Why I’m starting mPower Entertainment

My blog! I have not forgotten about you.

As always, things seem to be going in a whirlwind, but I have always been a writer and I’m convinced that I will always be, so despite all the YouTubing and film school, reading and writing are my first loves. Yes! I’ve even gotten back into reading. For leisure. Regularly.

But let’s backtrack. YouTube? I’m very very far away from having any kind of traction, but slowly, it’s growing thanks to my perhaps obnoxious and constant self-promotion on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

 

I’ll be honest, it’s only been 4 days (at the time of writing this) and all this promoting is exhausting. Added on top of that is the rush and scramble of going back to class and getting back on schedule after a 5-week faculty strike.

Unlike the rest of my recent social media activity however, the main purpose of this post isn’t to self-promote.

If I’m serious about being a YouTuber (and I am, I’ve been putting it off and finding excuses for far too long), it isn’t easy, and it takes commitment to persistent quality content from the very beginning. It’s a business after all, and you need to get the word out beyond friends and family.

That being said, just because you know it’ll be hard, doesn’t make it any easier. I know all this self-promotion is necessary, but I wasn’t a very heavy social media user to begin with (barely use Twitter, only been on IG for a year, and what’s Snapchat? Kidding, not that behind. But I don’t have it).

The repetition and scriptedness of it all, again, is necessary, but also makes me uncomfortable. Like, follow, share, subscribe. Watch, click, please, thanks. Post, promote, check analytics, modify, strategize. Wash, rinse, repeat. I’m not used to drawing so much attention to myself. But I guess I’d better.

In the spare 5-weeks of time that I’d been granted, I got a new notebook. If you’re like me, you have about 10 of them, each with a different purpose and you get a new one for a new thing before you’re even half-way through any of the others.

On that notebook, it reads, “The Best is Yet to Come.” A platitude that happens to hold a lot of meaning for me. A promise to get me through long, dry, seasons of waiting.

In my tweens when all I could think about was the day I died, the Best is yet to come. In my teens when I had no idea what career path would open up for me, the Best is yet to come. In my twenties when job security isn’t really a thing in my field, the Best is yet to come. When I’m waiting out this season of singleness, the Best is yet to come.

Except, that’s the thing. I shouldn’t be waiting out the season of singleness. It’s a gift, and an opportunity. When (or if) that season comes to an end, and I meet that guy, and enter a whole new world and level of learning and growth and sanctification and struggle — don’t I want to be able to say that I didn’t waste my single years? That I didn’t waste all the amazing free time, the freedom to go do things with or without another human.

In a Matt Chandler video where he calls out singles on idleness, he points out that while ladies pine after their man, imaginary or not, sitting there, waiting, day after day after day — there’s work to be done. There’s a harvest for the reaping. Young junior and senior high teenage girls think the older ones are so cool (even when we’re really not). And we know it’s true because we were teens a few years ago too.

Leverage that. Leverage that? Yes. And that’s why I started the YouTube channel, and why I didn’t go for it until now.

Until now, my attempts at YouTube channels really had been for self-promotion: put up my work, get attention online — and even though I want that, like I said earlier, too much attention is uncomfortable. Reaching out socially is draining at the thought of it. The motivation to continue and sustain such an endeavour just wasn’t there.

But as people keep telling me, it doesn’t sound like it, but it’s much easier long-term to do things for others than to do for yourself. Kind of like shopping — choosing a gift for a loved one is much more fun than sorting through the chaotic, mismatched sale rack at the back of Winners for a decent new top for work.

I have a junior high sister, and she’s my biggest fan. If my videos do nothing for anyone, but can make her smile and bring her a bit of encouragement when I’m away for so long; if they can make her eyes light up with that childlike wonder long after she starts growing out of it; if she can feel empowered as a bright young woman stepping into the strange realm of adolescence, the channel will have fulfilled its purpose. And if God can use my videos to do that for others her age, or anyone, really, all the glory is His.

It’s a well-known, perhaps overused theme/mission verse, but it’s nonetheless an important one to keep me grounded in my reasons for doing this, but it’s also an encouragement for others.

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. (1 Tim 4:12)

The younger generation has its flaws and drive their parents insane. For different reasons and in different contexts, we are sometimes seen as oversensitive, dependent and incapable. Whether those things are true or not, all the time or not, “I feel you, bro. I’ve been there.” And I know in those times when I needed to be told that the Best is yet to come, that I’ll want to stick around for what’s coming around the corner, a little bit of empowerment went a long way. Just a little bit of adventure every day to get me to the next.

So yes, it’s hard doing this, it’s hard getting started, it’s exhausting, it’s a battlefield, and if my audience gets bigger, all of it will only be amplified. But this was never supposed to be the easy path. This was never supposed to be born of selfish ambition. This was never supposed to be about self-promotion, and pretending people care about what I do every now and then. This is a mission, to show people how to see life as though we enjoyed it more often, because if we did, maybe we would.

Speaking of which, sorry-not-sorry plug time. If this “mission or cause” is something that interests you,┬áKindly like, follow, share, subscribe ­čÖé Audience building starts with YOU!

Facebook: @MPowerentertainmentTO

Instagram: @mpower_ent

Twitter: @mpowerTO

So to keep this up and help push myself through the hard parts, I’ve set up a few “Ground Rules” for myself at the front of my notebook, and I’d like to be kept accountable to them. Elisa, Esther, Dorothy, Mary, Angel — ­čÖé love yous.

  1. So whether you eat or drink, or WHATEVER you do, do ALL for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Phil 2:13). Remember for whom and why you do this.
  2. And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today… The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent (Exodus 14:13-14). The Lord has already done the work. Work from rest, not for it.
  3. …Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that” (James 5:14-15). Don’t move without Him. He doesn’t need you, He’s inviting you into His work. Get over yourself.
  4. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Give thanks no matter what, have fun no matter what.

I don’t know what the future holds, I don’t know where this road or my filmmaking career will take me, but whatever it is, I look forward to it, because the Best is yet to come.

M

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The Best is yet come

It’s that time of year again — kids are groaning, keeners are cheering, parents are counting down the days left of chauffering kids to summer camps, pool parties and back to school shopping.

Yep. Back to school. Again. For almost the second decade.

For the past 4 years I haven’t had to make new friends so I’m a bit rusty and apprehensive about doing that again — and if you’re like me, “not rusty” is not anything to boast about either.

There are so many kinds of people out there with rich and complex backstories that have brought them to cross paths with you in the coming year, and for me, interacting with that is daunting and overwhelming and exhausting.

Social life? No thanks.

I exaggerate — to an extent.

It’s interesting why I find making new friends and new connections so dislikeable though, given that I know I enjoy people’s company (mostly) and that my prospective career depends on finding like minded people to collaborate with.

Not only that, but my making new friends in the past has been incredibly fruitful and the big picture that God has painted through my friendships — that He’s still painting — is truly wonderful and I haven’t been able to appreciate it until 10 years after this story had begun.

Authentic friendship and a longing for deep connection and understanding has marked my youth and childhood. In fact, it plays a large part in my testimony.

Growing up as an only child I was always in search for that best friend, that partner in crime who would be with me forever and never leave me alone.

God in His grace introduced Himself to me. Then in His abundance brought 5 wonderful girls to play with at school. A sisterhood and veritable tween clique.

When I lost my place of acquaintance with the many, I gained the mutual best friendship of one.

When I was desperate for a sister, God gave me one younger and one older.

After many years, when the one drifted away, I grieved.

But little did I know that God was placing me on new paths with people that had always been before me. People that I never thought to connect with because I had my one.

I thought I only had room for one — best means second to none after all… Right?

But as I searched and watched and waited to see who I’d cross paths with next… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… Soon there were so many whose friendships were precious to me.

And so everything that I sought after and lost was returned to me ten fold — true to His promise.

For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:32-33

In Him are all things found. It’s not “if I want blank, I’ll do what God says and He’ll give it to me.”

When we yearn and search for Him, we are already quenched and THEN in addition to that, everything else tends to follow and fall perfectly into place.

Instead it’s “I am enough to satisfy your need.” He is enough. He is more than enough.

In those moments of pain and grief and soul shattering loneliness — I was never alone. Not only was He true to His Word that He would never leave nor forsake me, he showed it by placing me with my closest friends when I needed a community most, when I didn’t know they would become my closest friends — when at first they were little more than strangers and kind acquaintances.

It took me years to see and realize it. I thought I had that “did we just become best friends??” moment with each of them but looking back… It was a long time coming.

So making new friends at a new place, away from the last new friends at the last new place? Bring it on.

When you think your heart is full, or can only hold enough for one best, or only a few, God knows how to open new spaces and fill even those to an overflowing brim.

Best doesn’t always mean one. Best simply means of exceptional quality and you can never have enough of that.

Indeed, the best is yet come.

#feelingthankful #feelingblessed

MM EL EM AZ DL EL — we’ll all be spread across the province and the country soon, but distance has never stopped us before ÔÖą

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Dream come true

If the title has you excited, I’d hold your applause and congratulations until the end of this post… it’s probably not what you think.

In my last post, I admitted that my pride had kind of snuck up on me and all of a sudden I was planning my future life and career like I know what’s going to happen, like I know what’s best for me, like I’m in control. I knew I needed to come back to that place of open-handedness with that future.

Open-handedness…? That is, what if my dream job isn’t the thing I’m “supposed” to be doing? Would I be okay with that? If I were honest, no, no I wouldn’t be okay with that. Why does God’s best for us have to be so unimaginable that it’s hard for our rebellious human nature to trust Him?

Well, last night I dreamt that I was in LA, making phone calls, pitching to execs, desperate to make my scripts happen. The unfortunate downside to the dream career that I’m pursuing.┬áMaybe it’s a personality thing, but I’m just not a good verbal communicator. On the page, sure, maybe… but I have to be mentally prepared for a spontaneous presentation.┬áAnyway, I like┬áto think that my passion for the craft is big enough to make that kind of stuff bearable, but today kind of challenged that.

There have been countless theories on dreams and their meanings and interpretations. One of them is that dreams prepare you for real life situations, something like a built-in simulation mechanism. I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s besides the point.

I wake up feeling stressed and shoot my roommate a text about the dream, to which she replies, “it’s prophetic!” I smile, knowing that should make me feel better but it doesn’t.

I walk into my first class of the day, the highlight of my day — Screenwriting. Except, the agenda is — you guessed it — pitching our final projects.

Given the nightmare I held back any and all participation. But as Irony would have it, the entire class called on a classmate and I to pitch. He’s a fairly performative guy and as talented as the best of them, so I figured I’d go first… don’t want to get stuck on the follow-up act.

Needless to say, the pitch was an abysmal failure — I didn’t get to the end of the story, I blanked on what made me love this story and what excites me about it. I even blanked on what actually happens, who the characters are… I knew I wanted to get to the big twist reveals, but didn’t know how to set them up dramatically… I only found solace in the fact that now no one else in class will be nervous about pitching their ideas.

And that is the story of how my nightmare came true.

Thankfully there were no real stakes, and my prof and classmates were so generous and gracious.

In all seriousness, this little incident was an eye-opening reminder of how small I am, how powerless and insignificant I am, that I’m not special, and that I have no reason to boast about any skills, knowledge or talents that I have– that I’ve been given.

As I write to cope with the mortification, I’ve got Ascend the Hill’s┬áBe Thou My Vision blasting on Spotify…

O God be my everything, be my delight, be Jesus, my glory, my soul satisfied.

What a balm to this heart floundering in years of insecurity drudged up to the surface. I’ve still got the adrenaline rush, that fight or flight response, and my body screaming FLIGHT! I want to run away, crawl into bed and hide for the rest of the day, and that’s no exaggeration. What a strange impulse. Have I been fooling myself this whole time? Is this industry actually not for me? Do I turn back while I still can? I thought I’d found my “thing,” do I have to go back to that state of aimlessness?

Some might say, “don’t quit! Nothing was meant to be easy.” Others might say, “do what makes you happy.” While these are true and helpful to some degree, it is still a limited degree.

My identity isn’t in my career. My ambitions may not be what comes to pass. In fact, my ambitions may not be what I actually want. It shouldn’t be where I go for satisfaction.

My vision shouldn’t be on how high I can pull myself up (and anything higher than 0 is a delusion), but on how I can make much of the name of Jesus in all aspects of my life… in this case, giving him praise for this humbling morning.

It is incredibly easier to say “I am nothing apart from Christ” today than it was yesterday. The life He calls us to, a life of holiness, is hard. It hurts. And yet… it’s so sweet to return to Lord and be reminded that the pressure’s not on us to “be all that you can be,” it’s not on us to look all put together, it’s not on us to be the champions of this world, it’s not on us to be our own saviours, it’s not on us to fix ourselves, or anyone else. He already did the work, and we are free to train, and learn and fail.

In a way this whole pitching snafu┬áreminded me of the hidden inspiration for one of the big reveals of the story in the first place: “No longer I, but Christ in me.”

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