041 Dwayne Paro welcomes Donny O’Malley to today’s podcast. Founder and CEO of VET Tv and Irreverent Warriors, Donny O’Malley (Daniel Maher) was born in Queens, New York to Irish and Colombian Catholic immigrants.
After college, O’Malley (then Danny Maher) commissioned as an officer in the United States Marines in 2009. As an infantry officer he led his platoon through two deployments, one of which through the ruins of Musa Qala in 2012. Much like most deployed service members, O’Malley used humor to get through his experiences. He took the time to write his stories with a humorous light. His stories kept his family and friends back home updated and entertained. This was the beginning. He was medically retired as a Captain after 6 years in the Marine Corps.
In 2015, O’Malley organized his stories into a book, “Embarrassing Confessions of a Marine Lieutenant.” Topping the Charts on Amazon and selling over 25,000 copies, it was championed among combat veterans around the world. While writing his book, his biggest fan committed suicide so he rededicated his book and life to helping veterans.
In July, 2015, he organized an event in San Diego called The Silkies Hike that gained national news coverage and was replicated in dozens of cities throughout the country, thus turning into a national movement. He then started a nonprofit called Irreverent Warriors to manage the movement and ensure the mission, quality, safety, and intent stayed pure. Since inception, over 80 hikes have been completed around the country and have brought together over 17,000 veterans.
In effort to promote his book, O’Malley created videos for combat infantrymen that went viral among the veteran community. Enough of his fans expressed a willingness to pay for these videos that he decided to find a way to monetize short videos that parodied the military experience. In 2016, he created Veteran Entertainment Television or VET Tv - a subscription video on demand service with cinematic content made for veterans, by veterans.
Serving our Great Nation (4:00)
Donny joined the marines as an officer. He was deployed to South East Asia (rifle platoon commander) and then to Afghanistan (weapons platoon commander and fire support team leader). He enjoyed these responsibilities. Due to his experiences he began to write comedy about the situations. He started writing his first stories on deployment. His family and friends encouraged him to write more. In order to be effective he had to take some professional writing classes to refine his abilities. He was eventually medically retired
Transitioning to Entrepreneurship (11:50)
He really was intrigued by what Adam Sandler did with his production company. For those familiar with Adam Sandler he filled his efforts with friends and family.
When he returned from deployment he had to have several surgeries due to normal wear and tear on his body. During his recovery time he focused on his craft to pursue his passion.
“I cannot just take a job, I don’t have the ability unless they are an amazing leader.”
He started by writing a blog and self-publish a couple books based on his life experience. Intent was to use the money he received to build small films and then move into larger films. He began with the end in mind.
“The end was living the dream filthy rich creating comedy with my friends and family.”
His friend committed suicide, who was his biggest fan. This had a huge impact on his mission. This led to researching veteran suicide and was profoundly impacted. So he used this to bring guys together.
He used the Netflix online model to get his material out.
How to Contact Donny (31:33)
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