A few weeks ago I messaged my dear friend Madi and asked if she would be the first post of my new segment called “Perspectives”, and she eagerly aggreed. Madi is the first of a monthly segment of guest bloggers who have stories to share about life, love, and other lessons learned along the way. I hope you enjoy this as much as I have enjoyed creating this! So without further adu: Madi Zoller!
“What would you do with a film degree?”
Four years ago, that was a question I received from my family and friends as I entered my freshman year at Penn State majoring in Film and Video Production.
Half jokingly and partially serious, I would respond, “I want to be the next James Cameron, you know, the director, writer, and editor of Titanic and Avatar. I want to do it all!”
I would then say, “You know there’s a lot you can do with a film degree. There’s film, television, commercials, media, online content…”
I sounded like Bubba from Forrest Gump, but instead of naming all the ways you can cook shrimp, I would name all of the ways that I could use a film degree, as if trying to justify why I decided to study film. But despite all the doubts from others and within myself, I jumped feet first into the unknown, but little did I know that I was actually walking a path prepared for me.
You see, my main goal in life was to be this award-winning, glory hound of a filmmaker, but that radically changed when Jesus Christ called me to follow Him as a freshman. Following Christ changed my view on life, success, and my future. In short, I no longer wanted to be the next James Cameron.
I get a very different question now: “Why are you going into full time ministry after studying film for four years?”
My response goes back to what I had to learn by earning a degree in filmmaking: being a filmmaker is not my highest calling.
I love filmmaking and editing and I love seeing a finished product after many hours of hard work, but I love Jesus more. And while I could work in the film industry as a Christian and a filmmaker, it’s just not what I’m excited about when I wake up in the morning. And that’s okay.
What I’m excited about is the Great Commission given by Jesus as written in Matthew 28: 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Being a follower of Christ and making followers of Christ. That is my highest calling. And it could lead me to the film industry or it could lead me to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ on the college campus.
I wish I could go back to when my family and friends first asked, “What would you do with a film degree?” And respond confidently with, “What can God do with it?”
Even though God changed my heart and my goals for the future, I don’t regret studying film and I don’t think that it was a waste of time. God used it mightily in my life. I learned how to work collaboratively in groups, express my creative ideas and thoughts to others, persevere through time consuming and hard projects, and so much more. Being a film major tested my faith, but it also helped me grow. And look what God did with it! He used my bold decision to study filmmaking at Penn State to draw me to Himself, to save me from my sins, and to give me an abundant life in Jesus Christ, filled with dreams beyond what I could have ever imagined at nineteen.
I may have earned a degree in film and video production after four years of college, but I gained so much more!
Madi Zoller is the founder and writer of the blog She Laughs Without Fear. She holds a Bachelor’s of Art in Film and Video Production from Pennsylvania State University and has a passion for creating, serving others, and loving people. To view her videos and read her works head over to shelaughswithoutfear.com