EP 216: Looking and Sounding Like a Pro on Camera with Maria Ngo and Ray DuGray | VegasNET Media

In this episode, Stacy sits down with Maria Ngo and Ray DuGray, who are the hosts and executive producers of the Las Vegas celebrity talk series, THE STRIP LIVE, as well as the founders of VegasNET Media and VipNETmedia.com, where they feature on-camera interviews with influential people from around the world. Together they discuss how you can improve your on-camera presence in order to look and sound like a professional host.

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Transcript For This Episode:

Stacy Jones (00:01):
Welcome to, Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones, the founder of influencer marketing and branded content agency, Hollywood Branded. This podcast provides brand marketers a learning platform for topics, for us to share their insights and knowledge on topics which make a direct impact on your business today. While it is impossible to be well versed on every topic and strategy that can improve bottom-line results, my goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes of time, energy or money, whether you are doing a DIY approach or hiring an expert to help. Let’s begin today’s discussion.

Speaker 2 (00:31):
Welcome to, Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them. Here’s your host, Stacy Jones.

Stacy Jones (00:36):
Welcome to, Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones. I’m so happy to be here with you all today. And I want to give a very warm welcome to, Maria Ngo and Ray Dugray. Maria and Ray are the hosts and executive producers of the Las Vegas Liberty talk series, The Strip Live, and founders of Vegas Net Media and vipnetmedia.com, where they feature on-camera interviews with influential people from around the world. They have personally interviewed and showcased hundreds of top celebrities, entrepreneurs and industry experts, including Stevie Wonder, Donald Trump, Tony Bennett, Sir Richard Branson, Kevin Costner, the Kardashians, Joe Jonas and even Bart Simpson.

Stacy Jones (01:15):
Today, we’re going to talk about on-camera star power, and how to look and sound like a pro on camera. We’ll learn what works for Maria and Ray’s perspective, and what should be avoided and have some people miss the mark. Maria and Ray, welcome.

Maria Ngo (01:28):
Thank you so much, Stacy, for having us.

Ray Dugray (01:31):
And Stacy, you are a star. We’ve been to your website. We know the work that you’re doing, rockstar, amazing.

Stacy Jones (01:38):
Well, thank you. Again, did not need to sell yourself to me now, maybe a week ago, begging, pleading, but it’s okay, it’s all good.

Ray Dugray (01:49):
It’s a little sad, isn’t it?

Stacy Jones (01:50):
It’s all great. So, what got you to today to be here? How did you end up getting on the hottest red carpets in Vegas, as well as on the West Coast, the East Coast. I mean, you all have content that is filmed everywhere with some really high profile individuals.

Ray Dugray (02:11):
Well, we are married. So, just to keep the peace, I say, ladies first. I’ll let Maria start and tell that story.

Maria Ngo (02:17):
Well, Stacy, I wish I can say it was easy road, but it’s been extremely challenging. Although, I would say it’s been worth it. So, about 15 years ago, we were living a very stable, comfortable, great, easy going life. Ray was a retired paramedic and moved over to fire. He also ran an EMS and health and safety training company in Canada. So, I was helping him promote and run events for that. He was also speaking and traveling all over the world.

Maria Ngo (02:48):
Well, I had to go and open my big fat mouth and say, “Ray, I’ve had a dream all these years.” And I shared the dream, and that was to interview some of the biggest names, celebrities, entrepreneurs on how they became successful. Well, we had no broadcasting background. And mind you, we were in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. So, really not a lot of celebrity opportunities to be interviewing people, right?

Maria Ngo (03:16):
So, he said to me, “You know what? You’re a US citizen, I’m a Canadian, we can go anywhere.” So, we did a research. So, we ended up in Las Vegas. And let me tell you with a lot of knocking on doors, getting phones hung up on me right, left and center, I finally was able to get us on Vegas TV, which is a local television station here. And we started taping our shows over at Planet Hollywood every month, bringing in entrepreneurs and then eventually moving over to celebrity red carpet. Because we actually had a lot of the local PR agencies contact us and say, “Hey, we’d like to have our talent on your show.” And that’s really how it started.

Maria Ngo (03:59):
And from there we have not stopped. And it was very challenging. And that we often joke that, we were sitting one our biggest interviews with the sit down interview, we were sitting with Stevie Wonder. And at the time we couldn’t even afford a cup of coffee. So, I was praying that he didn’t ask us to go out to eat, because we didn’t have any money to go out to eat. Is that crazy?

Stacy Jones (04:25):
That is quite the story. And so, how did you decide on Vegas instead of New York or LA?

Maria Ngo (04:33):
Well, Ray and I, we actually, we honeymooned here, believe it or not, just because we were really busy and a travel schedule. And we started researching the area and we just loved it for what we wanted to do recreational-wise. And at the time, and still is, I’m just going to be honest, the cost of living is way cheaper than California, and the taxes. So, from the practical point of view anything-

Ray Dugray (04:58):
Yeah. Well, the truth of the matter Stacy, is that that aspect of it was very strategic. We did do our research and we thought if we were going to have a show, it would be great to have it at the epicenter of entrepreneurship in the world. That was the whole thing. So, we thought, where would be a good location for it? And the reality is, is people from all over the world come to Las Vegas, so it’s easy to access the content. But there was also the lifestyle component. We really wanted to make sure that our business didn’t become a corporate and something funky that really didn’t serve us. We really wanted it to be about a mom and pop kind of business that just we get to do really cool stuff and live a really interesting life, which we do.

Ray Dugray (05:46):
But I do want to make sure that people understand the underlying message of this story, is because people want to know the blueprint. If I was going to do that, what would it look like? And the truth is it’s totally not duplicatable. If there’s anything that I would suggest that people do, if you’re going to take away something, this is really just about giving up security. Again, Maria mentioned it, I was a professional firefighter. I had a pension. If I stayed long enough, I wouldn’t… We had a great income. The business was doing well. But Maria planted a seed about a dream, and it’s not like I jumped in and said, “Oh yeah, let’s do that. That’s such a great idea.” But she planted the seed and it percolated in me. And I got to a point in my life where I said, “You know what? Let’s just go for it. Let’s just do it.” And it was scary. It was risky.

Ray Dugray (06:42):
And if there is a message, I would say, if you have a dream folks, roll the dice, go for it. And it’s been a tough journey. It hasn’t been easy for us. But I think we’ll come to the point at the end of my life, where someone is going to ask me, “Do you have any regrets? Are there things that you would do differently?” I’d say, “Yeah, there’s things I’d do differently.” But I’d have no regrets for not going for it. I mean, for going for it and risking it all. And there was tremendous losses along the way and also tremendous gains.

Stacy Jones (07:17):
Well, whether or not you meant to launch yourself into the perfect place, that I would say for where you actually have been able to achieve your dreams. I had done PR in Vegas. I had clients going out there. I have had stores opening for brands. It is not the highest media city. It’s not that there are media outlets fighting for every story. In fact, as you said, that people were knocking on your door saying, “Hey, would you do this interview?” There are so select few good people and outlets to work in Vegas. That you all because you work good, made yourselves the go to for getting some A list talent that would have been really difficult to get in front of most likely in a New York or a Los Angeles setting.

Ray Dugray (08:11):
Stacy, after we jumped into this and did the V Theater thing at Planet Hollywood, took my entire retirement income, sold our home, took every cent that we had and put it into the show. And in a matter of two months, lost it all, lost the show, lost everything, our retirement income, everything. And we said, “Okay. Well, now we know what doesn’t work.” But the universe has a way of making things work out in the end. So, we were put in a position to really do the only thing that we could do, and that was red carpet interviews. Because we tried to be like an Oprah like talk show. We tried to do it big budget. And again, that didn’t work. It was disastrous. We didn’t know what we were doing and everything was wrong about it.

Ray Dugray (09:01):
But the good thing is, as we said, well, we have to continue. The problem is we don’t have any money. But what we did have, we had a few A list celebrities under our belt. And Maria, just basically became a pit bull at that point, started calling people, started calling PR agents and name dropped like crazy. And that was enough to get us into the next red carpet. And then we got another big league, big name interview. And then we use that and we just, we call that stacking, by the way, in our mentorship program. We teach how to stack at successes. It’s really just stacking successes. And it’s not about being deceptive, because you really are presenting yourself as bigger than you really are. You’re not lying to people. What you’re doing is you’re just shining light on some really great stuff that you’ve done. You don’t tell all the war stories, you talk about the great things that are going on. And it gets you your next interview and then your next.

Ray Dugray (10:04):
And then presto over a decade later, we’ve interviewed over a thousand celebrities on the red carpet alone. And that just came from that formula and we call it an ABC formula. It’s really simple, but it’s extremely effective. It’s just A is associations. Who do you know? Who can you get access to? That’s another A, access. B is brand. How are you showing up? What’s your curb appeal? Just like a realtor is going to bring someone to a home. The very first thing they’re going to see, is they’re going to pull up to the curb and they’re going to see maybe your website. They’re going to maybe see your podcast. They’re going to see an interview of you. What’s your curb appeal like? So, we encourage anybody, if you don’t have good curb appeal on your brand, we’ll fix it. Go to someone like Stacy, she’ll help you out, you get the curb appeal done.

Ray Dugray (10:55):
And then the last, the C is credibility. Well, again, once you have one interview or one podcast on your belt, and it’s got some credibility behind it, use it, stack it, drop names, and continue to move that machine forward. And then it becomes a four-course.

Stacy Jones (11:13):
Yeah. And that works across anything, that works across getting press, that works across getting new business deals, that works across any type of relationship that you want to level up.

Maria Ngo (11:26):
Absolutely. And you know exactly what Ray was saying about the association. And remember, we didn’t have any Hollywood connections. We didn’t have the broadcasting, the big network or even at the time we didn’t, because that was around 2007, so social media wasn’t as hot as it is now, not like a mandatory thing now. And we didn’t have the following. So, I think anybody out there who is thinking about being in business, or they’re looking at their marketing strategies, just know that you don’t need to have all your ducks in a row in order to be successful. You need to have a plan. You need to go after it. You need to be, as Ray was saying, the ABC formula, that all helps. But in the end is if you have that, whether it’s a dream, you want to call it a dream, or that plan that you want to execute, just don’t let yourself be the reason why you didn’t do it.

Stacy Jones (12:21):
Agree. And you guys are a good example. You did something. You took a chance. You failed. You learned a lot from that. But then you pivoted.

Maria Ngo (12:30):

Stacy Jones (12:31):
And the pivoting in life is what matters.

Ray Dugray (12:34):
True. And we still fail on a daily basis, but that is the success formula. And that’s what a lot of people don’t teach. We look at failure as a bad thing, but failure is wonderful. Because if we didn’t fail with the V Theater, we would have never have pursued the red carpet thing.

Maria Ngo (12:52):
It’s true.

Ray Dugray (12:52):
It was just because of the failure. Fail forward, fail fast. If you’re going after your dream, it takes a lot of courage. And I empathize with anybody out there that says, “Yeah, but I’ve got a family and I need security.” I understand. I’m not telling everybody to go quit your job and start a business right now. You do want to make sure that if you are going to make a major life change, that you have strategy behind it. And that’s why there’s business coaches out there. They’ll help you make those kinds of really tough life changing decisions. And they’ll help you through when you fall. And oh, by the way, newsflash, you will fall. And again, but you will rise too. And you can really appreciate those successes when they come. And hopefully, you want to look back on your life and say, “I took some major chances, but wow, it’s been really, it’s been a cool ride.” It has been a cool ride for us.

Stacy Jones (13:48):
That’s good.

Maria Ngo (13:50):
Stacy, you’re talking about pivoting. And that’s exactly where we are, especially during this time where everyone is down with COVID-19 and everything that’s happening. While we had to pivot, even though we were doing a one on one version of helping entrepreneurs and authors and speakers really get comfortable in front of the camera, right? And interviewing. Well, during this time, as you know, it seems like every one is on Zoom, and I’m screaming. And even today, I had a little bit of tech issue in my office. So, I jumped over here with Ray, in order to keep going with the podcast. But I’m looking at some of the simple things that can really elevate one’s brand. And I think you would understand coming from a brand agency, if you are positioned already as a high level brand, and then you’re going on Zoom to deliver a meeting and we see clutter in the background, we see all sorts of mess. You’re going to be like, it’s nice to get an inside look at somebody’S life, but that was a little too much. Do you agree with that?

Stacy Jones (14:55):
Oh, I think that we can say that all of those little images on the Zoom, where people aren’t wearing pants, or they take the Zoom in with them to get into the bathroom, are those like moments that never should be revealed to anyone else.

Maria Ngo (15:09):
So, I mean, and then we saw this as an opportunity, right? That, of course we’ve been in front of the camera, we’ve been conducting Zoom trainings on Skype, whatever, everything in terms of being in front of the camera. And all of a sudden people were coming forward and say, “Hey, can you help me set up my conference or my backdrop? Or can I wear this color? Or what do you think of that?” So, that’s why we started to really help people on what we call on-camera star power, how to look like and sound like a pro on camera. And that’s what I would love to, at least some of your audience may be interested in how do they look and sound their best on camera.

Stacy Jones (15:44):
That’s why you’re here. You happen to go into a whole story of pivoting and failing and finding success, which I think all of our listeners also can get great benefit from. But yes, I would love to have everyone learn, including myself, how to improve your presence on camera, because it’s not easy. And it does not come naturally to everyone.

Maria Ngo (16:03):

Ray Dugray (16:04):
Okay. Well-

Maria Ngo (16:05):
You’ll take over?

Ray Dugray (16:06):
Yeah, I’ll jump in. I hope, I don’t want this to sound like a big training workshop. So, I’m not going to get into… Folks, there are a lot of tips that we can throw at you right now. And really, that’s not my intention. We will give you something that you can take away from this, or you can get all those tips. And you can go and make yourself look a lot better on camera. And I say that with a smile on my face. No, I say that laughing my head off, because I don’t know. If you’re listening to this right now and you have not yet watched the SNL skit on Zoom, it just-

Maria Ngo (16:44):
Yes. Have you seen that, Stacy?

Stacy Jones (16:46):
No. Well, I watched the last three episodes, so that they all did on remote. And they did quite a few on Zoom. So, I’m not sure which one it is. [crosstalk 00:16:54] I guarantee I’ve seen it.

Ray Dugray (16:55):
I’m talking about an actual mock parody of all the things that you could do wrong on Zoom. So, if you just go and Google it, just Google, SNL.

Maria Ngo (17:06):
It’s hilarious.

Ray Dugray (17:06):
And just SNL Zoom, you’ll come across this. It’s a skit of a corporate group that are coming on for their very first Zoom meeting.

Stacy Jones (17:16):
I did see it. The two primary characters that have been there before.

Ray Dugray (17:21):
And the hilarious thing about that is we have a checklist that covers all the things you should do and not do. And they covered the majority of information in that skit. So, I’m laughing my head off when I saw that, because we are currently working with a VIP team, that’s basically taking them from never going on camera, to what we promise. And we say how to look and sound like a pro on camera in 90 days. So, we’re at the halfway point right now. And the transformation has been amazing to see. So, for us it’s very rewarding to see people actually improve to that degree.

Ray Dugray (18:03):
So, what I’m going to do, is I want to take some of the tips that I believe are the biggest marketing mistakes, since that’s the focus of this podcast. I’d like to just show you. And we’re not talking about a 90 day transformation with what you’re going to receive today. We’re talking literally an hour. Because you’ll be able to go and make these changes. And when you do your next Zoom meeting, it’s going to be a whole lot better. I’m not going to say prolapse.

Stacy Jones (18:31):
Or my next podcast.

Maria Ngo (18:33):
There you go.

Ray Dugray (18:35):
Correct. Correct. Okay. So, we use an acronym called BLAST. If you want to remember that, it’s have a blast on your next webcast, podcast, livecast, broadcast or any cast. It doesn’t matter. The principles are the same. So, let’s break it down. I’m just going to give you an overview, and then I’ll throw on a few killer tips that you can take away.

Ray Dugray (18:59):
So, B of BLAST is be, just be. And what that means is be yourself. We often have interviews with some very notable influencers that are hitting the stage on a regular basis. They’re household names. They’re celebrity. But they don’t do a lot of camera work. And we can not believe how different a personality changes, once you put someone on camera, even though they’ve been on stage in front of thousands of people. And the reason is, is because there’s something that happens when you go on camera, especially if you’re looking at yourself. What are the things that happen and the difference between coffee shop talk versus a presentation on camera, is you actually go from your heart to your head immediately. You go into head thinking. The moment you’re in head thinking, everything gets thrown out of whack. Your messaging is out of whack. Your body language is out of whack, everything, facial expressions, everything is funky.

Ray Dugray (20:08):
So, what I encourage people to do is think about the B part as being present, just be present. Don’t think about which buttons to push on your podcast, to get the recording. If you have an assistant, to do all that. But really, really, if you’re a host, focus on your guest. If you’re a guest, focus on your host. And that’s the only thing you should be focused on other than your message. That’s the thing, focus on your message. But really the B is be yourself, be present and believe in yourself. This is about confidence. Believe in yourself. And what you can do to really help you believe in yourself is practice doing more and more interviews, more podcasts, more webcasts, more livecasts, all that. Okay. So, that’s B. I spent a little more time on B because that’s where the huge transformation can occur in people. If they just remember that they can go on to their next whatever and be themselves.

Ray Dugray (21:15):
Okay. The next is L. This is how to look like a pro on camera. Simplest tip I can give you here, just get yourself a better webcam. I’m talking like 5,000 bucks. Just get yourself a better webcam other than the one that’s maybe on your laptop or if you’re using your phone. But just take a look at the image and you say, “Can that be improved?” And that would be huge, just a better piece of technology. But another one, and this is you’ll laugh at this Stacy and anybody who has heard this tip. Once they learn this tip, they can no longer watch interviews without some kind of smile on their face, because it is about positioning your eyes at the upper third mark on your frame.

Stacy Jones (22:04):
Right. Looking down here, it’s not a good idea?

Ray Dugray (22:07):
Yeah. Your hands-

Stacy Jones (22:11):
Belly buttons are not a good plan? No belly buttons.

Ray Dugray (22:11):
[inaudible 00:22:11] at the bottom. In the middle is the really funny one, is where you got this head floating right in the middle, or like seriously up-close. Those are signs of an amateur.

Maria Ngo (22:25):
No offense to my mother-in-law on that one.

Ray Dugray (22:29):
And millions of other people.

Stacy Jones (22:32):
I think most moms, quite frankly. I mean, we have mastered through COVID, having my mom figure out how to sign into the Zoom call, although it’s always a little bit of stroll each time. But then there’s a lot of pictures, like little side faces. And then I’m like, “Mom, touch your forehead, I can’t see your face.” Or then, there’s a [crosstalk 00:22:55]. I’m like, “I really can’t see you.”

Maria Ngo (22:58):
Well, I had to, I actually just coached my mom because when you’re… Of course, she doesn’t have her glasses on, so she’s leaning in, if you happen to have a shirt, that’s… And I’m like, “Mom, you’re flashing everyone. Nobody wants to see that right now.” Right?

Stacy Jones (23:14):

Maria Ngo (23:15):
Be conscious of that. So, that’s all part of the look.

Ray Dugray (23:18):
So, that one is huge. Just again, having a good camera and positioning your eyes correctly on the frame, so that people can see you properly. And all you got to do is just look at the pros, watch a news broadcast, or an interview on TV and see how people are positioning and model that. Okay.

Maria Ngo (23:35):
I think one thing to think about though, for our users, and I know I’ve experienced this, we’re so used to having our laptops right in front of us. And that when you’re actually doing a video conversation, you need it to be set back a little bit. You don’t need to be typing and right up there because you actually can get a better line of sight when it’s pushed back just a little bit from you.

Ray Dugray (23:57):
You just brought up a really great point and here’s another one. Again, these are huge improvements that can be made. If you’re using a laptop, do not look down into your laptop camera. If your camera’s mounted do not look down into a camera, because it makes you look older. Well, actually, if you have overhead light shining down on you, it’ll cast these really nasty shadows. If you want to eliminate those shadows and look years younger and thinner, simply elevate the camera up to the level of your eyes or slightly above. Now, some people can’t do that because it’s attached to their laptop. Simple physics here folks, elevate your laptop. Stack some books up, bring it up, so that the camera is level or slightly higher than your eyes. And again, you’re going to look thinner and younger. That will be a huge, huge improvement. So, those three tips alone just on look will be transformational.

Ray Dugray (24:52):
So, the next letter A, is how to act like the pro on camera. And act like a pro is really just all of your behaviorisms, mannerisms, gestures, facial expressions, how you are presenting yourself with movement. So, head nods, if you’re a host, you want to nod your head to acknowledge. You want to gesture naturally, please, folks. You all will often ask us, “Well, how should I gesture?” Just gesture the way you gesture, the way when you’re natural, when you’re in the coffee shop. How do you gesture when you’re in a coffee shop? How do you gesture when you’re on a stage? It’s different for everybody. It’s just be yourself, again, back to B. So, how to act like a pro, is act like you should appropriately in that circumstance.

Ray Dugray (25:43):
Okay. The next would be S, is how to sound like a pro. And the biggest tip I can give for this, especially if you’re doing podcasts, actually, well, if you’re doing anything really, you know what? We can cover up video easily. Bad video, no problem. We cover it up with B-roll. We put graphics over top of it. You cannot fix bad audio. So, we got to get the audio right, when we’re doing any kind of on-camera, off-camera, audio, podcasts, webcasts, livecast, any cast. When you’re recording it, go with a good microphone. Spend the money and get the proper equipment so that you got great audio. The next thing that goes in alignment with good audio is good internet speed and good bandwidth.

Maria Ngo (26:35):
Hence I’m right here next to him, because apparently my audio was going in and out.

Ray Dugray (26:41):
You were freezing up.

Maria Ngo (26:42):
I was freezing up.

Stacy Jones (26:43):
Yeah. You had a lot of frozen going on. But when we were originally supposed to podcast, I had to cancel on you because I was at home, and there was horrible lousy internet. So, COVID is not exactly helping people’s internet state of mind in most cases.

Ray Dugray (26:59):
If you ever want to freak out a host, just fake freezing up. Just all of a sudden like [inaudible 00:27:04]. All they go, “Oh, no.” Good for a laugh. You may not be invited back.

Stacy Jones (27:10):
It breaks the tension. I’m not sure if it’s really breaking the tension of the host, but it breaks your tension.

Maria Ngo (27:17):
Yeah, that’s true.

Ray Dugray (27:20):
Okay. And the last is the T. And this is tech. This is tech. How to use technology to look and sound like a pro on camera or on a podcast. Again, on any kind of cast that you’re doing, how to use the pro the proper technology. So, this is all your… We already talked about having a good camera, having a good microphone, but this is could be your accessories. This is your computer that you use. This is the chair that you sit on. Whether you want tripods or different type of supporting arms for your cameras. This is all lighting units. And okay, here’s a question. I’ll give you this, because this is a question that comes up often is, which light should I use for at a basic level, which lights should I use? Because that can get very overwhelming for people. There’s a lot of choices. The short answer is just find a daylight bulb lamp in your house and light your face from the front. Just make sure you close the curtains in.

Ray Dugray (28:27):
Don’t have windows in your background, that creates back-lighting issues where your face is going to get really dark. So, that throws the lighting off. So, make sure you close curtains. The best thing that I suggest is put a big curtain right across like I have right here. And for those of you that are listening, you’re not seeing it, but for those you that are watching this, you’ll see just a black curtain covering up the backdrop. And that does a whole lot to reduce a lot of… There you go.

Maria Ngo (28:57):
I want to show you all. [crosstalk 00:28:58]

Ray Dugray (29:00):
That’s exactly where we’re going, Stacy.

Maria Ngo (29:02):
Yeah. [inaudible 00:29:02] light.

Ray Dugray (29:04):
That’s exactly what I’m going to suggest is just simply low cost. I mean, the lowest cost is finding that daylight bulb in your house. But if you want to get a little more fancier, just get a fluorescent ring light. And they go in different sizes. I think there’s a six inch, an eight inch, 10 inch, 12 inch. There’s all, the 18 inch. It really all depends on how much lighting strength you need. So, how far are you going to be away from the camera? If it’s just lighting your face, easily a 12 inch ring light would do the job adequately. And then again, depending if you’re doing a standing shoot. But it works really well. Because the most important thing is you really want to make sure that your face is well lit when you’re going on camera.

Stacy Jones (29:52):
Well, it’s taking away your shadows. It takes away and helps hide lines. It actually makes your skin tones even out. There’s so much to be said for good lighting. It can absolutely change the entire experience you have. I had a podcast that I recorded earlier and something was happening, lights or windows off to one side and another. And the whole room would go dark, and then it would go light again. And then it would go dark. And there it would go light again. She couldn’t control it, and it was fine. But for anyone watching the video podcast of this, our listeners, aren’t going to care when they listened to this on all the different podcast feeds out there. But if anyone tunes into our video channel, they’re going to see that. So, there are things that you can control and that you can try to pre-think out, like lighting that help.

Maria Ngo (30:42):
Sure. And then there’s other challenges too. For instance, so I just popped in on Ray set here and you could tell we have different tones. And I’m Asian and-

Ray Dugray (30:52):
I’m not.

Maria Ngo (30:54):
Yeah, he’s not. And so, also too, that also takes some time. So, if you are doing an interview with someone try… And we try to test things, but again, you’re just doing the best that you can. And even like with Ray’s glasses, because if he doesn’t have them on, he can’t see anything. So, and even though they’re anti-glare, sometimes there are certain tricks that you can do to tilt it. But in the end, we’re just saying, try to up level your brand so that you do look professional or more professional, or at least congruent with your brand. We’re not saying you need to become a big TV studio or anything like that. We’re just saying, put some effort into it and it’s going to be a night and day difference.

Stacy Jones (31:35):
And just a little bit of polished, looking at what you’re wearing, making sure your hair is done, making sure the background is good. It all adds to the whole effect of your brand.

Maria Ngo (31:45):
Yeah. And let me just add this too. When you feel more confident, just getting your hair, doing your hair, makeup and getting into the clothes that you would feel like more professional or you’re presentable, that’s going to come through. And that’s going to help with their confidence. And you’re not going to be worried about, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t curl my hair,” or whatever it’s on your mind. So, it’s really about you just feeling comfortable and confident that whatever you’re going to say is going to come through.

Stacy Jones (32:14):
Those are all really, really great insights. I love BLAST. I think that’s a really great way to position and remember. And what I also think is, when you’re talking about having people learn how to do these things, they do need to practice it. So, now is a great time with so many people working remote, people could go ahead and set their home office up, where they’re just having normal calls on a day to day basis with their fellow employees or coworkers or whomever, and actually start experiencing this and practicing it, so that they get the hours of experience before they do have their next interview or live performance somewhere, or opportunity to be on a TV show or something along those lines.

Maria Ngo (32:58):
Definitely. And actually part of our program, we actually have people interview each other on as if they did have a podcast or a show. And it gives them the practice and they get to push the buttons. And they get to see, how do I put this graphic up or how do I use this microphone? And I think that’s what it comes down to Stacy, with anything really, is the more you do the more comfortable. How many podcasts have you done? Are you pretty comfortable with doing? I’m sure you are.

Stacy Jones (33:25):
Couple of hundred. Well, over couple hundred or so. And so, I don’t have… I think the first one I was interviewing guests, I probably prepared for a very long time, overly prepared, all questions I was going to ask. So, that doesn’t happen anymore. I like diving in and understanding who I’m interviewing. I’m still at that point where I want to have some knowledge about who’s going to be in front of me. But it’s now second nature. Again, enough that if I have just an understanding of what they’re there to talk about, I can go with the flow. And that’s taught me how to be a little bit more, less rigid.

Maria Ngo (34:03):
And that’s just it. And I think if you’re relaxed, especially as the host, and I always say this when I’m interviewing, especially like on the red carpet, a lot of celebrities don’t know what you’re going to ask, and they’re a little tense, and they’re not sure if you’re going to set them up to do something that they’re not comfortable with. But I always say as a host in your first job, which you do very well is right before this interview, is you have a conversation, and you’re just getting them relaxed. You’re just getting them to lighten up and smile and laugh. And then you can go into your interview, because then you have a connection. And you do that very well. And that’s what I say really, that’s what happens. What you should do as a host is make your guests feel as comfortable as possible, so that they will give you good content, and they’re not so nervous in their head.

Stacy Jones (34:46):
And besides the podcast, things can be edited. It’s perfect.

Ray Dugray (34:53):

Stacy Jones (34:53):
It’s very different. I mean, because I do like TV interviews. And that’s something that cannot be edited. And that can be scary. And getting comfortable in front of a camera, if you can get yourself through workshops or practice, then get some of that experience before you get in places where you really have millions of people watching you and no one’s going to hit the edit button. It would be good to have. So, I think this is a great time to launch into, you have a workshop, you have strategies. You teach people. How can people learn more about how they can get skills without having to do it alone?

Ray Dugray (35:27):
Sure. Now, we do have a number of different offers, but the easiest way for people to come in, because we don’t know really what level you’re at, is to come into our mentorship program. And it’s like an online, it’s a workshop, but it’s basically having unlimited, ongoing access to us as your media coaches through a weekly live Q&A. Now, that doesn’t mean we’re going to be coming on camera with you personally, because we do have levels at that, at the higher levels. But I think what for not knowing where you are and if you’re just somebody that wants to up your game, whether you’ve never been on camera before, or whether you are a seasoned pro, we know absolutely without question, we can up your game. And that simply by coming into our free mentorship program.

Ray Dugray (36:19):
And the free mentorship program is a place where you can, once you’re into our membership site is we will give you two great tools. One is that complete, really long checklist of the BLAST acronym, which has tons of tips. And again, I didn’t want to sound like a techie geeky trainer guy on this. And I probably did it anyway with the tips that I shared, but there’s a whole lot more. And we can give you a checklist that you can just go through yourself before you go on to camera. And again, that’s going to be hugely valuable because it will be transformational for you.

Ray Dugray (37:00):
And then the other thing that we will give you access to is our private Facebook group, which gives you access to us through anything that you want to know about media. So, every Friday, every week we go on to our private Facebook group and we answer any media related questions. And you could do that through text or audio or video. You can just come on live if you want and chat with us and ask your questions. And we will address your questions there. So, that’s free. And it’s real easy to get started. There’s no tricks, no hooks. It’s just basically you come in and get huge value.

Ray Dugray (37:40):
And of course, once we feel, once we get an idea of what level you’re at, because again, everybody’s at different levels, we can suggest where you can go from there. You could go into group coaching programs. You can go into one-on -one coaching programs, different mentorship levels. But again, the starting point for everybody is free. And that you can simply get access by going to vipshowcase.com/m1. So, if you just think of mentorship one, M1.

Ray Dugray (38:16):
If that is too much and you can’t remember that, here’s another easier way. Just go to vipshowcase.com. Right at the top of the page on the homepage, you’ll see a big red button that says join free. That’s it. That’ll get you in. And at that point, you’ll be able to access us, ask us anything you want to know about media, coaching, training, on-camera, star power, podcasting, webcasting, broadcasting, livecasting or any casting. We are your media coaches, stay as long as you like.

Stacy Jones (38:50):
And at worst, if you can’t remember that, you’re driving, you’re walking, you’re doing laundry and you haven’t written anything down, all of this will be in our podcast show notes for you to be able to find.

Maria Ngo (39:01):

Ray Dugray (39:02):
Right on.

Maria Ngo (39:03):
And that’s why you’re a pro.

Stacy Jones (39:04):
That makes it super easy, right?

Maria Ngo (39:05):
Super easy.

Stacy Jones (39:06):

Maria Ngo (39:08):
We like making it easy for everyone.

Stacy Jones (39:11):
That’s the goal. Easy for the guests, easy for our listeners to find things, tremendous value, whatever we can do to help make sure we connect the dots. What are any last words of parting advice to our listeners on making sure that they look like a celebrity on camera?

Ray Dugray (39:30):
Okay. There’s two parts to that. The first part is, if you’ve never gone on camera before, you need to go on camera, that is it. And what we do when we start working with our clients in our program at the premium level, the first thing I ask is, “Have you ever gone live before?” And almost a hundred percent of the time it’s no, for most people do not. Even the seasoned business people are still terrified to push the live button, whether it’s on YouTube live or Facebook live, or LinkedIn live or whatever. You’re just so in your head worried about what you’re going to look like. It is so cathartic for people to just do it the first time. And we really have to push people. We have to push them out of the nest.

Ray Dugray (40:26):
And the feedback we get, is once somebody does it, they just feel so, so incredibly relieved because it’s such turmoil. Such the fear will just consume you. And all we do is we say to them, just press live and say anything you want. But the easiest thing to say is just say hi to the rest of the group, introduce yourself, just say hi, and talk about your business a little bit. Just for a couple of minutes, just tell them what you do. And we do that in a private setting with inside the group. But anybody can do it on their profile on Facebook, just say hi to your friends. Like, “Hey, I’m testing this new thing, just saying, hi.” That’s the first thing that you need to do because that will be huge. Because once you’ve done it one time you can do it the second time.

Ray Dugray (41:11):
Then the next thing is go through that checklist and continue to make incremental improvements in one area every single time. Just keep going live, go live, go live, go live, go live, do more podcasts, more podcasts. Once you have a podcast under your belt, we talked about that, stack it. Get another one, get another one, listen to it, examine it. What did I do that could have been done better, and do it better next time? Again, to go back to the check-sheet, learn the tip, apply it. And you will, I’m telling you in less than 30 days, you’re going to look like the pro on camera. You will look…

Ray Dugray (41:56):
I’m going to quote one of our clients recently said, somebody was really nervous about putting their face out into the public because they’d been doing it behind the private group. And they’re really nervous about actually doing it in front of the real world. And the person said, “All of the people that are in this program right now are better than 90% of the live videos that are going out there right now.” And I went, “Well, that’s huge.” But it’s true, once you got a little bit of training behind you, you are going to be better than the majority. So, do it, just do it and keep getting better. That’s my two cents. Do you have anything to add Maria?

Maria Ngo (42:46):
I agree. I did all that. And I think really what I want to say to everyone is, you have a message and you may have expertise. You may have something to share that can inspire someone. And I want you to get out of yourself to really tap into why you’re here. Why would you want to put out that message? Because there’s someone who you can impact, someone you can inspire or change or help along the way. And if you think about that, it’s just, it’s better for everyone. It’s better for the world. So, I really encourage you to not focus on what we’ve gone through, but to really focus down on why you need to do this, why you need to get your message out.

Stacy Jones (43:29):
And I think so many people are so scared about the trolls that are out there or what people might think of them. But the reality is, your point of BLAST is to be. So, you’re authentic and you have heart, and you’re sharing a message, and you’re sharing who you are. And you’re not cock-a-doodle-doo crazy person. You’re a legit person sharing something that you want to have other people-

Maria Ngo (43:56):
Not oversharing, don’t overshare.

Stacy Jones (43:58):
Yeah. No cock-a-doodle-doo crazies. But people are not there to slam. People are pretty supportive in general. And they’re not so judgy. Everyone is not like looking at every video that they’ve seen, they’re like, “Oh my God, look at them. Oh my God, look at that. Oh, what did she say? What did he say?” So, your world, your audience is a lot more forgiving versus who you are. Most people are far less forgiving of themselves.

Maria Ngo (44:24):
True. Yeah. Don’t be so critical of yourself. Just go out and just share your message, share who you are.

Stacy Jones (44:32):
Well, thank you both so much for coming on today, and really think that your insights and what you shared with our listeners are very beneficial for everyone to learn from.

Maria Ngo (44:41):
Thank you so much, Stacy. And again, we actually use your websites and your content as teaching points in our program, on how to do it right. So, thank you for that. Yeah.

Stacy Jones (44:52):
Oh, thank you. That’s cool to hear. That’s really neat to hear. Thank you for that.

Ray Dugray (44:56):
Stacy, keep being a rockstar. We love what you’re doing and we’ll keep following you, and learning from you as well.

Stacy Jones (45:02):
I appreciate that. And to all of our listeners, thank you for tuning in to, Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them today. I look forward to chatting with you on our next podcast.

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Marketing Mistakes and How To Avoid Them Reviews 

Must-Listen For Every Brand Marketer (And Owner)

This should be required listening for everyone who owns a business, works in marketing, or is interested in the business of entertainment. Great stuff!

The Best Marketing Podcast Ever!

Stacy is a brilliant branding strategist and she really knows how to bring out the best in her guests! This show is fun AND educational! If you’re looking to understand the world of marketing, branding, digital marketing, influencer marketing and more, look no further. This show has awesome insight into some of the greatest marketing minds out there today, and they provide practical advice you can use in your business today. #FanForLife

Awesome podcast for all marketers!

Keep them coming

Practical and pointed advice.

Stacy does a really great job making this a highly actionable podcast for business owners. With a focus on marketing, she covers a wide range of related topics as well and is always very specific with her questions so that the listener gets pointed advice instead of vague concepts to take away. It’s also really helpful to the hear the why behind any marketing tactic so that we can decide if something sounds like a good fit for where we are at in this moment.

Love this marketing podcast!

Lori has a way of finding new insights to share every week. I loved being a guest, but I enjoy hearing her many fascinating conversations with other marketers even more. Great show!

I love Stacey Jones!

I absolutely loved being on this podcast! Stacey is amazing – real, down to earth, and genuinely curious and interested in learning – this makes for a very engaging conversation and valuable podcast!

Thank you for your podcast! I LOVE IT

I just listened to the episode named Insights To Product Placement Brand Marketers Need To Know, and I really enjoyed every minute of it! There are so many ways to approach product placement in a manner that provides wins for many – and it is not always driven by money. I am looking forward to listening to more!

Stuff we need to know!!

Anyone who is in business should be listening to this podcast! Incredible insights and advice.

Such a wealth of knowledge! 🧠

This is one of the most insightful podcasts that I have ever come across! Stacy does such a great job of sharing her wisdom and I love how she leads meaningful conversations with guests who bring so much experience to the table. Highly recommend checking this show out – you won’t be disappointed!

Awesome Podcast!!!

Stacy, host of the Marketing Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them) Podcast, highlights all marketing and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!
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