The Tyler Willis PR Machine Keeps on Rolling

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I Received a glowing writeup in my flim school‘s wonderful newsletter. Pretty awesome, the write up can be viewed in it’s entirety after the break or can be seen with the photos and edited version on the San Francisco School of Digital Film’s testimonials site.


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I’ll add this to the massive list of positive press on me, bringing the current count to… 2 articles — My public loves me (okay end deluded hollywood star moment)
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Tyler Willis, a student at the San Francisco School of Digital Film, first fell in love with visual arts when he saw “The Godfather” as a young man. As he matured, technological interests and entrepreneurial dreams combined with his love of cinema and grew into a passion for making films.

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After graduating high school in 2005, Tyler journeyed to Europe, and he attributes an eye-opening period of personal growth to the six months he spent traveling and living there. His original travel plans were to have later taken him through the Middle East and eventually into Southeast Asia, but reports and visuals of Hurricane Katrina’s destruction in New Orleans haunted his thoughts and interrupted those plans. “I was there enjoying a wonderful, enriching opportunity while people at home were suffering and dying. It was really troubling to me.” The sparkle in his eyes is unmistakable as he recalls the moment. “It was really profound. I’d been surfing all week in Portugal and just didn’t feel quite right. My surfing was off, and I remember finally realizing what was bugging me. It really was an epiphany â€" in the philosophical sense of the word â€" and once I knew the problem I knew I had to go there and try to help.”

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One thing is clear when you meet Tyler: he doesn’t comprehend “impossible.” Traveling back to the U.S. into a destroyed city and starting a charity focused on rebuilding its education system (considered one of the worst in the nation even before the storm) was simply, according to his Project New Orleans website, a noble goal to be attained “through personal involvement.” His goals were lofty, and the results of his 14-month-long project were mixed. Of his time there he says, “I think we did some good, and I have a lot of hope for long-term progress based on the people I met there and the groups still working there.”

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After returning to the Bay Area to pursue a college education, he found an advertisement for the San Francisco School of Digital Film online and immediately signed up for its five-week summer course. “My intention was to test it out and maybe come for the full course after college, but I was smitten. I signed up for the full course in the second week.” He is currently completing his third short film at the school and has discovered a love for documentary filmmaking. “I’d love to make films about social injustice and use them to make change. There have been a lot of great documentaries about Hurricane Katrina, but I don’t think any of them have captured the whole story. In my vision, the storm and its aftermath would be best presented as a series of small films, each showing a specific piece of the puzzle.”

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Indeed, he’s not lost his famous ambition. In addition to film school, he continues to work toward an undergraduate degree and also works at a San Francisco technology startup. “I’ll never lose my love for the technology and business side of things, but I’d love to find a way to forge all of my passions and meld them into a career.” One gets the sense he just might be successful when he confidently offers, “I think I almost have it figured out. I can’t talk about it, but I’m working on a really exciting project.” YouTube might want to beware; at the age of 20, I think he’s got plenty of time.

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