AN INTERVIEW WITH Tyler Duffy, ACTOR, WRITER & DIRECTOR
As a writer and actor, please introduce yourself and let us know why you became involved in film industry?
My name is Tyler Duffy and I am an actor, writer, and director. I ended up in the film industry out of no conscious intention of my own.
After 8 unsatisfying years working as a Power Engineer, I quit that field and wend back to university studying Psychology.
Two years into my Psych degree I took an acting based drama course and fell in love with the process immediately. As I completed my
psychology degree I continued to take acting and directing courses and once I finished Psychology I worked doing research for a couple of years.
The desire to get into the performing arts and filming was a continual pull on my mind. So I enrolled in an applied degree in Film Production,
completed that program, and dove into the film industry never looking back.
Give some more information about the films you have written, acted in or made so far?
For 5 years now I have been working in the film industry playing many roles in many different projects. For “Nut Milking Exposed” I have
received 2 best actor nominations so far and it will be exciting to see what else 2020 holds for this project as we have submitted it to
numerous film festivals over the course of the upcoming year. Other upcoming acting roles for 2020 include playing the lead role of
“Spalding Savidge” in an upcoming multiple season episodic horror/ drama titled RUTHERFORD MANOR
(https://www.rutherford-manor.com/television-series/). This is a period piece set at the beginning of The Great Depression,
and follows the mysterious relationship between two families; the Savidge’s and the Flescher’s, who have had an
enigmatic connection of working together for generations to survive in difficult times. I also play the lead villain in
an upcoming movie set to shoot summer of 2020 titled “Reclamation” (http://culpritsmovie.com).
This film delves into the dark and mysterious world of human trafficking and I play the leader of a human trafficking ring who struggles with the pressures and challenges of the sex trade as he moves up the ranks in the organization.
As a writer, why did you write “Nut Milking Exposed“?
Nut Milking Exposed was primarily the idea of my partner on the project Nick Saik. It was created to generate conversation around how
food is defined and labelled. Nick runs an educational focused social media company called “KNOW IDEAS MEDIA” (https://
www.youtube.com/channel/UCvroQE2kXCeo-oUc6za7mrA). He focuses a lot of his efforts on bringing clarity to the public on global
agricultural practices, and focuses on GMO foods as well. Nick has presented what he has learned through his research at conferences across
Canada and Europe. Being curious about this topic Nick discovered that there is a big debate in the North American dairy industry where dairy lobbyists have made a huge push to try and prevent alternative sources of milk, like almond milk, rice milk, cashew milk, etc. from marketing their product as milk. Their position is that if it doesn’t come from an animal, it's not milk.
Nick wanted to bring light to this debate in the dairy industry by asking the public “what defines milk for you?”
So he came up with this concept of making a comedic short documentary about this fictional almond farmer. His idea was to make it as real as possible so that it would come off as believable and possibly trick some people into believing Almond Farms like that actually exist.
So Nick created the overshadowing umbrella idea of what he wanted, and then him and I collaborated to develop the idea further,
and did a lot of improv on set to come up with all the dialogue for the scenes that made it into the final cut.
What are the films or people that had impacts on you and deeply inspired you to become a screenwriter or even actor?
For me the really powerful films are the ones that challenge your world view, forcing you to reanalyze your self, or your beliefs. If the film is effective at doing
that then your brain undergoes the process of synaptic pruning, and literally rewires its self as old synaptic connections are broken, and abandoned, and new synaptic connections form. With the result being the development of a new perspective in some way; of yourself, others, or the world around you.
For me, when you see a movie this powerful you walk out of the theatre feeling like a different person, or that you are walking into a world different from
the one you were in before you walked into the theatre a few hours earlier. This is a very subjective phenomenon and a movie that does this for
me may not necessarily do this for someone else. Movies that have moved me in this way are the Wachowski’s movie THE MATRIX, James Cameron’s AVATAR
and TITANIC, George Lucas’s STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE, Ridely Scott’s KINGDOM OF HEAVEN and THE MARTIAN, Mel Gibson’s BRAVEHEART, Steven Spielberg’s SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, and Richard Zemeckis’s FORREST GUMP. In these movies I found the story to be so good that watching them is a journey by “the self” through “the self,” to a new “self,” and they change you in some way. You may not even be able to pin point what changed in you, but you know something changed.
What movie genre do you like best and why?
I like action/drama movies that have deep plots and take on a deep philosophical question of some nature. Movies that really make you think, and expand
the way you think. Ones that push the boundaries of your understanding and make you contemplate a philosophical problem in a new way, or present
you with a philosophical problem you haven’t thought of before. Then of course I always like a good battle at the end of some sorts, whether it's the inhabitants
of Middle Earth banding together to fight Sauron’s Orcs in LORD OF THE RINGS, or the epic starship fleet battle at the end of ROGUE ONE.
I love the tension of a battle scene that has you on the edge of your seat.
I also like suspense filled action and drama films. Ones that are so well written it's not a plot you can “see coming,” so to speak. I really enjoy
films that are so well done that they keep you guessing and surprise you in some way, shape or form.
In filmmaking who do you like to work with if you have a choice?
I like to work with people who have a clear and passionate vision for
why they are making the project. People who have “SOMETHING TO
SAY” with their art. If a creative person has something inside them
driving them extremely hard, and compelling them to get their unique
message out to the world, then that’s who I want to work with. Someone intrinsically motivated to complete the project because their soul won’t let them rest until they do.
Your film “Nut Milking Exposed“ was officially selected in the "American Golden Picture International Film Festival"!
The film is so interesting, What were some of the challenges you faced in writing or even in making this film?
The “Nut Milking Exposed” project was surprisingly a project that just
took a life of its own and didn’t pose a great deal of challenges. The
planets just seems to align and everything flowed like a river in the
creative process. Nick and I collaborate very well together and we have
a great working relationship. He came to me with the concept in
development and a few source materials to direct us in the “tone” that
we were trying to create with this piece. Nick had a very clear concept of “what he wanted to say” as well so it was easy for me to take direction from his vision, and know exactly where we needed to go and what we needed to do. The script was very fluid and not written in advance, just guided by a few idea’s that Nick had for how he wanted this short story to flow. So if there was any challenge it was the improv writing that him and I did on set on the day of shooting to bring the story and character to life. Which was honestly just a whole lot of fun and laughs.
For you what was the biggest lesson you had to learn when you wrote it and what was the people reaction and feedback about it?
The biggest lesson I learned is follow the old classic rule of improv in
when projects come your way and say “YES” to everything you can if it
speaks to you. This project was a volunteer project that I did with a
friend, I had no idea it was going to have the level of success that it did,
I received no compensation at all for making the film, and the final
product went globally viral. It has been ripped and reposted so many
times it's impossible to track how many views it has but we do know its
north of 60 million views online. If I would have asked the question, “whats your budget?” Or “what’s my compensation for being involved in this project?” I would have excluded myself from the project because there was no budget.
To you, what part of the writing is the hardest part?
Two fold answer here; first off, having something to say, and two
harnessing the creative juices when the express themselves, because it's so important to capture them in the moment.
I don’t look at creative people as sources of creativity, I look at them as
outlets, that “creativity” chooses to use at certain points and certain
times. I don’t feel that one can sit down and go, “alright I’m going to
write the most creative movie of my life right now.” For me that’s not
the way creativity works. I feel when a creative idea hits you its more like a moment of clairvoyance, where you are hit by something profound and something clicks in your brain, and beliefs and thoughts start interacting in new ways that lead to new beliefs that thoughts, which results in all sorts of brain activity that hasn’t happened before.
When this starts happening I believe it occurs in the frontal cortex of the brain, which is not where memories are stored. So you have to capture it fast, get it down on paper with as much clarity as you can, and develop it as much as possible when it hits you initially, because if you don’t you’ll have this mind blowing revelation, and then the next day you’ll have no memory of it whatsoever.
Other important part is finding the producer and director to
bring it in the big screen and even distributing the film. What did you do for this part?
This project was easy for that. Nick Saik acted as the producer and
director and cast me as the actor. So it was all Nick driving the ship in
that sense. I didn’t have to find anything, he found me.
What keeps you inspired to continue writing or acting?
I continue acting and writing because it is the most intrinsically rewarding thing I can find to do with my time. It’s my passion, and
when I’m engaged in the process there is nothing more in the world I
would rather be doing. I spent 10 years working in a field that was not rewarding in any way except for financially, and when I kick the bucket and leave this world I don’t want my life narrative to be “here lies someone who played it safe and didn’t take any risks in life.” I want my narrative to be “here lies someone how followed his passion, pursued his dreams, and ultimately spent all his time on this earth doing exactly what he wanted in the moment.” Because at the end of the day, that’s all you have to do in life is decide what to do with the time that you are given.
What are your goals in this filed?
My goals are to continue to grow and develop to more and more impactful projects. I want to continue the personal exploration of the
self so that I always “have something to say” as an artist, and ultimately connect and collaborate with other artists who have something to say as
well. Working with them to drive our message into creation so that it can be seen by a large audience, contribute to the collective evolution of
the human consciousness, and the collective evolution of human beliefs as we move forward as a species.
What is your next project?
My next big project with be the multiple season episodic horror drama RUTHERFORD MANOR (https://www.rutherford-manor.com/
television-series/) that will be going into production of season one during the fall of 2020.
GOOD LUCK Tyler