So I think I was a “filmmaker” for about four hours, describing to someone the specs of this project, and when I finished was immediately asked, “So, what’s next?”
While it’s easy (and in many ways, advisable) to get completely consumed with the current project, the film industry is always interested in the next thing. So, sometimes in in spite of ourselves, we are all thinking ahead to what comes after this, for the film, for us personally, and also for filmmaking in Maine.
We have two members of our core crew who are Maine locals: Cole Christine, our 2nd AC also doubling as DIT, and Alli Birney, who around here just goes by “Sound.” Cole grew up in nearby Damariscotta, and is a recent graduate of the Maine Media Workshops. He has been cutting his teeth on a lot of small local projects, and is incredibly hard-working, capable, focused, and also fun. (We are slowly discovering all of his many other talents: piano, guitar, drums, beat-boxing, singing, visual effects in film, the list goes on and on!)
Alli is tough as any sound person we’ve met. She can be a one-woman show (mixing, boom operating all at once – see photo!), and is also incredibly hardworking, making sure she let’s us know when sound is being compromised. Ignoring the sound person is a crucial misstep in many low-budget films, and she keeps us on task. Even though she’s a recent Portland transplant, Alli would love to be able to work full time in sound – a passion and profession she shares with her husband Colin – in Maine, but there’s not quite enough work to sustain them.
We are thinking ahead to the future for them and also for filmmaking in Maine. Cole and Alli are the perfect examples of the kind of young people Maine cannot afford to keep losing to jobs out-of-state, where better incentives attract film-makers. These two are young and have long and illustrious careers ahead of them – that much is clear – but exactly where those careers will take place remains to be seen.
Yesterday, after we wrapped our fourth overnight shoot in a row, we stepped out into a spectacular Maine summer day and decided to all go swimming together in Megunticook lake (thanks to even further generosity of Cuzzy, who after opening his bar to us for three days of shooting then opened his home to a gang of eager swimmers). It was heaven. I know that Cole and Alli would love not to leave this idyllic place, and in the best case scenario, would have the opportunity to ascend in their careers in the place they would most like to call home.
We’ve also had the incredible help of many of the high school students that are currently enrolled in or passing through Jack Churchill’s film program at Camden Hills High. These kids talk with excitement and passion about film-making; they show up to set and work hard with excitement to learn at each step. Maine Media Workshops provides the opportunity for continuing education in film and media, but then what?
I had a wonderful meeting today with Brian Hodges at the Camden Town Office, and I know there are a lot of people here working hard to bring film (along with many other industries) to the mid-Maine coast. It’s a delicate balance between a way of life which can and should be preserved and the need to provide opportunities to a vibrant and creative community of the young and talented. We hope we are doing our part and can continue to do so for years to come.