What matters is not where we work, whether at an entry-level day job or a dream company. What matters to God is how we work—with diligence, with excellence, with self-sacrifice that honors Him and serves others.
- Kyle Stewart
This quote is taken from the article “Does God Care Where You Work?” which fittingly went live on on my birthday. It’s a question that I’ve wrestled with for many years, and one that I’m still not sure I know the answer to.
James 4:14 is quoted in the article: “For you are a vapor that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.” When I read that verse, I think of how important every moment is, and I can’t help but wonder if my job, where I spend the majority of my waking time, is doing enough for God. Shouldn’t I be out on a mission field somewhere, sweating, swatting flies, and sharing the gospel?
Ah, but how limited my thinking is. For the mission field surrounds me, and it is white for the harvest.
God cares about our hearts, not where we work. He cares about our interactions with others, the actions that are motivated by who we are. If I spent more time focusing on how I worked, rather then what my work was, I would not only be a better worker, I’d be a better Christian.
Epic Novels and Picture Books
We humans like to believe that we’re great storytellers – that our six-season TV show or eight-novel series is an artistic masterpiece, an unparalleled epic. But when held up against the story God continues to craft over thousands of years, we are once more revealed to be the children that we are.
God truly is a master storyteller. The Bible is heavy with bookends, character arcs, the hero’s journey, callbacks, and redemption. We may have named these forms, but He invented them. And they have great power. Passover and communion are perfect examples: they reminds us of the God who delivered Israel from physical slavery and delivered us from spiritual slavery, and that reminder shapes our lives. It’s mind-boggling to think that by following Jesus we are reliving the story of the Exodus in the 21st century, with Christ as our passover lamb.
At their best, our films, songs, and novels draw us closer to God while reminding us of our own story, one we tell a day at a time, and which has a definitive beginning, middle and end. Our very lives are three-act structures, woven into the greater narrative of History.
It’s all the same mission field.
I entered college in the fall of 2002 as a Computer Science and Electronic Media double-major. It was an attempt at synthesizing logic and emotion: my heart was in film, but my head told me that I needed a stable job. Two years later I dropped Computer Science to a minor and soldiered on with my film studies. (Oddly enough, eight years later I’m learning a new programming language, but that’s a story for another blog.)
My heart was in film, but that alone wasn’t enough to persuade me to abandon logic. I dropped Computer Science in large part for a nobler reason: to glorify God. At the wisened age of 20 I looked ahead to my adult life and reasoned that as a programmer I would make a good living, but not a good impact. It wasn’t enough for me to go through life simply living well; I needed to make a difference, to share the joy of knowing Freedom, to send a message. When I looked at my two majors and the impact they have on the world at large, it was clear that films communicate in a way that code does not.
A speech from a college professor helped too.
So here I am, eight years down the celluloid road. And I’m not quite sure my thinking was correct. That doesn’t at all mean that I regret my decision; but I do see things differently now, with (hopefully) more clarity. I’ve worked my way from local television to a major animation studio, and done much of what lies between, and have come to a few conclusions about work and glorifying God.
It’s very hard to work for a company and communicate a message. That’s the simple truth. The message of the films that Pixar puts out is the message the director wants to communicate. It’s not my message, nor the message of the other 1,200 employees on our well-manicured and creative campus in Emeryville. We are all simply supporting the message, contributing to communicating with an audience. To send your own message by means of the studio requires decades of hard work and determination, and may simply never happen.
That simple truth is a hard one for me to absorb. I decided to run down the sprocket-lined road to say something, but instead I’m a small pixel of the digital mouthpiece the director and studio are speaking through. What happened to making a difference?
If there’s one thing pixels do, it’s shine light. In fact, that’s the only thing pixels do. And over my short two and a half years in the ‘real’ film industry, I’ve learned that shining light is the most important way I can send a message. I may not be telling giant-screen stories that reflect onto milllions around the world (yet!), but I am telling a story to everyone around me every day I drive through the studio gate. It’s a small, intimate story; more Oscar-bait than summer blockbuster. But often those are the most powerful.
In the end then, it’s all the same mission field. We all move through life, crossing paths with strangers and friends, laughing and crying, sharing the same planet. Whether we ‘go to work’ or ‘freelance’, program, write stories, or wait tables. Lives can be changed by the way we share ours with others.
The smallness of that is really freeing, in a way. I would imagine that creating a monumental work seen by millions is a frightening amount of responsibility, and I’m not talking about bringing it in on time and under budget. By sharing a message, you become partly responsible for its effects. Teachers will be judged more harshly.
I’m still going to tell stories and send a message of hope, but I’m also going to remember that my films are B movies, and the feature presentation is faith shared in person.
God doesn’t need big deeds. He needs thousands and millions of little ones, small points of light that He will arrange into the greatest story not yet told.
The story of our lives, redeemed and made new.
All roads lead to 64-bit.
They just get you there in different ways.
With the release of Avid Media Composer 6, all of the major NLE’s have now gone 64-bit. And while I’m pretty disappointed that the new Avid release doesn’t fix any other longstanding problems, the 64-bit revolution is a welcome one. I personally won’t miss the “Out of memory” messages while in crunch-time on a major project.
So, what’s the difference between the three apps architecturally? It turns out, plenty. And that difference also helps explain why Final Cut Pro X shipped with a somewhat incomplete feature set.
Philip Hodgetts has a pretty good writeup on the different routes each developer chose. If you can follow an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, then you should be able to navigate the jargon in the piece just fine.