Filmmaking with a Global Vision
In the middle of the spring semester, usually in April, I teach my filmmaking classes from somewhere outside of the U.S. Last spring it was from Thailand. This year Holland. I’ve taught my online classes from Turkey, Spain, Finland, and Thailand. The reason is because I also teach filmmaking workshops at conferences for adults who come from all over the world to learn how to use media in their ministries.
My high school students think it’s fun when I’m up in the middle of the night in Asia and we’re learning together about screenwriting or filmmaking. I like to open their eyes using examples of films made in other languages, like Arabic and Spanish, in my classes.
Why is this important? I think sometimes our vision is too small.
I often underestimate what God has in mind for myself and for others. I’m pretty ordinary, but I’ve worked on many different kinds of film projects, large and small. I’ve worked in Hollywood, and I’ve worked in the Amazon jungle.
As I teach high school students in my filmmaking classes, I don’t have a shortage of super creative kids. I see my role as much more than giving them technical information and experiences in operating cameras and writing good dialogue. I want them to be practical and grounded enough to get their projects completed, but I also want them to be audacious enough to try things that they may not be fully capable of completing. Now is their time to try and ‘fail’ and learn from those failures.
What I hope to convey to my students is that they can find creative excitement and fulfill God’s intentions for them in many places and in many ways. They needn’t be intimidated, nor starry-eyed, nor too narrow in their vision.
As I teach from exotic places and with film stories that they won’t see on Netflix, I want to offer my students a broad perspective of how God can use them through their creative expression, whether through film, music, or other arts. This is a big deal to me, and I’m grateful to all of the parents and students who let me share this journey with them.
Tom Khazoyan began his career on the production side of the film and television business. He’s been fortunate to have worked on award-winning projects as a writer, producer, director, cameraman, and editor. He has produced projects ranging from television commercials to documentaries to dramatic films in over 30 countries.
Since 1998 Tom has served as a missionary filmmaker with Pioneers, and has created hundreds of projects, including the feature-length motion picture, “The Enemy God”.
In his ministry life, Tom works collaboratively with missionaries and filmmakers in other countries to produce visual stories and to empower emerging filmmakers in other cultures with the goal to make Jesus Christ and his kingdom known in places that are yet unreached. This work takes the form of media strategies, film training courses, partnership in producing films, and individual mentoring.
Tom has been teaching online film and screenwriting classes and in-person workshops since 2010. In 2015 he finished graduate school with an MFA in Professional Screenwriting. He also teaches communications at Colorado Christian University.