Creative Ops | Ep.13 | Dajon, a badass, Sacramento-based hip-hop artist

Hey folks!

Dajon joined me on Zoom from CA to talk about his new EP “Love, Dajon” and all the things that went into making it. We went back to early musical influences at age 6, to how he’s rockin now, in his mid-twenties. Energetic, awesome music. I. Can’t. Stop. Listening.

Check out Dajon on IG, FB, and Twitter

And check out his producer’s band Oh! The Horror

Thanks to the supporters of this show  Hey Guys Media Group, Baby Farm Soaps, & River Town Adventures. You’re dear to me as people, and you inspire me as a creative.

Thanks for listening! Subsribe, rate, yadda yadda…

Check out www.christophertallon.com for more on the show and its host.

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-vxbb6-f5646e

How Does One Put Together an International Mural Festival? Easy!!!

Woo!

I loved this episode. I sat down with Clay McAndrews to talk about the Bright Walls Mural Festival, which he founded and co-directs in his hometown of Jackson, Michigan. So far, Bright Walls has brought artists from all over the world to Jackson, where they’ve created 36 absolutely amazing murals, transforming the city.

Clay, an artist and all-around creative type, has a background in graphic design, advertising, photography, and events. Clay graduated from Central Michigan University with degrees in Graphic Design and Advertising.

Learn more about Bright Walls at www.brightwallsjackson.com, and about Clay at www.claymcandrews.com

Here’s a link to the show: https://creativeops.podbean.com

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SUPPORTERS OF THE SHOW:

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SOCIAL MEDIA

Get all the links from www.christophertallon.com, or go straight to Instagram, FaceBook, and/or Twitter. (Betcha my Instagram is better than yours!)

Thanks everyone!

-CT

3 Creative Non-Fic Pieces in 1 Post? Nice…

Hey people!

Photo: Gabby K (Pexels)

How’s it going? I thought I’d give a little holiday recap and reflection, in 3 little CNF vignettes. Tell ya what, you can skip the intro and go right to them if you want:

Or you can keep reading. It honestly doesn’t matter to me if you skip the intro. Seriously, it’s fine. If you insist on reading the intro, I won’t stop you. I will use this as a time to remind you that there are tons of other posts on my BLOG, I have a PODCAST, I’m all up on SOCIAL MEDIA, and I gots me a WEBSITE. OK, look. I’ll be honest with you, since you’ve come this far with me: I only recently mastered the art of using internal links and HTML anchors, which is why I’m experimenting with them here and giving you a kinda long intro to skip. Don’t know what HTML anchors are? Those links to the stories in the bullet list are attached to the titles of the stories down below. If you’re not a blogger yourself, you probably don’t care and are wondering why you didn’t skip the intro. If you are a blogger, you should learn about HTML anchors, if you haven’t already. They’re pretty sweet. Anyway–thanks for reading the intro…. Enjoy a few of my holiday time misadventures!

(Re)Introduction to At-Home Learning

Did you know 2020 had not one, but two Friday the 13th’s? Maybe you did, maybe not. It stuck out extra to me this year because my kids had in-person school cancelled twice–both Fridays. March 13 and November 13.

Of all the two days. Kinda funny, no? If I were a math guy, I’d tell you the odds were of that happening, but I’m barely a word guy, so…

Aaaaaaaanywho…

This was the first week of virtual class for my two elementary-aged boys. The iPads the school gave us wouldn’t let us log in to the app the teachers were hosting virtual classes with; the teachers sent a help ticket. Still didn’t work; we sent a help ticket. They insisted it worked, gave us kindergarten level instructions how to use the thing, and told us to try again. Still didn’t work; I sent this to the teachers:

Exhibit A: email to kids’ teachers

Then this to the tech dept:

Exhibit B: help desk ticket

Luckily, the tech dept had a sense of humor, and, when they called me right back, they understood it was a joke, and not, like, an actual threat.

But nope. He understood the humor and we had a nice chat as we finally got the issue resolved.

Hooray!

I know, right?

When One Door Closes Right in Your Stupid Face…Another Opens

The last couple weeks I had been working on a short story for a state-wide contest. It was fun putting it together and working on it. Between the podcast, writing for other folks, and trying to get a book published (while writing another one)–I simply haven’t done a short story in awhile.

But after I shook the dust off, it was a lot of fun. I wrote a creepy, borderline horror-ish story about why some writers are compelled to write weird or dark shit.

The contest uses a website called Submittable. I hadn’t used it before. Hadn’t even heard of it before. But it’s a pretty neat little tool for “aspiring” fiction writers looking for places to get published.

Anyway, I went to submit my story in the morning, around 11:45. The website said “submissions close in 12 hours”, so I thought, I’ll go work on this thing some more if I have until midnight!

So I did. Then. About 8 hours later. When I checked again:

***submissions closed***

@*#+^&>$%!
I. Can’t. Believe it.

I looked on the website. It said noon. Why the website was telling my computer the wrong info, I’m not sure. The aforementioned tech department from the story above did say that the iPads weren’t configured correctly and may have negatively impacted our WIFI.

I don’t know. But that’s what happened. I was super bummed.

But then I started looking around on that website. I found a few other places to submit to, including a few places I could send the manuscript for my yet-to-be published novel.

So when one door closes, another really does open. It’s just annoying when the first door closed because you didn’t read the rules carefully. Ya know, like a dumbass…

You Should Always Be Nice

I made a trip to the grocery store on Thanksgiving Day for a few dinner items we didn’t realize we were lacking. One of those things was coffee. Now, I’m not a coffee maniac, but my wife kind of is. And I’m a caffeine enabler, so I asked if she wanted something from the Starbucks at the end of the pet supply aisle.

(No, not in the pet supplies, but directly facing into it. Like, when you walk down the pet supply aisle, all you’d see at the end is the Starbucks. Well, unless you’re going the other way. Then you’d see milk, I think. Or maybe cheese. Not eggs, those are on the other wall. Just go ahead and skip long sections in parentheses from now on…)

I heard a ping!, which was my beautiful wife’s coffee order a la text message,–

16oz – almond milk – pumpkin spice latte – half the syrup – no whip cream

–as I was headed to the checkout. I took a right at the end of the aisle, away from the mostly unmanned (unperson-ed…whomever) checkout lanes, towards the pet supply aisle.

It’s important to note at this time, the grocery store allows people ordering coffee to also checkout at the coffee shop. I’m not sure that’s normal practice for all grocery/coffee combos, but this one–it is. I had roughly half a dozen small items in my cart, which most people would just checkout at the Starbucks.

I walked up to the Starbucks, pushing my minicart, and took a spot in line. I parked myself on the social distancing marker they put out for potential lines. Once stopped, I looked around and saw a man, roughly 20 years older than me, had been rushing to get to the line before me. No cart. Just wanted coffee.

He walked past, glaring at me as if I had yelled at him, “Your father was a hamster, and your mother smelled of elderberries!” (***If you know the movie, pleeeeease comment!!!)

I didn’t know whether to assume he thought I saw him coming and I was just trying to be a jerk, or if he was just an asshole. I leaned toward the latter, thinking, Hey, maybe this dude always has an unpleasant disposition. So I took a peek over my shoulder at him. His arms were crossed, his chin was down, and he was staring at me with hellish rage spewing off his face. He had one of those clear plastic masks and was doing everything short of mouthing, This motherf****r over here thinks he’s hot shit…

So I turned around, waiting as the woman in front of me finished her order and grabbed her receipt. My turn. I thought about ordering the coffee and going up to the regular checkout with the rest of my stuff. Maybe out of discomfort, maybe empathy. Who knows. I walked up to the counter to order.

“One moment, sir. I’ll be right with you.”

“No problem,” I said, as the barista went to the aid of her coffee-slinging colleague to help finish the previous order. Then I heard a voice behind me. But it wasn’t a man’s voice. It was a woman’s. And her speech was a bit slurred, with a choppy, inconsistent delivery that were symptoms of a disability I’m not qualified to diagnose. Suffice to say, she had difficulty speaking, and spoke with the simplicity of a much younger person. And she was talking to the angry looking man behind me.

“What are…you getting?” she asked.

“Me?” The man said, sweetly taken aback. “Just a coffee. Why do you ask?”

“I-I’d like…to buy…buy it…for you,” she said.

“Why?”

“Be…because,” she said. “You were…nice to me…earlier.”

“You’re supposed to be nice to everybody. All the time.”

“Well…” she said, making it obvious that, in her experience, not everybody feels that way all the time.

Then I thought, I bet this guy was just behind me getting to the line because he held a door, or slowed his car and let her cross…

“You don’t have to do that,” he said. “Really. Thank you, but you should save your money.”

“It-it…it’s my money…and…I want to,” she said.

“OK. Thank you. And I’ll tell you what, I’ll return the favor. What do you like?”

She answered almost before he was done asking: “Chocolate!

“Can I buy you a brownie, then?”

“Sure!”

“What can we get started for you today?” the barista asked me. Then she scanned my groceries. The guy behind me was deep in conversation at this point, and didn’t even notice.

So. Long story short. Always be nice to everyone. It works out.

-CT

Christopher Tallon

Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? HIGH FIVE!

| Website | Instagram | FaceBookTwitter |

Creative Ops, a podcast for creative people, by creative people.
www.creativeops.podbean.com
Available on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Castbox and everywhere else you download podcasts by searching CREATIVE OPS.

Thanks for reading! Please–I implore you–say hi on social media (I bet my Instagram is cooler than yours!), and give my podcast, Creative Ops, a listen. I’ve interviewed an Academy Award winning visual effects artist, a High Times Cannabis Cup gold medalist grower, best-selling authors, business owners, musicians, and more!

Behind “The Process”: AFTER Getting It Over With (Starting Second Drafts)

Yo!

I woke up early today to work on the short story I hope to submit to a writing contest soon. I finished the first draft after writing a post called Behind “The Process”: Get It over With (Writing First Drafts) for self-encouragement. Now that I’ve finished the first draft, I’d like to share:

A few notes:

First drafts are messy, private affairs. Most writers won’t ever let you see their first drafts. I rarely show my wife, even.

So here’s the breakdown for this post. The first four steps are a bit of a recap from the post about writing first drafts, if you haven’t seen it already:

  1. Write the first draft by hand
  2. Write fast
  3. My first draft sucks, but
  4. I’m perfectly happy with it
  5. Now I’m STARTING THE SECOND DRAFT

Let’s take a minute and break those things down, shall we. We shan’t? Well I say we shall. Pressing on!

Photo:
Zen Chung (Pexels)

1 – Writing by Hand

You should write by hand when you are in the early creative phase. I say it a lot. Even wrote not one, but two posts about it (Writing by HAND vs Typing & Why EVERYONE Should Write by Hand). So I’ll save you the long explanations here–write by hand. Just do it. Way less distracting than typing.

2 – Do It Fast

As I said in Get It over With (Writing First Drafts), at least I think I did (even if I didn’t, my podcast writer-guests say the same!), you should write that first draft quickly. Don’t spend too much time thinking. Just get a solid base–beginning, middle, end. That’s it. Don’t worry about anything else. Yet…

Photo: nappy (Pexels)

Several times while I was writing, I got upset over writing such terrible horses**t. As a younger writer, I would’ve simply stopped, ripped off the page and wrote something else. But writers must see their first drafts all the way through!

I forced myself through writing terrible nightmare scenes that were embarrassingly mild for something that’s supposed to be slightly disturbing. But I pressed on, because the ensuing action mattered more. As much as I wanted to stop and get that scene just right before going on, I didn’t. Not necessary.

Fix it later, it’s a finer detail. Keep pushing. Beginning. Middle. End. Don’t worry about the in-betweens.

I did. And the end result was that:

3 – My First Draft Sucks

Photo: Robert Nagy (Pexels)

It does. The beginning in particular was difficult to reread. Not actually difficult, because I’m used to reading first drafts now, but difficult in a sense of, Oh boy, this thing has a ways to go, type of thing. Kind of like shame, but hypothetical shame. Like, If anyone ever saw this, they’d take my writer card away.

But first drafts are top secret, for-your-eyes-only. They’re almost more of a chore, compared to the rest of the process.

Neil Gaiman, as usual, says it best:

“The second draft is where the fun is. In a first draft, you…get it down on paper, somehow. Battle through the laziness and the not-enough-time and the this-is-rubbish and everything else, and just get it written.”

www.neilgaiman.com, 5/11/2008

So don’t worry about how much it sucks. Be happy that you finished the sucky thing. Then you can move on to the next part of “The Process”, which is making it not suck. Or, again, as Neil says about second drafts:

“Anything you do can be fixed.”

“This is where I make it look like I knew what I was doing all along.”

Neil Gaiman interviewed by Tim Feriss, 3/28/2019

I don’t know about you, but knowing that even greats like Neil friggin Gaiman (I’m not 100%, but I’m pretty certain that’s his middle name) are swinging blindly that first go around, feeling all kinds of negativity about their draft, helps my mental state when I’m questioning my very being in the early stages.

And with that in mind, looking at my sh**ty first draft, I can honestly say…

4 – I’m Happy with My First Draft

Photo: Andrea Piacquadio (Pexels)

If you finish a draft, you’re doing better than, I don’t know…82.6% of people who “have a story in them” but never write it out all the way. Celebrate it. Not by showing it to people, but, ya know, have a drink, make yourself an omelet with all the fixins. However you celebrate the little things, go do something that let’s you relax and enjoy your creative accomplishment. Sh**ty as it may be; it’s the beginning of something bigger and better. But you can’t stop there.

Keep It Moving

Yes, yes. I was happy with it.

Then I started the second draft!

5 – Starting the Second Draft

For me, the second draft looks like this:

  • I start typing the hand-written words into the computer.
    • The beginning of the rough draft was exactly that. Rough. I wrote my way, somewhat blindly, into the story, which makes for a clunky intro. So…
  • I had to figure out where to start.
    • I threw out the first several paragraphs; it really starts with a guy blanking out at work a lot, but before that, lots of backstory. Most of the backstory was probably more for me–so I could get a better understanding of the character and their surroundings and whatnot. I cut all that out and…
  • I rewrote a new beginning with the MC (main character) moving his stuff out of his parents house. A quick conversation with his parents wraps the backstory very neatly. (Kind of like what I described in 1 QUICK SHOW-DON’T-TELL CHEATCODE.)
  • Then little things started changing. As words went from notepad to word processor, a word was changed or added here. Some dialogue added there. A rewritten sentence or two. Three or four cut sentences (at least) per page. New paragraphs springing out of nowhere, just because they suddnely seemed necessary. Little ideas popping up, throwing some depth and clarity into the raw mix. Adding, subtracting, changing, new ideas; the second draft is where it starts to make sense. To feel real. To get exciting.
  • Now I just have to keep going until I reach the end again. Then Rinse and repeat.

Slowly but surely, friends, this new thing will be ready for the world. As ready as I can get it, anyway. We’ll see how the world reacts….

So, people of quality, if you’re struggling to finish a first draft, check out the last post. And remember, the first draft is supposed to suck. At least a little. Good writers are masters of The Process, not masters of nailing the very first time out.

Thanks for reading! Please, I implore you, check out my website, follow me and say hi on social media (my Instagram is pretty cool, is yours?), and give my podcast, Creative Ops, a listen. I’ve interviewed an Academy Award winning visual effects artist, a High Times Cannabis Cup gold medalist grower, best-selling authors, business owners, musicians, and more!

Creative Ops, a podcast for creative people, by creative people.
www.creativeops.podbean.com
Available on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Castbox and everywhere else you download podcasts by searching CREATIVE OPS.

For the last time–don’t beat yourself up too much on your first draft. The first draft’s just the part before the real fun begins. It’s your invitation to the party.

See ya there!

-CT

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Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? HIGH FIVE!

| Website | Instagram | Twitter  | FaceBook |

Creative Ops (A Podcast for Creative People, by Creative People)

Creative Ops | Ep.11 | Mike Breymann – Visual Effects Artist, Software Developer, Freelancer

Creative Ops is a podcast for creative people, by creative people. We get to know the creator, their process, and talk about the stuff they make. Artists, musicians, professionals, parents, medical pros, etc...

Hey Folks!

I talked to renowned visual effects artist Mike Breymann, who has worked with influential artists and filmmakers all over the world. To name just a few projects: Mike made the island and background shots for Jurassic World, recreated Paris for Benjamin Button (which won an Academy Award for visual effects), developed worlds (real and fictional) in virtual reality, and creates software that more easily allows himself (and others) to do what he does.

Download the most recent episode of Creative Ops at christophertallon.com, Apple, Spotify, OR wherever you get podcasts by searching [CREATIVE OPS] or [CHRISTOPHER TALLON] and look for this logo:

A fun and fascinating guy. If you want to see Mike’s portfolio and get a deeper dive into what he’s up to, visit www.michaelbreymann.com!

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Thank you to Hey Guys Media Group, Baby Farm Soaps, and River Town Adventures for supporting the show! I love you all.

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On a personal note, thank YOU for listening to the show. If you rate the show, leave a review, AND tell me about it at www.christophertallon.com, or on FaceBook, Instagram, and/or Twitter, I’ll give you a shout out in the the next show opening! (Pinky swear.)

Holla.

-CT

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Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? HIGH FIVE!

| Website | Instagram | Twitter  | FaceBook |

Creative Ops (A Podcast for Creative People, by Creative People)