IT specialist Mike Mahan is heading to Hollywood to star in a role where he saves the day as a sysadmin superhero.

The movie's sponsor Qumu hasn't revealed all the details of the plot for the YouTube-length film, but the IT superhero will come to the rescue once again - just like millions of IT heroes do every day all over the world. A futuristic dirigible is involved, and there are some communications issues that need to be fixed, hinted Ray Hood, president and CEO of Qumu.

Mahan was tapped for the role after winning a contest Qumu launched in July on System Administrator Appreciation Day. The annual event, now in its 12th year, is designed to elicit thanks for the unsung heroes who keep corporate desktops, servers and networks running. Ted Kekatos, the originator of SysAdmin Day, helped select the winner of Qumu's contest.

A prize 'money can't buy'

The prize package got the attention of Mahan, a senior IT specialist at TPI Composites in Warren, Rhode Island. "Most times in IT-related contests, someone is willing to give you an iPad or a piece of their software. Where else are you offered the chance to be in film that's professionally produced? This type of awards package you can't buy," Mahan said.

Qumu, an enterprise video platform provider, hired video art director and filmmaker Jerry O'Flaherty to make the film. The vendor and filmmaker have worked together before; O'Flaherty made a 90-second film for Qumu titled "Qumu SysAdmin Hero Saves 'The Enterprise'," in which a quick-thinking sysadmin saves the Enterprise spaceship from destruction.

Qumu's Hood played the role of CEO in the first film in the series, which was shot in an old sewer treatment plant. Hood will likely make an appearance in the second movie as well.

First Hollywood trip

Mahan, meanwhile, is set to experience the behind-the-scenes world of filmmaking, including going through makeup and costuming, running lines with the actors and working with director O'Flaherty. "He's going to learn the ugly secret of Hollywood: Most of the time you're standing around waiting for someone," Hood said.

It's a far cry from Mahan's usual work activities. "I handle all network-related issues, hardware, software, desktop, internet, phones, ERP - basically a one-stop shop for our four locations in the US," Mahan said of his role at TPI Composites, which makes wind turbine blades and products for military and public transportation vehicles. "I support around 200 desktop/laptop users and about 300 occasional or shared users on the production floor."

Mahan is making his first trip to Hollywood thanks to the Qumu contest, but it won't be his first acting role. When he was six years old, Mahan appeared on "Boomtown," a kids' show hosted by singing cowboy Rex Trailer, in Boston. "I was on 'Boomtown' in the 1960s," Mahan revealed. "That's the extent of my acting... although I don't really consider that acting."