There's a new show coming to Channel 7.
Natives Ryan Leighton, Cody Mitchell and Brian Papineau are creating a TV series that will be shown on local cable access Channel 7, online, and a few other venues.
Leighton and Mitchell currently work at BRCTV alongside Station Manager Jonne Trees and Director of Development Randall Adams.
Brian Papineau, left, and Ryan Leighton set up for a shoot for their new series, Era Man. SUZI THAYER/Boothbay Register
Their newest venture is a series of short episodes they’re calling Era Man.
Leighton said the series is a social commentary about what it’s like growing up in a small town in coastal Maine. “The show deals with all these colorful characters and the little nuances that make this town click,” Leighton said.
On Saturday, Jan. 23, Leighton and the cast and crew were at the Watershed Tavern in Boothbay filming the third episode.
“It’s about the ’90s,” Leighton said. “The setting is a speakeasy. It's current day, but this is a club, a secret place to escape the modern world and relive the ’90s.”
The pub was filled with ’90s memorabilia, including old video games, toys, board games, and lots of cans of Surge, a popular soda that emerged in the late ’90s, reportedly one so high in caffeine and sugar levels it was soon banned from school vending machines.
The goal of this series, Leighton said, is to showcase the Boothbay region with a positive vibe.
“It's a push to be more creative and to get more people involved who are interested in producing shows locally, and to have a lot of fun with it,” he said. “We're not looking for stardom. We just want to have some fun in the winter time.”
And so far they’re having a blast.
Leighton, who graduated from Boothbay Region High School in 2004, said assembling the cast was one of the best parts. “I called a lot of old friends who graduated from Boothbay and said, 'You wanna have some fun?' I got the gang back together and they're all here today.”
On the set, once the command 'Action!' was given, the room became quiet and the actors took breaths and did their best to follow Leighton's direction.
Acting as assistant director and co-writer for the series is Leighton's longtime friend, Papineau, also of Boothbay Harbor. Papineau returned to Boothbay recently from New Zealand, where he was working for a special effects company in the movie industry, Film Effects. Though Papineau had no prior experience in special effects, he said his background in electrical engineering helped. He said he's glad to be back, at least for a while, and helping his friend with this project.
“Ryan had a series of notebooks with ideas in them,” Papineau said. “Now he has this opportunity to bring them to the screen through BRCTV.”
Cody Mitchell of Boothbay is Leighton's director of photography. “Cody is the wizard extraordinaire of cinematography,” Leighton said. “He's editing and he's filming and he's doing all the post-production stuff. I'm really lucky to have him. That kid is going to go places.”
Each of the episodes, all shot in the Boothbay region, will feature a different theme and will air on Channel 7 and YouTube.
In the meantime, Leighton is working on his full-length documentary of Steve and Karl Berger’s hike on the Appalachian Trail last year. The documentary, which was filmed over the course of six months, is in post-production and set to premier this spring at the Harbor Theatre.
The new programming is coming at a time that Leighton has described as a new chapter for BRCTV. With new equipment purchases and editing software, the station aims to enhance its ability to provide services to the businesses and people of the Boothbay region. The station is currently producing promotional videos for local businesses as well as mentoring high school students in multimedia production.
Leighton said BRCTV has also made big changes in the way it schedules its shows, as well as making all its content accessible through social media and its website, www.brctv.org.
“We want people to get excited. We want to change the game as far as how Channel 7 entertains and serves the community,” Leighton said. “It’s a special time to be here.”