Today I turn the blog over to United States Marine Corps veteran Paul Matthews, to talk about how his service prepared him for his voiceover career.
I was elated to be asked to contribute to J. Michael Collins’ blog, especially on such an important day for Americans and Veterans worldwide.
You see, this holiday is a unique one. Rather than honor the veterans surviving, this holiday honors those who made the ultimate sacrifice. This concept, this ideal, is one many folks cannot ever truly comprehend. For it is the reason we service people and veterans sweat, train, and we desire to fight for our country. And if the sacrifice is such that we do not make it home, it’s ok. We know what we signed up for. Veterans just ask two things; One, let no sacrifice be in vain, and two, NEVER FORGET. So… on this holiday, this old Marine asks that you never forget. EVER.
I joined the U.S. Marines right out of high school, to escape my small-town existence. What a world did I discover! In the Marine Corps, I learned the true meaning of hard work, teamwork, and brotherhood. I learned to rely on that person that was a stranger just weeks ago, and I now call my brother. I saw the seeds of hard work grow into a disciplined, focused U.S. Marine. It was then life truly began. Although those lessons seemed harsh, or even hidden to me, I look back on the very foundation that built the man I am today.
However, do these lessons weave themselves into the fabric of today’s endeavors in the world of voice-over? Actually YES. Quite easily.
Determination: “Good timber does not grow with ease. The stronger the wind the stronger the trees” – Thomas Monson
When we start our voiceover journey we learn that there is so much more to voiceover than having a ‘good voice.’ How much formal training should I have? When will I be ready for a demo? In the military, determination is the name of the game. Despite the obstacle in front of me, a tower, a forced march, or even an unidentifiable enemy, WE MUST PUSH ON. Only determination and sheer will help us succeed. Voice over is no different, focus and determination will see me through. This attribute has been burned into my soul thanks to my military training.
Planning: “Plans are nothing; Planning is everything.” Dwight D. Eisenhower
In my job in the Marines, we facilitated the movement of troops and supplies over Sea, Land, and Air. It was our duty to make sure our troops, their vehicles and supplies got to the fight, no matter where it was. In voice-over, you must also plan. You must set goals and dreams, obtainable steppingstones to define your own success. We had to define the goal, then plan backward to make it happen. Just like voice-over. What is your goal? How are you going to achieve it? Take definable steps toward your goal. Make a plan. Blaze your path to success.
Comradery: “Hardships often prepare ordinary people, for an extraordinary destiny…” C.S. Lewis
The Marine Corps boasts the largest fraternity in the world. It is true. No matter age, location, race or gender, any Marine is part of the fraternity. Even as I write this, my phone buzzed with a message from a brother Marine I served with thirty years ago checking in and just saying ‘I am thinking of you today.’ I have heard from three different Marines this weekend. All part of a fraternal organization that sees only green and refers to one another simply as “Marine.” The voice-over community is the most similarly connected group to this same mentality that I have ever seen. I have met talent from all over the world. People I’ve never shaken hands with, but affectionately call “friends.” The VO community welcomes one and all, we are here to aide each other and root each other on. I’ve never been a fast runner. Really, I hate running. However, I’ve had my brother finish a three-mile run, and turn around and run it with me urging and rooting me on the whole way. In VO, you’ll never starve for support. We are here to lift up, root on, and build confidence in each other.
I spent thirty years doing what I was trained to do in the Marine Corps, but in the civilian world. When I left the service, I thought I left my fundamentals and training behind. But as I have found out, every step along each one of our journeys may be different, but are still the same. We need DETERMINATION, PLANNING, and COMRADERY to find our way in voice-over. And thankfully, our community is with us every step of the way.