To truly understand the magic that happens between fans and actors at conventions like RomaDrama Live, consider the incredible fan community surrounding one of Hallmark Channel’s biggest stars, Tyler Hynes.
Hynes has filmed a dozen Hallmark movies since 2018, including fan favorites like Winter in Vail with Lacey Chabert, The 12th Date of Christmas, Always Amore and It Was Always You, along with a brief but very special cameo in 2021’s My Family Christmas Tree starring Andrew Walker (Hynes cousin through marriage; their bromance is widely celebrated throughout the fandom).
The Toronto native started acting at a young age; when he was 8 he appeared in a 72-performance run of Musical Stage Production’s A Christmas Carol and he followed that experience by appearing in the Cross Canada Tour of The Who’s epic rock opera, Tommy, where he portrayed young Tommy. In addition to his work on the Hallmark Channel, Hynes has appeared in a number of series and movies. He’s currently starring as Dierks in the Hulu series Letterkenny.
Hynes’ fans are collectively known as "Hynies.," made up of women of all ages and from all over the word celebrating the work of their favorite actor.
A post shared by Tyler Hynes (@tyler_hynes) (opens in new tab)
A photo posted by on
What to Watch talked with Hynes about fan communities, attending fan conventions and his appreciation for the Hynies ahead of his appearance at RomaDrama Live 2022. Hynes spoke specifically about the wonderful fan community that inspires the actors who bring these beloved movies to life.
Hynes started the conversation noting that he’d only attended a few fan conventions but they left their mark.
"I haven’t done other conventions, so I really can’t compare, but I can certainly speak from my own experience with RomaDrama and Christmas Con and it’s nothing short of spectacular and beautiful. I don’t use the word 'miracle' very often but it almost feels like that a little bit because of how profound it is for the people who attend and how much it seems their lives are electrified by these experiences."
Hallmark actors and their fans share a community that has developed around these movies. Fans talk about how much the movies mean to them on a personal level, often commenting on social media that a particular movie transports them to a special memory or moment in their lives. The fan conventions offer an opportunity for actors to connect with their fans on a whole new and very special level. Hynes was quick to agree:
"It is entirely correct. And it is absolutely a different experience when you're seeing somebody in person as opposed to a message on the phone. You know, I, I try to participate in that as much as I can, but it is a poor replacement for somebody looking you in the eyes and telling you what something means to them and the specifics associated with that, both to their personal lives and to what you did as an artist or an actor. Their thoughts and feelings — and again, I can only speak for myself — being connected entirely to a thought and feeling that I was chasing and that I had [while making the movie]. Here's something that I feel like I can contribute or I think is something worthwhile putting into the [movie], but then to see that being received and sort of mirrored back to me [by fans], it brings me back to specific moments and this relationship between people who watch these movies and seem to enjoy my work and want to share that with me both online and [at conventions], it is wild."
A post shared by Tyler Hynes (@tyler_hynes) (opens in new tab)
A photo posted by on
The fan community is very supportive of each other and they also enjoy using their platform to help others. Recently, Hynies helped raise over $40,000 for No Kid Hungry. To put that impressive number in perspective, the goal for the fundraiser was $20,000.
Hynes was humbled by his fans' generosity. Their excitement made him find ways to make the prize — namely, spending an hour with him for drinks and conversation — even more fulfilling.
"I'm going through my phone one day and I find some material that I thought, 'Oh, you know who might appreciate this is those 10 people who are chosen to be able to spend an hour and have a drink and have a chat [with me].' So how do I make that fulfilling for them in some way that feels above and beyond, or at least sufficient, to the generosity these fans are showing? I don't think I can do anything that could really match that, but I'm going to try my best to do something."
While he’s appreciative of all his fans and looked forward to connecting with them at RomaDrama, there’s one group in particular that brings a smile to his face: the Spicy Hynies. This group of women gather on Facebook and have formed a tight knit community within the fandom. It’s "just a full blown party over there," Hynes noted with a smile. "And I love everything they’re doing."
He talked about how the Spicy Hynies got a hotel room during RomaDrama’s Nashville event last year. "They have a photo of me as the character I play in Letterkenny and they have it in the bed while they take turns sitting in bed taking shots and hanging out," he said with a laugh.
Hynes also talked about getting a message from Mel, a fan who was a nurse at the local Nashville hospital. She invited him to stop by for a visit, so he took her up on it. "I just thought, why wouldn’t I? Why would I say no to that?" He showed up and took pictures with some of her coworkers. "And it was just wonderful. Here I am in a different place that I’ve never been and very shortly after arriving I’m able to interact with people in such a lovely way."
Hynes calls RomaDrama a "three-day therapy session" where he’s able to hear how his work impacted fans’ lives. He’s able to learn about how his movies touched people during certain circumstances in their own lives and how his work helped them through hardships or challenges they were facing.
"Some of the stories were nothing short of the most harrowing things you’ve ever heard from the most sweet, well-intentioned and innocent human beings. And we’re both crying and talking and it’s wild. I’m always cognizant of the fact that I hope they feel like they’re being heard and having a moment to feel that catharsis," he added, noting with appreciation that the RomaDrama bosses never rush people through their meet and greet opportunities for that very reason.
For Hynes, connecting with fans is a very natural thing and it does as much for him as he hopes it does for them. "None of it feels forced or manufactured or disingenuous or intrusive or anything. It is just such pure humanity. It's just like such pure humanity is the best way I can describe it. I could do this all day, forever."
There’s always the challenge of being "on" the whole time during fan conventions. While he understands how some actors might be overwhelmed by the experience, Hynes doesn’t see it that way.
"I totally understand where they're coming from because I think there could be a certain amount of pressure or self-consciousness that could go into this," he said. "But again, speaking only for myself, I don't feel any of that. I have none of it. I just have all the time in the world for these fans. I definitely take a good, hard nap when I'm done but while I'm doing it I don't feel like I don't feel fatigued in some sort of negative way. If anything, as soon as I walk in those doors, no matter how tired I was, I'm immediately filled with their energy… It pulls me in."
Interview was edited for length and clarity.
Sarabeth joined the Watch to Watch team in May 2022. An avid TV and movie fan, her perennial favorites are The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, true crime documentaries on Netflix and anything from Passionflix. You’ve Got Mail, Ocean's Eleven and Signs are movies that she can watch all day long.
When she's not working, Sarabeth hosts a podcast dedicated to books and interviews with authors and actors. She’s also very close to realizing her lifelong dream of publishing a novel.
Get the latest updates, reviews and unmissable series to watch and more!
Thank you for signing up to Whattowatch. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.