Tyler Hynes is a busy man.
This month, he released an online avante garde short film in four parts, creating a once-in-a-lifetime with his friend and collaborator, Ash Thorp.
Tonight, he’ll be representing in a more traditional movie on Hallmark. Both works are driven by his personal experience with his Tyler Enthusiasts (he doesn’t like the term fans), and his desire to bring joy and light into the world.
Like so many other actors in this genre, he’s eloquent and well-spoken, which makes talking with him an absolute delight.
What are the three most exciting things happening in your professional world right now?
Three? I mean, I can tell you the number one thing would be this thing that seems to revolve with the folks that watch these movies and seem to want to participate with me for whatever reason.
I think there’s something really unique and simple and beautiful that’s happening, which is somehow their creativity and their kindness and generosity and their attention to detail, all of that has become a playground that they all get to share in and through which have found friendships and support and enjoy and just participating with each other, sort of congregating around perhaps some of the things that I do.
I think that is a profoundly beautiful thing that finds its way into my life and to my work. And it’s kind of this continuous conversation that keeps going, where I make something and their reaction to it is so fun and loud and enjoyable and creative, that then finds its way back into the decision making and how I approach my work.
And so I think that, above all, has truly been the gift that I haven’t seen much of in this world. And so I think that’s really spectacular.
Other than that, I think the two other things that I think are pretty lovely, the collaboration that I’ve been lucky enough to have with everybody behind the camera, both within the network and in front of the camera with the other performers, I think has also been something really rare and beautiful where there’s such an open dialogue that’s happening.
And seeing guys like Paul [Campbell] and Andrew [Walker] and Kimberley Sustad, and all these human beings who I deeply love and admire, being able to work with them as well as see them come into their own and grow and evolve as artists.
This has also been a profoundly beautiful thing. And then seeing the other side of that as well with the staff at Hallmark and people like Taylor [Albers] and the people on the social media side of things, how they’re evolving their jobs and again, all reacting to the individuals who are out there watching these movies and just this symbiotic relationship that we’re all sort of in.
I think those three aspects, both directly with the folks that watch it, the people who I collaborate with in front of the camera as an artist, and then the people I work with every day behind the camera at Hallmark.
I think those three aspects of this thing has really made it beautiful.
You have so much support from, I know you don’t like to call them fans, from the people who appreciate your talent.
Enthusiasts. Yeah. This is the word I think I coined is enthusiast.
With your enthusiasts. And then you take that as well and then you spread that love with all of these other actors that you’ve come into contact with. I see you on Twitter and how you’re always there with all of them supporting their journey as well. It’s like a well that just keeps on giving.
I’m glad that you see it that way. And I’m certainly not one to ever ask people to do anything or push or persuade anyone to engage with anything that I do or even anybody around me.
But I simply just try to hold up the creativity of others when it comes to either my work or my friend’s work and just use this social platform as a way to just hold up and present other people is, to me, the value in it as opposed to pointing the camera at myself.
That doesn’t seem to interest me very much, but if I can use any of this for anything, would be certainly to just show the works of other people and how lovely they are.
Whether it’s a creative post as a reaction to something I’ve done or a picture I posted or whatever, or just soaking the fire for a friend of mine who I deeply admire and just showing my enthusiasm for them.
If anybody cares to listen, I think that’s a worthwhile way to spend your time with your thumbs on your phone. Any other way, I’m not quite interested in.
How has the support of your enthusiasts changed the direction of your career?
Entirely. Through every fabric of the whole thing. Even with Chimera, bringing these collaborators and artists that are outside of this world and don’t know much of it, aside from maybe their mother or aunt or wife who might be a fan and see what I’m up to and have a bit of an idea of what the water is like over on this side.
To have them participate and see the thoughtful, intelligent audiences that have sort of embraced Chimera and their work and their hours and hours of dedication and thought that they’ve put into this project, to have them witness this reaction has been very, very rewarding for me personally.
And I know for them, profoundly has affected their enthusiasm for what they do and reflects what is explored in this new Hallmark movie.
This theme of the idea that you have an artist who maybe feels the way the culture is now, that they don’t necessarily have the inclination to care or be thoughtful with things that are simple and well-thought-out or a beautiful piece of art that may not have the sort of flash and headline value that other stuff has, but that people still value, that people still find the beauty in the simple and thoughtful.
And I think in this movie, that is a theme that is explored and in my life as of late, certainly something that’s taking place in real life and that has everything to do with every single individual who seems to enjoy the things that I’m up to and choose to participate in it with their friends and thus find friendships through it.
I think it’s really affected, from top to bottom, the whole thing. And this whole Chimera experience is foreign out of that inclination, and I think will evolve in a really interesting way that will further deepen that immersion that I think people are really responding to.
For those who are faint of heart, perhaps sit this one out… – But for those craving a new kind of experience, one that demands your immersion and celebrates your participation, this is for you. – ExperienceChimera.com – CHIMERA //Link in bio// Headphones in. Volume up.
I think it’s just wonderful that you recognized in your friend Ash that they were struggling with something and you have this supportive group that you could introduce the two of you to through this incredibly avant-garde expression that you put together.
I mean the server was crashing. Do you think he fully understood what you were saying before he was actually in it?
No, he had no idea. I think he sort of said it best with all these posts that we had, these shared posts, he was like, my goodness, can I have your enthusiasts? Because they’re so thoughtful and attentive, and he’s got hit with a lot of people asking, hey, what’s the password? I can’t get in. What is this? I don’t know.
And for all those people, you’re just going, look, all these other people get it. They’re fully on board and they’re immersed and they’re finding out the answers and they’re going on this journey, which lends itself to a sort of deeper experience than if we were to just have the thing be there and have it be sort of disposable.
It really does prove the model that people are intelligent and thoughtful and want to be tickled in a way that is immersive and demands their participation and their creativity and their expression so that it’s not just holding up something for someone to watch and then dispose of, but creating sort of an opportunity for them to express themselves to the people around them.
And I think my mom really encapsulated it for me when she called me throughout that process of the release of Chimera, she was going, my mom couldn’t have wanted to watch this movie less. She absolutely hates anything of this nature and was very happy that I’m in this world of Hallmark.
And she was like, I had no desire to see this thing, but I found myself watching it and then talking about it amongst her friend group and having this whole creative discussion as to where it would go and what these things mean and what they see the outcome of it is, and the world that would’ve built from it.
And it gets sort of filtered through their viewpoint and what they want to see. And I think that is really, really beautiful because in her words, she was like, you wouldn’t expect that of me and my friends of our technical expertise and our age group.
And this is the demographic that has truly flocked to this. And it’s not the demographic that you might think would flock to this kind of material, quite the opposite.
And I think I’ve always had faith that these people are as intelligent and deep as they are because I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a lot of them, and I can see that.
Having that be proven with cold hard facts, with the site clashing and the number of comments and things, it’s a really rewarding and beautiful thing. And definitely I think one that people wouldn’t expect from that audience.
And I think the given audience that you think might actually flock to this kind of material, I don’t even know if they’ve really seen it because it was this moment.
“It’ll get around at some point” and then they’re going to be like, well, I missed it.
That’s exactly what’s happening. I have a lot of people hitting me up going, where can I watch it? And I go, that was it. That was the experience. It was a moment in time that we all shared, and where it goes from here, who knows?
And whether it finds its way to daylight again ’cause I have been getting an abundance of people really wanting to see it now that they’ve seen the party that kind of went down. Maybe there’s a future in that, but again, my interest is in the folks who truly are attentive and thoughtful.
I have all the time in the world for them, so I put my energy in that direction and I’m always thinking of them.
Why do you believe that the future could lie in this kind of immersive, prologated, and fleeting cinematic experience?
Well, I think Hallmark is really a beautiful thing. I think it’s a very valued thing for everybody who’s a part of it, but I don’t know if the world really understands what it is that we’re participating in.
And because it’s this ongoing release of movies where I’m doing multiple a year and they’re being sort of trickled out throughout the year and I’m shooting them and then several months later they’re coming out, there’s a sort of organic reactionary relationship that ends up emerging where you end up tightly connected to the people who are consuming what it is that you’re making.
And I think the internet and social media and people who generate that kind of content, that’s the world that they live in. And then you have the other side of things, the sort of classic Hollywood side of spending a year or two building something that you hope will hit the mark when it finally finishes.
And I think there’s somewhere in the middle here that is a really interesting prospect where people want something new and exciting and immersive and collaborative and participatory.
And I think what we built in its ambiguity and its specificity which triggers sort of thoughts and sort of hopefully tickles you in a way that makes you want to participate and fill in the blanks.
There’s something to that that I think can open the door to something that everybody’s been chasing in Hollywood, which is to make content that is elevated and thought-provoking and thoughtful and artistic, but also can survive monetarily and stay within the culture and conversation for longer because you have some incredible show, Succession or one of these shows, but it come out, we binge them and then they’re gone.
And I think there’s a way to really extend this dynamic and experience so that you get more bang for your buck and it just helps the audience get something that I think everybody’s truly after, which is community and connectivity.
And I think being the proprietor of that is something that I’m interested in because I think there’s a real value in that culturally bringing us together as opposed to perpetuating this idea of consuming things and throwing it to the side and consuming things and throwing it to the side and not valuing moments that are shared collectively.
Because the more we do that, the more we all empathize, the more we all embrace each other as opposed to just entertaining ourselves and then finding our own little corners of the world.
It’s almost like through Chimera you have managed to encapsulate what the Hallmark audience wants out of their entertainment.
It’s why they’re so passionate on social media, why they follow the talent, what they enjoy about how the movies are released. You managed to do that in a completely different art form, but the two coexist beautifully.
Yeah. Which is a really interesting thing because you couldn’t think that these were more diametrically opposed. It’s like, Chimera has got me with a bag on my head in a bathtub immersing myself in water.
It’s as sort of jarring and image as you could possibly imagine and yet this audience, which is seemingly interested in just not being triggered because we walk a fine line where we’re not just being graphic for graphic’s sake.
It’s creating a world where they can really participate with each other, which I think is what these movies do provide, and I think further expounds on what we’re already experiencing with these sort of volume of continuous outpouring of movies that Hallmark puts out.
And I think you’re putting it very, very well and even giving me some perspective on the fact that is what that is, it’s a continuation of that conversation and the continued evolution of that.
And it may very well find its way into the world of how I make these movies and how we release them and how we engage with our audience, because obviously there’s an appetite there that’s been proven.
Right, right. And I think that the Hallmark audience has long been misunderstood. And, what’s another word I was going to use for it? Just looked down upon. I mean, it used to be a joke. “Oh, you watch Hallmark movies, ha, ha, ha.”
Some of the most intelligent women I know watch Hallmark movies. That doesn’t mean that they’re unintelligent, it means that they see something in these movies that ticks off some boxes that you need in life, compassion, kindness, love, things that you don’t readily see in television and movies anymore.
Absolutely. I couldn’t agree with you more because what they’re identifying with is sort of a genre that’s fallen by the wayside sort of business wise. It’s sort of lost its place, the sort of romantic movie and the sort of $30 million range doesn’t exist.
And then Hallmark picked up the mantle and doing it for a different budget and made that business model work, but what they’re responding to is they’re there for that kind of experience.
They’re not negating a more intelligent, thought-provoking, nuanced experience of that, but they’ll take what they can get. You know what I mean? And I think our network and our movies are evolving in that way.
And so it’s something that has somewhere to grow, which a lot of other things don’t. I mean, it’s evolving in a way that’s shifting towards social media. And this is the sort of one avenue that, I think, has an audience that is willing to be challenged if it’s done in the right way.
And I think you’re absolutely correct in assuming that these individuals who exist and all over the world who might seem like they aren’t as sophisticated as one might assume, they are proving themselves to be far more sophisticated than even the average audience, which I deeply admire and had suspected for a while.
Seeing that sort of start to evolve and really start to get some gas behind it, I think, is where it starts to get fun. And we’re at the tip of the iceberg here, Carissa. It’s going to get way more fun.
Oh, I’m sure, I’m sure. I can remember over Christmas whenever you were saying, I hope everybody’s ready because I’m going to be doing something that’s just so much different. And you weren’t sure how it was going to go over, and you didn’t even have any fear whatsoever.
Yeah, yeah. I mean I had a suspicion, but you never really know. And I like to keep my mouth shut, and I set the bar low because I’m Canadian. [chuckles] And so I’d like to just let the chips fall where they may and let the work speak for itself.
And so I think now the dust is settled. It’s pretty clear what that experience was and the success of it. Not something I didn’t pursue and hope would be the case and thought would be possibly the case, otherwise I wouldn’t have, believed me, spent all that energy creating a website and experience.
That was not an easy undertaking, but that was worthwhile. Yeah. It was worthwhile, which is lovely.
How is what you learned there going to connect to other projects that you do?
Well, I think, again, it’s something that the audience is sort of doing on their own. I think the network and my collaborators behind the camera here at this network, they see what’s going on, and they don’t always see it right away because it takes time for things to sort of filter upwards, but I have a very close eye as to what people are saying and what they’re doing.
And I can see the writing on the wall and I think that kind of interaction and participation is something that’s going to be embraced more and more. It’s certainly going to be a part of the conversation that I have.
And I think it’s permeated even our social team and their sort of enthusiasm and how they want to engage with audiences. It just adds to the sort of tapestry of all of us sort of collaborating together to make our weekends and our weekdays more fun.
And let’s pivot from avant-garde cinema to romance, which is kind of where we’re teetering on the edge and as Hallmark movies evolve, there are better production values, deeper storylines, onscreen relationships are even drawn with a much more significant brush now.
How is that evolution being expressed in A Picture of Her?
Well, A Picture of Her, I think it’s an itch that hasn’t been scratched in a little bit in the movies that I’ve done. We have Three Wise Men, which is a new sort of concept and a new idea for this network. And that was a certain kind of experience.
And the Christmas movie that you and I spoke [Time for Him to Come Home for Christmas] about was kind of a mystery wrapped in a heavier storyline. And I think this is a return to something really warm and romantic and modern and kind of titillating in a nice way that I think will be a nice sort of rounding out from the previous experience that have come out.
And, I think, does that in a pretty nice, effective way. It’s a very sort of watchable movie with some really nice moments.
Have you seen it?
I have, yeah. Multiple times.
Did you like it?
Yes. Visually, it’s a very beautiful movie.
You can tell you’re not just on a set, there you are on a boat and it’s just some really beautiful shots.
Yeah. And the stakes aren’t incredibly high, the drama isn’t incredibly pungent. It’s something that, I think, is just beautiful and enjoyable to watch and just leaves you with a really nice warm feeling and something that you can revisit as a sort of comfortable place.
I think it finds its value there. And I think that’s kind of what we leaned into and was very, very grateful to have Rhiannon [Fish], who’s such a talent, and what she was able to do with this material because that’s a challenge in itself.
You might think something possibly as sort of simple, I suppose one could describe it, would be easy, but it’s elevating that to where it feels organic and watching these two fall in love.
Seeing two people fall in love and making that a real thing with the textures and the nuances that might ground that into some sort of reality, I think we did a fairly good job of with this movie. And I hope people enjoy just a nice warm feeling.
It’s kind of funny that people look down on romcoms and Hallmark in general, or they did, because I mean, who among us would actually say that love is easy? Nothing about love is easy. It’s not any easier bringing it to life on screen. You have to be able to stress and emote in ways that some people can’t even do in their own lives.
Totally. And I mean, what is life without love? It’s truly, this is the centerpiece of living essentially. And so all the stories that are to be told in that arena is a very worthwhile thing ’cause that is truly, in life, the center of centerpiece of it all still.
I think it’s a really rich place to be in. And I’m quite comfortable with anybody feeling any type of way about Hallmark because that just means more for us.
I really love the theme. You kind of mentioned it a little bit that wouldn’t she say time inside waits for no man. And you never know what lies around the bend. Tarry not. Don’t just let life pass you by.
Yeah, absolutely. And her theme in the movie of essentially getting swayed by the allure or glamour of what might be a life that other people would admire and maybe want to live and her coming to the conclusion that her life just the way it is is lovely and the grass isn’t always greener, I think is a nice thing to explore.
And I think that coupled with my characters realization that people still value the simple and beautiful things in terms of art and that kind of thing, creativity, I think those two themes alone are things worthy of exploring.
And I’m glad we did it in this movie and touched on it in a nice, fun, romantic way. And people love watching your movies over and over again. And Jake and Beth’s kisses at the end, I suspect people are going to be wearing out their remotes to watch that multiple times.
Yeah. You mean the moment at the end on the dock?
The motorcycle scene.
Remember the old chaste kisses that Hallmark was known for. Now, those are some kisses.
Yeah, yeah. We’re getting in there.
Yeah, there’s some COVID being passed in those kisses for sure. Yeah, that final scene was something that wasn’t originally there and I was like, look guys, I think we’re missing an opportunity here.
I know legally it’s tough to get Rhiannon on the back of the bike with me, but there’s something to the image of the simplicity of her and I just in that moment together that’s sort of deeply simple and romantic and I’m really glad that we found the time and energy to be able to make that last sort of shot and sequence happen because I think it bookends the movie in a nice way and gives you a nice lasting image that can stay with you.
It does. I think it was a very beautiful ending to the movie.
Thank you. I appreciate it. I’m glad you liked it. Yeah, I think hopefully it’s something that people enjoy because it’s why we do them.
I have to ask, your characters always have such a great sense of style and I suspect that’s your sense of style. Is that correct?
Well, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen me. I dress the same. I wear the same clothes every day in my life. I have multiple versions of the same pair of pants that I’ve cut to fit my length of leg, and I keep things simple. I don’t purchase clothes ever.
I wear some of the things that I take from these movies, but the gentleman who was our wardrobe stylist has a deep sense of style and he was very enthusiastic to get in there. And I think he really did a lovely job in creating a character that’s far cooler than I look in real life.
I think he did a good job. I wouldn’t claim that’s my style, the jacket I wear in that movie a lot I have, but do not have the confidence or charisma to pull off in real life. It’ll stay in the closet for now.
Oh, I think that you probably do.
I appreciate that.
Yeah. What’s the next path on your creative journey?
Well, I think these movies sort of come to me.
This is something that was brought to me, and I think as this sort of relationship evolved with the people who watch them, there’s a longer road that needs to be traveled that the path perhaps has sort of begun where shaping these things with the collaborators that I’ve come to know and love and appreciate doing more of that.
Three Wise Men was that, Terry Ingram, who’s a director who I love and admire was our director on that. And I think anything I can do to just distill where the value is and where the quality is and elevate within the framework that we have with the budgets that we have and the business model that works.
I think that’s what I’m interested in and I think that there’s certainly room to grow in that respect and sort of begun that process, which is a bit of a longer road traveled. It’ll be a moment before that starts to really materialize.
Write your own movie maybe?
Yeah. I don’t want to sort of speak ahead of myself. As I said, I’m Canadian. [laughs]
Not that you’re saying it, but would that be something that you’re interested in.
That could be somewhere in the future. Yeah, I think as a laborer, as a bricklayer who’s there building these houses on set, I think I have a certain vantage point that may be able to help in aiding the network and executives in sort of upping the ante as far as these stories that we tell.
And hopefully I can put myself to work in a way that’s even more effective than we’ve been so far so that we can continue to keep edging this thing forward on all fronts as far as quality and storylines and diversity and all these things.
I’m very interested in shining the light on as many people who I think should have that light as possible.
Yeah. It seems like you’ve got the groundwork already laid, now you just need to make something happen.
Yeah, just the hours, that’s it. Just laying bricks.
A Picture of Her premieres on Hallmark tonight a 8/7c.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.