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Meet Echo Park Filmmaker, Actor, Teacher, and Designer: Tyler Peck

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tyler Peck.

Tyler, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up immersed in fine art like drawing and painting but got really interested in design. I went to college at Cornell for Architecture, practiced as an architectural designer and professor of design in Boston for a few years, but ultimately realized I wanted to try out some other things. I got involved in acting as a hobby, which turned into a full-time profession, then moved out to LA about 5 years ago. Diving deeper into all aspects of filmmaking, I started to pursue screenwriting, which is where my focus is at present. I predominantly split my time between writing movies and teaching design to high schoolers on the autism spectrum at a private school in Studio City.

Has it been a smooth road?
I grew up being certain I’d be an architect, and be one for my whole life. So, when I realized that that wasn’t suiting my anymore, it was very challenging to leave a prestigious career for one of uncertainty and rejection. My family questioned my decisions, and I had to deal with a lot of self-doubt. And then acting, of course, carries with it immense amounts of instability, superficiality, and rejection, which don’t make for a positive overall well-being. Screenwriting has been a really good shift that allows me to utilize peripheral skills and supplement my interests in filmmaking with having more of a mind for large vision and invention. But, it’s LA, there’s an ocean of people trying to do the same thing, and it’s not based on a meritocracy at all, so success is often a “who you know” crapshoot. Endurance, perseverance, resolve, grit, fortitude, and integrity have been huge challenges along this unsteady road.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and career?
I don’t really believe in luck, per se, but meaningful fate. I was very fortunate that when I was leaving architecture and looking for random hobby alternatives for my time, I connected with a small experimental theater company in Boston that just happened to be ok with having an entirely untrained understudy step onto their team. That ultimately turned into leading roles, meeting film students that I’d work with and the beginning of a film acting experience that quickly became professional. I feel like making important connections that take you into very special experiences isn’t usually something you can see coming, you just follow your nose and see things unfold as they will. I’ve certainly met some people that have lead me to casting directors that ultimately helped me get some really awesome roles, and I’ve also been introduced to big producers and directors and totally blown it. Haha! Fortune and meaning are always there, it just depends on how willing you are to be open to seeing things in that kind of way.

Is there a quality or characteristic that has played an outsized role in your success?
Just one?! Jeez. Well, there aren’t just one. I would say having a very keen inward eye is really critical. The ability to look inside your own heart and mind and interpret the more nebulous feelings and intuitions that crop up. Personal translation, if you will. How to ask yourself tough, real questions about who you are and what you want, and be really fucking honest with yourself about what that is. Once you know yourself real well, then the other characteristics can come into play more. Being inventive and resourceful with how you approach your creative drive(s) are really important. Related, it’s seemed to be really important to be willing to explore and experiment with your approach, be cool with a period of trial and error type attempts, and to be able to revisit that phase whenever it’s needed. You rarely just nail it, whatever it is, on the first try. Then there’s the relentlessness and perseverance factor. That’s essential, largely because of what I just said about the not getting it right away thing. If you can’t handle failure, give up easily, or people saying “no” to you literally over and over again, you will likely not get anywhere in the world of creative professions, or anywhere at all really. Maybe lastly, or at least the last thing I feel inclined to talk about right now, is grounding your pursuits in a deep sense of truth and love. I know this sounds fucking cheesy as hell, but it’s true and it’s real and it’s damn important. If your work, if why you’re doing what you’re doing, isn’t rooted in something deeply moving to you, you’re dooming it from the beginning.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I’m from New York, so this is a tough one. Um, I like the weather a lot. I like that there are a lot of interesting things to do in LA, and that there are a lot of creative, very driven people here. I love that life changing collaborations can happen around literally any corner.

I don’t however like most of these people, their personalities, the culture of flakiness and superficiality, and the general lack of moral integrity that pervades the social climate of the industry. The elitism is blinding, and the lack of a lively pedestrian culture makes me miss NY way too much. But there are of course plenty of good eggs and good experiences to be had in LA, and it’s a real pleasure to meet those ones.

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Copyright © 2016 Tyler Peck. All Rights Reserved.

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