Sure, it’s tough to be an independent filmmaker, but the Maine movie community is growing. With the Maine Jewish Film Festival one week and the inaugural Lewiston Auburn Film Festival the next, that’d be hard to argue.

One local filmmaker grateful for the increased opportunities for exposure is Bill McLean, writer and star of the indie comedy “Scooter McGruder.” His film will have its world premiere on Saturday at LAFF (www.lafilm, where it is nominated for the People’s Choice Award. I spoke to McLean about “Scooter,” making movies in Maine and being directed by your wife: 

First, tell us about “Scooter McGruder.”

A 40-year-old guy wakes up and realizes he needs to grow up and get along with his life, which for him means finding the perfect woman — someone who can cook like his mom. He wants to get a good job, be a successful blue-collar American guy. Unfortunately, as soon as he decides to take charge, everything just goes to hell. 

How would you describe the film’s sense of humor? Is there a film you would compare it to?

“Scooter” is a romantic comedy with emphasis on the comedy; a mix of physical, verbal and situational comedy. It’d be rated PG, only because of comedic violence. Kids from 5 to 95 can watch it, and everyone can laugh at something. An interviewer compared it to “Better Off Dead” and “Caddyshack,” and I can definitely see a parallel to those. Especially the Bill Murray character. Bill vs. the gopher. I was astonished by the “Better Off Dead” comparison. There’s an evil paperboy who haunts me for the entire film, but this one’s 6 feet tall and angry. 

How long did it take to make?

From 2009 to 2011. We finished editing in the beginning of 2011, and just married up the sound in time for the festival. Like any low-budget film, we worked weekends when we could, but we stuck to the schedule (even with 45 characters). Even though we’re “indie,” we pride ourselves on being professional. We only found one continuity problem — I had socks in one shot and not another. 

What happens with the movie after LAFF?

I could lift a truck right now, I’m so happy for the nomination, but after LAFF, we’re planning a red-carpet premiere sometime in May. And we have some interest from several national distributors. 

Your wife, Tiffany, co-directed (and edited) the film. How hard is it to be directed by your spouse?

No one on the planet knows me better or what I’m capable of. She’s very creative and knows the look she’s going for. Her input changed the character, turned it into what it is now. We only had one major dispute, which is pretty remarkable. I’m pretty easygoing, and we all saw the big picture. 

Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.


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