We had the good fortune of connecting with Tyler Hunt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tyler, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Work life balance is something that’s an ongoing struggle for me honestly. I’m a freelance videographer by trade and an aspiring filmmaker. I find that being passionate about a field like that carries over into every area of your life. It’s hard, and feels impossible sometimes to turn it off. To be candid though, that’s one of the biggest draws to me of this field. You get to be a little crazy, a little obsessive, as long as it’s in a healthy capacity. A lot of people can’t wait for the weekend when they can stop thinking about all the tasks they’re obligated to do at their job because they have to pay the bills. But I don’t want to turn it off because I absolutely love what I do and feel called to do it with my life. I want to work towards something meaningful, something bigger than myself. There are stories I want to tell, movies I want to make, content I want to create. None of that happens if I want to keep my passion contained to a 9-5. That’s why I don’t have a job. If you really want to pursue the things you love and want to do something great, you have to really give it that extra effort that other people aren’t willing to give. It’s a ton of grinding day in and day out with the belief that you are going to get there, and when you love what you do, it’s worth every second. Now for me, I try to find balance within that passion. Of course I need to take care of myself. God, people, and relationships are huge to me, and I know I need to stay connected and grounded in my life and with others to be healthy. I don’t pretend that I can work unendingly without finding healthy ways to pull away from the grind. But I have recognized that when you want to live a crazy life, balance looks a lot different in your life than in others. It’s navigating the insanity that is pursuing your dreams, while also doing it in a way that is sustainable for you specifically. I’m currently making an independent feature film called Fight for Me. It’s one of the most challenging and insane things I’ve ever done in my entire life. It has demanded more from me than I could’ve imagined going into it. Balance in this season feels completely impossible. But that’s where I personally need to redefine the term “balance”. Balance can look however I want it to look. Even though we’ve had many 3-4 day weekends with 14 hour days, and weeks spent constantly getting ready to shoot the next weekend, there are ways within that craziness I can keep myself healthy. And that specific way of handling the season of life I’m in for me is my “balance”. And that’s what’s key I think. There are no specific rules to what your life is supposed to look like. You have to know what healthy is for you personally. Define that, and live by it. Healthy doesn’t have to be starting at 9 and ending at 5. There are plenty of people who work 40 hour weeks and turn off their job each day who are very unhealthy. Healthy for me involves a lot of prayer, a lot of connection with other people, watching movies and content I love, head banging to hardcore metal, getting 8 hours of sleep when I can, and enjoying food I love with others (I do enjoy food 🙂 My time in my life right now may be very disproportionately spent focusing on this film vs. my personal life, but I find that when I have those above things consistently around me, my lifestyle is not only sustainable, it is crazy rewarding and fulfilling. It may seem intense to other people on the outside, but I’ve learned to define what healthy is for me, what my own balance is, and when I live in accordance with that, there’s nothing else I’d rather do.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned along the way is that to do something you love or want to do, you just have to start doing it. You can’t wait for permission. You can’t wait until you know exactly what to do, because that day will never come. No one really knows what they’re doing. Seriously. The people that are living out their passion to me are the ones that just started doing it and taking steps toward it even if they had no clue how to get there. When I first started with video production, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was working a job I couldn’t stand. To find some sanity, I started exploring creative outlets on the side. I had played piano in college and studied acting before, and tried other creative things, but never really tried to do any of them for a living. My goal wasn’t to make a career out of video when I first started, I just enjoyed doing it. I had no clue what I was doing though, but I just started playing with it. I filmed all kinds of things, started editing, and made videos that were absolutely horrible. Like legit. I only show them to my closest friends now. But that was all a part of the learning process. As time went on, I eventually decided to leave the job I was at to go to grad school for film in Virginia Beach. I never made movies before, but what the heck. Let’s just do it. At school, honestly, I didn’t learn much in class. BUT, I learned a ton when I was able to start making more videos on my own. Being in an environment at school with so many like minded people, and having my mind immersed in that world helped further foster my desire to pursue film. Before I was about to graduate, I didn’t know how I was going to make a living, so I decided to buy my own gear and just try to make some money doing video. I texted everyone I knew looking for weddings to film. Thankfully, I was able to get 3 within the next 3 months. I filmed my first wedding for free. Again, I had no clue how to film a wedding. But who cares? How else am I supposed to figure it out? I just did it. The footage was shaky, the exposure sucked, and when I think about the final product now, I cringe. Hard. Like really hard. Blech. But hey, the bride and groom were over the moon. (I mean, something is better than nothing when it’s free right?) But that experience helped me get a better idea of how to perform under pressure with video, how to be creative on the fly, and most importantly, how to take my first steps into actually delivering content to clients. From there, I began to film other weddings and actually got paid, and I got better as I went along. The second wedding I filmed, I drove 9 hours (one way) and got paid $300 (yes total, not just for gas). But at that wedding, I met a guy that had a business in Colorado Springs. We talked briefly, and I finished filming the wedding. Well a few months later, the bride wants me to work with him. She sends him the wedding video, he likes it, asks me to film an event for him, I film it, get paid, and then a few weeks later he offers me a job. Pretty crazy and random I know. He wanted me to do all the video production for his super small startup. Now I told him no for about 10 months because I was pursuing acting and film out east. (Long story) But eventually as time went on, it became apparent that it was the best opportunity in front of me. So about 5 years ago, I moved out to Colorado to do video production full-time. Today, I have my own business creating promotional content, documentaries, event highlights, and testimonials for clients. And I pursue acting and filmmaking on the side for now. I’m not oversimplifying how life works and am not trying to say, “Hey, if you just do something, you’ll make a living and move across the country as a professional in no time.” By God’s grace, that’s just how things unfolded for me. HOWEVER, the spirit of it all is still the same. It all began with just doing it. No permission from anyone. No excuses. Just jumping in head first and figuring it out. And that has been the basis of my entire career. To eventually leaving full-time employment to have my own business, and to now creating my first feature film. Just do it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m kind of the wrong person to ask when someone is looking to have a good time. I’m perfectly content with just hanging out. Grabbing some food, watching a movie, and just catching up are some of my favorite things. I’ve done all the Colorado things. I’ve been rock climbing and hiking all over, canyoneering, and even performed 7 jumps for my A license for skydiving. There’s definitely some amazing things here. But if I’m honest, my thrills come from creativity and making movies. Outside of that, I just enjoy spending time with people. So if you want a crazy night out, I’m the wrong guy to ask. But if you want to have some good, deep conversation, enjoy a good meal, and dissect a good film, I’m your guy.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
In doing filmmaking, I’m ridiculously dependent on other people. From cast to crew to so many people in-between, I could not be making the movie we’re making right now without the help and support of so many key people around me. Two people that really stand out within that are Megan Kelly, the main actress of the film who has given insane amounts of time and dedication to bringing her character to life in the story, and Jessica Sutton, a writer and blogger who worked tirelessly on the script with me to make the story what it is today. And above all, I truly am thankful for my relationship with God and how He has carried me through so many crazy seasons in my life recently, and has been the rock I’ve needed to continue on toward making this film.
Youtube: Tyler Stephen Hunt