Many people move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, not just in front of the camera but at all points in the production process, including directing, screenwriting, cinematography, film scoring, and so on. Pursuing a career in “the industry,” as people call it here, is not for the faint-hearted. Many work other jobs while taking classes to improve their skills and drive all over the city to attend auditions. People usually start off with roles or small jobs that don’t always make use of their talent, then slowly try to build a career. It takes a lot of resilience since someone could work for a long time without making it big.
With all the allure of glamour and fame, it might seem that Hollywood is the farthest one could get from a life of self-giving and service to others. But as St. Josemaría Escrivá saw in 1928, God calls everyone, right where they are, to look “for Jesus in order to love Him and to live his holy life until they are completely transformed and made into saints. Saints in the world. A tailor saint, a baker saint, an office saint, a factory worker saint. A saint, seemingly like everyone else around them, but deeply identified with Christ.” Seen in this light, Hollywood is a premier place for “creating a climate of friendship and service, giving a Christian tone to lifestyles, fashions and entertainment,” through “the diverse professional activities which radically shape society … and deeply influence family and social relations.”
Founded in 1995, Lights! Camera! Action! (LCA) is a media literacy program for young women (in college as well as rising high school seniors), equipping them to become shapers of culture and agents of change through a deeper understanding of the entertainment industry. In addition to learning from industry professionals about their craft and visiting studios to see where the films are made, participants discuss what makes Hollywood one of the world’s most influential industries and what communication and beauty have to do with human happiness in university-level media literacy and philosophy classes. They also have a chance to exercise their own creativity, bringing their newly acquired knowledge to life. Throughout this week-long program, participants work in teams on a project they take through all stages of the production process — from the initial idea to storyboarding to filming and editing a video which is presented on the last day of the program.