By Allan Meade, Jr.
BEING TRUE TO YOURSELF
I think one of the biggest misconceptions people of faith going into the industry believe is that they can’t openly express their faith through their creative outlets, especially in the business of filmmaking. Many probably feel the need to conform to whatever’s “trending” in Hollywood while not allowing themselves to artistically express who they truly are. In my case, who I truly am is my Christian faith. I faced this inner-dilemma early on of feeling that if I were to express my faith in my work, I’d be categorized as just a “faith-based filmmaker” and not taken seriously, thus affecting my success in the industry. The contrary to that was me choosing to make films in which I didn’t express my faith, thus neglecting the very core of who I am in Christ Jesus. I knew deep inside that even if I chose the latter option, there would always be something inside me telling me to be true to who I
was and to honor God through the gifts he’s given me. As I took step-by-step on my creative journey over the years, I realized one thing: as long as I was being true to myself and to Christ, I didn’t have to worry about my success or how I am viewed, the only opinion that truly mattered is how God viewed my work. Choosing to stick with my faith and place my career and view of “success” in God’s hands has proven to be the absolute best decision I could I have ever made.
In the fall of 2017 I remember sitting at home for days at a time just feeling the urge to begin producing a film. At this point in time I wasn’t in the most desirable place in life. I was in and out of employment and feeling those post-grad blues harder than ever before; it was hard emotionally, physically, and creatively. Not knowing where to really start, I began by reaching out to some college friends of mine who I knew would “talk film” with me and could potentially join me on this unknown film I was pursuing to make. Days and weeks went by and my newfound film crew and I spent hours sifting through plot ideas and themes. The only thing we could come up with was a title, which I really loved: Pressure. Not sure where this title came from but I was pretty hooked on it. The title ended up getting tossed out, however we were on the brink of a breakthrough.
My close friend Paris Brothers, who served as an Associate Producer on the film, thought of the storyline of what ended up becoming our short film Life Expectancy. Initially hearing her idea of the plot I immediately knew it was something special. The team loved it and I began writing the screenplay. Within three days (yep, just three days) I had the first draft of the script finished. Remember that “inner-dilemma” I talked about earlier? I faced that same crossroads once again when writing Life Expectancy. Based on the nature of the script and how I wanted it portrayed on screen, I initially deemed it would be necessary to have the script written with profanity to make what I thought would be a more “realistic nature.” Something inside me didn’t sit right with this decision to include profanity in the film and I knew I needed to obey that still, small voice. After gaining outside perspectives I finally had to make the decision of what I was going to do. It wasn’t long after those moments of wrestling with the idea that the still, small voice inside told me: “A truly talented writer is someone who can still write the story in a good way without having to resort to profanity.” It was exactly what I needed to hear. I made the decision to honor God through this film and
surrender what I thought was necessary for the script.
Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
GOD ALWAYS HAS YOUR BACK
Since finishing the film, God certainly has stayed true to his word and honored the film with much success, all because of us choosing to honor him in making it. If there’s one thing I learned in this process of making Life Expectancy, it’s that God has given everyone gifts, ideas, and talents, all to be used for His glory and to spread his message of faith, hope, and love throughout the world. To the filmmaker or artist who needs to hear this, stay true to yourself and stay true to God; he won’t let you down.
Virginia native Allan Meade, Jr. is a multi-faceted Creative Producer and Director with experience producing and directing a variety of creative content from short films, music videos, to live productions. Some of Allan’s previous work includes Crown (Short), A Single Love Story (Short), Undefeated (Short), Road to Emmaus, and most recently, Life Expectancy (2018). Allan also served as the Founder and Executive Producer for North Carolina A&T’s Aggie Night Live (2014 – ) which features live sketch comedy & musical performances, parody video skits, and more. The live show quickly garnered much success amongst the college-aged crowd, going on to attract over one thousand attendees over the past 5 years.
In April 2017, Allan was selected as 1 of 5 inaugural fellows for the American Black Film Festival’s “Greenlighters Academy” in Los Angeles, CA. Allan currently serves as a Representative for the New York Film Academy, one of the top leading film and performing arts schools in the world. His film Life Expectancy is currently an official selection of the Audience Awards’ 2019 Faith & Spirituality Film Festival amongst several other festivals around the nation.
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