Lately, it feels like every other person we meet thinks about becoming an influencer or vlogger. It's not unusual given that being noticed publicly ultimately seems like the fastest route to a rockin' good life. It is also a pursuit that people will cheer you on for while you earn. But there is more to this form of self-made stardom than meets the eye. A couple of principles behind building this sort of personal brand weigh in on the type of fame and influence you generate.
Is trying to vlog worth your time when so many have already made a name for themselves? Jako de Leon seems to think so. We caught up with the relatively new vlogger of VLOG SQUAD Philippines, who admits he’s just starting to grow into this role after years of working behind the camera.
The son of well-known actor, comedian, and TV host Joey de Leon, Jako originally wanted to be a doctor. He studied in Ateneo and eventually Fordham University in New York, where he had hoped to specialize in Developmental Pediatrics. He was already working with special needs kids in the Big Apple when he decided to move back to the Philippines. And as fate would have it, TV and digital content producing happened. Six years later, he's created content for PaperbugTV— the channel behind Bogart the Explorer and a slew of other online shows.
His career then shifted into new gear when he befriended a vlogger by the name of Wil Dasovich. It was Wil who suggested he try vlogging. Though reluctant at first, Jako says, "We put Bogart on TV, but I didn’t want to vlog. I could [have], but I didn't have the confidence. I was always a director or producer. Wil at that time was like, ‘You have to vlog! It’s going to be great. You’re going to do really well.' " True enough, hanging out with vloggers helped Jako pick up several ideas and gave him the courage to give it a go.
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He’s uploaded two vlogs since starting VLOG SQUAD with Wil, Haley Dasovich, and Daniel Marsh. Apparently, they take on different styles but maintain a sense of team or community by supporting each other whenever needed. Jako’s is very comedic, just like the shows he produces.
As exciting as vlogs are, a lot of people hesitate to create their own because they lack top of the line tools. Jako responds to this with a story about fellow vlogger Baninay Bautista. “Before we got her a new camera, she vlogged with her phone. She grew with that phone. You don’t have to vlog with the best equipment,” he says.
As for cold feet when it comes to being yourself in front of the camera, or doubting yourself for that matter due to your number of subscribers, Jako sympathizes but reassures. He explains, "One of the guys we actually follow, Gary Vee (Gary Vaynerchuk), would always say, ‘One is greater than zero’. People always come up to me and ask ‘But why I only have 2,000 subscribers?’ Have you ever seen 2,000 people in a room? Have you ever seen a hundred people in a room? Imagine standing in front of those people. That’s how many people watch you. That’s the responsibility you now have. If you keep doing what you’re doing and you’re passionate about what you’re doing, then it doesn’t matter."
Jako believes the key to successful vlogging is the stuff you can't touch—that which is invisible to the naked eye. "Yes, sound quality is important. Video quality is important. But you don’t have to overspend especially when you’re starting out. It’s consistency, it’s collaborating, it’s building the biggest building without having to tear anyone else’s down. It’s your own thing, you don’t have to compare. You just do what you have to do,” he muses.
ALSO READ: In Focus: This Is How You Become The Ultimate 'Influencer'—Take It From Kris Aquino!
Photographs from Instagram.com/jakodeleon and YouTube