As a public access television host, radio DJ and world-traveling magician’s assistant, Tyler Wiest has spent his fair share of time in the limelight, but the 22-year-old cinema and television arts major really wants to be the man behind the curtain.
“I’ve basically tried everything in entertainment,” Wiest said. “But my ideal job would be working as a producer for a major network. I’d like to work on a television drama or sitcom.”
Wiest grew up near San Francisco in Milpitas. His interest in video production surfaced in high school where he learned the roles of producer, editor, reporter and tech for the school news broadcast. He earned his associate degree in broadcasting from Ohlone College in Fremont and, while there, he was certified in live TV production, lighting and video, entertainment TV and non-linear video editing.
He also worked outside of school on a variety of productions, gaining experience in behind-the-scenes crew work like pyrotechnics, carpentry, and stage management, and was a host DJ a few hours a week on KOHL 89.3, a local Top 40 radio station.
It was during this time that he produced, hosted and edited the public access show “Bay Area on Location.” The show aired once a month and featured Wiest exploring restaurants, events, clubs and shows and interviewing people all across the area. His passion for creating video and his hard work on the show earned him the Bronze Telly Award for editing last year.
In 2007, Wiest met renowned magician Ed Alonzo, who hired him on as an assistant. The so-called “Misfit of Magic,” Alonzo did illusion design for Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” tour and Britney Spears’ “Circus” tour.
“My first magic show that I worked, I had to do a very hard trick making a duck appear out of thin air,” Wiest said. “Ever since then, he started including me more and more. I gained a reputation as a magician’s assistant by working with him.”
That reputation took Wiest to China for three weeks last May, traveling to Puyang and Beijing with a dozen magicians.
It also got him a quick cameo on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in October, assisting magician Greg Wilson.
“He’s a big deal because he is the son of one of the most famous magicians of all time, Mark Wilson, who starred on the Magic Land of Allakazam back in the ‘60s,” Wiest said.
Wiest still works in magic and performed this weekend with Ed Alonzo’s Psycho Circus of Magic and Mayhem at Knott’s Berry Farm. But as adept as he is at that apprenticeship, his favorite life-long pursuit lies elsewhere.
“My real passion is actually martial arts; I started taking Tae Kwon Do when I was six,” Wiest said.
As a student of Tae Kwon Do, Wiest competed in forms and sparring and took part in extreme martial arts demonstrations as tricking was coming up. As he grew up, he trained in a variety of other martial arts including Hapkido, Jiu Jitsu, Escrima (Filipino stick fighting) and most recently, Jeet Kune Do, a blend of different arts developed by Bruce Lee. He holds private lessons in a variety of styles for people interested in learning.
Wiest’s goal at CSUN is to put the polish on his skills and graduate by 2011. As soon as he has his diploma, he plans to find his dream job of either editing or producing for FOX or NBC.