11. Joe Cardamone on Using Art to Find Your Voice

February 09, 2022

11. Joe Cardamone on Using Art to Find Your Voice
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In this episode, Tim and Brock talk with Joe Cardamone.

Get a weekly episode breakdown, sneak peak of the next episode, and other resources in your inbox for free at https://scuttlebutt.substack.com/.

Joe was an aviation planner in the Army as well as the Air Force which he transferred to for his reserve time. Joe got interested in film creating Youtube videos with his friends. His interest eventually led him to several related fields including acting, screenwriting, and eventually photography - his biggest passion. 

We talk with Joe about the business of acting and all the different roles involved in putting a film together. We also discuss how the military influences our creative processes negatively and steps that can be done to avoid that. Lastly, Joe explains why producing art whether through content or some other way, helps you find your voice which is the most important thing we can do.

You can follow Joe on his personal website, Twitter, or Instagram


Whether you’re in the service for four years or twenty, you have learned skills, led teams, and learned what it takes to execute under pressure. While those past successes are valuable, they don’t always translate to a life or career when you get your DD214.

Join Tim and Brock as they break down the skills and strategies current and former military members are using to build a successful careers on the outside the service.

Follow along with us.
• Tim: @Mccaurthor, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbJ5Ly07sxv2lrofAiN16aw
• Brock: @BrockHBriggs
• Instagram: Scuttlebutt_Podcast
• Send us an email: scuttlebuttpod1@gmail.com


Brock Briggs  0:18  

Hello and welcome to the Scuttlebutt cod. Oh, wow! All right. Take two, we do have an actor in the house. So hello and welcome to the Scuttlebutt podcast. Our guest today is Joe Cardamone. Joe carries a variety of titles, everything from Army and Air Force veteran, a founder, actor, screenwriter, and photographer. Joe, is there any I miss there or?

Joe Cardamone  0:48  

Husband and father as well, which is sometimes a full time job. 

Tim McCarthy

Oh, yeah. Those are important. Those are important.

Brock Briggs  0:57  

Yeah. Welcome to the show today, Joe! We're happy to have you. Do you wanna give us the five minute spiel, give us everything, your entire life story in five minutes up ‘til now?

Joe Cardamone  1:08  

Oh, yeah. Easy. No problem. First of all, thanks for having me. I appreciate it. Since this is cool. Yeah, so I'm Joe, as mentioned earlier, quite a few things. So I'll try to put them in linear fashion. I've always been creative. But I never had an outlet. My parents were always like, “Oh, that's cool. Great, great drawing. Good doing this, but you know, get a real job, get a real job.” So I just had that real job aspect in my head, go to college, you know, work at a desk for a company for 30 years, get your pension and retire. So with that mindset, I went to high school, horrible student. He's amazing when he applies himself, right? But he doesn't apply himself. So backhanded, it's ridiculous.

Tim McCarthy  1:58  

Joe, this is supposed to be about you not about me, for the record.

Joe Cardamone  2:04  

I'm in this tweet, and I don't like it. 

Tim McCarthy


Joe Cardamone

Yeah. So I had that growing up. So I realized one of the few ways I was gonna get to college was the military. Because as all of us here know, their recruiting is pretty, pretty intense in the high school arena, for people like me.

Brock Briggs  2:28  

For people who are great when they apply themselves. 

Tim McCarthy

That's right.

Joe Cardamone  2:32  

It’s a lot of force application in bootcamp. It’s cool, so yeah. So yeah, so I went through high school, didn't do great, skip school out all that stuff. And then when it was time to go to college, I actually, we can get into this later. But I actually dropped out of school in 12th grade, with three months left of school because I had a job. And I was like, “I don't, I'm not learning anything. I don't need this anymore.” And then three months later at graduation, I was like, “What? Why would you, man? Like what?” 

So I went and got my GED. Which was like, “Why would you do that to yourself? Why would you anyway,” so I did that, got my GED. And then one day, I was just sitting there, I was like, “What am I doing?” Like, I haven't, like if I'm looking back at my life right now. And I think I was 20 at the time. So it was like, “my life at the time.” I’m basically, “What have you done with yourself?” Like, I'm 70 on my deathbed, right? But I did. I had that moment. And I was like, “What am I? Where am I headed? What have I done?” 

And so I looked at the military in a few different facets. One was, if I can complete army boot camp, like that's a huge personal accomplishment. Like there are a lot of people doing  that. A lot of people go in and a lot of people will make it. And I was like, if I can do that, that's something I look back on and be like, “I did that, like I did that.” So that was one part. The other part was, of course, college. 

Actually one of my favorite quotes from movie, I'm not a big fan of the movie, but was jarhead when the drill sergeant was yellin’ and it was like, “Why are you in the Marines?” He's like, “Sir, I got most of my way to college, sir.” So like, well..

Tim McCarthy

I love that quote. Oh, yeah.

Joe Cardamone

That's got out. That's a little bit of that for me as well. So I went for college. And then I also joined. I had a delayed start. I can't remember why. So I can't get, I don't remember, but I joined in sometime in 2002. So it was after 911. So I had a little bit of the, you know, wanna go, do my part aspect. So college and do my part. So I also am a person who I know “do your own research'' is a weird term nowadays. But somebody who doesn't like just creating the word of other people when they're signing their life away or doing something that's going to affect that. So I found out by talking to a lot of friends and people like you know, your x AP scores, the thing that matters and basically here's what you wanna do. 

And then once you hit these levels, you can basically pick your MOS, you can pick your job. Recruiters are car salesmen, no offense down there. I know you're like you're trying to, you know, they have a quota to meet, right? So they don't care of you as a person, right? They don't wish you ill, but they don't also care which drive as long as they get you in and get that commission. So I knew that going in, thankfully. So I think..

Brock Briggs  5:48  

Because everybody else in the military too, even after the recruiting phase. They don't want ill of you, but like they don't care.

Tim McCarthy

Yeah, yeah. 

Joe Cardamone  5:58  

So true. You've got to close circle. And that's about it.

Tim McCarthy  6:02  

Maybe that's why I'm a good car salesman. I don’t know.

Joe Cardamone  6:03  

All the skills can transfer somehow, in some way. 

Tim McCarthy

Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Joe Cardamone

So, yeah. Yeah, no disrespect. I’m not..

Tim McCarthy  6:14  

No, no, you're good, man. You're good. You're totally fine. I get it. I agree with you. I agree.

Joe Cardamone  6:21  

So I went, I took my ASVAB score, I scored really high. And to the recruiter, and at the time I was, I'm out of shape now. But at the time, I was probably 20 or 30 pounds heavier out of shape than I am now. I had glasses at the time. And I stored the recruiters. I mean, I was like, “You thought about green where you can go special forces.” And I was like, “Dude, I am 5’8. Look at me. Are you kidding? What are you talking about right now? I've watched the documentaries. I've seen these monsters like, are you kidding me?” Like, no, no. 

So I literally said to him, “Give me the job book. I will pick. I will look through and look at the details and descriptions.” And he's like, are you just like, “This is what I'm doing. So I'm either not going to sign up, or you're going to let me sign up for what I want.” I was there for like three hours looking at this book. And I had an idea, I kind of want to do something with aviation. And I saw an air traffic controller for the army. And initially I was gonna do that. But then I thought it was the people that were outside like waving the flashlights. So I didn't want to be that guy. No, but it's also not the same job, right? 

So I picked it because I thought it was the people I was like, “Oh shit, I don't wanna be out there in the snow.” Like, you know, directing, you know. That's a lot, that seems not fun. Come to find out air traffic enforcers, people that actually control the traffic in the air looking at the radar screens, and stuff, which is also not a fun job on a whole other plane. Like you can't even take ibuprofen or I'm rambling now. I'm not gonna hit that five minute mark, but I'm trying. So..

Tim McCarthy

You're good. You're fine. 

Joe Cardamone

So I signed up for aviation operations specialist in the army, which is basically flight planning and logistics. I remember going to my secondary school, which is Fort Rucker, Alabama. And one of the pivotal moments that stuck out to me where I realized that just because somebody tells you something, again, doesn't mean even if they are in the military, or they've got a lot of expertise doesn't mean that's the way it's gonna go down. Because when I joined, it was National Guard is controlled by the state, right? We're not gonna be hopping over planes to war, and doing all this stuff. Because we're not part of the federal system. We have to be sent by our governor and all these things, all these content contingencies had to happen for National Guard. Because we're supposed to be at home people, that people help out with natural disasters and emergencies or so. 

So I remember sitting in Fort Rucker, Alabama, and we were in our day room or, you know, pool table and TV and all that stuff, on break. And one of the drill sergeants walked in, turned the TV on, and it was during shock and awe, which was when we lined up the forces at the border and just started bombing and going over. And he put it on, didn't say anything, and then looked around at all of us while you're watching me and say, “Get ready. You motherfuckers are all going over there soon.” And we were like, in my head. I was like, “bam, National Guard. This is he, talking to earlier.

Brock Briggs  9:26  

Everybody else. 

Joe Cardamone  9:28  

Yeah, exactly. So the naivety even though like I said, I like to look into things that naivety was wrong with me early on. 2005 came, Katrina hit and when Katrina hit that was our time to be like, “Oh shit, this is what we're here for. We can go on deliver supplies, help people, evacuate people like we've got helicopters. That's what the utility helicopters for, right?” 

They asked if anybody want to volunteer and I volunteered right away. I was like, “This is great. I can actually like do something positive here.” So I signed up while we we’re waiting on the official orders to come down, in order for, the deployment to Iraq came in at the same time. And because it was more, that took higher priority than helping out, you know, our fellow countrymen. So..

Brock Briggs  10:18  

Didn’t just pull the old switcheroo on those requests.

Joe Cardamone  10:22  

Yeah. So almost almost, that's a little part, kind of part of it. But so I called up my sergeant, I’d say, “Hey, listen, I wanna go help out for Katrina. I want to do that. But this order came in, I don't wanna go out for Katrina, and then immediately come home and immediately go to Iraq.” And she was like, “No, no, no, we've got you on the Katrina mission. You're gonna help out with there. We want you there.” You know, I was like, “Okay, okay.” 

And a little caveat to the switcheroo aspect there is when you are National Guard, they can't deploy you as a sole person, they have to deploy you as a unit. That is a rule at least at the time. But they made me my own UIC code, you know, identification code. I was my own unit. They made me my own unit. So they could deploy just me. 

Tim McCarthy  11:13  

They really wanted you to go.

Joe Cardamone  11:15  

There is so much finagling. Yeah. So then I got deployed, we were boots on ground. And I also had airbase in Iraq from, for all of 2006. I got home in February 2006, for Tex, New Jersey. And then I talked to a friend that was there told me that he was going to transfer his remaining contract to the Air Force or the Coast Guard, so that he didn't have to serve IRR in the army inactive Ready Reserve. And I was like, “Oh, let me look into this too.” And I did. 

And so I was able to transfer the remainder of my contract to the Air Force. So I didn't have to sit in this nice reagent pool and just get plucked again, like they did to me the first time, to go with like, Texas National Guard could wherever, right? So I transferred my main contact to the Air Force, and then served out till 20, from 2008 to 2011, in the Air Force, doing the same job for eight times. So that's my military career. Then from there, within all that time, I mean, in 2014, I spoke on the creative part earlier, but my brother and some friends found some cameras, that's the new cameras and wanted to film stuff. And I was like, “Oh, I'm not sure, I'll be your actor person. I'll be the person in front of the camera out there.” So they're, “very cool.” And then I instantly fell in love with it. It was one of those lightning bolt moments, I was like, “Oh, I can do this forever. Like, I absolutely love this.” 

So I threw myself headfirst into it. I YouTubed everything. I was, you know, “practicing”, as much as I could on my own. But you know, you need a scene partner. You need something, putting out tons of audition tapes, getting a couple callbacks and doing auditions for directors and whatnot. And I realized that I didn't like waiting for people to give me a job. So I started my own production company with some of those same friends and my brother, so that we can film our own stuff. We got to create what we wanted, to film what we wanted, when we wanted it, with who we wanted. So it was nice to have that type of freedom and control. So started the production company. 

And then from there, I realized that I as an actor needed people's words to say. So I learned screenwriting, and then did screenwriting, and wrote a bunch of our short films, and then some other things I did. While that was going on, I got a camera for Christmas. My partner got me a camera for Christmas. And she got it for me. And I was excited because it was my first real camera, and I was gonna use it just on hikes with the kids and whatnot. And so my friends invited me, who are members of the LGBTQIA community invited me down in Pride Parade in Baltimore. And I was like, “Oh, crap, I'm gonna bring my camera, like this will be a perfect time. Like, it's, everyone's happy. It's a joyful celebration, like I can get street photography, pictures of my friends, like all this stuff.” 

So that's what I consider myself actually starting to want to do photography. And then from that day, I had another lightning bolt was like, “Oh, I love love this like, and I get to control this. I don't have to wait for anybody.” I don't have to, like get people together and try to like, be like, “Oh, here's a script that we're gonna change. Oh, you can't film today. Let's move to next week.” Like I can go out right now and take pictures of what I want. So I fell in love with that for a whole other reason. And I again dove headfirst into that just going out shooting all the time learning as much as I could. And it became basically a career for me as well. I have a nine to five, but I also do professional photography now. So that's been my joy. And then when the pandemic hit, I leaned really hard into it, because obviously, there was no acting. People weren't getting close to each other. In addition to all that, I am a father and husband. Like I said, I have two children. And an amazing partner who I've been, this October will be 17 years we've been married. And.. 

Brock Briggs


Joe Cardamone

Yeah, definitely.

Brock Briggs  15:29  

That's such an interesting story. I like don't talk to a lot of people that are like, “Oh.” I think that there are a lot of people that are comfortable in front of the camera. But then there's also I don't know, like you are, I guess the first person that are like, “Oh, I love that enough to like, go and pursue it.” And like you're putting out audition tapes and stuff. Like, how, I guess how did you know that you didn't want to, like do the military thing anymore? Was that just like that separation of that I'm gonna be in control of my own destiny? Was it that whole element? Or was it being away from family? Or what led to that decision?

Joe Cardamone  16:10  

Yeah, no, that was definitely part of it. Because like I said, joining National Guard, I wasn't looking at it as a full time job anyway. And then anybody who's listening, or you know, I don't know if you do the drill, or if you were active, but drill comes around, basically like if you're working. And you've got nothing to do for like three days, and then you've got like this ramp up of a project. I gotta do this now, right? So that's our drill weekend was like, I'd be living my life and on drill weekend will come around a bit, like shave and like, show like it was bare minimum wasn't crazy. But you get used to this, you know. You get complacent in this other part of your life. And you don't wanna like, you know, basically not put on a show, but like, have to completely switch hats and do this thing for two or three days, and then go right back to what you're doing. It was basically transitioning lines every single month, and it was annoying.

Brock Briggs  17:05  

Tim was in the Reserves, so he could probably speak more to it. I did not do that. But I haven't talked to anybody that has like spoken highly of it. And the people that do speak highly of it are the people that they're in the Reserve or the Guard or whatever you want to call it, no idea the difference but then they have like a full time. They're like a full time guard person, like they do a military job. But then they still have their drill weekends. So it's not this constant back and forth thing like I don't know. I'm sure that there's a need for it. But like I would think that maybe just replacing that with like one or two full time people. They can't be good for people.

Tim McCarthy  17:48  

My biggest thing is, first of all, Joe, you're like spot on when you like, “it was annoying.” That's exactly like I did. I was active for four years with Brock. And then when I got out, I was like, “Okay, I have a couple irons in the fire. But like, I have no idea. So let me just do the Reserves.” And in my head, I'm like, “Okay, I'll keep my foot in the door. So if I do need to slip back and go active, like I had, there's no like lapse and time served. Plus, I will keep TRICARE and I like quickly jumped into sales.” 

And so it was like, just so annoying because a lot of the guys, Brock here say, and like the ones that are, they like really enjoy it. They are like law enforcement. A lot of them are like prison guards out here. And if anybody that doesn't know, prison guards make shit money for what they do, like it's like $13 an hour or something like that. So a lot of these guys use the Reserves as supplemental income. And so like to them, it was nice because they were making more money. And the most annoying thing to me was I had to drill on a Saturday, once a month. And that Saturdays in sales in my industry, that's the busiest day. So like, well, they're all, they're like, “Yes, I'm getting my $250.” I'm like, “Fuck, I'm here losing money, like I could be making so much more money selling than here.” And like, oh it was just miserable. It got to the point I ended up like talking to my chain of command. 

But a year and a half in and their response was, “Well if you're making so much money, you can afford to be here one weekend a month.” And I was just like, I almost like exploded. I was like, “I can't believe you just said that.” Like that is the dumbest thing you could possibly say you know and so like six months later, I got home and my wife could tell she said it was almost like I was on my period that time of the month because I was just miserable. I came home on a Saturday, and she's like, “How was it?” And I was like, “It was fine.” 

And I think like an hour later, she's like, “Why don't you just quit?” And I was like, “What?” She's like, “Yeah, we'd like, just get health insurance at work. Like, it's not worth it. You know, you're miserable. Like, you'd make more money if you're able to work that Saturday, and then that would pay for it.” And I'm like, “Thank, God!” And I think I like talked to them the next day about quitting. So yeah, that's my Reserves story. Sorry to..

Joe Cardamone  20:30  

No, no, that plays right into it. I think, you know, speaking to also the transition part of it is when you're full time, and you're in it every day where you get desensitized to, you know, the military hierarchy, and the rules and all this stuff and following. You just follow it, because that's what you're used to. But then when you're jumping back and forth, you know, you get out civilian life. And you all know how civilians are treated in the military, serve and blah, blah, blah. Like, you know, you basically, you have almost the status of an officer without having to follow the rules of the UCMJ and so many other things, right? 

And so you're out in the real world living that and then you go back this one weekend, a month, and you know, I was a private, it's like, well, you know, your ideas don't make sense because of your low rank. And it's like, well, that's not how things work. Like what are you talking about? So that was the other part that was just detrimental to my sanity, just every week, every time I drove it was like, “Oh, life is horrible.”

Tim McCarthy  21:36  

And I probably like I probably went in a little salty because I was active duty and then you go and there's like guys who they've only ever done the Reserves and no disrespect to the Reserves. I did it. But like, there's definitely a difference between being an E-4 in active duty and being an E-4 in the Reserves, and that was just like, you haven't done anything. Like why are you like, this whole, like, everybody walked around like they were Navy SEALs, and you know, they were just like, Captain America and I'm like, so like, relax, but like I've calmed down. 

In the Navy, calling somebody shipmate is like, not a good thing like shipmate as I would say, like a derogatory term. And I never forget at one time, this E-4 called me shipmate, like down the hall, because my boots were like, all jacked up, and they were my active duty boots and he said like, “shipmate!”. And I was walking away from him. And in my head, I'm like, “There's no way this motherfucker shipmating me.” So I just kept walking. And he's like, “Shipmate!” I was like, “Oh, God,” so I turned around. He's like..

Brock Briggs  22:50  

I’m about to have a problem here.

Tim McCarthy  22:51  

Yeah, big time. Yeah. And you know, he was just like, give me a hard time about my boots because they were like, not polished, they're all thrashed up and in, he's like, “What? You know what's going on with your boots?” I was like, “First of all, don't ever call me shipmate again. We've never been on a ship together. Second of all, these boots are jacked up, because I actually worked in the military. So have a good day!” You know, and I just yeah, so I was like, already salty, and like kind of bitter, which didn't help. I could have gotten into, with a better mindset. But, anyway.

Joe Cardamone  23:21  

One of the things that took me a long time to learn was, that helped me actually when I got home from deployment years later was, you know, other people's stories or their stories, right? Like, they have their problems and those problems are valid in their lives, because it's all about perspective. If they haven't experienced X, Y, or Z, you can't project your X Y & Z onto them by to hold them accountable for your own, what you've been through.

Brock Briggs  23:46  

I am interested in this dynamic of how you like you, really you're internalizing all of that stuff, like from the military. You're running into people that don't have perspective. And this is like, kind of a classic entrepreneur story, like you're in this place where like, I'm so misunderstood, like, you know, like a 2000s, like emo song, you know, you're like, nobody understands me and like, blah, blah, blah. And you've kind of like, go into filming yourself. And like, you're doing the YouTube channel. And as you're starting to do that, did that give you that sense of like, empowerment back? Or like, did you feel like you were back in control of your thing of your own, like life, I guess, as opposed to, I don't know, having it in somebody else's hands?

Joe Cardamone  24:36  

That's a good question. Honestly, like, I don't know. Now that you asked it that way. I don't think I've ever thought of it that way. But I'm sure that was a huge part of it. Part of the reason why like I think I mentioned earlier with photography, why I love it is I get controlled with the creation. You know, when I got into creating my stuff, I think it helps me because I internalize the ability to take on things I wanted to create on my own, to have control over those creations. So I'm not sure if it's attributed to the military or if it's just something that I had before and the military kind of just stuck with me because we were in that Limbo space. And I didn't have to go too far.

Brock Briggs  25:20  

But so it sounds like you were you were doing like some creation stuff, with like, your own videos and whatnot, while you were still in, and maybe the Guard aspect of that allowed you more time to be able to do that. I've never really quite been able to determine what this feeling is, but my entire time in active, I like literally felt like I couldn't even have hobbies. Like, they're just like, wasn't, it just felt like, there was just this oppression kind of, I don't know, that sounds really dramatic, you know. But like, “Oh, I can't do anything.” I mean, I still came home every night and, you know, did all of these things and sort of carried on this life, but like, the military just came to dominate my identity. And I felt like I had no outlet that was like myself. 

Joe Cardamone  26:13  

So my camera photography came after I was completely out of the military. So I did my own stuff. And so I was like, I would sketch and drawing. But actually, no, I fit into your bucket completely with that. I think when you're in the military, with the rules and regulations, and you know, I'll talk about art in general, right? When you're creating art, my favorite thing is, it's what I want it to be, right? And that could be uncomfortable. It could be joyous. It could be sad. It could be whatever, right? It's what I choose it to be, and other people can project their ideas onto it, that's fine. 

But my creation of it is that and when you're in the military, you have so many rules. You can't talk about politics. You can't, you know, and then not only that, but I feel like you pigeonhole yourself into people seeing you one way, right? Like, oh, they're in the military. So they must believe XY and Z, or they must, you know, this is kind of what they're about. And you have to have this weird, you have to climb up a hill just to get to zero. I think in a lot of people's eyes, or you have to do stuff for your military or veteran community, right? Like that they're going to appreciate or enjoy and I feel like that caps, so much creation. Like, even if you did have the time, you would start boxing yourself way too far in because that's the world we're living in the military. There's so many things we can't do. Yeah. 

Brock Briggs  27:47  

How do you think that you overcome that? And like I said, after I got out, it literally felt like, just a ginormous weight was lifted off my back. And all of a sudden, I'm like, looking at the same things. I'm like, “Shit, like, I can start a business. I can do like this.” Like, if you would have come to me a few years ago and said, “Oh, why don't you start a podcast about talking about military stuff? Or whatever, while you're in?” I would have been like, “Oh, I can't do that.” And so maybe it was an excuse. And like, I wanna own like any kind of laziness or whatever excuse that may be but like, how do you think that people that are maybe in that position and maybe feel capped creatively? And maybe not even on the creative aspect, but like wanting to do more while they're in? How do you think that people overcome that?

Joe Cardamone  28:36  

That's a good question. I think. Yeah, it's definitely contextual to the person. I would say, ultimately, probably getting out. But barring that, I mean, I say that half jokingly, half jokingly but half seriously. Like, you said there was a release. I felt that, you felt it. When you get out like there's just a level that you're not carrying this burden, or this thing that is kind of pulling you down creatively. But I would say there are other avenues looking back on it now.

I definitely could have, you know, I could have learned Photoshop. I could have learned video editing. I didn't have to create the thing I was ultimately thinking at the time, but I could learn the tools and the skills and take the time to say, “Okay, I know I want to do X, Y and Z. What do I need to do X, Y and Z, right?” It's learn this program or do these things, take the time to do those things, add tools to your toolbox. So that way when you aren't feeling tap creatively, you already have that foundation and you can just start executing on it. I would say that's probably the best one.

Tim McCarthy  29:47  

For me, like thinking back on it, because we were kind of talking before we had started recording but like for me, like I do the videography thing. I have my own YouTube channel. I stream on Twitch and that kind of thing. And I really enjoy that. And that's something that has always interested me. I don't know if I really relate to like having the same like creativity block. And this might be like an age thing thinking about it, or it has something to do with the military. But like, I remember, my wife and I like trying streaming out like on Twitch. 

When I was in it, it lasted like, two weeks that we're like, now this is like, for me, thinking back, it was almost like the judgment from other people in the military of like, why are you doing this? Like, this is stupid or, and like I said, I don't know if that's like a military thing. Or if it's strictly that I was like a 23 year old, 24 year old kid. 

And now that I'm out and I'm older and stuff like that, I just like have the like, I don't give a shit what you think of me mentality. But I definitely like cared what you thought of me, you know, five, six years ago. Maybe it's the age, maybe it's the military. But that's kind of where I felt a little bit more kept was just like caring about what people thought.

Joe Cardamone  31:12  

Yeah, I would suggest they're probably not mutually exclusive, right? Like, yeah, when you're in the military, we all know, it's also like a tribe, you know. You've got this thing that you've been through or done that. There's only a few people that can relate to it. And so when they're looking at you and voicing their opinions, that's gonna weigh way heavier than people outside that tribe. On top of being young and thinking that those things also matter more than not than yourself and what you wanna do. I would say, it's definitely common. I would assume I can't speak for you, but from hearing it, probably definitely a combination of the two. 

Tim McCarthy


Brock Briggs  31:53  

I think I would agree with both of those things. A trap that I know that like I have fallen into is trying to like think too big. Like at the beginning, you're like, maybe you're in and you wanna like start a YouTube channel or whatever. And the task of it seems so daunting, rather than just trying to focus on like, okay, like, “I need a camera to do this. Like, maybe I'll start with that.” And like, just trying to break it down into like, smaller things. And that make up that goal eventually. But yeah, both of those things, I think are very, very accurate.

Joe Cardamone  32:32  

Yeah, I would say, also, advice wise, I actually just did a Twitter thread on this the other day, which is really funny, because I've been talking about it quite frequently. One of the things that helped me a lot was understanding my why, like, know your why. Why are you doing the thing you're doing, right? But I also broke it down to where it like, actually write it out if you're not able to write voice memos, or whatever. But it's like put down what your why is, then put down what does success look like. What does success look like, monetarily? What does it look like creatively? What does it look like personally? 

And then you can always add to it take away things from. Then answer them honestly, without self editing. Basically, bring down all the answers you want, right? And then start figuring out which ones overlap, which ones don't align with the why you're doing it. Those are the things you want to be able to answer for yourself. And then from there, you can draw out the goals like how do you execute on those? How do you reach those things that you've answered now. And I think that's helpful wherever you are. Because even if maybe, you can't execute on them right now. You have them laid out. You can always revisit. You can always edit after you've got them there. And you change your mind. Like let's say I'm doing photos now. 

But I don't know in a year, it's not gonna happen. I can't even say it a year from now. I don't like taking photography. Like, you know what I mean? Like, let's say I also do something else, we'll put it that way, right? It doesn't mean I can't change things, right? But it's helpful to have that background work there. So that you can do it when you're able to do it.

Brock Briggs  34:04  

I was listening to a Tim Ferriss podcast recently and he was actually talking about podcasting. And he was like, whatever you want to be doing, like you should look at it in the element of like almost that it costs you money to do it. Like if whatever this hobby photography, podcasting, streaming, whatever, you know. It costs you probably a certain amount of money to like kind of get going or whatever. What if it costs you like triple that amount? Would you still wanna do it?

And then understanding that like, tells you like your motivation is maybe bigger than just like, oh, yeah, it gets you over those initial hurdles, but then it also like insulates you from like, in the early days when your shit sucks, like, nobody watches your videos. Nobody buys your photos, like nobody's like getting on board with what you're thinking. You kind of have these illusions of like grandeur from the beginning, like, “Oh, I'm gonna, you know, sell like 10,000 photos of this” or I don't know what the example is. But you're really thinking big picture. But like at the beginning of won't be that way. You could be there, but you have to like, stick with something long enough and you have to care about something enough to get over that first hurdle.

Joe Cardamone  35:25  

Yeah, no, I like that. And I've never heard the triple cost. I like that a lot. I would also add your, especially nowadays, with technology being amazing, I would almost use instead of cost making time cost, right? Like your time is, you know, it triple your time, right? I always use what's my price to play, right? Like if it's gonna take me time to do this, what am I willing to give up? I've got untouchables, right? Like quality of life for my family, my kids, those are untouchables, right? Those sit in a different bucket, right? 

Outside of that things that I'm doing that I can control, or get rid of, or change or whatever, you know, do I stay up till 2am to edit photos? Because that's the time I'm able to instead of watching Netflix, or instead of going out to the bar set of whatever, right? So what's your price to play? What are the things you're willing to shift or cut out or move around to do the thing you love? And for me, that's time everything revolves around, time to do it.

Tim McCarthy  36:25  

That's definitely something that Brock and I. Sorry to cut you off, Brock. That's definitely something that Brock and I have talked about at length is like, how we've noticed that everything has kind of shifted to time, like everything, for us, like comes down to our time. Is it worth my time? What am I giving up? What could I be doing instead of this that may be a little bit more productive? And I think that's just something that you realize as you get older and have a family and time starts to like really kind of dwindled down to how important it truly is, you know.

Brock Briggs  37:03  

Because I don't have a family yet. And I already don't fucking have time.

Tim McCarthy  37:08  

Yes, you do. You have your fiancee. You two are family. 

Brock Briggs  37:12  

Oh yeah. I'm not taking care of any kids, so.

Joe Cardamone  37:15  

Well, again, wait, it goes back to perspective, though, right? Like you haven't experienced that yet. So it's valid for you not to have the time you're having now, right? Like, that's totally, like, I didn't see that till I experienced X, Y and Z, right? Like, my partner is going to nursing school and she you know, when she was going through it, we're like, “Oh, God, we have no time.” Right? 

Then she graduated, and we had our daughter. And we were like, “Oh my god, it's so much time in nursing school.” 

Tim McCarthy


Joe Cardamone

And then we were like, “Oh, my God, being a parent is crazy.” Then we had our son, and we're like, “Oh, my God, one kid was so easy,” right? But like, there's, it's all about perspective and experience, right? So like you saying, like I already don't have time is valid. Like it's right now in your life and what you're doing and what you wanna do and how you wanna approach it. You may not have the time you want or need. So yeah, I would say just don't be hard on yourself. Sorry, I'm not taking luxury, but like it's true. Like everyone's experience itself is different.

Brock Briggs  38:15  

I should be paying you for this therapy session. Thank you for validating. I appreciate you. This is like a really two for one interview. I love this. So I'm curious. We have like totally derailed like in so many different directions. I wanna get back to your acting. What is your “why” going into acting? Won't be totally worthless, all of our conversation. What was your “why” going into acting? You were talking about that in 2014. What's your why? How does that get started?

Joe Cardamone  38:51  

You know, what's funny is like I just sat here and talked everything about well, I have my wife or my photography that I won't go into because that was personal. But I never actually did a wire for acting. It was because acting was the first epiphany, kind of keep saying lightning bolt and the word I'm looking for as I had my first epiphany moment in my life, like ever, with acting. So like it hit me to my core to the level that I have never experienced before. And trying to think about what that like I know success for me, monetarily, would be being able to do a full time job and there's no number price for me. It would just be I don't have to worry about bills, because I'm doing acting and getting paid for it, right? Like I didn't put a number down. 

But that's what it would be creatively, it would be being able to be a producer or screenwriter, somebody with creative control and also acting in a show like the guys from It's Always Sunny, right? That would be creatively a success for me in acting. Personal success would be just being a regular or lead in a TV show or a movie like a studio movie, right? But like outside of that, like drilling down further, I never really did it. 

And I think part of the reason was it just, I knew was just something I love to the point that nothing I have ever experienced hit me like that. I'm using that kind of as a cop out because of what I just said about outlining your why. But about it, because I did that with my photography. Photography hit me the same way. But also because I get control photography. Like I don't get to control who buys it or like this specific aspects of gatekeeping. 

But with acting basically nothing relies on you, right? Like you can do what you can to improve your skill, or your craft. But everything else like I could be the perfect, I could do everything right. But go “Oh, he's got brown hair” and not getting the job for acting, right? Like that it literally comes down to that level of you know, sorting and sifting for it or like he's got a beard. Well, I can shave my beard. Like that's an easy fix. Like I can't change my height or well you can but like that's what I'm saying it's like, all these things are you can do Tom Cruise's 5’4 but he looks 6’3. And it's because right like it's possible to do these things.

Tim McCarthy  41:19  

Is he only 5’4?

Joe Cardamone  41:21  

Yeah, think 5’4. Yeah, I'm pretty sure. 

Tim McCarthy

That's crazy. 

Joe Cardamone

Yeah, see? Exactly you don’t even know, all these years you didn't even know. 

Tim McCarthy


Joe Cardamone

That’s what I mean. 

Brock Briggs  41:28  

It was like caulk that out in Top Gun real nicely.

Tim McCarthy  41:31  

Yeah, big time.

Brock Briggs  41:35  

Meanwhile, he can't even reach the pedals. 

Tim McCarthy

His feet are dangling. 

Brock Briggs

Like, they've got those, like what blocks you know, as if, like, that's not how you fly a jet. There's not pedals. I don't know why.

Joe Cardamone  41:49  

You have to be imagery of woodblocks in a fighter jet. It's hilarious. 

Brock Briggs


Joe Cardamome

No, but that's yeah, that's there was so much. I think part of it, if I'm thinking about it, honestly, now. Part of it, is probably that like it, it's a place that it's a thing that I love that just relies too much on other people, for it to be, you know, until you get to a place like if I get to a place where I hit one of those high level markers that I have set for myself with it, then I could probably break it down.

Alright, now why would you keep doing this? You've hit this milestone. You've hit this thing. Let's break it down now that you're able to break out of some of the gatekeeping or some of the things that you don't want people to know. Yeah, hopefully that answered the “why” for now.

Brock Briggs

We’ll take it

Joe Cardamone

All right, fair enough.

Brock Briggs  42:44  

So you still like will take acting things though, right now? Like that's not something you've totally like, put aside because of that gatekeeping aspect?

Joe Cardamone  42:54  

Yeah. Yeah. You know, it's funny because also the longer you get into something, like I haven't paid my dues in the sense of like that when everybody says, “Oh, you gotta pay your dues,” like, you've got to, you know, crawl through shit to do so I don't believe in that. But in the sense of like putting in your time, putting your hours like doing stuff that you know, is beneficial to help you grow and get better at the thing you're trying to get better at. 

So I've done a bunch of like extra work on shows and films and then like I said, we did our own productions especially on my own short films. I did screenwriting. I've been on sets and other aspects. And I was also been in supporting roles and a few tiny, like, indie lead roles and stuff like that, right? So I've been on sets, large sets, HBO just like stuff like that. So I've seen how they work. I understand the mechanics of it. I understand the etiquette of it, all of that, right? 

So I've become like, a lot more. Good lord! I'm blanking on words today. It's not strange. I’m a lot more drill down, whatever, and picking the roles I want. Like, somebody's going to be like, “Oh, Joe, we'd love you for this student film that pays no money and we're shooting for three weekends and you know, whatever.” I'd be like, “Oh, no, probably gonna pass,” right? Like again, it goes back to the time. What have I done already? What do I wanna do? What am I excited about? Now, if it's a role that's like, let's say it's somebody that I really trusted long, that's doing it and the role is really fun, yeah, probably. But again, it's contextual. So yeah, I'm still taking, I'd still take roles and stuff but I'm definitely choosy now. 

Tim McCarthy

Or selective 

Joe Cardamone

Yeah, selective. Thank you. That was a word I was looking for.

Tim McCarthy

You’re welcome!

Joe Cardamone

My brain was gonna be worried in the background for..

Tim McCarthy  44:41  

I also had a light bulb moment or epiphany there with that. It's like selective is the word he's trying to say. One thing I'm curious about Joe is, so your brother, and you said it was your friend got both got cameras. And you're like, bet like sign me up. I'll be in front of the camera. What is that? Like? So they get the cameras. What does that look like? Like, is it just, “Hey, let's mess around and like make these little videos” or was there like a purpose? Like I know, that was what 2011? You said? 2012? 

Joe Cardamone


Tim McCarthy

14, sorry. So 2014, YouTube is like starting to kind of pick up some heat. What is that? What's the goal in starting?

Joe Cardamone  45:28  

Yeah, so. So actually there was when they first got it, I said, “Yeah, I'll be in front of it.” There technically wasn't a goal other than them to nerd out tech wise on their new toys they got, right?

Tim McCarthy


Joe Cardamone

They wanted to play with how this looks and like, “Oh, what can we do with the depth of field on this?” And like, “how does the audio sound?” And yeah, so they wanted to just, honestly, we didn't have a script, nothing. It was basically just filming little vignettes of nonsense like that had no story or purpose. It was just for them to play and see what they can do with it. But the first real one came. I wanna say like three or four months after that, they play with a whole lot of fun. I enjoyed it. 

And then there was this business competition for Bombay Sapphire gin, that they put out for filmmakers. And it was like, come up with a story idea and Bombay will produce it and stuff, right? For screenwriting and filming, we're like, “Oh, cool, this will give us a deadline we can get together. We can actually make a script. We can do this.” So we did it. We put together this whole script. We filmed it at my house and the whole thing. It was awesome. I loved it. It was so much fun. We didn't read the fine print. Bombay just wanted the premise and like a short summary. They didn't wanna film. They didn't want anything else, just the premise. 

And if they liked that idea, they would produce it for you. So we went through this whole thing, this large scale. They got everybody together. It felt like it helped me, that helped solidify me loving it, but also like us saying, “Oh, okay, to go further with this, if we wanna keep doing this fun thing. Like, we need to have some kind of structure around it too, right? We need to edit. We need to, like get people on certain times. 

Tim McCarthy  47:13  

Something like that. It like gives you like being in the creative space or like doing any sort of like videography, acting, photography, like anytime you have like, “Hey, here's my goal. Here's your project, like we need to do this.” That is like a cool feeling, especially when you go from just kind of like dinking around on a camera to like, “Oh, this is what I need to do. And like I need it done by, you know, I need it done in three weeks.” So was it really so much like for winning the thing or winning that competition for Bombay? Or was it more so just like we have something we can do like this is legit?

Joe Cardamone  47:55  

No, it was the second one. Like, we didn't wanna like cut ourselves off at the knees and saying like, “We're not gonna win.” Like we were like, “This is a great idea. Let's throw our hat in.” Like I'm always, I've always even before military everything. I think it's something my father instilled in me. But like, his whole thing was “make them tell you now,” and basically revolving around, like, do what you can. Don't say no to yourself, right? Like, don't put yourself out of the game. So I've always been a fan of just trying it, or reaching out or doing it my own. 

And then, you know, if, you know, I reached out to a bunch of companies and people saying like, “Hey, I'd like to do a photo shoot.” They're either not gonna answer, they're gonna say no, or they're gonna say yes, right? Like, those are my three options. If I never said it, it's always gonna be no.

Tim McCarthy  48:44  

So no risk, high reward situation.

Joe Cardamone  48:47  

Yeah, yeah. And then I've done what I can, like, the only thing I can is reach out to people, like do my work also. But like, the only thing I can do is reach out or try to talk to people or try to connect with them or whatever, right? And if that doesn't happen, then I've done what I can. Yeah.

Brock Briggs  49:05  

You hit on something there that I think Tim and I both and you probably understand and feel as well as, especially something in the creative space is that you can spend so much time like reading and like listening to podcasts about how to do things that it like just it's all consuming of just like. You think that there's gonna be this epiphany, the lightning bolt moment where all of a sudden it's just like, “Oh, it's clear how to do this.” 

And the reality is, it just isn't. That is not what happens and the way that you learn how to be a photographer, you go take some pictures. You can read it till the cows come home about cameras and like angles and like all these things. But the way that you actually learn how to do it is get better. 

Admittedly, I probably listened and read stuff about how to produce a podcast for six months before like, we actually did this. And finally, it just got to the point where I was like, I just need to do it. And that getting over that hump is like, it goes back to the why thing. Like, you know, you're working through it. You wanna be better, and you would do it, even if it costs you money. And like, you'll figure that out very quickly in something like this.

Joe Cardamone  50:26  

Yeah, it's a balance, too, right? Like you said, like reading all the podcast stuff, right? Like, there's value in it as well, right? But like

Brock Briggs


Joe Cardamone

The thing you don't wanna get sucked into is thinking you're doing it, because you've read so much, right? Like conflating the fact that you're learning to the thing that you're doing, right? And I think that's me, I've run into that plenty of times, right? I diagnosed ADHD as well. So, I like run head stronger than everything be like, “Oh, I'm gonna buy this.” But I'm like, I've got this sitting here but I've never attached it to my computer. It's sitting next to my computer. I've had it for a year and a half now. And it just staring. I keep it there now to look at and remind myself, like, just think about shit before you start spending money. Anyway, but like, yeah, so it's a balance. 

And I think that, like with school, like, you know, you said go out and do, right? Like, if you think somebody's going to photography school, and they go to this prestigious school. A lot of people do well. Those schools are actually having you go out and do stuff, right? So like learning and stuff is important. But if you're not doing it doesn't matter where you go, or what you're reading, or how you're doing it. If you're not experiencing it, you're never because the other thing the experience does, it gives you your voice, right? You get to find out who you are in this thing you're doing. And that is more valuable than any piece of paper, anything you're reading, anything, right? Like understanding your voice and the story you're trying to tell. You're not gonna learn that from anyone but yourself.

Tim McCarthy  52:00  

If you're waiting for something to be perfect, you are never gonna do it. Like if you're waiting for “Well, I'll start making videos once I get the new Nikon camera, because then my video quality will be great. That's my microphone.” Like you will never start because there will always be something that you're waiting on, or some sort of research that you need to do.

Joe Cardamone  52:25  

Yeah, no, you're absolutely correct. Absolutely, correct.

Brock Briggs  52:29  

There's another concept that, it's semi related to this, but comes from a guy, one of my all time favorite creators, his name's Jack butcher. He runs a marketing agency, really just adept at taking like really big concepts and breaking them down into. Like he has this very unique style of like, a black square, and just like a few lines, and it's just like, the imagery is insane what he can do with just a few lines. And he runs this course, I forget what the name of it is. But it's something about permissionless. 

And like working without permission to do things like you're saying with the photos, “Hey, you know, you could reach out to all these people,” and like say, “Hey, I wanna take photographs or whatever for you.” Okay, what if you just went and did that without asking them? What would happen? You know, and I have seen so many times, like we live in this internet age where, you know, if you go and put something truly spectacular together like a photography, like a set of images or something for a company without them asking, you put that online and they see it. Chances are, they're probably going to love it if the product is good. Like that's what matters. 

And we have the ability to do that. And so I really liked that concept and idea of doing something without permission because that feeds right into that same thing. It's like, “Oh, I'm waiting for the right piece of equipment” or “I'm trying to like ask people if I should do this.” And you should.

Joe Cardamone  53:58  

You know I like that. You said Jack Butcher.

Brock Briggs  54:03  

Jack Butcher, yeah. Jack, thanks for listening. I know you're one of the adoring fans, appreciate you. So you said something earlier about paying your dues when it comes to acting. And it sounds like, I would think that you've paid your dues. I mean, according to your resume, it looks like 17 movies, and a couple of television series including shorts and stuff like that, like what is paying your dues look like in the acting industry?

Joe Cardamone  54:40  

Yeah, that's a good question. I'm not Brad Pitt, right? Let's be honest with what’s here. I'm not Brad Pitt. 

Brock Briggs  54:51  

Kind of looking but..

Joe Cardamone  54:54  

I'm not gonna be plucked off the street and be like, “Oh my God, you need to be on camera,” right? That's not going to happen to me, right? So paying my dues is part of being because like, people like that, who are able to jump in, or somebody who's just got stupid raw talent and just, you know, whatever I don't know or know somebody, right?

The other thing is networking, other than those outlier people, right? Paying your dues is basically just being understanding how set works, understanding, you know, your responsibilities in whatever role you're in, right? If you're an extra, your responsibility is to be quiet, listen to the PAs, go where they're telling you to go. You know you're a cog in the machine, don't pretend like you're the name on the marquee, because they will remove you instantly and carry on, like nothing ever happened, right? So like, understanding the how things work in those worlds, doing your best to be respectful, kind, honest, on time, like just like, and then doing that a few times, like, and then part of that is, it's a lot. 

The other thing is honestly, I think part I paid my dues even before I went to acting with it, because of the military. It’s so much “hurry up and wait” in the film and TV world. “It's our video set, our video set. Everybody quiet!” They film for 10 seconds, and then you're sitting there for 30 minutes before they even do the next take or 15 minutes. And then they have a two hour break. And then everybody's in the waiting room till they call you back because they had a camera problem. Like I was just on set for a series, it's going to be coming out shortly, was an extra. So it wasn't like, probably a blurry, shiny hat in the background. But like, I did that because they were filming in my hometown. 

And I knew a bunch of people on set. So like I don't take extra work really anymore. I don't care what the company is just because it's so much time. And I've been through it so many times. It's not a ladder for success, right? You're not gonna keep doing extra work and eventually get to be the lead in it. That's not how it works, right? So anyway, so as long as and like, we filmed. I was there for 11 hours. And I think they filmed a total of maybe 5 or 10 minutes of one episode. Like so that's the level of hurry up and wait, and the amount of people and resources and time and everything that goes into these shows. 

So I would say that was a little rambly. But like, putting in your time is basically just like it is anywhere else, doing the work, understanding where you fit. And where you wanna grow to, too. Like, there are people that do extra work just because that's they get to make some money on the side, they're retired or they don't have a job or they just like, “Hey, it's fun. I don't really care. It's fun doing it for me.” Then that's fine, like do that. That's amazing. But if you wanna get to another place, then learn from the greats, right? Watching YouTube videos, practice with your friends, start a production company filling your own short films, right? Be on set as much as you can. Again, it goes back to doing the thing, right? 

Paying your dues is basically how much time, passion, energy, money are you putting into the thing that you wanna do. And then that level is gonna be different for everybody. But I think for the most part, people will know when they hit that level. Because if you're starting to get frustrated, if you're at this level, like level one, and you're starting to get frustrated, then you've probably put in your time. And you're frustrated because you need to be at the next level. So, yeah.

Brock Briggs  58:32  

You’ve talked about these complimentary things that you've been involved in that are part of acting, screenwriting. You've got some familiarity with, like the photography side. I'm sure that there's some kind of correlation that in the video and like producing an image and all of that. What are your thoughts? Or how do you think about focusing on just one thing, versus the supplementary things that may help? 

I think that they're in so many different fields. There's a lot of weird little tangential ideas that you could kind of get into, but sometimes those are a distraction. Do you think that those are a distraction to acting? And if not, how do they help you? And I guess how do you think about finding things that are actually helpful rather than justifying getting into too many things at once?

Joe Cardamone  59:30  

Yeah, that's a good question. For the ancillary things within acting, I got into those out of necessity, which I think, like puts me at a different level. Like I didn't go into acting and say, “I'm going to learn screenwriting. I'm gonna learn line producing. I'm gonna learn blocking with like as an ad almost. I'm gonna learn acting all at the same time. I'm going for acting, and then out of necessity, because we had five people on our set, and like one or two people were like, “No, I'm just filming. I can't do anything else. I don't want to. I don't know how to.” I was like, “Well, I'm not shutting this stuff down. Because we can't have somebody say stand here, let me look how it looks in frame like, or I'm not writing, so we're not gonna film anything. We're not on the script”, right? So a lot of it for me was necessity. 

But I think overall, it helped me because I get to understand being on set is a large machine. And each person does. But like, you get those cliche things like, “We're all family, and everyone here does their part,” like on a film set, that's true. Like, it's actually true. If the lighting person doesn't light right, the cinematographer can't capture it properly. The director doesn't, isn't able to display the vision, the actors are throwing it like their every tiny piece really does work in conjunction with each other. It is really a well oiled machine. So I got to learn those different roles, and how they work within that machine. So for me, it was helpful just because empathy and respect, like I got to like, understand, who does what, why they do it, and you know, where they fit in that ecosystem. 

So it's nice to know when I'm on set, and I see somebody pull out a 50 millimeter lens, or whatever. And I was like, “Okay, I'm not in the shot,” like it's narrow enough for whatever, okay. So those things help in ways that you wouldn't expect them to initially help. But it's just more knowledge than anything, because I didn't pour myself into it the same way than acting. I learned it and appreciated it. But that's basically where I left it. 

Brock Briggs  1:01:55  

Gotcha! We're always curious to kind of draw the connection between maybe how other people might talk or like, get into the space that you're in. And we've talked a little bit about how you got to start creating YouTube videos, the Bombay gin, being kind of like forcing that along, and maybe as a forcing function to get into there. Can you talk about some of the economics of being an actor? How much are you getting paid, being an extra at a movie? What is it? What is pay, like for a lead? Is it based on how well it does? Like if it's like a big box office movie, like? Or if it goes straight to streaming? Can you explain some of that? And maybe how somebody might approach getting into that field?

Joe Cardamone  1:02:44  

Yeah, no. So you actually hit on it earlier to like triple your cost, would you still be doing it and I think for acting, there's not too much overhead, right? Like now with our cell phones, we can film ourselves and audition with our cell phones, and edit it on an app on our phone, right? So like, the overhead is very, very minimal. It's more of a time aspect, right? You spend a lot of time learning lines, you've got to, you know, fail yourself. You've got to apply. You've got to wait for them to get back to you or you've gotta audition again. 

So there's not a lot of expense in the upfront other than time, which is to me is the largest class. But there's two different things. There's what's called union and non union. Union is which I'm sure you've at least all seen before SAG-AFTRA, right? Yes, the SAG Awards are out there, right? Like so, SAG-AFTRA is the union Screen Actors Guild and I came up with after stands for, they had a merger. 

But if you're in the union, just like all union jobs, you get preference, you get higher pay. You get like anybody that you see, like any of the celebrities, they're all in the union. They're all in SAG-AFTRA, right? It's very, very hard to be a supporting or lead, or reoccurring character in any large studio production or production company production without being in the union. You can't, you really can't. And if you're not, they'll get you in the union to do it, right? Like if you're great enough, or they love you enough. They'll get you your SAG-AFTRA card to get you in the union to do the production. Everybody else's. Huh? 

Brock Briggs

Why is that?

Joe Cardamone

Honestly, I don't know, politics? No, but also like, it's a union. So it's helping the act like they want to make sure the actors are not being overworked, are getting paid appropriately. It has healthcare retirement benefits, right?

So it's basically like being employed somewhere without it being an employer, right? And it's a union. So it gives you all the union benefits. So they want, you know, the production companies because that union exists, the production companies that put on production specific areas have to meet certain union quotas, so they have to have X number of union people on it. They can't have those union people go for too long time, get paid properly, etc, etc, right? So that's the main reason. And then everybody else is non-union. Non-union is you can, I can say, because I'm non-union, so, but they could say to me, “Alright, we're gonna be filming for 12 hours. Do you wanna do that?” Like, yeah, like there's not like I can't, I can push back and say I want to film for 8. And if I'm the only person that can be alright, cool, we can just say it’d be like, “Oh, we'll find somebody else.” Like they're not. 

There's nothing, there's no standard for me to push up against. I'm basically in, you know, on my own as non-union. If you're working for a production company, there are levels of pay. If you're an extra, could be like $150 for the day, it's like 12 hours. If your SAG union, I think it's like 200. So it's not crazy, more expensive, because extra work is like I said, you're a very small cog in a machine, and very easily replaceable. 

But once you become lean and stuff, there's what's called scale rates. So that varies. I can't tell you what those numbers are offhand. I have no idea. But that's you know, if you're in the union and you're a lead in a TV show, I think I wanna say it's probably like 12,000 a day or something ridiculous. It's a decent amount of money for large production for a lead role in a large production movie yourself. And that's scale too. 

So that's the minimum you get paid, so SAG has different scales depending on who you are or potential company. But then there's people who get paid more because they bring an audience, right? Like if you're you know, if you wanna go see, God I almost said The Rock, but yeah, if you wanna go see The Rock movie, right? Like they're paying him millions of dollars because he's The Rock not because he's in the union, right? He's both. So there's a minimum they're gonna pay him, but they're not paying him that, right? 

Brock Briggs  1:06:58  

I’d tell you for a fact he's not getting paid on like acting ability, like..

Tim McCarthy  1:07:02  

Whoa, whoa, guys, come on. The Rock is a great actor. Yeah, that's right. Fast and Furious, hello!

Brock Briggs  1:07:11  

Yeah, Tim's got no fucking tastes in movies. So don't listen to him. Unless you're a Fast and Furious fan and then I guess we're ending this interview. 

Tim McCarthy

That's right. 

Brock Briggs

You'll only live your life a quarter mile at a time.

Joe Cardamone  1:07:26  

Yeah, that's up on my wall somewhere, I think.

Brock Briggs  1:07:29  

It actually is on Tim's wall so..

Tim McCarthy  1:07:33  

It will, not that quote but I do have a picture on my wall of the Supra and the challenger lined up in the last scene of the Fast and Furious, the first movie and I love it. It’s great!

Joe Cardamone  1:07:49  

I can tell you love it because I saw your eyes light up when you looked over at it, while we were talking about it.

Brock Briggs  1:07:57  

Whenever Tim gets down on content creation, he just looks up and he's like, “Paul Walker.”

Tim McCarthy  1:08:03  

Yeah, it’s for Paul, you know.

Brock Briggs  1:08:06  

Right, oh my God!

Tim McCarthy  1:08:13  

Oh, God! Brock and I agree on a lot of things, unfortunately movies is not one of them. I’m too easily entertained. I'm way to like add, that care about like character development and all that stuff just like have cars and explosions and maybe a couple of fight scenes and like, “I'm good. That's a great movie.”

Joe Cardamone  1:08:33  

I'm probably a mix between both of you because like I compartmentalize my entertainment versus like what I'm going into like.. 

Tim McCarthy


Joe Cardamone

As long as the expectation, they're not lying to me with the expectations. I don't go watch a Fast and Furious movie for amazing like subplots and extreme character development, right? Like that's not what I'm going to watch. I am going to watch cars fly across them into space, right? That’s what I’m going to watch. 

Brock Briggs

If they were trying to go to the next one, you know.

Tim McCarthy  1:09:01  

They were already there, this previous one. They were..

Brock Briggs

Are you serious? 

Tim McCarthy

I swear to God, dude.

Brock Briggs

Just drag racing on the rings of Saturn, like?

Tim McCarthy

No, no, they just happened to launch I think was a Pinto in this space to like hit a satellite or something.

Brock Briggs  1:09:15  

Oh my God!

Joe Cardamone  1:09:17  

Rockets just low Earth orbit. It's not crazy, don't get ridiculous.

Brock Briggs  1:09:22  

Right, yeah. They gotta like really space it out and like leave room for more add ons like we're gonna really we've got at least 20 more movies coming in that series. 

Tim McCarthy

I hope so

Joe Cardamone  1:09:35  

You just made Tim and I was all excited, like wait, yeah.

Brock Briggs  1:09:40  

Tim’s like I think I'm gonna need to get into acting now.

Tim McCarthy  1:09:42  

I do. Catch me on Fast and Furious 38, you know?

Brock Briggs  1:09:46  

Oh, yeah. I really really hope not. What I guess what interests you when it comes to like, you know, your expectations for like when you're going to watch a movie? What kind of things do you want to be a part of as I kind of looked through some of your prior things. I got a very strong like horror thriller, like theme in several of them is that the kind of stuff that you're into or?

Joe Cardamone  1:10:15  

What's funny is not at all. 

Brock Briggs


Joe Cardamone

So I think part of the reason I like doing those were first off, most of those were friends. So like, and it's very in the budget around where I am because I'm in Maryland. So there is not like we used to have Veep the show film here, but that moved. House of Cards filmed here, but then everything was Kevin Spacey, right? Like so we had a couple of productions here. We have the wire ages ago, I was too young for that. But like, other than that there's nothing filming here, right? 

So like, anybody that's doing movies here is no budget to low budget to maybe like kinda big budget. So a lot of it around here is for, right? Because also the co-creator and co-director of The Blair Witch Project is from Maryland, right? And Sanchez is from here. So like, people started hopping on that train after the Blair Witch came out. So like this became like place like, “Oh, there's ones here.” And like, this is where the Blair Witch was filmed. And you know, we can film or guys from. So we can film here, too. So I did that, because that's basically what's around here. I actually am not a fan of thriller. 

But what's fun as an actor is like, because you're not watching it. You're in it. Like you're doing the scenes and it's not lit the way it's lit when they edit it and you're sitting in a you know, a chair on the side eating you know, a burger in between takes and watching like other people and you're just bullshitting outside watching this film crew follow people around in these leaves. And it looks way way different to like the whole being, seeing how the sausage is made for horror movies. It was actually a lot of fun. Like, I like being in it just for the like it, doesn't it not watching it, right? Being behind the scenes is way more fun.

Tim McCarthy  1:12:02  

Like working in a haunted house for 12 hours.

Joe Cardamone  1:12:06  

Yeah, I know. I'm not being scared at all. But it's like, I do not want in any of the things was I like, “Oh my God, that's terrifying.” But walking, so I'm really like, “Oh, they did a really good job.” Because that was outside. I was looking at going..

Tim McCarthy  1:12:20  

Yeah, that's funny.

Joe Cardamone  1:12:22  

But if I were to pick, if I got my dream job right now, it would literally to be a lead role. And like, It's Always Sunny for like Parks and Rec type of show. Like something like that, where a comedy is my jam. Comedy is my book. I love comedy, and especially like dark comedy or quirky comedy. Like that's, that would be my ideal situation, because you watch the outtakes, too. And they get to riff with each other and like even while they're filming, like forget the fact that you get to do that on the side and have fun and enjoy hanging out with friends and doing something you love. But even just like while they're filming they're having a blast, right? So that would be amazing.

Brock Briggs  1:13:07  

What kind of want to like wrap up the movie talk here so we can talk about some photography stuff, but what's a TV show or movie that's like super high on your list in terms of, I'm guessing that you bring a different eye to watching things, like you know, Fast and the Furious like you said you know, you're not critiquing too hard. But you probably bring a different type of creative eye to watching films. What do you think is a TV show or movie that's extremely underrated? Maybe right now that's on or just in general.

Joe Cardamone  1:13:47  

One of my favorite TV shows I watched was Luther, with Idris Elba. He basically played not sure like copy paste like a mini Sherlock Holmes with Colombo mixed in, in England. So he played the detective in England and but not like to the level of Sherlock Holmes. He wasn't like but that type of vibe and it turned yourself but he was amazing in it. So I like that show, it was really cool. I think it was well read. Sherlock also, I'm not Sherlock fans. But Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch, it's not underrated. People love it. So that wouldn't really count. 

A movie, I think people forgot about that I absolutely love that really got me interested in how like how the writing works and how interesting it would be as an actor to see was Memento with Guy Pearce. Memento is a phenomenal movie and one of those movies where you're talking about twists and light shadow on twists and stuff but one word like just the lack of linear progression and like how they had to film it and like putting it together to like. I just, I don't know that movie is a trip to watch. So even, I’ve seen it a bunch of times. Memento was probably one of my favorites from that aspect.

Brock Briggs  1:15:01  

Yeah, it's a very, like I said not linear or like unseemliness timeline but filmed and produced in a way that is like shockingly seamless. I would bet you 10 bucks. Tim hasn't seen it and if he has, he hated it.

Tim McCarthy  1:15:20  

I have not seen it. So, yeah. No, I can't speak on it. There's movies I have not seen unfortunately.

Brock Briggs  1:15:29  

Joe, if we want to talk offline about a little way on Tim, we can. That's your homework tonight. Go watch Memento.

Tim McCarthy  1:15:36  

Perfect. Perfect.

Joe Cardamone  1:15:38  

Look how excited you are, Tim. 

Tim McCarthy  1:15:40  

Oh, yeah. I can't wait. It seems like it'll be a great movie. Especially if Brock says I will hate it. I probably will. So are there fast cars, girls, explosions, anything like that?

Joe Cardamone  1:15:56  

Oh, a tiny bit of each but not what you're thinking.

Tim McCarthy  1:15:59  

And then I'm out. It's a no for me, dog.

Brock Briggs  1:16:03  

Yeah, not quite. It's no Michael Bay movie. That's for sure.

Joe Cardamone  1:16:08  

Yeah, that's very accurate. 

Brock Briggs  1:16:11  

I don't know a lot of directors but I'll never pass up an opportunity to thrash Michael Bay.

Joe Cardamone  1:16:20  

There’s an ambulance movie coming out, you prepare for that. This is actually, right up your alley. 

Tim McCarthy  1:16:29  

Yeah. Who's the main actor in it? I think I saw the preview.

Joe Cardamone  1:16:33  

I don’t remember now. 

Tim McCarthy  1:16:34  

Jake Gyllenhaal? 

Joe Cardamone


Tim McCarthy

Yes. Yeah, that looks so good.

Joe Cardamone  1:16:42  

You've got to watch the trailer. The trailer is like, I literally after the trailer, I turned and I was like, “Why? Literally why?” Like I had so many..

Tim McCarthy  1:16:54  

That trailer came on when my wife and I went to go see the new spider man and my wife and I looked at each other and we were like, “can't wait.” Like, that would be good.

Brock Briggs  1:17:05  

I can literally just tell from the thumbnail of the trailer that I wouldn't watch it. Like it's literally Jake Gyllenhaal. And he's like looking down the barrel of a gun.

Joe Cardamone  1:17:15  

Also, like, he pulls these people into this thing. And then like one of the parts of the trailer, he's like, “I'm gonna get you home.” It's like I literally started this thing by pulling into this heist thing that you're doing, and then pretending to be the savior in it. Like that's not how these things work.

Tim McCarthy  1:17:33  

But to be fair, I feel like I watched the entire movie just on the trailer like

Joe Cardamone

Yes, 100%.

Tim McCarthy

Alright, let's move on to photography, coz we’re going down a dark rabbit hole here.

Joe Cardamone  1:17:47  

You discovered some things about each other? 

Tim McCarthy


Brock Briggs  1:17:50  

We're going to be real good friends. One thing that I noticed, so we're going to put the link in the show notes so people can go check out some of your really incredible photography. And you mentioned this just like briefly before we started recording, but a lot of the themes that I see in your photography are just like, you really capture a lot of like, people. You mentioned that you don't really care for landscapes and you can you can talk about that here but you capture some really really emotional images. And some things that I, you just like, you can feel it even if it's just a person and they're just looking at you. You're like, “Oh wow, like I feel this photo.” And so when people check it out or whatever, there's a ton of pictures of like the Black Lives Matter protests. So I'd love for you to kind of talk about how you got into photography and then getting into some of these great shots.

Joe Cardamone  1:18:53  

Yeah, no. Well first of all, thank you for the compliment. There's somebody who does photography. I always appreciate when people can say that and connect with the work like that ,truly means a lot. Yeah, I do want to read or in case someone landscape photographer friends are listening to this. I absolutely adore other people's landscape photography.

Brock Briggs  1:19:14  

Like people who do it well

Joe Cardamone  1:19:18  

People who do it well astounds me because when I do it, it looks like a potato picture, like I can't. Like I can see it and flame it like how I do all my photos and be like “I see this thing here, let me capture it.” And then like I've had like one or two nature-y ones that I really like, but like I've never done like a landscape one where I'm like, “Oh damn, look at this.” I've always been like, “All right.”

Tim McCarthy  1:19:47  

Well, that's what I was just about to say like also looking at your photos. There are definitely like a handful of nature-y pictures like the snake. Like you got some hair of the water, which are like super, super well done. So you're yeah, you have some good ones on there, but it is mainly the people.

Joe Cardamone  1:20:12  

Yeah, yeah. And like I said, it's more nature-y. It's like, “Oh, there's this cool thing that happened here in nature that I saw.” Right? But like, actually like the viscous and, like rolling field. Like I've been to a bunch of rolling fields, like a small barn in the middle, I can't see the pictures. I got it back. I was like, “This looks like clipart. What am I doing? What is this? Like? This is not.” But yeah, for the Black Lives Matter protest, I don't wanna touch on too much, just because it's not really my story to tell, right? Like, it's, I have those up there because it's a moment I think should be amplified. That happened. 

But for those, I would suggest people checking out black community members that are doing photography in the city, to get more on the story of the photography they're doing just because it's not. That's part of the reason I put them up is for conversations like this to be like, “Hey, if those pictures means something to you, those were in Baltimore, and there's, you know, a ton of incredible black photographers in Baltimore, that you can go check out their work and look at them, and hear the story from the people that are living it every day. 

But for like people in general, like taking pictures in general and seeing I don't know, like, it's weird, because I just take, I take the picture when it feels right. It's really hard to distill. Like, if I see somebody look a certain way, I'll snap the picture. Some of them I'll have like three or four pictures that I take before I get to the one I like, right? But I'm also not a big, put it on burst. Like I'm taking, like, you know, with you sitting there, you know, with a microphone like nodding your head, right? I'm not going to take 600 pictures right now trying to, you're just not like I'll probably take five, right? 

Tim McCarthy

Sure, sure. 

Joe Cardamone

One of them's gonna work or it's not, because I'm seeing what I'm seeing. And I'm either gonna be all captured on Marketo capture. I don't wanna come home with a memory card of 3000 photos I have to go through of photos, right? So honestly, it just, I don't know. I like shooting things that I like, is what it comes down to, right? So I've got concert, that's why it sounds like such a mix isn't about concert photos, some nature ones like we talked about a mix of black and white, and color. Event ones portraiture, like I've got a mix of everything, because I literally take pictures of what I wanna take pictures of. So I don't really have a specific genre I stick to.

Tim McCarthy  1:22:48  

Funky Tees is on here.

Joe Cardamone  1:22:53  

I think that was my most interacted photo I put on Instagram.

Tim McCarthy  1:22:58  

Well, it's funny too, because it's like really sad to look at. Like anybody that like in our generation, like, that's so sad. Like another one. Another good one that could be very similar would be like a Toys R Us that's like..

Joe Cardamone


Tim McCarthy

Anyway, sorry, Brooke. 

Brock Briggs  1:23:18  

No, no, you're okay. Earlier you were talking about the desire to, like lean more into photography, because you feel more creative control. And that's something that's super unique. Like you're talking about having a mix of like, all these different things, and you're just like, “Shit, I don't know, I just like do stuff that I like.” And that's something that's so cool. And like that develops your unique style over time.

Joe Cardamone  1:23:43  

Yeah, yeah. And it kind of actually correlates like I said earlier, like being in the NFT space now. And being in the Twitter space and talking with these artists. Like this is a, you know, it's a weird Wild West World right now in there. But there's already people like thinking they should pigeonhole themselves like, “Oh, I should only release NFT photos and street photography, because that's what I released first and people bought,” right? 

And I actually think the opposite, right? Like, I think, as, like, if you're releasing a collection of photos, not just in a few, but like a gallery, right? You want your collection to have cohesiveness as a collection. But it doesn't mean you have to stick to a genre of photography. It just means like, I can really sustain this collection of street photography. I can release a collection fashion photography. I can do one of concerts, each of those collections that have some story or cohesiveness, whatever to it. But like these are all me, right? Like these are all my photos. And they all exist because of me. 

So like I they I can't separate like, “Oh, I'm just going to stay here for me,” like some people would be like, “No, I found street photography. I don't care about anything else. This is my jam.” Like different like if that's your jam, if that's the thing that you're like, “Nope, This sticks with me and I'm just sticking with this forever,” then I feel the same way for them that I feel about myself. Like I'm a person that's doing everything. And that's what I wanna do. If you're a person that wants to pick something, then pick it but pick it for yourself. Don't pick it because other people are telling you need to drill down to something else.

Brock Briggs  1:25:18  

Yeah, and for those that are listening, that may be unacquainted, or unfamiliar, NFT's are non-fungible tokens. We're not going to like this is not a Web3 podcast, but go search non-fungible tokens, basically a digital image that is like secured and like verified on another network. And it shows proof of ownership. And especially when it comes to the Creator space allows creators like you, Joe to be paid in accordance with your work. That's probably like the most simple version.

Joe Cardamone  1:25:54  

That was probably the best simple, I think we can definitely move on and don't have thoughts about it. That was probably one of the best distilled versions I've ever heard somebody mentioned NFT. So, kudos!

Brock Briggs  1:26:03  

I spend a lot of time on Twitter. And so I am exposed to a lot of like, bullshit about crypto punks, and like all this other stuff, it's not bullshit. It's cool. 

Joe Cardamone

Yeah, I know what you’re saying.

Brock Briggs

I think it's, we're very early innings for that type of thing. And one of the unique features of these NFTs is like, let's say that a creator uploads a photo or like a photo series or whatever, the way that, to my understanding anyway, when that's bought, like, obviously, you're paid for it. And this is generally through cryptocurrency, and we're already losing some people. 

But what happens is when that is resold, you actually get a cut of that a second time. Each time that’s resold, a piece of that goes back to the creator. And so that's a very unique dynamic of kind of Web3 type things is like, really rewarding the creators for it, rather than just like, you know. Sotheby's putting on a real estate auction for a Picasso, you know. 

Joe Cardamone


Brock Briggs

So a very different equity

Joe Cardamone  1:27:14  

Yup, provenance equity, and the two biggest aspects of it. But yeah..

Tim McCarthy  1:27:18  

Joe, you said you released a couple NFTs, right?

Joe Cardamone  1:27:23  

I’ve only got one out right now. Because I wanna sell it and put the money into doing my own contract. To Brock's point about being able to get paid, like I can set my own contract for resales and all that stuff. So I wanna reinvest the money. It’s gonna cost you money to do everything.

Tim McCarthy  1:27:45  

Have you sold any of that first one?

Joe Cardamone  1:27:49  

No, no. And actually, what's funny is like that one is up, I purposely undervalued that one, so that people could buy it for because like I said, the space is new, nobody knows me. They know, they're starting to know me now because I talk to people and I like to interact and get to know everybody. And so I want people the ability to be like, “Oh, Joe's a great artist. He's a cool guy.” Like, I wanna give them an opportunity to buy some one of my works at a lower price. But this actually ends in February. So I don't know when this podcast goes up. So it may not even be up there. Because if it comes down, it's going up at a way higher price.

Brock Briggs 

Maybe there’s one still up

Tim McCarthy


Brock Briggs  1:28:31  

That's supply and demand. You gotta figure out your wallet situation here, Tim.

Tim McCarthy  1:28:35  

I know tell me about. Yeah, you need like four freakin’ wallets. I don't know. Hey, we can move on from NFTs.

Brock Briggs  1:28:45  

Yeah, I think that that whole space is really interesting. And there were very early days, I mean, a lot of people, myself included right now are like, looking at this space and seeing literally JPEGs selling for millions of dollars, like hundreds of millions of dollars. And I don't think that that's what's gonna be in the, you know, that's not what the space is gonna be in 510 years. But I think the whole idea around rewarding creators and like, proof of ownership is like a really big deal. 

Joe Cardamone

Yeah, absolutely. 

Brock Briggs

This is gonna be such a generic question. But I guess where should people start when they're starting to think about photography or let's say that you were starting over in the photography space, knowing what you know now. How would you start going about we're not going to talk about like learning how to take photographs because we've already established just go take some fucking pictures, but where should people start? If they want to just begin establishing like their own personal brand? You think that NFTs and like, that kind of space would be the place to do it or do you think?

Joe Cardamone  1:29:57  

So NFTs to me are an avenue, right? Like it's just, it's the same as selling my prints in real life is same as trying to get a gallery on a magazine. It's just another new path that's opened up for artists. So that's how I see I would definitely not do photography to do NFTs. Because then you're just chasing the bag, right? You're just chasing the money. And you can definitely win that, right? Like, you can definitely make a bag, do it. Get your money, if you can, that's fine. But like it's not, it's not going to be sustainable, right? Like you're, because at that point, you're basically the stock trader. 

So you're not a photographer, you're a stock trader who's doing photography to trade stocks, which is fine. Like I said, if that's what you wanna do. But if you wanna start out and you wanna do photos, we already touched on it, but can't be emphasized enough. Just go take photos, go take photos, take the 1000 photos. You're gonna look at an absolutely cake. And then you just keep taking them until you start to see stuff that you're enjoying, like, do it for you. Do it for you. Because, again, if you can't sell your work, you can't get in gallery, you can't get an NFT. What speaks to you and your take photos, because that will always last. They will always last if you're taking photos for yourself. 

And then have fun. Like, honestly, I think that's not talked about enough photography, because you know, it also becomes a product, right? Or art becomes a product when we put it into the world. But have fun with it. Enjoy it. You should be enjoying messing up. You should be enjoying experimenting. Play with your editing. Play with not editing by going out with one lens and say, “Alright, I've got this super zoom lens, what can I get today?” Or “I've got this shoe wide lens? What can I go capture? I'm only gonna use this for a week.” Right? What can I do with this for a week? Right? Play around, have fun. Do it for yourself. But do it and do it often. 

Also, advice. Don't delete any of your photos. Like you can delete the ones like that took off the ground or something, right? Like, but if you got to take photos, save them. External storage is so cheap nowadays. I know it's still, there's still some barrier to access with money for it. But for the most part, you can get 128 Gig flash drive for $15, right? Like get some external storage, save all your photos. Because if you keep doing this, when you look back on some of those three years, you'd be like, “Oh shit, well, this talk well, I like this.” And now that I know this editing style, now that I found my voice, I'm gonna be able to apply that to this thing I did, right? So keep your photos, keep all your photos. 

And even if you don't wanna put them out in the world, maybe 50 years and you're looking back like “Gosh, that was the first time I went and took photos. That's when I met Tom,” right? Like you never know when you're gonna see something and it'll be worthwhile just for memory or just worthwhile for you creatively or financially like you never know, so go do it. Do it often, fail often, have fun, save your work.

Tim McCarthy  1:33:05  

Well, I think that, so I'm friends with a girl who, she has a photography business and she's been doing it for years and obviously we're friends on social media and that kind of thing. She just released a, just posted an Instagram picture or Facebook one of the something like that but she was comparing like this is what four years worth of like doing it looks like and it is astounding. The difference of like this is when I first started taking, she does like portraits. People hire her for like senior pictures and engagement photos stuff like that. 

And it's crazy to see how much better so, just like what you're saying, just for that aspect of being able to go back and compare to where you started, to where you are now. I would assume it would only give you motivation to keep moving forward and be like “Wow, I've come this far in two years like imagine where I'll be in 10 years.” I also think as far as like establishing your brand, would you agree that right now, we're living in a world where no matter what your interest is you can make that your full time gig. 

So like if you wanna get into photography between YouTube, Instagram, Reddit, you know all these social media Platforms, Tiktoks. Like if you use Instagram to post your pictures but then use YouTube to you know, “Hey this is how I do this review,” you know. And then Tiktok, so I've seen so many Tiktok, people out there like taking pictures and then they show like them taking it and then “Hey, this is unedited.” You can almost like build a brand around you as a person and then you have all these different avenues. Now you open up brand deals and all this other stuff. Is that a good route to take you think for somebody like kind of starting out?

Joe Cardamone  1:34:57  

Yeah, so I'm kind of apart person to ask because I don't do that. I find that, me doing that, I get sucked way too into the swirl. So it takes me away from my why. I should be doing more of it in a better way. But I find it gets very unhealthy for me because that starts becoming a thing, right? I start like, “Oh, I gotta make sure I do this Tiktok behind the scenes,” and then I worry less about what I'm creating, right? 

Tim McCarthy

Sure. Sure. 

Joe Cardamone

Definitely people who are able to do it, who can use it as the tool it's meant to be used for. Yeah, absolutely. Like, I see tons of engagement, tons of people appreciating the work, it's a great avenue to like, also get your work out that you want people, when you're putting in the world, it's because you want people to see art. You want people to connect with it. You want some sort of interaction with people who are looking at it. 

So yeah, if you can use those tools, absolutely do it. For me, I need to get a little better at it, find a balance. I'm honestly, that's probably because I'm older too. Like I don't like I've kind of found my voice in photography. I know the next moves I wanna make. Financially, the next moves, I wanna make, execution wise with projects, with releasing and stuff. So like, at this point, I'd kind of just, I'm not worried about it. I'm not gonna try to do that to do behind the scenes stuff. 

And so but yeah, I think it's a great avenue, I would say also for building your brand. Make sure you have lines for yourself, ethical and moral and creative lines for yourself. Like, don't, again, it comes down to chasing the bag, right? If you're just doing that, then it doesn't matter. 

Tim McCarthy


Joe Cardamone

But if you're doing, if you're creating for it, make sure you know what those lines are for yourself. Because you can get sucked in, you can get pulled into so many different directions that can start chipping away at your why, but also like doing things. It’s gonna screw your respect, integrity and creative ability or control later down the road. And you don't wanna have, you don't want that to happen and look back and be like, “Kyle for Tiktok, really? I don't know that..” 

Tim McCarthy  1:37:12  

Sure. Yeah. Well, we live in such a world where everybody's trying to gain attention, whether it's, you know, for their own personal brand, or whatever else the case may be where it's so easy for people to put their content out there. But then on the flip side of that coin, everybody's trying, everybody's putting their content out there. So like the competition is so much higher, too.

Joe Cardamone  1:37:36  

Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it's especially photography. It's very saturated, right? But you know, you've got grandparents with a phone being like, “I'm a photographer.” 

Tim McCarthy


Joe Cardamone

Oh, where is that? I can get paid for this photo. I've turned on the photographer, right? Like so they want you know, NFTs or monetize their Instagram or whatever, right? So, you know, it's saturated, not just with people who are, who were “professional before social media,” but it's saturated with people who think they're this thing, because of social media, not because it's what they're pursuing. But because social media has given them the idea that this is what they do.

Brock Briggs  1:38:17  

Yeah, well, and the perception that you get on social media is like, maybe you're following a photography page for like, a couple years. And, you know, behind the scenes, the stuff that you don't see, there's somebody just grinding, you know, that's not their full time job. They've got this other thing, it's just something they do on the side as a passion project. 

And then, you know, you see, they monetize you. Maybe you buy a couple products from them, and then you go down the creative road, like “Oh, maybe I wanna get into photography,” and then your first thought is the monetization aspect. But you haven't like spent that time, you haven't paid your dues. Like you're saying with the acting, you haven't put in that time yet. And maybe, your stuff is so good, just that you can monetize it right off the bat. But more than likely, it's not. And you're quickly gonna burn out, if it's not something that falls into the category of your why.

Joe Cardamone  1:39:16  

Yeah, yeah, comparison’s always gonna get you in trouble anyway, right? Like, I think I said it really was like other people's stories on your story. So like, if you start comparing that like, not just the time and grinding, but my experience is way different than some of the other people's experience, right? So my story, I'm telling or trying to tell, or going to tell isn't going to be the same regardless. We could take the same picture, the same photo, have the same image, but have completely different takes on it. 

And, yeah, that's valid, and that should be celebrated. So don't compare yourself to what you see other people doing or trying to attain the same thing. Just probably your own path, and create your own journey and help out where you can get. And hopefully, that's basically the way to compare yourself.

Brock Briggs  1:40:04  

Yeah. You said that you have some ideas about what's in store for you. What is the next couple of years look like for you? If you can share? What are the goals that you have? What would you like to have accomplished either with acting, photography?

Joe Cardamone  1:40:21  

I'll leave off the site because it's still up in the air. I mean, there's still so many things shut down from COVID. And I've been really, like I said, I've been diving headfirst into photography and acting or like one A and one B, like what fits for me, right? Like if I got a job tomorrow, “So Joe, you're now lead and blah, blah, blah,” got cool, awesome. Like, this is my job. I can pay my bills this way. I'm happy doing it. Same thing with photography, right? 

But as far as goals for photography, I have a few in the NFT space. I have a few in the real life space. I have projects that I actually wanna work on. I don't wanna put the idea out there. But I wanna do a project with veterans. Not just after the deployment, but like, you know, we were talking about switching hats or transition from Reserve, regardless of right? Like, I want to tell the story of who they were before they joined, and who they were after either deployment or ETS, or, you know, and I have a couple of ways I wanna do it. But I won't get into the race. I wanna do something with that. But I also, I'm hoping this is where I'm hoping that the space takes off for me is because one of the other cool things is you get to do split contracts with people to give money directly to them, right? Like I don't, there's no middleman. There's nobody else, I can say I wanna sell this for $3,000. 

And if you buy it, immediately that money goes into this person's wallet. I don't get to see it. Nobody else gets to touch it, right? So like when I do a project like that, I wanna be able to get a charity or even the people I'm shooting, have access to that equity and value that I'm doing the project with. So like, that's a big goal for me is I wanna be able to give monetary value back to people who might help, especially in the veteran community. So that's one of my big goals. 

And I've got plans on how to do it. So I'm excited about it. I think logistically, it's gonna be kind of hard to do, because I got to actually go to these people and find them and see that they're cool with it and all that stuff. But yeah,  that's one of my big ones. 

Yeah, the other one is literally just to keep putting my art there and making it. The other thing is tough when it gets cold, because I wanna go out and shoot and I do. But like sometimes it's just like, “Good lord, like my fingers are falling off within this metal camera. But all I wanna do is go take pictures.” So like I just wanna shoot more. 

Brock Briggs  1:43:05  

Both of those goals sounds super interesting. I'll be eager to stay up with you and follow this NFT thing. I think that, that might have some interesting legs.

Joe Cardamone  1:43:15  

Yeah, yeah, I'm hoping so. I'm hoping so. And it's hard because like, I don't mind mentioning here, but like, it's hard to mention the NF T space because also you don't wanna come off as like a carpetbagger or something, right? You don't wanna come off as somebody who's like throwing up promises to be like, “Hey, if I get money, I'm gonna go do this thing,” right? Like I don't wanna be that guy. So it's always weird for me putting out my goals. Or like so especially in that space, because, like, I don't wanna be an empty promise person. 

And I feel like when you put out certain things, not only does it kind of give you this weird, like, “Oh, I've talked about it, so I have to do it,” aspect. But also then it holds you to a standard that other people don't know the behind the scenes or execution or what you're actually doing behind the scenes. They're just like, why haven’t you done this project yet? Or are you really planning to do the project? Or like, you know, so yeah, yeah, I'm excited about it. And I really, really, really, really believe it's gonna work out. So I'm looking forward to it.

Brock Briggs  1:44:15  

When you're genuine and honest with people. People, generally speaking are very good bullshit detectors. And they recognize intent very quickly. We're talking with Keith and Tyler of Dead Reckoning Collective a couple of weeks ago, and they said something like real recognize real, like you're gonna, you can see that intent and then people will want to support you based on that, it almost doesn't even matter what it is. 

So I think that there is that fear, but if your intent is good, and you know, start executing on a small basis, and then kind of scale up from there, I think you'll be just fine. Joe, this conversation has been super great. So, where can people go to follow along with you? Website? Social media? What do you wanna plug?

Joe Cardamone  1:45:08  

Yeah, I'm way more active on Twitter nowadays. I'm still on IG posting, but the actual like I get actual digital engagement and conversation I've made legitimate. I'm actually meeting people in real life in New York next week that I met through the NFT community that we're going to shoot photos and hang out and go see a show and have dinner and stuff, right?

I didn't get that on Instagram, not saying people don't but like Twitter, for me has been the space where I'm primarily active, but everywhere my website, Twitter, Instagram is @thejoecardamone. So like any anywhere you type, that is going to be me. I was fortunate enough to like basically grab that in all places. So yeah. Anywhere you search, thejoecardamone is going to be me, but Twitter is definitely probably the best base. I mean, if you wanna see my photos, too, because I've been posting a lot of those on Twitter recently. So..

Brock Briggs  1:46:07  

Well, this has been great. Joe. Thank you so much for your time. We'll put those links in the show notes. Thank you so much!

Tim McCarthy  1:46:13  

Thanks, man. Appreciate it. 

Joe Cardamone  1:46:15  

No, thanks! This was so cool. I enjoy it. Like it was fun just talking like I just enjoyed it. You guys are phenomenal and it was relaxed and fun and like thank you for having me. It was cool.