Picture the most stressful, demanding job on the face of the planet, then place that job within the mission field. What do you get?
A YWAM Filmmaker.
So if it’s stressful and demanding why did I choose it? And more importantly, why do I hope you’ll choose it too? Because a life lived is a life worth having.
My whole life I’ve loved story. I told stories when I played chase or climbed trees as a kid. When I got a bit older, stories became my outlet. Most people journal their thoughts and ideas. I journaled stories. I was captivated by them.
I knew I was in good company with authors like JRR Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. And of course there’s the epic storyteller, Jesus. My favourite passages of scripture came from the stories he told. They’re packed with meaning and lessons which can only be learned at a heart level.
Then along came a guy named Peter Jackson, whose love for Middle Earth launched my own desire to become a filmmaker.
Film is the most impactful communication medium out there. Through film, you can impart and inspire. Through film, you can challenge and provoke. Through film, you can change a generation. I wanted to join the fray and get my hands dirty.
When I started looking at how to pursue this crazy career, I wanted to learn from the best. My natural choice became the School of Digital Filmmaking and the School of Acting for the Screen.
Why I chose a YWAM education
What I love about YWAM is the way lectures are paired with actual hands on learning. It’s hard to sit in a classroom hour after hour, listening to film or acting theory and then not have the chance to put any of it into practice.
This is how the film and acting schools in YWAM are different. Day one of lectures on the film school, I found myself holding the camera and learning how to use it. Not just how to technically use it, but how to tell a story with the movement and framing of my subject. The acting school was no different, day one they had us up on our feet practicing our craft.
I was completely hooked.
The best part, is the courses are only three months each. It was like a crash course in everything film and acting.
With a film list of over one hundred great films to watch before I even came to the courses, I knew I was in for the adventure of a lifetime. What I didn’t know, is how it would steer the course of the rest of my life.
There were so many great aspects to both courses. We met with industry pros and gleaned from their experience. We heard from amazing lecturers who all encouraged the hands-on approach. Giving time in class to work on our own short films, and monologues.
But then came shooting week. Each student on the film school had the opportunity to write, direct and produce their own short film. And during the acting school, each of us had the opportunity to play a leading role in at least one film and take part in several others. Talk about learning on the go. There was so much I learned about filmmaking by actually being a filmmaker.
Not gonna lie when I first heard about these schools I thought they were waaay beyond my ability to do, but then I realized: “Hey, it’s only three months.” Ten years later and I’m still here loving every school we run because they really equip incredible people to do some pretty epic things. We’ve had grads go on to work on big blockbuster movies, tv shows and even starring in independent films!
The best part is the staff were always there to help when I had no clue what I was doing. They seemed to know when to step in and actually help and when to encourage me through the storm to come out the other end feeling more accomplished. Not to mention, they were always there ready to pray with me.
Since taking both schools, I’ve joined the staff team here at YWAM Brisbane. Directing several short films, taking part in a bunch of plays, working on four independent features and most recently producing our newest feature film, Out of the Woods.
There have been so many ups and downs, so many struggles, but I’m glad I stuck with it. I can look back at the person I was before I came and smile knowing this process has made me into the full living, breathing Creative that God created me to be.
God’s used YWAM film and acting to make me into a warrior who doesn’t shy away from a good challenge, but instead leans into the storm to take it by thunder. These schools open up awesome opportunities. Do something extraordinary!
I encourage you, if you find yourself wanting to become the man or woman of God that he’s created you to be, to consider this impactful school. I can honestly say, you will benefit from the course. What are you waiting for? Do something extraordinary with your life.