The last Sunday before winter break at 11:30am, I found myself decked out as a flapper, dancing with a stranger, and downing straight-up grenadine from a wine glass. (Point of reference: Grenadine may look pretty, but it tastes like bubble bath mixed with cough medicine.) No, this wasn’t a Dude, Where’s My Car? situation, where I was left muddled after a particularly chaotic night. In fact, I was participating in schoolwork—acting in my friend’s film for her Production I class, to be more precise.
This is just one of many strange and enthralling situations I find myself in, thanks to my life as a film major. I’ve had so many wonderfully bizarre experiences around Boston, courtesy of my enrollment in COM. At times, I may be stressed to the point of eating a spoonful of peanut butter to procrastinate on my work, but I will never be able to say that I am bored as a BU COM student. Here’s a countdown of my four weirdest and most exciting moments as a member of COM’15:
Stalking “James Franco” outside of CAS
To this day, I’m not sure if this is fact or fiction, but rumor has it that James Franco attended last year’s Redstone Film Festival at Tsai. I attended last year’s Redstone Film Festival. I was (possibly) in the same room as James Franco and hadn’t even known it! Thankfully, a photog for the FREEP, (short of The Daily Free Press, our on-campus newspaper), had the decency to shout loudly into his cellphone as I passed him on the street, “We have people posted at every exit of CAS, just in case Franco exits!” As soon as he had hung up the phone, I planted myself in his path and demanded, “Franco?! As in James Franco?!” He explained to me that James had purportedly been working on a project with a film professor at BC and swung by BU when he heard about the festival. Needless to say, I spent the next 45 minutes skulking around CAS in the dark and the drizzle with my friend who was armed with a camera, in hopes of catching a glimpse of the sexy Harry Osborne himself. Sadly, I never did.
Bay State Memories
I work on COM’s soap opera, which is the longest running college soap opera in the country, and there was no way I could choose only one Bay State memory for this list—oh lord, the things I have witnessed! My first day onset kind of created the mood for the entirety of my experience working on the show: One of the Executive Producers marched up to me and asked ever-so sweetly, “You—what’s your name? Can you take down your hair?” I told him my name and awkwardly yanked the bobby pins from my bun as the 1st Assistant to the Director moseyed up beside him. “She’s perfect,” she had said. And the EP exclaimed, “Congratulations! You just won the role of dead Whitney!” It had turned out that they killed off a cast member and let her go abroad without filming the scene where her boyfriend discovers her body, and I was the only girl with hair color similar enough to play her corpse. Congratulations, indeed. I’ve had my share of death experiences on Bay State, since I have witnessed many creative murders, and have even participated in the murder of Dean Elmore—err President Bennett. The big question surrounding his death scene had been: In which direction should we splatter the fake blood to make it seem most realistic? No doubt, a heated debate had followed.
Being serenaded by Viggo Mortensen in Elvish
Okay, so it’s not as if Viggo Mortensen gave me a private concert and serenaded me to sleep with his ethereal voice, BUT the situation was almost as good. Last March, I attended a triple feature Lord of the Rings marathon that Coolidge Corner Theatre hosted in honor of Viggo Mortensen’s achievements in film. Though they weren’t presenting him with his award until the next day, he made a surprise in-person appearance right before The Return of the King started rolling. He looked so adorable with his floppy, grey locks and infectious smile as he sang that I was racked with guilt for not being able to sing-along like the more dedicated fans.
Interviewing my favorite filmmaker, Taika Waititi
All of my friends know (and probably many acquaintances) about my New Zealand obsession. I’m obsessed with the country and the culture to the point that I’ve gorged on as many New Zealand films, books, and TV shows that I could order from Amazon.com. One New Zealand writer-director whose work I love and admire—to the point of his becoming one of my favorite filmmakers, regardless of NZ-affiliation—is Taika Waititi. He was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005 for his wonderful short Two Cars, One Night; he directed and co-wrote a few episodes of Flight of the Conchords; he has most recently directed MTV’s version of the British show The Inbetweeners; and he has two hilarious feature films Eagle vs. Shark and Boy. It was at a long awaited, 2012 Boston screening of the latter where I weaseled my way into interviewing Taika. I had cornered him on an online Reddit Q&A and asked for an interview at the screening, and he had consented. It was a dream come true (literally—I had dreamt multiple times about interviewing him about his work). I don’t know what made the night more perfect: The fact that my feature ended up being published on Popmatters.com, or that he kissed me on both cheeks and called me “love” after I thanked him for the interview.
Since I’m only a sophomore, I look forward to seeing how many more bizarre, film-related adventures I can add to my repertoire before I graduate. I’m certain there will be plenty more to come. All of you, my COM peers, should be on the lookout, too—on Facebook, the COM corkboards, and on various Boston websites—for exciting ways to infuse film into your everyday lives. You never know where you might end up!