"God told me, 'Spread my word through media...'"
Justin Trisler had his life planned out: playing collegiate soccer, and later becoming a Fighter Pilot. But things changed when he surrendered his life over to God. Today, Justin performs on some of the world’s most popular (and “magical” stages). When speaking about his purpose, Justin says: “My Goal, My Task, My Mission..is to be a Positive Example in the entertainment Industry. To be a reflection of the Light in the Darkness. To be the Good Change that I wish to see within the media. Besides Acting & Modeling, I am pressing forward to eventually become a Director of my own movies. Taking One step at a time to Achieve the Dream placed inside me.”
What’s your story? How did you get involved in the industry?
I believe everyone has a tragic event of some sort in their life at some point that brings them to their knees. Mine was the crumble of my “perfect“ family. I wont go into every detail because I could write a small novel on that point in my life. My parents’ divorce was my climax. I didn’t truly know who God was until this storm came upon me. We always went to church religiously, but never dug deeply into understanding of this Almighty Creator. The next couple of years of my life, after that event, brought me into a clear view of Jesus.
From the age of 4, since I understood what “military“ was, I wanted to be a fighter pilot in the Air Force. I grew up being involved in Civil Air Patrol USAFA achieving the rank of 2nd Lt. I became one of the leaders within the squadron and thought this was my calling/goal. After more years dealing with the struggles of my crumbling family, I began to give more and more of my life to God, but still had yet to make that full commitment to follow Him and leave everything behind. One day, two months before my high school graduation, I went to a youth rally in Tulsa, OK.
My original plans, that I wanted control: K-State university, criminal justice major, duel degree at Manhattan Christian college, playing my dream sport of college soccer, all the while being enrolled in the Air force ROTC to be prepared for my flying military career after graduation. Everything was planned and ready until that youth rally.
When I inquired God about what He desired to do with my life, He told me, "Spread My word through media." I’ll never forget that moment. I said okay, and decided to take the large step into the unknown. I had no doubt this was my Father speaking to me.
Less than two weeks after the youth rally, a college soccer coach called me and wanted to do all he could with scholarships/grants etc., to get me on his team. I had to turn his offer down. I knew what I heard from God was real. I then moved to Tulsa, OK. First off not even two weeks living there, God openly provided a great opportunity to be a part of a Faith-based feature film, called “Homerun.” Soon after, I had the privilege of being a part of two more feature films: “Thunderstruck” and “One Heart.” After this, I wanted more; I wanted to go further, but I felt stagnate after a few months wondering what next?
Then you heard about AMTC?
AMTC came on the radio during prayer one day in my truck. I was beyond excited to have the opportunity to continue training my skills in a Christian environment. I ended up moving to Dallas on my own from Tulsa, staying involved with AMTC, to be closer for training. Through that time were many wonderful and amazing experiences leading me into a deeper relationship with Jesus, realizing and understanding more of why I was on this crazy, adventurous path into the unknown of the entertainment Industry.
What was SHINE like for you?
I had no idea what to expect with AMTC and SHINE. My family struggled knowing if it was the right decision for me, but I stuck to it. The relationships, the mentors and the fellowship were all beyond my expectations. You certainly can’t put a price on these things. I learned very much, not only about the industry and my skills, but also spiritually, which is what it’s all about. Through all the hardships and trials, I knew quickly during SHINE that it was all worth it. Not only did God provide everything I needed for SHINE, financially (by a last minute miracle), but He also had a guy in mind for me to lead to Jesus. Through this act, God also started SHINE Baptisms for those needing to dedicate/rededicate their lives to Him.
What did you learn most through AMTC?
I learned that my passion isn’t the entertainment industry. Its serving Christ in the mission field, spreading His Word through media. Of course, there are so many things i have learned, but this is the most vital of them all. Because even through my continued progression at Disney, there is nothing that will truly satisfy unless it’s for His Kingdom.
Have you always been passionate about the entertainment industry?
Honestly, no. As I mentioned before, I wanted to be a fighter pilot for the Air Force for most of my life. I was passionate about serving my country and flying high in the sky. To this day, the entertainment industry is not my passion. Being an entertainer/actor will never be my goal. The passion is spreading His Word through media. It’s making good bolder.
What are you currently doing?
After quite a struggling journey, I am currently a cast member at Walt Disney World. My job here is to make the magic come to life for people of all ages from all across the world. I perform in multiple stage shows and parades across Disney World, bringing characters to life. I have the amazing opportunity of making children’s dreams come true, and many times even the adults too.
How did you get involved with your job at Disney?
Some people believe in coincidences, luck, or random occurrences. I believe in God’s perfect timing, and with that I found a Disney audition near me. From that long audition process, they hired me to be a performer within entertainment to continue the making of magic and making dreams coming true at Walt Disney World.
What is the best part about working for Disney?
I think the best feeling while working here is knowing that i am able to be a part in the creation of family memories, for generations that kids and adults will never forget. Some families spend their life savings to visit only once in their life, and I have such a great privilege to be a vital part on their once-in-a-lifetime experience at Walt Disney World.
What was it like working as a Knight and Chancellor at Medieval Times?
Probably the most physically demanding job I have encountered in my life thus far. If you desire to be a stunt performer, staying fit is a must. I learned many skills through this job, including horseback riding, jousting, sword fighting, stage prepping, horse stunts, horseback script narration, and all sorts of choreography and timing cues that come with any stage show.
The greatest struggles I faced there were spiritual. I basically lived with this cast of men in a locker room style environment. It was a very spiritually dark place and weighed on me heavily. Through my continued stance of living morally right at work and during free time, they noticed the difference in me. This brought many jokes and edge-line persecution of what I believed in. I was still able to share my faith with many of them, only because of His strength within me. But each day, until the end of this job was a constant spiritual struggle.
Do you have any unique experiences that have happened?
During my shows as Chancellor at Medieval times, I thought maybe I would have to guide my horse in choreography, remember all my time cues and spots to be in during the show. I quickly found out that my horse was very smart and knew the lines of the script, music and lights to know every cue without me having to remember anything! The horse did everything for me. That came as quite a surprise.
Also, before I began my journey with the Walt Disney company, I had never before stepped foot into Walt Disney World. I never dreamed in my life that this would be a place I would be on my path in the entertainment industry.
What have been some of the most difficult challenges in the industry?
By far, the most challenging for me is keeping priorities straight, meaning Jesus first in everything. Keeping my priorities straight keeps my focus, which makes it less easy to compromise and keeps peace in life even in the most trying times. That is an important part in being a positive example within this mission field, and I would hope that is goal of all the AMTC performers: being a positive example. I’ve been with Disney for almost eight months, and every month I’ve been learning something new: shows, parades, new roles and even learning new roles at Universal Studios. It only gets busier, there is also a wonderful relationship with a wonderful woman who is highly prioritized on my schedule too. With all this said, prioritizing is a must in the life of an entertainer/actor/model or whatever you desire to call yourself.
What has been the most rewarding factor about being in the industry?
Looking back and seeing the many blessings and miracles God has provided. Also, seeing opportunities placed before me that I know could only be by His hand. When I hear directors and co-workers say, “This doesn’t normally happen,“ it’s heart warming. It fills me with peace knowing His hand is upon me, guiding my steps. It makes me even more excited to see what’s in store for the future.
What advice do you have for fellow performers?
Being in the spot you are in now and experiencing the same things, I would say don’t expect anything, but expect God to be faithful to His calling on your life. Don’t expect a quick success journey. It’s the long road that’s most rewarding, especially when you get the chance to look back and see how far He has brought you. Always remember, none of your success is or will ever be by your own hand…only through Him will you amount to anything in this world.
Keep focus with your eyes up, knowing everything happens for a reason. And one last thing, it’s funny how your life will prosper tremendously if you simply have the mindset of GIVING every aspect of your life rather, than only focusing on what you can GET.