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Mastering the Business of Film to Redeem Culture

Regent University student Jeral Clyde is passionate about filmmaking. It started with a Christmas gift from his mom when he was 13 growing up in Atlanta.

“I guess she seen an interest in, okay, I like movies, and I like to create little skits. So, she ended up buying me a camera and uh surprising me," said Jeral.

Jeral’s new video camera allowed him to turn his skits into films - first with a short film he made in high school. it was then that he realized he had a gift.

“At first, I had to question myself. Like, 'Why am I getting all these creative ideas?' said Jeral.

Jarel was making a name for himself as the young Spike Lee among his peers. Still, his mom was his biggest fan.

“She always believed in me and inspired me, and every video I used to put out, she would say, 'I told you my baby's gonna be a star,'" said Jeral.

After high school, Jeral went to college to study film production. Then, just before finishing his freshman year, he received a voice message from his mother’s fiancé that shattered his world.

“I heard him screaming, 'Call me now, your mother's been shot!' And, he was like, 'Get to – Come – Get to the hospital!" said Jeral.

Jeral’s mother had been bartending at a local bar when someone with an automatic weapon drove by and open fired into the bar. She and several others had been shot.

“When we got there, uh she was pronounced like brain dead. My thoughts was all over the place. I was angry, I was hurt," said Jeral.

The authorities never found the shooter. Wrestling with grief and anger, Jeral took a year off from school to deal with his loss. He relied heavily on the love and support of his grandmother.  

“It's my Granny, you know," said Jeral as he wipes the tears from his face. "She always speak as positively over me as well. She real. She always told me make sure I stay focused, keep doing what I'm doing, because I'm gonna eventually get to where I want to be," said Jeral.

Through his granny’s influence Jeral turned to God for healing and focus.

“I started reading, and I started opening the Bible more, and I started the transition in my mind," said Jeral.

Finding peace and encouragement, Jeral says God led him to go back to school, so he did. After graduating, he joined the Air Force, and started working toward his dream.

“I started working on like uh motion picture sets, like Alvin and The Chipmunks, Baby Driver, Magnificent Seven, uh Spiderman," said Jeral.

In the coming years, Jeral began working on his own film projects, and would also marry his wife Elizabeth and started building a family.

While Jeral’s own film projects began having some success, airing one on Amazon Prime, he knew he needed more education. So, he enrolled in Regent University’s distance film program to learn more about the business of film.

Having worked so long in the secular world, studying at a Christian school gave him a new perspective on himself and the stories he would one day tell.

“I felt like I was kind of struggling on the line between pleasing God and making film. And it's opened my mind up about a lot of different things that I can put inside with movies, but I can also relate back in the Bible," said Jeral.

Jeral has produced several short films since and is a published author. As he finishes up his degree at Regent, his goal is to create content that honors God and shares His message of hope with the world.

“I'm prepared to show in my life and through my craft for the grace of God, is give it all that I got. Like not even just film, but we do – like we say, have books, we got to control the airways. Because, you know, right now it's like the Devil kind of got the airways, but if we can control it through the grace of God, through film, through music, through books, through businesses, then God wins. Because that's-that's the ultimate goal," said Jeral.

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