The Student Online Publication of The King's Academy

The Lion Ledger

The Student Online Publication of The King's Academy

The Lion Ledger

The Student Online Publication of The King's Academy

The Lion Ledger

10 questions with Austin Parenti

Mason Shipman
Mr. Parenti on the set of The Wreck of Echo 10-4.

10 questions with Austin Parenti

There’s two ways to introduce Austin Parenti: you could either talk about his many artistic achievements and the excellent projects he’s produced and directed, like “The Fountain of Youth” or “The Wreck of Echo”; or you could describe his personality – a truly benevolent, empathetic, and humble person, who keeps inspiring students on this campus every day. 

What accomplishment fills you with pride so far this year?

When one of my students decided to commit their life to Christ, the joy I experienced from knowing that, surpassed any award that I could ever receive for movies we make. The student came to me for advice and I told her, in response, that when I first asked my wife to be my girlfriend, I didn’t know her that well. But what I did know about her was enough to want to know a lot more. When I proposed, I still didn’t know her enough, but I knew enough to say: “I do”. So, I asked the student, “How much of God do you need to know, that would be enough to take the next steps?”. And that was the turning point.


If you could pass on any wisdom to your students, what would you share?

To hear that a day is soon coming when God will be physically available again should delight you to your core! Spending time with Him will lead us to admire Him, and in our admiration, we will be more like Him, better know Him, and bond with Him. As we anxiously await that glorious reunion, that wedding feast, remember that the entrée is being served right now through corporate worship, prayer, and the scriptures. Whet your appetite on these disciplines and look forward to that great reunion.


So many students admire you. How do you make those connections?

Growing up, I really struggled to care about people on a deeper level. I was selfish with time, and so when I came here five years ago, I didn’t feel like I had a good connection with the students. It was more about creating those opportunities for myself. I cannot articulate what changed, other than it was a miracle from God. For instance, years ago, I had a student who used to sleep during class and contributed absolutely nothing to the class. Despite, I found myself caring so much about him. God made my heart care and made me see that it’s more about “us” and the bigger picture, rather than me. That’s what has inspired me to make those quality projects with the students, preach gospel daily and encourage them. But honestly, if a student admires me, it’s definitely because of God.


How does God speak to you?

First, huge disclaimer! Sometimes people believe God speaks to people. I personally believe it’s rare for God to be vocal. The way I understand Him is more subtle. When I read the Bible, I see what he’s decided to reveal about himself. It’s almost like a letter from a pen pal friend. I feel like I hear God’s voice and understand Him through the stories that He is telling through other people.


How do you work through frustration in life?

For thousands of years, we as a species have felt cosmic discouragement from not spending real, quality time with our Heavenly Father. People may grow numb to that discouragement, so they need to dig deep for a moment and remember the biggest reason for daily dissatisfaction is not the finances, health, or toil, but the lack of substantive time and exposure with the Creator. To illustrate the point: my mother once said that my wife is contagiously kind and joyful. My mother not only notices a difference in her happiness when spending time with Sarah but a difference when she hasn’t recently spent time with Sarah. In a magnified way, you will find God’s virtue, purity, and personal love for you contagious.


What do you wish you spent more time doing five years ago?

I would’ve married my wife sooner. Because… why not! I don’t know why I chose to have less days than I could have. Some people state that, after some time, marriage gets annoying. For me, that has yet to become a reality, and instead been the highlight of my life. I would’ve also taken some leadership class in college. I used to think it’s something you figure out on your own, but I’ve discovered it’s not, because you do need people to evaluate your work in order to pursue excellence.


What’s a belief that you hold with which many people disagree?

There’s a saying from Cicero: “What is honourable is always beneficial.” He teaches that anything that is difficult, in the long run, is beneficial for the soul. Like, when a person goes to the gym, they have the choice to either do an arms day or a legs day, so every day you have the choice to exercise your soul or your comfort. You’ll find your heart to be at peace with yourself once you do what is honourable.


What can you do today that you were not capable of a year ago?

A year ago, if I’d have a friend or a student sharing something with me that I couldn’t relate to, I don’t think I’d care enough. Luckily, I’m starting to get better at listening and knowing how to encourage even the people that I don’t know as well.


What’s the path to becoming a professional screenwriter?

To be a screenwriter, is probably the single most difficult job to ever get in Hollywood, as well as the least respected one. The first question that I would ask an aspiring screenwriter, would be, “Are you sure?”, and then ask it a few thousand times more. You write and write, and send the writing to everybody you’ve ever met, to anyone who’s willing to criticize. Then you post it online for people to read, and that’s where you’ll find some real savages who make it their life mission to make you feel less than nothing. And years later, once the world has beat the soul out of you, and you’re still walking, aspiring to run, you’ll know whether you’re a competent writer. Truth is – writing is miserable. It’s like taking out the trash. The house would symbolize your mind that gets so clogged up as you compile ideas. You must take out the trash. In other words, get it out by writing. I write because I have to. God has given me ideas that must be put into words. God has created me such as I am, a creative person. If I don’t create, I go fully insane. So, at least for me, writing mostly feels like obedience rather than skipping through a field of flowers.


What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

The first thing I’d do is dress differently. I’d probably wear a superhero cape or a robe daily and for the rest of my life. For some reason, I don’t get as embarrassed anymore. I realized people only put people down when they’re feeling bad about themselves, so what could those words ever to do me when I know where they’re coming from and why. Also, I believe the stories that I tell would be different. I try to write so everybody would enjoy it, but if I didn’t have to worry about the audience, I would simply only write esoteric philosophical fantasy stories that only I, and I alone, would ever like.

About the Contributor
Marta Kaup
Marta Kaup, Contributor
Marta Kaup is an international student from Estonia. She’s seventeen and a junior, starting her first year at TKA. She decided to come here to be part of the theatre program and enjoy all the opportunities this school has to offer. In her spare time, she does tennis and long-distance running. She’s fluent in French, and Estonian, surprise! Marta decided to join the journalism club to perfect her writing skills since it will help with songwriting, which is something she hopes to make a career in one day.