I've been a part of this state's moviemaking community for almost 20 years. My first film was a Connecticut-based indie feature called A LITTLE BIT OF LIPSTICK. After graduating from UConn in 1999, I started off volunteering in the production office, worked boom operator on the shoot, got promoted to post-production supervisor, and then again to producer. (Where I learned my first big lesson of the film business: showing up is more than half the job.) I got to live on the director's farm in Coventry during the shoot, and made a bunch of lifetime friends.
I was hooked.
And since then, I've had the pleasure of working on features, TV shows, shorts, Web series and documentaries all over Connecticut. In that time, I've learned a second big lesson about the business: if you work here in media, you have friends all over the place. No matter what kind of production you want to pursue, Connecticut has people who've been doing it for a long time, that you can team up with as they make their projects … and as you make your own.
Interested in features? Head to Wallingford, where A.D. Calvo's Goodnight Film is based. He's made six horror/thriller films since 2008, with more on the way. Or head up I-91 a little bit to Meriden, where Michael Mongillo works with his Mean Time Productions. He's directed four feature films, including the mockumentary BEING MICHAEL MADSEN, which stars Michael Madsen, Virginia Madsen, David Carradine and Lacey Chabert. There's film talent all over the place here.
I know about this firsthand, because I directed my first feature film here, a comedy/drama called RISING STAR. I was able to shoot in Newington and Hartford with a crew of over 60 state residents – and a cast of friends I'd worked on other movies with before. We used Kickstarter to raise $15,000 to shoot it, and it actually got picked up for worldwide distribution by Content Film. And you can watch it on Amazon Prime Video!
Is television more your speed? Check out Rocky Hill, where Synthetic Cinema International is based. Founded by Andrew Gernhard of Norwich, this company makes TV movies for networks like SyFy, Lifetime and NBC/Universal. They're always filming something around the state, and they're a great way to volunteer and get experience on professional shoots. And if sports is more your speed, we just happen to have two of the world's biggest sports networks here: ESPN in Bristol, and NBC Sports in Stamford.
How about documentaries? One of Connecticut's most popular residents was P.T. Barnum, and Corey Boutelier headquartered a feature documentary about the circus legend out of Bethel. And if you head north from there to Litchfield, Harvey Hubbell runs Captured Time Productions, a company that's made multiple feature documentaries. Their offices are in a converted barn. It's the most New England production company there is.
No matter your interest, if you want to tell stories with pictures, Connecticut is an amazing place to do it. You've got friends in every part of the state, and homegrown companies that have become successful in your backyard. When will we hear about yours?
Marty and crew on the set of Rising Star in 2009
- Marty Lang
Marty Lang is a screenwriter, filmmaker, journalist and educator. His feature writing/directing debut, RISING STAR, won Best Premiere at the 2012 Seattle True Independent Film Festival. His producing credits include the 2016 Independent Spirit Award-nominated OUT OF MY HAND, and BEING MICHAEL MADSEN.
His column, Alternate Routes, for Script Mag, offers advice to folks who want to work in film or folks already in the business but are struggling to take that next step in their careers.