Portfolio: Mark J. Sanderson



INTERVIEWER at The Saints of San Antonio

During my last year of graduate school at The University of Texas at Austin I developed an interest in documenting the Mormon history of the area. With sponsorship from Dr. Howard Miller, a History professor, I was given access to video production equipment from Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services. Accompanied by a few talented friends, I set out to interview the Mormon pioneers in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Austin (which, at one time, were all one “stake” or ecclesiastical unit). Over a period of six months, I interviewed 30 people and video-taped the 50th anniversary fireside of the San Antonio Stake.

After several months of video editing and building a demo website (with the help of my cousin, Brian), I made a presentation about the project at the LDS Church Historical Department in November 2008. My major insight was that everyone assumes all Mormons live in Utah, which creates misunderstanding about the Church and makes Mormons outside Utah feel some level of resentment. I recommended that future media/branding projects focus on the rich history/culture of the international church population, rather than portray a generic church population that would be mistaken for Utah. This would educate non-Mormons about the size and growth of the Church (‘we’ve been in your community for decades!’) and build pride among local Church members. The presentation was well-received.

Temples-of-the-new-Millennium_chad hawkinsRecently, I was informed that interview clips from the project are being used as a show-and-tell of ‘what interviews can be like’ in the LDS Church Media Services Department. Also, the story about glass from the Bailey Street Chapel windows being used in the construction of the San Antonio Temple was cited by Chad Hawkins in his book, Temples of the New Millennium (Deseret Book, 2016).


VIDEO PRODUCTION ASSISTANT at Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services (UT-Austin)

Every weary student has at some point wished he could set aside grades and attend lectures for the sheer joy of learning. That’s exactly what I had the opportunity of doing when I worked at Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services, where I assisted with the video component of various academic projects, including campus lectures, research projects, and instructional websites.


One of the projects I helped with was “Medical Ethics and the Holocaust,” a 28-speaker lecture series (that included three Nobel Laureates) hosted by Holocaust Museum Houston. We edited the footage we received from Houston and prepared it for viewing online. It was a compelling and sobering project to work on.


Another major project I helped with was “Jesus in American Culture.” Using a three camera set-up, we video-taped an entire course (three days a week adding up to 40 lectures) taught by the distinguished professor, Dr. Howard Miller, about how interpretations of Jesus have changed from time to time and by different groups throughout the past few hundred years of American history. After carefully editing each lecture, adding class slides, and adjusting audio levels, the videos were permanently housed on a website. I found the lectures to be interesting and engaging.


A project I helped with on a continuous basis was The Texas Politics Speaker Series. A few times each semester I helped video-tape a lecture featuring a state political figure, usually an elected official. Each time we would load up our gear and cart it over to the Dorothy Gebauer Building, where we would spend a couple of hours setting up cameras, lights, and microphones. During the lecture I would usually operate the camera that captured crowd shots and side shots of the speaker. Afterward, I would edit and prepare the footage for online viewing. In the process, I was able to learn a lot about state politics from both sides of the aisle.


Growing up, one of my dreams was to work in the television industry. What an opportunity it was to write and produce 50 television spots for KBYU, a PBS affiliate. Those two years allowed me to develop my talents and provide me with a satisfying creative outlet.

When I worked at BYU Broadcasting as a student (2002-2004), the opportunity to make the first membership spots for BYU Television literally fell in my lap. A co-worker of mine was originally given the assignment, but she graduated before she was able to complete it so she passed it on to me. She gave me all the raw footage and the basic text and I was given free reign from there. I carefully selected a song from the station’s audio library and fit the footage and text together to make something everyone liked and that aired internationally every half hour for a month! I don’t have a good copy of “Montage 1”, but it used similar footage, set to a different song, and edited using a split screen style (modeled after the New Order “Regret” music video).

After successfully completing the first membership spots for BYU Television, I was given the chance to produce a few more. This one employed a crossword puzzle to capture people’s attention and invite them to become a “sustaining member” of the station. To make this spot I used Adobe After Effects and Adobe Photoshop. The animated letters were created by a co-worker of mine using Maya, a 3D animation program. This spot also aired internationally. The sister spot to this used a Wordsearch puzzle to get the same point across.

This spot was my second effort at directing a shoot on location using actors, a camera crew, etc. I wasn’t happy with how my first effort turned out, so I made sure to maintain creative control over this one. I was happy with the final product and it ended up impressing my superiors. Nice. For the record, I wrote, produced, directed, and edited this spot. Also, the cookies were baked and donated by Allen’s Supermarket in Springville, the wagon was borrowed from Toys ‘R Us in Orem, the music was written and performed by my cousin Brian, and the apron was given to me by an old lady I knew in Philadelphia who grew up with Grace Kelly. The spot aired mostly during pledge drives, I think.

Every month for the two years I worked at BYU Broadcasting I was responsible for making the KBYU Kids’ Club Activity spot. This usually gave me the chance to take a road trip to some fun location in Utah to gather footage of kids playing or exploring. One month, I was given the assignment to make two spots, since we had an extra activity. This spot was animated using Adobe After Effects and used the actual costume sketches created by the Theatre Department and the voices of the actual actors from the play. This gave the spot an element of authenticity or accuracy for those who attended the play.

The director of the play was so happy with how the spot turned out that she dropped off a bag of warm homemade chocolate chip cookies and a nice note. That was awesome and made me feel good. Here’s what she wrote:

Dear Mark,
Many thanks for the delightful promotion you created for The Wind in the Willows. It was an entertaining and whimsical way to introduce the show to the viewing public–especially the children. Thanks for generously making video copies of the promotion for Ken, for me, and for each of the actors involved. That was so kind of you. Thanks so much for you help. Your efforts are very much appreciated.

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