Episode 39 - Matt Arnold: Living In Major Cities Like LA or Chicago Doesn't Guarantee Your Success

When I  was in the process of launching the podcast I knew that Matt Arnold would eventually make it onto the show because of his background, what he had been doing over the years and his passion for film. After reconnecting with him back in February, years since I had seen him last, I shot him a text in May to see when we could link to sit down for the podcast and it just so happen that he was heading out to Boston later that day. Scheduled start time was 11pm. We didn’t even start recording till 1:30AM and spent a lot of time chopping it up beforehand.

Matt Arnold, M9 Arnold or M9 Visuals is hands down an all around genuine guy that is simply trying his best to become the best person he can possibly be. What started as a passion for filming his buddies when they were skating around the local spots in Western Massachusetts soon translated into a full time career with little to no time.

He went to a local college, Holyoke Community College (aka Hobert Community College if you know my family) and just after his first year there he tossed in the towel, quit his job and was pursuing his passion as a career. That year he went on a radio run with Sebastian Mikael, was part of Huey Mack’s ‘Pretending Perfection’ tour and made his way out to LA to work with artist Bobby Grant. Things only continued to grow and Matt bounced to Chicago for sometime and then eventually landed up back on the east coast where he now lives.

For some reason or another a lot of the guests that I have brought onto the show have at some point gotten a taste of college and then left. I’m not here to push the idea of not going to school or trying to show students that ‘dropping out is the right thing to do.’ I’m simply documenting the stories of people who’ve found their passion and just so happens that along the way they’ve found that school was not necessary. I’m a college graduate with a degree so it would be unfair for me to say don’t go when I went.

Like anything in life you must take everything one step at a time and I couldn’t be happier to have him as guest number 39.

Episode Takeaway: Your location has does not determine how successful you will become. Just because someone is based in a major city does not guarantee they’re going to win and make a lot of money. At the end of the day you must be willing to put in the work… it is on YOU to make things happen even if you graduated from a top university.

Podcast Outline

  • Who is Matt Arnold today and how young is he?

    • Newly 23, a  director

  • Grew up in Whately, MA then moved to Deerfield, MA

    • Small high school, always had an interest in video and was big into skateboarding

    • Realized he wouldn’t be able to make a living just skating, had spent college money to buy a camera

  • Spent a year at Holyoke Community College utilizing the available resources

    • Would stay late at night learning the software and slowly getting better

    • Dropped out, quit his job at the time and started making videos and became obsessed with it (4:20)

    • Parents supported him, saw his passion for skateboarding switch to film and pushed him to keep going

  • Understanding people, having patience, caring and being a genuine person is something Matt learned from growing up in a small town (6:00)

  • His mother has always been there to support him, bounce ideas and guided Matt when needed

  • Got a chance to work on a bigger budget video that never released but gave him insight that maybe he was onto something

  • Got his name ‘M9 Arnold’ back in the day when he was looking for a better AOL username

    • Everyone in his circle was calling him by the name and it stuck

  • 2014 Matt started to work with Sebastian Mikael

    • His friend Lloyd Ellis ran a blog ‘Triller Than Most’ and put him onto his music

    • Sebastian manager reached out to him, picked him up at a gas station in Holyoke, MA and lived with him in NYC for 3-4 weeks (14:00)

    • Did a radio run for his record with Wale “Last Night” going to the Breakfast Club, Hot 97

    • Flew down to Miami, FL then to Atlanta, GA to finish up the run

  • Hopped on Huey Mack’s ‘Pretending Perfection’ Tour with Timmy D

    • Met his now friend Jake Reeder who was the tour manager, 25 cities

    • Appreciated the opportunity and being able to travel (23:20)

  • Got pulled out to LA

    • Had came across artist ‘Bobby Grant’ via twitter, told him he’d be willing to do his videos

    • First met in Boston to shoot a video, Bobby landed a deal with Sony and pulled Matt out to LA to live with him when he was 20.  

    • Landed an opening gig for a mini run on Blackbear’s West Coast tour

    • When you’re in the right head space, are doing your best work and willing to be known for what you’re producing… LA is the best place to network and be around likeminded people (31:00)

  • Moved out to Chicago and moved in with Jake Reeder

    • Had just started working with Lil Bibby who was based in the city

    • Very energetic city, plenty of opportunity and a unique spot

    • Was commuting to and from MA to do work, 16 hour drive (39:30)

  • Matt credits being a happy person alone has allowed him to get things done  

    • Likes being organized and having a plan for everything. It’s just his way of getting things done

    • You remove yourself from perspectives and are able to learn and grow as a person

  • Is able to visually bring ‘feelings’ to people with his projects and feels that that’s how M9 Visuals is able to stand out as a director (48:00)

    • Is drawn into videos that really bring emotions and fixated on what he feels he should do next

  • “Nothing is ever going to be perfect because it is an idea”

    • Very precise about details but also realizes that he can’t overthink certain situations

  • Whenever he is in a stressful situation, Matt does something random to take his mind off things

    • Has a certain waterfall where he has gone to think, pitch ideas and create

    • Skateboarding releases his mind, working out and being around his family

  • When things are going good in his life he is loud about it and making sure that people know he is grateful for the situation (51:30)

    • Will visit somewhere new or experience something different with them

  • Values time management and writes out a ‘to do list’ several times a day with a time stamp

    • Puts a star next to something that needs to get done and how much time should be allocated towards it

  • Doesn’t hold onto anything from the past or have regrets about anything in his life

    • Likes settling things and not confronting things

    • Video freelance was a big sacrifice on friends and was something he held onto (60:19)

  • Ask Bobbbaaaay 1 Question:

    • What can you imagine being your successful moment?

  • Not comparing yourself to anyone else, everything you do is moving you forward (70:20)

  • Picture frame on the wall 10 years from now, what/who do we see?

    • In his backyard with a bunch of plants, a creek in the background, content, comfortable and happy

    • Has a look of feeling accomplished and has executed ideas of things he had visioned

  • Find Matt on social media

    • Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat: @M9Arnold

    • Website: M9visuals.com

  • 2-3 pieces of advice for someone on the pursuit of their own purpose/passion

    • Nobody knows you and there is no perception on you except the people that know you

    • Take anything you love and treat it super importantly and don’t let it go

    • Don’t lose yourself in the pursuit of not knowing your passion, give it effort