I envy my friend Sean Donahue. His charisma, humor and wit make it easy for him to fit in an any situation. A few years ago, my friend Stephen Hattersley and I decided to do a video project about our hometown of Modesto, CA. We had to get Sean involved.
Although we didn’t wind up using his scenes, I marveled at how comfortable Sean was behind the camera. While many of us would shy down in the presence of a lens, knowing that our every move, word and gesture was being documented, Sean carried along, showcasing his clever humor and charisma. I think at one point the camera laughed at his stories of partying in high school.
I asked him why he was so comfortable behind the camera. I had to know.
“Man, to me a camera is just another person in the room. And I’m comfortable around people, you know what I’m saying?” He replied with his distinct California twang.
Sean continues working behind the camera in a few facets. He records, produces and teaches music in Sacramento. We may be 3,000 miles away, but we continue to be close friends. And although I’m still envious of his charisma and wit, his advice on dealing with the camera helped me have a smooth first video interview.
Waze is immensely popular in Brasil, as such I’m in Sao Paulo 3-4 times a quarter. A few months back our PR Team organized a press tour for us while I was in the country. We met with reporters from a few different outlets in a conference room at the TRYP Iguatemi.
I was joined on this trip by my director, our Global Head of Sales, Samuel Keret. Together we fielded questions about the app, upcoming features and the Brasilian Waze community (an amazing community that has taken Waze and made it their own, we’re their because Brasil WANTS us there.) The last round was with UOL, the largest internet portal in the country. They requested a video interview and Samuel and I were led away to prep.
Except that Samuel wasn’t. Samuel will be the first to tell you that on screen time isn’t necessarily his thing. He decided to catch up on lunch and let me field the on camera questions. Suddenly, I was doing my first video interview, solo.
I have given talks up and down the Americas, so I’m quite used to being in front of hundreds of people. But the camera is mysterious, it’s selective in what it chooses to remember and show. What if I said something I wasn’t supposed to? Or what if I stuttered like the first time I met the love of my life? Maybe I should eat something before? So many questions. So much nervousness. So much excitement.
Juliana, our UOL correspondent got me prepped, asked me a few warm up questions and assured me that I’d do great. She was very reassuring and welcoming. But in the moments before the camera turned on, I thought back to Sean’s comments on the camera being just another person in the room. In a way, I imagined that the camera was Sean and that he’d flown in just to hear me speak. Of course the camera was much better looking than Big Baby Diesel, but it did the trick. As the camera went on, I smiled and and spoke to the camera like I’d known it since JV Football at Beyer High.