To kick off Live Life Creative, I thought it would be good to give you a little context on where I’m coming from as a creator and as a person. I asked my wife Nicole to interview me for that background, and we share a few laughs on the episode and dive into why this podcast exists and how it’s going to help you. Listen through the audio player for the full content, or read below for the highlights.
Send me a message, especially a voice message, to firstname.lastname@example.org
Mentioned on the episode:
Scroll down to see the pictures also mentioned.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Sioux City, Iowa, a medium-sized city in the northwest corner of the state. It was a great place to grow up.
What creative activities did you do growing up?
I read lots and lots of books, played video games, and played guitar. I don’t know if books and video games count as creative activities, but it’s interacting with creative content, at least.
I first picked up a guitar around third grade, when my dad surprised me with it after school one day. He had bought it from his brother after I had messed around with it at his house. My dad drove me to the music store and got me a music book and a cheap case, and I spent two hours teaching myself the first few lessons in the book.
Some time later, my uncle taught me a few actual chords, like you’d use with a chord chart, and he took me a few times to his friend’s house, who hosted a regular get-together for guitarists, so there were probably 25 of us playing music in his living room!
Another way I learned a lot about playing music was through my church worship team. I first tried out for the youth group band before I really knew any chords, so I auditioned with sheet music, which really wasn’t relevant to the chord charts that we used in worship. For some reason they still accepted me, and I got busy learning new things!
What were you going to study in college?
I decided I would study guitar performance in college because I wasn’t into designing video games or becoming a writer, based off my other two main activities in high school, reading and playing video games.
I’d played music at church and taken guitar lessons for a few years, so I figured guitar was a natural route to go. I started as a music major during my last year of high school because I took college credit classes at the local community college, and continued that through my first semester of full-time college at Cornerstone University.
Why did you switch?
About halfway through the first semester I realized that I didn’t want to play music professionally because I just wasn’t passionate enough about playing guitar. I liked it pretty well, and I was okay at it, but I wasn’t good enough to play professionally and I didn’t care about it enough to put in the practice time that would be required to do it successfully for a career.
I didn’t want to get out of the music industry totally though, just because of the cool factor of it all. I made a bit of a sideways move into audio production, so the music recording and production side of it.
What was good about the new thing?
Audio production is a more technical field than straight up playing music is. You can certainly be artistic as a music producer, it’d be crazy to say otherwise, but there is definitely more nuts and bolts to learn before you get there. Stuff like learning what compressors and noise gates and EQ does and what all the settings control. I graduated with a degree in audio and finished out a music minor with the credits I’d already earned.
What was your first professional-ish experience?
One of my big internships was working for the radio station on campus at Cornerstone. This isn’t really a college radio station that students run under guidance of staff or faculty; it’s all radio professional-types, and the station has been #1 in the market a number of times recently.
This was my first introduction to doing audio production outside of recording and producing music, so it definitely expanded my horizons quite a bit. There’s a lot less emphasis on having a ton of different layers and elements and effects in a particular project, and lot more on having great content. So simpler production with great ideas in it.
I also got a part-time job in the fall of 2013 to be the production assistant at a local Christian media ministry to help produce a new radio drama. My job was a lot of putting out audition notices, organizing auditions, scheduling actors and studio time, that kind of thing.
The funny thing to me was that my internship supervisor at the radio station was also the creative director of the audio drama, so he was my boss for both things. It made it really convenient if I had to talk to him about something related to the drama, so I didn’t even have to leave campus.
I’m still working at that media ministry, full-time now as the program director of the Christian children’s internet radio station that’s a part of the ministry.
How did you get into photography?
I married into it. I first met Nicole, now my wife, just after graduation from Cornerstone, and about a year plus a few months later we were married. She was a year ahead of me at Cornerstone, and she had gotten a pretty nice camera from her parents as a graduation gift. (It’s a Nikon D7000 with the 18-105mm and 70-300mm kit lenses, for the curious.)
One day in March of 2016 I had the day off work and decided to pull it out and learn how to take photos. I like to learn new things and as I found out, photography has a nice mix of technical and creative.
I spent that day learning what aperture, ISO, and shutter speed are and how they affect a photo, and took some of my first photos! It was a very exciting day for me and really got me into photography. Here’s one of the first photos I took of the gear assembly of a rusty bike at our apartment complex:
Another picture I had shot that day:
What are the different things you’ve shot?
It’s been a mix of just what’s around me plus desserts. Desserts might seem like a really specific subject, but it’s because my wife Nicole has her own business, the Burly Bison Bakery, that she operates out of our house. She began working on creating desserts for the bakery around the same time I picked up a camera, so much of my photography learning was based around taking pictures of her desserts. It was a very tasty year and a half or so where she was experimenting with desserts before launching the bakery.
The other major part of my photography has just been going for walks around our neighborhood and taking pictures of opportunity. Two slightly more major projects within that has been taking pictures of Nicole (she’s been very patient with me by posing and letting me take pictures of her) and of Louie the Left-Handed Bicycle.
The bicycle pics came from one of my coworkers giving me an old (probably mid-80’s) red road bike. I’ve taking it out for bike rides and taken photos of it up against a wall, out in a field, along a bike path, that sort of thing and putting the pics out on Instagram and giving it captions as if it were a character in a story. A fun little project (left-handed really had nothing to do with it, except for the alliteration).
Where do you want to go with photography?
That’s tough to say. I’d love to take pictures of people for fun and as a side business. Pretty much everyone who gets a halfway decent camera sets up a Facebook page and opens for business, and I’m not much different. I don’t think that I want to photography full-time either, like playing guitar, though I do love doing it for fun and a side business.
How did you get into podcasts?
Again, Nicole has been a big influence on this part of my life as well. Funny how being married to someone really opens you up to them.
She got me into listening to podcasts while we were dating, starting with This American Life, Planet Money and Radiolab probably. I was into a lot of NPR for awhile, and then Gimlet Media, a podcast company started by a former producer of This American Life and Planet Money.
What do you like to listen to?
Nowadays I don’t listen to so much NPR, but I listen to shows more specifically focused on photography and podcasting. I checked my podcast app for my listening statistics, and apparently I had listened to podcasts for 20% of my life at that point!
I still listen to a few Gimlet shows, and also to some about social media marketing. If you want to check out another great podcast about creativity, I’d recommend Sara Dietschy’s podcast The Creative Exchange. She’s a fairly famous YouTuber (I’m not sure how to judge fame on YouTube) that connects with creators in many different areas and learns about their story and creative journey. I forgot to mention that show in the podcast episode so that’s a show notes exclusive recommendation right there.
What do you like so much about podcasts?
I really like listening to podcasts so much because you can learn a lot, hear from famous and/or interesting people in a really personal format, and you don’t have to just listen; you can do other stuff at the same time.
There’s so many podcasts out there that help you learn to do something better, or to inform you, or to expand your horizons, and I think that’s a ton of fun. I’ve listened to so many podcasts over the past couple of years that I couldn’t be more excited to contribute to the community.
Why did you want to start your own podcast?
I love listening to them, and I love creating stuff, and I have experience in audio, so it seems like a great idea! But really the main thing is that I love helping people and having conversations learning about people’s journey and how I can use that to help myself. By extension of recording that conversation, I want to pass off that same learning to you, if you listen to Live Life Creative.
Why about creativity?
There’s a lot I don’t know about creativity, about creating great stories, and the different media you can use to express creativity. I want to learn more about those areas from people whose work I respect and enjoy, and teach what I’ve learned from them to anyone who listens to Live Life Creative. I’m excited to have the chance to talk to smart, creative people and pass on their skills and knowledge to you through the show.
What’s the point of Live Life Creative?
I want to help you break out of your creative rut through these conversations, by hearing from guests about how they’ve struggled and overcome, and one-on-one episodes with ideas to help you be more creative.
What kind of episodes are you going to make?
I want to create two basic formats of episodes: guest interviews and one-on-one. The guests will be local creators that I know personally in my area that are making cool stuff, as well as reaching out to people online who perhaps have a bigger platform and are respected for their work on a larger scale.
The one-on-one episodes will be lessons I’ve learned in my creative journey that I want to pass on to you, to help you break through a creative barrier you may be facing in your own life. One of the first of these will be about using mistakes you’ve made and using them as tools to springboard into a new level of creativity.
How often will new shows come out?
I got a great piece of advice from Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income. He conducted a webinar on podcasting some time ago, and said that if you think you can do your podcast every week, then do it every other week to start. If you think you can do it every other week, then start out at once a month. No one will be mad if you go from one episode a month to two, or from two to four, but some people will get their noses out of joint if you go from four to two or two to one.
That in mind, I’ll be releasing episodes twice a month, one tips and tricks episode that’ll be one-on-one, and one guest interview episode.
There’s a whole other section where Nicole and I talk about creativity on the podcast episode. I really want to encourage you to listen to the whole show, including that section, because there’s a lot we talk about in the recording that I didn’t include here!
Where to go from here?
This whole show is made to encourage you to improve in whatever creative endeavor you’re engaged in, so I hope that you’ll make it a point to subscribe to Live Life Creative in your preferred podcast app and recommend the show to your friends, once you’ve listened to enough of it to know that it’s worth recommending.
And if you really think it’s a great show, leaving a rating and review on iTunes goes really far to helping people find the show. It really makes a difference!
- I’d love to hear from you, what has been a fear of yours that’s held you back from creating something?
- Send a voice message to email@example.com. You don’t have to say your name, and I’ll keep it anonymous if I use your recording on the podcast.
- Just open any voice memo app, record what you want to say, and hit the share button to bring it into your email
- Since this show is brand new, I’m sure it’s going to change in format or style
- You can help shape what’s going to happen here by sending in those emails and voice messages
- I want the podcast to enable you to do your best creative work, so if something’s not working for you, I want to fix it
- Finally, you can follow @livelifecreative on Instagram, and I’d love to engage with you there
I’m Dylan, helping you break down your creative barriers, so you can Live Life Creative.