Thursday, August 6, 2009

Making the Most of Maine's Resources

In my last post I wrote about “Mentoring Ali”, a young woman from Falmouth, Maine who developed her own “film” degree at Williams College and wants to pursue a career behind the camera. The outpouring of positive feedback and advice was terrific and I was able to pass along wonderful technical advice from professionals who currently work in media production to powerful words of encouragement from people who are inspired by Ali’s willingness to simply “go for it”.

So how do we reach out to others in Ali’s 18-34 group that continue to leave the state of Maine at an alarming rate?

How about the University of Maine working with or taking over the film office? A curriculum could be developed, a professor could over see it, students could bring the film office communication into the 21st century with streaming video, a website that is proactive, facebook, Twitter, MySpace, we’d have “built in” location scouts in 7 different locations around the state, education credits could be earned by students working on local independent films and we’d actually be tapping into young people in a creative and powerful way. They would be learning at the same time that they are bringing business to Maine.

This isn’t an original idea. The State of Missouri has combined forces with Missouri University and the results have been terrific.

Steve Wyatt is the Associate Dean for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development for the University of Missouri’s College of Engineering who serves as the Statewide Business Development Program Director for University Extension writes, “The university partnership with the state has been great. The partnership allows the Film Office to take advantage of the strengths of the University and the state. Since the move, we have nearly tripled tax credits for the industry, increased office budget, increased awareness, and increased private support. This year we landed a movie with George Clooney entitled Up in the Air which is scheduled to be released late fall or early winter.”

There is a lot to do to make this happen. I’ve started the process by reaching out to the key people. If you are interested in getting involved or have ideas send me an email. I plan on doing everything I can to help young people like Ali live and express their creativity in Maine.