Tyler Hynes: The Hallmark Heartthrob with a Heart of Gold

TV Fanatic

It’s sometimes hard to imagine that actors you see on screen are just like you and me, but it’s really true, and nobody is a better example of normalcy in extraordinary circumstances than Tyler Hynes.

If you’re already a fan, this isn’t news to you. You may be a part of his social media circle, which includes frequent visits from the talented man, as he not only connects with those who hold him dear but also enjoys it.

Many talented professionals in the entertainment field will tell you that bringing joy to others is why they do the work, but Tyler takes it a step further by being so incredibly connected.

When he says, “I just want to live a good life with good people, see if I can do some good and make some folks possibly a little happy,” he couldn’t be more sincere.

With that attitude, it’s no surprise that Tyler jumped at the opportunity to work with Hallmark in conjunction with the Make Her Mark Women’s Directing Program to bring to life Yan-Kay Crystal Lowe’s dream to direct a film.

You know Crystal from one of Hallmark’s most successful franchises: Signed, Sealed, Delivered, where she played Rita, an absolute gem of a character working with the postal service to reunite lost mail with its intended recipients.

Prior to directing Shifting Gears, Crystal got her feet wet with several short films, but working on a feature-length movie with the full support of the Hallmark network of professionals behind her is a real boost.

Tyler and Crystal had worked together before for another production company on a movie with a similar feel to Shifting Gears, and Tyler was honored to have the opportunity to be there for her feature directorial debut.

“One of the first things I'd said to her was, ‘Just try to enjoy this moment because you'll never get to have it again. This is the first film that you're ever making, and I know there's probably a lot of pressure that you might feel,’ but what I knew within the first conversation that we had is that she would just do a lovely job.

“My wish was that she would just really enjoy herself and try to take as much of the experience with her so that she has that memory because she'll never have that one again," Tyler tells TV Fanatic.

Tyler enjoyed watching her work, which she did “gracefully and with a lot of enthusiasm,” something he attributes to spending her life in front of the camera. “Her superpower was being a performer herself.”

Talking about his time on set, Tyler said he didn’t get behind the cameras much to see how it was going, but his mother visited the set to “add some chaos to the mix.” He laughed, “I’m sure they were heckling and judging me back there.”

Having so many Hallmark veterans involved with making Shifting Gears was beneficial to the process, and it also allowed everyone to relax and have some fun.

“It seemed like it was a lovely fun environment where everybody was just sort of tension and lending thoughts, but being respectful of Crystal having her space to be able to truly be the captain of the ship, and just being a support system wherever needed as she goes through this sort of first experience.”

“It seemed like they were having a party back there. It seemed like that scene in The Muppets where there are people up in the tower, and there are two of them, and they're bickering and stuff. It's kind of like that where you would do a scene, and then it would just be silent, and you wouldn't know what's happening.

“And then, at some point someone would go, ‘Oh, yeah, cut,’ because they're sitting there, yimmer-yammering about whatever we had just done.” Those of us who watch TV and film feel that magic, as entertainers and behind-the-scenes talent bring us endless hours of joy through their hard work.

Another thing that makes Tyler so relatable is his work-life ethic.

He’s been acting since he was a child, and in 2023, he captured attention with his experimental film experience Chimera, but he doesn’t have aspirations to direct. “I think certainly the world doesn’t need more Tyler,” he quipped. “We have quite enough as it is, perhaps too much.”

After I bedded to differ, he explained, “I think there are lovely people who already do this job. If I were to ever do that, it would be hopefully to serve some sort of purpose and elevate something or perhaps offer something and not just be indulgent into my own narcissism.

“I think it would be something that, after other folks have their opportunity and everybody who's already so talented who's doing it can have their crack at it, maybe someday.

"But for now, I'm very happy to be the contributor, if not the anvil that is sinking people down to the bottom of the ocean as they try to make beautiful movies. I'll just be of service for now.”

Where does Tyler’s heart lie when it comes to his work? Just like you and me, he doesn’t live and breathe the work, coming to life only when someone calls ‘Action’!

“That's never really been my thing. I enjoy life. I enjoy people. I enjoy the little things, and I think being an artist is something I do love. And I do love art, and I'm certainly a cinephile. I am a huge fan of film. I watch a lot of them.

“I know quite a bit about it when I'm listening to podcasts. If you were in my household, you would probably fall asleep listening to director round tables and cinematographers describing specific shots and inspirations during storyboards.

“This is just what interests me, but I don't think that I have to be a part of it. I don't know that I love to be a part of it, but I just want to live a good life with good people, see if I can do some good and make some folks possibly a little happy, and just try to pay my respects to something that I love so much.

“But yeah, I will probably do it for as long as I can and certainly don't waste any time putting thought, energy, and passion into what I'm doing. But yeah, I’m not necessarily somebody who needs to have eyeballs on him. This is not what floats my boat. So, acting is a funny occupation I ended up doing, isn't it?”

That revelation was fascinating. On the one hand, he spends his free time learning about various aspects of film and critiquing work, but on the other hand, he’s happy for it to be a means to an end — his own happiness and bringing joy to others.

He knows the painstaking efforts that go into making films, which could be why he was available to help a fellow actor secure their dreams.

He’s spent many hours in various facets of the industry, from “editing, color correcting, color grading, sound design, all of the various facets that go into creating this experience of film.”

“It's an undertaking. It's a lot of work and certainly different when you have everybody who's very good at their jobs, and everybody plays their part. It's kind of what it is, but I know how much of an undertaking it is, and I do really love good cinema or works of art that I really admire and I love watching them.”

He enjoys making and watching movies, sure, but he wouldn’t be heartbroken if his life took a turn.

“I don't know that I would be super heartbroken if I won the lottery tomorrow, and they're just like, ‘Hey, man, just go make everybody in your life happy and watch a bunch of movies forever and ride off into the sunset.’ I don't know that I would be that upset about that.”

Because there it is again. Making others happy is at the core of Tyler’s happiness, and right now, that seems to include making movies. But it’s also not hard to imagine that if he had another way to do it while still maintaining a close connection to his supporters, he’d take it.

That’s not something you often hear in this industry, but it’s key to Tyler’s charm and accessibility.

“Obviously, there are opportunities to make these things and just have people react to them and engage with them -- this is all incredibly enriching. And yeah, I mean, it's an evolution.

"I did so much of that, and now I'm sort of in this other iteration of things where I'm making these movies a lot and really enjoying this continuous conversation I'm having with these audiences. That'll evolve into something more.

“We'll see how that is with the next iteration; you guys will probably see soon, and where it goes next, we'll see. But I'm also lazy, Carissa, so as little I can do while being able to participate.”

Of course, Tyler is anything but lazy, but it’s incredibly endearing that what drives him isn’t the work itself or being seen but his zest for life and his supporters that inspire him. He has no desire to be moving so fast that he forgets why he’s here in the first place.

“If you can't walk slowly and look around and perhaps be a little naughty and do some things that maybe you shouldn't do just because the mood strikes you in a scene or during your day, then what's the point? You know what I mean? If everything is so structured and so quick, it loses the spark of the magic of it all.”

As you can probably tell, talking with Tyler isn’t a normal ten-minute interview. It’s a conversation. And it’s not by accident or because he doesn’t like to answer tough questions; he just likes to see where the conversation goes.

“If I was so busy that I must express the concise amount of public relations information to you in order to give you an article and to promote the movie so I can go on the next one, I don't know that there would be no fun anymore.

"So, it's trying to find a balance with it all. That is definitely the task and the challenge, and we'll see how that evolves.”

Still stunned by his claim of laziness, we shifted the discussion to the amount of time he spends with all of us, whether chatting through his various groups on social media or by making appearances at various fan events.

Tyler is a physically striking guy and very talented, but what attracts people to him most is his personality, which shines through everything he does. If being on the road and being so in tune seems like work to you and me, it is definitely not for Tyler.

“It certainly doesn't really feel like work in those specific moments. Other times, it can, but not in that particular facet of the experience. Anytime I'm speaking to genuine folks who are just interested in this world, it is always a pleasure. “

Never one to accept a compliment without, ahem, shifting gears, Tyler appreciates that his personality is his defining factor. He laughed, “I'm getting uglier by the second, so looks will fade. They're barely there as it is, and so it's only going to get worse. So I better start working on my personality, is basically what I'm saying.”

There is some concern about his communication with fans because of the many nefarious actors pushing their way into unsuspecting social media users using his name and face. It’s such a concern to him that he’s now working with someone to help him put an end to it.

“I report people, I try to find ways to be truly effective in combating it. And I think, as of now, I've had conversations with Hallmark, and there's an intention to sort of help turn the tides on this thing," he told us.

“It seems to be a certain amount of logistical stuff on our end to be done, as well as an awareness to be permeating the groups and the people out there so that they can look after each other and they can be imbued with the responsibility to be able to help each other so that.

“It seems to be the only solution until, eventually, we create such a firewall that the people who are trying to get money or do this kind of scamming activity will stop having success in any possible way and will move on, hopefully to a more noble cause.”

With his love of film and the Oscars in the rear-view mirror, we shifted gears again to discuss what lit his fuse this past year.

“I watched Poor Things the other day, and I was just so in love with this movie, the texture, the production design, the cinematography, the color grade, the film stock that they shot, and the performances, of course. The costumes and the makeup is such a rich, beautiful thing.

"Oppenheimer, I watched multiple times in IMAX in the theater. And proper IMAX, which, if you don't know, there's improper, and there's proper IMAX. And basically, the simple way is if the image looks like an Instagram video where it's taller than it is wider, then you're in the right IMAX theater.”

If you had no idea there was “proper IMAX,” you’re not alone. Leave it to someone with a pure love for film and its techniques to teach you a thing or two. For those of you who also had no idea, Tyler explained that it’s a screen taller than it is wide, using a double-laster projector. Fancy!

It’s no wonder he saw Oppenheimer several times. But he also saw Barbie more than once. Tyler said, “It’s absolutely incredible,” and he wishes Greta Gerwig had been nominated.

He was also disappointed that Bradley Cooper wasn’t nominated for Maestro, which Tyler called “Such an incredible original — just the texture and the rhythm and the style and the tone of that movie was just something I'd never seen before.”

There’s also a fun Hallmark-related story behind him seeing Maestro. When in New York City for an event, he snuck into a theater to take a peek while all of his Hallmark cohorts tried reaching him for a dinner event he was attending.

It puts into perspective how intertwined his love of cinema is with his own involvement in it, which brings the conversation almost full circle.

Tyler supports the industry he loves, even when he can’t physically make the time to do it. He’ll buy tickets to a film even if he only wishes he could go because it benefits cinema overall.

“It's just like things blossom where you put your energy and thought and love into it. So, if you love movies and you like those experiences, you just have to put your attention there, and that will be felt, and they will persist and get better.”

Are cinema feature films in Tyler’s future? “Nobody’s asked me to join the ranks of the dance people quite yet,” he laughed. “And that day may never come, or maybe it will.”

He’s not bothered by that opportunity being out of his grasp for now. He’s cognizant of how the industry has changed since it began and how, at one time, there were about 20 pure movie stars blazing trails.

“Now we're in this era where it's like you have small factions of dedicated people and they really enjoy certain experiences and certain artists, and those are their sort of people that they admire. And right next to them, everybody could have no idea who you are or what you're doing.

“And so, we kind of created a little mini Hollywood feature film type system in these [Hallmark] movies. They come out, you've seen the same sort of faces, a few of them, and the audience has a bit of a trust with those faces in terms of what they might deliver.”

Tyler says it's a little more challenging in light of the way Hallmark movies are produced to choose films based on costars and who’s behind the scenes when you’re diligently working to build a relationship with your audience. Instead of choosing who he’ll work with, it’s how he works that creates new paths.

“I’m applying regular cinema principles to these little movies on Hallmark because I can,” he revealed.

While he’d be willing to step outside of his zone of interest to work in features, he’s not sure he’d be willing to take a role on a Hallmark series unless the role was too good to pass up.

“You have to shoot for many months. I mean, it would have to be the right one because that's something you're tied to, and then you can get into a rhythm of playing the same character.

"So it has to be the right thing to do because I think there's almost like an undervalue of how much doing these films that Hallmark does kind of mirrors old Hollywood in terms of being able to reinvent yourself, constantly be evolving what it is that you're doing, trying to be thoughtful with every undertaking, showing a bit of diversity and range and character a little bit.

"And when you're playing the same character, you have to kind of service consistency for that narrative because it's a continued narrative, and there's a lot of opportunity in the individual movies and more fun to be had, at least at the moment.

"But yeah, there's definitely probably a series version of things that could be a really worthwhile endeavor. And even if you did that, maybe still do a movie or a few here and there to also do that as well.”

Right now, Tyler is happiest making other people happy and enjoying the life his work affords him.

His general frame of mind is that he’ll be here for us as long as we’ll have him, and when people have had enough of him, he’ll go elsewhere, quietly riding off into the sunset. Tyler does love a good sunset.

There isn’t a better feeling in the world than supporting someone who is so interested in supporting others, and you can catch him tonight at 8/7c in Shifting Gears, from first-time feature director Yan-Kay Crystal Lowe and costarring Katherine Barrell and Kristin Booth.

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