By Daniele Amandolini
If you are pursuing a career in film, catching the right break can take a while. You often spend years begging friends and family to like and share your latest project on Vimeo, or getting coffee for other crew members as a production assistant. For the last eight years, though, Maine Mayhem has made the dream of making a movie and seeing it projected on the big screen a reality for many students.
The event was co-founded in 2011 by CNMS Department Chair Corey Norman, along with student James Crocco. Thanks to his existing relationship with Nickelodeon Cinemas in Portland, Norman was able to strike a deal and provide the venue for what has become an annual highlight for the community, regularly selling out the theater. And it’s not just Portland: Films will debut at Nickelodeon Cinemas during the second week of May, as well as in Bridgton, Bangor, and at the Sanford International Film Festival in September.
For students, Maine Mayhem is the culmination of an eight-month workload. The fall semester covers pre-production, at the end of which students will pitch their movies to a panel of experts in the field. The film industry, after all, is as much about cameras and scripts as it is about selling your idea to a potential investor.
Once a movie is greenlit, the director will spend the spring semester handling all aspects of the process — this means developing a budget, hiring actors, and scouting locations. And then there is the actual shooting, which usually takes about six to eight days.
While students are ultimately responsible for the success of their own movie, classmates can always rely on each other’s support when things go wrong. They’re all in it together, as Norman sees the event as “not a competition, but a celebration.”
Not only does Maine Mayhem represent a great opportunity for a student to see their first movie come to life, but it’s also helped SMCC establish its film program as one of the best in Maine. And the fulfilling experience of sharing their creations will stay with the students forever, whether they stay in the film industry or move on to something new.
The students currently working on Maine Mayhem movies are Madison Holbrook, Bodhi Ouellette, Ben Rooker, Jason Smith, Jack Gentempo, Breanna Penney, Justin Taylor, and Brendan Kellogg. Good luck!