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2014 Alum Jamie Gagnon Talks About Working on American Horror Story: Cult

2014 Video Production alum Jamie Gagnon first came to NESCom because, as he put it, “I had wanted to get three things: Friends/Like-minded people/connections, hands-on experience, and to test my desired path against other potential careers and NESCom succeeded all of my expectations”. Since graduating, Jamie has been quite busy pursuing that path and it has lead him all the way to California. Jamie took some time out of his busy day to fill us in on his latest achievement, working on seventh season of the hit FX television series American Horror Story.

Q: What have you been doing since graduating from NESCom?
A: Immediately after graduating NESCom, I spent the majority of my creative time writing and eventually, directed a short film before leaving Maine. Since moving to Los Angeles, however, I’ve done some freelance editing, grip work on a music video and a short film, and currently assist a film producer.

Jamie Gagnon on the set of American Horror Story: Cult

Jamie Gagnon on the set of American Horror Story: Cult

Q: What was your role on American Horror Story?
A: I’m a Set Production Assistant (PA).

Q: What was an average day at work for you?
A: First, I check into the Production Trailer, gather call sheets and sides (the segment of the script we are shooting that day), and usually distribute walkie-talkies to our crew. Then from there, I typically assist in a range of duties from coordinating First Team (actors of the day) or Background actors (extras), distribute paperwork, parrot calls to action like “Picture’s Up!” “Rolling!” “Cut!,” lock-up the set (to prevent any noise or people from ruining the shots) and continue to do so for the majority of the day. Finally, we spin the walkie channels to relay information and collect paperwork at the end of the night.

Q: What’s been the most stressful part of your work on the show”
A: There was this one day in Orange, CA. We were shooting only exteriors of the “Butchery On Main” (the restaurant featured in the show) and word had gotten out the night before that American Horror Story was going to be there and so, our set was littered with teens and twenty-somethings who were out to get a peek at Sarah Paulson or Evan Peters. They would constantly try to get past me so they could snap photos and let’s just say it made for a stressful day.

Jamie Gagnon on set

Jamie Gagnon on the set of American Horror Story: Cult

Q: What have you learned through your experience?
A: The sheer level of professionalism on American Horror Story is astounding. These shows have such a rigid system of coordination and execution that few in Maine have ever witnessed. It’s not that we’re incapable of such a production in Maine, it’s just that we don’t have the infrastructure to support it as of yet.

Q: Do you have any plans for the future?
A: My next goal is be staffed on a show so I can have a steady source of income and grow and learn on set at a more consistent pace; I’ve actually already been asked to work on two other shows. I also continue my writing projects. I’m nearing the end of my autobiographical self-help book about my battle with Leukemia which has the placeholder title, My Cancer Story. I put a first draft chapter-by-chapter on my blog, every Monday. I am also reworking a cartoon show that I had put away years ago that is also based on my life– but my childhood, growing up in Northern Maine. Other than that, I’m developing a short film that I’m writing and directing soon, record and host a podcast every week called Not Quite Hollywood and, last but not least, I co-host a Youtube show with fellow alum, Brandon Doyen, called We Need Movies.

Q: What advice would you give NESCom students interested in your field?
A: Keep busy. Life will not hand you anything and therefore, you must work hard for what you want. I keep busy because it A) helps keep me sane and B) spreads my reach far beyond one platform. I believe podcaster and all-around multi-hyphenate Chris Hardwick, said it best: I put lots of fishing poles in the pond. Something eventually bites.” Of course, his poles all went off at the same time and he has juggled several gigs at once, but that’s not likely for everyone.

Finally, do what you love, love who you want, and most importantly, love yourself.

NESCom Alum and Faculty Nominated for Boston/New England Emmys

The Boston/New England chapter of the National Academy of Arts & Sciences has announced the nominees for their 40th Emmy awards. Included in the nominations are graduates and faculty of the New England School of Communications.

Nominees include:
Rob Nesbitt (2011) in the Video Journalist category for his piece titled “A Cousin’s Run”, telling the story of James Anderson and his cousin Rusty Wilkins on WCSH-TV, Portland, ME.

Nick Woodward (1992) is included in the Education/Schools category for his work with Maine Public Broadcasting on their Maine Education Project.

Barry Alley’s (1995) work as photographer is included in the Comcast SportsNet nomination in the Sports Event/Game-Live/Unedited category for their work on Boston Celtics Basketball.

NESCom at Husson University instructor and 2002 alum Kris Bridges is included in the Interview/Discussion category for his work as Director of Greenlight Maine which is produced by Portland Media Group LLC at the television studios of NESCom. Although they are not included in the nomination, many NESCom faculty and graduates work on the program.

The Boston/New England chapter Emmys awards will be presented Saturday, June 24th at the Marriott Boston Copley Place.

NESCom Alum Visciano Included In Adele Grammy Wins

NESCom Audio Engineering alum Joe Visciano spent Sunday night attending the 59th annual Grammy awards in Los Angeles, CA. Visciano was included in the Adele’s nominations for Album and Record of the year, which won both categories.

During the acceptance speech for Album of the Year, you can spot Visciano on stage with engineers, mixers, and producers who had a hand in the album’s creation.

Live Sound Students Sail To Key West & Cozumel With Country Cruising


As the temperature drops this winter, 7 live sound technology students and Assistant Profession Eric Ferguson are already thinking about warmer weather. In what has become a NESCom experiential learning tradition, students will set sail with Cruise Production, a company out of Fort Lauderdale owned by 1990 alum Tim Cabral to work as stage crew on the Country Cruising excursion.

The 2017 edition of Country Cruising kicks off on January 14th and travels from Tampa to stops in Key West and Cozumel aboard the Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas. The cruise includes performances by 22 country music artists including:

Chris Young
Montgomery Gentry
Kelsea Ballerini
Charles Esten, star of the hit TV series “Nashville”
Diamond Rio
Clare Bowen, star of the hit TV series “Nashville”
&Phil Vassar

For more information on the cruise, visit

Live Sound Technology Alum Included In Mix Magazine

2014 NESCom Live Sound Technology alum Jonathan Barrows was included in a feature on pop sensation The Weeknd in the January 2016 issue of Mix Magazine.

To see a larger version of the segment, click on the image.

Alum Greg Wonder Helps Tell The Story Of Dennis Viollet – A United Man

Greg Wonder, a 2010 graduate of the New England School of Communications has been hard at work over the past 3 years working on the documentary Dennis Viollet – A United Man which was recently finished. Wonder took some time out of his busy video production schedule in Los Angeles to talk with the NESCom Blog to talk about the project and its plans for the future.

NESCom Blog: Bring us up to date on what you’re doing in Los Angeles and how you became involved with Dennis Viollet – A United Man?


Wonder: I’m based out of Los Angeles and as far as entertainment employment goes, this is really the best place for it. My work consists of many things like writing, directing and producing but my day to day job is really as a cinematographer, video editor, and colorist. Editing/color are the things I end up doing most since there’s far more demand for it. I am a freelance contractor but the bulk of my work comes from the same company and we work on a variety of different things from fashion/makeup brands to beverage companies.

I became involved in the project through simple networking. Rachel Viollet (the film’s director/producer) and I met through mutual friends when we were both new to LA and she mentioned that she wanted to make this documentary about her father. She liked my work and the two of us got along really well so she brought me on as the DP, editor, and co-producer.

NESCom Blog: So who is Dennis Viollet and what is his story?

Wonder: Dennis Viollet – A United Man is a documentary about a Manchester United legend who played back in the 50’s and 60’s. He’s one of the best players to ever come through the club and actually still holds the record for most goals in a season. After his professional career in England he came to the United States and played a huge roll in popularizing the game over here.

NESCom Blog: With a subject that spent time in both England and America, did you have to shoot in both countries?

Wonder: The first thing we shot was a couple of short interviews in LA of Rachel and the consulting producer Kim Waltrip (producer Hit & Run) for an indiegogo campaign. The campaign raised enough money for Rachel and I to travel to England for a week and shoot our first batch of interviews. We spoke to men like Denis Law and Sir Alex Ferguson who are legends in the sport which was pretty amazing. After England, we traveled to Jacksonville, FL which is where Dennis spent the second half of his life, and shot the remaining interviews for the film. We shot Rachel’s interview in LA and also was able to grab one with the global ambassador for Man U as he was passing through town on business.

NESCom Blog: How did the film challenge you as DP/Editor?

Wonder: The creative process of editing a documentary is quite a challenge because there is no script. You create an outline of the general story you want to tell but it largely comes down to sitting in the booth and piecing together a story with the available soundbites and presenting them in a way that makes sense and is compelling. We didn’t want to rely on voice over to tell the story, but rather tell it completely through the interviews so I spent a lot of time sifting through hours of footage to find the little soundbites that would work well together. Rachel also transcribed every interview, which was helpful because she could read through them and offer suggestions for what might work well in a particular section or pick out pieces I may have overlooked.

Rachel Viollet Greg Wonder

Director Rachel Viollet with Greg Wonder

NESCom Blog: Tell us about the film’s debut in LA and the plans for future screenings/festivals/awards?

Wonder: We screened the film at Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles and it was very well received. Seeing my work on the big screen was a great moment. It was definitely a personal milestone for me. We also screened it the following weekend in Jacksonville, where Dennis spent the latter half of his life, which was really cool since the story is so personal to the city. We have also been selected as the opening night film for the Manchester Film Festival in England on March 3rd which is exciting.

NESCom Blog: What did you learn in the process?

Wonder: I learned a LOT about soccer! Both about the game in general and it’s history in England and the United States. I also learned how to strip my kit down to the bare essentials. When you have to carry every piece of gear by yourself all over a foreign country, it pays to be selective.

NESCom Blog: How did your time at NESCom prepare you for what you do today?

Wonder: The biggest thing NESCom helped me prepare for was the incredible work load you encounter in the real world. I had at least one video project due every week (usually more), which takes up a lot of time if you want them to be any good. I can remember many nights at NESCom where I was the last person to leave the building and the first person back the following morning. In this business it’s not uncommon to work 12+ hour days, in fact I’ve worked over 20 hours straight before. And then if you’re interested in producing your own content it all has to be done after that or on your days off so you really have to learn to budget your time and put in the work.

NESCom also really helped when it comes to being a one-man-band. Between all my courses I was challenged to learn about many different aspects of production which has enabled me to handle just about any part of it. Obviously you want to work with a team and find the best people suited for each position, but budgets don’t always allow for that so you often end up having to do the jobs of about 4-5 different people. If you are able to handle these sorts of tasks it’s going to make you far more employable than your competition.

For more information on Dennis Viollet – A United Man, visit
For more information on Greg Wonder visit

NESCom Students To Once Again Set Sail With Country Cruising

For the fourth time, students studying Live Sound Technology at the New England School of Communications at Husson University will set sail in partnership with Cruise Production, a Florida-based company run by ’90 alum Tim Cabral.

Cruise Production

Students and faculty will travel to Miami for the 7 night Country Cruising 2015 event that includes performances by 32 country music acts. Headlining this year’s Country Cruising trip is Neal McCoy along with Trace Adkins, Craig Morgan, Joe Nichols, Parmalee, and Lindsay Ell. The cruise leaves Miami on October 23rd with stops in  Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay, Key West, and Grand Cayman before returning to port on the 30th. While on-ship, students will work with the numerous live shows taking place throughout the trip aboard the Norwegian Pearl.

More information on the cruise is available at

Former Dean Haskell, WHSN 89.3FM Recognized at Maine Association of Broadcasters 2015 Awards Gala

Mark Nason, Chair of the Maine Association of Broadcaster Board of Directors and Ben Haskell, 2015 inductee to the Maine Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

Mark Nason, Chair of the Maine Association of Broadcaster Board of Directors and Ben Haskell, 2015 inductee to the Maine Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

Saturday night, the Maine Association of Broadcasters recognized the hard work of the broadcasting industry at their 2015 Awards Gala. Held at Hollywood Casino in Bangor, the night brought the industry together to celebrate the award winners and congratulate the latest inductees into the Maine Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

The Maine Broadcasting Hall of Fame inductees for 2015 are a 33-year veteran of Maine television, Rob Caldwell of WCSH-6 in Portland, and the New England School of Communications own Benjamin Haskell. The retired Dean and longtime broadcaster was inducted for his decades of work at NESCom, training future generations of media professionals.

WHSN's 2015 Maine Association of Broadcasters awards

WHSN’s 2015 Maine Association of Broadcasters awards

In addition to the countless NESCom alum who received awards, WHSN-FM was recognized for work in Community Service and News Feature. WHSN’s long running AS4MS MS Society benefit concert was honored with both the first place in the Public Service-Unsponsored category and the MAB’s 2015 Commitment to Community Award. The Commitment to Community Award includes a $500 grant from the association to the charity involved. Accepting the award was Mark Nason, Zack Hewins and Eric Cooper of WHSN-FM along with Sue Tidd from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater New England Chapter.

Students Spend Summer Experiencing Feature Filmmaking


Summer may be a time of rest for many students, but for two students from the New England School of Communications at Husson University, it’s a time to jump feet-first into new experiences and opportunities in the movie industry.

Audio Engineering 2015 graduate Alex Knowles of Chester, VT job shadowed for two days on the set of Central Intelligence, a film being shot in Boston starring comedian Kevin Hart and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. During his days on-set, Knowles worked under head Audio Mixer Tom Williams. “I learned a lot of mixing tricks from Tom Williams, how and when to blend microphones, which mic to choose, and other mixing choices” says Knowles. “I also learned about Union work, IATSE, specifically the structure and why it’s important to workers”. Knowles adds that the best part was getting any and all of his questions answered. “Tom Williams and his team were very welcoming and enthusiastic with their answers”. Central Intelligence from New Line Cinema is set for a June 16th, 2016 release date.

Meanwhile across the city of Boston, another movie was being filmed; the much-publicized Ghostbusters movie featuring an all-female cast of ghostbusters including Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Kristen Wiig. NESCom Video Production Sophomore Zachary Greaton of Saco, ME was given the opportunity to work as a Production Assistant on-set. Greaton said this about his experience “I learned a ton about the chain of command on such a large set…which involved hundreds once 2nd unit came on board”. Ghostbusters from Sony Pictures is set for a July 22, 2016 release date.

2010 Alum Ray Harrington To Screen Documentary “Be A Man” in Bangor


Two years ago, 2010 NESCom alum Ray Harrington, had an idea. Now all those months later, the finished product will be shown in Bangor as an advanced screening. Be A Man, a new documentary by Harrington has been a labor of love for the comedian, husband and father. We caught up with Ray after the film had its first screening (an exclusive for Kickstarter supporters) at the Comedy Connection in East Providence, Rhode Island.

Q: From the idea, to the first screening, how long was the production of the documentary?
A: From the initial idea to finally being able to screen the film this month, it has been a two year process. Two years! There’s a moment somewhere in the middle of all of it where passion has to change to determination. It has been an incredibly fun, stressful, and at times very hard process to go through. It’s almost two different projects. The experience of shooting the documentary, the difficulties of being both the subject and the director was odd at times. But the Director of Photography was wonderful in taking the helm behind the camera when I had to be 100% present in front of the camera. The other, wholly different experience was post-production. The editing process was monstrous and being done by just myself and our editor, Joey Fallon. At some point, the film just became what I did. Everyday. Wake up to emails and calls, work on the film all day, be with my wife and son in the evening, then run out to a comedy show at night, get back and work more on the film before going to bed.

Q: Where did the idea for the documentary come from?
A: My wife and I were talking a lot about having kids and we were just starting to let things take their course. I had been talking to my friend and fellow comedian, Derek Furtado a lot about my worries and fears of being a dad. The fact that I didn’t have a father growing up really concerned me when I thought about becoming a father myself. One night, I was talking on the phone with Derek and I said, “I don’t know how to be a father. I don’t even know how to be a man.” And it was an immediate moment of realization for both of us that the image of manhood we’ve been given is changing drastically and rapidly. The things that, in childhood, I had always thought were manly but never had experience with. Fighting, Drinking, Cars, Shaving, Clothing, Women. All things I never knew. Could I learn about them all so I would have that to pass on to my son? And would they make me any more manly?

Q: What was it like to following the process through all the way?
A: We started shooting in September of 2013 with the thought that we would have things wrapped up by the time my son was due in March. The post-production phase was the longest though. With hours of footage capturing everyday life and hours of footage capturing the events we shot, it was a big undertaking. Add to that a newborn baby and a comedy career, and it was next to impossible. Thankfully, our editor Joey Fallon is amazing. I worked closely with him for 10 months non-stop, building this film.

Q: What was the budget for Be A Man like?
A: Our budget was small. VERY small. It’s crazy to look back and realize we made a feature length documentary for $11,000. And it’s good! We started with $5,000 from investors. Stand Up! Records was wonderful in backing us from the start. I’m a comic on the label and when I told Dan Schlissel about it, he was immediately supportive. Then it was the guys at the RI Comedy Connection and a fellow comic, John Porch who all believed in the project and wanted to help. We were able to take that money and cover all of the gear we would need. After the production, we realized we needed money that we hadn’t expected needing for sound mixing and color grading. Luckily, our editor has a lot of connections in London and we met with Soho Square Studios who loved the rough cut we had and were just as passionate about the project as we were.

Q: What was (2011 NESCom alum) Joe Giordano’s role in the production?
A: When I initially had the idea for Be A Man, I knew right away that I wanted Joe on board. We had worked together on a few sketches at the New England School of Communications and we worked really well together. I knew I wanted Joe as my Director of Photography immediately and that we wouldn’t do the film without him. As the director and the subject, I would need to trust the DP entirely to be capturing the moment. Joe was the only person I trusted to see it the same way as I did. It’s also wonderful having a friend behind the camera during some really personal things being shot. There’s a warmth in the final film, a sense of real friendship that I think carries over to the viewer as well.

Q: What’s the most exciting part of the phase Be A Man is in now?
A: It’s the audience. Last night, we screened the film for the very first time to an audience. To hear the roars of laughter and how much people were laughing was astonishing. We felt the film was really funny, but the reaction last night blew me away. And to hear a pin drop during a serious moment is fantastic. We had people in tears by the end of the film and I couldn’t believe it.

Q: What’s next for the film (following the advanced screenings)?
A: After the first advance screening in Rhode Island and the screening at The Bangor Mall Cinemas on June 28th, we’ll be doing a few more advance screenings in New England. Portland, Mass, New York, Connecticut. But I was really excited about having Bangor see the film first. Coming from Bangor and having built a lot of who I am here, meeting my wife here, I wanted to show it to people in Bangor for the first time in a special way. Of course, being a microbudget film, the screenings will help us raise funds to begin the film festival circuit and get this film shown across the country. That’s when we’ll look at our options for distribution and seek out potential streaming like Netflix, etc. But our main goal is for this film to be seen.

The Bangor area screening of Be A Man is scheduled for June 28th, 7pm at Bangor Mall Cinemas. Tickets are available online HERE.
For more information on Be A Man, visit or like the movie on Facebook.