Unexpected: Heeding the Call to Produce Faith-based Films

So today wraps up our four-day film making workshop (pre-production) which ran every Saturday of February 2016. It was only last January when Pastor Reuben announced that this kind of a seminar would actually push through. It never really occurred to me that I would be immersed in this kind of an experience during the early part of this year.  Now it turns out to be one of the most exciting activities I was ever engaged in in my life yet.

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Direk Lodgz and Direk JP Ninalga who are known Christian directors led the Shinefest workshop series. What I loved about their style is that it was not heavy on lectures nor did it focus on the technical aspects alone. They coached us while allowing us to experience everything hands-on – from conceptualizing the story down to the visual storytelling process itself.

The plan is that for March, we would temporarily halt this filmmaking stint to give way to our 40th year anniversary preparations but come April, we would continue on the script finalization, casting call, and story conference. Then we’ll proceed to the actual execution (that is shooting) and then hold the Film Fest by June!  :)

 

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You see, this entire process really just thrills me to the core. It’s perhaps thrice the thrill I felt when my first article was published in UP CBA’s college newspaper, Guilder, and even twice the thrill I felt when I joined rightnow.ph and realized that a vocation in writing was very much within my grasp.

For the record, when I first joined the filmmaking workshop, I just showed up to be the script writer. But as the assignments in the workshop progressed, I realized that I’m interested about every area of the filmmaking process. Perhaps, not yet so much on the camera works, light, and other techie stuff, but then I know that I can study that later on as well just to gain better skills and ultimately a better eye for the output.

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What pushed me really to document this day is that during our “Characterization” activity this morning, I was forced to act as a “proxy” for our director who had to cover the Kasalang Bayan held this morning at the church grounds.  As our group presented an excerpt from the script I wrote, and as I prepped and directed the actors for the master shot, Direk JP Ninalga praised how I executed the scene. In fact, at the end of the day, our group received an award. Praise God!

I’m not writing this to boast about the commendation I received. It was only by God’s grace. But like a child lauded for a good deed – something I really did not intend getting – I felt elated that I have found another place in this world. Maybe a bigger but nonetheless, a better fit for my inclinations.

I don’t know about God’s plan yet – how far He’d like to use us for this new ministry of creating Christian/faith-based films for His glory – but as far as I know I’m already on board.

What Pastor RA said as a closing remark raked deep in my heart. He talked about how he left the corporate world to surrender full time in the ministry. I’ve heard his story many times now but what struck me was how he answered the question when one asked him, “How do you know God’s calling?” His response was to study and grow deep in God’s Word. As you go through the process, you’ll know where God calls you. How? For him, he said that whenever he saw someone preach, he knew he could do it too. When he saw someone do something for God, he felt an irresistible urge to do the same thing as well. He was never totally at peace until he surrendered to that deep ache inside. That’s when he knew it was something God calls him to do. He kept on wanting and wanting to do more for God.

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Believe it or not, that’s what I’m feeling right now. I’m hungering to do more for God especially in the field of media and the arts. I’m afraid to the point that something pivotal will happen in my life in the near future but it’s not for me to tell yet. Suffice it to say that I’m enjoying my bipolar tendencies for the mean time – that of an accountant by day and a writer by night/weekend.

‘Til my next adrenaline rush.

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