Finding God in Video Editing & Design
All this week at WitnessLA.org we’re featuring the stories and testimonies of Christians in the entertainment industry. Our friend Michael Chang shares his story of how he went from an obscure town in West China to realizing his gift for video editing and graphic design.
You can see Michael’s work here: http://vimeo.com/16557365
I’d like to say it all began in 2010 when I read in an article in the Christianpost someone praying to God, saying, Lord, raise up powerful witnesses in the video entertainment industry. I remember the desperation in his voice and him asking God, where are they? Where are your prophets in that sphere of influence? I know that God heard that man’s prayers and several others like them. Why? Because in 1988, way before that man from the Christianpost even thought about praying that prayer, God already heard it and answered it.
In the Bible it says, God uses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and the weak to shame the strong. This could not be more true of who I am. When God wanted to use someone to challenge Hollywood (and of course there are several others) did he find someone in California? Did he look to someone who would be born into the entertainment culture? No, instead, he looked halfway around the world in China. And did he look for someone with a rich family who could afford to travel to the US? Or did God look for this person in a big city like Beijing or Shanghai where opportunities were widespread? No, instead, he looked for him in the most western part of China, bordering Tibet, in an undeveloped city called Xining. And he found me, in a broken and poor family.
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I can imagine God peering into my elementary school when I was 5 years old, thinking who will I chose? And he sees all the children playing around but then notices one child, who because of disobedience, was forced to stand in the corner of the wall, and God thinking, “Aha! I will use him.” That him, is me. And now, 17 years later, against all odds, that child is in the US with a degree in the arts, and is on his way to making God’s name known through video.
“If God is for you, who can be against you”?
Once God begins working in your life, does he stop? No, never, instead He sustains you. After one miracle, comes many more. I used to always make up movies in my head. I would act them out in my head, while jumping around on my bed and making noises with my mouth. College apps were approaching and I didn’t know or really care about what I would major in. Then one day in my room, I remember thinking, “Hey, I wanna make videos.” And I prayed, “Lord, if you let me make videos, I will use it for you.” It really was more of a dream than something feasible. I had never made videos before my senior year in high school. Every one of my classmates did, but not me. I remember one day, I went up to a classmate of mine who made a lot of videos and I told him I wanted to major in something video related. He just laughed at me. And I laughed with him. Everyone thought it was a stupid idea, including me. Everyone, except God.
Fast forward a little more. I got into college by accident. The school opened up a new major called ‘New Media’ which taught video. It was an accident because when I applied, they didn’t know I was an incoming freshman and thought I was a sophomore transferring in. The dean called me a couple days after I got admitted and told me the deadline for freshman had passed a long time ago, but since it was their fault, they would let me in anyways. Getting into New Media wasn’t that easy either. Out of the 300 students, I was one of the 10 that got in.
The 3 remaining years of college were historic. It was the most incredible time of my life so far. I know it’s only because God’s hand was upon me. He blessed every video that I did. At the end of my freshman year, when I made my first video in a drawing class, my teacher and all the students knew at that moment that making videos would be my career (maybe because I sucked at drawing). By the end of my senior year, I was getting a lot of freelance work and everyone knew me as “the video guy.” I had worked at almost every video-related job in and around campus. I started a film club, taught my own After Effects class, and was invited as a speaker for a graphic design series alongside famous graphic designers.
Perhaps the most incredible opportunity came when a company in LA asked me to make a background graphics video which would accompany a famous pastor/singer/author Jaeson Ma wherever he performed. Currently the video is played on tour with the 1040 movie in several countries around the world in the US, Asia, Africa, and Europe. How amazing that God would have prepared me for this. To make his LOVE known across the world through a video that I made. And for it to go on tour with one of the most impactful films made about the rise of Christianity, the 1040movie.
So now, that brings us to the present. And like I already mentioned, once God begins working in your life, more miracles are sure to come! Currently I’m working at a company called Plan C Group. My dream is to create documentaries that incorporate music and God’s word that will transform lives.
It’s been a struggle moving to LA. The last four months have been difficult financially, to the point where I have very little, like my childhood days in China. But I’ve learned that there’s something special and unique about being poor and broken. When I look around at all the rich people around me, I’m not discouraged but rather encouraged. I know God is with me and I know that He who did not spare even His own son, but gave him up for us all, how could he not along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32). There is something humbling about being poor, and lessons you can only learn while in this state. There are some aspects of Christ you can only picture and experience while being poor. I will be thankful and I will sit here at his feet, humbled, but joyful and with eager expectations for this time and for the future! Please pray for me, that my heart will be in the right place before every video I make. I even pray for my clients that they would be blessed. Because without prayer, a video is just a video and it is powerless.
Below are two music videos Michael created for our friend Jaeson Ma: