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Mon, Dec 18, 2017 04:30 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Paintsville native finding success in film industry despite visual impairment

FRANKFORT — Many young people heed the siren song of Hollywood only to have their dreams crushed, but Paintsville native Macy Mullins has met with success in the film industry since moving to Los Angeles a year ago.

Mullins’ dream is to be a screenwriter, and while she has not sold any of her scripts yet, she is making all the right connections. After only two weeks in L.A. Mullins used a Paintsville contact to land an entry-level job as a production assistant with American Zoetrope, a production company owned by famed director and writer Francis Ford Coppola.

After working at American Zoetrope, Mullins became the personal assistant to the producer of an independent film company for about six months. Currently, Mullins is an editor of music videos at The Mine, a music production company. As an editor, she goes to location shoots, helps put footage together by computer and makes music videos for television.

“I was very lucky. Mom said I must have had a star over my head,” said Mullins of the opportunities she has found in a highly competitive field.

What’s even more amazing is that the 23-year-old is working in a visual arts industry, but she has limited vision. In fifth grade, Mullins failed an eye test at school and was sent to an ophthalmologist, who diagnosed her with toxoplasmosis, a condition caused by a parasite.

Before graduating from Paintsville High School in 1997, Mullins began working with Kentucky Department for the Blind Rehabilitation counselor Mike Hall to choose a career that fit her abilities and interests. Hall gave her various tests, including an interest inventory, pre-college test, functional ability test and counseled her about career possibilities.

Mullins said that Hall encouraged her to continue her education.

“He helped try to guide me in getting my major. He helped me find something I wanted to do. I probably would have never gotten into broadcast journalism and if I hadn’t gotten into journalism I would have never moved to L.A.,” Mullins said.

Her original plan was to become a lawyer, but during broadcast journalism courses at the University of South Carolina, she discovered a talent for writing and decided to pursue a career in Hollywood.

Hall helped Mullins with financial aid forms and the department paid for half of her tuition, part of the housing, books and advised her on computer technology. He also advised her during college and worked with a coordinator at USC to assist her with problems. After graduation, Hall provided counseling on job interviewing, resume writing, job leads and consultation with potential employers.

“He was always there for me,” Mullins said. “He was always very kind to my parents. If we needed anything out of the ordinary, he would go out of his way to help us out. He was really wonderful. He stayed in close contact with the school to see if I needed anything.”

Hall said he was able to help her with career goals and give her support during school but it was Mullins’ determination and motivation that got her through college and into a competitive career.

“She is very highly motivated. She knows what she wants and goes after it. She has a lot of determination. She adapts well to new environments. I think she would take on about anything,” Hall said.

Mullins can’t read for long periods of time because of the strain reading puts on her eyes, and her eye condition causes floaters and migraines.

Although she does not operate a camera in her current position, Mullins does a lot of work on computers to create the finished video.

Hall noted that his clients have more career choices than ever before because of technology.

“We can do a lot with computer modification now so there’s not a lot that people with low vision can’t do,” Hall said. “I start out with what they want to do and where they want to go. Then I start trying to build the bridge to where they want to go.”

For Mullins, that bridge has led to discovering talents and abilities in herself and to new places and opportunities.

“I’m living in a dreamworld,” she said.

For more information about the Department for the Blind, call or visit the Web site at www.kycwd.org. The department is an agency of the Cabinet for Workforce Development.


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