Casey: Film and TV Beginner Advice!

With one year of the Film and TV program here at COM under my belt, I’ve been thinking recently about the lessons I learned in the past year and how I can apply them as I move forward in my career here, and thought I would share a few with you.

  1. Connections connections connections
    If there is anything that is stressed in anyone’s not just film and TV but COM career in general, it is making connections. Connections to your peers, connections to your professors, and connections to people in the BU and Boston communities are so important, even if you don’t know exactly why at the exact moment. It could lead to a chance to get on set for a Prod 3 film, or an internship, or just a mentor to help you through your COM journey.

  2. Initiative Over Skills
    Film and TV is different than any other major here at BU, in that extracurricular experiences are equally important as classes to truly get the most of your experience in the program and find a job post-grad. As a result, there are a hundred different opportunities to pursue extracurriculars and get experience outside of the classroom, whether it’s through BUTV10, short film clubs, film festivals, or other personal projects. However, there is one thing that stops a lot of people from jumping into these activities: they don’t think they have the skills. And this is a completely legitimate concern, as it can be scary to go onto a set with no previous experience. But the secret to this is that although skills help a lot, all anyone is looking for here is initiative. Initiative, wanting to be there and showing up day in and day out will always get you where you want to be at COM and along the way you’ll gain skills that will open you up to even more opportunities. All you have to do is take the first step. Personally, I started BUTV10 last year working for COED as a writer with not previous writing experience, and Bay State as a Production Assistant having never been on set before. And as a result of showing initiative and wanting to be there, I was able to produce COED this semester after a year of writing for the show and will be producing Bay State next semester after a year and a half of showing up and just trying to learn a little bit each time I got on set.

  3. Be Honest with Yourself
    Film and TV is overwhelming and broad. There are a hundred things you can do in this crazy industry we’re getting ourselves into, and sometimes it can be a challenge deciding which tracks you want to take. The key is to be honest with yourself and let yourself actually get a feel for what you think is right. Personally, I started out hearing about all the great things that are involved in production and how amazing cinematography was and so I told myself that would be the track I would take and that would be it. But a year in, I have come to realize that really, I am more of a writer and producer than a hands-on production filmmaker. And honestly, that took awhile for me to admit. It can be tough to shift and re-evaluate after you are so certain something is right for you, but in the long-run you are going to be so much better off. So if you discover that something really isn’t for you, just be honest with yourself and make the shift. It may seem stressful at the moment, but you’ll be happier in the long-run.

Casey: Sound is the Most Underrated Tool for Filmmakers

Ok, before you go on with the rest of this article I need you to stop what you’re doing for a few seconds and just listen to whats going on around you. Don’t think. Just listen. I’ll wait.

Alright cool now that those of you who actually cared enough to stop reading are back, let’s get to it. No matter where you are right now, the sound is one of the main things that sets the mood and feeling. Whether that be the low murmur of the COM Lounge or the loud thinking of angry Boston drivers as you read this on your phone walking down Comm Ave. Sound creates the world around you more than you notice day-to-day. And that’s why I think it is the most underrated tool when it comes to storytelling- in particular in filmmaking.

At this year’s Oscars, Dunkirk took home both the Sound Design and Sound Editing awards (yes, I was the only person I know who cared about those two awards) and is a perfect example to drive home my point. The movie begins with a small group of soldiers moves along a street. Throughout the beginning of this scene, there is an eerie silence. So much that you can hear the sound of the soldiers’ equipment ruffling and footsteps on the cobblestone paths, in addition to the fluttering of German leaflets, demanding surrender, to the ground. It creates a sense of calm and peace for the viewer, making them believe that the town the soldiers are in is abandoned, but that is shattered in a heartbeat with the quick but deafening sound of gunshots. Suddenly the previously steady music I noted scene has become louder and quicker, and the soldiers are running. 

Although there is a multitude of gunshots heard, very few bullets are seen. But they don’t need to be. The audience knows what that deafening sound is, and more importantly, what it means.

ImageNow you may think I’m thinking way too into this, but think about if Christopher Nolan had decided to do something different. What if the music had been ramped up from the beginning, creating tension from the very start. Then, change the gunshots a bit so that they are a little softer, and a little more spread out. Suddenly, they sound farther away, almost like warning shots, as opposed to an attempt on the soldiers’ lives. This gives a slightly different motivation as to why the soldiers are running, as now instead of the thought that they could die any second running through their head, they now simply believe that they should get out of the town as quickly as possible before they’re found. In addition, now the audience has less of a sense of tension and dread, and more one of thrill, feeling almost anxious about whether the soldiers will make it out of the town, on the edge of their seats.

That is the power of sound. It gives life to the things you see and creates the world around them. It changes the way you feel and experience a moment, whether you know it or not. So don’t just watch movies. Listen to them, too.

 

Casey: Boston is Not the Midwest

Seeing as this is college decision time for high school seniors, I thought I might share my experience.

I went to school and spent most of my time in Noblesville, Indiana, just north of Indianapolis. Noblesville (and all of Indiana, really) is a lot like Sacramento is described in Lady Bird. It was a great place to grow up, I made some of my closest friends, and I learned a lot. But for much of my life, it also felt like a cage and left me feeling like I was missing out on the world and life, while many of my classmates were completely settled on the idea of staying there their whole lives.

But luckily, I found a way out early on. My mom was a BU grad, and told me a lot of her experience going to school here, of all the people she met, great things she learned and did that she could never have in the small city outside of St. Louis she grew up in. From the first time I heard of it, I knew BU was where I wanted to be. So as trapped as I felt, I always had a way out in sight.

About a year and a half ago, as I began to decide which schools to apply to, I only visited two colleges: BU, and DePaul in Chicago. To comfort my parents and guidance counselor, I applied to a couple other schools, of course, but anyone who knew me knew where I wanted to be.

Now, I arrive at the present. My gamble paid off, and I now have nearly a year under my belt at the school I’ve wanted to go to since I was 4. BU has been all I hoped it would be. I’ve gotten to meet amazing people from all over (the best ones being in COM, obviously), experienced great things, and learned a lot about myself.

Looking back, this entire story and experience that occurred across 15 years of my life taught me some of the most valuable lessons I have ever learned and will be invaluable to me as I continue my college career.

First, trust your heart. It knows what you want and where you want to go, even when you don’t. I just knew deep down in my gut that BU was the right place for me, and would get me where I wanted to go in life. My heart knew it, so I never questioned it. College involves making a lot of decisions, and it can be extremely stressful trying to figure everything out, and it can be difficult to see what you truly want. But even if you don’t know, your heart does. Try listening.

Second, remember where you came from. I know I just spent this article ripping apart my home state, but its true. As I said, I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many people this year at BU from all over the world, and have learned a lot from them. But that’s what you have to remember, just as you learn a lot by meeting all these great people, they also have a lot to learn from you. Where you come from shaped you and made you who you are. Embrace it. In the end, where you came from and how you grew from there is what will set you apart in college, and later, the world.