Movies and music. They captured Tallackson early on.
As a student at The Emerson School for Visual and Performing Arts in Gary, from which he graduated in 1988, Tallackson hoped to study at the noted University of Southern California film school.
At Emerson, Tallackson majored in piano and violin, performing on the piano in numerous shows, such as “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “Guys and Dolls.” He also worked his junior and senior years for the Post-Tribune in Gary, reviewing movies from a teenager’s perspective.
“I loved the escape [movies] offered, the journey into another world or someone else’s life that in many cases was entirely foreign to you,” he said.
One night he walked into the living room and saw his parents watching famed film critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel reviewing “Star Wars,” which, he says, was his all-time favorite movie at the time.
“I asked my parents what they were watching,” Tallackson recalls. “My parents explained the concept of the show. I replied, ‘You mean they get paid to watch movies?’ Right then and there, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I began writing movie reviews for my elementary school newspaper and through high school.”
His interest in the piano was sparked one Saturday afternoon as he sat on the living room sofa and listened to his mother sing and play.
“I want to play just like you,” he said. So before enrolling at Emerson, he started taking piano lessons.
During his junior year at Emerson, he visited the USC film school. The dean gave him “the best advice ever”: Get a degree in journalism at a first-class university and consider USC for grad school.
So Tallackson enrolled at IU, ending up as a double major in journalism and film.