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In case you’ve never heard of him, Gary Vaynerchuk is kind of a big deal in the world of startups, apps and influence, but unlike some famous people who are famous for being famous, Vaynerchuk’s accomplishments are nothing to sneeze at.
First, he grew his father’s $3M offline liquor store into a $60M online juggernaut. He became an early investor in Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, wrote several best selling books on business and social media, and launched a digital marketing agency, VaynerMedia, which employs more than 700 people who implement Vaynerchuk’s tactics on behalf of clients like Chase, GE, Johnson’s, Pepsi and Unilever. A popular public speaker, Vaynerchuk’s standard fee for an appearance in which he speaks for 20 to 30 minutes and then takes questions is $120,000. Not enough? He’s also one of the stars of the Apple original series Planet of The Apps, where he sits alongside Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow and will.i.am.
Vaynerchuk clearly knows what he’s doing when it comes to influencing others, but what may have been the biggest key to his success was his decision to hire David Rock, more commonly known as DRock (pronounced “D-Rock”) as his dedicated personal videographer.
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The success of the reality TV-style video presence Vaynerchuk and DRock have created together has earned them some naysayers who think it’s all terribly narcissistic. But others of us, myself included, have noticed how effective it has been in helping Vaynerchuk build his business empire. That has left us wanting to follow in Vaynerchuk and DRock’s footsteps.
After considering hiring a videographer for the better part of a year, I recently decided to pull the trigger and came up with a list of interview questions to ask candidates. But knowing next to nothing about what I should look for, I decided to go straight to the source, DRock himself, for some advice.
“If you were to hire a personal videographer,” I asked, “which of these questions would you ask?” The question was meant as a hypothetical, but it turns out it wasn’t imaginary for DRock at all.
“I already have hired my ‘replacements,’” he said, “We’re hiring up-and-coming videographer/editors and producers to integrate into VaynerTalent and to help scale Gary’s one-man crew.“
DRock is quick to point out, “in all honesty there is no ‘right/wrong’ questions in an interview. That depends on the interviewer and interviewee.” However, he was kind enough to give his own opinion on the questions I had in mind. Then he revealed the real secret behind hiring the right videographer for the job.
A few good questions.
Among the key questions are:
- Why and how did you get into video?
- What equipment and software do you use?
- What subjects do you like filming best, or what kind of content do you most like creating?
- What’s the worst moment you’ve ever had producing a video? How did you handle it? (DRock throws in the suggestion that you also ask candidates about their best moment.)
- What is your ratio of filming and editing time to finished video time?
- How much filming and editing would you anticipate would go into producing a 10 minute vlog segment?
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DRock gave some pointed insight about the last question, and just what a videographer with his job description should be ready for. “We generally film all day, Monday through Friday, and once in awhile on Saturday and Sunday, and end up having five to seven hours of footage [per day]. Post-production varies on the day and can take 5 to 10 hours.”
And one last question, he believes, is an issue of personal taste: Explain your producing, shooting and editing processes. Walk me through the exact steps you would take to produce a vlog episode from start to finish. “This question could work for some people,” he says. “I’ve never done this personally — or plan on ever doing it. Thinking about the process just slows it down.”
But the real secret? Invest in more than an interview.
The truth is, DRock got his job with Vaynerchuk by making videos, not passing interviews. “I offered to make a few videos, followed him around, and then he offered me a job (after he saw my end results). Quite honestly hiring is a crap shoot,” he continues. “You can’t find your videographer/editor via an interview.”
So how does DRock find the right talent for the job?
“I just like to let [a candidate] operate for a few weeks and see how hungry they are. If they are on the offense — meaning if they are asking questions, if they are taking initiative, if they are being curious about the changes on social networks and how to story tell differently — then I’m interested.”
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But here’s the bottom line: “I believe the most important thing when hiring a videographer/editor/producer is his lack of romance on perfection, and his complete and utter romance on speed. Speed is how you win in this game of constant content. Don’t over think the creative. Keep making, keep testing, keep breaking and repeat.”
Do DRock’s method’s work? Well, I followed his advice and found my DRock. Stand by for a flurry of content going live on my YouTube channel soon.