Once GoPro's youngest employee ever hired, Tyler Johnson has been responsible for creating some of the most viral content the world has ever seen. At GoPro, Tyler spent six years directing, filming, editing, and creating 84 official GoPro videos resulting in over 74 million views. He traveled to eight countries and worked closely with the highest ranked athletes in the world, and he was even responsible for the most viral video ever released by GoPro, Fireman Saves Kitten.
Eight months ago, Tyler decided to go out on his own and embark upon a journey to capture a different kind of video — one that contradicts the virality of his past work. This time, he wanted to use video to capture just how tragically screens are changing the way humans interact with one another.
We caught up with Tyler to understand what moved him to create this video. Here's Tyler's story in his own words.
My entire life, I've wanted to change the way people think, change the way they see the world. And watching people every day, staring at screens, oblivious to the world around them, was mesmerizing. People have become so focused on their virtual life, they've forgotten to pay attention to what's real and happening right in front of them.
This was something I had to capture and bring to light, so I spent 8 months shooting. I wanted every person that watched the film to experience a profound change of heart toward their phone and to actually see the reality of their behavior.
Catching people on their phones is incredibly easy as you can imagine, but sticking around long enough to find moments where there were consequences to these actions — that was the hardest part. In fact, my original goal was to get reactions of loved ones bothered by this behavior, but I wasn't able to. People have become complacent to phone obsession.
What surprised me most while creating this piece was my own struggle with it. One minute I'm watching these moments through a camera, and the next I'm catching myself feeling that same need to reach for my phone. It was very eye-opening and absolutely changed my perspective on technology.
I took away so many emotions while creating this film, for my own benefit and hopefully for those who watch it. I'll admit, my phone still burns a hole in my pocket on a daily basis, but after this experience I'm not on it nearly as much as I was. I use tools like Flipd to keep me off of my phone, as well as UprightGO and BetterBack to keep my posture.
"I'll admit, my phone still burns a hole in my pocket, but after this experience I'm not on it nearly as much as I was."
Why Being Present Matters
There are thousands of good reasons to be on your phone and I'm sure some of the people I captured on this film had great excuses — but when it's taking you away from the present, from reality, from family, from getting outside, all while destroying your posture and generating an ever-growing need for more, that's when we need to stop.
Six years ago, at only 17 years old, Tyler Johnson was recruited by GoPro's Creative Director, Brad Schmidt, while shooting long exposure photos at a carnival. As the story goes, Brad loved Tyler's stop motion hyperlapse style and hadn't seen anything like it at the time. He offered Tyler a job on the spot as GoPro's youngest employee. While at GoPro, Tyler created multiple viral videos, including GoPro's most viral video ever released, 3 national TV and Superbowl commercials, and much more. After traveling the world directing, filming, and editing content for GoPro, Tyler has gone solo, currently operating his own company, OL'TJP Films.