brain and it doesn’t, you know, seep over. It’s it all it affects all aspects of your life, your social life, your your, your financial health, the way that you see your family, all of these different things.
Unknown Speaker [45:19]
And that’s really what happened to me.
David Ralph [45:22]
And have you said to that lady or that client, have you said to them that that was a life changing conversation?
John DeMato [45:28]
Oh, yes. Oh, yes, we we work together. And yeah, as a matter of fact, I should just really, uh, published the book on personal branding. And I shot the cover, and it was a really interesting experience and we you know, we work together and it’s pretty, pretty awesome. It was a pretty awesome moment in my life because it helped get my self together.
David Ralph [46:00]
Great stuff. This has been an inspirational conversation because it’s somebody in many regards it done it very, very quickly. But of course, it’s been years and years getting to the point of when you can do it very, very quickly, which is what Join Up Dots is all about no experience is wasted. Well, we’ve been building up to this bit, john, and this is the part that we called a sermon on the mic when we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to young john, what age would you choose and what advice would you give? Well, we’re going to find out because we’re going to play the theme, and when it fades you up. This is the Sermon on the mic. We go
with the best bit of the show, man, my
Unknown Speaker [46:51]
Unknown Speaker [47:00]
John DeMato [47:02]
I am speaking to john d’amato circa 1992. Back in high school, you know what, there’s no specific way to live your life. It’s for you to find your own way. Your own interests, your own passions. No one is in control of your life but yourself. When it comes to relationships and personality, don’t ever be afraid to reveal yourself. If that person is not someone that needs to be in your life, it will be easily seen. It’s just important to find the right people in your life. I have another one. The key to a successful life is clarity of purpose and a path to achieve those goals. But the way to do that is The key to that is to quiet the negativity in your mind. Once you do that, you will be able to have focus and clarity and stay on the path to get to where you want to go.
David Ralph [48:14]
What’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you, john?
John DeMato [48:18]
They can go to my website www john d’amato calm. And they can send me a little email, say hi. Let me know what’s going on. And let me know how I can help them.
David Ralph [48:28]
And we will have over links on the show notes. And believe me, people, if you’ve been interested in this conversation, jump over to the show notes, and click through to the Instagram accounts and stuff. It’s all about visuals. And you can see a good representation of John’s words. Remarkable stuff. JOHN, thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining up those dots and please come back again when you’ve got more dots to join up because I do believe but joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures john d’amato. Thank you so much.
John DeMato [48:56]
Thank you for having me, David. I appreciate it.
David Ralph [49:01]
So who would have thought that was the first podcast that john had ever been on? I was surprised when he told me that afterwards, but he was just, he was just relaxed. He was open. And I think that’s what you want in a podcast. I listened to a lot of podcasts where they just asked you the same old questions and you get the same old answers. I don’t know why people do that way. Maybe I’m missing a trick. But I think a conversation like that, hopefully inspires you as as much as it inspires me. And that certainly was a good one. Thank you so much. As I always say to listening to Join Up Dots, we got plenty more coming on. This show is not going away. We’re going to be moving on into the thousands soon. And hopefully you’ll be with us to see you again soon. Cheers, bye.
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you or wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life, head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free We’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.