“Me? A film director? No way, you’re crazy!”
Last year, if you had suggested to me that I was going to direct and edit a short film which would reach a wide audience, garnering the attention and praise of industry professionals, I would have laughed and casually brushed off the idea. For someone with no real experience or history in the filmmaking world, the thought of being a part of what has unfolded in the past three months was unthinkable.
Growing up, I never seemed to fit the mould when it came to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would often respond whilst shrugging my shoulders, “I don’t know.” Somehow the allure of the “usual” career paths had escaped me. Throughout high school, my peers seemed to be lit up with excitement as they looked forward to their future careers in medicine, engineering, and things of the sort. But for me, I felt left in the dust.
There was a disconnect in me. I knew that I had unique abilities and passions, but I failed to see their significance or how they could ever lead to anything notable in life.
Somewhere along the way, I had let my dreams fade. The childlike wonder and freedom to dream big, which I once possessed, had been buried beneath a mountain of discouragement and societal expectations.
I guess you could say that in the past few years, I’ve begun to go through a reawakening of sorts. There is one moment that comes to mind which stands out to me as a catalyst for this process of discovery that I have been in the midst of. During a week of lectures on my Discipleship Training School, one of the speakers made a comment which stuck with me. As she spoke, she began to suggest that in the journey of discovering our calling, we sometimes need to look back in time. She asked several simple, yet deep and profound questions.
“What did you dream of doing when you were just a child? What illuminated your face with delight when you were young? Chances are that God deposited those dreams in you for a specific purpose. Have you ever thought that those childhood passions might just, in fact, be the blueprints of what you were created to do?”
At that moment I began to feel a sense of hope being rekindled in me – that maybe, just maybe, the creative abilities that God had given me held significance and purpose. I didn’t exactly know what the outworking of this realization would look like, but there was a feeling of expectant anticipation deposited in me.
Flash forward to this year. In January, I was given the opportunity to join the Creative Department here at YWAM Newcastle to help with video production. Over the past two years of leading overseas mission trips, I had found myself drawn to creating videos of my experiences. Something about it made me feel alive, so when the chance to join Creative arose, I jumped at the opportunity. Within the first two weeks on the job, I was asked to go and find a story which we could use to create a short film. I was told that I was to direct and edit the project myself. For someone with no real prior experience in the film world, the idea of directing a project seemed daunting, yet equally as exciting.
I was out of my depth but in the best possible way. I was ready to learn; I was ready to grow.
I interviewed several people and ended up settling on one story in particular which caught my attention. As I listened to Betty tell her story about the power of creativity in the midst of grief, I was immediately inspired. Images flooded my head as my imagination ran wild with concepts and ideas.
The floodgates of my creative mind had swung open and I was caught up in the current of creativity as it flowed out of me.
As the production moved on, we began to scout out locations for filming. Each time we set out to explore a location, I was met with a feeling of trepidation. Would we be able to find a place to film which matched up with what I had originally imagined? The possibility of being unable to do so created a constant sense that the direction of the project stood on the edge of a knife. But amazingly, each location we visited far exceeded my expectations! Without fail, we were able to find locations that matched up exactly with what I had envisioned. Throughout the production process, it was a surreal feeling to witness the images that had been previously confined to my mind come to life in front of me.
By the time I had hit the “export” button to finalize the film, I could hardly believe what I was seeing on screen.
My vision had finally come to life; there it was in the form of a video playing out before my eyes. That to me was an incredible feeling.
Eventually, the time came to release the short film online. The feedback we began to receive was overwhelmingly positive. Comments and messages started flooding in as people shared how the film had impacted them. Many had been brought to tears as Betty’s story had touched areas of their hearts that were grieving, and had brought hope and encouragement to them. We even received positive feedback from some well-established film industry professionals, including a family member of a major Hollywood actor. I was flabbergasted at what was taking place. This was my first film project after all!
I quickly realized that I had stepped into something far bigger than myself.
God was in this; there was no doubt about it.
Where I had once doubted the validity of my creativity, I could now see it begin to bloom and grow into something beautiful that was reaching a far wider audience than I ever could have imagined. Through being given the opportunity to work with a such a talented team as the Creative Department, I was able to see my dreams begin to come to life. Passions that had once been squashed were being revived and given the space to roam free again.
“Have you ever thought that your childhood passions might just, in fact, be the blueprints of what you were created to do?” Those words rang out in my head once more, but this time they landed on a confident answer. Through the experiences of the past three months, I have come to know just how intentional God was when He made me.
So go ahead and ask yourself that question. What dreams have been buried inside of you that you may have lost sight of?
God gave you passions for a reason, so stop listening to the voice of discouragement and begin to allow yourself to dream freely again.
by Blair Coyle
YWAM Creative Communication Staff
Blair Coyle is from Canada. He’s been with YWAM Newcastle for three years. After completing a School of Worship here in 2015, Blair stayed with us to staff the July Creative Discipleship Training School for the following two years. He is currently serving as staff in the Creative Communications Department.