James Bonato, on perseverance and the power of being a good person

James Bonato has been a professional videographer in Washington D.C. and specializes in producing website videos as well as filming over 1,000 weddings covering a 30-year span. James is a multi-prize winner of WEVA international awards and is five-star rated on Wedding Wire with over 100 five-star reviews. In this interview, James and I talk about the challenges he faced and the perseverance it took for him to create his documentary, “Three Cameos.” The lessons he learned apply to every business that is reaching out to achieve their big hairy audacious goals!

Jame and I also talk about the power of BNI, Business Networking International, and how the “givers gain” mentality allows us to run our businesses with integrity.

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James Bonato Videographer Portrait

Adam Lowe:                       Welcome to the business insight lab where we bring you interviews with leaders in their fields to deliver valuable information for your business. I’m your host, Adam Lowe, and this is episode number 10. Today’s guest is James Bernardo. James has been a professional videographer in Washington, DC and specializes in producing website videos as well as videoing over 1000 weddings covering a 30 year period. James is a multi-prize winner of we the international awards and it’s a five star rated on wedding wire with over 100 5-star reviews. That’s a lot of reviews, James.

James Bonato:                   Thank you. Yes. Yes. And it’s growing.

Adam Lowe:                       That’s amazing. I know how hard it is to get reviews for any business. So getting 100 5-star reviews on wedding wire, that’s quite the achievement.

James Bonato:                   Yes.

Adam Lowe:                       So, tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do for people and how you actually got into doing videography, and wedding videography in particular.

James Bonato:                   Well, getting into the video, that is a funny story. Matter of fact, a lot of stories about me are funny because I’m just so funny. Uh, but be glad, Adam, that this isn’t a video interview because I would most likely be wearing the big funny glasses with the huge nose and the bushy mustache, but this is audio, so you dodged a bullet on that one.

Adam Lowe:                       You say that now, but I don’t think I’ve seen you in anything but a three-piece suit.

James Bonato:                   Yes, that’s BNI for you. But, uh, back in 1988, I did not wear a three-piece suit. I just wore jeans and stuff and that’s when I started to get into video. Uh, I bought a professional video camera and me and a friend, we decide who we’re going to make a movie now. The movie was absolutely the worst movie that you would ever see. You’ll not find it on Netflix. It was awful. It was about just this terrible subject. I think we may have called the death of an Amway salesman or something. It was, it was terrible. But, um, that was back when we shot on VHS and that’s all we had back then. A VHS, it was a VHS camera. And of course nowadays what it’s gone from VHS to Super VHS, then two digital tapes and two cards. Then the HD in, well, you know what it is today.

James Bonato:                   So back then we shot the movie and I didn’t know how to edit. So I took it to this do it yourself editing place in Bethesda where they charged by the hour and get this adamant was 25 bucks an hour to edit. Yet now it’s what, 125 to edit. So, um, I knew it was going to be long, so I signed up for three days, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday from nine to five. I just had the edit suite. So, uh, I showed up on Monday at 9:00 AM and for the first hour, the owner of the business, he sits with you and he tells you what button to press and all the functions and he teaches you how to do it. And then at 10:00 he leaves and you’re in this glass soundproof booth. So I’m all ready to start out and what seemed to be a couple of hours later he’s tapping on the window and said five minutes. And I remember getting a little angry at him. I was like, well, I didn’t know you were going to close down the place for lunchtime. I mean I paid for.

James Bonato:                   I’m on the clock for this lunch. I didn’t, I didn’t bring a lunch. Why can’t I just sit here and edit? And then I looked at the clock. It wasn’t lunchtime. It was five minutes of five. So I had been there the whole day and I thought it was like I had been there for a couple of hours and at that moment I knew what I was gonna do for the rest of my life. I was going to be a video editor. So that’s where it all started. I don’t think I have that VHS camera and he wore a, I think I traded it for a guitar or something. And uh, I’ve always wondered what happened to that guitar

Adam Lowe:                       to that guitar. That’s one of my silly jokes. Come on now. Right now, my mission in life to find the death of an Amway salesman video because just so that I can pull it up and embarrass you with it sometime.

James Bonato:                   Gosh, she thinks

Adam Lowe:                       so. Wow. That’s pretty incredible. So, so what took you from spending all day in a video editing booth to actually making it a career? How did, how did that switch happen?

James Bonato:                   I went to the yellow pages and look for a job there and I found one and uh, it started. It all started from there. I started to work for suburban video. I’m still in touch with suburban video. I’m the owner. There was nice enough to hire me. He changed my main name though. I don’t know if you knew this or not, but my real name is Bill, but not very many people call me Bill anymore. It’s James. James is my middle name. Bill is the name of the owner of Suburban Video. Bill Bowen. And he says, well, we both can’t be Bill. What’s your middle name? I said, James, he does. From this moment on, your name is James.

Adam Lowe:                       You’re not the first person that I’ve heard this story. Yep, someone else might be an ICT group actually has the same exact story with her name. Anyway, but I digress. So, um, so, so tell me a little bit about what your business looks like today.

James Bonato:                   This is incredible. I tell Ya, it’s, it’s, it’s so busy right now, and I’m going to give you one guess who’s responsible or what organization is responsible for the business being out of control?

Adam Lowe:                       Let me guess. It starts with a B and ends with an I.

James Bonato:                   You are correct man. It’s that incredible. Fantastic. Bni and I place all the blame solely on BNI shoulders. Uh, I made the mistake of following their philosophy which has received the way I consider doing business, the way I present myself and doing business. And I followed through on everything I learned from all those incredible business people I’ve met through BNI and gosh darn it, it worked. And now I have more business than I know what to do with and I need to vent about all these good problems. I have it on your podcast, Adam. I’m so sorry, but Amy Kines was right. Brian Loebig was right. Melanie Anderson was right, these are a few of your past guests on the podcast who have done who they have the correct blueprints on how to grow a business and I’m guessing by the end of the year I’ll have doubled or come close to doubling the numbers of jobs and income compared to last year. Now. What makes that noteworthy? What a poor business person I was when I was starting to look. Uh, I had a very deprived the child that you see people used to, that my fellow students used to trade and collect my teeth. So I wasn’t very, you know, I came, came from, but I actually thought that if I worked hard and did fantastic and creative jobs, filming weddings in the, like people would sit up and take notice. And then business will just poor in, well guess what? It doesn’t work that way. You have to do great work and you’ll, you’ll be successful was such a big challenge part of the equation. Well, I’ve been told many times now in recent past to get a staff and to train people to get to work under me. Well, Adam, do you know what the Peter principle is?

Adam Lowe:                       No, tell me.

James Bonato:                   The Peter Principle states that people in a hierarchy tend to rise to their level of incompetence. You know you get, keep getting promoted until you get a jet, a job that you just don’t know how to do. So I don’t want to do that. I’m very comfortable where I am. Plus the name of the business is James Barnato Video LLC has got my name on it. So I want my clients to get me, not anyone else. So it’s got my films, got my signature on it. I’m responsible so I keep it that way.

Adam Lowe:                       That’s a great philosophy. Thanks. So, um, you know, how do you define success in your business? You just talked about, you know, revenue and possibly doubling that and how, how great BNI has been for you, but success isn’t always monetary. Um, so what, what does success mean to you?

James Bonato:                   Well, you just stole the words right out of my mouth because it, you are right. Success can be defined in many different ways and quite frankly, I don’t define success and how many dollars they make. What’s important to is how I carry myself in the business world, having a good name and reputation is what defines success in my world and really how I carry myself as a man. And those two things. There’s tons of crossover there. That’s where my eyes focused and apparently if you get that right, the business dollars or assure to follow, it’s inevitable, but both in my business life and my personal life, I surround myself with decent people who I emulate that you and I both know that BNI is filled with those kinds of people and I have the great honor and having breakfast with Brian Lowe big every Wednesday morning. And of course I know you interviewed him and in my world of videography, there are tons of honorable people just like Brian Loebig. So that seems to be key for me. And May I say after hanging out with you for a couple of jobs and having been with you on a couple of meetings, uh, I will put you in that noble category, too Adam.

Adam Lowe:                       Well, I appreciate that. It seems like it’s turning into an “I love BrianLoebig show”.

James Bonato:                   Uh, yeah, it is. Well, I’ll tell you what.

Adam Lowe:                       It’s okay. Everybody I talked to that knows Brian just falls in love with the guy. He is truly one of the most genuinely good people that I know. So I understand the gushiness.

James Bonato:                   He, he is. I have lots of Brian Loebig stories, but we’ll save that for another time, but on a different note on how I conduct my business, it’s a little different from the norm and that’s when I wake up in the morning. Isn’t business is not the first thing on my mind. It’s automatic. Ask Myself, what can I do to make the world a better place? What kind of mark can I make to do that? How can I challenge myself to make a difference? Today, somewhere around 10:30 AM or so I finally get to, Oh yeah, I gotta make a lipstick. So my priorities might not be the traditional way, but there are many ways to climb a mountain. What I just described works for me. No, I was rather taken by Melanie Anderson’s interview and how she calculated what she needed to bring it home into running her business and therefore runner family that might be a more prudent way to look things. It’s just not the way that I’ve gotten up the mountain now. I also try and find out ways to be more silly, but that might be a separate interview again. We’ll have to frank refrain on the roof.

Adam Lowe:                       Well, you know, me, I can’t take anything seriously, so I’m really know. I didn’t know that. Oh my gosh, I’m just the most ridiculous person. We clearly need to spend more time together.

James Bonato:                   Absolutely. But regardless, that’s the path that I’m, that works, that doesn’t work for everybody was from me and I’m not calculating it or anything. It’s just an intentional. It’s not coincidentally. That’s just the way it worked out for me. And uh, I just love to a business that way.

Adam Lowe:                       Well, you know, I think everybody has their own secret secret sauce, you know, the thing that motivates you, that thing that gets out of bed in the morning, that makes it all worth doing. Um, so that kind of segways into the next question that I had for you. Uh, you had mentioned that you were considering doing another documentary film sometime soon.

James Bonato:                   Now we get to the meat of the story of the meat of the meeting. Okay. Yes. A documentary films. Okay. I am looking to do a film on someone who’s got a challenge in their life and wants to overcome it. If there’s anybody out there in the listening audience and uh, I don’t know where this podcast goes. I’m hoping that, I’m assuming it goes all over the world and it’s heard in Indonesia and just everywhere. So everybody out there all five lists. If you know someone with a noble challenge that warrants their story and be being told, I’d love to talk to them. It could be really about anything. It can be about an ailment, it could be cancer. I’ve had a few interesting leads that did not materialize, materialize. The first one was a dying child. He was about seven or eight I think.

James Bonato:                   And, uh, he wanted to make his mark on the world and I was going to tell the story through his eyes is a matter of fact. I was toying with the idea of having him do some of the editing with me and it just didn’t happen. There were a couple of variables that I don’t want to get into, but I was, I felt terrible that that didn’t fall through. I had a couple of other leads on persons with mental illness, uh, one was fighting depression, the other was fighting a bipolar diagnosis. And I find these stories interesting because mental illness carries a great stigma that I would love to help dissipate. And it’s such a wide, a wide challenge and a lot of people have it and they shield it. Uh, I would like to help get rid of that stigma. And the idea of doing a documentary film on this is just, it just, that’s me.

James Bonato:                   And the reason why I got into documentary films is because I sat, was looking at myself and an examining myself. I said, you know what? I’m not a doctor. I’m not a social worker. I’m not a genius, but I sure know what to do when I’m behind a camera. I can use that camera as a tool to tell a story or relate something positive in this world and that’s what has led me to documentary films. My first documentary film I ever had any success this success with was called three cameos. Now Adam, you and everybody can see three cameos on my website, on the documentary film Tab. Even those people in Indonesia who are listening right now, they can, they can see the film. It was the biggest challenge of my life making that film. It took me two years to make and if I may, if you’ll allow me, Adam, I wanted to explain three cameos for just a second please.

James Bonato:                   Three cameos is about three people who are going to teach you and I why the heck we are here on this earth and what our purpose is. And I took three people and I jumped back and forth almost like round robin between their stories, which were all different with different challenges and make it like a universal thing to follow for us to learn about. Um, the first guy was an amputee, he had, he was missing a leg and he wanted to run a five k race on one leg, which I thought was very, very challenging. And I followed him for about a year. Second one was a young teenage, African American from the, um, from the bad neighborhood in Baltimore. He, uh, was in jail. He was on drugs, he had a terrible upbringing and he wanted to become an architect. He wanted to go to school, become an architect, and that was just a challenge just in his light, you know, just that, uh, for anyone to be an architect, but he had some additional stumbling blocks to overcome.

James Bonato:                   The third cameo was a lovely lady who had not one but two cancer. She had eye cancer and breast cancer and Gosh Darn it, that wasn’t going to stop her from writing a book which she was trying to do. So that was the story to, uh, to follow those three people and to see how they were going to just save the world. Now here’s the hard part, it took me eight people to get to the three. Okay. I actually started out with a boxer from southeast DC who wanted to open up a gym and he was going to take the kids off the street corners in and teach them, you know, how to safely box and they’d be a positive role model. Well, I started filming him and he just stopped returning my calls. Yeah, I guess that was his way of saying, you know, I don’t want to be in this film.

James Bonato:                   I had a nice a lady with stage four cancer. Uh, and we started to film and I, I called her one day and her daughter answered and sit on. I’m sorry, my, my mother passed away last night. So that was tough. And then there were a couple of other other people. It just didn’t work out. Do you remember when we were young and we had a deck of cards and nobody was around. We could either play solitaire, but the other thing to do is to build a house of cards and a higher uh, got, you know, like when you have seven or eight cards left, it gets really tough. One bad placement of a card and the house of cards falls down. Well, there I was, you know, building three houses of cards and I think between the two week period all three houses of cards fell to the bottom and it had been like four months. I was filming and filming and filming and I said, oh my gosh, I don’t have one inch of usable film. All my people are gone. But I just kept at it and I finally got to the final three that, that made the film and it was premiered a couple of years ago in the Afi theaters in silver spring.

Adam Lowe:                       Yeah.

James Bonato:                   Yes. I said, Oh, why? It also was shown in a DC jail for a little while. Um, the inmates that were going that were being released, they watched the film on their exit interview too. Hope Inspire them and hopefully influence them not to return.

Adam Lowe:                       It wasn’t part of their punishment.

James Bonato:                   No, no, no. It was. Oh, now here’s the funny part. It was also shown in the AP psych course at Blair high school for one semester and I guess you’re going to ask me if it was helped him not make them crazy. I don’t know about that.

Adam Lowe:                       I’m not going to go back to that.

James Bonato:                   Well, they reviewed the film, so I was proud about that and when I wanted to make another film, which is what I want to do more my right now, my wife looked at me and said, are you crazy? I remember the two years of pain you went through, but it’s all worth it because film last forever, you see an ear. I can directly aim the content emotion. Now Adam, I am quite the emotional man. I’m actually very much in touch with my feminine side. My hobbies are step aerobics cats and poetry, so if you’re looking for an alpha male kind of guy, I ain’t it. Sometimes I just get so emotional when I’m editing. It can be a wedding or just any project that tugs on the heart string and it’s not uncommon for me to just stop in the middle of editing and, and after I’ve done the transition are matched up some beautiful piece of music. I’ll just look at the screen and I’ll start crying. I’m like, oh my God, look what I presented and I just feel so lucky to have that job. And Adam, I’m guessing that you might feel similar when you’re putting pictures together.

Adam Lowe:                       I may have teared up a time or two. There you go. So, you know, just listening to your story about the documentary, it makes me think about it to really important business lessons. So the fact that it took you 10 people to get that documentary, um, where were you focused on three in the end? You know, that just says an awful lot about perseverance. It says an awful lot about failure that, you know, you’ve got to try so many different things and you know, sometimes you need to go down the road for a few months where, you know, possibly even a few years before you find the correct path and you know, if you give up too soon, you’re never going to make that film. Um, so I just thought that was very, very telling how, you know, how it took you, those 10 people to come up with the final three.

Adam Lowe:                       And then the other thing is just your, the way you said that you approach business and you approach life and that you approach, uh, you know, approach things in that you do it with a giving heart. Um, and it makes me think that now back in corporate America, it always seemed like the jerks are the ones that rose to the top of the guys that beat their chest allowed us to and that scream the loudest. But in small business it’s, it’s a little bit different. Um, you know, where it truly is. The people that are giving back, the ones that are trying to make a difference, the ones that are, um, that have that giving mindset that uh, that seemed to succeed. So it’s just a very interesting dichotomy there between the corporate world and the small business world. Have you noticed that at all?

James Bonato:                   Well, I was just about to say I’m glad that you said that because I’m a, I’m a pessimist at heart, but I think deep down I do understand that and I hope that it’s true and I loved listening to your words in the last minute or so. So yes, yes. Let’s keep that going in that direction.

Adam Lowe:                       I love it. And you know, if everybody had that, I think the world would be a better place just if they had a heart forgiving and um, you know, had a, had a mindset of abundance. I think everyone would just be in a much better place.

James Bonato:                   Absolutely. I hope that people in Indonesia are hearing that.

Adam Lowe:                       So let’s switch gears just a little bit. And um, so your business is a primarily weddings now, and I know you do. I know I can’t talk this morning, I clearly need more coffee. Um, but I know you do some, some corporate video and some things like that. Um, but it seems like your business is primarily and wedding videos. Uh, so tell me more about that and what led you down the path to do wedding videos specifically?

James Bonato:                   Well, I was hired by our, our Bill Bowen Guy, and that was his bread and butter, so it became my bread and butter and that’s basically what I do. I think I have maybe 45 weddings booked this year. That’s a lot. And on top of that I have all of the corporate work from Bni, but I’ve, I’ve shot over a thousand of them. I have a million stories to tell. We can’t tell them all and some of them we don’t want to tell on a recorded Mike.

Adam Lowe:                       Tell me a few of the good ones.

James Bonato:                   Well, let, let me tell you one funny story and I love telling this story because it’s a one in a million story. Not, not quite one in a million, but almost. Okay. So I’m filming this wedding at or Kodesh and I’m there at the front of the synagogue and, and the audiences there and we’re waiting for the bride to come down the aisle and I’m looking around and in the audience I recognize somebody said, oh, there’s the father of that bride that I did a couple of years at Indian Springs Country Club. I should say hi to him but not going to do it. Now. The wedding’s storage, so winning, look down. And then I saw him again at cocktail hour and I said, hey, he’s talking with his friends and bother them. So then dinner came around. I said, you know what? He’s finished his dinner. I’m going to.

James Bonato:                   I’m going to walk up to him and say hi. And maybe he remembers me. So I’m walking up to him. I’m walking up to him, I’m walking up to my. I finally get to this table and now I’m face to face with him and I said, hi, I’m a did your daughters wedding a couple of years ago. I don’t know if you remember me and right when I said that, right. When those words have exited my mouth, I noticed now I’m real close to them. I go, oh my gosh, it’s not the guy. It’s not the guy from Indian Springs Country Club. It’s somebody who looks just like him and so I know he’s going to say, sorry pal, you’ve got the wrong guy. Get this. Sitting next to him is his wife and his wife says to me, Oh yes, James Bernada. You did a wonderful job filming our daughter’s wedding. It wasn’t the people from Indian Spring Country Club. It was some couple who’s their daughter? I’d filmed their wedding. What are the. I was walking away and said, oh my gosh, did I dodge a bullet? I happened to pick people who I thought was somebody. I did their wedding and I wasn’t, but I did it anyway. And uh, I guess I’ve been around. Yeah.

Adam Lowe:                       These are the problems that we have when we work with so many different people. And if you’ve got 40 some odd weddings, you’ve, you’re practically working a wedding every weekend of the year. So you, who you run into quite a few people there. I don’t see why you shouldn’t get the mistaken. I know I would. I wear a name tag when I go to Bni because sometimes I forget my own name.

James Bonato:                   Yeah. Yeah. I wear my bni a badge religiously as we’re supposed to.

Adam Lowe:                       Exactly. Um, so anything else about videography that you want to talk about or business in general before we jump into the, uh, the awkward lightning round questions?

James Bonato:                   Well, I am relentless in my determination to do a good job and I know that isn’t a cornerstone of business today. I think it’s a lost art. I mean, I remember what you would think. I mean I used to sit down with mothers of the brides and brides to have them size me up to see if they were going to hire me. Uh, now everything is done by email or text. God forbid I should call them on the phone and listened and have them have a conversation with them. So I can’t get that warmth and knowledge across in an email some time. So that’s challenging. So I’m kind of just rolling with the punches. The way the industry has changed, I’m not exactly thrilled with it, but it all works, but I still have,

Adam Lowe:                       you know, good quality service just means that you don’t get as much face time upfront. Right. And therefore you get nice wedding wire reviews. Exactly. Yeah. I think that that’s a big, that’s a big challenge for a lot of people right now, um, is that so many people want to do business online. They don’t want the personal touch. And you know, maybe that’s because in, in big business, things are so streamlined and so automated that they’ve taken the personality out of it isn’t even there, that when you work with a small business that you can have that extra level of service and that’s the value add that a small business brings. Just that personal touch, that getting to know the client and making sure that we’re providing them an exceptional level of service and not just, you know, the same thing that the next person gets.

James Bonato:                   You would think, you know, I was going to go all out and try and meet people, but if you want it not to work, that’s the right thing to do. So

Adam Lowe:                       the industry tells me to do do with the email and everybody’s busy and we both know that the planning weddings is stressful. Um, and it’s been, it’s been 11 years for me, I guess. Uh, but that was, that was pretty stressful and um, you know, I, I definitely wanted to meet with my vendors because I wanted to make sure my day what went well and I guess that was before the day of everybody texting and using the Internet for everything, um, but still it’s a stressful time and people are trying to just check things off a list and get things done. So I get it even though I don’t, uh, you know, I don’t like it and I wish that, um, you know, well, I shouldn’t say that. I try to take the opportunity whenever I can to deliver that extra personal level of service. And I think, you know, most small businesses can insured as well.

James Bonato:                   Yeah. You usually can come through at one point.

Adam Lowe:                       Exactly. All right, so let’s hit you with a little lightning round here. All right. Did you prepare for these at all or is he. I read good enough. Some people just get surprised by them and it’s, it’s pretty fun to watch people sweat. So if you could give one book to everybody that you meet, what would it be?

James Bonato:                   Okay. Curious George and the high voltage fence.

Adam Lowe:                       Okay. So first of all, Curious George. Awesome. And they need to tell you a little story about this. I’ve always had a thing for monkeys. I have no idea why. Um, and when Toby, my wife and I were getting married, so she’s Jewish, I’m not. So there were a lot of things as part of the wedding that she wanted to have. Um, you know, some, some little, some little Jewish touches here and there. And you know, she turned to me one day and she goes, you know, there’s all these things that are important to me in the wedding. Is there anything you want? I said, jokingly, I said, yes honey, I want monkeys. And she kind of laughed it off and she’s like, oh, don’t worry, they’ll be monkeys. Uh, well, at the rehearsal dinner I was presented with monkeys. So I was given a little curious George, a bookmark that was given a curious George Patch, you know, like the ironman patch and curious.

Adam Lowe:                       George was riding a bicycle and anybody that knows me knows that I’m an avid cyclist or at least used to be an more avid cyclist. And I am now. I’m so curious, George, a monkey one the bicycle. It really didn’t get much better than that. Um, and then a bunch of little monkey figurines that we’ve put around on the guests tables, curious George sat in my coat pocket, uh, the entire wedding day. And I remember very clearly, um, right before toby was about to walk down the aisle, the photographer was crouching down in front of me getting ready for the shot. And he looks up at me and he goes, now Adam, just remember if you get nervous, all you have to do is pull your monkey out of your pocket. He knew exactly what he was saying.

James Bonato:                   Do you have that one curious George and the high voltage fence?

Adam Lowe:                       I don’t and I want to know specifically what it is about the high voltage fence. It’s so great because I’ve got this one year old kid right now and we have a lot of curious george books and so I need to know what’s going on here.

James Bonato:                   Well, the joke is on you. There is no book called curious George and the high voltage fence. You’re just a jerk. That’s supposed to be a funny thing that curious George would play with the high voltage event. Sorry. No, my actual answer is very, very pedestrian, so I had to start with a humorous one. My, my answer is Tuesdays with Morrie and unfortunately nine tenths of the world have read that a book. Even the people in Indonesia have read that is very pedestrian answer, but it still inspiring and a book full of deep sentiment and it’s taught me a lot.

Adam Lowe:                       Well apparently I’m one of the ones that has not read it. Tell me about it.

James Bonato:                   Oh my God. I’m not going to give you any preview of it. You have to jump in, but you’ve heard of it, haven’t you? No. Oh my gosh. It’s an every book club and a amazing. It’s about what we’ve kinda been talking about for the last hour.

Adam Lowe:                       What’s the name of it at the end?

James Bonato:                   Tuesdays with Morrie Tuesdays

Adam Lowe:                       with Morrie. Okay. So I’ll find that and I’ll put a link to it. I’ll find that and put a link to it in the show notes here. Very good. Very good. Um, so tell me what’s the biggest mistake that you see other business leaders make?

James Bonato:                   Infrastructure or the lack there of, of knowledge about it. You know, a lot of head honchos sit at their desk and they, you know, they contemplate know let’s go this direction in business to make it better and let’s do this and it’s well thought out, but a lot of them forget to check with infrastructure, with their other employees who do the little piddly stuff for the less stuff and ask them how it would affect their job because there’s a lot of variables that they don’t know about sitting at the top. And I have seen that time and time again where they go, well, this is what’s going to happen. We got to do that, but they don’t consider infrastructure

Adam Lowe:                       that is so true and a great point and something that I haven’t heard anyone else bring up

Adam Lowe:                       and I just want to tack on to that if it’s okay for a minute because it, it, it resonates very, very deeply with me. Um, you know, in a previous life I was, I was a management consultant and then I went in house and worked in a very large law firm for five years. And basically my role was to sit between the c suite and the managing directors of the firm and try to reconcile the initiatives that the, the chiefs wanted to do with the reality of what happened in the day to day operations of the business. Um, so it was very much that thing where, you know, the, you know, some, some c level executive would come up with a mandate and it just,

Adam Lowe:                       it wreaks havoc throughout the organization. So, uh, you know, my, my job was to understand what those ramifications we’re going to be and make the adjustments now either on, on the, the initiative side or inside the business so that, uh, so that everything works properly, but, you know, hearing, hearing that infrastructure, what you just talked about there is so important and you know, it doesn’t apply in just large businesses. It also applies in no single man operations or even two man operations is that if you don’t have the infrastructure, the technologies, the processes, all those things to back you up and you try to go off and do something brand new, you’re either going to fail or you’re going to struggle really, really hard. Um, so that’s, that’s such a great. Such a great point.

James Bonato:                   Yes, yes. It’s unfortunately, that’s that. That’s a universal problem. We’ve got to get on that.

Adam Lowe:                       It is, and I’m a huge proponent of process and streamlining things and automating things. And, and like you said, building that infrastructure. So that’s the reason why I just had to nerd out there for a minute. Um, I could probably, I could probably go on and do an entire hour just on, on that stuff, maybe even an entire day. Who knows? Maybe someday I will. Um, I actually owned the domain name optimize your workflow because I was, I was going to create a training series at one point, one just optimizing business processes. So who knows, maybe someday I’ll actually get around to doing that.

James Bonato:                   Got It.

Adam Lowe:                       So, um, what’s the one tool, and I’m going to caveat that you can’t say your phone. Uh, so what’s one tool or piece of technology or process or methodology or whatever that you feel like you can’t live without and you can say your camera either because that’s cheating.

James Bonato:                   Yeah, you know what that is.

Adam Lowe:                       Oh, I know it. And, and I have a love hate relationship with after effects.

James Bonato:                   Oh, I just have a love relationship with after effects. I’ve been using it forever as my boy. I love to pull it out when I want to get extra creative and they keep changing it year after year after year. But for those who don’t know, what is after effects after effects is a way to make a piece of video or a photograph, right? A piece of video or a photograph to add something to it, like a glow effect or to do cutting and pasting or to add objects to it or just to enhance it. You can, I mean, I can even add snow to a video if I wanted to through after effects. It’s a wonderful tool.

Adam Lowe:                       Everybody knows what photoshop is, at least heard of it after effects is essentially photoshop for video.

James Bonato:                   Exactly. Well said. Well said. I love it. As long as you don’t overuse it,

Adam Lowe:                       that’s the problem right there. I think everything needs more lens flare.

James Bonato:                   Oh,

Adam Lowe:                       I actually went to uh, went to school for digital media back in the nineties and you know, we were taught on film, but then we went ahead and digitize everything and we were taught how to, how to edit, you know, using a razor blade. But then we were also taught on avid machines. Um, so that was kind of a really fun time when we got to learn both digital and analog days. Exactly. I razor blade and tape, but, you know, at, at the time, you know, these, these visual effects were so new and novel, so it was like, you know, throw Lens, flare in their transition and do this, do that, and just, you know, I look back on it and think, oh my gosh, this stuff looks so terrible. So yeah, you can definitely go overboard with after effects, but it is a great and powerful tool for, uh, for anybody that’s trying to tell a story. Um, you know, just like anything else, if you use it sparingly. Yes. Um, so if you could have lunch with anybody dead or alive, who would it be and why?

James Bonato:                   John.

Adam Lowe:                       Oh, let’s hear it. I can see this. I see this now. I hear the silliness in you. So.

James Bonato:                   Well, not only is he the most funniest guy in the world, he also, and I don’t know if anybody, a lot of people know this super intelligent. He is really, really interesting. Um, I would, if I were to have lunch with him, I don’t know what, what’d he would make me do, laugh or be a mesmerized by his intelligence. And Are you ready for this? Last night I was just playing around and he’s coming to Baltimore at the end of July, so it’s very timely. I’m going to try and get tickets out. Of course she’s not going to have lunch with me, but um, he is absolutely the most fascinating person I’ve ever.

Adam Lowe:                       I think I need to get a babysitter and tickets for that one. Okay. So, so, so here’s something for you. Can you imagine this? Having lunch with John Cleese and weird Al Yankovic?

James Bonato:                   Yes.

Adam Lowe:                       Two incredibly brilliant people and totally ridiculous. Oh, I wonder if they know each other. I don’t know, maybe there’s a little club, a secret, a ridiculous, brilliant people club, maybe. So that would, that would be fun. Um. Alright. So, so you’ve already told me an awful lot about yourself, but tell me a fun fact that people might not know about you.

James Bonato:                   Okay, well, some people know about this, about me. A lot of people do not, uh, I like to think up ridiculous ideas for my 32nd BNI infomercials. Now, those of you who aren’t familiar with Bni, it’s a marketing group that has several chapters which meet about once a week, which meet once a week

Adam Lowe:                       and several chapters like this is a worldwide thing. Every city has several chapters that you can look into.

James Bonato:                   Sure. Indonesia as one, they actually do. Okay. There you go. And we meet once a week and we go around the room and we stand up and do like a 32nd infomercial on our business. Now, Adam, you and I are in different chapters so you have not seen any of my ridiculous ones because you haven’t been to my chapter as well. About once a month I basically throw sensibility out the window and use ridiculous props and ridiculous comical ideas to make everyone laugh. And the ideas either come from my foolish uncouth mine or perhaps I steal them from monty python skit. But that is my little, uh, thing to know about me.

Adam Lowe:                       I love it. I wish I could come visit your chapter and see this sometime. Perhaps you will one day. Maybe I will and I just won’t get my infomercial. I’ll just come and say that I’m part of the Brian Big Fan club. There you go. That. That’s great. I really appreciate you spending the time to, uh, to, to speak with me today. And um, so, so you work in the Maryland, DC, Virginia area, correct?

James Bonato:                   That’s right. German town Marius Germantown, Maryland is my home but DC, Maryland and Virginia is my uh, my domain. I’ll go elsewhere. I’m doing them one in Delaware in a couple months.

Adam Lowe:                       Delaware’s practically Maryland with less taxes. So if somebody wants to reach out to you to do, uh, you know, either for a photograph yet video, a wedding or a corporate event or anything else, really, how can they reach out to you? How can they find you?

James Bonato:                   Www dot james banana video.com. You can watch my videos, you can see my wedding. See documentary film. You can also see all of the corporate video that I’ve done for small businesses where I come in and make a video, cameras shoot and um, it’s a great thing to put on your home page, you know, a little video and explain to your business. I have examples of that there on my website, www dot [inaudible] dot com.

Adam Lowe:                       That’s fantastic. So I’ll go ahead and put a link to that in the show notes as well. And you know, I, we’ve worked together several times in the past, you know, I’ve seen your work and uh, you know, I can personally vouch for you, James, you’re, you’re, you’re an incredible human being, a wonderful videographer and um, you know, I, I, I wouldn’t have you on the podcast if I didn’t think that, uh, that you would add value to anybody listening.

James Bonato:                   Well thank you. The feeling’s mutual.

Adam Lowe:                       Great. So thank you so much for your time. Any parting words before I sign off?

James Bonato:                   Don’t go out and buy curious George or the high voltage Veggie doesn’t exist. Adam,

Adam Lowe:                       you know, I, I might’ve muted the microphone to look on Amazon for that.

James Bonato:                   It’s not their brother.

Adam Lowe:                       Well now I know. All right, so let’s go ahead and sign off here. I hope you enjoyed this week’s interview. To learn more about me and my business, you can visit me online at www dot Adam Lowe, creative.com. If you enjoyed this podcast, I would love it if you could subscribe and give us a five star rating on itunes, Google play or stitcher radio. Just search for the business insight lab or go to www dot Adam Lowe, creative.com, forward slash podcast, and click the links. Have a great week and I’ll talk to you again soon.