Sometimes self-centeredness can look like striving and having an internal hyper-focus on yourself. If the focus is on you, you, you, then there might be a need for readjustment. Read this month’s INNER VIEW with producer Amanda Ashley Miess as she shares how she took the attention and pressure off of herself and put it where it belongs… back onto God.
Amanda Ashley Miess is a writing, producing, and directing triple threat who has over ten years of experience working in almost every facet of filmmaking. A creative storyteller and idea generator, she’s had her hands in film, TV, and digital media and has worked for some of the most influential names in the industry, including Jerry Bruckheimer, The Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Bros. Amanda has developed, produced and directed a host of digital kid-led variety shows for big brands such as Disney Princess, DC Kids, and Polly Pocket, with some videos reaching well over 1 million views. She also co-directed the Pure Flix mini-series The Power Couple, starring Alexa and Carlos PenaVega. She is currently a Senior Producer at Little Dot Studios, an award-winning digital content agency and media network owned by All3Media. A graduate of USC, she has also made several short films, including festival winners Silence Is Olden and Remember Me, winner of 9 awards at LA’s 168 Film Festival. A kid at heart with a strong passion for making influential content for today’s youth, Amanda loves to do anything a 12-year-old would do…. including but not limited to dancing, backflips, board games, crafts, and making goofy music videos.
Kathleen Cooke: This industry is about “hurry up and wait.” How have you learned to wait on God and embrace His peace?
Amanda Ashley Miess: Has God ever “recently” taught you something that He’s actually been bringing to you layer by layer for years? I have! He is so patient. After spending way too much time trying to earn people’s respect and affirmation in this industry, I am finally starting to embrace the fact that I only need my Lord’s approval. I literally have a Google Drive that is 98% full with unproduced scripts, pitch decks, and story ideas. My Lord has shown me that my value comes from Him alone; all my giftings are from Him and are for Him. He will open the doors in His way and in His timing.
One vision He showed me years ago that I’ll never forget: I saw a dog pile of people clambering on each other to reach one key dangling from the ceiling. This is what succeeding in the entertainment industry often feels like. As I stood to the side, watching them climb over each other, fighting for that one key, the Lord told me to instead walk forward towards a small door that was shaped like me. Only I could fit through it, and I was the key. I have spent many years striving to reach that prized “key” hanging from the ceiling and have grown disappointed in God and my abilities when I have not obtained it. Recently, He has instilled in me a newfound peace and purpose. Even if I don’t have all the answers and I am still learning what my true purpose is in this industry, I know I am exactly where I need to be, and I know that even through the mundane, He is using me to bring His Kingdom on earth.
Kathleen: What do you do when it seems like God is silent and you can’t connect to Him?
Amanda: The times I feel most disconnected from God are when the enemy gets me to look at my human efforts and believe that my works aren’t good enough. Even in my spiritual walk, it is easy for me to believe that I am not praying hard enough, reading the Bible long enough, fasting enough, or ministering enough. I start to believe that nothing I do is ever good enough, and so I give up. That’s when I have felt like God is silent, or I am not close to Him. I think that I need to improve my relationship with God and work harder at loving Him and serving Him. But the truth is that if I believe what Jesus did on the cross puts me in right standing with my Heavenly Father, then I am in right relationship with Him right now! Even if I’m not “feeling it,” I am connected. I am pleasing to Him. Every little thing I do for Him or every thought towards Him counts. He is still moving in my life, and progress is being made. When I remind myself of that truth, connecting with God is easy. He’s right there, and I’m right there with Him.
Kathleen: The media/entertainment industry is all about cutting through the competition to get yourself seen, your script green-lit, and your project financed. But that means taking risks and embracing something never tried or even weird sometimes. What has God taught you about being confident in your uniqueness?
Amanda: My journey in the entertainment industry thus far doesn’t look like anyone else’s. I came into this business wanting to be used by God to make content that would glorify Him. I then spent years working as an executive assistant for some of the most influential movie studios and producers. While many of my colleagues continued on the traditional studio path, I then fell into producing YouTube videos for kids. Now I’m a Senior Producer at a groundbreaking digital production company. It’s a job that didn’t even exist a handful of years ago, but it’s a role that I fit perfectly in thanks to my unique (and quirky) giftings. When I was a child, before YouTube existed, I used to bring all the neighborhood kids together to film silly skits and music videos on my mom’s camcorder. I never thought the freedom I found back then would be the inspiration I needed to make fun and authentic YouTube videos. No one else used to do what I did in my town, and I felt like a little weirdo. But my bizarre creativity brought freedom to my neighborhood, and now God is using that to bring joy and freedom to others.
Kathleen: We all impact others’ lives, but what’s the one thing you’ve learned about influence?
Amanda: The greatest times I’ve been an influence is when I am just being who God created me to be. I am not trying to impress people with my wisdom or do some incredible accomplishment. I am just flowing with the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to use me to love His people. I think we as Christians tend to overcomplicate what it looks like to preach the good news and be ambassadors for Christ. He has created us for such a time as this and given us everything we need to accomplish His work. In scripture, when Jesus sends out the disciples, He says, “Take nothing for your journey…”. When we’re trying too hard to be an influence, people can only see our human efforts when they really want to see God. That’s why the times I’ve heard people say to me I’ve been the most influential to them were times that I don’t even remember what I said or did… I was just resting in God.
Connect with Amanda:
LinkedIn: Amanda Ashley Miess