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This semester I’m taking Cinematography 2 at film school. For our second short film project, we picked a script from the previous semester’s screenwriting class and shot it. I was fortunate enough to be given the task of directing the third week of our shooting schedule.

Now, many directors approach their projects in multiple ways. Some work (at least in my mind) backwards to forwards, communicating their composition of every frame to guide the script. Some map their visuals based on the location of the shoot. Others let their talented staff guide the story while keeping them within the proverbial rails of script.

I grew up appreciating the storytelling methodology of the classics – analyze your script and then form the visuals to promote exactly who and what the story is about. It’s easy to get lost in technique, your actors, the lighting, the location or your camera and lenses. When all those things work in unison to highlight exactly what the script is about. That’s cinema. So that’s what I did when it was my turn to direct. Granted, I’m a bit biased, but I thought it turned out well.

The week we wrapped on the project was the same week of Thanksgiving. Friends, family, turkey and all the fixins’ contributed to the American tradition of looking back and giving thanks. It is abundantly clear that after looking at my life one year ago to where I am now, the Lord has blessed me. Blessed me in my career, my heart for the lost, my knowledge and wisdom of righteousness, my finances, my passion and love for the excellency of His character and for His written word.

I could testify in great depth of these things individually to His glory and still fall short of accurately describing what has been fully done in His name. These eternally-valuable qualities the Lord has blessed me with are more precious to me than anything I possess.

As Thanksgiving has come to an end and the Christmas decorations are hung, I’d like to offer words of encouragement and reflection. Looking back at what God has done in your life throughout 2017, take those treasures to a place of worship. It’s easy to get lost in those specific aspects of righteousness and value. Sanctification is a process that never ceases and should never give the sense of complacency. Choosing one or multiple of those treasures and being satisfied should not be the finish line. Wrap your arms around them, yes, but do not stop there, my fellow beloved. Use these gifts to pour out through the Spirit to glorify God.

Had I focused on my turn to direct our film project, with only the lighting or only the sound or composition or talent, my footage would look or sound nice, but not complete. When the footage uplifts the script and properly executes the message, it looks and feels natural. The message, the script is what it’s all about. Glorify God through His blessing to you.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9).