Summer may be a time of rest for many students, but for two students from the New England School of Communications at Husson University, it’s a time to jump feet-first into new experiences and opportunities in the movie industry.
Audio Engineering 2015 graduate Alex Knowles of Chester, VT job shadowed for two days on the set of Central Intelligence, a film being shot in Boston starring comedian Kevin Hart and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. During his days on-set, Knowles worked under head Audio Mixer Tom Williams. “I learned a lot of mixing tricks from Tom Williams, how and when to blend microphones, which mic to choose, and other mixing choices” says Knowles. “I also learned about Union work, IATSE, specifically the structure and why it’s important to workers”. Knowles adds that the best part was getting any and all of his questions answered. “Tom Williams and his team were very welcoming and enthusiastic with their answers”. Central Intelligence from New Line Cinema is set for a June 16th, 2016 release date.
Meanwhile across the city of Boston, another movie was being filmed; the much-publicized Ghostbusters movie featuring an all-female cast of ghostbusters including Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Kristen Wiig. NESCom Video Production Sophomore Zachary Greaton of Saco, ME was given the opportunity to work as a Production Assistant on-set. Greaton said this about his experience “I learned a ton about the chain of command on such a large set…which involved hundreds once 2nd unit came on board”. Ghostbusters from Sony Pictures is set for a July 22, 2016 release date.
Green means go, Green means Husson and this week at the New England School of Communications at Husson University, green also means Greenlight Maine. Faculty, students and alumni are working with the creative and production team of Brian Corcoran, Con Fullam, and Nat Thompson in a venture called Portland Media Group (PMG) on a new show called “Greenlight Maine”.
Greenlight Maine, which is produced by PMG with production management by NESCom, involves Maine entrepreneurs competing for a prize of more than $100,000 to invest in their businesses. Along the way, they’ll receive mentoring from corporate, media and marketing executives.
The production of the show is no small task. Over the course of 7 days, NESCom faculty, students and even a few alumni are working to tape 13 half-hour episodes that feature all 26 semifinalist entrepreneurs of the Greenlight Maine competition that was held earlier this year. Each episode includes interviews with the semifinalists and presenting their “pitch” to a panel of three judges. Each show has a new set of judges, the list of which reads like a “Who’s Who” in Maine.
PMG recruited an impressive group of sponsors which includes:
Bangor Savings Bank
Bernstein Shur Counselors at Law
Central Maine Power
Finance Authority of Maine
Don Foshay’s Discount Tire & Alignment
Moody’s Collision Centers
The show utilizes 6 cameras, full wireless audio, custom EVS workflows and a completely redesigned and rebuilt TV studio for the Show. The set, which is the creation of NESCom Entertainment Production assistant professor Brave Williams, has an entirely new “look and feel”. It fills the entire television studio at the Wildey Communication Center. Video instructor Kris Bridges is the director with support from faculty John Easton, Ed Goguen, Steve Vachon, Rick Davis, and Eric Ferguson. 1992 NESCom alum Nick Woodward has joined the crew as well as NESCom staffers Matt Bryant and Steve Toothaker. Recent graduate Heather Andrews and current students Cody Chaisson and Nick Evans are also part of the team.
Greenlight Maine will air on WCSH 6 in Portland and WLBZ 2 in Bangor starting September 12th. PMG and NESCom are in considering a follow-on show to be taped within the next 6 months. For more information on the program and the competition, visit www.greenlightmaine.com
2014 Live Sound Technology graduate Jake Newcomb was recently recognized for his work in the Portland, OR theatre community.
Jake Newcomb, a 2014 NESCom Audio Engineering graduate, was recently recognized for his work by his peers in the Portland, Oregon theatre community. Newcomb received the Crew Member Spotlight award at the 2015 “Drammys”, an annual celebration of dramatic performance and production. The awards were handed out at the on June 29th at the Newmark Theatre in Portland. The Spotlight awards of the event are presented by the Portland Area Theatre Alliance.
Since graduating from the New England School of Communications, Newcomb has worked for the Northwest Children’s Theatre located in Portland as a sound board operator and sound designer.
Two years ago, 2010 NESCom alum Ray Harrington, had an idea. Now all those months later, the finished product will be shown in Bangor as an advanced screening. Be A Man, a new documentary by Harrington has been a labor of love for the comedian, husband and father. We caught up with Ray after the film had its first screening (an exclusive for Kickstarter supporters) at the Comedy Connection in East Providence, Rhode Island.
Q: From the idea, to the first screening, how long was the production of the documentary?
A: From the initial idea to finally being able to screen the film this month, it has been a two year process. Two years! There’s a moment somewhere in the middle of all of it where passion has to change to determination. It has been an incredibly fun, stressful, and at times very hard process to go through. It’s almost two different projects. The experience of shooting the documentary, the difficulties of being both the subject and the director was odd at times. But the Director of Photography was wonderful in taking the helm behind the camera when I had to be 100% present in front of the camera. The other, wholly different experience was post-production. The editing process was monstrous and being done by just myself and our editor, Joey Fallon. At some point, the film just became what I did. Everyday. Wake up to emails and calls, work on the film all day, be with my wife and son in the evening, then run out to a comedy show at night, get back and work more on the film before going to bed.
Q: Where did the idea for the documentary come from?
A: My wife and I were talking a lot about having kids and we were just starting to let things take their course. I had been talking to my friend and fellow comedian, Derek Furtado a lot about my worries and fears of being a dad. The fact that I didn’t have a father growing up really concerned me when I thought about becoming a father myself. One night, I was talking on the phone with Derek and I said, “I don’t know how to be a father. I don’t even know how to be a man.” And it was an immediate moment of realization for both of us that the image of manhood we’ve been given is changing drastically and rapidly. The things that, in childhood, I had always thought were manly but never had experience with. Fighting, Drinking, Cars, Shaving, Clothing, Women. All things I never knew. Could I learn about them all so I would have that to pass on to my son? And would they make me any more manly?
Q: What was it like to following the process through all the way?
A: We started shooting in September of 2013 with the thought that we would have things wrapped up by the time my son was due in March. The post-production phase was the longest though. With hours of footage capturing everyday life and hours of footage capturing the events we shot, it was a big undertaking. Add to that a newborn baby and a comedy career, and it was next to impossible. Thankfully, our editor Joey Fallon is amazing. I worked closely with him for 10 months non-stop, building this film.
Q: What was the budget for Be A Man like?
A: Our budget was small. VERY small. It’s crazy to look back and realize we made a feature length documentary for $11,000. And it’s good! We started with $5,000 from investors. Stand Up! Records was wonderful in backing us from the start. I’m a comic on the label and when I told Dan Schlissel about it, he was immediately supportive. Then it was the guys at the RI Comedy Connection and a fellow comic, John Porch who all believed in the project and wanted to help. We were able to take that money and cover all of the gear we would need. After the production, we realized we needed money that we hadn’t expected needing for sound mixing and color grading. Luckily, our editor has a lot of connections in London and we met with Soho Square Studios who loved the rough cut we had and were just as passionate about the project as we were.
Q: What was (2011 NESCom alum) Joe Giordano’s role in the production?
A: When I initially had the idea for Be A Man, I knew right away that I wanted Joe on board. We had worked together on a few sketches at the New England School of Communications and we worked really well together. I knew I wanted Joe as my Director of Photography immediately and that we wouldn’t do the film without him. As the director and the subject, I would need to trust the DP entirely to be capturing the moment. Joe was the only person I trusted to see it the same way as I did. It’s also wonderful having a friend behind the camera during some really personal things being shot. There’s a warmth in the final film, a sense of real friendship that I think carries over to the viewer as well.
Q: What’s the most exciting part of the phase Be A Man is in now? A: It’s the audience. Last night, we screened the film for the very first time to an audience. To hear the roars of laughter and how much people were laughing was astonishing. We felt the film was really funny, but the reaction last night blew me away. And to hear a pin drop during a serious moment is fantastic. We had people in tears by the end of the film and I couldn’t believe it.
Q: What’s next for the film (following the advanced screenings)? A: After the first advance screening in Rhode Island and the screening at The Bangor Mall Cinemas on June 28th, we’ll be doing a few more advance screenings in New England. Portland, Mass, New York, Connecticut. But I was really excited about having Bangor see the film first. Coming from Bangor and having built a lot of who I am here, meeting my wife here, I wanted to show it to people in Bangor for the first time in a special way. Of course, being a microbudget film, the screenings will help us raise funds to begin the film festival circuit and get this film shown across the country. That’s when we’ll look at our options for distribution and seek out potential streaming like Netflix, etc. But our main goal is for this film to be seen.
The Bangor area screening of Be A Man is scheduled for June 28th, 7pm at Bangor Mall Cinemas. Tickets are available online HERE.
For more information on Be A Man, visit beamanthefilm.com or like the movie on Facebook.
The Nite Show with Danny Cashman will present a special edition of the show with high school students taking over as guests and members of the crew. “High School Nite” will air on Saturday, May 30, and was produced in conjunction with Husson Alive: The NESCom Experience
“We have been looking forward to this for quite some time. The high schools in Maine are such a resource for tremendous talent and personalities that it was easy to find great guests for our show,” said Nite Show host Danny Cashman. “On top of that, despite doing a high school themed show, my transcript continues to go unchecked, keeping my dirty little secret alive that I never passed high school English…or science.”
Viewers of High School Nite on The Nite Show will notice guests hailing from high schools in Maine. Among them, Nick Danby of Bangor High School, who is ranked 2nd in the country by the National Speech and Debate Association, will be interviewed on the show. Alex Quinn, winner of individual awards for outstanding musicianship at both the Maine State Instrumental Jazz Festival and the Berklee High School Jazz Festival will be sitting in with the show’s house band, the Jump City Jazz Band on trumpet. The Division II winners of the Maine State Vocal Jazz Festival – the Unified Harmony Show Choir, made up of students from Stearns and Schenck High Schools in Millinocket and East Millinocket, respectively, will perform a selection from “Wicked” on the show. And a guest announcer from Dirigo High School even joins Nite Show announcer Joe Kennedy for the show’s introduction.
“Everybody loved everything about this taping,” said Cashman. “We hope that students, families, and towns will enjoy it, and we hope it becomes an annual event for us.”
Husson Alive: The NESCom Experience brought together high school students from ten different schools in Maine and New Hampshire to learn about NESCom for a day. Those students spent the day working on everything from marketing to video and audio production. At the end of the day, many students were involved in the actual production of the show, including running camera and technical directing High School Nite on The Nite Show.
High School Nite on The Nite Show will air in the show’s regular timeslots, statewide, on Sat., May 30: WABI TV5 (CBS) in Bangor at 11:30 p.m.; WPFO FOX23 in Portland following Major League Baseball and the FOX23 News at Ten (likely between 10:30 – 11 p.m.); and WAGM FOX8 in Presque Isle at 12 midnight.
The Nite Show with Danny Cashman is a late night talk show based on national shows hosted by the likes of David Letterman, Johnny Carson, and Jimmy Fallon. The 30-minute weekly show originates from Husson University’s Gracie Theatre in Bangor and features an opening monologue, a comedy bit, a guest interview, and usually a performance guest in every show. The show also features a live house band, The Jump City Jazz Band, Joe Kennedy serves as the show’s announcer, and the show is taped before a live studio audience. Previous guests have included folk singer/songwriter David Mallett, Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, Gov. Paul LePage, The Count from “Sesame Street,” Sen. Angus King, Miss Maine USA, Rob Bartlett of “Imus in the Morning,” F. Lee Bailey, former Major League Baseball player Matt Stairs, singer/songwriter Noel Paul Stookey, former host of “Double Dare,” Marc Summers, the Rustic Overtones, comedian George Hamm, MMA fighter Marcus Davis, and many more.
The force is strong with these ones. Iron Horse Cinema recently took home top honors at the annual Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, CA. Their Star Wars fan film “Star Wars: The Lesser Evil” was chosen by Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy as her favorite fan film of the event. The film was directed by 2009 Video Production graduate Sy Cody White. White is Creative Director for New Jersey-based Iron Horse Cinema and was on hand to accept the award with his colleagues.
New England School of Communications Journalism graduate Robert Nesbitt (’11) has been nominated for 3 Boston/New England Emmy awards for his work at WCSH 6 in Portland, ME. The nominees for the 38th Boston/New England Emmys were announced today in Dedham, MA.
Nesbitt has been nominated in the following categories:
NEWS SPECIALTY REPORT ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT
Inmate Artist WCSH
Rob Nesbitt, Reporter
Bone Marrow Brothers WCSH
Rob Nesbitt, Reporter
Wheel Chair Dog WCSH
Rob Nesbitt, Reporter
The 38th Boston/New England Emmy Awards ceremony will take place Saturday, May 30th.
WHSN 89.3 FM, campus radio station for Husson University is set to showcase the student work of NESCom Audio Engineering over the past academic year. On Wednesday, May 6th at 8pm, WHSN will air a special broadcast titled the “NESCom Audio Year In Review”.
Students taking CT 431 Advanced Music Production over the 2014-2015 academic year recorded 11 different musical acts as part of their course work. Each student was charged with selecting a musical act to bring to the studios of the New England School of Communications at Husson University and were responsible for all aspects of the project including recording, editing, mixing and mastering.
WHSN’s “NESCom Audio Year In Review” will include one song from each of the 11 projects and will include interviews with some of the students, giving them an opportunity to share their experiences with the recordings. Also included in the special will be Thom Johnston, Dean of the New England School of Communications.
“NESCom Audio Year In Review” will air Wednesday, May 6th at 8pm on WHSN 89.3 FM in the Bangor area and streamed online at whsn-fm.com
Students of the New England School of Communications at Husson University handle all production aspects of the Nite Show, which airs nearly statewide on television stations in Portland, Bangor, and Presque Isle, Maine. As the students worked on the set for tonight’s taping at the Gracie Theatre, student Alan Wardwell shot a time-lapse of the 2+ hours it takes to assemble the set.
The New England School of Communications Entertainment Production degree program at Husson University will present the award-winning musical, Once On This Island in the Gracie Black Box Theatre April 17th-19th. This is the third musical to has been presented in the school’s experimental theatre space. In 2013, Studs Terkel’s Working – The Musical launched the space as an intimate alternative performance facility on the Husson campus, to be followed by sell-out performances of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee last May.
Once On This Island is a rousing, Calypso-flavored tale of one small girl who finds love in a world of prejudice. From the TONY Award-winning songwriting team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Seussical, Ragtime) comes this Olivier Award-winning Caribbean adaptation of the popular fairy tale The Little Mermaid. This show garnered eight TONY nominations for its Broadway run, including Best Musical, Book and Score. Following their Off-Broadway debut with Lucky Stiff, a musical farce, Ahrens and Flaherty knew they wanted to tackle something with greater emotional depth. Browsing for ideas, Ahrens stumbled upon the novel My Love, My Love by Rosa Guy in a used bookstore. The book was inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, and Ahrens responded instantly to the novel’s poetic language and to the simple beauty of the story. Her writing partner, composer Stephen Flaherty, was attracted to the novel’s Caribbean setting, which would allow him to create a score that was theatrical, but inflected with the rhythms and sounds of the story’s locale.
The story focuses on Ti Moune, a peasant girl, who rescues a wealthy boy from the other side of the island, Daniel, with whom she falls in love. Unbeknownst to Ti Moune, the pompous gods who preside over the island make a bet with one another over which is stronger, love or death, the stakes being Ti Moune’s life. When she pursues Daniel, who has returned to his people, Ti Moune is shunned because of her lowly status. But her determination and capacity to love proves more powerful than society’s prejudices and the whims of the mischievous deities.
The NESCom production is staged by Jeri Misler, the Director of the Gracie Theatre, who is well-known to the Bangor Theatre community through her work with the Gracie as well as the Penobscot Theatre Company and Winterport Open Stage. Jeri will be assisted by the musical talents of Ben McNaboe, a music director and teaching artist at numerous high schools, Penobscot Theater, and Stages Performing Arts Academy. In addition to music directing, Ben also plays in pit orchestras on both reeds and keyboards having appeared in over 50 musical theater productions around New England. Together, Jeri and Ben have been working with Husson’s Musical Theatre Performance class, and other students within the Entertainment Production and Live Sound Programs to rehearse, design and produce this entertaining and uplifting musical.
The performances of Once On This Island are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 17 & 18 at 7:30 PM and on Sunday, April 19 at 2:00 PM. The Gracie Black Box Theatre is located on the second floor of the Gracie Theatre on the campus of Husson University. General Admission tickets are available at the door before each performance. Ticket prices are $5.00 Regular Admission and $3.00 Student admission. Seating is limited to 50 seats for each performance, so get there early, and be prepared to become enchanted!