Los Angeles has become more than just a vacation spot for Oklahoma Christian University students. Since 2000, the university has sent several students to spend a semester at the L.A. Film Studies Center through the Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities.
Chair of the Department of Communication Larry Jurney believes LAFSC will give students an opportunity to see real Hollywood.
"No way could we afford a film program like this, but a student can take the foundational courses here, then spend a semester there and get 12-14 hours of credit in Hollywood and go on to graduate school with a better knowledge of what they are getting into," Jurney said.
The school is located in one of the primary film and television centers, right next to Warner Brothers.
While there, the students take specific film classes along with Bible classes under the guidance of area professionals.
Junior Ryan Holly is currently in L.A. with hopes to become a writer and director for feature films.
While in L.A., Holly is busy at school two days a week and his internship three days a week.
The classes offered include Theology in Hollywood, Hollywood Production Workshop and Professional Screenwriting.
His internship with Industry Entertainment involves working 20 hours a week. The company manages actors such as Cameron Diaz, Angelina Jolie and Leonardo DiCaprio. Holly's job includes everything from copying DVDs and logging information on a film database to reading scripts and writing reviews on them.
"My attitude toward this internship is inspired and centered on Jesus' mission as mentioned in Matthew 20:28:
'The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many,'" Holly said.
"Industry Entertainment is a secular company that is diseased with postmodernist humanism."
Holly sincerely hopes to build relationships with some of his co-workers by listening to them and by serving as earnestly and competently as he can.
Like Holly, junior Kelsey Fallesen is also participating in the LAFSC program.
Even though she is a graphic design major, Fallesen found this experience to be beneficial to her major as well as a great opportunity for life.
"Overall I am experiencing God's love and opportunity in a mission field here in our own country," Fallesen said. "We talk a lot about God's truth and how that relates to this culture and the industry."
Like Fallesen, Holly sees LAFSC as more than just an opportunity to learn and encourages others to relate Hollywood to Nineveh.
"Just as Jonah was sent by the Lord to minister to Nineveh, those who are blessed with creative gifts should seriously consider their potential role in revolutionizing Hollywood," Holly said. "The Hollywood film industry projects images around the world, and the tragedy of this fact is that many people in the film industry are spiritually blind."
Fallesen is also learning more about her spiritual walk in a city predominantly lacking God.
"I am beginning to grasp possibilities for my future that I had never thought possible. I am hoping to experience God's plan for my life and follow his will with obedience," Fallesen said. "I got here by trusting God and remaining open to the possibilities that have been presented, and I am going to keep following God and discovering what is in store for my future."
Holly strives to be love to the people every where he goes, and this opportunity is giving him the chance to not only learn his craft but to learn more about Christ and to be Christ to those around him.
"Our Lord reminds us of the two most important commandments in Matthew 22:37-40. I could easily get caught up in the towering palm trees on the sidewalks, the opulent race cars in Beverly Hills or the diverse array of food," Holly said. "Homeless people are scattered throughout the streets and the impoverished people in the Nickerson Gardens Projects in South Central L.A. are desperately in need of ambassadors of Christ so that they can see that He loves them."