Category Archives: creativity

LIVE Discussions Permission to Fail

Getting into a doing creative work is an art, not a science. It take take several attempts to get it right. In order to keep yourself from going insane you need to give yourself permission to fail. I am joined by wife/actress Rene Bordelon and writer/comedian Jaime Jessup as we discuss not only how failure can help but some of our own failure stories.
Panelists:
Curtis Andersen: http://CurtisAndersen.com
Rene Bordelon: http://ReneBordelon.com
Jaime Jessup: http://calamityjay.blogspot.com/

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Filed under actor 101, creativity, video, YouTube

Storytelling Discussion Highlights

We had a great conversation on Sunday talking about storytelling, how we do it, and what it takes to make that your career. I’ve trimmed down the over hour long conversation into about twenty minutes of just the most advice dense parts. And there’s a little bit of Skelly in there too.

Below is the full discussion if you liked what you saw above and want to see a bit more:

Don’t forget to check out our panelists where they do their work:

Jeff Garvin at JeffGarvinBooks.com

Erin Stegeman at her Twitter

And Zeke Pinheiro at FunSizeHorror.com

And of course check out the Andelon Productions Patreon. You get exclusive access to content and material there and it only takes a dollar a month to be a patron!

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Filed under actor 101, Andelon, artist, business, career, creativity, Hollywood, how-to, insight, inspiration, internet, video, videos, YouTube

LIVE Discussions & Patreon – We’re doing things!

We have been hard at work on all of our new stuff and while we’re are still working on things like sketches:

And things like Rene’s music parodies:

The thing that seems to be taking off is our series of LIVE Discussions. These are weekly (Sundays at 11am Pacific Time) and recorded live on our YouTube Channel. We have a topic of discussion (usually arts or creativity related) and I assemble a panel of friends, co-workers, and contemporaries to talk about it for at least 20 mins (although lately we’ve been going longer). Once a month we do a Feature Discussion with a bigger panel. Feature Discussions last for at least an hour and I do a follow-up video of just the highlights after the fact. Below is a playlist of all the discussions so far:

Please check these out, feel free to click on any of the advertising (wink).

Rene and I have some big plans for the future, especially as we continue building our own content. We can do a lot on our own, but we could use some additional financial support to help raise the bar on our activities. Everything we’ve done thus far has been done on a shoestring where we beg, borrow and steal what we need to get a project done. This has worked pretty well, like with The Chili and Bloody Mary:

But with a little bit more money we can do a lot more!

Please consider joining our Patreon page. We’ve set-up some good starter rewards and I’m very pleased to announce that I got some of our art proofs back this morning for the merch that we will be releasing (actual release date TBD, but it’s coming!!!).

If Patreon isn’t an option, please don’t be afraid to click on the advertising links you see here and on the channel. I try to make sure that all of the ads presented are appropriate for the page and they should be set-up so that the items shown are things you, as the reader/watcher, would be interested in.

Thank you all for your support! We have seen the page jump in activity since we started – and we’re doing very well for only being about 4 weeks into this new effort! We’re really looking forward to what’s next!

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Filed under acting, Andelon, awesome, behind the scenes, blatant plug, Bloody Mary, business, comedy, creativity, current events, Curtis Andersen, day in the life, directing, diy, doing new things, filmmaking, Frankie, fund raising, getting started, making movies, marketing, money, new projects, new shows, news, producing, productivity, projects, rene, short film, social networking, state of stuff, update, video, videos, YouTube

New State, New Start

Rene and I have been in Portland for about 3 weeks. We are moved in (almost) completely. We have taken the time to get to know our neighborhood (at least a little), and now it is time to get to the work that we (partially) made this move to do.

Ever since we got here my brain has been blasting like a fire hose. With fewer day-jobs I have actually had time to do a lot of things namely sleep, go to the gym, read, and cook – you know, like a normal human person. I’ve also started planning to do all the things I’ve wanted to do for months (years in some cases) but didn’t have the time or energy to complete. Working on this blog is one of those things.

When I first started it, this was a public place to talk about things. It was a real-time incubator of ideas and updates for anyone who may have cared enough to stop by. I think that it will probably do best to keep it that way, but I’d like to structure it a bit more. I’m not sure how yet, lots of ideas – not a whole lot of focus just yet – but that’s what I want to do.

On the acting front Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen is obviously changing. Not only has the original target been met, but by moving to Portland that definitely affects what type of work is available. That will be an adventure all on it’s own.

I’m also going to keep doing the Acting 101 posts, especially as I learn to navigate the new market here in the Pacific Northwest.

 

Then there’s the geek front: I have had time to indulge in my hobbies again and since my D&D group is back in California and we haven’t decided on a remote way to play yet, my energies have been focused on Games Workshop games and the new Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition. Woo! It looks cool! I’m thinking of doing a series of articles/posts about my rebuilding of armies and painting progress. Would anyone be interested in that? Let me know in the comments.

Project: Iron Man is on hold. I left my comic books in California for the time being until we move to a more permanent home. I know they are popular so as soon as it is possible I’ll start that up again.

Then there are the possibilities of doing some lifestyle posts. Portland is a great city with more than a few places to visit. Rene and I have always wanted to do travel shows, maybe now is the time. People have responded really well to what we’ve posted about our move so far, maybe it’s time to expand on that.

And of course we’ll be making more videos! Make sure to SUBSCRIBE to the YouTube channel so you don’t miss any of those.

What do you want to see more of? Let me know in the comments!

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Filed under adventures, creativity, day in the life, diy

Happy New Year! Here’s what’s Coming Up!

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I am writing this in the last hour of January 1st, 2016. These last two months have been a whirlwind mostly focused on my quest to become a working actor again epitomized by the Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen series of videos on my YouTube Channel. Here’s the latest one from today:

And here are the links to the playlists for November and December, in case you want to catch up:

In addition, my friend Author Jeff Garvin and I are trying an experiment where we go through and read sections of our old high school journals. Yes, it’s exactly what you think:

Rene and I have big plans for this year! Keep your eye here for all the info!

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Filed under actor stuff, creativity, new media, new projects, new shows, new year, news, Operation: Television's Curtis Andersen, update, video, videos, YouTube

Videos About Fall & Halloween

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The wife had a good idea for a video this year about California’s lack of significant seasonal change. She wrote a great blog about it HERE but if you just want to see the video you can see it below:

And last year I did a short for Fun Size Horror based on a short story I wrote called Bloody Mary. Since it’s the right time of year you can see that below:

Happy Halloween! Be safe and have fun!

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Filed under Andelon, blatant plug, comedy, creativity, directing, filmmaking, Fun Size Horror, fun video friday, Halloween, scary movies, videos, YouTube

Autumn, Nostalgia & Mixtapes

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It’s only August, but just the other night I got a hint of a scent in the air that was unmistakable to me as Autumn. I don’t know how to describe it other than wet and earthy. It’s a smell that reminds me of October and all of the Americana that goes along with it: changing leaves, costumes, Halloween in a Normal Rockwell kind of way, and the best parts of my adolescence.

There are certain smells that just go with things. Football players talk about the smell of the field before a game.  I remember that smell, there really is nothing else like it. It almost smells as if the field is sweating before the game begins. The other day at a rehearsal for “Rope” I caught the scent of  a very specific hairspray in the dressing room, a hairspray that I’ve smelled in dressing rooms for decades and with that one contact I was suddenly reminded of all of those shows. The Autumn smell works the exact same way and triggers some of the strongest nostalgia I feel during any given year.

Every year, usually later than now, when the air starts to change and the nostalgia comes on I find myself searching though my music to make a playlist appropriate to the season. I started doing this back when I was a teenager, making mix tapes on my dual cassette/CD stereo system. There was more of an art to it back then. People had tape lengths that they liked to work in (I was a Memorex 90 minute man, myself) and you’d have to plan out your songs and hope that they would fit each side perfectly. I became very good with the Play/Pause button and mastered the length of the tape lead before it started recording. I could do it by feel, no counting required. Somewhere, deep in boxes that probably haven’t seen the light of day in at least a decade, there are dozens of mix tapes made from my music library circa 1990-1996. These tapes were with me during car rides with my friends when we first felt the “freedom” of being teenagers with cars. They were there for early relationships and the break-ups that went along with them. They were there for my first cigarette and for my first sips of Boones Farm Strawberry Hill. They were the soundtrack to my coming of age and represent all the songs that meant something to me at the time. They were also a pretty good representation of alternative hits and underground bands of the time.

My friends did it too, across the board. We’d listen to what each other made, finding new songs that we liked and new bands. My friend Jeff introduced to me to Oingo Boingo, Voice of the Beehive and October Project this way. I discovered that my friend Dan and I had a mutual love of The Cars and The Police this way. And my friend Scott exposed me to the power of Bad Religion and Pennywise this way. Entire backyard parties were powered by these tapes. They were teenage sorcery that could help bend the mood of entire rooms full of hormone fueled basket cases.

Technology changed and iTunes and iPods made it very easy to generate playlists based on whatever mood you were in at that second. Gone was the finesse of tape creation; instead you could just slam together song after song on a whim. I remember sitting at the computer for hours at a time, days in a row plugging songs into the playlists where I felt they belonged. I had the perfect list for whatever mood I was in. It was pretty awesome… until the crash of 2007 when iTunes and all of my playlists crashed and burned. That killed a lot of the fire I had for digital playlists. So much time was spent creating things that were wiped away in, literally, a moment.  After that it took until I discovered Spotify before I felt that a digital playlist would be worth creating again. I haven’t created as many playlists as I did before 2007, but I do find that the ones I curate now get a lot more play.

I started a new playlist for autumn 2015 on Spotify. It’s the start of something that will probably get bigger as the days get shorter and the air gets crisper. I’m sharing this because I selfishly want you to share your playlists with me. Back in the day we would swap tapes and CD’s, but now we can toss entire playlists around digitally. This playlist is full of songs that take me back to being sixteen-and-angry, ready to rage against the world… as soon as I finish my journal entry about no one understanding me. It’s what I would want to listen to on a rainy day, hence the name. Check it out and let me know what you think, but more importantly share your playlists with me. Drop them in the comments and show me something new. I want to try and capture that feeling of sharing music again from back in the day. Whether it’s a favorite album from your favorite band or a playlist of your own creation, pop it in the comments and let’s hear something new.

Happy listening.

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Filed under creativity, Curtis Andersen, general, happiness, high school, iTunes, music, musings, rambling, songs, Uncategorized

Creativity on the Daily – The Highlights

Andelon Discussions Creativity

Back in February we held our first Andelon Discussion video roundtable. I got together my oldest friends, who all happen to have varied and diverse careers, and we talked about being creative. It was a really good discussion, if I do say so myself. We covered a lot in an hour.

Admittedly, we did have a few technical troubles (namely the sound for the first 10 minutes) and an hour can be a long time to ask people to watch on the internet, so I edited together what I feel are the best 13 minutes of our discussion that will hopefully help to inspire the creativity in your life.

I want to thank Dan, Dean, Jeff and Scott for participating. If you want to learn more about them see their links below. Also, Jeff wasn’t wrong, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is amazing! I’ve provided a purchase link down below.

Scott Sanford – IT specialist for the financial industry.

Dean Ethington – Graphic Designer and web developer for Oakley.

Dan Zarzana – Manager at an entertainment payroll company.

Jeff Garvin – Author and musician.

What do you think about being creative? Did anything the panel said strike a chord with you? Let me know in the comments.

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Filed under Andelon, art, artist, career, creativity, video, videos, YouTube

The Value of Journaling

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Not that long ago I dug deep into the pits of my parent’s storage space to where I keep the bits of memorabilia that I saved from high school and college. There underneath old trophies and certificates, under the photo albums and  envelopes filled with pictures (we used to have to get them developed and physically printed!) I found the trove of old high school journals that I was looking for. I was pulling them out, on purpose, for a project that my friend, author Jeff Garvin, and I were thinking about working on.

A bit of advice if you ever reach a point where nostalgia overrides your more rational thinking: Things you wrote down at the height of your adolescent hormonal development are not light reading. You should be mentally prepared before diving back into that headspace.

I was not.

My friend Zeke has always said, “Five years ago I was an idiot.” It’s a great phrase. How often have you looked back on things and noticed that your opinions had changed or shifted? It’s easy to forget that most of us actually change our minds quite a bit about a lot of things as we grow and get older. Thanks to social media and “flashback” apps we can now be greeted every morning with a list of things that we have posted to the public via a variety of different platforms to lord knows how many people that shows exactly where you were at in your head. Thanks to these apps I can attest that I as well was an idiot five years ago. And I’m sure that I’ll feel that way in another five years, and then five years after that.

Now imagine diving back over twenty years ago…

…Idiot doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Actually “idiot” is too harsh of a word. I was a teenager and suffered from being “sixteen and angry.” I think we all have our “sixteen and angry” time, I know that everyone I ever knew had one. It’s a tumultuous time when you are starting to figure out who you are as a person separate from your parents, when you start to make decisions for yourself, when you desperately want to be considered an adult but secretly enjoy the shield of being a kid. This is when you find all the great music that will become your favorite into adulthood. This is when crushes are defined as “love” and every relationship can last “forever.” You fight with your parents, go on your first adventures with your friends, and generally raise eight different kinds of holy hell.

I managed to document my sixteen and angry period in nine volumes: eight journals and one sketch book. The picture at the top of this post is of all but one of the books. Inside are entries that detail my thoughts and feeling about friendships, relationships, and some stories that I used to write about a fictional version of my friends and I. Reading it back revealed that things were a bit different than the memory of those times in my head. It’s easy to romanticize the high school experience. I didn’t mind high school. I had a lot of friends and did well academically. I was fortunate enough not to have the troubles that make it into after school specials like bullying or drugs. My friends and I were no saints, but we weren’t troublemakers either. I can safely say that there were no arrests and any statutes of limitations have expired. My memories of high school are full of laughing, inside jokes, musicals, and enough Pepsi cola to kill an elephant. Seriously, my three best friends and I drank Pepsi by the case. I’m pretty sure that my blood was at least 4% Pepsi by my senior year. It’s amazing any of us have teeth.

However, these books tell a different tale. One of extreme emotional turmoil, dramatic shifts in friendships, and document the kind of existential crises that would make Sartre roll his eyes. None of it is ironic, it is clearly very earnest and deliberate. It feels like a different person wrote it. They are remarkably detailed history books that talk about people I had nearly forgotten about; people who, at the time, were very involved in my life. They discuss music I liked, places I went, and in some cases even what I was wearing. I actually put pictures in the front and back covers of almost all of the books. Some of myself, some of my pet chameleon, Fred, and some of my friends. I have one here of me circa 1993:

Curtis Circa 1993

Great hair, right?

The strangest thing about the entries is that they are written like blog posts. There was apparently a part of me that thought that people would like to read the hormone fueled ramblings of a teenage boy so the entries often referred to the reader and explained things in great detail so that a stranger who might not have any previous knowledge of me would be able to understand the context of the situation. Thank God the internet wasn’t then what it is now. They are a set of volumes that document the true feelings I had as a teenager. As embarrassing as they are they are valuable.

Journaling is a pretty great exercise. It requires you to write down what you think and feel without a filter. It is a time capsule of an exact moment in your history. It’s honest even if you are lying in it, since the lie is part of that moment. I fell out of journaling when I was twenty or so. I was in college, working more, and my dramatics were getting me a paycheck as opposed to being spewed into the blank pages of a book. I also moved to digital means of note taking and idea tracking. I had PDA’s with styluses that would let me write and store things away or send to my computer. Nothing at all like the pages of these books and none of those items made it to today – they are lost on some old hard drive in a landfill somewhere. I got completely out of the habit and I think I regret that now.

I started journaling again when I was doing my 52 in 52 challenge. I keep an idea book where I jot down story ideas and I was leaving a Barnes and Noble. I had some extra time so I sat on the patio and wrote some things down, stream of consciousness style. It felt like I was giving my head a spring cleaning. It wasn’t anything extraordinary, nothing even worth having a conversation about, but what I wrote down had been sitting in my brain taking space. It felt good to have it out. Then Rene and I did the Dragon Tree Challenge. I won’t lie, it’s a bit hippy-dippy and new age-y, but it got me in the habit of daily journaling again. Journaling has helped to focus my thoughts and let my brain work on the stuff that I need it to without having to navigate through all the gunk that fills it up during the day. I highly recommend it. It’s especially good if you are in a creative field! Most of the other creatives I know keep a few different books to write in depending on the mood. Personally, have my pocket notebook for notes and tasks, my story idea book, a sketch book (the same one from twenty years ago), and a journal for just private thoughts that aren’t really for the world.

Here are some tips if you’d like to give it a try:

  1. Get the right book for you. I’m currently using one of the old journals I found from 1993. It was empty and some of the pages are yellowing. It has age on it, like me, and the pages are a little crisp because of it.
  2. Get the right pen. This might sound silly, but when you get on a roll the words are going to come out fast and the last thing you need is your pen running out of ink or not being comfortable in your hand.
  3. Don’t judge what you write. No matter what my teenage self thought, what you journal probably isn’t destined for public consumption. It’s for you – and you don’t ever have to read it again. Just write and let it all come out, warts and all. Really clean out that brain.
  4. Date your entries. Just in case you do ever want to go back and read what you’ve written it’s nice to know when you’ve written it. It helps to put everything into context.

Do you journal? Are you going to give it a shot? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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Filed under artist, books, creativity, Curtis Andersen, nostalgia

Fun Video Friday – I Believe in a Thing Called Love

Fun Video Friday Update

A friend once said, “You know a good song when you can play it on an acoustic guitar around a bon fire and it still sounds good.” I subscribe to that idea and would expand it to say that a good song can survive new arrangements in new styles as well. The folks over at Post Modern Jukebox are regularly doing this with popular songs. I’m not the first to find PMJ (as the kids call them), they’ve been posting great versions of pop tunes for years and they appear regularly in pop culture and geek blogs. In fact they are going on tour! I’m not getting paid to bring that up, I just like in supporting cool creative things.

Back to the song…

Permission to Land was my favorite album of 2003… and 2004… and most of 2005 and ’06. It’s a solid, fun, driven rock album and was the perfect anthem for my late 20’s. “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” is a song I still love to listen too even though I’ve heard it thousands of times. The New Orleans version below gives it a different kind of energy that still fits the spirit of the song and it never hurts to have a strong female voice driving a song.

 

And here’s the original:

 

What are some of your favorite tunes? Pop some links in the comments.

See you next time!

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May 1, 2015 · 8:00 am