By Sylvia Brooks, Staff Writer
As I walked into Abe Turcotte’s second floor office at 101 South Street, he could not have looked more at peace; sitting behind a large Mac computer with headphones editing away at what could be the most anticipated video that the University of Maine Farmington (UMF) has produced. Turcotte was very eager to share his work in progress, since he was showing me the half finished video across his computer screen before I had finished my greeting.
Pharrell Williams’ song, Happy has taken over the music scene these past few weeks. With spring in full bloom and summer right around the corner, his catchy lyrics, “sunshine she’s here, you can take a break,” appears to be quite relevant. Williams’ music video features individuals singing and dancing in the street, which has inspired many copy cat videos that have flooded YouTube and other media sites. Such videos are what inspired Turcotte to make a Happy video featuring UMF. “I saw BC’s [Boston College] and Sugarloaf’s and that made me want to make one for here!” said Turcotte. With the goal of building hype for UMF, Tom Donoghue, Turcotte’s boss, gave Turcotte the go ahead to work on the project.
Turcotte is a fifth year student at UMF and an outdoor recreation and business administration (ORBA) major. Turcotte has been interested in photography and video making since high school and was excited to be able to continue that passion when he came to UMF. “My advisor, Tiffany Maiuri, who was the head of the marketing department at the time, asked me if I liked filming and taking pictures and she offered me a job my freshman year,” said Turcotte. “Since then I’ve made about 60 edits for the Farmington website, a couple commercials, some design projects, and photographed about every building on campus.” Turcotte’s official title is the Special Projects Assistant for the Marketing Department.
Working closely with the UMF community has been a fun experience, but also a rewarding one. “Its sweet! Its awesome, this project is a lot more fun than other projects that I have had to do. Just this job in general, being able to get out and do something that I enjoy, that’s never a bad thing,” said Turcotte.
After months of planning and six full days of shooting, the Happy video is scheduled to release the week after spring fling. Vanessa Berry, a UMF junior and member of the Clefnotes, was happy to be a part of the video. “I love clef notes so much so it was really great to be represented, not only as the group, but also personally in the video,” said Berry. Other UMF clubs that are represented in the Happy video include the Dance Team and the Bust-a-Move Beavers dance group.
Turcotte’s video features students and staff alike dancing and singing in various locations around the UMF campus including the Fitness and Recreation Center, Merrill, and the Emery Arts Studio. Turcotte was granted creative liberties with this project, with only a few guidelines: “not getting anyone who doesn’t go to school here, not getting anyone who didn’t want to be in the video, and only shooting on campus,” said Turcotte.
Turcotte’s video is the first Happy video throughout the University of Maine system, and is hoping that it will start a sort of friendly competition between the campuses. Though this would be a fun aspect, the main purpose of the video is,“to build some hype about UMF,” said Turcotte. “I think that we have a great community here, that is something that you don’t find at a lot of schools.”