Budding Bowdoin Filmmaker Gets a Feel for the Field
Lone Wolf Media, an independent television production company based in Portland, Maine, has produced documentaries, historical dramas, and specials that have been featured on channels such as National Geographic, Animal Planet, the Smithsonian Channel, and PBS.
In his role there, Keates says, "I do all sorts of things. I bounce between working pre-production with producers to working with the editors when all the footage comes back in." He explains that "pre-production is making phone calls, communicating with people, dealing with logistics, networking everyone together, and planning for shooting. And then in post-production I do a lot of different editing tasks. When making documentaries there are a lot of different pieces coming in. You have your regular footage, then there might be old, archival, black-and-white stuff from World War II, and all of that has to be combined. Then there are special effects and graphics. So I'm sewing all of those different parts together."
Keates, a history major and cinema studies minor, says that the job and what it involves is very different from what he's done in the past, when he was more focused on creative writing. "I thought I was going to study music when I got to college," he laughed, "I had started doing a little bit of screenwriting my senior year of high school, but I switched when I got to Bowdoin. There was a while where I had no interest in picking up a camera, I just wanted to be a writer . . . [and what] piqued my interest about studying history was the idea of finding the stories that I could write about."
Last summer, the history department awarded Keates a Golz Fellowship, which he used to write a historical screenplay. This past winter, he was in Massachusetts working on a short film. On campus, he's a member of the Frisbee team and produces his own shorts, which can be viewed on Vimeo.
This summer has been a little too action-packed for Keates to pick just one favorite memory. "I got to go out and shoot a couple films. I also got to go up to Augusta and meet Travis Mills, a quadruple amputee war vet. Once there was a shoot where I was playing a World War II sailor for a documentary—[Lone Wolf] just called out all of the young interns. It was a recreation, so there are going to be shots of me drowning in the Portland Harbor. I've also been on some really cool calls with network executives from places like PBS Nova".
In the future? "I would love to be in Maine. I would love to be making movies in Maine. I don't want to go to LA, I just want to become a part of the film scene here and make as many big projects as I can. There's so much to shoot here, I would love to stay in Portland."