Sarah: A Story of Love

Sarah ImageAs the last traces of Valentine’s Day linger in the air, I seize this moment to reflect on one of my own relationships – one that has become very important to me over the past six months. What began as a mere fling has blossomed into a lasting and unbreakable bond. It’s thrilling. It’s passionate. It’s real. Now, you might be thinking this is not the most appropriate outlet for an expression of the sort, but this kind of affair is not one to be silenced. I write to you today, fellow and future terriers, because I’ve fallen madly, truly and deeply in love with American Sign Language.

Rewind to freshman year. After actively avoiding a certain part of the COM curriculum for over a year, I began receiving concerned emails about my unfulfilled language requirement. Unwilling to spend two semesters learning a language, I looked high and low for possible loopholes. Option 1: test out of Latin, a language I hadn’t studied in four years. Option 2: take an eight-week intensive course in Russian. Option 3: pray for COM to drop the language requirement. When none of these choices proved feasible, I broke down and began looking at fall language courses. On a whim, I registered for ASL 1.

The summer came and went without a second thought about the dreaded language requirement. On the fist day of classes, my apathy became panic. To my (shamefully oblivious) surprise, a Deaf man – Professor Jason Norman, showed up to teach the on the first day of class. How does a Deaf professor teach a class full of hearing students with no experience in ASL? It would be futile for me to try to articulate exactly how he teaches the class because it’s a mystery even to me. All I can say is that last semester, Professor Norman played matchmaker – he introduced me to the rich and expressive language I would come to love.

I learned more in one semester of ASL than I ever thought possible. For three hours a week, I found myself engaged, focused and dedicated to mastering this new language. While I sometimes shied away from participating in other classes, I found myself eager to ask questions, give examples and sign in front of the class. By the end of the semester, I was confident and competent enough to hold conversations in ASL, even with native signers.

Now, don’t be fooled. ASL and I are a match made in heaven, but like any relationship, there have been a few bumps in the road. Learning ASL is fun, but not easy. The switch from aural to visual communication is a dramatic one that requires a certain level of commitment and training. Also, to master fingerspelling at normal pace takes years of practice. The language gap between Professor Norman and I was the biggest hardship last semester. There were times that I held back questions and comments simply because I didn’t know how to sign them. These issues work themselves out with both patience and practice.

I now take ASL 2, but sadly, ASL and I might have to take a break after this semester. The year I once thought I would waste learning a language is coming to an end – but I’m not ready to call it quits. However, with hopes of internships and studying abroad, ASL classes might not fit into my schedule. But, fear not – I’m confident this love story will have a happy ending. The things I’ve learned and the people I’ve met through ASL and Deaf culture studies will surely transcend into other aspects of my life. Maybe I’ll even make a film about it some day.

College is such a short part of life, yet so packed full of opportunities. When else will you have the chance to study Buddhism in America? Or zooarchaeology? So, I dare you – I triple dog dare you – to take a class that you know will challenge you. A class you know nothing about. A class you might not be eager to take. You never know when you might uncover a hidden passion; you never know when you might fall in love.

Sarah: True Life: I’m an Intern

SarahHey terriers! While many begin the hunt for a summer internship, I thought I’d reflect a little on my own.

This past summer, I had the most incredible first internship a film student can ask for – being a production assistant on the set of a feature film. The Place Beyond the Pines, a film written and directed by Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine), and starring Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper, began filming last July in Schenectady, NY. Schenectady might not sound familiar to you, but I grew up practically next-door. It was a BIG deal for such a small town.

Being on set was unlike anything I’ve ever done before. I gained practical knowledge, made connections and experienced feature filmmaking first-hand. It turned out to be the most rewarding (and brag-worthy) internship I could have hoped for. It was also the most overwhelming. I went through a trial and error period in the beginning, but I learned more from my initial uncertainty. Here are just a few things I picked up as a first-time film intern.

1. Comfortable shoes are essential.
Twelve-hour days are average. Fourteen-hour days are typical. Sixteen-hour days are not unlikely. Production assistants do not sit. Ever. You might get twenty minutes to scarf down lunch, but that does not guarantee you any time off of your feet. Flexible shoes with some support will help prevent throbbing feet at the end of the day. After day one, I ditched my tennis shoes for an old pair of running sneakers.

2. It takes a LOT of people to make a movie…
…and you have to know all of them. I was astonished to discover how many people it takes to make a feature film (this was a low-budget, independent film, mind you). Directors, producers, gaffers, electricians, personal assistants, sound mixers, location scouts, prop masters and makeup artists make for a substantial crew. When you consider all of the work done both before and after filming, the crew on set is just a portion of a larger team – a team of hundreds. As the eyes and ears of the assistant directors, production assistants are responsible for knowing who everyone is and what everyone does. Study up right away – there will inevitably be seven Mikes.

3. Filmmaking has its own lingo.
Do you know what sides are? A hero house? A squib? Neither did I. There isn’t any kind of vocabulary list you receive before hand, but nearly everything on set has some shortened ID. The key PA might brief you on your first day, but just like knowing every person on set, it’s your responsibility to know all of the terms used on set. It will mostly come with time and repetition, but doing some research beforehand can’t hurt.

4. Everyone is your boss.
The only position lower than a PA is an interning PA. There is a key PA who all others will generally report to and receive instructions from. The higher-ups will relay instructions, requests and problems to the key PA, who then delegates responsibilities to everyone else. It seems pretty common, however, for other crew memebers on set to ask a PA for assistance. Whatever they ask – do it. For me, most times it was someone asking for a pen or a new radio battery (or to hold an umbrella for Ryan Gosling so the rain won’t smudge his tattoos). If a crewmember asks you to do anything that requires you to leave set or an assigned post, make sure you tell the key PA. They must keep tabs on their minions at all times!

5. Days are long, but not necessarily busy.
On my first day, my key PA told me that the job involves doing everything and doing nothing – bizarre, yet true. There is no single responsibility of a PA. Tasks change with current needs and circumstances on set. Most days, my responsibilities required me to run around set for twenty minutes and then act as a human traffic cone for the rest of the day. It’s the nature of the business; I had to do my job so the actors and directors could do theirs. If you want to impress the crew, be the happiest, most attentive traffic cone on set. And don’t sit down!

6. Call sheets are tricky.
Call sheets hold SO much information. This one piece of paper holds almost everything you need to know for the day – call times, weather, scene numbers, props, location and the entire crew list. It isn’t of much use, however, if you don’t know how to read it. My key PA tried decoding it for me on my first day, but barely made it through the heading before he got pulled away. This is another thing you kind of have to learn through experience. The interns on set would often band together to decipher the scene descriptions. I found out, though, that interns are not the only ones who have trouble reading call sheets. The assistant directors would often joke about holding a Call Sheet 101 class.

If you have the opportunity to work on a movie set, take it! Maybe my rookie mistakes and lessons learned will help you through your first few days!

The Place Beyond the Pines is scheduled to release in the fall – go see it!

Sarah: Fy-What?

Sarah Bellardini
Sarah Bellardini

First off, I have to thank everyone who came to open house. Kudos to Admissions for picking you guys! You were well worth getting out of bed at 7am for. Hopefully we’ve helped guide you toward a decision. If you are already sold on BU, take a breath of relief, but also start looking ahead to all BU will offer you.

I recently received some exciting news – I was accepted to be a staff leader for FYSOP22! FYSOP (one of BU’s countless acronyms) is BU’s First Year Student Outreach Project run by the Community Service Center. I think I speak for all involved when I say nothing welcomes you to BU quite like FYSOP.

In a nutshell, FYSOP is a week of community service throughout the Boston area. The week before classes begin, students will volunteer in one of ten issue areas, ranging from environment, to hunger to elders (Choose elders! Maybe I’ll be your staff leader). You’ll work hard, make friends, avoid the move-in rush, get awesome T-shirts, learn more cheers than you will ever remember and create memories that will last for the rest of your time at BU.

But don’t just take my word for it – ask around. FYSOP has become such a popular program that nearly 1 out of every 4 freshman in the class of 2014 participated. While the very name FYSOP might look strange to you, everyone on campus knows about it.

If you are at all interested in serving the community, becoming acquainted with Boston, settling in early and meeting some truly incredible people, consider applying for FYSOP. Yes, this does mean a week less of summer at home, but trust me, by the end of August you’ll be itching to leave the nest.

Check out the website for more FY-info.

http://www.bu.edu/csc/opportunities/community-service-center-programs/fysop/