Windham resident Anthony Carignan stars in the opening episode of the new travel series, “Finding Adventure.” Photo by Gini Haines

A brand-new streaming service was looking for someone with compelling screen presence and a location with some great production value. Luckily, the producers of the new travel outdoor series “Finding Adventure” found both right here in Maine, filming its premiere episode in Portland, Minot and Scarborough, and choosing for its first-ever guest Windham resident and aspiring actor Anthony Carignan.

“I’ve always dreamed of being an actor,” said Carignan, a graduate of Westbrook High. “So far, my acting background is some small roles in indie films, some local commercials, basically whatever I can get my hands on.” Sounds familiar enough to any aspiring, Maine-based actor, although for his turn as the initial subject of “Finding Adventure,” Carignan found his hands grasping everything from the handlebars of a speeding dirt bike, to some working and very full lobster traps, to a careening surfboard at Scarborough Beach. (I know you don’t use your hands to surf, but you get the idea.)

Carignan’s Maine-based outdoor adventures come courtesy of the streaming service Very Local, which you can get for free on your Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV or Android TV. An intriguing mix of original programming and (as the name implies) local interest shows and news, Very Local has signed on ocean conservationist and perpetually outdoorsy TV host Kinga Philipps (“Lost In The Wild,” “America’s Lost Treasures”) to seek out, as Carignan explained, “people who are not super-adventurous, but who are looking to find adventure for different reasons.”

For Carignan, who – intrepid actor that he is – got the gig thanks to an open casting call he heard about on the radio, his reasons are, indeed, unique. “I have Tourette syndrome,” Carignan explained, “so I’m not super-coordinated, my motor skills are sort-of off. You can see that on the show.” And in his episode, which is available now to stream after the series’ Feb. 2 premiere, “Finding Adventure” was about more than just screen time.

“They wanted somebody from Maine,” Carignan said, citing WMTW Channel 8’s association with Very Local parent company Hearst. “But they weren’t looking for the typical Mainer who was always looking to do outdoorsy stuff. In my auditions, I talked about Tourettes, and how it’s OK to be different, that you don’t have to be afraid to do new things.” Says Carignan of his time as the show’s first risk-taking guest, “I think it comes across as heartfelt and inspirational.”

The Maine actor’s engaging, forthright presence makes clear why his episode was ultimately chosen to be viewers’ introduction to a TV series about very different people across the country taking some big, unaccustomed steps into reality show-style danger. “I didn’t know ahead of time what they were going to have me do,” Carignan said about his experience. “At the start they ask, ‘What is your limit, something you feel like you would absolutely not do?’”


For Carignan, that meant heights were out. And while he didn’t specifically tell producers he in no way wanted to swim with sharks alongside Philipps (who seemingly does that sort of thing for fun), a later contestant apparently finds herself doing just that. For Carignan, the dirt biking, surfing and lobstering were challenging enough, thank you very much.

Not that there weren’t some benefits to his Maine-centric adventures. “I got to eat the lobster that I catch on the show,”  Carignan said. “We found him, labeled him, and the producers told the restaurant ‘this is the specific lobster you have to cook.’”

“Finding Adventure” comes courtesy of the streaming service Very Local. The first episode features a graduate of Westbrook High. Courtesy of “Finding Adventure”

“Finding Adventure” is just another example of how Maine-based actors have to hustle to make their own opportunities. Apart from appearing in the eclectic projects seen on his ever-growing IMDb page, Carignan also laughed that eagle-eyed viewers can spot his trusty brown backpack on a bridge scene in the little-remembered John Travolta vehicle “The Forger,” if you look closely. It’s all in a day’s often very long and dues-paying work – Carignan noted that he’s constantly heading out to Boston and elsewhere for auditions and small roles.

As for his time on “Finding Adventure,” Carignan had nothing but praise for the Very Local team. “Some of these shows are manipulative,” Carignan stated accurately of the reality genre. “But they never fed me any lines or anything like that. I was just myself – and I did end up getting the premiere, so I guess I did something right.” Plus, as Carignan noted, the show’s presence in cities like Portland, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Boston serves as free advertising for both the locations themselves, and for the local businesses prominently featured. (Look for Portland’s Great Lost Bear and a Scarborough surf shop to make appearances on his episode.)

For a kid from Maine (who, as Carignan confessed, immediately fell off the tiny, 6-year-old’s dirt bike his dad once bought him), “Finding Adventure” was the best kind of show business experience. “Acting was always something I wanted to do,” he said. “As a kid, I told my friends I was going to be on TV, which is not something that happens very often when you’re from Maine.”

Noting that his proud mother has watched his televised daredevilry four times already (complete with an onscreen picture of mom and son at one point), Anthony Carignan is hopeful that this is just the latest step on his way toward a full-time career in front of the camera.

Such is the way of all actors – sometimes you have to just fall off that dirt bike and get right back on.

You can watch “Finding Adventure” by signing up for streaming service Very Local on your Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV or Android TV. It’s free. And find out more about Maine native Anthony Carignan on his Instagram page.

Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Auburn with his wife and cat.

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