Episode 051 – Dillon Hill
Welcome to another episode of The HERO Show. I am your host Richard Matthews, (@AKATheAlchemist) and you are listening to episode #51 with Dillon Hill – Asking the World for Help to Save a Friend.
In 2017, Dillon’s friend–Chris–was given a year to live.
Dillon dropped out of college and asked the world to help him spend that year experiencing their bucket list. After their community helped cross off 50+ bucket list items…they broke the world record for the most bone marrow donor sign-ups in one day.
One of the people who signed up ended up being a donor for Chris: his cancer is gone.
Dillon was attending UC Davis as an undergrad in Managerial Economics and Cognitive Science before dropping out of college to help Chris complete his bucket list. Before that, most of Dillon’s time went to Gamers Gift, a 501(c)3 non-profit that uses video games as a way to help children in the hospital and people facing disabilities.
One List One Life is important to Dillon because he loves the internet and he thinks we can use it to inspire people – to help each other as much as possible.
Here’s just a taste of what we talked about today:
- Dropping out of college after his friend received a terminal prognosis to experience an incredible, although limited, amount of time they have together.
- Using their momentum in social media to break the world record for most bone-marrow sign-ups in one day.
- Ultimately beating cancer. Now, Chris is under remission.
- Creating opportunities for others and realizing that there are more stories to tell –that Dillon and Chris are not the only people who deserve these moments.
- The transition from helping one friend to a cause-focused business to make a positive impact on people’s lives.
- Being grateful to the community and paying it forward.
- Using storytelling as a service to help people defeat cancer.
- Harnessing the unique dynamic between content creator and viewers.
- Just because there is a screen between people does not mean they cannot experience something deep.
- Making content to be heard.
- Throwing a dart on a map.
- Contrast is what makes life interesting.
- The power of an idea acted upon.
- Keep going despite setbacks.
- Always striving for the right balance in all endeavors.
- Looking back at accomplishments for motivation.
The HERO Challenge
Today on the show, Dillon Hill challenged Chris and Drew to be a guest on The HERO Show. Dillon thinks that Chris and Drew are a fantastic interview because they produce films and content in an untraditional way.
How To Stay Connected With Dillon Hill
Want to stay connected with Dillon? Please check out his social profiles below.
- Website: OneListOneLife.com
Call To Adventure
Don’t forget you can stay connected to me and the show by subscribing now. Just text ALCHEMY to 444999. Or you put your email address in the box at the bottom of this page. You’ll get all sorts of cool gifts, be updated about our contests and polls, and get notified when we publish new episodes. With that… let’s get to listen to the episode…
The Webinar Alchemy Workshop: https://richardmatthews.me/fs/waw-slf/
Hello, and welcome back
to The HERO Show. My name
Is Richard Matthews and I am
On the line with Dillon Hill. Dillon,
Are you there?
I am. Hi.
Glad to have you here.
Glad we figured out
The microphone stuff
Before we got the recording going.
Let me take a couple of seconds
And just introduce you. Should be fairly quick.
Dillon, you are a documentarian
Who works with cancer patients
To help them build their bucket lists,
And tell their stories
And really helped them out
With their cancer. I’m curious,
What is it that your business
Is like now? What is it
That you do? We’ll talk a little bit
About how you got there?
A couple months ago,
My little brother came up
With a hashtag, that I think
What I’m trying to create,
(Hashtag) live for another.
That kind of hits two fronts.
It’s just about trying
To be a good person,
And trying your best,
And doing what you can
To be a good person,
And help each other out.
Into a documentary series
Where I help cancer patients
And I help strangers experience,
Hopefully, profound incredible
Moments. Whether that’s meeting
A cheetah or breaking the world record.
The whole spectrum of fun stuff.
That’s really cool. How did this happen
For you? How did you get
Into the space of wanting
To help cancer patients
Check off their bucket lists?
It was a very personal experience.
In 2017, a friend of mine,
We have been friends since elementary
School. Since we were 10.
He was re-diagnosed with cancer;
Originally diagnosed in fifth grade.
This time, it was a terminal prognosis.
The doctors gave him about a year
To live and I was one
Of the first people he called.
He told me that he had
That timeline. Naturally,
Hearing that is not an easy thing
To hear. I slept on it. Thought
About it for a little bit.
If this is our last year. If in 365 days
From today, you won’t be here
With me. Let’s make sure
They’re good days. We came up
With a bucket list. Essentially,
I dropped out of college
And we started working
On that bucket list. We threw together
A really haphazard YouTube video.
Basically, explained our friendship,
Our story, and our idea of, “We’ve got
A limited amount of time.
We want to experience something
Incredible.” We posted that,
And within 24 hours, it had half
A million views. Within a month,
We were getting booked on talk shows.
We met a bunch of famous people.
We did—the example I always give
Is backflips and helicopter, as a
Ridiculous experience. Incredible moments
That people helped make possible
For us. That became our life.
We tried to keep up the momentum
As best we could. Try and tell like,
If we are meeting Danny DeVito
That impacted us in this way.
And just trying to tell the story
Of how these opportunities
Were deeply impacting us
More than just: here’s a photo.
Thanks for helping. But no,
These have been childhood dreams
Of ours for the length
That we’ve been friends. Eventually,
The timer was always kind of ticking.
Eventually, we came up
With what we wanted
To break a world record for.
Number four on our bucket list
Was to break a world record.
We had been thinking about it
And, eventually, we decided
We wanted to try and break the record
For most bone marrow donor
Sign-ups in one day, because
My friend he had leukemia.
Bone marrow donations were the way
To beat cancer. It was a numbers game.
We thought we would just increase
The statistics, until it worked out
For us. We came up with something
Called Lemons for Leukemia
Was a social media campaign. We did.
We ran that. We, basically, asked
Our audience, “Guys, help us break
This record.” So, we did. It actually
Ended up in total, over 11,000 people
Signed up because they heard our story.
It turns out that one of those people
That watched our videos,
They were a match. They actually
Were able to donate their bone marrow
To my friend. And, essentially,
It sounds crazy, save his life.
It was just a such an amazing experience
That I thought, “There’s still more stories
To tell. We’re not the only people
Who deserve these moments.
What if we can create that peak
And those amazing opportunities
For other people?” So, I’ve made it
My full time gig to try and continue
Telling those stories
And making experiences,
Like what we had, possible
For other people.
That’s an incredible story. It’s, maybe,
Even better that it worked out
To save your friend’s life.
He said he’s currently in remission?
He is. He’s doing very well.
That’s awesome. I mentioned before
We got on the call, my mom’s also
In remission from leukemia. That’s a—
I still remember the day
I got that phone call. It hits really hard
When they’re like, “I’ve got leukemia.
And there’s a pretty good chance
I may not make it through this.”
That’s not a fun call. But here we are,
15 years later. My mom’s happy
And healthy. And in remission as well.
Been there. Didn’t get to go
Meet Danny DeVito, because of it.
That was definitely
An uncommon experience.
That’s really cool. Tell me, how
Did you make this transition
From helping your friend and creating
All these cool experiences
Into: I think I could turn this into
A cause-focused business
That’s actually working to help
And make an impact on other
People’s lives. How did you make
As far as with our audience,
The transition is I’m actually kind of
Proud of it. It was a very incredible
Experience. When we found out
That he had a match, we didn’t
Tell anyone. Only my parents knew,
And his parents. We kept that
Really tight-knit secret. Essentially,
Behind the scenes, we worked
On a full-fledged documentary
Explaining exactly what happened.
We even booked a screening
At a local theater. We wanted
To show people. We wanted
To announce it on stage and say,
“He found a match.” We came up
With the idea of: what if we use
That as an opportunity to say
That it’s not over. So, the name
Of our documentary was,
“How We Lived It.” At the end of that,
Almost kind of in Marvel,
And credit scene style, we had
Lexi who’s a girl with stage four Sarcoma.
We had her come on to the screen
And say, “Now, I’m living it.”
We showed clips that we had already
Recorded of some of the bucket list
Items that we helped her with.
It was an incredible experience
Of a one-two punch to the audience
There in the theater. We said,
“It’s his life is safe.” And then,
We hit them with
The left hook. Also, it’s not over
Yet. We’re helping other people.
But as far as that decision,
It just seemed we were always
Very grateful. We never really felt
Like we deserve this. It was always weird
To experience what we experienced.
I think the natural conclusion,
The natural response to that was,
“Let’s give it to someone else.”
As all these gifts and opportunities
Were coming to us. It just
Seemed natural to say,
“We can share this.” You, as a community,
Have given us hundreds of once
In a lifetime moments. Of course,
We can spare 10. Let’s figure out
How we could do that. We didn’t really
Think about it much. It just made sense.
So, we went for it.
My next question for you
Is just in line with—one
Of the things we talked about
On the show all the time,
Is that the world: it’s made go
Round by entrepreneurs.
By people who are willing
To figure out ways to improve
Their lives, and improve the lives
Of those people around them
By coming up with products
And services that help serve
Other people. That’s how
We define a hero, in a sense.
It’s really interesting to me
That you’re using storytelling
As a service to help people
To defeat cancer, which I think
Is really cool. I’m curious,
In your business, as
The entrepreneur hat of:
Here’s what I’m doing
And here’s how it’s going to
Both pay for me to put food
On the table and help people
Defeat cancer. What do you
Think your superpower is?
What is it that you really are
Offering this world?
That’s a very good question.
I think that it’s definitely
Not a lucrative business. It’s—
It’s not gonna make you
A yacht-buying celebrity.
Definitely not. There’s much more
Fulfillment in my case than that.
That’s something that’s been
Really hard too. It’s like,
“This is incredibly emotionally
Stimulating, but sometimes
Reality hits,” and that has been
A struggle. As far as I think
The business model, itself,
Gives us a lot of opportunity.
That’s just monthly subscription.
People are really passionate
About what we say. They’re willing
To support us monthly.
That really helps. That means
That we can work on things
Behind the scenes. Maybe,
Save up for a couple months
And do something big.
That kind of works with how
I’m pushing through this
And why I focus on this. The superpower,
I think, is I’m just not afraid
Of my ridiculously stupid ideas.
I think a lot of people,
They have an idea. Immediately,
They say, “That’s not going
To work for X-Y-Z.” I had
The idea of dropping out
Of college for my friend,
And I’ve experienced
What the pay-off can be. Now,
I know that when I have
Those big ideas; many cases
They are ridiculous.
In some cases they are stupid,
But they can lead to incredible
Things. I just try and give it
A shot, anyway. In some cases,
It’s not possible to give it
A shot because my ideas
Are a little too big. But I like
To try it and just go for it.
You learn a lot that way.
I think that part of what we say
In the storytelling is that
Experience is that, “We’re going
To try this. It might not work,
But we’re going to try it.
Here’s what we learned.”
When it does work, “Here’s how
That impacted us.” Giving things
A try and and just doing your best
To keep your head up
When it doesn’t go well,
And reflecting on when it does
Go well. Reflecting on
How important it was to have
Experienced that; done that.
I think it’s a really powerful
Lesson a lot of entrepreneurs
Have to learn. You have to take
The step or you have
To do the thing, and not
Talk yourself out of it because
What is that—saying,
You miss 100% of the shots,
You don’t take. If you take some
Of the shots, you’ll hit them.
In your case, doing backflips
And helicopters. And breaking
World records. If you never took
The shots, you never would have
Taken them. And it ended up,
Actually, leading to saving
Your friend’s life, which is incredible.
I know I’ve experienced a lot
Of the same things in my business
Where it’s like, I dropped out
Of college to start a business.
I asked my wife to marry me
Out of—we hadn’t even been dating.
Who knows 10 years later now,
Or going to be 11 years,
Thank you. You take the shots,
And sometimes they work.
Sometimes, they don’t,
But you have to just go for it.
And make something happen.
There’s a lot of that.
One of the things my dad
Used to tell me was: if you wait
Until you’re ready;
You’ll never do anything.
There’s some prep. Things are hard.
So, you try to plan it all. Then,
You realize, “Wait, but I could
Do this.” Then, you’re always—
Sometimes, you just have
To go out and do it. And the process
Of doing things, actually, makes
You ready for the things
That you’re doing or what’s actually
Going to come down the pipe.
It’s really cool. When it comes
To growing this type of a business,
Where you are. If I’m understanding
The business model correctly,
You are, and for our listeners
So they understand what it is
You’re doing, you have a series
Of videos that you’re doing
That’s probably being supported
By viewership. Maybe, through
Patreon or something like that
On YouTube. And the content
Is working with cancer patients
To help them achieve bucketlist
Items. Is that the 20,000 foot view
Of the business model?
Pretty much. That’s pretty
Cool. I actually think that
It might just be a year
At the beginning. 10 years from now,
When you’ve been doing this
And you’ve become famous for it.
You might be a yacht-buying
Celebrity. But in terms of, right now,
When it comes to growing
This business and actually doing
The work on a daily basis.
The other side of your superpower,
The ability to just take the shots
When they come, would be
The fatal flaw. Something
That you think is holding you back.
Superman has his Kryptonite.
What’d you say something
That’s holding you back
In growing this business.
In growing the impact that it has,
And how have you been
Dealing with that?
That’s something. Just the concept
Of trying to understand that
Has been a big struggle.
There’s been a lot of bumps
In the road. I’ve been trying
To understand. Most of it is chance,
Bad luck, or whatever it might be.
But what aspect is my doing?
Or how could I have anticipated it?
Or responded better? I’ve been thinking
A lot about that. I think, really,
Because it is a small business
Because there’s not a team of people.
There’s not 35 people working on this.
It’s a very closely aligned
Between my personal thoughts,
Motivations, opinions, and the story
We’re telling. Or how we’re communicating it.
All those different things.
I think a big thing for me,
Is just having people—is being
Almost insecure of my ideas,
In a way. Which is almost
The same answer as my power.
Because I have really big ideas
And I’m like, “I’m ready to do this.”
But then, of course, because
They are big ideas, you start to think,
“Is this something that can work out?”
You really don’t—you kind of miss it
In a way. One thing that happens
To us a lot is there’s a lot of moments
That happen behind the scenes
That I think are really pivotal
To the story that we’re telling.
I always tell people when I’m working
With contractor, videographers, and things,
“We’re not just a team
At Make A Wish. We’re not making
A marketing video. The fact is,
I met you a week ago on Craigslist,
But you’re willing to help out here.
We’re strangers, but yet
We’re coming together to do
Something incredible for someone else.”
That’s what we need to capture.
There’s a lot of things that are happening
Behind the scenes in that way.
Good example is, we recently held
A fashion show for Lexi, the girl
We’ve been helping for the longest.
She wanted to walk a runway.
I said, “We’re not just going to get you
On some random runway. We’re going to produce
Our own fashion show.” And there were a lot
Of incredible things that happened on the stage.
But there are even more interesting things
That were happening behind the scenes.
Because we like to surprise her we didn’t tell her
What was happening. She didn’t come dress
Wearing the right things. In the middle
Of the fashion show, we actually had to run her
Across the street to buy some jeans
So that she can match the outfit that we had
For her. Basically, my weakness in that case
Was I was so stressed and just so worried
About the big idea, which was the fashion show,
That we didn’t capture that silly moment.
The behind the scenes. I think, the potential impact
Of the story is lost, sometimes.
Because I just do things. I don’t plan it
In the right way. I think there’s a balance
To be had there. And I think I’m leaning
A little bit too far one way.
My curiosity, in light of that, is
From a business perspective, you have
A customer. And you have your product.
I’m curious, how do you think about that?
Do you think of your Patreon subscribers
Or your viewers as your customer?
And the people that you’re helping are
The product. Their story is the product
That you’re serving to your customer?
Or do you think of the people
That you’re helping, like Lexie and your friend,
As the customer? And the storytelling is just
A benefit that the people
Who support you—? I’m just curious,
What the mindset is?
I, personally, and from a business perspective,
I see the videos, the content,
As the most important thing. I would say that
That would be the product, and the customers
Would be the people that watch it.
Some people watch it, and they don’t support us,
Financially. But just having those people there,
They help us. It’s a unique dynamic
That I don’t think a lot of businesses might—
They don’t have to deal with that.
But these people that watch,
They might just be an eyeball. That eyeball
Is the person that could retweet
Something. That’s how we met
Danny DeVito. A certain somebody
Took our photo and then tweeted that at Danny.
That’s how we met. We have this—it’s not just
The financial customer. It’s also
The community aspect of it, which is
A really weird dynamic. But it helps this weird
Snowball effect that we need
To continue growing. The more people
That are just watching, and sharing,
And engaging. The more 1%
Of people contribute financially.
Then, we can go to Hawaii. And we can tell
An incredible story of Lexi going to Hawaii.
Then, we can create better content.
It’s this really interesting dynamic. Maybe,
It’s because I dropped out of college.
And I don’t completely understand the dynamic,
But also I just think it’s a really unique model.
But without the financial support
Of the people watching the content,
It would definitely not be possible.
That’s really interesting. I’m curious.
It’s an interesting model that you’re gonna
Have to really play with how you grow it.
It’s not something that—it’s not going
To be receptive to direct response marketing
Where you can just advertise it
And get more sales. That kind of thing
A normal business could do. It’s almost like
You have to rely on the organic growth
Of what you’re doing. If people saying
“You guys should support this,” and whatnot,
It’s almost like a blend between a non for profit
And a regular business. Like, there’s no business.
The model that is kind of stuck
In my mind is small production studio models.
If you go to a large studio, they have money
In the bank. They just pay
To make content that way.
If you go to a medium studio; they have
The context to call somebody up and get
A million dollars in investment.
The small studios, they have their audience,
They have their community. It’s an integrated
Experience. Where you’re not going
To necessarily make a financial—. But you know
This is a small production studio is going
To create something that affects you.
Looking at small studios like that. Most would be
Producing movies and things like that.
It’s kind of similar to that.
Where, traditionally, if someone
Were to engage with the business, it’s because
They get value out of it. Our value
Is less of a physical product. Less of
A convenient service, and more of—there are
Physical perks—but largely, it’s the emotional value.
The fact that a lot of people, they contribute
To us because they appreciate
The two way communication. The candid
Communication. And in the same way
You donate to a charity; they donate
To us because they can see
What’s happening and they feel involved.
It’s sort of like a 50/50. It’s almost paying
To be a part of something. Which still
Doesn’t elaborate the model. It’s unique.
It’s fascinating. I still don’t completely understand.
You definitely have something cool
Going on. It has the makings of one
Of those things that you feel could be
A cultural force as it grows.
I definitely wish. That’s a big thing. I think,
One thing that I’ve been
Trying to communicate more through the content
Is the fact that I’m not some prophet.
A lot of people, they tell me how inspiring I am.
Incredible. “That story; that’s so brave of you.”
And what I try and communicate is I’m no better than you.
You’re sitting at home. Maybe in your boxers, right now,
Watching this video. But just because I’m hanging out
With a cheetah doesn’t mean you can’t do that.
Or just because I’m the one showing me help a cancer patient.
This could be you in front of the camera.
You gotta believe in yourself and
You gotta just go out there and do it.
Actually, the video I’m working on right now.
Lexi wanted to visit a children’s hospital.
That was one of the things on her bucketlist.
And that in itself has a beautiful story. She had people come
Into her and that was an escape opportunity.
And so she wants to reciprocate that to the world.
But we put our twist on it.
And we actually went to GameStop,
And we spent $10,000 at GameStop
Buying a whole bunch of consoles.
We took, I think it was 22 Nintendo Switches and Xbox Ones.
And we got those and we took a couple of those items
To a children’s hospital with Lexi.
So, Lexi was able to dump this bag of video games
On this kid’s hospital bed and
He was able to pick out which games he wanted.
And then we left them there and made a donation to him,
Which was incredible. But in that video, it’s a challenge.
We’re challenging our audience. Literally, the challenge is,
“Email me, tell me your phone number and address.
And we will coordinate a visit to your local children’s hospital.”
So, you just saw the payoff of what Lexi experienced.
Let’s do that in your town. I’m offering to fly out
To these people. And of the 20 video game
Consoles that we have. Let’s donate them to—
I’m in California, we can go to Florida,
We can go to Georgia. All these places.
Let’s do this together. Like you were saying,
It’s not just watching something.
We can really make it better.
Just because there’s a screen between us,
Doesn’t mean we can’t experience something
This deep. At least that’s the idea.
We’ll see if it works out.
It sounds like it’ll work out. I’m gonna move on.
Talk a little bit about your driving force.
This is the thing you fight for.
Spider-Man fights to save New York.
Or Batman fights to save Gotham.
Or Google fights to index and categorize
All the world’s information.
What is it that your company is fighting for?
A lot of people—there’s two sides
Of the feedback spectrum. A lot of people they—
Like I was saying, they say that I am, like Mr. Rogers
Or something. And I’m entirely wholesome
In doing this for the betterment of society.
The other side is people who tell me that
I’m pointing a camera at me doing these things
For validation. And to show how cool I am.
Things like that. I wish I was either one of those sides.
But, really, it’s this really complicated—
In the middle ground.
And a friend of mine said this
A couple days ago. It’s really stuck with me.
We make content not to be noticed
Or validated, but to be heard.
I think that’s what drives me. I think that—
I was saying, I’m a normal guy. Honestly,
I would consider myself a little bit below average.
As a kid, I would watch YouTube and I would
Watch all these people online. The internet,
These screens were the community for me.
It was my way to communicate things
That I couldn’t communicate to my family,
To my friends, to my peers. And I’m an introvert.
So, this is sort of my bubble. I think I want
To tell people that, “You can do this,” in a way.
When I was a kid, I would spend a lot of time on—
Googling: how to find out if a shirt fits.
Or what’s a good haircut for my face.
Things like that, where I would use the internet
To try and improve myself. I kind of want
To see ourself as that. As: someone’s going
Through a time in their life where
They don’t understand who they are;
What they’re supposed to be doing.
Maybe we can provide the answers.
I think that’s what drives me forward.
I feel like I’ve learned a lot and I want to communicate that.
It’s somewhere in the middle.
It’s kind of greedy, but at the same time—
What’s interesting is if it was entirely
Just you wanting to be Mr. Rogers
And cool and pretty and happy;
You wouldn’t have the monetization abilities
To actually put together an audience.
Then, spend $10,000 on video games
And drop them on a kid’s bed at a—
It has to be in the middle in order for it
To do what you’re doing.
We’ve met with a lot of people who run charities and
People that they’re like, “You should be a charity.”
Then, when I explained things like that,
They realized why that structure wouldn’t work
Because we couldn’t—I don’t care
How good of a salesman I could dream of being.
There’s no way I can convince a board of people that
We need to spend $10,000. It’s part of the video.
I think part of the beauty is just the ridiculousness
Of what we’re doing. I think that part of that
This is a beautiful example of that.
Has to be self-motivated. This map—
I was recently dumped. Going through a breakup.
I came up with this idea of a lot of people,
They make this particular content where they throw
A dart at a map and they they travel to that location.
I came up with the idea of: What if I throw a dart
At a map. I go wherever it lands, but I can’t leave
That place until I achieve two things.
Number one is to make a lifelong friend.
That’s a super personal goal. I’m being selfish in that regard.
I want to work on my own things to achieve that.
Number two, I want to change someone’s life.
That’s like the exterior goal. I want to be able to go to
A completely new place and be able to help someone else.
I couldn’t convince a board to pay for a flight to—
Don’t want to spoil it but where I’m going.
It’s this nice combination of: I do want to have
An open positive impact on strangers
And people who need it. But at the same time,
What if we can use that to improve
My very flawed self. It’s a really interesting dynamic,
I don’t know how you got dumped
When you’re doing the kind of things you’re doing.
Well, thank you. It’s definitely been
A question of mine, but that’s okay.
We all go through those things.
I actually—that’s one of the bucketlist things
I’m currently working on in my life. Is we’re hitting
All the states in the US. We’re currently, on in our travels,
We’re on state number 22, I think?
Nice, almost halfway there.
Almost halfway there. We’ve been traveling
For two and a half years and I’m sitting outside
The Puget Sound, right now. I can throw a rock
Into the, I guess, it’s the ocean.
What’s your place you’ve been so far?
Couple of places. I am in love; head over heels
In love with Yosemite. I could stay there forever
And ever. It’s like another world
That you could just go and visit. I don’t know
If you got any other people on your list that have
Yosemite on their bucket list.
We took Lexi there last year, actually.
You’d convince them it’s amazing.
Anyway, Yosemite’s on my list and
As far as little towns, I really liked this area
Up in Washington. Around the Puget Sound.
I really liked a little town outside of Houston
Called … of Texas, which is really cool.
And then Southern California is my hometown area.
So I grew up in Temecula. I love that place.
I wanna talk a little bit about some practical things.
Some actual tools and stuff that you’re working with.
We call it on the show, we call it your heroes tool belt.
Maybe you got a big magical hammer like Thor.
Or a bulletproof vest like your neighborhood
Police officer. Or maybe you just really love
How you organize things in Evernote.
Some of the practical tools you use
To make your product. In this case,
Your storytelling a reality. Is it a
Particular camera gear, calendar software,
Something that you couldn’t live without
To do what you do.
I wish I was organized so I can provide an actual
Tangible example but I’m terrible at organization.
I guess, I’m glad I brought up the breakup because
That’s introduced a whole new dynamic for
How I deal with things and how I manage this.
I think that with the things that we’re producing,
There’s room for the ups and downs.
I think that’s really important for me.
One of the things we try and communicate is that
You’re not always going to be really happy.
There’s times where you’re going to be really sad.
But what you need to do is pull to that middle ground.
Where when you’re really sad you can acknowledge the ups.
And when you’re really high, you acknowledge
“This isn’t going to last forever. Let’s appreciate this.”
I think that that’s something that keeps me going.
That’s something I draw upon a lot.
Sometimes it’s hard to do that
But I think what I’ve been trying to use as
My superpower, recently. My magic tool
Has been drawing upon what I’ve accomplished.
When things are getting really hard
Or you’re feeling you can’t do something.
I think what I’ve been doing is looking back and saying,
“We literally save someone’s life with our crappy
YouTube videos.” It’s incredible.
Right now, I’m upset that I’m having trouble
Editing this particular section
But we’re going to figure it out.
We’ve done this before. It’s going to be okay.
I think motivating through past experience
Is really big to me. Also, imagining the end goal
With my ideas that usually ends up as,
“That’s a really big idea. Let’s just throw stuff
At the wall until it works.
Let’s just keep going, eventually it’ll work.
If not, we’ll use the failure for another idea to work
While we’re continuing to try.”
I think just forgiving and just being patient.
Like I said, I wish I used Google Calendar
And can call upon that. It’s much deeper
Than that. But that’s the curse of being
A storyteller is really stuck in your head.
I’m in the process of working on a book
About our travels, because we keep getting asked
To tell our story about what we’ve done.
One of the things I keep coming back to
In the storytelling process is—I’m just
Gonna ask you this because I’m curious
Of your opinion—this idea of contrast.
You mentioned the times when you’re really
High or when you’re really low.
One of the things that I’ve noticed
That I really, really like about the traveling lifestyle
That we live—a lot of people, the reason
They want to tell the story is they’re like,
“We want to live vicariously through you.”
That’s sort of what you’re doing. You’re helping
Other people live and have a cool impact
By the stories you’re telling.
One of the things that’s really keeps coming up
Again and again, when I’m trying to write
The story is the idea that is
That contrast is what makes life interesting.
If you are ever doing photo editing or video editing,
One of the things that I know
As a professional photographer
Is you look for contrast. Light … in the photo
And dark places. And textures, differences in texture,
And all these things. That’s what makes a photo
Interesting. What I’ve noticed is
That translates directly
Into what makes a life interesting.
What makes a story interesting
Is the contrast between
When one day you are sliding off of a waterfall in Yosemite
Into a 40-foot pool with your kids
And jumping off a cliff. The next day, you’re sitting
On the side of the road crying because your engine
Broke down and you’re just mad at the world,
Kind of thing. That kind of stuff.
It’s the the contrast between one and the other
And the contrast between things like,
Today’s just a normal day. We’re just sitting down
And having dinner and going through
Our normal routine and doing those things.
Normal days that everyone has and other days are,
You’re out on a ferry driving the Puget Sound
And seeing whales. There’s that contrast
That makes your life interesting.
I’m curious if that’s something
That you’ve noticed in storytelling.
Is how important having the whole slew
Of experiences—good, bad, normal—
Affects the storytelling.
Absolutely. That’s probably the biggest thing for me.
Honestly, I think is that contrast—there was
This one video I’m really proud of,
Where I was walking on stage to accept an award,
On behalf of—basically an award
Because we had broke the world record.
It was from the Bone Marrow Registry.
They flew us out to Minneapolis. They played
This video of our story. Then, they called us
On stage to accept this beautiful glass award
Sitting over there. I was walking on stage
And I started to talk and I couldn’t even get
One word out. I just broke down crying
Because it was so intense and these people
On stage with me and the people in the audience,
They all kind of assumed that I was emotional
Because of the story with my friend.
But what was kind of going through my mind
And the way I communicated it in the video
Was that this is a really high, this is incredible.
I got a standing ovation in front of hundreds of people
For what we did but what they don’t see
Is all the things that were happening
In the background. Practically, in that video,
I cut between me onstage crying
For a very long time and not giving
My speech, at all. Then, cutting
Between these clips of these moments
That were kind of, in that case, they weren’t downs,
But they were the contrast of that.
They were these—almost like simple pleasures,
These memories that were way less complex.
They were way less extravagant.
But I was contrasting it between them, visually.
And that’s something that I constantly think about
When we’re going through this incredible moment.
Let’s look back and when did we feel differently
Than this? How is that different than now?
And those moments are impacting how we act right now.
And so, you explaining your concept of contrast,
I completely agree. That’s what makes it interesting.
That’s what makes it worth telling, I think.
And it’s an interesting thing, as a storyteller,
Is to figure out how do you tell the story of that contrast?
In my case, I’m working on writing it.
And figuring out what parts of the story
Actually are important. If I just went,
From high to high, to high, to high.
That’s not reality. It’s not an interesting story
And it’s not the way it played out either.
I think as storytellers, sometimes,
We have the propensity to want to be like,
At least with social media—social media
Has this idea of social media is this
Cool front that you show everyone.
It’s all the cool stuff that you do.
We compare our insides
To what everyone else’s best
Future whatever look, the best look is.
As a storyteller, we have to combat
That natural tendency to want
To just show only the best stuff.
It’s really interesting that you say that
Because for me, I have the exact opposite.
I really want to dwell in the downsides.
It’s hard for me to communicate
And appreciate the ups. So that’s something
I’ve been super struggling with.
When I’m feeling down and I feel like
I need to scream, why don’t I feel like I need
To scream from excitement
When things are good and balancing
That conversation and that story
Through the videos. So that’s really interesting.
There’s our contrast.
There’s our contrast … other. So random question just because
I’m an Uber geek in this stuff.
What’s your favorite go to camera right now for your filming?
Camera? I have the Canon 80D which is great.
I’ve been working with a friend of mine
Who has the Panasonic GH5 and that is really good.
Excellent and it went on sale today.
And I’m telling myself that I don’t need it
Before I make a purchase.
We are – I’m currently – What you’re looking at me through
Is my Sony A6500. The camera I’ve got hooked up as …
… I’m geeky enough, I’ve got an HDMI stuff hooked up
And running into the USB port of my computer’s… webcam.
So just so you know the level of photo geek you’re talking to.
But my current favorite camera that I’m using to film
A lot of our stuff is the DJI Pocket. Have you seen that?
It’s the one that has a gimbal.
Little gimbal. I think I might have it sitting here
In my desk of things. Maybe not though. It’s a little tiny thing.
It’s like this big and it’s got the little gimbal on it.
It films 4k video, not that I film in 4k.
I don’t have enough hard drive space for it.
But it’s my big camera. This one,
I find that I don’t bring it with me as often.
So I don’t film as much with it.
And the Pocket I’ll keep in my pocket and actually
I film a lot more with it. So I’m curious as a documentarian,
Do you find that you have to convince yourself
To bring your camera on a regular basis or
Do you have specific times you set out like we’re going to go
Document things, so you bring all your gear?
And how do you capture some of the more? What would the –
What’s the word, like the –
Candid moments, if you’re always prepared?
You bring it up, I realized that that is 100% my weakness.
I honestly, there’s a lot of insecurity that I have with filming.
I think a lot of the negative feedback we’ve gotten has
Kind of brought me down where I feel like,
“Hey, we shouldn’t be recording this,” or
“It’s detracting from what’s happening in real life.”
And so I forget a lot.
And there’s so many beautiful behind the scenes moments,
Whether that’s me doing something that’s totally ridiculous
For the sake of an event happening or
Lexi reacting behind the scenes or things like that.
I always forget.
So I’m really good at like, “Okay, guys, the even’ts happening.
Turn on the cameras. This is what we want to get.
This is what we’re trying to say.”
But I really want to get better at that.
So, I have actually been looking at smaller cameras
And things that-Physically, I feel less disturbed
Like less of a – it’s more candid. You can kind of just pull it out
And not everyone suddenly goes in and looks at it.
So I had the same issue and I’m not doing quite the same
High level of stuff, just my family and whatnot.
But I’ve noticed that with the little pocket camera and this –
I got four kids, and one thing that happens when you pull up
The big cameras they’ll stop what they’re doing
And put on their big cheese smile and just –
It’s really interesting.
Because it’s a big camera and you’re supposed to look at it
And whatnot and so you miss out a lot of the candid stuff
That you want to actually record and so with the little DJI Pocket,
It’s really easy to just pull it out and you have nice,
Do … nice cinematic feel and look to it.
But nobody notices you have it and if the kids don’t notice you have it
That means no one noticed you had it.
Because kids notice everything.
So anyways, that’s a definitely a worthwhile thing.
It’s only like 250 bucks, too. So –
Worthwhile addition to your filming things.
I wouldn’t know, I’m definitely gonna keep that in mind.
I’ve been like figuring out how I can get better audio on the GoPros
Because I have two of them, but-
So the DJI, they got a little three and a half millimeter adapter
That plugs into the bottom of it. So you can put the lapel mic on it
Which I’ve been using for little selfie cam, cell videos or
You can put a little shotgun mic on it.
I have a little miniature – It’s like a little tiny one that right …
And it’s not a huge setup even with a mic attached to it,
Into the bomb. So you can use it a shotgun mic. It totally works.
The whole thing would fit in the palm of your hand.
I will definitely keep in mind.
Music is by purple planet musicvisit https://www.purple-planet.com/
Now, back to the show.
So move on a little bit and talk about your own personal heroes.
So Frodo had Gandalf. Luke had Obi Wan.
Robert Kiyosaki had his Rich Dad. Who were some of your heroes?
Where they real life mentors, speakers or authors,
Peers were just a few years ahead of you?
And how important were they to the success
And the storytelling that you’ve accomplished so far?
That’s another thing I’ve been really struggling with for a long time
Is understanding who those people are for me.
And I still don’t know. But I know that couple months ago,
I watched an Apollo 11 documentary, it was used footage,
Real footage, like super eight and eight millimeter footage
From the actual 1969. And I think everything about
Going to the moon, anyone involved with that is my hero,
Which isn’t necessarily a particular person,
I don’t follow Buzz Aldrin or anything but just, it’s an example
Of just these people, in many cases, strangers of this community
That just went for this absurd idea and they weren’t afraid.
I’m sure they were terrified in many ways,
But it just brought so many people together.
This big idea brought so many people together.
And that documentary, especially is so beautiful
Because there’s so many people with just home cameras
That the footage got restored. And it’s really candid,
And you see the astronauts behind the scenes
Putting their gear on and you realize that
There’s so many small moments from so many random people
That comes together to make these big ideas so impactful.
So not necessarily a person and I wish I had a person.
But just things like that, where it’s like, holy crap,
You we as a human race, we did it. And and it was beautiful.
The power of an idea acted upon.
Exactly. The payoff.
That’s really cool. So is that something that you’re striving
To achieve with your storytelling is maybe not getting
The human race to the moon. But the idea that
You can really have world changing impact
On people’s lives when you tell their stories.
Absolutely. Yes. One example that –
Okay, so actually we tried taking Lexi
To a children’s hospital a year ago.
The day before we were supposed to go,
The hospital cancelled and so we’d flown Lexi in from Ohio.
And we’re like, “Oh, crap, what do we do?”
We are here. We can’t take her to the hospital.
What do we do? And so we actually ended up
Running to Target and we got a little poster board
And we went to Krispy Kreme and got some donuts.
And we just wrote, “Free Hugs and Free Donuts.”
And we stood outside and we gave out free hugs and free donuts.
And we were able to tell the same story of Lexi wants to give back
But in a different way. And it was beautiful because it was
“Hey, we’re gonna go do this thing for Lexi. It’s going to be amazing.”
They canceled on us. That really sucks but let’s keep going.
And so we had a bunch of really incredible moments
With strangers where they’re going through finals or
Whatever they’re going through.
They got a hug and a donut, which was incredible.
There’s this one guy who came by, he said,
“Hey, can I get a donut?” “You want a hug, too?”
He said, no. He continued on his way.
As we were leaving, three hours later, he walks up again.
And he says, “Hey, I was here earlier and
I think I really want that hug.”
“Yeah, dude, here’s your hug. Let’s do this.”
And he’s sort of backing away from the hug.
He explains that yesterday, the day prior, his wife had left him
It was this really intense feeling there and hopefully
People felt that watching the video where you realize
Your life is going through these ups and downs.
We’re going to help this cancer patient go to a children’s hospital,
Beautiful. It didn’t work out. That sucked.
But we kept our head up as best we could.
And because of that, this guy got a hook.
Probably, arguably one of the most important times of his life.
We were able to do that just because
We worked on our own personal things and we just kept it going.
And we all kind of just built off of each other and
From his perspective, I’m sure it was beautiful.
From our perspective, it was beautiful.
And I want people to know that.
We all got stuff going on guys and it sucks.
Nobody is happy, but let’s be medium together.
Let’s do it together – is listening together.
This reminds me of –
Have you seen that TV show on Netflix, The Good Place?
I haven’t. No, it’s on my list though.
You should definitely watch it.
Basic premise is they’re going to heaven.
And so you’ve got the good place and you got the bad place,
Which is hell and then you have the medium place,
Which is right in the middle. If you didn’t do enough
To earn going to heaven, then the enemy –
But you didn’t do anything bad enough to earn going to hell,
Then you can
Just hang out.
Hang out the middle place.
I won’t give you any of the spoilers because it’s wonderful.
But the anyways, it just reminded me of that medium together.
So let’s bring it home for our listeners and talk a little bit
About your guiding principles. So what top one or two principles
Or actions that you sort of follow regularly that you think
Contribute to the success of your storytelling endeavors?
I read these questions beforehand and I felt I had an answer,
But I don’t know. Really, I don’t.
Anything I would say would be cheesy.
Again, it’s like the whole concept of
I wish I was in this world, …
We’re talking about people as if they’re superheroes,
The whole premise is cheesy.
That’s true. That’s true. Very good point.
I would say, it’s just this constant struggle of
Why am I here for myself? And how do I make sure
This is fulfilling for me? And if I were to die tomorrow,
Would I be fulfilled with what I did?
And then what I learned, can other people learn from that?
And it’s this balance of okay, every single morning I wake up.
I do something. For one of those two things.
I make sure that if I were to die, right at this moment,
People would remember me the way
I would want them to remember me.
And I want to make sure that I would be satisfied.
A whole another blend of like greedy, but also not greedy.
And super deep. I wish it was like money but –
That’s the way capitalism works, though.
I don’t think people understand the basic premise of capitalism
Is essentially, it’s forced altruism. That the reason why we do
What we do is because of self-interest.
But the only reason the self-interest works is because
We’re doing it in service of others.
We do whatever we do in service of other people.
And that’s why capitalism works the way that it does.
Because the only way that you and I are going to
Enter into a transaction, in the example of your business,
Someone is going to pay you for the privilege of
Being entertained and being inspired by the stories you tell.
And that’s a voluntary transaction on their part.
And the same thing, it’s a voluntary transaction on your part
To put that together. And because it’s voluntary both ways,
They wouldn’t do it if it was bad for them
And you wouldn’t do it if it was bad for you.
But when there’s a little bit of –
There’s that the positive part for you,
Of how I’m going to be remembered and who I am
And the kind of person that I’m going to be.
Plus, there’s also the financial benefits
That go along with that. And there’s the recognition
And stuff that goes along with it.
And there’s also the impact.
The impact that it’s having on a third parties,
So I don’t know. It seems like a, it’s a capitalist dream.
There’s a lot to it. And I think it’s been incredible.
And I use that word a lot, but it really has been.
I used the word ‘awesome’ a lot. So, I think if people –
That’s all you need, that’s the word.
So the one of the last things that we do on the show,
We do it every time is, Do you have –
It’s something I call the Hero Challenge?
Do you have someone in your life and your network
That you think has a cool entrepreneurial story?
Who are they? And why do you think they should come
Share their story on our show?
I might be biased because I’ve been spending a lot of time
With filmmakers. But here, locally, Sacramento –
I live in Sacramento, California,
Which is about seven hours away from LA,
The hub of film production.
So there’s this really interesting dynamic of –
If you want to create movies and content,
You can go seven hours away and you can be in the mecca.
But there’s a lot of people here, right now,
That are kind of going against that. They don’t want it to.
They don’t want to produce movies
For the traditional reason they want to make things
Because they have things they want to say.
So I guess like when you ask that question,
I think about the people nearby that have this weird blend
Of following the traditional route.
But also they’re doing their own thing.
And they’re telling their own stories,
Which is totally biased to my recent schedule
And stuff, but I just think it’s really cool
When people try something new.
And sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.
Do you have a particular filmmaker in mind
That you think we should interview and
Bring on the person on the show?
I got a friend named Chris and a guy named Drew.
I’ll probably let them know about the show.
And both of them, they definitely have things to say.
And they’re trying to do it in a way
That’s not the cookie cutter way.
That makes sense. That’d be really cool.
We have not – Your’re our first filmmaker on the show.
So that’s a –
It’ll be interesting to have some more people in that space.
They are much more filmmakers than I am.
I think that is giving myself a little bit too much credit, but-
The product that you produce is documentaries,
Which are films that makes you a filmmaker.
That’s true. That’s true. I did something about –
I mean, most of our videos, I’m like flogging.
So in my mind, it’s like, Okay, this is a little bit.
This isn’t quite film.
It’s not quite cinematic, but you’re still doing those kind of things.
So thank you so much for coming on the show. Dillon.
It’s been really – It’s been a pleasure talking to you
And getting sort of an insight into what it is that you do
And how you do it. For those of us who are watching,
Who are watching this show, where can they go
If they want to keep up with what you’re doing with Lexi
And your other couple of people that are going on now?
Where can they watch your documentary with your friend?
And how can I support you?
Anything you want to do to help out or
Anything you want to learn is that our website
That’s everything spelled out “one list one life.”
And on there, there’s the free option of support,
Which is just subscribing and keeping up to date with
The stories that we’re telling and watching them and
Seeing the videos, which like I said, is hugely impactful
Because we need people to be a part of this experience.
There’s also the ability to contribute monthly.
So anywhere from five to if you’re crazy enough $200 a month.
You can do that. And of course, that has the ability
To pay for what we’re doing. And in many cases,
That means paying for flights, but really in my mind,
I would love for that to pay for a camera guy and audio guy
Because there’s a lot of people things that are happening
When you put people like us who care about telling stories
With someone who has an amazing story.
And I want to get better at bridging that gap and saying things.
And you can do all of that on our website. And there’s plenty of –
So that’s, you said it was one. One story one life?
And just out of curiosity, how much?
How far are you from being able to hire a camera guy
And an audio guy from monthly subscriptions?
Contract, we do it. So when we have an event,
We pay people to come out and film it.
As far as a full time person, I don’t think
There would be enough value to pay for-
It would have to be someone who has multiple hats, I think.
That I would say our average monthly subscription is about $17.
So if you hired him part time, whatever that math is.
So you needed to need a couple more.
Couple more subscribers, couple hundred more subscribers
And you’d be able to bring someone on full time.
Definitely. And there’s people I know that
They’re eager to do it as soon as they have
An excuse to quit working at the restaurant.
Hopefully, my audience at this point is not very large.
Your audience is probably larger than ours is.
But maybe you’ll get a couple more subscribers out of this.
Absolutely. So again,
Thank you so much for coming on the show.
Really appreciate it. You have any words of wisdom
To those, the people on our show
Who might be listening. Final thoughts?
Go for your crazy ideas,
You might save somebody’s life in the process.
Absolutely. That’s something that you’ve actually done.
So that’s really cool. Again, thanks for coming on the show.
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A peak behind the masks of modern day super heroes. What makes them tick? What are their super powers? Their worst enemies? What's their kryptonite? And who are their personal heroes? Find out by listening now
The HERO Show
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