Jason: Madrid Retrospective

Yesterday, December 5th 2012, I officially finished my classes and my internship here in Madrid and I have 8 days left until I return to the states.

As I’m sure you will here from every person who has studied abroad this has been by far the best experience I have had in my life. I have learned so much at my internship; not only technical skills but also many aspects of the cinema industry in Spain, the United States, and around the world. All of the three classes I took here (Spain and the European Union, The History of Spain through documentaries, and Advance Spanish Language) are all on my list of favorite classes. These professors are some of the best in their field and I have never learned so much in a class before.

Madrid and the entire country–the food, the people, the culture,–are incredible. Above all, the opportunity to live with a family (There is no question I had the best family of the entire program) hanging out with my host brother and his friends, and watching my Spanish improve every day… it just could not have been better.

I’m extremely exited to get back to the states though to see my friends, family, and SNOW! (I’m going through skiing withdrawal) And I’m very excited for my classes next semester! I’ll be taking my first creative television producing, understanding of film, production 2, and advance french language (yup that’s 2 foreign languages for this kid)

Anyway, good luck with all of your exams, papers, etc., happy holidays, and go abroad!!

If you have any questions about the Madrid program, going abroad, etc. please don’t hesitate to reach out to me!!!

 

Jason: Madrid!

¡Hola! In case you haven´t been following COMlife, Kate and I are both abroad this semester so this blog is coming all the way from Madrid en España!

Normally my blogs are more or less stream of consciousness but I´ll try to organize this one a bit because I have a lot to say. Also sorry if my English sounds funny but I´m at my internship now and it´s sometimes hard to switch between 3 languages (English, Spanish, and French- because my supervisor is French so I speak with her in French from time to time)

So today marks my 13th day in Madrid- although I have to be honest, for both my friends and me, it feels like we´ve been here for much longer than that; all for the better of course. It´s crazy thinking about how much my Spanish has improved in barely two weeks; to the effect that I can understand almost everything. And although I don´t speak perfectly, I´ve got the confidence to try now and thats 50%!

I have three classes and one internship. My classes are Spain and the EU, Advance Spanish Language, and a documentary class. All of my professors are beyond incredible and are so passionate about what they teach. Of course my favorite class is the documentary class because it´s a mix of European/ Spanish history and sociology with technical documentary through out.

My internship is with Lopez- Li Films, located only one block away from the Instituto Internacinal where we take classes. It´s a documentary company of about 8 people and just happens to be one of the most well respected documentary production houses in Spain. I´ve been working here less than 10 days and I´ve already been working with Photoshop and After Effects on real projects for the company. Yesterday I got to help out with a set of interviews for a new documentary that the company is making about professional story tellers- actors who recount fables that have been passed down through out the generations. We heard from someone from Galacia, el Pais Basco, and Madrid- three places in Spain that speak very different languages. My official title was auxiliary camera man (I think.)

But yeah, everything has been going extremely well so far! I´ll post some photos from the interview below. If you guys have any questions about my experience so far feel free to send me an e-mail or a message on Facebook!

¨Ta logo!

Jason: Summer’s Coming to an End

Wow. It’s pretty crazy that the summer is almost over. As you all know I stayed in Boston for a few different reasons.

My internship at WGBH has been a great experience. I have enjoyed working with the production team behind the upcoming JFK documentary and the rest of the American experience team. It has been a great opportunity because not only was I doing work directly related to the film but I know my colleges and other contacts I made in the last four months will be beneficial to my career.

The graduate thesis film I am producing is in post production and I am currently working with my director on financing. Unfortunately we did not have time before production to secure a budget so we are now working on fundraising. The film will be complete by the end of the fall semester so I should return from Spain in time to attend the screening.

Speaking of Spain, in the last few weeks I’ve found out my internship and the family that I’ll be living with. My family is a mom, dad, and son who is 20 years old, and 3 dogs. The housing form for abroad programs that involve homes-stays is great because you can include a preference of the type of family that you would like to stay with. I will be interning with a documentary production company called Lopez-Li Films. One of my friends participated in the summer version of the Madrid internship program and she was happened to be also be at Lopez- Li Films. She said she had an incredible time with the 8 person team and was heavily involved in the company’s work.

It’ll be tough to not have my friends and family so close by for the four months that I’ll be away but I’m extremely excited for the four month adventure that is to come.

Mike: A Summer Back in the US

Hey guys!

Wow, it’s been a crazy couple of months since I’ve been back from Madrid. It definitely took a few weeks to adjust back to the American lifestyle. I miss Spain so much! I still keep in touch with my host mom and email her every couple of weeks. She sends me recipes for some of my favorite Spanish dishes. I hope I can go back to visit sometime soon. I’m so mad I wasn’t there to see them win the world cup. I heard there were parades in the streets, must have been crazy!

Anyways, I got back from Spain at the end of May and then headed on a road trip in early June to Bonnaroo, the annual music festival down in Tennessee. It was so awesome! Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead, and Bon Iver were a few of some of the amazing headliners. Everyone was so friendly and it was a really cool environment. Probably the closest experience to Woodstock I’ll ever get!

After Bonnaroo, I managed to squeeze in a nice and relaxing weekend trip to the Hamptons, and then I started my internship. I was lucky enough to get a summer internship so late in the game! I’m interning in the acquisitions department of IFC films which has been really cool so far. IFC is a huge name and a major contender in the world of indie film. Acquisitions is in charge of evaluating the thousands of incoming scripts/ films that are submitted to IFC and deciding which should be acquired and distributed by the company. I have seen some really interesting films so far and it has been a really good learning experience being exposed to world of independent filmmaking.

I’m actually heading up to Boston this weekend to visit friends who I haven’t seen since before I went abroad. I can’t wait to get back to Beantown, it’s been too long. I’m looking forward to walking down Comm Ave for the first time in over six months!

I’m also busy applying to internships for LA in the fall. Madrid, New York, and now LA, I can’t seem to stay in one place! But I can’t wait to go out there through BU’s study abroad internship program. It is going to be much different from Spain but it will be a great introduction into the business. I’m heading out there at the end of August and will keep you all updated on my internship hunt and my experiences out there!

I hope you guys are all enjoying your summers. Stay cool!
Mike

 

Mike: My Final Days Abroad

Mike Image

Hey all,
I can’t believe it’s already nearing the end of the semester and my time abroad here in Madrid. These past few months have been the best of my life and I am so sad to leave Spain. The people I’ve met, the amazing places I’ve traveled to and the delicious food– it has all been such an incredible experience. If I have one piece of advice for underclassman, it is to go abroad. And try to go to a country where they speak another language and you can stay with a family because it really is the best way to master the language and immerse yourself in the culture.

We finally wrapped our documentary last week and have the screening this week. After months of hard work filming, interviewing and editing, we assembled a final product that i am really proud of and can’t wait to show everyone.

I’m currently writing this from my hostel in Portugal. This is my final trip before the program ends. We have a 5 day weekend because of the Spanish holidays next week. I am finally able to relax a bit and enjoy the last few weeks abroad.

It is bittersweet to leave Spain. I know how much I am going to miss Madrid but I am excited to go home to New York City and hopefully get an internship there this summer. I also was accepted into the Los Angeles internship program for this fall so I will heading to LA in August to get some hands on experience in the industry. Its going to be a very different “abroad” experience from Madrid, but I’m excited to meet new people and conquer a new city.

Unfortunately  I will be apart from Boston for yet another semester but I’ll be back in the spring to spend my last semester on campus. See you all soon!

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!

Mike: Abroad in Madrid!

Mike Image

Hola chicos!

I can’t believe I’ve already been in Madrid for almost three weeks now! I’ve been going nonstop since getting here and I’m still completely exhausted. I feel like I’ve been here for ages, it’s very strange. But so far I am absolutely loving it. It is so different from home– the culture, the food, the people, the nightlife. Every street I walk down I have to stop and take pictures. The architecture is like nothing I’ve ever seen. The people here are all very friendly (so much nicer than New Yorkers), and I am definitely glad I’m being forced to speak Spanish all the time.

My host family is wonderful. My mom, Pilar, is so kind and welcoming. We call her “mapi,” a term of endearment her kids called her when they were young. Her daughter, Maria, is also very sweet. She’s a lawyer and is always starting up conversations with me, even if I have to take long pauses to try to respond. It has been a lot of head nods, smiles, and “si’s” while I’ve been here. Neither of them speak English. They’ll know a few words here and there but I have to speak to them entirely in Spanish, which is certainly frustrating because there is so much I’d like to speak to them about but I’m not nearly knowledgeable enough to carry on full-length conversations. My comprehension is definitely much better than my speaking. My classes are all taught in Spanish so my understanding of the language is rapidly improving.

I’m enrolled in the documentary filmmaking program here (there’s only 3 of us!) so I’m taking four classes: documentary filmmaking, Spanish cinema, colloquial Spanish, and translation for film and theater. So far they are all interesting. In Spanish cinema we are covering a bunch of Almodovar movies, and in the colloquial class I am learning all kinds of Spanish slang ranging from casual greetings to ordering beers at a bar. In the translation class, we are translating scenes from classic movies like Annie Hall into Spanish. Woody Allen is definitely not an easy writer to translate, so it’s pretty challenging. The documentary class will consume most of my time as the three of us begin pre-production for the film we are shooting. We’ve been looking around the city the past few weeks to find a topic to explore. We decided to focus on the cultural significance of “pan” or bread in each meal in Spain. We are traveling to different panerias to film the process of bread making and interviewing different families to see how bread plays a role in their family dinners. I’m sure we will be eating a lot of bread along the way so I definitely don’t mind that. Overall, the food here has been delicious. There is ham and egg in everything! And they also barely refrigerate anything! The eggs, milk, and juices are always left out. So strange.

I’ve already visited Toledo, a small village about an hour outside of Madrid. It was so quaint– cobblestone streets and beautiful churches and synagogues. I felt like I had stepped into a scene from Don Quijote. Next weekend, we are traveling to Granada, which is supposed to be filled with Moorish architecture. I can’t wait. We have already booked other weekend trips to Sevilla, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. In March, I have a two week spring break where we are planning to go to Dublin and the southern coast of France– Nice, St Tropez, and Monaco, and then venture over to Italy to cover Florence and Rome. Yup, I know you’re jealous.

I will be sure to keep you guys posted on my travels! I miss Boston and hope everyone is off to a great semester.

Hasta luego,
Mike

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.