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The first photons from a supernova explosion emerge when the supernova's radiation-dominated shock breaks out of the stellar surface, heralding an energetic transient event. These early shock-breakout photons carry invaluable information about the progenitor's properties, its immediate environment, and the explosion mechanism. I will present our recent results regarding the bolometric light curve expected from aspherical explosions and discuss their astrophysical implications. I will then briefly review the phenomenon of pre-supernova eruptions, and explain how the radiative dissipation of a blast wave sets a minimal energy scale below which no mass can be ejected through shock acceleration. I will conclude by commenting on the implications of our theory regarding early light curves of stellar explosions.