I write this post as I sit in the control room at CONAN on my last day. I leave LA on Saturday and while my time here has been a bit of a roller coaster, I’m so glad I decided to spend my final semester of college out here in California. After three and a half amazing years in Boston at BU, I felt it was time to begin my transition from college to my career. The BU Los Angeles program is designed exactly for that. We intern during the day and have class three days a week in the evening. But these aren’t your typical classes—we have mostly speakers to teach us about the industry. There isn’t really homework, there aren’t any tests. This is an industry immersion.
My last blog post was a love letter to Boston. Now, for my last blog post on campus (catch my abroad post from LA next semester), I have to write about the most important thing in my life: BUTV10.
I first heard about BUTV10 when I was researching colleges in my sophomore year of high school. I liked BU because I could take lots of classes, I didn’t have to be hyper focused and decide as a 17 year old that I wanted to do, say, screenwriting for the rest of my life. There was flexibility. There was also this great television station where students could produce their own shows. Other schools had that, sure, but something about BUTV10 got me really interested. The website was cool, the content was fun, and I could see myself working on their shows.
Next step was when I went to the Academy of Media Production (check out their website). It’s a high school program at BU for students interested in production. After I determined that I liked BU from my online research and a quick campus visit with a friend, I found out about AMP online and decided I had to go. I had such an incredible experience there. I fell in love with BU and I got to work on projects that were just like what BUTV10 was making. Plus, I got to learn from the faculty advisor for BUTV10 (the academic director of AMP) AND the general manager of BUTV10, who was a teaching assistant at AMP. I used the same studios BUTV10 shows like Good Morning BU and Bay State are filmed in. I also met two of my future best friends and roommates at AMP, but I tell everyone that so I’m sure you know already. I remember lying on the COM lawn late one afternoon and I decided I was going to apply early decision to Boston University.
Fast forward through an awesome senior year—its September and I’m in Boston. I take a video every day, and here is the a screenshot from the video I took when I went to the BUTV10 general interest meeting as a wee freshman (so young and naive about filming vertically instead of horizontally).
Like most students at that meeting, I was full of excitement and absolutely in awe of the Paper Trail presentation and wanted to work on it. Luckily for me, the producer and cinematographer taught me at AMP, so I had an inside man. After a few weeks of general BUTV10 training and some Paper Trail training I was on set working on a real college television show, learning how to work on a set for the first time. I remember getting the call sheet for the first shoot and I was listed as “grip/electric” and I had no idea what that was. But I showed up to set anyway and soon learned I would be helping to rig the lights and diffusion and set up the dolly track for the camera. That was such a fun set to work on. The whole crew was organized and professional, but we also had a lot of fun. I learned a lot about filmmaking from the producers and crew that helped me a lot in my production classes. I didn’t even know you needed to use a sandbag until I had to be a human sand bag because we ran out one day, holding on to a C-stand with a flag (a type of light shaping tool) so it wouldn’t blow over. Not only did I learn, but I was a part of something special. Paper Trail was nominated twice for the Emmy Foundation’s College Television Awards and won two NATAS Boston/New England College Awards and two Telly Awards.
Freshman year brought many other exciting opportunities within BUTV10. I got to film soccer games for the Athletics department. I operated Chyron (graphics) for 2014 Midterm election coverage. I was chosen to work on the basketball crew where I operated graphics. Later on in the spring semester, I was able to technical direct some basketball games and I eventually made my way to the director’s chair. I’ll never forget—the first time I ever directed a basketball game. I was so nervous and something was going wrong—they wouldn’t start the game. We were live, but the referees were just fidgeting with the ball. I find out in the first break there was a problem with the ball, one play complained it was overinflated. ESPN got word of this, and a clip from the game, and played it on SportsCenter that night. Why, you ask? This came just weeks after the Patriots’ deflate gate fiasco. “They’ve got a problem with their ball inflation up there in Boston,” the anchor mused. That was pretty cool, but the story overshadows the fact that I was very nervous that game and needed a lot of help. I was doing something I’d never really done before. I directed the morning announcements in high school and I got to direct a little at AMP. But this was a basketball game. Anything could happen at any point. I got through it with the help of the crew and staff.
Sophomore year I was able to branch out more. Paper Trail was over and I needed a new show to work on. I signed up for a developing show BU Late Night that didn’t end up getting on to BUTV10. I filmed more soccer games, did some women’s ice hockey and field hockey too. I joined the Student Management Board as Show Liaison-in-training to help communicate with all of the producers. After the Show Liaison left to go to Los Angeles, I took over. I joined Good Morning BU, the live weekly morning news show as technical director. I got better at directing basketball games. Through my experience with BUTV10, I learned valuable skills that I was able leverage to get summer internships. At LAX Sports Network I was able to jump right into production running the teleprompter, cutting highlight reels, and wrapping cables—all skills I learned through BUTV10. Professor Cavalieri, our faculty advisor, helped me get my second internship researching for a PBS American Experience Documentary.
Junior year was by far my most important with BUTV10. I assumed the role of General Manger. I directed Good Morning BU. I directed our election coverage (see my blog post from last year ). I directed more basketball games and developed. I helped film One on One interviews with people like Larry Charles (producer/director for Seinfeld, Borat, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and more), Stephen Schiff (executive producer of my favorite TV show The Americans), and comedian Demetri Martin. I got interviewed by BU Today twice about BUTV10. I took on a lot of responsibility this year and it was challenging at times. I had to plan my time meticulously and stay organized. I had to learn how to manage people and delegate tasks. I had to assume responsibility—for successes and failures. I got to lead the General Interest Meeting in the same room I sat just two years earlier.
Now I’m in my last semester with BUTV10. While I have handed off some of my responsibilities to underclassmen now, just as it was handed to me, I’m still working hard with BUTV10. I’m training a new general manager and setting up more organizational structure to ensure the organization will continue to grow. We’re also training a new director for basketball. My time is winding down and I’m very sad about it. It’s hard to have a conversation with me without me talking about BUTV10. It has been the most rewarding, challenging, and valuable thing I’ve done at BU and that alone was worth the BU tuition. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of incredible classes at BU as well, but the practical experience I got from BUTV10 will be the most valuable for me when striving to achieve my career goals.
I can’t leave out all of the amazing friends I’ve made while working with BUTV10. One quick shoutout to my BUTV10 partner in crime Justin who lived and breathed BUTV10 with me. And I can’t finish this post without giving my sincere thanks to Professor Cavalieri for being an incredible faculty advisor (he even won an award for it from the university). Without Professor Cavalieri’s support my time spent with BUTV10 and my contributions to the organization would have been minimal. Meeting him is yet another reason BUTV10 was the best thing I did at BU. I can honestly say I am the person I am today because of BUTV10, and I know whatever success comes to me in the future, I can thank BUTV10 for getting me started and giving me the tools to succeed.
Boston is a beautiful, historical, youthful city. The population of Boston increases 25% when labor day rolls around due to the abundance of colleges and universities (and this doesn’t even include our smart friends in across the river in Cambridge). That also makes it a smart city. There is so much to learn here and so many people of diverse backgrounds to learn from. Speakers and scholars from around the country and around the world flock to Boston to inspire and educate young, budding students. Boston sports allegiances run strong. I’ve been lucky enough to experience two Patriots Super Bowl wins. The atmosphere was contagious (and I’m a Giants fan) And who doesn’t love getting yelled at in Boston accent while legally crossing the street?
As youthful as the city may be, it is also old. Boston has so much history and you see it all around the city. Walk anywhere downtown and you’ll see something from the 1700s. The other day I was walking on School Street and I had to stop for a moment to admire the brick and steeple of the Old South Meeting House juxtaposed with the modern, glass Arch Street high-rise. The scene perfectly encapsulated the personality of Boston. You can follow the brick path of the Freedom Trail on your way to the Apple store. You can walk from your Student Village apartment to Fenway Park, the oldest ballpark in America. You can get on the T underneath the Old State House.
Boston is also an incredible city to live in as an aspiring professional. There is such a vast collection of industries here for students to embed themselves in. Politics are abound, you can intern at the State House. WGBH is on of PBS’s largest production hubs. Cambridge is brimming with tech companies. The Boston Globe is a powerful news paper. We have more than 20 hospitals for those interested in the medical field. Not to mention worldwide advertising and public relations agencies. I could go on, but I think the point is made. Where else to get professional experience as a student then Boston?
You may have noticed lots of seniors have been posting about the friends they’ve made and what they’re going to do after college. For my last semester in Boston, I just wanted to pay homage to the city I’ve called home for the past three years. I have found lifelong friends and realized my career path, but it all happened here in Boston. Who knows if I will end up in Boston after college (it depends on who will hire me!), but I do know I will definitely be back. If not for an extended period of time, at least to visit often. I’ll leave you with my favorite photos of the city I’ve taken over the years.
Early last week I called my mother to talk to her about the rain boots she shipped me (I found out the hard way my old pair had a huge gash in the sole). While we were on the phone, she floated the idea “why don’t you come home for easter?” At first I was apprehensive. I had Open House for accepted students on Saturday and had Escape the Room already booked with my friends for that evening. The earliest I would be able to come home was Sunday morning. Marathon Monday gave me a little wiggle room and I decided that it was okay to miss my Tuesday classes. I hadn’t missed either all semester and I had friends in both classes to take notes for me. Just like that, 45 minutes later tickets were booked to go home.
If you are lucky enough to live within a four hour radius from campus, you should definitely take the opportunity to take a long weekend at home. Its a great reset and a refreshing break from what can seem, at times, like a constantly stressful environment. My sister is abroad in Madrid this semester so my parents are feeling a bit more “empty nest” than normal (as much as they can be with one chick still in the nest). My brother is graduating from high school this year and is in the midst of deciding where to go to college. Plus he’s a star on the volleyball team and I think I’ve only ever seen him play once. So it was important for me to see hime play twice while I was home. I also gave him some advice about how to choose the right school.
Right now, he’s between Ithaca and Syracuse. Just about an hours drive separate the two—but they’re very different. Both of theses schools have excellent communication programs, so I’m sure many of BU’s accepted students have at least one of them in the mix (plus BU, the superior choice, of course). Both programs are great across the board, I would say the decision lies in prestige and where the schools differ. Charming town, small campus or small city, prestige, and athletics? The best thing I can say is visit everywhere if you can. A lot of times the decision is less pros and cons and more of a feeling. I’m sure many of the accepted students who visited the past two weekends may have felt what I’m talking about. A sense of belonging.
One of the downsides to going home is that it might take you out of working mode. Its hard to think about that 15-page paper you have due next week when you’re lying on the couch petting your cat, flipping between Chopped and Tiny House Hunters (I don’t have these channels at school). While it is a nice break, you have to find time to work. Because school doesn’t stop when you get home. Due dates stand and while it can be nice to reset, you don’t want to get too far off because you will quickly fall behind.
The other downside is FOMO. If you don’t know this already, I’m a bit of a grandma: crosswords, cats, podcasts (its like the same thing as radio, right?), and Jeopardy. I was sad when I got a snapchat of my three roommates watching Jeopardy together. Not to mention I missed Marathon Monday (aka the one day a year BU seems like a state school in the flyover states), which was my last opportunity to go while a student at BU because I’m going to be in LA next spring. I was definitely bummed about that. But I got to see a friend from high school I haven’t seen in a year and surprise my grandma instead.
One of the best parts of my visit was being able to see my cats. A lot of people will tell you that one of the worst parts of college is not being able to have pets. Its hard to live without the fluff ball you’ve grown up with. Pets embody home and comfort. That’s why during finals week BU has puppies come for students to play with. Its an instant stress reliever and puts a smile on most people’s faces. Its wholesome and comforting.
I came home to an Easter basket like I had as a kid (but this time with vegan chocolate bunnies homemade by my brother) and a household missing its twin girls. It was nice while it lasted, but I’m shipping up to Boston (ohhh ohh ohh) and I’m looking forward to getting back to classes and working on those 15-page papers (yes, more than one).
When I think Boston, I definitely don’t think “vegan-friendly city.” You have the North End, famous for cannolis and Italian food. The Seaport district known for its seafood. But don’t count Boston out. There are definitely some great vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Boston. Here are a few of my favorites:
Veggie Galaxy is a vegetarian restaurant in Cambridge. Almost any dish of theirs can be made vegan. It’s the perfect spot for brunch with all your friends! The caramelized banana butter that comes on the pancakes is delicious. But Veggie Galaxy isn’t just for brunch. They have amazing lunch and dinner selections as well. They have the option of two different veggie burgers (black bean and mushroom chickpea). I used to always get a burger but I recently ventured into the sandwiches and my new favorite meal there is the Vegan Club. It has tempeh bacon, smoked tofu, tomato, romaine, red onion, pesto, and vegan roasted garlic mayo. 10/10 would recommend Veggie Galaxy.
Sweetgreen, though not a vegan or vegetarian restaurant, is a takeout salad bar. They are vegan-friendly and label all of their ingredients, including dressings, if they are vegan. They have seasonal menus with ingredients sourced from local farms. There are plenty of locations around Boston including Fenway and State Street. Great for a quick, healthy meal.
Clover is an experimental food lab with locations all over Boston and Cambridge. They are a vegetarian restaurant. They also get their ingredients from local farmers. My personal favorite is the chickpea fritter, their take on falafel. They import the pita from Israel, its super fluffy and delicious. I also like some of their side salads. Their recipes are constantly changing and the menus differ from location to location. They also have a number of food trucks around the city; my favorite location is at the west end of Newbury Street. An added bonus is that everything is compostable!
By Chloe is a new restaurant to Boston. The Seaport location opens on February 23rd and the Fenway location (across the street from Sweetgreen) is set to open in April. I know about By Chloe from NYC. Its an incredible vegan restaurant with delicious meals, both sit down and grab&go. I even have the owner, Chloe Coscarelli’s cookbook! The veggie burger with special sauce is soooo good and the quinoa taco salad is spicy and crunchy. I’m really looking forward to an all-vegan restaurant in Boston.
And for dessert, FoMu is the place to be. Not only do they have incredible vegan ice cream, but they also have delicious baked good. FoMu is located in Allston. All of their ice cream is coconut based. They have classic flavors like chocolate, vanilla bean, mint chunk, cookies and cream. But they also have some wild flavors like bourbon maple walnut, mango habanero, avocado, and sweet lavender.Their cones are delicious, as are the milkshakes. You can eat there for a nice treat, or take some pints home.
It’s very easy to get overwhelmed in December. Final exams and final papers are looming. It can become a lot, quickly on top of daily homework, extracurriculars, friends, and work. Sometimes its important to take a break from it all. When I’ve run out of podcasts (see previous blog post) I need something else to help me relax. Yeah TV is great, I’m a TV major for Pete’s sake! But sometimes you need to just curl up with a good crossword puzzle and relax.
Crossword puzzles are great because you still get to exercise your brain, but something about filling in boxes is very calming. Its also a fun way to learn new facts (which helps me with Jeopardy!). Another fun part of crosswords is doing them with friends. It always helps to have a sounding board for those trickier clues. When I was home over Thanksgiving break my local newspaper has a massive crossword puzzle that I brought back to school for all of my friends to complete. It took more than 24 hours total and eight different people, but we finished the 3,000+ word puzzle! Check it out below! It was a great bonding experience and a real emotional rollercoaster. Who knew a crossword puzzle would be so exciting?
My favorite part about crosswords is making connections and learning something new. I have two crossword books, edited by NYTimes Crossword editor Will Shortz, that I take with me when I travel and keep next to my favorite spot in the living room. Instead of scrolling through Twitter or channel surfing, I’ll pick up a book and pen and start a new puzzle. Its quiet therapeutic because even though you’re not doing anything important, you still feel like you’re accomplishing something.
So, if you’re feeling a bit stressed, take a few minutes and fill out this COM Crossword puzzle I created!
Tuesday night BUTV10 covered the US Presidential Election. The Vote 2016 was a collaboration between BUTV10, the Journalism Department, the Film and Television Department, BU News Service, WTBU, DC Study Abroad, and London Study Abroad. Students were all over the country reporting from inside the headquarters of presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, insides the headquarters of New Hampshire Senate candidates Maggie Hassan and Kelly Ayotte, and outside of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.. The whole show is the thesis project for journalism graduate student Natalie Robson.
We rehearsed for our two hour show for about a month leading up to Tuesday, but no rehearsal could prepare us for five hours straight of live coverage, three of which were unscripted. We had each bloc on the fly during commercial breaks. There were two anchors, a congressional reporter, an exit polls reporter, a social media reporter from BUNS, and an interviewer for us to integrate, and the five remote reporters. There was a delicate dance between calling states’ results and sticking to the plan we decided just minutes before. The most important thing is to be prepared and have back up plans. Sometimes Skype wouldn’t connect, so we would have to change the format, or a state would be called and we would have to cut out of a break early. It was hard work, but the support system around Natalie and myself allowed us to succeed.
The journalism and film and television professors were instrumental in the production. Their experience reporting and producing news really helped during crunch time. They were able to help us make informed decisions about what was next. The engineers in COM worked countless hours to hame sure the set and control room were ready for this huge production. We were lucky to have two important interview guests who have reported on elections in the past, mass communication professor John Carroll; and Pulitzer-prize winner, Dean Tom Fiedler of COM. We were also lucky enough to interview Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore.
The experience each student working on the election coverage got on Tuesday night is something very unique. No other university did the comprehensive coverage we had with all of our moving parts. This was honestly the most valuable experience I’ve had so far at Boston University. I was able to do Tuesday night essentially what professionals were doing, and I can take everything that I learned into the workplace after I graduate. I’m so grateful COM is full of professors and students willing to push the limits and try something we’ve never done before.
I was home for three weeks this summer, and by my second to last day my mom would groan as I began the sentence she heard so many times before: “In this podcast I listened to they were talking about how—” “Caroline please.” But I can’t help it! There’s just so much information to share. The podcasts I listen to all average about an hour per episode. Say I listen to five per week. That’s five hours of information that is just swimming in my brain, just waiting to come out! Well my mom learned to embrace my sudden influx of knowledge. Once I got to school I even called her with an update on one on going episode—not because she cared, but because I felt like she needed to know.
Another great thing about podcasts is that some of them give a glimpse into my future. 28-year olds talking about their lives and jobs and relationships. Its refreshing to hear how sure of themselves they are and how self-aware they are. It gives me hope that my insecure, self-doubting ways will be in the past some day soon. There are also podcasts that open my eyes to injustices and discrepancies in the world and teach me new ways of thinking.
So back to one of the many conversations with my mom… I was telling her about a podcast I listen to called Lizard People, a conspiracy theory podcast on which the host brings her friends to convince her of various conspiracy theories. This particular episode was about the moon landing, and it was particularly convincing. She just thought I was crazy… “drinking the cool-aid” I think she said, but I didn’t care. Another time I told her about a Revisionist History episode on Bates College’s five-star-quality dining hall food at the expense of scholarships for students from low-income families, comparing it to Vassar College, a school with notoriously bad dining hall food, but considerably more economic diversity. This one was particularly interesting, because it made me realize that all of the money a college or university spends comes from somewhere and there are tough decisions to be made about what is the most important to spend that money on.
All that said, here are some of my favorite podcasts:
Honey: Actress/writer/improviser/busybody Julia Meltzer interviews real couples about their fights: how, why, whose fault is it, do you still love each other – THE JUICY STUFF. At times hilarious, at times painful, at times full of heartbreakingly raw honesty, these conversations expose truths about love, human beings, and the concept of partnership. Best podcast I listen to.
Lizard People: What if the government actually did cover something up in Roswell? What if yetis exist and are just really shy? What if super-intelligent lizards are wearing human skin suits, influencing international affairs and recording podcasts? Conspiracy theories are cool because they appeal to our evolved logical human brains and our stupid mammal idiot brains. So join comedian and skeptic Katelyn Hempstead as her brilliant friends try to convince her of these and many other conspiracy theories. Hilarious, definitely recommend.
This American Life: This American Life is a weekly public radio show, heard by 2.2 million people on more than 500 stations. Another 1.5 million people download the weekly podcast. It is hosted by Ira Glass, produced in collaboration with Chicago Public Media. This is a great one to learn about the lives of different people.
Revisionist History: A new podcast from Malcolm Gladwell and Panoply Media. Each week, over the course of 10 weeks, Revisionist History will go back and reinterpret something from the past. An event. A person. An idea. Something overlooked. Something misunderstood. Because sometimes the past deserves a second chance. New perspectives!
About the News: Hosted by CBS News’ Bob Schieffer with H. Andrew Schwartz, “About the News” is series of conversations with the top people reporting the news, about the news, and its impact on politics and policy. A collaboration between the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) and the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at TCU, Schieffer and Schwartz host a weekly discussion with the most interesting people working in legacy media, digitally native platforms, social media companies, and top thought leaders. Great for journalists and newsies!
Go on iTunes and search through the Podcasts. They’re free and there are THOUSANDS to choose from. Something for everyone, including fiction podcasts (not my cup of tea, but definitely for some). It’s so easy to listen to a podcast and learn something new on your walk to class or while working out at the gym instead of listening to music. I think its important for everyone to have open minds and learn about the world; be it historical, socio-cultural, technological, or relational. It’s super easy to listen to a podcast, and I would definitely recommend it. Just maybe avoid telling your mother about every episode you listen to…
I woke up at 5am Saturday morning for a 6am call time. The sun was no where in sight as my roommate and I walked from West Campus to Late Night Kitchen. Why might you ask? BUTV10!
BUTV10 Productions teamed up with The Hungry Terrier to produce BU’s version of Chopped, The 2nd Annual Chowdown! After months of collaboration between BUTV10’s production coordinator, The Hungry Terrier’s producers, and BU Dining Service. Between writing scripts, securing sponsors, auditioning contestants, devising the secret ingredients, organizing crew and equipment, or designing graphics, everyone had a hand in making the Chowdown AWESOME!
So we arrived on set at 6am and completely transformed Late Night Kitchen into a staged cooking show set.
We fought through our tiredness to produce one crazy episode of live-to-tape television. We filmed each segment separately, with the most difficult being the actual cooking. The three contestants, all BU students, had 45 minutes to transform chicken, apples, broccolini, and the secret ingredient salsa verde into incredible dishes!
The kitchen was hot and the ladies definitely handled the heat! There was a play on Waldorf salad, a Mexican staple, and a savory chicken and waffles spinoff. I was personally very impressed with the contestants and their ability to overcome difficulties and beat the clock.
The crew worked tirelessly to cover all of the action. There were two camera operators in the kitchen as well as a stage manager and host. There was an unmanned, rigged camera over the prep station and a camera on the floor with the judges and other host. To manage all of the camera feeds we used a TriCaster with a director and technical director. Although the we tried to cut the show as much as we could live, the Hungry Terrier crew will be editing everything in post production.
The judges were from Mei Mei’s in South Campus, Sargent Choice Nutrition Center, and Fomu in Allston. All great women from the Boston food scene. They had a tough decision to make, find out who won when the episode airs on butv10.com on April 29th! You can see all of the action I described as well as some KILLER graphics from our amazing graphics coordinator. He has been working on an animated opening sequence as well as cool logos for more than three months!