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Ant Pruitt: Bring Your Passion Into Focus

by | Aug 6, 2021 | 0 comments

My good friend and colleague Ant Pruitt is a host, producer, and technical director with the popular TWiT.tv. He’s a former enterprise IT support pro who decided to pursue his interests in the arts and content creation. He is an accomplished photographer and videographer, as you’ll find out in his two podcasts: Hands-On Photography and Hands-On Tech. And he often appears on Alex Lindsay’s podcast. Ant knows what it takes to create engaging content, and he shares his insights into how your passion is the key to a memorable presentation.

Episode Transcript

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Alfred Poor:

Welcome to the Speaker Springboard Podcast, where corporate leaders, business executives, and other good public speakers come to become great speakers. Every week, you’ll hear about practical tips and valuable resources that will help you get your message across whether it’s onstage or online. And this week, I’m excited to be talking with my good friend and colleague, Ant Pruitt. He’s a host, producer and technical rector with Leo Laporte’s popular TWiT.tv, which is known for its in-depth coverage of all sorts of technologies. And I can attest to the fact that Ant knows his stuff when it comes to technology. He’s a former Enterprise IT support pro who decided that he wanted to find a way to spend more time with arts and content creation. He’s an accomplished photographer and videographer, as you will see in his two podcasts, Hands-On Photography and Hands-On Tech. And they’re available wherever you get your favorite podcasts. So Ant, let’s start the 10 minute timer and get to the questions.

Ant Pruitt:

All right.

Alfred Poor:

The first question is who is your ideal client?

Ant Pruitt:

My ideal client is anyone that’s wanting to be able to tell a story or tell a story with their brand or tell a story about their personality through images or video.

Alfred Poor:

Awesome. I know the target audience for this podcast will love to hear more about that. What is the kind of problem that you can help these people solve?

Ant Pruitt:

Well, a lot of times when you’re dealing with a client that is say in the C suite, if you will, they tend to forget that the photographer or videographer is there to make them look and sound better and is also there to help tell their story based on their brand. And so sometimes there’s a little bit of friction here and there when it comes to some critiques and how-tos and little tips to help them present things a little bit better. And we have to work through that from time to time. So yeah, it could be challenging depending on the person, but in the end it usually does work out for both parties.

Alfred Poor:

So what are some of the symptoms of when people are having this problem? And I imagine it becomes even more of a problem when they’re trying to do this all for themselves.

Ant Pruitt:

Well, one of the biggest symptoms is just, I hate saying it like this, but it could be ego because ego can be good and bad. You didn’t get in that position without having some sort of ego and self-confidence. But at the same time, having a little bit too much can be a detriment because at times you have to humble yourself to say, “You know what? This person right here is here to help me. And they actually know a little bit more about this particular setup than I do. So I should humble myself just a touch to be able to let them do their job and to help me look and sound even better and get my story out that we had the vision for.” So yeah, a lot of times it’s just ego gets in the way.

Alfred Poor:

So when they try to solve that problem of getting in the way and not getting the result they want, what are some of the mistakes they make? What could they do differently? What could they do better?

Ant Pruitt:

A lot of times the mistakes comes down to budget. I’ve seen it on both ends of the spectrum actually. You get someone that doesn’t necessarily want to spend enough money on some of the equipment and some of the tools that you’re going to need to help tell the story, and it shows in the final product. And then you have some people on the other end of the spectrum that assume that just because you don’t use a RED Weapon 8K camera, that this thing is going to come out in pretty, pretty poor quality when that’s totally not the case. Now, granted, as I’ve mentioned in some of my content in the past that our smartphones are really, really good, and you can create great stories and images with the smartphone. But there are times when there’s something like a Blackmagic Pocket 6K is going to be even better for you.

Alfred Poor:

Understood. So don’t underspend, don’t overspend. It’s clear that some smartphones, the photography has gotten so good, especially for video. It blows my mind. But what about the webcam? I mean, is there still a place for that? If you’re doing Zoom, can a webcam be good enough or is it still better to up your game a little bit?

Ant Pruitt:

A webcam, depending on the model, is absolutely great. I actually have a Logitech C920 that is, I don’t even know how old that camera is. I have no idea, Alfred. But this thing is, as long as I have adequate lighting around me, no one ever knows that I’m using a webcam. I’ve actually had people say, “What camera are you using?” And I say a webcam. And then I go and tell them, it’s all about understanding the properties of light and how to make it work with your camera. And that tends to help me hook that client.

Alfred Poor:

I’m using the same one, the same webcam that you’re using right now.

Ant Pruitt:

See? Because it works.

Alfred Poor:

And I totally agree with you. If you pay attention to the lighting, if you pay attention to the sound, you can get way more than adequate results. That’s really cool. So if you had a tip that you wanted to share with the audience, one thing that could make them a better speaker, especially with a virtual presentation, what would that one tip be?

Ant Pruitt:

Well, first you have to really have some passion about your story. Everybody wants to understand who you are and understand your story. But if you don’t really have a passion about it, if you’re just selling widgets and you say, “Hey, my goal is to sell more widgets.” People are going to go to sleep on that. Just have a bit of passion about it and get more into the emotional side of it. Because that is what’s going to grab more viewers and more people to your business or to your brand and want to engage with you further. So it’s all about passion and all about knowing what your story is through the heart.

Alfred Poor:

Boy, that is such good advice. I mean, I think about retail situations where I go in and you go into the same chain of restaurant, you go into one and nobody looks, makes eye contact. And nobody comes out of their way to greet you or anything. You go into another branch in the same chain, somebody walks up with a big smile and says, “Hi, how are you? You look great. How you doing? What can I do for you?”

Ant Pruitt:

It makes a difference.

Alfred Poor:

It’s a totally different experience.

Ant Pruitt:

Big difference. And when you walk into that situation and they come up and say, “You know what? Hi, you look great. But I’m going to help enhance this and make you look even better with what I have over here on this rack here.” So and you’re in. You’ve already dialed into them now because they have your better interests at heart at the time. It’s all about a passion for it.

Alfred Poor:

Passion will get you through a lot. Good foundation to build on. That’s really excellent advice. So do you have a valuable resource that you’d like to share with the audience? Something that they could turn to that’s something that’s free that might help them along their path?

Ant Pruitt:

Hmm. Do I have a valuable resource? Hmm. Well, actually I have two.

Alfred Poor:

I won’t limit you to one.

Ant Pruitt:

I have two. First and foremost, I suggest and recommend you check out my shows, Hands-On Photography on TWiT.tv. I’m going to help people get even better with their photography skills, whether it’s with the camera or whether it’s with the equipment or whether it’s with post-processing. And it’s all free. It’s just available on whatever podcast application that you use. And then also my good friend, Mr. Alex Lindsay, I participate on his panel from time to time and it is called Office Hours With 090 Media. And we sit down and we talk about a lot of scenarios with using Zoom and online virtual demos and presentations and walk you through understanding the setup of having adequate audio, having adequate lighting and using that webcam that you have and getting the most out of it. And it’s all free. That’s available on YouTube as well.

Alfred Poor:

And I will be sure to include the URLs for both of those in the description of the podcast here. But just to make it easy. What’s the URL for your Hands-On Photography?

Ant Pruitt:

Hands-On Photography can be found at twit.tv/hop that’s twit.tv/ H-O-P for Hands-On Photography.

Alfred Poor:

Excellent. And so to close out, what’s the one question I didn’t ask that I should have?

Ant Pruitt:

Let’s see. The one question is the why. Why are you doing what you’re doing? And I think that gets missed a lot in all aspects of content creation today, as well as entrepreneurship. If you’re the CEO of your brand new company, again, it’s going to be, why are you doing this? Are you doing this just to make money? Or is there a passion behind all of this? I’m a photographer and a digital content creator at heart. And I don’t necessarily do it for money. I do it because I absolutely love it. I can’t go a day without picking up a camera. It just drives me nuts if I don’t. So the question of the day is why do you do what you do? And I hope the answer is because this is my passion.

Alfred Poor:

Awesome, awesome. Great advice. Well, I can’t thank you enough, Ant Pruitt from TWiT.tv, host of Hands-On Photography and Hands-On Technology and photographer, videographer extraordinaire. I can say that because as you know, I follow your podcast and check them out and learn a ton from all of them. So I really appreciate your being so generous with your time with me today.

Ant Pruitt:

Mr. Poor, thank you so much for having me. It’s been a lot of fun.

Alfred Poor:

Awesome.

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