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Dustin Tamplen Bus Driver and Filmmaker
Kate Hope
MISD Bus Driver Finds Passion in Filmmaking

In the heart of Magnolia, amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life, there lives a man whose passion for storytelling transcended the ordinary. A devoted father of five and a dedicated member of the Magnolia ISD transportation department, Dustin Tamplen, whose journey into the world of filmmaking was as extraordinary as the tales he spun on screen.

His fascination with film and television began in childhood, where he found solace and inspiration in the stories brought to life by creators. However, it wasn't until December of 2022, after watching an independent film called "Tahoe Joe" by filmmaker Dillon Brown, that Dustin’s interest in filmmaking sparked a world of creativity.

Inspired by Dillon's work, Dustin embarked on his own filmmaking journey. Armed with nothing but a camera and a boundless passion, he, alongside his children, ventured into the realm of filmmaking, creating their first short film in January of 2023. Thus, "Hot Death Horror Productions" was born, a name chosen for its sentimental value and the joy it brought in creating their first film together.

But filmmaking wasn't just about capturing the scene and being behind the camera. Dustin soon discovered the intricate craft of post-production editing, a skill he honed through countless hours of self-teaching and practice. From editing audio and video to perfecting visual effects, he embraced the challenges of bringing his visions to life on screen.

MISD Bus Driver Finds Passion in Filmmaking

“We only get one lifetime to achieve all we’ve ever wanted, so why not make the most of it and go after that dream,” he said.

Dustin spends his day as a bus driver for Magnolia ISD  where he ensures the safe passage of children to and from school. Rising before dawn, he approaches each day with a sense of purpose, knowing that his efforts contributed to the well-being of the community's children.

“I’m a father of five, so it’s easy for me to put myself in our parents’ shoes,” Dustin said. “I keep that close to my heart when I’m transporting children. The people, the environment, and the overall feeling of satisfaction knowing that I’m helping to contribute is what keeps me motivated,” he added.

In the evenings and weekends, he donned his filmmaker hat, diving headfirst into his latest projects. Whether it was filming on location or meticulously editing in post-production, Dustin poured his heart and soul into every frame, creating captivating stories that resonated with audiences.

But Dustin's journey wasn't without its challenges. Last year, his family faced an unexpected trial when his baby girl was born prematurely. Amid the uncertainty, Dustin found solace in the unwavering support of his colleagues and the close-knit community of Magnolia ISD. Their kindness and understanding allowed him to navigate the storm with courage and resilience, reaffirming his commitment to the district and its mission.

As Dustin reflected on his whirlwind year, he couldn't help but express gratitude for the journey that brought him to where he stands today. From the halls of Magnolia ISD to the sets of his filmmaking endeavors, Dustin found fulfillment in every aspect of his life, driven by a relentless pursuit of his dreams and the unwavering support of those around him.

And so, with each passing day, Dustin continued to weave his tales, bridging the gap between reality and imagination, one frame at a time. In the heart of Magnolia, his legacy lives on, a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and the boundless potential of the human spirit.

MISD Bus Driver Finds Passion in Filmmaking

To date, Dustin has completed two full-length feature films and is currently working on a five-episode mini-series. You can find his latest project, “Lights Over Montgomery County” out now.