Atticus Shaffer of “The Middle” stars in CMA sponsored podcast
Shaffer shares his perspective on faith in the entertainment industry at CMA’s event. | Thecla Li / THE CHIMES
Shaffer discussed with Miles his experience growing up in the entertainment industry and how his faith shapes his work. Shaffer is also known for his various voice acting roles, especially in “Frankenweenie,” and his appearance in the film “Hancock.”
Miles initially approached Shaffer to come on as a guest. When Miles asked Shaffer if he would share his experiences with students and record the podcast at Biola, he readily agreed to the offer.
“One of the things I love about this industry is being able to meet and talk with people,” Shaffer said. “I read up on the history [of CMA]… and was very impressed by what you guys do here. I was very honored to be able to come here, be able speak with all of you and meet all of you.”
Shaffer shared his experience growing up without the ability to do certain physical things, saying he took a “different approach” that has led him to his current work. Having a genetic condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta—also known as Brittle Bone Disease—Shaffer understands physical limitation, but also knows he can still use creativity to be influential.
“I am definitely limited in term to physicality. I could never be a football player, a wrestler, a boxer… but what God has given me in terms of being able to be creative, whether it be in my voice or being able to act or directing… I’m very blessed that I have those abilities,” Shaffer said. “I could not have gotten here on my own.”
Shaffer also believes students considering cinema and media arts should remain steadfast in their identity.
“One of the most important things about this industry is to always be yourself. I think it is very important that we as Christians maintain that. This is an industry that can change you… It’s important we don’t lose who we are,” Shaffer said.
Faith in Entertainment
One of the aspects Shaffer believes students should not lose is their faith. Shaffer highlighted this by sharing about how one can represent their faith in the entertainment industry.
“There are always going to be people who are not as open to the Christian faith, and there are people that are,” Shaffer said. “Always be respectful, but there’s a difference between [being] tolerant and being respectful. I think maintaining respect and maintaining who you are and knowing what you believe. It doesn’t necessarily mean Bible thumping.”
While Shaffer believes students should keep to their faith, they should also have a willingness to learn and gain professional experience.
“I have always professed to be a lifelong learner… especially in this industry,” Shaffer said. “You should be open to learning what you can… hands-on experience is the best if you have an opportunity to shadow a director, or if you’re an actor and shadow actors… that’s a great thing to do.”
After the event, students who attended expressed enthusiasm as well as gratitude for his professional experience and advice.
“That was amazing. It was awesome hearing from someone in the industry who started so young,” said Ellie LaFronbois, freshman cinema and media arts major.
Other students shared appreciation regarding Shaffer’s perspective on faith.
“He has a heart for Christ, even in the business… [Shaffer] is a big role model for everyone,” said Steven Johnson, senior accounting major.