#43 – Vincent Joseph: Faith, Jay Leno’s Garage, and entrepreneurship. Had the pleasure to speak with USMC veteran Vincent Joseph. Vince shares his incredible story of breaking into the entertainment industry, our common belief in Christ, and insightful advice to entrepreneurs.
Aaron Spatz 00:05
I’m Aaron Spatz, and this is the Veterans Business Podcast. A podcast centered around the stories of US military veterans, and their adventures in the business world following their time in service. Its stories of challenges and obstacles. And then inside look at how veterans find their life’s work, their purpose, and their post military lives. Welcome to another edition of the Veterans Business Podcast. I’m I’m Aaron Spatz. Thank you so much for tuning in this week. I’d love to hear from you. If there’s an episode, if there’s a question, if there’s a segment that just really jumps out at you, I’d love to love to hear from you drop me a line at podcast at Bold media.us. I’m incredibly excited to welcome this week’s guest. This week, we have Vincent Joseph. Vince is a veteran US Marine, he’s spent eight years in the aviation side of the house as a pilot before transitioning out and starting sapient media. During this time, he’s had the pleasure of working with aerofilms united and time with drones for Jay Leno’s Garage, which will be really cool to talk about. Vince, thank you so much for joining the show. Well, Sarah,
Vincent Joseph 01:13
thanks for having me excited to be here and contribute what I can to your your great show. I appreciate what you’re doing for that. So thanks a lot.
Aaron Spatz 01:21
I know. Yeah, I greatly appreciate that. Yeah, I mean, really, I mean, the heart of the show is providing encouragement and providing a little bit of a behind the scenes peek at how people run their businesses, how they’ve gotten off the ground, have they failed, how they’ve crashed? It crashed and burned? Or how they’ve had to learn or, or, or re engineer certain ways of doing things. So no, I I really do appreciate. Appreciate, spend some time with me. But we’ll we’ll dive right into it. So just kind of just just for my benefit for the for the entire audience and give us a little bit of an idea of like, what was your upbringing like what what what inspired you to join the military.
Vincent Joseph 01:56
So I’m actually first generation here in the US My parents migrated from the middle east of all places, their traditional Assyrian, so have, you know, you guys are Bible follower, so biblical Assyrians, Jonah in the whale story. You know, that’s, that’s kind of my, you know, my history or my family history. My parents migrated here with nothing but the clothes on their back. And so, you know, this, this, this country gave my parents an amazing opportunity to literally come here with nothing, and to build a life where all their kids are successful. I, you know, I’m a military officer, of course, was in the Marine Corps. And flew cobras for about eight years. I’ve been a total active duty for about nine and a half years, but either way, so my parents came into the United States. This, this place gave them a life that we never would have had otherwise, I’m like a son, military officer, my brother is an officer in the army. My sister is in San Diego running a business and she’s doing very well. And you know, my mom has her own business as well. So, for me, you know, that’s that was my inspiration for joining the Marine Corps. And, you know, just seeing how my mom and her business and just business in general, I’ve kind of fallen in love with with the entrepreneur, curial mindset, if you will. And yeah, excited to hold business for sure.
Aaron Spatz 03:21
Yeah, no, that’s awesome. Well, I mean, he spent spent spent years i I affectionately call this time of year so we’re, you know, we’re in the middle of fall right now I refer to this as TBS weather because where I am right now it’s 39 degrees and raining which is like the perfect land nav weather I just I so finally remember, I said slightly tongue in cheek and I do say that with the degree of seriousness, it was this kind of weather just take take me back there. But the but you know, you spent spent eight years and so you’re a flight contract guy. Share with us a little bit about your experience there. You know, you’re doing doing work in the wing. And what was that? What was that experience like for you?
Vincent Joseph 04:04
So as a cobra pilot, I was with HMI for six nine vengeance out of Camp Pendleton. And I did three deployments with them. I was out on the USS Essex during Operation Tomodachi. So if you guys can remember, when the tsunami hit Japan, I was out there for that. Subsequently. Following that, basically I was out in Afghanistan for my first deployment and I volunteered to go back out to Afghanistan as a an aide basically an aviation aide to jet Brigadier General you when we shut down Afghanistan, so I was an aviation advisor, if you will, AirWatch officer where we’d be in charge of real time, control of aircraft during you know, whether it’s tick, whether it’s a downed aircraft and things like that, um, so, you know, be a cobra pilot, I was surrounded by a level of guys and gals that were just out This world people that were way smarter than than me people that were driven that were solid that were motivating, and you know, be a cobra guy, you’re you’re the tip of the spear. You are the first person that people call when I was when I was out in Afghanistan on my first deployment, I flew the operations officer who was called Science Mogh, amazing, amazing guy definitely beat me up in the carpet. Well deserved, I will admit that. But he really taught me just the importance of precision of knowing your stuff of being right on every time you had to be perfect. There were no bad days in Afghanistan, because I was him and I is the Operations Officer, we were tick, we were Troops In Contact, like when I was on, we were sitting in our office, we’d hear the air raid sirens, within five minutes, our aircraft was armed and we were loaded. And we were out, you know, in route to somebody who’s either dead dying or about to be one of those two. So you know, my experience coming from that really made me who I am today, I owe my business success, I owe my strengths. And my ability to succeed in the business world in the civilian side, to the Marine Corps, to being a cobra pilot, and to you know, my my Qadri and my crew and the people that I worked with. So you know, that in my experience, I am very fortunate, because I feel like my generation was one of the last generations that we’ll get to employ their tactical experience, their knowledge, their training in a real time environment. I mean, you know, training here shooting the white rock at Pendleton over and over and over the trips out to Yuma, Arizona, where we’d be flying until 2am. We’d land retired, do it again, the next day, all those repetitive things that I hated at the time, only to find myself praising the Marine Corps for making me do when I was in combat, you know, thanks to thanks to that training, I was able to suit to excel in combat. Um, you know, it just it made everything come together. And, you know, having had that experience, I just, it’s, it’s, I’m very thankful for it. Yeah,
Aaron Spatz 07:18
no, no, your, your your comments echo, you know, so many others. mine included, you know, it really, it really shapes you it really, it really molded you indeed. And I think I think you hit it right on the head. And sometimes, I don’t think we realize until later, how much of an impact it did have. And I choose to accept all the positive, positive stuff. And I try to throw away any negative habits, though. I’m sure I’m still working on some of those. But no, I mean, that. Really, I mean, really, really fantastic. There. So like, share with us a little bit, then your decision to get out what I mean. I mean, it looks like you dove right into the entertainment industry. So obviously, it’s not an easy place to set up shop. So I mean, walk us through that.
Vincent Joseph 08:04
So, you know, I joke about my, you know, who I am my foundation, you know, I’ll be honest, I’m always open and honest about this. I’m very, I’m a very religious guy, like, my, my faith is my foundation for who I am. And that’s and that’s something that that echoes in my business that that goes in, in who I am. And I want to make sure I communicate that, you know, not to judge other people not to make things awkward, but bottom line. It’s, you know, it’s it’s my core foundation. And so, you know, one thing it’s either I’m, I’m the luckiest man alive at a statistically impossible level or there’s a God and I’m exactly why I’m I’m where I’m supposed to be bottom line. So when I was in the Marine Corps, I’ve always been very driven. I wanted to become a military pilot, I want to be Marine officer, I accomplished both. I want to fly cobras, very, very, very, very tough job to even get right to be considered for because you have to graduate at a really high level in your, your your class or flight school class, which I did. So I got to choose my airframe and my Coast choice. So I got to choose West Coast Cobras. So basically I don’t want to work this. You know, being able to choose where I’m at what I want to do, has always been I’ve been driven to do that. So I knew that when I got to the Marine Corps, I wanted to make movies. As crazy as that sounds, you hear the stories of guys that venture out of wherever they’re from, I’m going to go to Hollywood and I’m going to become an A list actor. And you laugh about it. It’s laughable you’re like okay, yeah, enjoy going out and waiting tables to get you know, a gig as I don’t know, a zombie on Walking Dead. And that’s all you’re gonna do and that’s gonna be your claim to fame. So, so I was always very driven and I didn’t care about those kinds of hate. Alright, statistically impossible. that you’re going to be able to make in the film industry. So I’m like, You know what, I love the Marine Corps. I love flying cobras, and I love the people, I’m around. But I’m going to do this Hollywood thing, and I’m going to succeed. A lot of people didn’t back me on that. They’re saying, Hey, you’re throwing away a good career. You’re a pilot, don’t get out of the Marine Corps don’t pursue something stupid that so many people do, and fail. But I’m like, you know, I have to do it. I know, I’m going to do well. Well, when I was in the Marine Corps, I met a lady who I just in passing, I was talking to her. And she’s become a very good friend of mine. And I told her, hey, you know, when I get out of the Marine Corps in two years, I want to, I want to make movies. I want to start a film production career. I want to go to Hollywood and work. She’s like, Oh, really? Okay. Interesting. I was still in the Marine Corps. I two years left at this time. So she ended up saying, Alright, well, next weekend. So this was on a Sunday. So next weekend, I want you to come on this film shoot, because I happen to work in the film industry. I’m like, Oh, really? What are the chances of that? Okay, so I’ll come out and I thought, hey, it’s gonna be something stupid, right? A photo session for a wedding, or a wedding video or something stupid. So I’m like, okay, so I got to the middle of the desert for this event. Lo and behold, it was a Rolling Stones music video. So I ended up going out two years before I got on the record, and an ad on this Rolling Stones music video. And they put me as camera assistant on a Hollywood camera with all two lenses. And that’s just what you see when you see how movies are made. And his camera was worth more than my house, and everything on it. And the media, and they’re they’re giving me the footage to run back and forth. So I did really well, you know, being a Marine, we know how to hustle. And you don’t, it doesn’t matter how hot or cold it is. It doesn’t matter how tired you are, you’re used to 14 hour days, you’re used to being told what to do going out getting it done as soon as you could, as quickly as you could and bring a good quality product back. So I really hustled on that shoot. At the end of the shoot the director was like, man, really good job. When you getting out of the Marine Corps, I’d love for you to come work with us more often. So I told him like, hey, look, I have two years left and Rinko on deployment Afghanistan in four months. So yeah, unfortunately, this is probably my one and only experience and you know, couple years we’ll figure it out. So she’s like, Okay, I’ll remember you, you know, how often do you hear that, right? So literally serve the next two years in the Marine Corps. I’m sitting at mag the Marine Air Group, two weeks from getting the Marine Corps in my cell phone rings. And it’s this lady, this director, and she’s like, Hey, you still get out soon? Like, how did you even remember last time I talked to you was two years ago. She’s like, Yeah, well, we have another shoot we want you to join. So I when I joined that shoot, and again, same thing, I did really well on that. And then because of her about three weeks after that shoot, I got a call from NBC Studios. And NBC Studios called me said, Hey, we need a drone operator for Jay Leno’s Garage, a TV show and at the time, the drone licensing was what’s called the exemption 333. And the exemption 333 required that anybody who’s working in the film industry, as a drone operator or drone director needed a you have to have your private pilot’s license and commercial pilot’s license and I have both. So I ended up going to NBC Studios, and they made me the director of drone operations for Jay Leno’s Garage, the TV show season one and season two. So I basically directed all the shots for those two seasons of Jay Leno’s Garage for drones. Mind you, I had no drone experience at this point. I just bought a drone before I got that gig, which is kind of fun. So I just bought a drone, I spent about $6,000 I knew what I wanted to do. And I knew being a cobra guy, and, you know, an aviator, that the drone industry was up and coming. I knew it, especially for cinematography. And, you know, I’m a cobra guy. And I spent a lot of time in Afghanistan in the front seat as a gunner. And when you you know, let’s it’s funny because there’s a cinematic AI, right. And so when I’m flying the Cobra and I’m operating the gun cam, it just it looks cinematic. Like when you’re when you’re the way you maneuver the camera that the particular angles, it just ends up looking cinematic. So I already had this cinematic I generated thanks to the Marine Corps from the aerial from an aerial perspective. So that really helped my my deal with Jay Leno’s Garage. It went very well working with him and he’s a great guy and you know, I got to make good friends with him with him. Allen and couple other guys are just amazing, amazing people. So mind you, you know, I’m on the set of statements of Jay Leno. You know, I’m telling him hey, this is what we’re gonna do this right when you do, I’m directing him directing other people, which is just phenomenal opportunity. And then from there. After that’s after season two, I got picked up by aerofilms. And there’s a British director who was mentored by Steven Spielberg. So this British director When you watch Jurassic Park was standing right next to students sitting right next to Steven Spielberg, and Steven Spielberg is training this guy on, hey, this is the this is the shot I’m getting this is the angle. This is the camera movement, because in our field, the lens, the light, the way you move the camera from left to right or right to left, the way you reveal something the way you pan out pan in that all tells a story. It’s very involved. So, so this guy, you know, found me at a shoot and I told me I’m a cobra pilot. Yeah, you know, he’s like, What do you want to do in your career? I’m like, My ultimate career. My dream is like any kid, I guess, right? They want to do you want to direct a Hollywood movie or TV show? So it’s an I want to be director. He’s like, alright, well, you’re in luck. I’m a director. So I want you to come out to this, shoot this next shoot, and I’m going to train you how to be a director. At that time, I didn’t know who he was. So we go out to a film shoot again, I thought was I thought it was just a small film, shoot something something silly, something small. So I show up. It’s a huge multi million dollar film shoot. And I was basically the assistant director, director, director and training with this guy. So what Steven Spielberg did with him, he did with me, and he trained me on everything that he learned from Steven Spielberg. And this guy’s directed major movies, he’s done stuff in Hollywood, all this amazing stuff. So everything that I know, all my experience, my cinematic eyes, thanks to him is awesome. Austin Smith, or we call the chief. So thanks to Chief he was an amazing mentor, and still a mentor and a friend of mine, that took me under his wing, and molded me into into that person. And so from there, you know, I did, I mean, they put me on a private jet. We were flying all over the country did McDonald’s commercials, Ruby, Tuesday’s commercials, multimillion dollar commercials, big commercial, small commercial, I mean, you name it, we did everything. So I had all these opportunities to train with this guy. And, you know, I completed that. And I thought, Well, my thoughts on my wife had gotten pregnant with our first child. And so I, you know, Hollywood, it’s kind of it’s, it’s a rough place, not gonna lie to you as a veteran, especially with our code. And with the way we do things, and we treat people and the way we view people, it’s about taking care of each other in Hollywood, it’s not so much about that there. There are a lot of people who are like that it’s ran very much like the military. But a lot of people are not, you’re getting used to guys that are showing up high on Coke, you know, main guys directors that are disappearing to go do stuff like that, that, you know, they come back, like, Alright, cool. And so you got to get used to something that, for me is really foreign. Because I’ve never, I’ve never experienced I’ve never done anything like that. And that’s not something that I value. For me. Now. No judgement, people want to do that stuff. But for me, that’s just not That’s not okay. So I knew that hey, how do I what do we want to do now? Where do I want to go? So that’s when I thought, hey, CPM film productions. And I wanted to make, I knew I had everything from gear at this point. cumulated a bunch of industry standard gear, cameras, camera, sliders, drones, gimbals, you name it. And most importantly, skill. So because I had to have the skill, I knew I could start a business of my own and pursue that from from a business self employed business standpoint, which I have done, and it’s just it’s worked out very well. So, man,
Aaron Spatz 18:20
I’m just, I’m just sitting here just taking all that in man. That’s, that’s, that’s absolutely incredible. Love that. Yeah, no, absolutely. And it just curious. I’m like, What is your faith background? Like, what is your what’s your faith story?
Vincent Joseph 18:33
So I, again, my parents were Syrian, and the Syrians are traditionally Christian. And so in Iraq, there, they were heavily persecuted. So my parents migrated here in the 70s. My mom, dad were very young. And they migrated here because they were they were being persecuted heavily and, you know, over there for their faith in their, like, reading the Bible in in closets and trying to avoid the, the, I mean, the computers is more village based, you know, lifestyle back then. So other villages would, it was okay for them to kill Christians back then. Because it’s just, it’s okay to do that. So villages were coming in to our village and raping and killing, you know, you know, just people in the village and so, so it’s very, it’s very, my parents, their stories are incredible. And so for me, in my faith, you know, being being a Christian, that’s, that’s originally where it comes from. And I mean, honestly, there’s first of all, there’s no there’s no atheists in a foxhole. But Aaron you know, again, I’m not to get preachy or anything, but my life is a statistical impossibility if you look my past and, and, and how things have turned out from selecting cobras to the awards that I’ve gotten in combat and individual action, air metal, by God’s grace, of course. And then going on getting a cold call to go join NBC Studios in that, you know, getting getting another cold call or a random meet to go work. This Hollywood director to go to Hollywood and shoot multimillion dollar. I mean, it’s, there’s just there’s no, there’s no other explaining it other than me that the luckiest man alive, or I’m exactly where I’m supposed.
Aaron Spatz 20:11
No, I don’t believe you’re the luckiest man alive. I think it’s a faith. I think it’s a faith journey. I’m a fellow, my fellow Christ follower also. So that’s an that’s at the show, we can talk about this. So I mean, and and I’m, I’m willing, I’m willing to go there, as you know, however deep you want to go on this? Because I think it’s, it’s it’s rare, right? It’s rare one, you’ve got two Christ followers talking to each other, but to get you’re also in a very unique, very unique position. Right. So Hollywood is a very, obviously very sacred play. And again, there’s, there’s no judgment here, what, like whatsoever we’re in we’re, we are just simply making some observations. So, you know,
Vincent Joseph 20:56
like, how have you? The question,
Aaron Spatz 20:58
I guess, I’m trying to ask, I’m trying to think of how to frame it properly, is, how have you been able to juggle, like your feet, you know, your family time or family life against production schedules? Because I mean, I’ve, I have actually got a lot of friends down there. And I mean, I’ve heard stories, man of just how absolutely brutal it is, in terms of just the time. You know, when you’re, when you’re either filming a TV series or filming a movie, I mean, it is, like brutal. And I don’t think a lot of people realize just how brutal it is in terms of just time away from home. So, I mean, do you have any insight into that? So you
Vincent Joseph 21:35
know, it all boils down to a very, very, very understanding and godly wife. For me, my wife has been she’s been my anchor. You know, I, again, since I talk openly about my faith, I usually don’t do this in the industry. My My goal in the industry is live. Live your face out, don’t just talk about it. Don’t tell people hey, I’m a Christian, because how many people do that? But don’t leave it out? Right. So you know, for me? When I look at my wedding ring, I’m reminded of one thing. I’m reminded of who I’m married to. I’m not married to Megan, I am married to Megan here. Yes. But as weird as it sounds, and I get it, it’s gonna sound weird, but I’m married to Christ. Ultimately, when I put this ring on, I committed to God saying, hey, look, I’m gonna honor you in blessing your daughter, and I’m gonna bless her. And that one, sorry, that really, she was gonna bless me. So that really established the foundation from which I design everything, the way the way she my script. Now, when I say that, Aaron, I want to be very clear about one thing. If you shoot somebody in the head with the 50 caliber, round, their heads going to explode. When I shoot, it’s very realistic. If you know combat scenes, are they going to have bad language in them? Yes, they will. Because in combat, that’s what happens, right? There’s stress, there’s real life and I shoot real live. So I don’t want to I want to make sure I’m not communicating that, hey, everything I do is, you know, like, it’s the traditional Christian film cheesiness. It’s It’s everything I do is realistic. So you know, the way I design my scripts, although you know, I have Christ as a as a center point and how you know, he wants Okay, well aside, I want to glorify certain things. I don’t want to glorify sex, I don’t want to glorify infidelity. I don’t want to glorify drug use, but where there isn’t in the story, if it contains infidelity, then I’m going to depict that if it’s going to show drug use, I’m going to depict that. But I’m not going to glorify things that should not be glorified according to my faith. So bottom line, my foundation, really is is the standpoint from which I designed my shooting schedules from which I designed my, my my shoots and all that now, you know, if I can not shoot on Sunday, I won’t shoot on Sunday. But bottom line is, you’re absolutely right. Shooting schedules are brutal. Why? Because time is money in this field. Time is money, because when you’re rolling with $100,000 $200,000 movie camera that you’re renting for $1,500 a day, you you you have to maximize and by the way, you have certain lighting that you can use, right? Yes, sunrise sunset, you got the golden hours, and you have certain looks that you need the sun at certain places. So you really have three or four opportunities in a date shoot unless you’re shooting indoors, and then you have lighting and all that gear which costs a ton of money. So you’re battling time and time is money in this industry. So you know, you’re you’re thinking about all this stuff. Bottom line. It’s hard. And being a military guy, guess what being combat timing, T ot hitting a target at that exact to T because you got guys running into the building, you got to hit the building and so that’s their entry into the into the next building a seamless or whatever. You got to be spot on with your timing, which what veterans are very good at, I think is pre production or pre planning. We’re very good at that. So thanks to that strength that I have shoots are doable. And actually we do a better job as veterans and civilians, because we have that experience with having to plan under stress, knowing you know, how to time things out, etc, etc. So, bottom line that has been one of the biggest blessings in my job, if I wasn’t at that i There’s no way I’d be successful at this point is that I can guarantee you right now, right?
Aaron Spatz 25:26
Yeah, no, I mean, it’s, it’s true. I mean, I’m not a Hollywood guy, like, I haven’t worked in that, in that field. I know a lot of people who have so that I’m relying on secondhand experience, I have first hand experience in the oil and gas industry, I got friends in the financial services industry. And, and there are a lot there are a lot of similarities to some of these different industries as it relates to our background and our experience on active duty. And and I mean, my wife has even joked about, like, oh, well, you know, I’m just, you know, I’m used to, I’m used to the deployment, I’m used to, you know, going, exactly going out in the field, you know, and you’re disappearing for a week or two or four, or you’re gone for seven months, or, or, or one year deployment, whatever. So it’s like, when you got that to compare against, it kind of makes everything look a little bit easier. And you kind of you’ve kind of adapted and like adopted to, like to a new rhythm. So I’m, I’m sure like, I’m sure. Veterans in general probably do quite well in terms of the the battle rhythm so to speak of a you know, just
Vincent Joseph 26:31
just Aaron the sheer discipline that you develop. Yeah, the 12 hour day for us is nothing. It’s like it’s only shoot for 12 hours. You know, he’s got to get the civilian guys you got to be kidding me. We’re here for 12 hours. Like that’s easy date for us. I mean, I’ve been out in the cold you know, you remember TBS, of course, like I was Arctic elf, I remember going to the range of 3am. This just set the range in the freezing wet rain or snow or whatever it was at the time. Sweet. Yeah, to wait, you know, wait till sunrise because we can’t do anything else. All right. So that discipline that training is is I know guys kick themselves around the field. Like this sucks. I hate the Marine Corps. I hate I hate the army. I’m why I’m so miserable. I’m telling you that stuff is it’s gold. The way the cordless stuff the way the military does stuff in general. It’s gold in the civilian world. You just been there done that. Right? There’s on that? Yeah.
Aaron Spatz 27:20
That’s awesome. Man. I appreciate you sharing them. I’m trying to think of where I want to go now. Because there’s just so many. You’ve opened up the can of worms. I’m just seeing all sorts of possibilities play out now. But But no, I mean, I, I want I mean, I just I appreciate you being so incredibly open, about your history and about your journey. I think it’s incredibly important. I think it’s important that people get to know people. I mean, I think it’s important that we don’t shy away from our faith, right? Our faith, our faith is just who we are. That’s that’s our identity. So it’s like I can’t, I can’t incorporate my faith into my life that that simply is who I am. And we’re all imperfect people, right? So I mean, it doesn’t give me doesn’t have doesn’t give me a license to just, you know, live a crazy life. But it’s but knowing that you’re continually being perfected, you’re continually working out your faith, you’re continually you know, moving forward is is I mean, it’s so important, but
Vincent Joseph 28:21
um, one thing I’ll say, Aaron, is that, you know, Hollywood is very secular, but one thing I will tell you, when I got to Hollywood, I was like, you know, everyone’s like, everybody’s telling me hey, man, they’re gonna they’re gonna kick you out because you’re Christian. They’re gonna hate you because you’re Christian. Nothing has been further from the truth. Hollywood, I think people find out that I’m Christian. Like, that’s cool. We don’t care. Let’s that’s great. You’re Christian. Cool. I’m not a Christian. I’m Muslim, or I’m an atheist or on whatever. You know, it doesn’t. It doesn’t matter. They care about your talent. Okay, cool. Are you talented? Are you professional? Right? Yes. Great. That’s all they care about. They don’t care about your faith. Exactly. They’re not going to alienate you. And that’s something that I was really excited when I learned that Holly, because at first I was uncomfortable, like, right, I’m going to tell people I’m Christian, and they’re right. No way, man, if you show up in your professional, they don’t care about your religion. They care about you getting the job done. Exactly. Just like any other business.
Aaron Spatz 29:14
Like do you not suck? Okay, cool. That’s awesome. Well, no. So then let’s I mean, so then let’s kind of dive into like your How did the how the how did the company get started? How to get founded like, was it? Did it come on the heels of some of these, like some of these freelance gigs that you’re getting in then like, or was that something you’d started on day one, and you were you were running these jobs through? I guess I still don’t quite understand how that all played out.
Vincent Joseph 29:44
Sure. So okay, so I started seeking film productions. I bought the name CPFL productions as an LLC in 2014. A year before I got in the Marine Corps, okay, because I knew I wanted to work in the film industry, so I thought I was gonna start this LLC. Now we’re gonna To help me get a job in Hollywood working with the studios or something like that, right, so I never thought about doing some freelance stuff thought about doing work here locally, I just I bought that that name in 2014. Nice, however, and so the way the saving film productions on people like do why is it a snake? First of all that Cobra guy, okay, got it, it’s cheesy, you know, reminds me of the cloth from which I’m cut. And I owe my success to the Cobra community to my buddies who would kick me in the teeth every time I messed up to those instructors to the Marine Corps bottom line. So it’s kind of a tribute to them. And when, you know, one day when it hopefully you see on the side of the building somewhere, you know, the record, like, Yeah, we had something to do that. But um, so sapiens is a synonym for prudent. And, you know, I was laying in bed one day, and I’m like, What do I want to name my company? I was like, okay, prudent, prudent films. The prudent film sounds stupid to be honest with you. So, like, Okay, let’s look up. Let’s look. Let’s look at pruning. Right. So I looked up, and I looked at, you know, a, what other words can stand in for pruning, and then it came out sepia. And so I’m like, Okay. Sabin. So why, why CP? Why prudent? What, what am I trying to say? There’s no Bible verse, and I have it on my card. You know, be as prudent as a viper, but as gentle as a dove. Right? So you got to be smart in this industry, with the pitfalls with I mean, you, I’m telling you, there are guys who never thought they’d be doing drugs, guys that never thought they’d be cheating on their wives, they just let their guard down. They let they, they they, they said yes to something that led to another that led to their demise, ultimately, and their the failure of their marriage and the destruction of their homes and things like that. So I thought, okay, you got to be really smart, really crafty, really cutting, to protect yourself and your family, because that’s what it’s all about. It’s about protecting your family. It’s about taking care of yourself, so you can take care of others. Okay. But that doesn’t mean because I was a Marine, I have a tendency to go marine on people, right? So when people aren’t doing what I want, hey, do like what’s your problem, get your head out of your butt, you need to you need to start doing this, blah, blah, blah, but I have to remember, in the civilian world, it’s different. So for me, it’s Be gentle. When somebody stabs you in the back, in Hollywood, or anywhere, you have an option to do one of two things, you’re either going to retaliate, or you’re going to turn the other cheek. I found that when you retaliate, you climb the ladder faster than the person that you’re bad mouthing, you’ll get the job quicker than they will, you’ll you’ll get a little bit higher on the ladder, but you will peak and you will stop and then you will fall back down that ladder where if you’re the opposite guy, yes, you know, somebody else gets a job ahead of you somebody else they you know, they climb the faster the ladder faster than you. But when you when you it’s just like the tortoise and the hare your your your current slower, but you will not peak. I have not peaked and the work is coming in and it’s growing and my clientele is growing. And the ability to go back into Hollywood is is starting to rear its head. So I totally aired I forgot where I was going with that. Was I Yeah, it’s
Aaron Spatz 33:14
all good. Man. I do the same thing to myself all the time. I’m trying to remember we were talking about
Vincent Joseph 33:21
sorry, I’m sorry. Yeah. So same. Yeah. So. So I then I realized okay, these prudent as a vibrator, gentles, that is the foundation of my, of my, my title of my company. So then, you know, when I started working in Hollywood, and I just became a, I became freelance and kind of, you know, CPA just did never went anywhere. I just, I owned it in name never advertise, made a stupid logo that, you know, you know, I didn’t really take serious and I just let it sit. And then that, you know, three years later, that’s when you know, the whole my wife got pregnant. Fast forward to Jay Leno and the British director guy to Chief, that’s when I decided, okay, now I really, I have the talent, I have the gear, I have the ability, and I have the drive, to now really start advertising CPM. And after that, it’s just been it’s been wildfire. 2021 is going to be huge. That’s all I can say. And I’m really excited about it. So that’s how CP got started. And like I said, Saffer, three years. And one of my buddies who, who is really pathetic, you know, he one day he was he said, Vince, like I was praying and this is all that came on my mind like sapient films will thrive but for my glory, and so I know that, you know, I know that it’s safe is is is it’s got a big purpose. What it is, I don’t know. All I know is this year was has been the year with COVID. shut everything down, stopped my business cold for a while, but I’m a reservist, I’m a major in the Marine Corps. Now as a reservist, I fly drones at Camp Pendleton. And this year has been like, as bad as it sounds. I’m sorry that people suffered with COVID. But COVID revamped my business, it created a drive that pushed me in the direction that I need to go. And it’s open amazing doors that are just beyond my, my wildest dreams. And so, you know, so now as CP is, is live, it’s well, and this next year, it’s when it did well last year, or the year before last COVID slowed it down. And now this next year’s gonna be bigger than the year before.
Aaron Spatz 35:29
Wow. That’s exciting, man. I’m excited for you. Yeah. Yeah. The now I mean, it’s like, I mean, COVID has absolutely just squashed a whole, you know, whole ton of businesses. It’s it really, it really has, but it’s forced people to, to reinvent and to get creative. And think of a thing of a solution outside the box for Yeah, for whatever situation may be and hey, you know, there’s also there’s no shame in having to take a step backward and maybe go do something else for a season until you’re able to, you know, regroup and then reassemble and move forward. I mean, that that’s okay, too. So. So, I mean, you spend some time with us, like, I’d like to kind of go back a little bit, but like, you spent some time with this guy I refer to as Steven Silver’s protege. He kind of adopted you as his protege. So like, what like, what was that like? But then like, how did you take that knowledge? And then knowing all that, like, how, because people, you know, 99% of people who listen to this are going to have no idea how even a production company is even formed? Is it tip? Is it like one or two people and then you’re subcontracting out a whole bunch of other people, you know, on an on demand basis? But like, how did like what was that experience? Like being mentored by that guy? And then how did that inform your, your future path?
Vincent Joseph 36:52
So yeah, she he was very, he was very firm. Again, luckily, I was a Marine cuz I knew how to handle it. But he was extremely flexible a lot of Hollywood is it operates like the military. So you know, Chief took me on and he was a No BS guy, when you know, I remember I can’t, I can’t explain how many times I’ve heard, I’ve heard Come on, mate, get on with it, then come on, mate, get on with it, then, you know, like so many times, right? As I’m, as I’m holding these cameras, and jumping these cameras, you know, Chief taught me a lot, a lot of guys get into business, and they start to think about, okay, I need to take $100,000 loan, I need to buy X amount of gear I need to do is I never took a loan, I slowly piece by piece bought all the gear I have. I’m about to purchase a very high end Hollywood camera this year, which was a great opportunity. So that’s gonna take my business to a whole new level as, as we now shoot on the same camera that’s being used to shoot Spider Man and Superman and blah, blah, blah. So, but what she taught me was, I remember the very first shoot that he took me on or the I’m sorry, the second shoot and McDonald’s shoot at me. And I was like, okay, cool. I’m gonna go to McDonald’s is a multimillion dollar shooting. I you know, after working on the Arri Alexa on the Rolling Stones music video, I was like, Man, I cannot wait to work with that camera. Again. It was epic. I know so much more about the industry. I know. I have my eyes a little bit more trained, although not nearly as trained as it is now and as needed to be. And I’m still growing. I’m not saying that. I’m an expert by any means. I have a lot of growth to do, but I’ve come a long way. So, so cheap, so I told you, hey, let’s get let’s get Ari likes. I mean, he had his budget was unlimited. He wanted you know, $5 million, $5 million. Like no problem, whatever you want you can get. So it’s like okay, Arri Alexa, is I show up to that shoot, you have a hundreds of people for the crew, they had an 18 Wheeler full of hamburgers, that they were going to use every one of them to get the one shot that we needed. I mean, right? This was a huge event. He’s like, okay, cool. I’m like, where’s the ARRI? Alexa, I’m really excited to take this thing out. I’m going to be the one that main camera guy, not just the assistant this time. And then he says go to my backpack, grab that camera, pull out a DSLR I’m like, okay, cool. Well, maybe I’m just doing behind the scenes to operate the camera. Maybe I’ll just play with them on off hours. I don’t care. He’s like, Okay, we’re gonna block next shot. This is the camera we’re going to use in my heart sunk. We used a five d mark three camera, which is a DSLR that cost at the time. $3,000 right. In my heart. I was like, I was so pissed. I was like, you’ve got to be freaking kidding me. We’re gonna shoot this, like McDonald’s gonna laugh at us. I’m laughing at us. Like it just doesn’t feel real doesn’t feel Hollywood anymore. He’s like, this is a lesson that I’m trying to teach you. You need to deliver quality. And when I’m done with this camera, I’m going to take the product. I’m gonna show it to you on national TV, which was a national commercial. I’m going to show you on national TV and it’s going to look like a shot with a Hollywood camera. So like, okay, cool, whatever. I didn’t believe at the time like yeah, I was. I was I was upset. I was upset. I’ll admit I was having You know, not necessarily bad editing on the shoot but deep inside I was I was upset. We shoot this whole thing with a DSLR it was still fun to shoot because you’re still like you had our department I mean, I’m with a director of the people are treating me like I’m the director. I have an assistant getting me coffee. It was just It was unreal. At the end of the shoot, you know. It goes off for editing we do a couple more projects. After that. I’m over his house one basic events, come in, in the living room, go in the living room, his mansion. He goes to his living room is our look at the TV. He hits he hits play, and he just paused the commercial. It is the commercial that we shot with a DSLR after post production after everything, it looked like an Arri Alexa, which is $150,000 camera, it looked no different. And he sat down he’s like this is the lesson I want to teach you if you think that a camera or Hollywood gear is going to make you a good director or a good cinematographer, or the next million dollar Steven Spielberg, whatever. You’re absolutely wrong. It’s a skill. It’s your eye. It’s the way you employ your your the gear you have. And guess what in the Marine Corps we used to deal with doing a ton with a little so it stuck to me. So I went and bought that camera. I’ve shot Yokohama commercials I’ve directed Yokohama commercials I’ve directed Firestone commercials, I’ve directed Autozone is one of the biggest clients that I’ve gotten to do a bunch of their commercials. Um, and you know, I’ve progressed to bigger cameras, because, you know, I’m, my skill set is good enough to incorporate that stuff. But anyways, so now, you know, I know how to leverage higher end cameras, but the biggest thing Aaron, that Chief taught me on on on this whole production thing is you don’t you don’t need a lot of money. You just need skill and dedication, you need to perfect your craft. Okay. And, and you need to work hard. And so that really was the foundation that I built my current career on. And so you know, fast forward years later, I did a film shoot recently, it was like six months ago, or let’s say a year ago. So commercial within a year ago, out in Florida. For a it was health insurance. So we show up. And this is I would say this is a culmination of my time with Chief and what I’ve learned from him. After all these years of being trained as a director by him, etc. We show up to the film shoot, I’m thinking it’s the same thing, right, which is three days shoot first day, same exact thing. Set up the camera, you know, he’ll he’ll talk to me, Hey, what do you think about lighting this? How would you like this? What is this blah, blah, blah. So we shoot, you know, this this, again, a million dollar production. With me in basically training me it’s still the next day as we’re walking to the hotel that night after we’re done shooting for the day. He says Okay, tomorrow, your director? And I’m like, Okay, well, I just thought that that statement, hey, I’m gonna stand behind your back. You’re gonna you’re gonna direct and then, uh, but I’m going to help you out, show up the next day. And I have 100 people lined up, I have the lighting guys that are waiting. I have the actors that are waiting. I have the gaff team that’s waiting. I have the clients that are waiting behind the monitor. And Chief is over there and just staring at I’m staring at him. Okay, he told me to do. And he’s looking at me in the clients are looking at him. And he’s like, dude, like, we’re okay, tell us what, tell us where to go tell us what to do. And I realized at that point, I’m alone. Like, I have to direct this commercial. My clients were there. And they were there looking at me like, like, what are you doing? Because I mean, time is ticking. Right. So then I’m like, uh, put the camera over there. And I’m looking at chief and he’s looking at me like, okay, just move the camera. You know, like, you want the camera over there. We’ll move it. He never tried. It provided me no feedback. He just let me sink or swim at this point. Longest Day, longest day of my life, longest day of my life. Combat was easier than this. So you know, I’m shooting out, I’m sweating. I’m unsure of myself. I’m unsure of the shots. And he just leans over and he says, Trust what I’ve taught you just trust it. So I took a breath. And I remembered I just I put myself back in that Cobra cockpit and I’m like, if I can fly a cobra in combat, and I can apply weapons danger close and I can I can hit a target and I can do all this stuff. And I can do this. From there. It’s like a it’s like I flipped a switch. I direct that entire day of filming. And it turned out again, saw it on TV. It just it was so real. And then I realized, okay, I definitely have exactly what it takes to get the job done to shoot an industry standard piece of work from there. That was it. It’s just it’s it’s been wildly
Aaron Spatz 45:00
Man, that’s so cool man. I love I love love that story. I cannot imagine being there and just feeling the pressure in and he’s not giving you much to work with. I mean, it’s like, the thing
Vincent Joseph 45:13
is he is he was on the line. If I failed, I wasn’t gonna get fired. She brought me in, he was gonna get fired. Wow, this is a million dollar client. If he got fired, then good luck finding work, especially in this competitive environment. So he like he puts so much faith in me. There’s just Yeah, it was it was it was stressful.
Aaron Spatz 45:33
I, you know, for those that like Star Wars, you know, I’m a bit of a Star Wars nerd myself. So like, when you told me this, when you when you share the moment when he is like, it tells you like, just remember your training. I’m thinking like, man, that’s like, that’s so Obi Wan Kenobi to Luke right there. It’s like, trust your training, man. Just go just go.
Vincent Joseph 45:51
Well, Aaron, not to spoil the surprise. But okay, so I grew up in Modesto, California, okay. That’s where George Lucas grew up. My uncle was good friends with him in high school, they went to high school together. Um, so I’m, that’s that was really when I was a kid. My dad, my dad loves Star Wars, he would take me all the spots where George Lucas lived, where he went to school, all his monuments around town, and he shot graffiti nights there. And his sister still lives there. So that’s, for me, that was a big, a big. I guess. That’s That’s what really spiked my passion for film when I was a kid. And I knew I wanted to make movies because I wanted to be like George Lucas. So we’re in the process now of writing a documentary and I’ll be working with his graduating high school class, to shoot a documentary on my, my passion of filming in, in how I grew up, under, you know, the, I don’t want to say shadow is a positive word, per se. But looking up to George up to George Lucas, living in Modesto. I mean, he lived five minutes away from where I lived, he grew up five minutes away from where I live, that car accident that he went through was five minutes away from where I live. So I’m doing a documentary on on how he inspired me, you know, actually working with his his high school graduating classmates and his friends and, and hopefully, it’s still in the works, but hopefully a couple people that are directly related to him. We’ll see how it goes. But it’s still we’re still in the pre production phase. But that’s that’s going to be project passion. It’s more of a passion project mindset,
Aaron Spatz 47:25
man. No, that’s exciting. Yeah, exciting. Yeah. Super cool. Man. The man in time is getting away from us so fast. This always happens. So sudden, let’s just let’s just jump. Let’s just jump down past three other questions I had, but like, what advice then would you have for those that are, you know, they’re either A, they’re wanting to start their own business or be they have started their own business, but they’re trying to get it from nothing to profitable or nothing to like, I can feed my family off of this type of type of level, like what?
Vincent Joseph 47:59
Sure, what’s your perspective? So for me, number one, if you’re going to take the leap, you’re going to take the leap sometime, I say get it over with rip the band aid off into it. You are meant to do something. If your job isn’t fulfilling, if you don’t love being an analyst, if you don’t love being a financier, if you don’t love being a military guy career, then don’t do it. You can you can choose to do things for money, or you can choose to do things because you love them. For me, it was risky, leaving the Marine Corps. It was great having a financial paycheck, especially being a cobra pilot, how much money you’re getting paid. And you know, the comfortability, etc. So I would say the first thing you got to do is, if you want to do it, if you have a dream to do something, commit to it and do it. Don’t be wishy washy about it either do it or don’t do it. A lot of guys do it. I started off trying to do it as a as a part time gig. No way I couldn’t do it as a part time gig. It wasn’t until I quit my job at high risk that doors flew open. And maybe I’m just again, maybe I’m just lucky. But bottom line, the doors flew open for me. So you have to make a decision to do it. Okay, but you got to be smart. So I’m not saying be stupid about your decision. You got to count the cost. Okay, for me, I knew joining the reserves. When I got out of the Marine Corps. I never thought I’d go back in the Marine Corps. I thought, hey, I did I did what I did. It was great. But I’m overwhelmed. I’m done with it. So I’m now going to pursue my dream. But the reserves was such a great deal that I joined the Reserves. If you have the option to join the reserves, or do something and make money on the side. Somehow they can afford you the opportunity to work on your company or your business full time. Then do it. I work four days in the reserves. I pay my mortgage for the month. I need extra money as a pilot in combat. Hey, do you have any extra flight hours for me? Let me come in. I’m right again. I’m local To Pelton Yeah, sure, calling in flight for four extra days, you know, that helps me to buy a piece of gear I want or whatever, if you don’t have that, or you, you know, you you, you need to have a nest egg of some kind work a little bit longer work another year work two years, if you have to put all your money away, build a nest egg that will flow you to, you know, to succeed in your in your, in your dream, basically, but you need, you need a nest egg or you need something like the reserves, which I’m, that’s that’s the only reason I could do what I do. Because of the reserves, and now it’s getting to the point where I don’t need the reserves as much, but I love it. And so I continue to start with the lighteners little bit of player. But um, the third thing I would say is get ready for the storm, it is going to hurt, you’re going to have sleepless nights, you’re gonna feel stupid, you’re going to see your peers climb the ladder faster than you make more money as financiers, you got to let that stuff go. And you got to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. Eventually, you’re going to accomplish your dream, it’s not if it’s when some people, it’s gonna take them three years, some people take some five, I’ve been at it for four years and the four year mark, now I’m on the train starting to move. So be prepared to be prepared to hurt for a little bit, that means Hey, you may not have a vacation with your wife, you may you may not be able to buy the car that you want, you may not be able to buy that camera or whatever gear that you that you need. But that stuff will come if you put your mind to it. One thing that I have that that that very few people have, and you know, you have to I’m sure that’s your you’re your own boss, you run your own schedule, I work, I work for four hours a day, I go grab my kids, grab my wife, let’s go to the zoo for a few hours, we go to the zoo, we hang out, I come back, I work some more, I’m done for the day, I want to take Tuesday off, I’ll take Tuesday off, I’ll work longer on Wednesday, or whatever the case is. So when you when you lose out a little bit of money, you there are so many other areas that you benefit, which for me, time is more important than money. But money money comes anyways, the higher the quality. So I would say from my third point is just be prepared to hurt a little bit financially, it’s not comfortable. But anything worth anything is gonna be difficult.
Aaron Spatz 52:30
That’s I mean, that’s absolute gold. I really appreciate you sharing that. Because that, I mean, I think that thing’s gonna reach people. I mean, that spoke to me. So I mean, I think that’s phenomenal advice. Specifically, the remember why. And the, the other phrase that you use that I thought was curious, because I have uses almost exactly the same phrase, which is, you know, it’s not if it’s when, and like, not being arrogant about it, right? But just understanding like, look, it is, it’s going to happen, it’s just, it just may take some time, it may just take getting a little creative, right? It may take work and a side job or put in some flight hours, or doing whatever you got to do until it gets to the point where you I mean, you you literally like, you know, you’re having to work 90 hours a week, you know, between your, between your main job or your side job in order to get this going. And, and but it’s going to take a few years, I think I think everybody I’ve interviewed or I’ve spoken to. And I’m sure there’s some exceptions to the rule. There’s, there’s always a there’s, there’s always statistical outliers, but it seems like it’s always like three years, two to three year mark for five years, like somewhere in there three to three to five years, seems to be that place where like things then actually start to make a like a, a marked improvement,
Vincent Joseph 53:51
or in front of mistakes. Three years, when I hit 50,000 a year, that’s when I started making 50,000 a year my business at three years. Exactly. So I went from nothing to 50,000 Wow, three or more, literally, and from there, it’s just, it’s, you know, it’s more. And on top of that you have I have the reserves. And so that’s even more you know what I mean? So I’m I’m making technically as much as I did when I was in the Marine Corps, right? Yeah, for your mark on which has been phenomenal.
Aaron Spatz 54:15
Well, and it’s been it’s been phenomenal because you’ve you’ve been able to like lean into that right? So you’re able to like you know, pay the house with you know, with your flight hours right like you’ve been able to do that so good son now that I mean that’s great, man. I really appreciate you sharing that I mean I think really just here in in closing I mean again, we could probably we could turn this like a Joe Rogan podcast and go for three hours. But yeah, but no the you know, wrapping up if there’s any, if there’s anything else that you want to share that we just haven’t had time to dive into. You know if you have any save rounds, any any any final thoughts parting shots, would love to turn this last segment backward
Vincent Joseph 55:00
I you know, Aaron, thank you to you again for doing this for veterans. It this is important because when I talk about it, you helped me to realize how far I’ve come. And as you know, as as a show host, I’m gonna call you show host. It’s so important for guys like you to remind guys like me of, hey, wherever you’re at now, remember, remember from where you came from. And what I’m going to say on that is, for you guys out there, your your your veterans, you are the country’s gold, like you bled red, white and blue. If you can’t do it, if you can’t accomplish your dream, if you can’t do it, then nobody can, and people are doing it, which means that you can absolutely do it. That I’m a fervent believer in that veterans, we have to help veterans. One thing that the way I’m taking my business now is I want it to be it’s veteran founded. It’s a veteran owned and operated. But I’m going to do a lot of work for veterans, that is what I’m committed to. And, you know, if there’s a veteran out there that needs help, or needs advice that needs anything for me or sapient media, by all means, I’m here for you. What am I if I don’t have relationships, right? Like, it doesn’t matter, I can make all the money in the world. But if I don’t, if I if I look back, and I see a trail of broken people that I’ve left that had climbed on top to get on the top, to me, that’s that’s damnable when I would rather look back and see people that I’ve helped and maybe not even climb as high. But I promise you, like I said earlier, if you help people, you’re going to climb higher than people step all over other people. So if you’re that you’re watching this, believe that you are going to succeed. You’re a veteran bottom line.
Aaron Spatz 56:49
It’s awesome. And I just want to thank you again, Vince, for for taking so much time with me. Thanks for sharing your story. encouraged people to reach out to you to get to get connected to you and to sapient but again, I just want to thank you so much.
Vincent Joseph 57:03
Of course. Thank you. Sorry, my boys here he says, shout out to you.
Aaron Spatz 57:08
Yeah, no, it’s cool. Man, what a phenomenal conversation. I really thoroughly enjoyed speaking events I loved, just love his points. Obviously, we have a very similar faith background. But I mean, I really really appreciate it just as raw honesty and honestly just a lot of the inside, inside knowledge behind the scenes information just as relates to working in the film and entertainment industry. So for a lot of folks, that’s just that’s very foreign ground. And so I hope you found that helpful and, and insightful and so what else so you know, remembering your why it’s not if it’s when so I mean, I would really take to heart what that that one segment where we were talking about you know, whether to take the plunge or you know, what you’re doing it was it was towards it was the latter half of the interview. Really, I mean, really stew on that for a bit because I think there’s there’s a lot of gold. There’s a lot of golden in in this conversation. And so anyway, I’m just so grateful that you’ve listened, or that you’re watching, and I look forward to seeing you again next week. See you