Jon: 3 Tips for Checking out Film Equipment

One thing every film and  journalism student needs to know how to do is check out equipment from Field Production Services. For those who don’t know, Field Production Services (FPS) is the department in COM that manages all of the film and audio production equipment. If you need a camera, lights, an audio recorder, a dolly – the list goes on – you go to FPS.

While FPS has provided a lovely guide over on their website on how to reserve equipment http://www.bu.edu/com/current-students/film-tv/production-services/, there’s a lot of information to take in. So, I thought I’d share a few tips on how to best to handle checking out equipment from FPS.

1)     Make your reservation early: You can make reservations up to 14 days in advance, and with a number of production classes using the same equipment, it’s important not to wait for the last minute. If you make a project schedule ahead of time, then you’ll know exactly how early you’ll need to reserve your equipment for your shoot dates.

2)     Reserve enough equipment: It may seem like you’re just taking some still photos for your first project and you don’t need that heavy tripod. Or maybe you’re using a digital camera and you figure that you can use the LCD monitor to find your aperture settings, so is a light meter really necessary? Yes, yes you do. Don’t cut corners – the equipment’s there, you might as well use it.

3)     Check your equipment before you leave FPS: The people at FPS are great, but sometimes it gets busy in there: to prevent mix ups, go through ALL of your equipment before you leave and double check that it is all there and all working. The equipment ranges from kind of expensive to REALLY REALLY expensive, and you don’t want to get saddled with a price tag for a piece of gear you didn’t lose.

Handling gear can be kind of a hassle a times, but it’s worth it for the thrill of working on your own productions. Just make sure to reserve early, reserve enough gear, and check everything when you pick it up and you should be good!

Until next time,

ACTION!

 

Jon: Hello, World!

These two words are the first thing every programmer learns how to make a computer say. Just a simple print statement declaring that the system exists. A pertinent thought to consider in regards to my summer internship at Facebook.

Facebook is dominated by hacker culture, something born from computer engineers and their love of tinkering and creating. However, hacking is a mindset, and as such is not restricted to any one discipline.

The idea of hacking is to take an idea, and to make it happen as quickly as possible. It doesn’t require long brainstorming sessions. It doesn’t require regular team meetings. It doesn’t require high-level business planning and strategy.

What it takes is a willingness to fail.

Not every hack works, but the lessons learned are often far more useful than the actual product. Hacking teaches teamwork, efficiency, determination and creativity. Hacker culture and Facebook as a company are governed by a mantra of “Done is better than good”. All of these skills are needed to stick to that creed, and to make something be done.

Once it’s finished, you can always make it better. Just make sure the product ships.

I intern on the Direct Sales Operations team, a team of Facebookers that handle ad sales with the biggest advertisers on the platform: clients like P&G, Verizon and American Express.  I don’t even come close to looking at code. But we still hack.

Hacking is a labor of love, tenacity and optimism. The rapid ideation and creation involved might create 99 pieces of crap, but the sheer joy of that 1 in 100 masterpiece is worth it.

Every day I feel like I’m learning something new, but if there are two things I’m going to take away from this summer, they are these:

1)    Don’t be afraid to fail and/or break something

2)    Creating something decent is better than not making something great

I hope you’re all having a great summer, and I look forward to bringing everything I learn this summer back with me in the Fall. In the meantime, get to the beach, enjoy some sun, and keep COM!

Cheers,

Jon

 

Jon: Summer Livin’

Hey everyone! As I’m sitting here writing in the Sun and watching happy joggers bounce down the banks of the Charles, it’s clear that summer has arrived. Soon, classes will end and BU’s 16,000-odd students will take off for all corners of the globe to relax, explore, or work a summer job.

For many COM students however, the summer means one thing – internships. The summer is a great time to intern, as you can work full time. It really allows you to get the feel of working in a company, and you can go after opportunities outside of Boston.

So let’s say you’ve landed that perfect internship you’ve been dreaming of: Congrats! You’ve got a great chance to spend the summer growing as a person and a communications professional! But you’ve got one issue: the internship is in New York and you need to find somewhere to live if you don’t want to end up camping in Central Park. Well not to fear – I give you my advice to finding summer housing in a new city!

 

1)     Figure out who you know – This is the time to bust out the ol’ Facebook and start checking up on which of your acquaintances that you may-or-may not have spoken to since High School graduation has been living it up in your summer home. Even if you’ve been out of touch for a while, or were never that close with them, this person/people can be really helpful, especially if they’re going to school there. Chances are they know someone who is looking to sublet their apartment for the summer, meaning you can get a reasonable deal on safe, non-sketchy digs for the summer with the friend/acquaintance seal of approval

2)     Find out which schools are there – Every college has to deal with losing most of their student population over the summer. Many of them take the opportunity to bring in some extra revenue by opening their doors to the massive influx of college students rushing to the city for summer jobs and internships. While it may not be the most gracious of living, you can count on a familiar, safe, and well monitored living situation to get you through the summer.

3)     Browse AirBnB – One of the best innovations to come out of the internet since OMFGDOGS (http://www.omfgdogs.com/), AirBnB is like the Craigslist housing classifieds without all the axe-murderer vibes. The website allows homeowners to post their various available apartments/rooms/treehouses and for everything from nightly rentals (much like a hotel), to long-term sublets. You’ve got to use your street smarts here; you are renting from individuals, and that brings all the issues that entails. However, you can easily browse reviews by other renters who have stayed there, and it’s much easier to get an idea if you’re going to be living with a Mary Poppins or a Patrick Bateman. Check it out at https://www.airbnb.com/

Hopefully wherever you end up, you’ll be able to set up a comfortable living situation so that you can focus on learning, exploring your new town, and enjoying the summer! And now the Sun’s starting to get in my eyes and make it difficult to see my computer screen, so I’ll say until next time, and get outside and have some fun!

 

Jon: SXSW Interactive – Celebrating the Future of Advertising and Technology

Hello again! BU got back from break on Monday, and everyone will be catching up on their adventures over the past week. While many students departed for popular collegiate destinations such as Cancun, Miami, and California, a group of digital media students and professionals gathered in Austin, Texas for the South-by-Southwest (SXSW) Interactive festival. When it first began, SXSW Interactive was relatively unknown, and was easily dwarfed by its big brother SXSW Music and Film festivals. However, Interactive’s popularity has risen in recent years as digital media continues to dominate everyday life, and now the festival sees a massive turnout every year. Part conference, part trade show, and part spring break party, topics stretch the limits of the (broad) realm of digital media. I was lucky enough to attend this year with two other BU students, and while I could spend this whole post talking about the full size model of NASA’s new Hubble replacement, the James Webb telescope that was on display there (it is SO COOL), I’m going to share the top three predictions for the future of marketing that I took away from SXSW Interactive.

 

1)    Ad agencies and tech companies are going to become closer partners than ever before – Google’s ArtCopyCode initiative that they were promoting made this more than clear. On display were a pair of talking shoes that gave the wearer feedback on their actions, a road trip app developed in partnership with Volkswagen, and an effort Google is making to help filmmakers re-imagine their work for new web canvases. Each project was interesting, but the bigger message was clear: digital technology is here to stay, and marketers better start thinking about how they can create compelling interactive experiences.

2)    Physical products and experience are the new digital – Records, CDs, personal letters – these Mesozoic objects could make a comeback as a response to the increasingly digital world. Flourishing record sales could be written off as a trendy cultural phenomenon, but many see this as a symptom of a deeper human demand for physical experiences. Watch for brands looking to create new physical materials and events over the next few years, as consumers begin to taper their computer usage.

3)    Be diverse – If SXSW drove one point home for me, it was this one. From the attendees, who quite literally came from all over the world, to the range of topics (I attended a talk on voice acting for video games and Al Gore’s keynote on the future in the same weekend), SXSW Interactive is an incredibly diverse event. Even though SXSW is just a microcosm of humanity, it reflects and shapes the larger world. Borders, both digital and physical, are crumbling. At the end of the day, those who embrace and celebrate diversity are the ones who will flourish.

And now you have my two cents on SXSW! Thanks for reading, and good luck with the last push before Summer!

Until Next Time,

Jon

 

Jon: On The Road – 3 Tips to Successful Business Travel

Now let’s face it – we’re college students. The most traveling we do on our own, other than at the beginning or end of the school year, is to West Campus for a burger. Most of us have never had to fly, stay in a hotel, or get around an unfamiliar city by ourselves.

Why does this matter? Well after you’ve used all those nifty contacts and your stellar resume to get some internship or job interviews, you may find that the company you’re interviewing with wants to fly you out to their offices. Exciting? Yes. Easy? No. I recently had an experience with this myself, while interviewing for a summer position, and I’d like to share with you the three key points I learned while on the road.

1)    Print multiples copies of your itinerary – Seriously, this is your lifeblood while traveling. Your itinerary carries all the information about your flight times and locations, your hotel, the location of your interviewer’s offices, etc. You REALLY don’t want to lose it. Papers get lost. Phones die, or can’t find service. Do yourself a favor: make multiple copies and save yourself the headache.

2)    Pack light – While packing light may seem fairly obvious, I find that it is really easy to start piling things on one at a time, until a small load becomes a 40lb suitcase. Just don’t do it. Look at what you’re bringing and ask yourself “is the essential to have”. These trips aren’t about comfort; they are about interviewing for a position at a company. You probably don’t need your box set of Planet Earth, even if you will have some time to kill in the hotel room.

3)    Take taxis – You may be shocked to hear this, but you really should take a taxi when you’re interviewing in a new city. You may know that New York or Portland is supposed to have great public transportation. You may want to save the environment, and hate the idea of taking a personal car. You may just not want to spend the money. Take a dive, and call a cab. The chance of getting turned around, getting lost, or losing some piece of your luggage is infinitely higher when you’re trying to navigate a new public transit system, possibly while jet-lagged or late at night. When you come back for pleasure and aren’t under the same kind of time crunch, take the time to explore! Just don’t do it when you’re in the already stressful business-travel situation.

Hopefully those three tips will help get you through your business trip! Strap yourself in, because it is a hectic, tiring, and fun journey. Best of luck with your interviews, and travel safely!

 

Jon: Winter Blues and Comfort Foods

Hello all! The spring semester has kicked off in true Boston style: with bitter cold winds and flurries of icy snow. Californians and Southerners may be horrified by the reality of such severe conditions, but they can take comfort in the knowledge that even for us born and bred New Englanders, winter sucks.

So you might be wondering how to deal with such frosty temperatures, which cut right through even the wooliest scarves, gloves and pea coats? Good question. Toasty clothing is a start, but my personal favorite is a steaming plate of home-style deliciousness served up hot in a cheery and lively restaurant. Thus I present to you my guide to some of the best eats to cheer up those dark and dreary winter nights.

1. Mr. Bartley’s Burgers (Harvard Square) – Perhaps the king of comfort foods, there’s nothing quite like sinking your teeth into a juicy, meaty, medium rare hamburger. Whether it’s slathered in Swiss cheese or buried under bacon and avocado, a well-made patty on a hearty bun is a great way to warm up the winter. Mr. Bartley’s is known for their phenomenal homemade burgers, all of which are named after celebrity people and places (I’m partial to the Michelle Obama myself). Come into this Harvard Square haunt for a cheery, pub-ish atmosphere with lively conversation, packed tables, friendly waitresses and , of course, delicious burgers. Don’t forget the fries and pickle!

2. Pizzaria Regina’s (North End) – For those who are adventurous enough to make it over to the North End, the original Pizzaria Regina’s is a must for comfort dining. Now a small local chain, this location is the restaurant that started it all. Some people question the quality of certain pizza joints, but located in the heart of Boston’s North End, you can be confident that Regina’s is steeped in all the authentic Italian qualities of that district. Need more reassurance? Look no farther than the menu. When a restaurant only serves pizza and beer, that’s when you know they mean business. Come in for a slice or a pie, and don’t be off-put by the somewhat gruff manner of the staff: that’s just business when you’re the most popular and authentic pizza palace in Boston.

3. Osaka (Coolidge Corner) – For those looking for something a little more eastern in nature, Osaka is the go-to place. Stemming from a restaurant in the Western Massachusetts college town of Northhampton, Osaka provides authentic, exquisite Japanese food for a reasonable price. Split between a vibrant and noisy Hibachi grill, and a quieter and extremely pleasant dining room, Osaka has something to offer for everyone. Though sushi might not be your first thought when trying to escape the winter cold, exploring the menu further reveals a whole host of delicious and comforting options. I personally recommend the Katsu Don: Warm panko-breaded pork over rice with a fried egg on top reminds me of down-home cooking with an eastern twist. It just goes to show that people need a little bit of comfort from their cuisine everywhere.

4. Clam Chowder (New England) – Okay, so this one isn’t an actual restaurant, but nothing is more regionally delightful and comforting as a steaming bowl of New England clam chowder. Great recipes can be sampled all over the north east, but for a Boston fix, Legal Sea Foods has you covered with a great upper-end option (their chowder has been served at several presidential inaugurations!),  and some of the Quincy Market restaurants do a great chowder-in-a-bread bowl, sure to warm up the coldest of winter nights!

Hopefully you’ve worked up an appetite by the end of this post – now go out and explore! After all, 9 out of 10 moms say a hearty meal is the perfect cure to the mid-winter blues.

Until next time,

Jon

 

Jon: COM Talks

Hey everyone! As a self-proclaimed ad-geek, I love getting as much info about advertising as I can. Luckily for me (and all my peers), COM hosts a number of awesome events and speakers throughout the year, and there’s another one coming up tonight!

At 5 p.m. tonight, Mike Schneider, the SVP and Director of the Digital Incubator at a&g, will be giving a talk titled: The Role of Authentic Content in Modern Branding. While at first glance, that may seem like an awful lot of buzzwords, I can assure you that there is substance to back them up!

You see, I got the chance to hear Mike Schneider (or @SchneiderMike, as the Twitterverse knows him), last year at a panel COM hosted on how companies and agencies going beyond the basics of social media and use it to effectively access and communicate with their target communities. Pretty cool, eh? Like I said: ad-geek.

Anyways, I was blown away by Mike’s breadth of knowledge and comfort with public speaking. He was quick, personable, incredibly sharp, and best of all, witty. Not only did he teach the audience some valuable lessons, but he kept them entertained while doing it (largely as a result of his banter with fellow panelist and COM professor Edward Boches). After hearing him talk, I certainly felt more informed about how I could more strategically implement a social media plan if I were thrust into that role at an agency.

Tomorrow he will speak again on the topic of content branding; a recent trend where advertisers and agencies create real content that expands or shapes a brand’s image, rather than simply trying to sell it to a target market. Agencies and clients are rapidly seeing more value in this kind of content, as it provides content consumers actually want to engage with for its own sake, while simultaneously giving the brand exposure. A great example is this Mini Cooper campaign launched by DDB Paris that featured a game based on Google Maps http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uveD0Z3lIWo.

Opportunities like these are just one more of the many reasons I love COM. Make sure you take advantage of them! They are informative and helpful for career development, as well as quite entertaining.

And the best part? They’re almost always free.

Until next time,

Jon

Link to the Event: http://schneidermike.eventbrite.com/

 

Jon: How to Beat the Cold

New England is an amazing place, in part because of its seasons. There are few other places where you can get a real four-season year like you can in the northeast. But, with short days, cold winds, and huge amounts of snow, the winter season can seem long and unbearable to some.

However, a cheery fire and a steaming mug of hot chocolate can make all the difference in combating these mid-winter blues. So, with the toughest season of the year just beginning to show its signs, I’m going to have a go at listing the top five ways to get a break from the Boston winter.

1) Cozy up in a Coffee Shop. It may seem a bit obvious, but bringing a good book and some free time to a toasty coffee shop and relaxing is a great way to make the winter a little brighter. Between the wafting smells of freshly baked pastries, and the comfortable, low key atmosphere, your winter blues will float away like the steam coming off your mocha-soy latte. An on-campus favorite is the Espresso Royale Café –for a filling breakfast try their bagel sandwiches!

2) Catch a Flick. Boston doesn’t have the most theaters per capita, but it does have some of the nicest art house and independent venues I’ve been to. Spending a dark winter afternoon or evening in the supple ambience of an art deco theater can be a great way to brighten your week. The local Brattle Theater (Cambridge) and Coolidge Corner Theater (Brookline) are both accessible by public transit, and frequently screen old favorites, new indie pictures, foreign gems, and even a cartoon marathon from time to time.

3) Go Shopping. I’m sure I’m not the only one among us who suffers from a minor-to-severe case of retail therapy. While I might take out my stress by making questionable purchases (I don’t care what my roommate says – that $200 Japanese tea set was TOTALLY necessary), I’m actually recommending some light mall-crawling because of the locations rather than the stores. The Prudential Center, a popular shopping mall in the Back Bay, is brilliant in the winter, decked out from floor to ceiling in shiny holiday cheer. The Galleria Mall in Cambridge is similarly resplendent during the holiday season. Sometimes during the winter, a healthy dose of bright lights, shiny ornaments, and old fashioned consumerism is just what the doctor ordered.

4) Get to the Gym. I might be sounding like a broken record, but I can’t recommend exercise enough. Getting your heart rate up is clinically proven to elevate mood and help you stay positive and upbeat. Long winters can take quite a toll even on the most hardened of lifetime New Englanders. Some daily exercise is a great way to make those grey skies seem a little bit brighter. For those who have a phobia of exercise machines (“I’ve only been running for HOW long!?”), the FitRec offers classes, rock climbing and pick up sports, all fun ways to stay active without the repetitiveness of working out.

5) Embrace the Cold. It may sound funny at first, but sometimes the best way to beat the winter is throw the reigns over it and turn it into your own personal joyride. From sledding, skating and skiing, to getting in a free-fire snowball fight on Bay State road, the red noses and frozen fingertips can help you find the winter as a source of fun, rather than dreariness. Getting good and drenched in melted snow makes the hot chocolate that much more satisfying as well. Local mass transit means woods and sledding areas out of the city are just a train ride away – just be sure to bundle up!

If you haven’t experienced a New England winter before, you’re in for an extraordinary few months. Tackle it head on, stay on top of your work, and try to have some fun! Winter cheer really does exist, and like the blizzards and snow banks, it can be found in New England like no other place.

Until next time, stay warm and dry!

 

Jon: Exercise Makes You Happy

Hey again! I hope that your semester has been going well – it’s been a while since I’ve posted, and a lot has happened. As we finish up midterms (thankfully), I have thinking a lot about one particular topic: exercise.

Now before you ask why I don’t have anything better to do than think about exercise (don’t worry, I’ve already asked myself), let me explain. Exercise is incredibly important to obviously your physical health, but also your mental health and cognitive ability. In other words you are happier and smarter when you’ve been pumping some iron.

It can be tough to get to the gym though! With tests, problem sets, projects, extracurriculars, parties, and more on the endless list of things college students do to fill up their every waking moment, it can be hard to find the motivation to make it down to the beautiful FitRec. So, I’ve created a short list of tips I’ve learned for helping you go that extra mile (literally if you’re living in Kenmore), and get to the gym.

1)      Plan Ahead – this seems simple enough and it is! On Sunday night think about your week and when you could find time to get into the gym. I find it particularly helpful to plan workouts around times when I’m going to be near West Campus anyways to save on the commute.

2)      Bring a Buddy! – Having a friend who’s committed to working out with you is one of the best ways to get both of you into the gym. Sometimes just the friendly reminder that “We’re going to the gym at 5, right?”, or the feeling of seeing someone else revved up to go when you might be tired is all it takes to get there. Try this one out, and I guarantee that you’ll be increasing your gym-consistency in less than two weeks (no refunds)!

3)      Use the Weekends – Realistically, the week is a busy time and it’s hard to get to the gym. However, take some of that time when you’d be getting 12 hours of sleep on a Saturday or Sunday (which by the way might be harming you more than sleeping just 9 hours), and make some tracks. You’ll feel great, and be energized for the rest of the day.

Hopefully these three tips can help a little bit with the ongoing battle that is balancing fitness and college life. Until next time, stay happy, healthy, and keep reading this blog!

Over and out,
Jon

Jon: The Digital Days

Hey all!

Many of you may not know much about the workings of digital and interactive media, especially from a marketing standpoint. But don’t you let that get you down! The field, which is a fairly new one anyways, is being explored by BU’s Digital Media Club (BUDMC), where I serve as Treasurer.
The club gives students a chance to get hands on with bringing an idea from inception to completion in the digital space. Or in layman’s terms, to think of something cool and digital and then make it happen. Terrier Labs, the digital incubator side of the club, focuses on identifying brand problems, usually within BU, and then creating an innovative digital solution for them.

Perhaps you’re scared of code, and have never touched an HTML document in your life. Maybe you don’t want to learn the Adobe creative suite when you never really plan on working as an art director. Well that’s just fine. BUDMC brings together designers, developers and marketers to produce a product that is viable, useful, and innovative. So that means that even if you only feel cut out for the marketing and management side of digital, then there is a space for you. And best of all the work is done in a collaborative environment where you can pick up skills in coding and design from your coworkers.

But why is digital exciting? What’s so great about it that traditional media can’t provide? The answer is flexibility.

With a digital product designed right, a team can start extremely small, and test, evaluate and iterate on their idea until it is near perfect, using constant feedback from consumers who are trying the product out. The medium allows you to quickly change things that aren’t working, and then asses the quality of those changes.

The high speed nature of the field is exhilarating, but the most rewarding part is seeing something you’ve actually accomplished. Knowing that you started from an idea on pen-and-paper, and then ended with a physical (well, relatively) product that you can use is an incredibly rewarding feeling. I know that’s how everyone in the club who was involved with the BURoomSwap project, which created a tool to help students who are unhappy with their housing situation find someone to swap rooms with, felt when they saw users taking the site in stride and running with it, making plenty of postings and even some successful swaps along the way.

If you have even the slightest interest I can only highly recommend giving BUDMC a look. And make sure to keep your ear to the ground about upcoming DMC projects!

Until Next Time,

Jon