“Adventurer” and “thrill-seeker” may not be typical descriptors of filmmakers, but for Lane Stevens (’17), they describe the very passions that drive him to film.
Stevens grew up with a brother who shared his love for extreme sports. They spent their free time outdoors pursuing tricks and achievements. “I have an adventurous spirit,” explains Stevens, so when he didn’t feel “super great” at skateboarding, he didn’t give up. Instead, he grabbed his camera and turned their adventures into videos.
Somewhere in his middle school years, a member of his church’s media team invited Stevens to take his video skills to the next level on their team. By the time Stevens entered his high school video production class, he was teaching classmates what he already knew. That’s when he began considering media creation as a career. With his teacher’s encouragement, Stevens entered video competitions and earned an award at the state level.
Meanwhile, Stevens’s brother was enjoying Liberty University. Its supportive Christian worldview attracted Stevens, too. He decided to become a student at Liberty the year after it started a film school. The Cinematic Arts Department gave him hands-on experience with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment such as 5.1 mixing and 4K coloring edit suites, a THX-certified dubbing stage, and RED cameras.
In addition to his natural talent in the technical aspects of filmmaking, Stevens discovered a personal preference for problem-solving over artistic pursuit. He especially enjoyed working for the camera crew on the school’s feature movie, Extraordinary, where he learned what a 1st Assistant Cameraman does: “You can see what the job looks like versus studying about the job in school. . . That is extremely valuable.” Stevens sought more camera work and served as a focus puller for several classmates’ thesis films.
Since graduation, Stevens has pulled focus for multiple films and videos, expanding his professional network and earning more jobs. He’s worked on a variety of projects that offered new experiences, such as a video for the US Vice President and a music video that raised awareness about suicide—he even heard from a viewer who changed their mind about considering suicide. Another exciting experience involved a Marines Special Operations unit video. On that shoot, he controlled a specialty camera strapped to a skydiver! Stevens says, “Filmmaking is most rewarding when you get to see the impact of your work and enjoy the process while on set.”
Stevens does enjoys being a focus puller and pursuing the thrill of achievement, but he trusts God for his career’s future. He’s learned the value of obedience and remaining open to God’s direction. He also surrounds himself with wise people who encourage his growth. Stevens offers two pieces of advice to students: 1) “Take your passion and skillset and find a profitable need” and 2) “Know both your strengths and weaknesses. Play to your strengths; grow in your weaknesses.” Eventually, you’ll catch a wave—or air—and find the thrill you’re seeking.