Tyler Franks and I have known each other since before we REALLY knew each other. What do I mean by that? Well we were in toddler group together at the church my family attended during my childhood. So it really would not be an overstatement to say that we definitely gooooo wayyy backkkkk.
Photo by Cathleen Daly
While growing up, we ended up attending different churches but we still knew of each other. It wasn't until we both connected up during our first year at Grand Canyon University that, I would say, we officially became friends. This past year, especially, is when I really got to know Tyler both as a person and as a creative type. Since I've come to know Tyler, we've bonded over a lot of things from salsa dancing to taking the same college classes to co-hosting with him on his newest show AIM (more to come on that later!). Also, given that our Myers-Briggs personality types are the most compatible pair and that we share an obsession with the studying of personality types, I guess there's no questioning as to why we get along so well (Team #INFJ & #ENTP).
Photo by Kia Baikie
If I had a best-dressed list Tyler Franks would for sure be on it. With his seemingly innate sense of style that not only reflects in his choice in clothing, but also in the way he designs through his work at large, there's no doubt that he has an eye for creativity. He's a self-taught talent with a strong determination and knack for finding opportunities within opportunities. Tyler Franks is the type of guy who has developed a unique combination of both vision and aesthetic in his work. Yet, Tyler describes himself as just an ordinary guy. However, once you read his story, you'll see that "just an ordinary guy" is far from the truth.
Tyler and I, along with our friend Will, made a late night run to the always reliable, International House of Pancakes. The late night food run is nothing new, in fact I kind of found it to just be a parallel to what we do with our group of friends at school. While eating a plate of pancakes (his current favorite food), Tyler shared with me his "creative type" story. Our conversation was deeply enjoyable, fun-filled with lots of laughing, and entertaining with the sharing of stories from his childhood about his "scary" dog and learning to ride a bike. Aside from all of that, my biggest takeaway from his interview was getting to see how much Tyler has grown in his work in such a short period of time.
A native to Albuquerque and a definite 90's kid, Tyler also shared with me that he was very shy as a child. Which I at first, found hard to believe given that nowadays I see him possessing a very "life of the party" type personality. He explained that his defining moments in his creativity came more so out of his late middle-school/high school years when he found singing, acting, and dancing.
Since he was shy but still had a desire to perform, he learned he just had to put himself out there. He started singing with friends in youth group, church worship, and in his spare time, he would record songs with his own equipment. In addition, through his church community's National Fine Arts Program and high school, Tyler found an outlet to express his creativity through performance.
Before I got the chance to pull up my google browser, Tyler coolly said, "I don't have anything out right now, so don't try to google it." (But hey, maybe someday he will?)
Having personally ballroom and latin danced with Tyler, it's easy to see that he has a natural talent and rhythm for it. In high school, Tyler was asked to step in as a choreographer for assemblies because their school didn't have a dance teacher. Not having a dance teacher was not a hinderance for Tyler's developing talent. In order to learn and teach others, Tyler went to YouTube and self-taught himself numerous ballroom and latin dances ranging from the jive to the foxtrot.
"I would learn a little bit about it and then wing it." Tyler expressed.
Photo via IG: @TheTylicious
Then one night in high school, Tyler found himself watching YouTube videos of his grandpa's show Spectrum. He found himself thinking up ideas of how he could update the simplistic design of the set that had been in use for the past 25 years. He knew that he wanted to be involved in television, so with the help of his grandpa he was put to work at the studio of Alpha Omega Broadcasting. Without any prior experience, he took the opportunity and ran with it by re-designing the set and immersing himself in the work at the station. In addition to his work on Spectrum, Tyler has worked on the show Insight, Justice for Veterans, and his newest show, AIM.
Working for Alpha Omega Broadcasting, Tyler saw the opportunity to design a show himself. As the creator, producer, and a co-host on AIM, Tyler has invested alot into this show. However, it wasn't an overnight ordeal, it has most definitely been a process before AIM has gotten to where it is now.
Tyler Franks along with fellow AIM co-hosts Cathleen Daly, Kaylee Bachman, Daniel Aragon, and Marissa Canez (right to left)
Before AIM and in the midst of re-starting shows at the station, Tyler had an idea to do a panel-style TV show. But looking back, he can see that at the time, he wasn't in the right place to be producing a show such as this. The show was originally in the process of being put together with a format of having local pastors in the community come together to share their thoughts on various topics, but the project was halted once Tyler started school at Grand Canyon University.
Over the last year, while at GCU, Tyler's relationship with Christ grew immensely. Then the idea for the show struck again. Except with a new format and purpose in mind. Tyler saw that he was more influenced by his peers rather than those older than him. So with that in mind, he decided to re-design the show with the purpose discussing the topics and issues that come up in the young adult community from a Christian perspective to help reach those in the same demographic. The show is organized in a talk show/discussion style format along with various segments and interviews. Since, the show features 5 hosts from different backgrounds and upbringings, it showcases the variety of opinions and beliefs that come up in Christianity.
As you can see, Tyler had different plans for the show than what it is now. He expressed how he seemed to be more business-minded in his original plans for the show. He was looking for who would fit the molds of the ideas in his mind. However, when the show really came together was when Tyler let go of the molds by asking God who and what He wanted for this show. After that, during this past school year, God just put the people there for Tyler to make it happen. Everyone, including myself, was open to the idea right away, and everything fell into place. It was clear to Tyler that as his relationship with Christ developed so did this show.
"We haven’t even premiered the show yet, and a lot of people are excited about it."
Working for Alpha Omega Broadcasting, Tyler finds satisfaction in that for a Christian station, the shows being produced are having an impact on people.
Tyler made a bold but valid statement when he said, “For a Christian station, if a program is not positively influencing people and encouraging them in their walk with God, then there is no point. The show should be cancelled.”
Tyler's grandpa, Raymond Franks, had a lot of impact in getting Tyler working in television. What many don't realize is how his grandpa influenced him in other areas of his life. Tyler shared with me the story of how he ended up at GCU; a story that I had never heard before.
Tyler never planned on attending college or leaving Albuquerque. He planned on graduating high school and then in his words, "peacing out." His dad really wanted him to go to college to at least get an Associates Degree so Tyler agreed to go to a local community college. His grandpa, on the other hand, always desired for Tyler to go to school out of state.
"He told me, if I would go to an out of state college, that he would pay for my first semester; books and everything. It was an awesome incentive. Then my grandpa got really sick and things changed. But I still made the decision to go, and I am grateful that I got to tell him before he passed. That’s how I ended up at GCU."
Now, he is currently going into his Senior year majoring in Communications. The degree was an easy choice because he knew that if he stayed working in television, a Communications degree would come in especially handy. He also threw in that he's extroverted and likes talking to people so Communications makes the most sense.
After Tyler graduates, it is seeming that signs are pointing to coming back to Albuquerque. Whether or not he does come back, he really would love to continue working in television. He loves working on the projects and the challenges of starting something completely from the bottom up that television presents. He also enjoys the hands on work and collaboration that comes with volunteering with his church.
In addition to those professional goals, Tyler also stated, "I want to have lots of kids by the time I’m 30 because I want to be a hot dad."
Tyler thinks quick on his feet and is the master of, as he would call, "winging it" but I think that just comes as a result of his hard work and dedication to his passion that makes him qualified and capable of so called "winging it." Tyler has developed a keen sense for what people want to see in television. I can tell because of the way he describes the details that go into designing sets from the difference of lighting from a daytime show vs. a nighttime show and the importance of knowing how even the audience's age affects the overall design of a set. He's adapted to the "learn as you go" attitude that is crucial for success in this type of industry. He wears a lot of hats both at Alpha Omega Broadcasting and his church, Evangel Christian Center from singing on the praise and worship team, helping with the creative and media team, and of course, producing. Overall, producing shows is his favorite because of the freedom he has in creating new things.
Tyler has some advice that can be applied to almost anyone who wants to work in an industry but maybe doesn't know where to start:
"If you want to do something that interests you, but you don’t necessarily have the means to do it, but you're like 'I really want to do it' then just teach yourself to do it. And then just kinda do it. I learned that it was more who I knew than what I know. Getting started, it was definitely more who I know. I was fortunate that my grandpa and both parents were the presidents of Alpha Omega Broadcasting. But once you get into it, it’s your responsibility to keep it up. Learn to do the best you can, whether you are teaching yourself ballroom or latin dances or working in television, learn what you can. If you already have a natural ability to do it, most of the time it is going to work out.”
I am tremendously blessed to call Tyler Franks a close friend. He's a truly genuine person who you can't help but always have fun with when he's around and simultaneously be super real with. Time will only tell where he will end up, but I know that for a talented guy like Tyler Franks, this is just the beginning of something even bigger down the road. No doubts about it.
Make sure to watch Tyler and I, along with our 3 other co-hosts on #AIMTVShow every Monday and Friday starting July 11 at 9PM MST on KAZQ Channel 32, Comcast Channel 22, or live stream at http://kazq32.org/watch-online/!
Your INFJ Buddy,
AIM TV Show:
Spectrum TV Show: