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Daily Inspiration: Meet Cameron Matthews

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cameron Matthews.

Hi Cameron, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I’ve been an entertainer for over 25 years. A majority of that career was working for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts in both CA & FL where I was fortunate to be a part of many productions, parades, & corporate events. After 23 years with the company, I was unfortunately laid off along with thousands of other hard-working cast members due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the last few years with “The Mouse” I had really come to love emceeing special events, award shows, and creating fun over-the-top characters for many corporate events, as these opportunities were different than performing the same show 5-days a week in the theme parks. So I dabbled with the idea of starting my own event/entertainment business but being a full-time contracted actor, and (to be honest) comfortable, there was no rush.

Nothing like a layoff to light a fire under ya!

Prior to layoff, many of us actors were furloughed for several months, and during that time I wanted an outlet to keep my improv skills sharp. So I created and hosted “The Daily Pun 99” on Instagram, a daily 30-minute improvisational joke show for anyone that wanted to laugh and have fun. It soon had a small following, which then led to themed nostalgia days, fundraiser events, and after 100 consecutive shows, the show raised over $3000 for The Actors Fund. Not only had I stretched my creative skills building a new virtual-themed show every day, but I also got to feed the performing bug inside of me which was a great distraction during those early months of the pandemic.

But the layoff came and it was time to pivot… and this time I was going to call the shots!

This journey led to Cameron Matthews Entertainment LLC specializing in virtual events & experiences. It’s time to rethink the Zoom meeting experience. Everything I’m creating for my clients is unique to their businesses and needs with the promise that the end result will be an experience that is engaging, entertaining, but most importantly, effective. As I wrap up my first year in business I am beyond grateful for several Travel Agency owners that remembered me from my time at Disney.

It was these owners who, like me, were trying to stay afloat after a devastating blow to the tourism industry that entrusted me to motivate their travel teams with virtual pep rallies, game nights, etc. These engagements led to customized consumer-facing virtual experiences that are proving to be highly profitable for my clients. The icing on the cake… I’ve been able to hire on my former cohorts from time to time and it’s been wonderful keeping those friendships alive through this work.

Where will it lead? Not really sure, but one thing is for certain, virtual engagement is not going away anytime soon. Plus I love what I’m doing and I no longer have to worry about the threat of another layoff. None of this would be possible without the love, patience, and support of my wonderful wife Hannah who has been so helpful behind the scenes in making Cameron Matthews Entertainment LLC a reality. www.CameronMatthews.com.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The business has certainly ebbed and flowed this first year.

Things were going pretty well when I became an LLC in early 2021, but when the covid vaccine was introduced all of my pitch meetings and event inquiries came to halt as businesses were navigating where to go from that point and how to spend their money. This led to a lot of stress, worry, and self-doubt during this year as a first-time entrepreneur, wondering if I had just made the biggest mistake of my life.

One of the biggest challenges was/is that I was still grieving the loss of my job at Disney and had not fully gone through those stages of grief. Addressing my mental health and seeking professional help in 2021 has been a priority for me, and even though I’m not fully recovered from this huge shakeup in my life, it has saved me from the emotional downward spiral that I was in.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am a high-energy, improvisational comedic actor at my core, specializing in emceeing and large audience warm-up. It’s so important to me to always give 110% on stage while being professional, kind, and helpful to all those I work with.

I am so grateful for the many wonderful opportunities and incredibly talented individuals I’ve learned from throughout my career, setting me up with an invaluable set of skills and techniques that have helped me become an entrepreneur today. That is what I’m proud of.

Are there any books, apps, podcasts, or blogs that help you do your best?
Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! (NPR Radio Show/Podcast) is so clever, smart, and hilarious. I strive to be as witty and “in the moment” as the comedians on the show. Plus, Peter Sagal is just one of the best hosts in the biz!

Bob Saget’s Here For You (Podcast). For kids of the 80s & 90s, Bob Saget was America’s dad. A beautiful blend of corny & comforting. His podcast came at such an important time for me when many of us were struggling with tremendous grief and loss during the pandemic.

Bob really did care about so many people, often devoting entire episodes to listen to complete strangers who needed his caring voice and “dad jokes” to keep them going. I aspire to be as gracious and comedically motivational as Bob with the work I’m doing. He will be missed.

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