Take an unfiltered look into the origins of beginning a film career with Alumni Tyler Garard and why pulling an all-nighter might lead you down your best creative path!
With a constant love for movies and a pipe dream of being a part of the behind-the-scenes process, Tyler Garard and her Advanced Diploma are ready to tackle the Australian Film Industry, especially the horror genre.
After spending time on a varying amount of film projects, Tyler had the opportunity of a lifetime present itself as she began working at FOX Lighting early in 2020. As she continues to work towards new and evolving dreams, we caught up with Tyler to talk about how (at present) she sees herself developing, why film was the right choice, and how JMC was the perfect place to start.
Tell us a little about your career so far and some of the work you have done?
My career has only really just begun but I’ve fortunately had the chance to work on endless short films both within JMC ranging from drama, comedy, thriller, and my most favourite Western and out genre. As I currently work within FOX Lighting, I help supply both feature films, music videos, and TV Commercials with lights (oh so many lights!), rigging equipment, and textiles. Hopefully, I can continue to expand my career as the years go on into many other aspects of filmmaking that I am yet to explore.
How did the opportunity to work at FOX come about?
I literally just asked…being proactive and honest can go a long way.
After graduating I was scared my filmmaking journey was coming to an end as I had no idea what to do next or even where to start. Apart from helping out and working on friends' sets I had no plans for future projects and no contacts to branch out into actual production crews. So, I went onto The Production Book, found the name of pretty much every gaffer in Sydney and started researching their works and seeing if they were open to hiring a fresh out-of-film school kid. Luckily for me one of the first people I contacted happened to be FOX Lighting, I wrote a very long cover letter and email explaining how much I wanted to gaff and how I’d really love to learn more from someone with more experience in the field. I had a meeting within a week and started a few weeks later.
Admitting you have a lot to learn and having the room to improve shouldn’t be something you shy away from, it’s amazing how much people want to help you if you only ask.
What type of work have you been drawn to since entering the creative industry?
I love having fun, it doesn’t matter if the script is a deep heartfelt drama, a thriller, a love story or a comedy. I’m certainly drawn to scripts that have deeper meanings that leave you thinking about it for days, but there is nothing more fun to me than pure, weird, wacky (preferably horror-filled) entertainment. I’m drawn to people, if the cast and crew is filled with good, hardworking people who don’t mind a laugh on set then I’m there 100%.
Before you decided to enroll in JMC did you know what you wanted to pursue during high school?
NO. Does anyone? High school for me was a stressful mess, I thought I needed to figure out my future right away and got more anxious when I couldn’t land on something. I would bounce from interest to interest every week let alone even commit to what my favourite show was. When graduation came around, I decided to take a year off and just figure out my footing in the adult world before I tried to commit to any big plans.
I’ve always loved movies and secretly wished I could work on them, but I always thought it was a pipe dream. Luckily for me, while I was pulling an all-nighter after a 9 hr shift at work I stumbled across an advertisement for JMC and in that moment I thought why the heck not? It was the best sleep-deprived decision I’ve ever made.
How do you think studying in your chosen field prepared you for the industry and the entrepreneurial elements of film?
I think I learnt the fundamentals, the springboard to bounce off into all the things I don’t know. I thought I knew lighting and what it was to be gaffer but trust me there is so much more to learn. The industry is big and there are so many different and specific jobs with their own little niche way of doing things.
I don’t know much about being entrepreneurial, but I do know that if you want something made you got to hustle hustle hustle. Unfortunately, making films doesn’t come cheap so you got to beg and borrow, wherever and whenever possible, crowdfund like crazy, and always do your research so you can find the best deals.
What were your favourite things about studying at JMC?
The people for sure. Not only the staff and the teachers who are more than happy to let you pick their brains but also fellow students. Having a sense of community across all the different tiers and courses was amazing. Meeting all the different courses helped blur those invisible lines you secretly think you’re not allowed to cross.
Yes, you can hang out with the actors they’re loud but lovely and those theatre production students might seem scary but they have their stuff together and are surprisingly good at producer work, and us filmies mostly suck at socialising but we have some good ideas and are always looking to help out.
If you could give any piece of advice to someone who is considering studying film what would it be?
Making films is absolutely stressful and tiring 60% of the time, but my god is it worth it, and I’m not talking about the finished product those are kind of hit-and-miss, but the experience of being on set is unparalleled.
Network like crazy, these people are now your people when you need anything, they’ll be the ones you turn to, and the ones who will be helping you climb the food chain. Don’t be scared to go big if you mess it up good, no one learns anything from success, take each failure and mistake and bring it over to your next project. Soon enough you’ll be an expert with lots of handy advice to pass on. Compromise if you can but if you feel deeply about something don’t be scared to put your foot down so you don’t lose sight of your end goal. Never stop having fun, once you stop having fun with the work you’re doing it just becomes another job, and filmmaking is not just any other job.
And always, always shape the light!