Jason: Life of a Producer

As I write this blog I’m listening to calm Hawaiian music because it feels like I have been working non stop since the summer began.. well not really; but I have been very busy.

So first on my list is my internship at WGBH. As you guys know I’m a production intern at the PBS show, American Experience we are still in the pre production phase but I’ve enjoyed getting to partake fully in the process.

But what’s really been taking over my life is the film I’m producing. This Saturday we’ll begin production for a graduate student thesis film called Flesh Eaters. It’s about a boy who thinks his first communion is actually a zombie initiation rite and that he’ll turn into a zombie when he takes communion. Pretty funny stuff if you ask me. Anyway, my role has been pretty much all of the administrative work. That means finding the actors, extras, locations, budget, and the list goes on and on. It’s definitely a lot bigger of a monster than I had expected but I’m so excited and thankful I’ve been able to tackle such an important role so early on in my college career.

My piece of advice for you guys is to get an internship or a job up here if you can during the summer. It is by far the best place to be. You have such easy access to the Charles River and the endless waterfront activities, a not too far escape to mountains in New Hampshire and other parts of Massachusetts, as well as of course, the entire city of Boston minus all of the students who are usually here crowding the streets.

I’d love to hear what you guys are doing and how you’re enjoying the summer! Tweet at me @jasonkashdan to say hi or ask any questions you have. Hope you all had a great 4th of July!

Jason: The Last Month of School

Jason ImageSo it looks like the weather won’t be getting warm any time soon, but I figured I’d talk a little bit about what I’m looking forward to as we enter the last month of school. Coming up next week is a Boston holiday when the Boston Marathon comes through the streets of Boston. You guys may recognize it from an episode of last seasons COMlife. But this isn’t your regular old marathon. There are runners from all over the world and the entire city of Boston (including the schools) close down to celebrate the big event.

Just before that though we’ve got our first open house for COM! On Saturday many of you will be coming to Boston to hear about all the awesome things we’ve got going on in COM. It’s a great opportunity meet and chat with current students, faculty and staff! You’ll get to have lunch in Warren Towers and hang out with the COM ambassadors and fellow perspective students. It’s going to be great weather and I’m looking forward to meeting you all.

Looking ahead to the summer, I’ll be staying in Boston and continuing my internship with WGBH. By that time we’ll be underway with production of the JFK documentary so I’m excited about that. Also by the time you read this I should have found out whether or not I’m going to Madrid for the documentary film program!

Anyway, that’s all for now! Hope to see some of you in the next couple weeks at our open houses!

Jason: Interning at WGBH

Jason ImageBoston University is a great school in itself, but as a COM student the education would not be complete without the number of great internships the city of Boston has to offer. Whether you’re studying to become the next Anne Curry, Lizzie Grubman, or Scorsese there is an internship in Boston that is perfect for you. For broadcast journalists we’ve got Channel 5, NECN, NESN, for PR majors there’s Boston Medical Center and CONE Communications, and for Film/ TV TD Garden, and a number of production companies that are making films through out the year.

Just last week, I was offered an internship position at WGBH, Boston’s member station of PBS. The opportunity came up on me rather quickly after the documentary that I had been planning to make with my sociology professor was put on hold because of a funding issue. Nevertheless, I’m now excited to say that I’ll be working on the production of a new American Experience Documentary on JFK.

My first day was Monday and I’m already in awe. I have my own huge cubicle with a brand new IMac, a WGBH email address and phone number extension. The cafeteria has everything from sushi to steak and I’m surrounded by Emmy’s and numerous other awards that American experience has won.

For the beginning, I’ll be logging all of the stills and video related to JFK that WGBH already has in their database. After that’s all sorted through, we’ll being production and film new interviews, B-roll footage, etc. For now I work there four hours on Mondays and Wednesdays but once the summer starts and production gets into full swing I should be there five days out of. I’m so pumped about this and will definitely keep you guys updated on the happenings for this project.

Jason: The BU Ski Club

Jason ImageSo as most of you guys know, this has been a pretty strange winter. There have been record highs across the nation, and every state has noted (with the exception of Alaska) of the lack of snow.

Well this is a real problem for skiers like me. We all know that when it’s cold enough, the resorts can make snow but that’s just not the same. Not all mountains have the capacity to make snow though! That’s left a lot of resorts with a lot less money this season. But let’s be honest, any mountain in the Boston area really isn’t going to be that great anyway. (I phrase it that way because I have never been skiing in MA but us skiers who have been skiing since they could walk get the idea)

But don’t fret! There are options to escape the smaller mountains that bless the great state of Massachusetts. If you don’t have the time or energy to commit to the ski team, the BU ski club is for you! I’ve been a proud member for two years now so let me tell you a little bit about it.

We have a bunch of trips through out the year, starting with the Killington trip in the first weekend in December. We stay at these awesome condos right at the base of the mountain and for those of you who haven’t been to the mountain before, it’s one of my favorites in New England. (Stratton is my home base where I spent some time with the freestyle tream) The Killington trip’s got nothing on the trip I’m going on this weekend. This weekend we’re bussing off to Quebec for four days! We ski at Mt. St Anne and Le Massif. It’s still not like skiing out west, but definitely better than anything around here. Other than the skiing, I’m definitely looking forward to reviving my Quebecois French and many rounds of poutine.

Our other big trip is to Sugarloaf in the spring and we’ll sometimes take sporadic day trips to VT. If the BU Ski club aren’t enough for you, an outside company called New England Snow Bus has trips to Stratton, Killington, or Okemo almost every weekend.

If you guys are interested, I put the links for the Ski Club and NESB below. Hope you all get some skiing in during the long weekend!

BU Ski Club: http://people.bu.edu/skiclub/

New England Snow Bus: http://www.newenglandsnowbus.com/index.html

Jason: New Semester

JasonHey guys,

Well, here’s my first blog entry of the semester. Classes just started so I figured it’d be appropriate to talk about how my first couple went. I’ve only had my liberal arts classes so far, my film classes are tomorrow (although by the time you read this I will have had them) but for now I’ll just talk about my first day back.

First of all, I was skiing in Park City, Utah the week before I got back to Boston and it’s warmer there than it is at school; so that was a bit of a shock. Anyway, if you end up living in West Campus make sure you get to the bus pretty early through out the winter because EVERYONE will be waiting for the bus and they can’t all fit. I ended up taking the T took my first class because the bus was too crowded.

My first class was sociology of law and society. I’m taking this class because A) it’s applicable to the topic areas I want to cover in my documentaries and B) it fills a requirement. The professor is hilarious and we’re going to have the opportunity to sit on a criminal court case. After watching religiously watching every episode of SVU, that’s been a dream of mine for some time now.

The class immediately after is Spanish. Last year I switched from French so I can participate in the Madrid Film Studies and Documentary Video Production Program in the fall. Right I’m now at the 5th semester level so I’ll be all set to go next year. I can’t really say much because apparently the professor who taught the entire class yesterday was subbing for our real professor. Should be good though.

That’s about it on that front. It’s good to be back and I’m pumped for a great semester.

Jason: Best Late-Night Food (As Promised)

Jason Kashdan
Jason Kashdan

So I’m back with another entry to give you guys my opinion on everything BU. Like I promised, this post will be about Late Night Cafe. For those of you who don’t know, Late Night is an afterhours dining option separate from your regular meal plan; instead, you’ll be paying with dining or convenience points. Most students take advantage of this on nights when an essay or studying for an exam leaves you awake until the wee hours of the morning. For this reason, some late night cafes are open as late as 2am! For the most part, each facility will have a similar menu, although there are some differences between the options. The standard choices include pizza, various kinds of sandwiches and wraps, quesadillas, salads, etc.  Any who, here is my break down of the different locations that offers Late Night Café.*

Warren Towers: As my home base last year, Warren Towers was my M.O. for Late Night. Being one of the largest dining halls on campus, it’s only fitting that they have a large array of options on the menu. Their most popular items are the quesadilla and the grilled chicken wrap. There’s a fresh fruit smoothie bar where you can order a custom made drink, a huge selection of Pepperidge Farm cookies, and a cooler filled with every energy or caffeine drink you’ll need to battle those late nights.

West Campus: West has their own version of late night. While they used to offer a similar experience to Warren, this late night option is now brought to you by Extreme Pita. Although this is a real establishment (as in not completely affiliated with BU dining) you can still pay for the food with your dining and convenience points. Personally, I prefer Extreme Pita over the other locations because they offer much healthier options.

Towers: I’ve only been to Towers a few times for Late Night but I would say that they have a pretty similar selection as Warren, the standard late night menu that I mentioned above. In addition, the times that I’ve been, the chefs have prepared other selections such as enchiladas and empanadas. They also have a smoothie bar.

The other dining halls that offer Late Night include Myles Standish Hall and Shelton Hall, both of which have the standard late night menu. HoJo (575 Commonwealth) also has a Late Nigh option called Café 575. I have never been there but according to Tom, “they offer muffins and stuff; maybe coffee too.”

*These are in no particular rank as Late Night Café is similar across most locations

Jason: Best Campus Dining Halls

Jason Kashdan
Jason Kashdan

After experiencing BU for one entire year I figured I’d sit down and write about something practical, something you guys might find useful. So here is my list of the top five residence dining halls at BU.

•    West Campus- West gets my vote as the number one because of sheer variety. West campus has the most options by far and although I have never been able to say with certain that it tastes better than the food in warren, having more options allows for a better chance that you’ll find something that’s healthy and tastes good. I’m also pretty sure they always have a make-your-own quesadilla bar, which is awesome.  The only downside is that for me the dining hall usually seemed more crowded than others

•    Warren Towers- My home base would have gotten the number one vote except for this last month. I think whoever runs the dining in Warren Towers may have checked out a little early because the selection (and quality) of the food over the last month has not been on par with its usual high standard. Regardless, the food here is usually exceptional with plenty of choices. The desserts are so good they’ll probably kill you and the dining hall is much more spacious than West campus.

•    Myles Standish Hall- Although the building itself might need some work, the dining hall is in pristine condition. There are two sides to this dining hall (separated by a hallway) One is a more lively, social setting with several flat screen TV’s and the other reserved for more intimate, quiet dining. While smaller than both West and Warren, there are usually enough options and the food is pretty good. There’s nothing really bad about the dining in Myles but I guess there’s nothing that great either. But hey, average isn’t that bad.

•    Shelton- It has just about as many options as Myles, the dining hall is pretty nice, and the food was good. I’ve only eaten there once though so I don’t have much to talk about.

•    The Towers- Ok, honestly, who decided to build a dining hall in a basement? As much as I love eating next two ceiling high industrial sized fans or radiators, or I don’t even know what they are, some windows would be nice, no? The choices here are fairly limited and I don’t know, I mean its not gonna kill you but there are better options than Towers.

I hope you guys find this useful. I am not endorsed by any of the five residence dining halls so my opinion of each is honest and unbiased. Stay tuned for my next piece on the top five places to eat Late Night.