It’s interesting how some things come full-circle.
I attended the funeral for the father of my best friend in college this weekend. As I sat there in the very last church pew, I listened as the priest spoke about all the things this father, grandfather, husband, and friend would never do again: tend to his garden, prune his fruit trees, play with his grandchildren.
A sad occasion, obviously…so I surprised myself when this :15 TV commercial featuring The Most Interesting Man in the World popped into my head:
There really is no better time than now to start beefing up your obituary – and as this concept settled into my brain, I began thinking of all the things I’d like to accomplish before I pass.
Not a “bucket list” of what I want to do, necessarily, but what I want to accomplish. And to me, those are two different things.
How will I be remembered? Will I even be?
There are plenty of things I’d like to do: visit a foreign country, sing in a band, resume playing with my indoor soccer league. Things I’d like to accomplish are a bit more difficult, because they require more time and effort and are harder to define in concrete terms: be a good father and husband, make a positive difference to someone through my poetry, land a national animation voiceover gig my kids would be proud of.
These kinds of accomplishments are not the kinds of things you go out and just do, and check off your list. They require time, patience, and wisdom…and although I have plenty of the first two, that last one I have found to be the most elusive.
I try to be a good father and hubby – spending time with the kids, teaching them, supporting them, supporting and loving their mom. I keep working to make inroads to get my children’s writing published, not just because it’s my vocation and I’d like it to be a career, but because I genuinely feel that someone, somewhere might benefit from it. Perhaps that’s unrealistic, perhaps that’s egotistical…I don’t think it is, but it’s what I feel nonetheless.
Working hard and taking chances
As for that voiceover gig, I’ll keep plugging away with that, too. I’ve voiced enough commercials, corporate videos, and other random projects…so a national animated voiceover project – while still a longshot – is an attainable goal if I don’t give up.
And I don’t!
If I come across an audition for a project that is not right for me (deep movie-trailer voice guy is one of ’em!), I skip it. But if I see something that I’m not sure if I’m right for – but could be – I’ll probably go for it and see how it sounds. How else does one grow and develop their skills if one doesn’t take chances?
How does one “beef up the obituary” – or the resume, for that matter – without a little extra perspiration?
Whatever you do in life, you’re not going to get any better or go any further if you don’t push yourself. Even if there are a hundred other voice actors competing for the gig, what have you got to lose? Even if your manuscript has received 50 rejection slips from agents and editors, the next one you send to might be the one who loves it! Whether I succeed or fail depends entirely on whether or not I give up, and believe me…I’ve failed so much that success just has to be around the corner!
(At least, that’s what I tell myself.)
TMIMITW took a chance!
Well, actually it wasn’t The Most Interesting Man in the World who took a chance – it was Jonathan Goldsmith, the Jewish, Bronx-raised actor who portrays him.
As I mentioned early in this post, things have a way of coming full-circle sometimes, and this is one of them. As I searched for the commercial online, thinking about those 15 seconds of wisdom the Dos Equis’ copywriters had shared about beefing up one’s obituary, I stumbled upon a recent blog post about how Goldsmith was cast as the company’s Latino pitchman.
If you don’t think you have a chance of scoring a big sale, nailing a big gig, or even winning a lottery…think about the odds that Goldsmith faced as a new York City Jew auditioning against 499 Latinos!
That’s right – out of 500 actors, he was chosen. And if the casting director had picked anyone else, The Most Interesting Man in the World would not be the man we know today.
It pays to take chances. And you only have NOW to take them. Tomorrow might not get here.
Better get busy.
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9 thoughts on “On life, death, and all that stuff in-between”
Such an encouraging post. Loved it!
Sometimes, fulfillment isn’t in the great trips, the big projects or in other milestones. It can be found in the small things, the inner journey and in unplanned moments of joy. Living that way prepares you for life’s delightful surprises. Sometimes we drop a pebble in a pond and notice the ripple effect of connecting circles in the water. A poem can be a pebble, or being there for a friend, or taking time for your family. Thank you for sharing your pebbles with us, Matt!
Thank you, Paul! And you’re right – only concentrating on what we perceive as ‘big’ and ‘important’ prevents us from enjoying or even pursuing some of the most satisfying and enjoyable aspects of what we call life. I’d rather be remembered as the Most Loving Father in the World or the Most Caring Husband in the World than the Most Interesting Man.
That’s fascinating! I’m glad you researched the guy. It’s hard to imagine anyone else doing that now. Great post!
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I always love to hear those behind-the-scenes stories about how actors landed roles. It’s fascinating! Thanks for sharing this one… I’ll remember your post every time I see this commercial from now on.
Thanks, Debbie – I, too, find it not only fascinating but educational, as well!