Thursday, April 9, 2015

Is It Possible to Dream Too Big?: Exciting Non-Writing-Related News!

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When we were kids, we had the tendency to dream big. Ask anyone under the age of 10 what they want to be when they grow up, and you'll probably receive some outlandish responses. 
Of course, once we really do "grow up", our desires may change. Or we might start to realize just how crazy it was to assume, as a kid, that we could become an astronaut.

But why does dreaming big have to be considered "crazy"? Why is it that those who actually do strive to follow their dreams are considered illogical? 

One of the reasons, I believe, that we tend to take on this mindset is because ... well, who else do you know that is actually an actress? or a singer? or a professional ballerina? 

I am very thankful that I was raised in a home where my parents supported the dreams of me and my sisters. My mom would always tell us, "Someone has to do it. Why can't you?" If it wasn't for their belief in my writing, there is no way I would be where I am today.
Because it is only those who believe they can pursue their dreams that actually end up achieving them. 

Personally, I believe that the desires on our hearts are there for a reason. Especially if, after years and years of praying over these desires, they still will not go away.  

For example: I grew up dreaming about becoming an author. I loved being able to interpret a story from marks printed on a page. I loved the way books felt to hold--the feel of their cover jackets. The smell of their pages. I loved the idea that one could create an entire world with using only a pencil and a paper. 
I started working towards this dream at a young age. And I am glad that I did. Because if I hadn't, I would've probably became more "realistic". I would've focused on the probability of success rather than continue to persist. 

So I kept the vision of being an author in my mind as I worked towards making the dream a reality. 

And that reality came true when, at 19, I was able to hold Purple Moon in my hands for the very first time.   
However ... there is another dream that's been on my heart. And that passion, that dream of mine, is to work on Christian films--both as an actress, as well as a crew member.

Since I was seven, I've worked in theater productions and acting classes. I participated in a Christian theater group for years. In middle school, my mom would drive my sister and I to Atlanta on the weekends for auditions. In high school, I landed a small role in a short film and worked as an extra on set of The Blind Side and Get Low
Sorry for the awful quality ... haha! But this was when I was on set of Get Low, starring Bill Murray. I'm the one huddled underneath a jacket. It was freezing!
I love it. I love losing myself yet finding myself in another character. I love discovering a story I can immerse myself in, just like I do when I read a book. 
Because acting, to me, is similar to writing: It gives me the opportunity to help bring story come to life. One that has the potential to affect multiple lives of those whom I may never meet. 

Five years ago, however, I decided to put acting on the back burner and focus on writing. I knew that God could open the doors for that dream to come true when it was His time. 

Meanwhile, the passion never faded. I still dreamt of landing a role in a Christian film and spending hours upon hours on set with only caffeine as my fuel. I was still in love with the idea of working with other individuals who shared the same vision for a story, all of us using our own areas of expertise to put together a project that would bring glory to God. One that would become a vehicle in reaching others. I wanted to be apart of the process of moving people--whether my job was on screen or off screen. 

But the older I became, the more that "reality" began to sink in. I wondered if that was actually going to happen. Because that happens far too often when we "grow up", doesn't it?

God reminded me, however, that the passions He has given us -- beginning from a very young age -- are not there by coincidence.  

So I placed the dream in His hands. I asked Him to remove the desire if it was not in His will to fulfill. 

It never faded. Instead, the desire was stirred last December. So one day I decided to go online and search for Christian casting calls. 

I came across a casting from Faith Flix Films that had been posted just hours before. I quickly submitted my headshot and resume, and a few weeks later I received a response asking if I could submit a video audition. 

I did. A couple weeks later, I was offered a role. A small one, but a role nonetheless. (The producer made it clear to the actors that there is no "small" role in this film. =) )

Next month, I will be traveling to Nashville, TN to be apart of PROVIDENCE--both as an actress, as well as a Production Assistant. The movie will be produced by Faith Flix Films and hit theaters February 2016. 

{Side note: My best friend and fellow YA author, Caroline George, will work with me as a Production Assistant as well! She, too, has a passion for storytelling--both on paper and on screen.}

... But that's not all.

That same month -- in December -- I was cast in another film. As the main role. 

And, you guys ... this role is one that I am so very passionate about. It is a Christian film geared towards teenagers, and its message is one that is close to my heart. I cannot express how honored I am to be apart of this project. 

However, I cannot share all of the details. Not yet, anyway. But I will say that it is scheduled to film later this summer.

{Another side note: Caroline George will be apart of this film as well ... as my co-star! =) }

I am over-joyed. Still in awe that this passion, this dream of working on independent projects that will leave a big impact for God's Kingdom, is coming true. 

So now, back to the original question: Is it possible to dream too big?

Absolutely not. Not when God is first in our hearts {Matt. 6:33}. And not when we are in the center of His will. 

Because our Father -- the One who made galaxies and waterfalls and the ocean and the Grand Canyon and all of heaven and mankind and coffee (sorry, I had to) -- is capable of absolutely anything {Luke 1:37}.

And the desires that He has placed on your heart are not a coincidence (if you have placed them in God's hands and they have yet to fade). So don't ignore them by trying to think logically or realistically. 

All of this earth is a mission field. And by using the gifts God has entrusted you with, you become a missionary. Even if it is "just" a book. Even if it is "just" a film. 

And by doubting our dreams -- the ones that would ultimately bring Him glory -- we are ultimately doubting the power of our God. 

There are so many opportunities available out there. 

Besides, someone has to do it ... why can't it be you?

!  Are there any dreams you've buried over the years? Is there a passion that has stuck with you, an area that you're hoping to pursue? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. Wow!!! This is so awesome Tessa! Following your blog for a while now, I can honestly say I am thrilled at how far you've come! Amazing. Truly inspiring. Praying that God continues to lead you to greater heights! Keep dreaming and achieving, girl! No dream is too big and I am encouraged. Can't wait to see you on screen :)

    1. Aw thank you!! I believe that God does enjoy seeing his children happy, just like any father does for his children. So really, reaching new heights should never be about US per se, but we should accept the blessing with gratitude and give it back to Him. Because let’s face it: This life is not about us. It’s about loving others and teaching them the gospel through the gifts that God has given us. And that is what I hope to do in both my writing and acting careers. =)

  2. I've always had a desire to be involved in movies ever since I was a little kid. Although I always shoved it away as crazy nonsense. But it's been popping into my head more and more lately.

    I'm really excited to watch you! If your acting is half as good as your writing I won't be disappointed. :)

    1. That’s really sweet, Brooke! Thank you! And if you find yourself not being able to let go of that desire, then I would definitely recommend pursuing it. You could try to find local theater/play productions and acting classes first. Doing so will help to build your resume, gain experience, and satisfy that acting bug.

  3. Oh my gosh! Congratulations to both of you! I love acting, and so this is really exciting and inspiring to me!


  4. Huh. This is going to sound gushy and cliched, but... you sound just like me. I love to write and I love to act - those two things are my passion. When you were describing why you love to do those things, well, it sounded like stuff I've written in my journal.

    And, as a hardcore realist, the stuff you were talking about in this post really hit home for me. It's hard for me to hold onto these dreams. It's also hard for me not to become cynical and be like, "Yeah, well, of course it worked out for someone like her. She has money, or parents that support her, or whatever. I'm not like that." Because I haven't had alot of opportunities. I'm pretty much broke so I don't know how I'm gonna get to college at all, much less get to one that will give me a boost into the acting world...

    Anyway, thought you should know that the post struck a chord with me. And btw, I am really happy for you. You are living my dream:)


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