I had the opportunity to move my family to Maine a few years ago. I had an existing production company in Florida but wanted to make the jump to New England (the reverse move). I wanted to produce videos and films out of Bangor but was not entirely sure if it was going to be the best fit. I can firmly say it was the right move.
Filming in Maine can be one of the best experiences of your life. From lighthouses and mountains to port cities and peaceful lakes, Maine is a picture of New England beauty. Making sure you implement these five tips will give you more of what Maine has to offer.
1. Go Beyond the City. . . And the Coast.
When people hear the word Maine, they usually think of a lighthouse, lobster, or a Moose. My recommendation. . . Find the moose. I get it, filming in Portland, Bangor, Camden, York or Bar Harbor is pretty legit. But have you ever considered shooting near Millinocket? What about Fort Kent? Greenville? There are SO MANY incredible locations to film in Maine that are relatively undiscovered. Get off the tourist trail and get in those woods bub!
2. Avoid Mud Season. . . March to May.
While I genuinely believe that Maine the best place to live, there is one downside. Mud season; Maine’s unofficial 5th season. Sometime around March/April, the beautiful snow gets nasty, then melts. The result is roaring freezing rivers, and more mud than our political system can throw. Trees have no leaves for much of the time, and it can rain for days on end. Not to mention the Biblical plague of black flies. In short, try to avoid filming outdoors between March and May. There will be some glimpses of hope (sun), but it would be best not to schedule anything that involves happiness.
3. Batteries. . . Lots of them.
Winter in Maine is the very picture of a Christmas song (until about March). But all that beautiful snow, while perfect for film and video production, can wreak havoc on your batteries. You don’t need to change your batteries after every shot, but having a few extra, fully charged batteries can serve you well. Cold batteries can hold a charge longer than warm batteries but discharge at a much faster rate. Be careful, especially when flying a drone in the winter. If you have a bigger drone, like the DJI Inspire or Inspire 2 I recommend using insulated battery stickers. The bottom line, winter in Maine is no time to test the limits of your batteries.
4. Check the weather. . . Then check again.
This may go without saying, but I grew up in California and Florida. Early in my career, there were too many times I never looked at the weather. Sunny and hot, check. Then I moved to Bangor, Maine; holy weather Batman! Let’s say this; anything beyond a week is hopeful at best. It feels like the weather forecast changes hourly. So book the days for the shoot, but keep a close eye on that changing forecast.
5. Ask a local. . . They are the best.
I am a transplant to Maine. My wife grew up here, and I fell in love with the land and more importantly, the people. Mainers are some of the kindest, hardest working, most genuine people I have ever met. When pre-production is in full swing, it is great to have everything charted out, but do yourself a favor; ask a local. Most Mainers LOVE their state and KNOW their state. I have discovered some beautiful undiscovered gems that I would have never found on a search engine. Walk into Dysarts, Governor’s, Holy Donut or any other Maine staple and ask Patty or Bill!
BONUS: Take a second. . . Enjoy the view.
Maine is INCREDIBLE to film in. I have filmed all around the world, and I can say that some of my best shots have been right here in the state I love. But when you can, put the camera down, take a deep breath. . . And take it all in.
If you can get outside of the tourist areas, not film during mud season and have enough batteries to outlast the weather, then you are on your way to a successful shoot in Maine. Just don’t forget to ask Bob at Dysarts where he used to take his kid's hiking. That may be the clue you need to elevate your shoot from good to extraordinary.
Filmmaker from Bangor, Maine