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The University of Texas at Tyler
Movie Magic: UT Tyler Staff Member Dreaming Big
As a young child, Steven Mullenax held an appreciation and passion for movies and film making, eventually yearning to make it big. To this day, he continues to hold that dream. The Tyler native is preparing to tape his first feature film this fall.
“I used to make short films and tapes in church – fun little side things that were never really serious,” Mullenax recalls. “I remember my last one. It was a skit about Frosty the Snowman. I’m so embarrassed now of how bad it looked but it reminds me how far I’ve come as a film maker. I kind of knew something was really special about it when I showed it in front of people. There was something tangible that I really liked. All the time, effort and passion was put into it and I enjoyed the audience reactions. It all clicked for me.”
As an educational technology services support technician at The University of Texas at Tyler and a former television producer for the local NBC affiliate, Mullenax uses his experience, creative abilities and editing talents to add a new and exciting chapter to the department.
“I’ve worked really hard to improve the video production division of our office,” he said. “That end of the department was very much undeveloped. In time, I believe we can actually do some really great things to enhance the university with video production."
Mullenax’s creative juices have already been flowing in just a short amount of time as a staff member. He has already assisted the Office of Alumni Affairs and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences with some projects he was eager to tackle.
“It started with editing together a short video of the 2007 Patriot Idol singing competition that will be shown to high school seniors this summer," he said. "Then we began to update the videos produced for our nursing department. In the past, we would produce bland raw video for student nurses who were required to role play how they would treat patients in real-world situations. Now, we’ve started using green screen, individual microphones, lighting, music and titles to improve the video quality. And so far, both teachers and students love the results.”
The 2008 UT Tyler Academy Awards presentation for faculty and staff at Tyler’s Hollytree Country Club was another “big” project for Mullenax. He, along with educational technology services support specialist Melissa Hill, incorporated a PowerPoint presentation with live video,
interviews, green screen, titles and music.
“Everybody seemed really impressed by it. President (Rodney) Mabry even took me aside after the presentation to tell me how impressed he was. It made all the hard work worth it,” he said.
Mullenax was recently recognized for his work on a national level.
“The national television contest, the User Creative Challenge, is the biggest thing I’ve done so far,” Mullenax said. “I was the first prize winner in a short film national contest that was put together by G4 Television, which is owned by the E! Entertainment Network.”
His first place political attack ad submission won him a new I-Pod Touch and eventually gave him a fourth place finish in the grand prize contest. As far as his next big project, Mullenax currently is in the early stages of producing two short films and one feature film.
“My first feature film will be a sports film,” he said. “I’ve always loved that genre and I think I have an original idea for it.
“At the end of the day, I truly believe that my passion for movies and film making will help me make some films I can be proud of. I just hope other people like them too.”
One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 90 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.