The University of Maine film class was on capturing life, being creative with a little drama.
My UMO film partner and I thought about capturing something a little less textbook. More unique than how to build an entertainment center or swing set. Like the real life of a Bangor Maine taxi cab driver.
Now a 100 feet of film is not much to create with.
Little film gets left on the editing room floor if you are serious about creating anything worth watching.
We had envisioned being on the second story of a downtown Bangor Maine building. Slowly pulling back from cab driver waiting for his fare. Adding sound to the optical audio track about how lonely waiting, sitting thru any weather must be while away from your family at all hours.
By yourself waiting, or driving alone but glimpses, meeting a variety of people, some fares real characters. Vigilant, at your post behind the wheel, being in a cab as a Maine taxi driver service industry worker to get you where you need to be. That was the mental storyboard for the film scenes. We thought as we climbed in to my orange and white Ford pinto.
Andy Kozinski and I heard Orono Maine fire engine sirens as we headed down Stillwater Avenue. Rolling down hill on the way to Bangor, we made a field decision. To shift gears. Save the gas to Bangor due to the never being flushed with college student cash, money situation to “cover” the fire. The smoke from the burning Maine home, the school bus air brake sound as the kids living there get dropped off with large eyes. The growing concern as the reality of the event sinks in. Neighbors gathering on the lawn, silent, watching, seeing themselves in the same situation and what they would or would not do.
Flashing lights, police and fire sirens, two way radios blaring in the background. I thought whoa, what if that was me as an eight year old getting off the bus. Seeing home sweet home so smokey.
Red, orange, yellow fire flames snarling out the window of the room I called mine on the second floor.
What contained my most precious possessions, what Santa had brought me over the years. My world in that room being consumed, fire destroyed, blackened. How it would affect me? Our 100 feet of black and white 16mm film captured the scenes, sounds, reality on a small local Maine town scale. We got an “A” for the project. Video of a Houlton Maine electrical fire a while back a deja vu event.
I know a fellow who lost his wife and two kids in a fire. That will not sleep upstairs and is haunted by the tragic lost. I have never seen, felt, experienced fire up close and personal. And hope I never do.