Sunday, June 29, 2008

How a film brought fame to Camden

Email to Maine Citizens
From: Cameron Bonsey []
Sent: Sunday, June 10, 2007 1:17 PM
To: ''
Subject: How a film brought fame to Camden

I read the June 9th Portland Press Herald Article “How a film brought fame to Camden” with great interest. Film and television production in Maine can have a tremendous economic impact and Peyton Place is a perfect “home town” example. 50 years after its release people are still traveling to Camden so see where the film was made. This phenomenon is known as set-jetting and is never accurately calculated into economic figures for film and television production.

I have copied 2 quotes from the article that highlight these points. All of you on my list including legislators, business people, producers, cast members, actors, film commission members and Maine citizens who are concerned with the future of the Maine economy can take a look at the past to see that we should all be coming together to do everything we can to insure that more great films are shot in Maine.

After the movie was released, tourists flocked to Camden in search of the places where "Peyton Place" had been filmed. A half-century later they're still coming, and Camden has pricey real estate and high incomes.

"If there was a seminal event that changed the mind-set of the people here, this was it," Bregy said. "Having a major motion picture made here made people think this must be a unique place."

Maine is a unique place and we need to promote and market it to the best of our combined abilities.

A Downeast Idea

From: Cameron Bonsey []
Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2007 12:57 PM
To: ''
Subject: Talk of Maine/Stealing the Show

I read the May 2007 “The Talk of Maine” section of Downeast magazine with great interest. The piece was written by Joshua F. Moore and it was titled “Stealing the Show”. In short, it highlighted past film projects that have been produced in Maine, their positive economic impact, the current film incentives that Maine has in place and how they are not enough to compete with the film incentives that have been passed in other New England states and states across the country.

The current incentives would never have been passed without the immense efforts of citizens outside of the film office and film commission. Barney Martin, an actor and performer from Scarborough Maine, invested hundred’s of hours in research and relationship building with legislators to educate them on the benefits of film production. Without his efforts, and the efforts of other citizens, Maine would be bereft of film incentives.

So here is the sobering and empowering news in regard to film and television production in the state of Maine. It will only get done when individuals, like Mr. Martin, have the belief in Maine, its locations, its people, their creativity and the heart and soul to pull it all together.

Four of those people were mentioned in the “Stealing the Show” article. Stephen King, Richard Russo, Todd Field and Patrick Dempsey have all had a positive impact on Maine television and film production.

Imagine bringing all their talents together under a non-profit designed as a sustainable organization to employ and educate Maine residents in the media production industry. Any profits from any production would be returned to the non-profit to invest in future productions and education.

The first project could bring the intellectual collaboration of Stephen King and Richard Russo, the creativity and directorial talents of Todd Field and the celebrity and acting ability of Patrick Dempsey together in the first production that could be titled, “The Shining Empire Falls”.

With that type of star power, funding for pre-production, production, post production, distribution and marketing would be assured. The goodwill and excitement would be immense and an entity would be born that would continue to grow and help expand and improve the standard of living for citizens throughout the state of Maine.

You may say that I have an imagination bigger that Mr. King’s and Mr. Russo’s combined but I don’t think so. It will just take a bunch of heart, soul and drive……I think I’ll give Mr. Martin a call.

Yours truly,

Cameron Bonsey

Falmouth, Maine

A King Sized Idea

I've been trying to get this idea off the ground for a few years. I thought you'd appreciate the thought process.

From: Cameron Bonsey []
Sent: Friday, April 27, 2007 8:27 AM
To: 'Marsha DeFilippo'; 'Dale Duff'
Subject: Maine Film non-profit

Dear Marsha,

Thank you for the follow up and letting me know that Mr. King has other issues directly before him right now. I am not in a hurry and I want to make sure that I respect Mr. King’s time.

The idea of this non-profit is to set up a sustainable organization to employ and educate Maine residents in the media production industry. Any profits from any production would be returned to the non-profit to invest in future productions and education.

In a recent article in the LA Daily Times by Greg Hernandez and Lisa Friedman it was noted that movie making in the U.S. provides 1.3 million jobs, $60.4 billion in revenue and $10 billion in state and federal taxes. The article starts with the quote, “With filming taking place in almost every state in the U.S….”

The unfortunate part of this story is that Maine is not one of those States. I believe that we can change that.

Because of Stephen King’s success, respect and fame, a non-profit with the rights to one of his stories, and the mission to employ Maine citizens in the theatrical production of said story, would attract the money and talent needed for pre-production, production, post-production, marketing and distribution.

“Horror is the most profitable film genre around. Each new film can almost be guaranteed a large slice of the teenage-boy market, the last demographic devoted to spending Friday nights at the movies,” writes Richard Corliss in an October 2006 article on .

A Stephen King story produced in Maine would attract not only the very best talent from Maine (there is a deep pool) but some tremendous, established Hollywood talent with extremely strong ties to Maine.

With an experienced producer and the tremendous goodwill that would develop through this non-profit the movie could be shot inexpensively, by Hollywood standards, and maintain a very high quality.

Mr. King has certainly done more than his share in giving back to the state. By donating the rights to one of his current or future stories to this non-profit he would be helping to establish a new portion of the Maine economy that would continue to grow and help to expand and improve the standard of living for citizens throughout the state of Maine.

At some point, when it is convenient for Mr. King, I would like to meet with him face to face to further explain this concept and hopefully convince him of the value and potential that it represents.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Funding the Maine Film Office, How does Maine Compare?

On December 29th 2007 I shared the stage at the Bangor Film festival with the Assistant Director of the Maine Film Office, Greg Gadberry. Greg had been invited to speak because of his position in the film office. The brothers who started the film festival, Josh and Seth Gass, had invited me to speak because they had read my blog.

Greg introduced himself by saying “ My name is Greg Gadbury. I am the assistant director of the Maine film office, which is not the smallest division of state government but its real close. There are two of us and a group of volunteers and a budget that would probably embarrass most high school marching bands. Umm..”

I interjected and said “That’s two hundred thousand, right?

Greg responded by saying “That’s …well that’s.. no actually a hundred and ninety seven thousand dollars. Two people and thirty thousand dollars operational funds. That’s a little bit less than some film offices have for marketing alone. So needless to say we’re.. like a lot of things in Maine.. tourism other things.. terms of funding we’re in the fourties in comparison to other states.”

I have posted this clip on YouTube and I would encourage you to click on the link and listen to it yourself:

As Greg introduced the idea of Maine in comparison to other states it is fair to actually list the budgets of film offices with state populations that are comparable to Maine’s. Here is the list by state, population ranking and population:

Nebraska, 38th, 1,711,263
Idaho, 39th, 1,293,953
Maine, 40th, 1,274,923
New Hampshire, 41st 1,235,986

I contacted each state film office and ask them for their budget information. Here are their responses


From: Laurie
Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 12:52 PM
Subject: Re: Maine Film Office

Cameron. Feel fortunate! The Nebraska Film Office budget is $37,000. This includes salary, Locations, Cineposium and our direct marketing post card campaign, sent out 4x year.

Laurie Richards

From: Peg Owens
Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2007 9:52 AM
Subject: RE: Film office size and budget

Hi Cameron,

Our budget is about $200,000 – divided roughly in half for salaries/benefits and marketing. We have two people – actually 1.5 because I manage the film program and several areas in tourism while Kat is dedicated just to the film office.
Peg Owens
Idaho Tourism
Idaho Film Office

New Hampshire

From: Matthew Newton []
Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 2007 8:08 AM
Subject: RE: Film office size and budget


Not sure our data will help you any - my total budget is $100K. I am currently the only employee in the office. Half of my budget is used for salary and benefits. I apply quite a bit of Yankee ingenuity in utilizing the other half for promotion, expenses, etc.

Matthew W. Newton
State of New Hampshire
Film & Television Office

In regard to population base, it is clear that Maine is at the top in funding its film office. They are also at the top in regard to the percentage of the funding that goes directly to salaries and benefits and at the bottom in regard to percentage of funding used for marketing.

I would like to see Maine at the top in regard to creative use of the funding that is available. Like New Hampshire, let’s use some “Yankee ingenuity” and really start marketing Maine as a film production destination.