Maine Student Film & Video Conference



Saturday, April 4, 2020
Mid-Maine Technical Center, Waterville

8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Registration for the Conference will open Jan. 1, 2020

About MSFVC 2020:

The third annual Maine Student Film & Video Conference is a full-day event that will offer a slate of hands-on workshops for middle and high school students in narrative and documentary filmmaking, broadcasting, photography, and a variety of technical production skills. Educators will have access to professional workshops and presentations focused on teaching and learning with film in the classroom. Experts in these fields from across the state of Maine will work with small groups to provide individualized instruction. Attendance and participation in the conference is free, and registration is limited to 200 students and 50 educators.

Colleges, universities, working filmmakers, and professionals in the digital arts will be in attendance and lead all workshops. Lunch will be provided, and prizes will be drawn at the end of the day.


2019 Workshops

For Students:


In Front of the Lens

With Kaitlin Mullen

Explore the concept of lifestyle photography and photojournalism, the art of working with what's organically in front of you in a non-disruptive way. You'll be shooting for much of this session, so come ready to learn and shoot!

Virtual and Augmented Reality

With Brave Williams

Create experiences that aren’t quite real, but sure look it. Virtual reality and augmented reality are cutting edge approaches in the digital media world, and New England School of Communications instructor Brave Williams will run you through the basics.

Video 101

With Niko Hample

Get shooting! You don’t need fancy gear to start producing the kind of films and videos that make the world notice, and Niko Hample will show you how to capture the action in a way that will capture your audiences, whether it’s with a smartphone or video camera. You’ll have plenty of time to get some slick moves down just in time to craft your entry for the Maine Student Film & Video Festival!


3D Animation

With Brandon Soards

Learn the basics of 3D Animation using Cinema4D, most known for its use in broadcast motion graphics such as with Fox, CBS, BBC and Marvel. Students will get a crash course in basic modeling, texturing, lighting, and rendering. They can then apply these same concepts to free alternative software for their at-home projects.

Steadicam 101

With steve vachon

If you came to the conference last year, then you’d remember Steve walking through the crowd, showing how a camera can “float” with a Steadcam. This year Steve is back, but in a full-length workshop. Learn how to move a camera so your viewer gets the sense you’re gliding through space.

3,2,1 Cue

With Shannon Moss

In a fun, laid back environment, we’ll talk tips and techniques that will give you the skills needed to be ready to work in front of the camera! Being a natural on camera can be learned. It takes hands on experience aimed to build confidence and wow your audience, and you’ll get some practice with our in-studio teleprompter and pro advice from Shannon!


Recording Audio

With NESCom Staff

Get some studio time with audio experts from the New England School of Communications. Learn where to place mics for music and film, and get a handle on coming up with sound experiences that will take your work to the next level.

Cinematic & Story-Driven Event Coverage

With Wes Sterrs

A crash course in planning and executing a thoughtful and engaging event video with a small team. We will discuss everything from pre-production workflow to gear to shooting techniques and more with the hopes of giving you the tools to begin a career in freelance videography in your community.

Whatever Works!

With Mel Salmi and Mackenzie Bartlett

There is no one clear path when it comes filmmaking, and success is non-linear. In this conversational course, we will discuss and explore the vast landscape of creative careers, and the many forms they can take. We’ll discuss the importance of giving yourself permission to trust your vision and engage in the creative process, as well as illuminate the many platforms on which your work can be seen. Mackenzie and Mel will also discuss their own journeys as young female media professionals, and offer up insight on the (very different) tools, opportunities, and practices that helped them carve out space for themselves in the industry.


Editing 101 with Adobe Premiere CC

With Rebecca Conley

Get the basics of editing with pro-level software. Whether you find free software online or go with a more sophisticated option, this session will get you rolling in moving your work from camera to screen.

The Art of the Kill

With Corey Norman

You’ll learn how to dissect several famous kills from popular horror films, and then build shots to help "sell" the kills on screen, before re-creating a kill or two in our session. Don’t wear your best clothes for this session - lots of fake blood around!

Being Young in the Film Industry

With Jack Rohner

Getting started in the film industry isn’t like applying for a job in most traditional industries. Jack Rohner has worked for organizations like the United Nations, The Boston Red Sox, Nike and more, and he’ll lead this conversation on how you can get your start working with cameras and more.


Grip 101

With Jack Rohner

What's a C-stand and why is it so important? How can we use it safely and to help us spark creativity while making money? Learn the basics of being useful, efficient, and staying out of trouble on set - just the kind of skills to make new friends and a buck or two!

Location Sound for Film/TV

With Justin LaCroix

Capture quality sound for video through location planning, boom operating and recording techniques. We will be using boom mics to follow dialogue in a reality scenario and also learn how to hide a lavalier mic properly. Syncing sound with video and set etiquette will also be discussed.

Intermediate Editing

With Rebecca Conley

Already got some editing experience with Adobe Premiere? Maine Public pro Rebecca will show you how to get to the next level in this session for students with experience. Learn masking, color adjusting and much more!


Live Truck Production

With Nick Godfrey

Learn about live TV production from Maine Public’s remote truck, the headquarters for that brain-testing show, High School Quiz Show: Maine. We’ll talk about live events from setting up the equipment to going over what it’s like during a live production inside the truck.

Cinematography: Move Cameras For Emotion

With Dean Merrill

You’ll learn how to set, light, and shoot multiple perspectives in a cinematic scene, moving cameras for effect, emotion, and story.

Making the Camera Work for You

With Brett Plymale

Learn how camera movements can create the feel and set the tone of your cinematic and documentary projects. We’ll be using a dolly, slider and jib to capture directed scenes as well as learning effective handheld techniques for getting the most out of a live action setting.


Shooting With Drones for TV and the Web

With Brian Bechard

Get the basics of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle laws and best practices for using aerial systems for photography and video. You'll review some drone reels and learn how different techniques impact the viewer. Some students will get a hands on experience with a drone, including piloting a brief flight and recording footage.

Get Started with Screenwriting

With Corey Norman

It’s all about the writing! Sure, cameras, lights, and audio is essential, but you wouldn’t get far without a well crafted story. Corey Norman is the director, writer, producer, editor, and oh yeah, founder of Bonfire Films. He has produced music videos, scripted award winning horror films, and his work has screened around the country. You’ll get the chance to workshop your story idea and leave ready to start producing the script for your latest film!

2D Digital Animation

With Brandon Soards

Learn how to use Adobe Animate and alternative free software to create animations akin to classic Disney and Studio Ghibli films. Students will create frame-by-frame animations and learn the once secretive technique known as rotoscoping.


Light It Up!

With Nick Woodward

Learn how to be the master of light and darkness - without using magic! Proper lighting can help tell your story, guide what catches the viewer’s attention and set a mood. This course will show you the basics of lighting, how lighting affects your camera and how you can steer the viewer’s emotional connection.

Makeup and Special Effects

with Haley Norman

Learn what it takes to make the fake look real in this hands-on session designed to help you uncover what's behind the gore that happens when things go wrong for some characters finding themselves on the wrong end of very, very, sharp objects. You’ll leave with fake wounds that’ll trick anyone!

Motion Graphics with After Effects

With Rebecca Conley

Adobe’s After Effects motion graphics software is the next step once you’ve got the basic of editing down, and you’ll learn how to make type, images and graphics come to life for the opening credits of that next film project you’ve got planned.


The Art of Storytelling

With PBS NewsHour Staff

PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs reaches thousands of teachers and students every year through its original youth journalism program, which connects young people to public media stations and mentors across the country. In this session, you will learn how to identify the essential elements for developing a story structure that is driven by strong characters, emotion, compelling visuals and natural sound. You will also be given practical tools grounded in project based learning to help build confidence and critical thinking skills through the art of storytelling.


For Educators:

Ideas for the Digital Media Classroom

With Dave Boardman

Whether you’re just starting a video production program or you’re an experienced educator, this session is designed to provide you with a variety of video based projects and ideas that you can use in your own classroom.  We’ll talk about project ideas, lesson plans, resources for royalty free audio, unique (and inexpensive) equipment as well as tips and tricks. We’ll talk about how we can expand student video journalism opportunities in Maine.

Beyond the Screenplay

With Mark Melnicove

It’s one thing to teach students how to write a screenplay and/or make a film; it’s another to create a classroom climate that promotes shared purpose, insightful feedback, and teamwork. In this interactive workshop, Falmouth High School teacher Mark Melnicove will share some of the strategies he has used to empower his students to make their screenwriting and filmmaking meaningful, not only for the sake of their writing and films, but also their lives. Some examples of his students' screenwriting and filmmaking will be shown and discussed.

The Art of Storytelling

PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs

PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs reaches thousands of teachers and students every year through its original youth journalism program, which connects young people to public media stations and mentors across the country. In this session, you will learn how to identify the essential elements for developing a story structure that is driven by strong characters, emotion, compelling visuals and natural sound. You will also be given practical tools grounded in project based learning to help build confidence and critical thinking skills through the art of storytelling.


Responding to Student Films

With Corey Norman

In the field of video production, teachers must assess their students on not only the technical side of video production, but only on the creative side as well. This workshop will explore a variety of rubrics to better help educators clearly define the perimeters for a successful project.

The Experts


Brian Bechard is an Emmy winning videographer/editor and an 18-year veteran of the video production industry. As an early adopter of UAV technology, Brian began to use the unique perspective of drone footage to enhance his work as a videographer and has since become an licensed FAA commercial drone operator. See examples of Brian's work at

Brandon Soards is the Design/Technology Instructor at the Mid-Coast School of Technology in Rockland and Animation Instructor at Maine Media Workshops + College in Rockport. His business, Rubicon Edge Design, has specialized in providing multimedia for nonprofit organizations in the Mid-Coast region for 15 years, in which he has created 2D Motion, Frame-by-Frame, Stop-Motion, and 3D Animations.

Shannon Moss is an award-winning media personality in Maine and the host of High School Quiz Show: Maine, airing across the state on Maine Public Television each winter. Shannon is no stranger to Maine’s airwaves, having spent over 14 years as an anchor and reporter in the competitive Portland commercial news market.

Rebecca Conley has over 20 years of experience in graphics, video production, photography, and editing. As digital graphics producer for Maine Public, she produces content for television, print and online.

Corey Norman is an internationally distributed, award winning horror filmmaker, and a faculty member in the Communications and New Media Department at Southern Maine Community College, where he has been teaching for eight years. He's known for his films The Hanover House, Charlotte, The Invoking 2, The Witching, Monsterland, Tickle and Suffer the Little Children.

Jack Rohner's name comes up all over the place when people in Maine are talking about up-and-coming filmmakers. An MMTC alumni, he's finding the world of film/video production to be the best way to travel all around the country, working for organizations such as Samsung, Nike, The United Nations, The Boston Red Sox, New Balance, Bank of America, and so many more.

Justin LaCroix is a professional sound mixer and recordist for documentary film, reality TV, narrative film and commercials. He has traveled the world from Cambodia to remote Fiji, all across Europe and throughout New England working with National Geographic, VICE, CBS, HBO, HGTV and Survivor, to name a few, on sets both big and small.

Nick Godfrey is a graduate of Gardiner Area High School and New England School of Communications at Husson University. He is a Media Services Producer at Maine Public. He directs High School Quiz Show: Maine, High School Basketball Championship Weekend, and various other live remotes for state wide broadcast.

Cinematographer Dean Merrill is the owner of Swallowtail Media in Portland. He has worked with international brands and studios such as National Geographic, The History Channel, ABC, L.L. Bean, Timberland, LoJack, Chase Manhattan, Hewlett Packard, and has been featured in Filmmaker, Indiewire, MovieMaker, The New York Times, and National Public Radio (NPR).

Brett Plymale is the owner and operator of Plymale Productions, a production company based in Portland, Maine. He was worked for 20 years in the field of film and video production. He began his career as a photojournalist for WGME, a CBS affiliate, and has gone on to serve as Director of Photography on various projects for HGTV, CNBC, Outside TV, Discovery, CSPAN, MPBN and many others.

Kaitlin Mullen is a self-taught professional photographer who specializes in portraits of people doing things they love. Her company, She's A Teacher Photography, works with clients throughout Maine, and in case you didn't figure it out, she's a also a middle school teacher in Gardiner.

Eric Axelman is a documentary filmmaker and educator currently directing the film Israelism, about the American Jewish relationship to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which features interviews with Cornel West, Noam Chomsky, Issa Amro, and many more. A native of central Maine, Eric has done multiple filming trips to the Middle East, and has been making documentary films since he was a middle schooler in Skowhegan.

Niko Hample is the founder of Knowmadic Photography, and works with still images and video to provide organizations with an approach to telling their story visually. His latest project focused on documenting one of Maine’s major political races.

Nick Woodward is the Television Production Manager for Maine Public Television. In his 30+ year career, he has shot scores of documentaries and television shows, hundreds of interviews and travelled to every corner of the state. Currently, he is the producer and editor for High School Quiz Show: Maine. He has won numerous awards including two New England Emmys and has extensive experience in both field and studio lighting.

Dave Boardman is a co-founder of the Maine Student Film & Video Conference and teaches the Mass Media Communications program at Mid-Maine Technical School in Waterville. A journalist, photographer, writer, videographer, and editor, he’s also the education program coordinator for Maine Public where he connects educators and students to opportunities in public media. Dave has two Emmy nominations, he’s an Apple Distinguished Educator, a National Board Certified Teacher, and holds a doctorate in education.

Mark Melnicove teaches “Screenwriting and Film Production,” a course at Falmouth High School where students write screenplays and make films of them. At the end of the academic year, many of these films are shown at the school’s student film festival, The Anchors. Melnicove’s film credits include Joy Glows Where Confusion Was, a film about Maine poet, publisher, and scientist Bern Porter that was created for Porter’s 2010 Museum of Modern Art exhibition.

Wesleigh Sterrs is a self-taught filmmaker who started making strange horror films in the Midcoast with the help of his family and neighbors. After years of freelancing around Maine, he co-founded MEDIALOMA in Portland and works on all aspects of production from cinematography to craft services. On the weekend, Wes can be found making odd animations and hanging out with his cat, Zappa.

Mel Salmi began her career as an independent filmmaker in Finland, working on film sets in Europe and beyond. The films she has produced have won numerous awards and have been screened around the world. Mel co-owns Portland-based media production company MEDIALOMA and has recently taken on the role of Director of Photography on witchy and weird films.

Mackenzie Bartlett is a Portland-based, award-winning filmmaker. She daylights as a community non-profit organizer and moonlights as a director, film festival producer and podcast host. Her internationally screened work falls somewhere at the intersection of socially conscious horror and confetti canon chaos.