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Conversations with Tal Orion

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tal Orion.

Hi Tal, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
In my previous career as a radio and newspaper investigative reporter, I interviewed some of the biggest celebrities in Hollywood, like Mel Gibson, Jenifer Aniston, and Robert Downy Junior. I’ve lived in nearly a dozen different cities in Israel. At 20 years old, I packed one suitcase and a couple of hundred dollars and moved, by myself, to one of the most intimidating cities in the world: New York. I’ve been married, and divorced, and remarried two more times, raising three children along the way and traveling the world, too.

Age and life experiences have taught me many things, and they lead me to my current career as a special events producer. Having come to this second career later in life, I believe I bring confidence and wisdom to my work that sets me apart.

During the process of planning an event, I become a part of the family’s journey – their joy, their anxiety, their excitement. Last year, I was planning a lavish 400-person wedding for a lovely couple when Covid turned our world upside down. So, like everyone else, we had to pivot and rethink the entire event: a different date, different scale. Then we were forced to cancel again. By the third time I had to plan the wedding, I was so personally invested in this couple that as I watched them (finally!) stand under the wedding canopy to begin their lives together in this mad world, I was flooded with emotion. It made me realize, once again, why I love what I do.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
We all faced huge challenges in 2020. There isn’t one industry that didn’t suffer enormous setbacks. But my team and I learned to be flexible during the pandemic — we opted for intimate events, events by Zoom, drive-ins and drive-throughs. We learned to embrace a minimalist approach, which has its own beauty. Typically, event production is all about a big show. The pandemic forced us to return to the basics; celebrate the core values of a special occasion.

I planned my first destination wedding this year — that really stretched my abilities and pushed me to overcome many obstacles. I had three days in Mexico to gather all the information I needed and then I had three months via Zoom to plan an elaborate, high stakes wedding, hundreds of miles away in a foreign country. The amount of details, logistics, coordination and planning it took was likely my biggest challenge of the year. But it was spectacular! I believe it was one of my finest achievements.

Another challenge we faced this year, and in every year, is that last minute panic. The stress the day before a big event when the bride or groom or parents of the bar mitzvah child get overwhelmed with a mosaic of emotions. It’s not easy to absorb all this pressure. I strive to keep cool, keep calm, but I’m a person too. I worry too. I’m not a robot. I find that in most situations, they appreciate the transparency and honesty. I show them my personal side and that I work through emotions too.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
An enormous part of my event production business is design. It’s the most creative part of event planning and it’s my fiercest passion. It’s where I get to run wild. I can watch a movie, like “Aladdin,” and decide that my next event will be themed Arabian Nights. The nuances of every detail will swirl in my head and ideas will explode. I can be inspired by a gorgeous restaurant foyer, a lavish dessert I see in a shop window, or a stunning piece of jewelry.

I also draw inspiration from following Russian event producers on social media — the grandiose productions are absolutely ravishing and awe-inspiring. They’re just on a different scale than anything you could imagine. But they’re also highly personal and brand-oriented. Everything is personalized to the client. I am striving to get to that level in my career.

What does success mean to you?
I think I define success differently than others because of where I am in my life. There is a calmness at my age (53). I’m less hysterical; more understanding, compassionate, patient. I believe success is not about luck or talent or even personal connections. Especially in America, the key to success is hard work and a strong work ethic. To succeed, you have to overcome obstacles and persevere through challenge after challenge after challenge. You have to be consistent in your dedication.

When I was 15 years old, I brought home a B on a test. My mom, who was a school principal, threw it out and said, “In this house, we only bring home A+.” I was very upset. For years, I held that against her. But now, many years later and after raising my own children, I understand that to succeed, mediocre is not good enough. It turned out to be my biggest life lesson. With enough effort and hard work, you can be successful at anything you put your mind to. That’s the definition of success that I am passing on to my own children.

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Image Credits:

Wind Production Yarin Darashan

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