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St. John's Confidential File

Tyler Norman, Director With A Definite Cause
Posted by Michael St. John on Apr 25, 2014 - 5:57:21 AM

Tyler Norman.
HELLO AMERICA!—One doesn’t have to worry about new creative blood as far as the making of new and exciting motion pictures with a guy like Tyler Norman around.  He’s young and makes it very clear that his passion is making films and stories that count, not only creatively but ones which will enhance the audience to live life easier and better.  He’s a young director to watch!


MSJ:  What were you like as a youngster when having to deal with other young people your age? 


TN: It was tough. I had few friends. This was before geeks were cool. I was very introverted. It was in high school and college, when I started making short films that I really felt like I belonged to something. I tell people that if you saw "Super 8," that was my life plus aliens.


MSJ: What kind of films impressed you the most as a young kid and why?


TN: The kind of films that took you on amazing journeys, that helped you escape. My favorite live-action and animated movies, respectively, were “The Never Ending Story” and “The Rescuers Down Under.” Atreyu was my cinematic hero. I used to come home from school every day and watch a movie, and I wore those two tapes out.


MSJ: Was it difficult to watch a movie without analyzing every scene, believing that you possibly could have made better artistic or creative choices?  Can you remember an example of that?


TN: In most cases, at an early age, I just got lost in the movie. The earliest I can remember thinking things could have been done better was with “The Ten Commandments.” It’s a classic, epic movie, but there are scenes in that movie where characters are telling you in dialogue what you’re already looking at. It’s like they’re reading the scene directions as well as the dialogue.


MSJ: What is exceptional about the current technology available to filmmakers today?


TN: I’d have to say the accessibility. We’re seeing all kinds of independent movies now that we never would have. I think the availability of programs like Final Cut Pro, After Effects, and cameras like the Red One, has been a huge benefit to those getting started. That said, I never understood why digital and film could not co-exist. It should be an option.


MSJ: Has the new technology influenced what kind of motion pictures you would enjoy or prefer making as a producer-director?


TN: Not really. I came up in the video era, alongside things like iMovie and Final Cut Pro. I think it was Robert Zemeckis who said we’re still telling the same stories, the campfire has just changed. My intention was always to simply entertain people. I want to give people that same feeling I get when I watch a great adventure, fantasy, or sci-fi film


MSJ: What bothers you most about the film industry today?  Are genuine artistic people in charge of the production companies today?  In your eyes who are the Louie B Mayers, Richard Zanucks or the Jack Warners of this generation of filmmakers and why?


TN: I think the biggest problem is a lack of originality. There’s too many sequels and remakes. Growing up, the summer was filled with movies like “The Fifth Element” and “Independence Day.” I miss that. The filmmakers of the current generation that I look up to are the ones who put out really original, thrilling works. Robert Zemeckis was the first director I really studied and admired. Andrew Niccol, who wrote “Gattaca” and “The Truman Show,” was the first screenwriter I looked up to. I love Joss Whedon, “Firefly” was brilliant. Christopher Nolan, J.J. Abrams, Joseph Kosinski, the list goes on…    


MSJ: Have your ideas about films and even yourself changed very much since becoming an active part of the industry and why?


TN: Only in that I have more of an idea of how to construct an original story in a way that sells. This comes through feedback I get on scripts and ideas I have. I truly believe that originality and marketability are not mutually exclusive. You can have an original take on a classic idea, and I try to tell stories in a way that reach the widest possible audience.


Cliffside Malibu




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