I wanted to take this blog post to give a shout out to my favorite classes/professors at BU! I know many of us have already registered for the Fall semester, but there still may be time to switch around a bit! Here are a few of the courses that have truly made my time in COM, and at BU, worthwhile:
- Creative TV Producing.
Professor Garland Waller is a gem. She is a talented producer with a phenomenal work ethic – one that I try to emulate every day. Every project we did felt practical and useful. I knew I would be able to apply everything I was learning to my work in the real world (gasp!) and that cannot be said about every college class. We focused on reality TV, talk shows, and documentaries, learning everything from pitches to premieres. I was challenged in the class. Her grading scale is based on industry standards and will force you to question everything you thought you could do well. However, the end result is improvement beyond any expectations, and possibly new found skills, goals, or interests you wouldn’t have stumbled upon otherwise! I will owe my career to this class, as well as to the genuine care and kindness of Professor Waller.
- TV Theory and Criticism.
This graduate-level course was TRICKY. Lots of readings. Many readings with big words I had to look up and look up again. But the discussions, contributions from other classmates, and chose subject matter by Professor Deborah Jaramillo (she’s amazing) were mind-blowing. I thought I loved being a Film & TV major, but this class gave me a brand new respect for the field and its possibilities. Especially during such a fickle time, media and television specifically are places to watch. I’m sure you already know that, but exploring the theoretical basis for how we got where we are, where we’re going, and what can be done to influence that future dives deep into scholarship and philosophy – all of which will challenge you intellectually. Sure, it took a lot of reading, but it took me to a new level in terms of my understanding and appreciation of TV.
- International Relations and Religion.
Maybe not for every COM kid, but if you’re an IR or Political Science minor/concentration, check it out! Professor Menchik leads this graduate-level course with great precision. He is subtle, but every move he makes guides the class toward very important, relevant, and innovative lessons. I personally love the study of religions, especially from an objective perspective, and this class has not only taught me so much but has given me many ideas for great stories…every COM kid’s dream! Religion affects the world on a larger scale than world leaders appreciate. Especially in global affairs, secularists often neglect the political role of religion, the influence of its philosophy, and the potential its study can have for improving relations. Maybe a Film & TV major can take that understanding and apply it to a project or two.
- Production 2.
I have this class with Professor Mary Jane Doherty, a funky and beautiful filmmaker who teaches you to work from your heart and your gut. It is important to come into the class with a strong foundation in the technical side of filmmaking, but you certainly do not have to know anything. You never will, and MJ knows this! She wants you to make mistakes as much as you can. This gives her opportunities to dance around the room as she points out to the class how that mistake could teach every single person a thing or two about film language. She loves the world and she loves to capture it with a camera. In a sense, she’s a cinematic choreographer with the ability to bring you into a world where you forget about the frame and the screen – a brilliant role model if I’ve ever seen one. More than that, she encourages you not to follow the herd. Try everything, find your fit, and allow that fit to work for you and guide you toward better versions of yourself. Those lessons are more valuable than anything I could find in a textbook.
- Writing the Situation Comedy.
Not only is Professor Loman a skilled professional with an IMDB list that will make your jaw drop, but he is fantastic to work with in a classroom! This class taught me what it might be like to sit in a writers’ room, surrounded by loony people trying to create and improve and improve and improve. For me, writing as a team was a brand new experience and one that I appreciated more than I could have expected. It’s incredible to know that you are all working together on a joke – that your initial idea could be just the thing that sparks the perfect punch line from someone else. I wrote a useable spec script in this class…that’s not too shabby! But more than that, I felt like my work inside the classroom mirrored what I may find outside of BU, and I did this while getting to know some wonderful, talented students in COM. Hopefully I’ll get to work with them for real someday!
These are just a few of the many inspiring classes offered at Boston University. I have been lucky to meet great professors, learn important lessons, and surround myself with enthusiastic students every step of the way. It even makes an 8am class or two worth it in the end!