As the founder of Sonlight Pictures, making movies has been my passion since I was nine years old and my father brought home a black-and-white reel-to-reel Sony video camera he borrowed from work. That weekend my brothers and I made the worst Western ever recorded.
Back then being on television was magical. There were only three networks. If you were lucky you had a public broadcasting station and maybe an independent station. Seeing my face on that television screen was amazing. It changed the course of my life.
Afterwards I spent all of my time watching movies, studying movies, watching documentaries about movies. I studied acting in high school and got a degree in Fine Arts in college. I made films on Super 8 and started writing short films. I bought books on feature screenwriting and story boarding and taught myself how to make movies. I won some awards, got married and acquired a job in the entertainment industry at a national cable television channel.
Everything I had ever worked for was finally starting to gain momentum. I could see light at the end of the long, cinematic tunnel.
Then something happened. I lost time.
I lost time from my wife and from my new-born daugther. I lost time from my parents and siblings. I lost time with my faith. I lost time with the things that matter most in my life… my relationships.
I saw the show business road ahead of me and knew it wasn’t going to get any easier. I knew that I wouldn’t be sacrificing my career for my family, but the other way around.
And that didn’t sit right with me or my wife.
So, I left the industry. We moved back home and I spent the next two years retraining myself to get work in the “real” world.
The transition wasn’t easy and I often questioned God’s plan. Why give me a passion for something only to take it away from me? If filmmaking wasn’t my role in the Body of Christ, then what was?
During the off hours from the day job I would still write and make movies, but it wasn’t very satisfying. I was out of the show business system. I was the outsider looking in.
Years later, after many jobs and overcoming many challenges, I realized that God’s plan had always been in play and that the end result was Sonlight Pictures. He’s taken my passion for my faith and my passion for filmmaking and combined it into something greater and more powerful than anything I could have imagined on my own.
So, now that we’ve started Sonlight Pictures, I’m still trying to find that balancing act between family and work. There are so many things that I want to be doing such as writing or editing, but should that take precidence over my son’s baseball games or my daughter’s driving lessons?
The difference between when I started in the entertainment industry and today is that before it was a career, now, it’s a vocation. And the one thing for which I am most grateful to God is that illusive gift of time. For it allows me to grow and learn and become a better follower of Jesus. Instead of feeling like I am losing time, I now hold onto it and cherish it. I plan to use these precious moments in my life to find out how to be the best Christian, the best husband, the best father and the best filmmaker I can be, without sacrificing one for the other.
It is still, however, a tough balancing act. It is something which will continue to challenge me for years to come.