We had the good fortune of connecting with Diego Oliverio and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Diego, how do you think about risk?
For me, risk has always been associated with opportunity. Recently, I was faced with the decision to travel alongside a stranger I had never met before across 12 countries for 12 months as a personal content creator for this man. With the project starting only 2 days after I was given this proposition, the element of risk precipitated many uneasy questions and emotions from both myself and my parents. Who is this man? Is he a serial killer? Is he aware we’ll be traveling during this historical pandemic? My stomach was in knots trying to come up with a decision on my own and part of me hoped my parents, still a factor in my life decisions, would pull the plug so I would not have to come to terms with this unreal opportunity. 48 hours after the universe presented me with my “dream job” at the age of 20 I bought my one-way trip to Costa Rica to start the adventure of a lifetime. Fast forward 1 year, 5 countries, 25 episodes, and countless memories later, I am the hardened 21st Century Digital Storyteller I need to be in order to continue pushing the power of creative content in the ways I see fit. The story of this adventure is for another day, but the reward beyond the risk of this leap of faith proved to me risk is sometimes the necessary uncomfort that unlocks opportunities to experience new things, advance your career, and experience the world from new perspectives. Risk is a flexible concept; it can take on various meanings and be approached with different levels of caution depending on your mindset, career, and position in life.
Risk continues to appear in my life and my career as new projects and partners ask me to take my skills and passion into new territories. Opportunities to grow are inherently risky, but it’s reward beyond the risk that keeps me on the edge of every leap of faith that comes my way.
Risk in my life is best approached by preparing to be prepared and being trained for opportunity,
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
At its core, art is storytelling. Some choose to use words, brushstrokes, movement, and other expressive mediums. I find my way of storytelling best channeled through digital media (cinematography, photography, motion graphics, etc.). My foray into this space was a simple start, making videos to recap our family vacations around the U.S. with music and cinematic shots. My equipment and skills at the age of 12 were nothing impressive but my realization of the power of video and photo to freeze the emotion and action of a point in time took its roots. The next decade saw a continuation of my self-documentation of family travels but also the growth of my passion into the professional world. I have been fortunate enough to exercise my passion for companies, cultures, and individuals seeking a voice in this digital age. Documenting a 30-mile hiking journeys of some of the most perilous hikes in the US for wealth management executives taught me how to create and channel a story too grand for words. Capturing the moments of a 3-day wealth management national conference attended by 500+ professionals as the sole photographer/videographer forged my ability to capture, edit, and share content on the fly. Being sought out by Target as 1 of 4 students nationwide to act in Target’s 2019 Back To College Campaign allowed me to articulate my enthusiastic voice as a spokesperson for a consumer-centric corporation. Capturing every moment of a man’s mission to master 12 skills in 12 months across 12 countries as the sole creative forged my ability to carry content from production to publication on while traveling and working simultaneously. The way my passion managed to creep into all these corners of industry and life opened my eyes to the flexible nature of storytelling at large. I often say everyone has a story, the hard part is telling it. I truly see myself as a conductor to many emotions and visions that lose their power in translation into the modern mediums this digital world demands.
My passion is my brand. Storytelling has and always will be the element that empowers narratives of one generation to pass unto another. Ultimately, the greatest satisfaction I grab from my passion is the collage of life it creates when I look back at what I have created. The memories, emotions, and ideas of these points in time are embedded into the content I create. My dad always had the camcorder on my brother and I as we were growing up. Watching those home videos brings up an unreal high of nostalgia for me and the thought each video or photo I take in the present day can mature with that level of emotional potency keeps me on my toes when it comes to making it the most creative and well-executed piece of art it can be.
I would never say anyone’s road to success or career is easy. I’ve definitely had to make a couple of left turns when I was sure I was going right, but the ability to pivot at points along the path of passion fortifies my confidence in continuing to pursue a life and career of creative content and digital media.
When you live life without capturing it, there’s not much to see.
So Capture It.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Where do I begin! The famous first words of every shoutout I’m sure. My success is only a product of the people who have given me the opportunities to find and exercise my passion that I am proud to now call my career. In middle school (Sunrise Middle School – Scottsdale, AZ), I was part of a program that educated me and pushed me to tell stories in a digital fashion and where I unknowingly built the foundation for my passion today. Mr. Graham and Mrs. Seretis knew how potent the power of digital mediums would be after they set us free and were relentless in their guidance of us to learn the fundamentals of digital language and. communication. Thank you for providing the sparking of my now roaring passion. It started with you. In the past decade since I left my 8th-grade classroom, there have been a few friends who ran the same race by side as friendly competitors pushing each other to keep our eye on the prize and get where we want to be. Trevor Turkovich: you were my first friend that shared a passion for digital storytelling and truly my first mentor in this space. I bought a drone before a camera because of you and even though that snowballed a spree of spending on camera equipment, I thank you for showing me the rope of cinematography. The chapters of high school and university flew by with their own array of characters (teachers, mentors, and professors) who deserve their own shoutout, but for the sake of time and respect, I will thank all of you who dedicated your life to sharing your Jedi wisdom with me and my fellow changemakers who will always remember the concepts and lesson we learned from behind your desks. With 21 years under my belt, the people who are currently working wonders in my life are Mike Savas, Gabe DeSanti, and of course mi familia! Mike, you took me on the adventure of a lifetime and literally made my dream come true. Traveling, creating, and telling your story has sharpened my skills and heightened my confidence in the world of creative media. Through the opportunities and people you have connected me with, I now know the world is a small place with an infinite number of stories just within reach! Mista Gabe DeSanti, you have pulled me into a world I dreamed of existing in ever since I moved to New York City 3 years ago! The brotherhood and mentorship you have shown me is working wonders as I put one foot in front of the other and I can’t wait to see what we can do together! All of these shoutout stars made their mark on an already bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Diego, and that is all thanks to my mom, dad, and younger brother (Conni, Billy, and Dante) who continue to prove the world a wonderful place when I think there is nothing more to work for. You three, more than any other have shaped my outlook on the world. A perspective I regard as my greatest asset to accomplish what I know I can do and what others may think impossible. Thank you to my family, friends, and colleagues who never failed in pushing me to keep my eyes on the prize and never lose sight of what I wanted, can, and will achieve. ¡Gracias a todos!