Getting to Know Staff Writer : MD McCallum

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Would you like to get to know staff writer, MD McCallum? If so, now is your chance. If you have any questions about him, please feel free to e-mail : hopeandlove@renderosity.com

So, without further ado, please read about MD.

Why did you want to become a writer?

Legitimacy. Respect. As a farm boy, a well-written piece, either conversationally or in proper form, always attached for me, a sense of legitimacy concerning not just what the author was writing about but the author themselves. As a young kid, I wanted to publish a book. I didn't care what kind of book, I just wanted to get a book published. That how I've been taught to handle things... stop talking about it and do it. My family was and still is very goal oriented, so setting a goal to be published was encouraged not scoffed at. There was a heavy dose realism from my parents to help keep me grounded. Make a living somehow... then get published no matter how long it takes. And boy... did it take a while.

I finally had a book on 3d animation published and was lucky enough to have it translated into several languages. It hit #35 on the Amazon Top 100 for instructional books and was picked up as a textbook by some community colleges. Of course... we're not talking about a novel so the threshold of success is much lower and so is the payout. Even with all that you aren't going to retire soon but it was a nice bonus in the end with the colleges picking it up for a few years. My review on Amazon was all 4 and 5 stars last time I looked except for one student review that was forced to buy the book which apparently didn't match the class they were in. As much as that thing cost I'd be pissed too!

Before that, I was initially published as an outdoor writer in national magazines in the 1980s. I was a tournament bass fisherman and lived in an area that was unique and very much unlike a majority of the fishing spots being written about. I leveraged all of this to create a piece on a specific type of freshwater fishing which I sent to a national magazine publisher and never heard back. Until I saw it in print! Hallelujah! Then the check came. Not so hallelujah. Back to work doing something else with that as a part time gig. It got me into the Outdoor Writers Association and that was pretty cool at the time. I wrote a weekly fishing column for the local newspaper too.

It is amazing how publishing something as simple as a textbook adds legitimacy to your resume and weight to your words. You actually find out some people listen to your opinions! So you start paying more attention to your writing in a more responsible fashion. Even in forums you find that an off the cuff remark can have consequences for a vendor when that wasn't your intention or maybe you were just blowing off steam. One of my early jobs was working as a loan officer at a finance company and nobody was impressed. A short time later when I became a banker (still a loan officer) I had fathers and grandfathers introducing their daughters to me. Respect. That's why I wanted to be a writer. Some places, some positions just imply respect to some people.

What is your favorite food?

Everything... which used to be a problem. I'm not kidding... there is little in food that I would not sell your soul to have. After all, we're talking about food! Years ago, when I'd commute to work in Houston, the morning radio DJ's were carrying on about how you know you have an eating problem if the first thing you think of when you travel is where you are going to eat. Bingo. Scientific or not it nailed my behavior. My lifestyle has completely changed in the past few years as I have been able to shed over 100 pounds and get back almost to my weight as a young man. That has had a tremendous impact on my life and the quality of it.

What kind of music do you listen to?

All kinds, depends on what I'm doing. Blues, rock, classical, piano solo, guitar solo but mainly blues the past several years. My youth was spent listening to hard rock with some country. I still like country music... particularly the wide variety we have now but there is only so much time in the day to listen. My passion lies in the blues right now. All types of blues.



What do you do in your spare time?

The past few years have been mostly music. As a freelancer, I work differing hours during the day depending on whom I'm working for but they are usually long days like most freelancers because I love what I do as a digital artist. I know it's a worn cliche but music speaks to my soul and more importantly to my health. The long hours are hard on the body. The need to have downtime is critical. Plus, the ever dreaded burn-out is always waiting around the corner if I don't pace myself. I've worked on so many productions over the years that 3D work is just that... work. It's music that's my release, my relaxation and my health.

If I feel like hitting the drum kit I'll go with some driving rock or I'll go Latin if using congas, bongos and the sort. I was a drummer before I learned any other instrument. Life took me away from playing my own music for a long time... most of my adult life since making a living was always a priority. I could never get into a position to meld both together successfully. I recently posted on Facebook that I left music to make a living... now I look to music to live.

I also repair electric guitars and some acoustics depending on what needs to be repaired. When I decided to learn the guitar and other instruments I needed a way to make it possible to go through as many guitars as I could to learn the differences in price range, feel and tone. I set-up an online shop and have since been through 60+ guitars counting what's still in my collection and for sale. You learn a lot this way in a short time. These instruments were purchased from individuals and all had various problems which I learned to repair so that led to seeking out instruction in becoming a Luthier. I didn't want to build an instrument but I did want to know them inside out as far as construction. Now I buy music equipment as a service though it's not one I advertise as friends and clients contact me to look for certain equipment. I also get to make some of my own soundtracks for animations and that is a great feeling to say you created the scene, the characters, props, animation and recorded the music. There are many reading this that can do the same thing so I know this readership understands that rush.

It's been a wild ride since I took up music in my spare time but, outside of writing, it is one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. There are very few days I don't pick up a guitar, play the drums or pound the keyboard. I hope it stays that way because playing takes me where I want to be at that moment.

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