By Tyler: A Renewed Sense of Purpose

I received the script for episode thirteen of Roswell, NM this morning. It’s our last episode of the season, which means we’ll be done filming in roughly two weeks. As I was reading it, I found myself getting emotional—not only because the writing is nuanced and I connect with the character I’m playing, but because I’m invested in the relationships that have been created with everyone involved in this project. Then I dug a little deeper and realized that I’m grateful for this journey because it reminded me of my passion and love for what I do.

Filming Roswell, NM // photo by Tyler Blackburn

Before starting this season, I was in a place of uncertainty that I hadn’t felt since my late teens. I felt insecure in both my abilities and my personal life. I wasn’t even sure if I was good enough to continue working in this business. I began to explore other paths I could take in life that would make me feel purposeful and happy. I felt stifled as an artist and suppressed by the not-so-glamorous parts of entertainment: the rejection coupled with the fear of not being understood by the public and the people you are hoping to work with. I always told myself that I would stop this pursuit if I stopped enjoying it. And this past year, my insecurities and my stress levels were at a point that just felt soul-crushing. So I thought that maybe it was time to give it a rest.

But even though I had one foot out the door of the entertainment world, I auditioned for a few projects, and found myself feeling really connected to the character of Alex Manes. Walking into the audition room, I felt a sense of certainty and calm (which I never feel in auditions). That certainty created a freedom that every actor wants to feel, hell every person wants to feel. I knew this was special. Honestly, I knew that I had a good shot at booking this role.

Table read // photo by Tyler Blackburn

When I was offered the role, I was out of the country. I had a very small window to work out the logistics, and frankly whether or not I wanted to commit to another series. As I weighed my decision, my happiness and excitement danced alongside my extreme insecurity and fear. I was in the middle of a quarter-life crisis, and the universe was giving me a huge decision to make. I was so torn that I think I laughed and cried within five minutes of each other. Ultimately, I decided taking the job was the path I should take. I am so happy I made that decision.

Along with the cast and some crew, I relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico in August to start this first chapter of filming. This was a big commitment and being in a fairly deep depression, I was scared. Luckily I had my dog with me, which made things easier. But I was electing to pick up and remove myself from familiarity and comfort. I hadn’t acted in over a year, and wasn’t even sure if I remembered how. I wasn’t sure how to put my insecurities aside, meet new people and really connect with them.

Michael Trevino, Shiri Appleby and Tyler on-set // photo courtesy of Tyler Blackburn

Once we were all on-set, every single person hit the ground running and showed up immediately to make this the best fucking story we could. Watching these people work took me out of a lot of my uncertainty and insecurities. And I don’t just meant the cast, I mean the show runner, the writers, the producers, the crew! Everyone is so dedicated to this story, and when I look around and take in all of the moving parts, I feel like I’m part of something beautiful and fulfilling. We are all playing make-believe and using our spirits to create truth within the story.

On-set for Roswell, NM // photo by Tyler Blackburn

These last four months have been cathartic for me in so many ways. I sit here now, feeling more calm than I did before we started, than I had felt in many months. Before coming to Santa Fe, I was afraid to spend too much time alone, but living in a small town has forced me to sit with myself and still feel safe in my own mind and heart.

Michael Vlamis and Tyler // photo courtesy of Tyler Blackburn

And playing Alex Manes speaks to me in ways that I may or may not verbalize, but he has been someone that I truly understand. I love him. You will love him. The writers of this show really made the characters real and important. Working with this group of actors has made me feel understood and excited. They have pushed me out of my comfort zones and made me feel fortified. I have been reminded that I am an actor. I am an artist. I am a collaborator. I am a lover of people and stories. My purpose has been reignited artistically and personally. For that, there aren’t any words to describe my gratitude.

Sunset over New Mexico // photo by Tyler Blackburn