“Behind the Scenes,” New Era, Oct. 2005, 20
Some people want to be famous movie stars—on the big screen, in front of all the lights, cameras, and action. But others prefer to be behind it all instead.
Consider Cammon Randle, Chantelle Squires, and Jimmy Anderson. These three are Brigham Young University media arts majors working behind the scenes to build their careers and to improve the media industry in their own small ways. And they have some advice to help you choose a career in any field—a career where you can not only succeed but also have an influence for good.
Cammon Randle got his first video camera when he was only eight years old. Now that he’s at BYU, he’s doing what he has always wanted to do—tell stories.
“I’ve always been interested in movies and how you can tell a story by showing it,” he says.
So how did this enterprising student go from an eight-year-old with a camera to a film student with his own production company? Well, first he tried.
Starting with small Claymation projects when he was nine, Cammon kept filming and editing through high school. He eventually decided to go to BYU and major in media arts. He has worked on films like The Best Two Years, a film about missionaries in Holland, and on some commercials and TV shows. Recently, he worked on The Work and the Glory, a film based on Church history, with Chantelle and Jimmy.
He says the secret to getting where you want to go is hard work. “People can see when you’re working hard and you’re doing your best, and they like that.”
In going into his line of work, Cammon realized he would face some challenges. Not the least of these is that the movie industry can be morally challenging. He says to stay spiritually strong in any working environment, you have to do a few key things: First, he says, “Know you are a son or daughter of God.”
Second, Cammon knows that, no matter what career you go into, you will likely face some faith-challenging situations. “Be prepared for it,” he says. “You have to decide beforehand what you’re going to do and stick it out. You just have to follow the Spirit, as always.”
Chantelle Squires realized she was interested in film editing when she edited a documentary in high school.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do at first, but someone told me once, ‘Figure out what you love doing the most, and then figure out how to make money doing it.’”
She realized she loved film editing, so she went into film and recently graduated from BYU. She liked how editing is something she will be able to do from home when she eventually gets married and has a family.
So far, she has worked on projects like the Joy to the World DVD, which was sent out with the December 2003 Ensign, and a 3-D Sesame Street film. She’s also filming her own documentary about U.S. Marines.
Chantelle’s dream is to edit a feature film and make documentaries on the side. She realizes that being in the film industry can be spiritually challenging, but she likes the missionary opportunities she receives. Not only does she have the opportunity to share her testimony often, she also has the chance to create uplifting media.
“Media touches lives,” she says. “It can have an influence for good, or we can let other people who don’t make the most uplifting films fill the world with that.” She would rather “balance it out, so people have some entertainment that’s clean.” Using media to further the Lord’s work is her ultimate career goal.
Although the tide of bad media is almost overwhelming, Chantelle has realized one important thing in her quest for a career: “If you put God first, He’s going to help you.” She knows this applies in all areas of life and definitely in a career.
Jimmy Anderson is intent on directing films and has already had a taste of working on a few as a production assistant. Choosing this career was hard for him and for his wife, Mary, though. They did not know if he could support his family in this line of work. But they turned often to prayer and their patriarchal blessings, and now they feel good about Jimmy’s career choice.
“It was actually a lot less glamorous than I thought it would be,” admits Jimmy, smiling.
But Jimmy isn’t in this line of work for the glamour: “I’ve always wanted to do productions that are not only good films but that would also help people and maybe help them see the light of the gospel.”
In high school, when he was involved in theater, Jimmy would make sure people knew his values: “There have been some times when I’ve had to change something I was supposed to do in theater class because I didn’t approve and didn’t feel like it met my standards.
“Whatever you’re doing, you have to know what you stand for. You have to live your morals and your standards. There’s a certain part of religion that you have to put into everything you do. And I think that’s certainly the case with films.”
Cammon, Chantelle, and Jimmy have all approached their careers in different ways, but one thing they have in common is their dedication to the gospel. They each have some advice for you as you plan for your future career.
Cammon has learned that you need to “always include the Church in your life. Pray over your flocks. That’s something I’ve always done” (see Alma 34:25).
Chantelle says, “When you’re choosing a career, put God and family first. Keep them in the forefront of your mind, instead of whatever you are working on.”
And finally, Jimmy knows from experience: “Whatever you do, do it prayerfully. Do it under the influence of the Spirit. And ask those who know to give you more information. Talk to your parents, talk to your bishop, talk to counselors, and especially talk to people in the field you want to go into. Find out as much as you can about it, and then prayerfully take it to the Lord. If it’s right, you’ll know.”
These three have found that—even when they’re working behind the scenes—they can put the Lord’s work on center stage.
“These are the great days of your preparation for your future work. Do not waste them. Take advantage of them. Cram your heads full of knowledge. Assimilate it. Think about it. Let it become a part of you.
“But with all of this, in choosing a vocation you should bear in mind that there are other things in life that are of tremendous importance also. The greatest task of all, the greatest challenge, and the greatest satisfaction lie in the rearing of a good family. There must also be time for service in the Church. Otherwise these very important dimensions of your life will be relegated to a back burner.”
—President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Life’s Obligations,” Ensign, Feb. 1999, 2.
“Be smart,” says President Gordon B. Hinckley. “The Lord wants you to educate your minds and hands, whatever your chosen field. … You will be generously blessed because of that training” (“A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth,” New Era, Jan. 2001, 4).
www.BeSmart.com, a Church Web site, is a great resource to help you prepare for your future. You can get all kinds of information about Church schools and institutes and what you need to do to prepare for further education.
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