Bryan Sih

The Redstone Film Festival 2015

By Keiko Talley
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

The Redstones Film Festival is held each spring semester by the Film and Television Department at COM. The festival showcases works submitted by both graduate and undergraduate students. Films are awarded based on several categories: best film, best cinematography, best screenplay, best editing, best sound design, Fleder/Rosenberg best short screenplay; the festival is basically like the Oscars of Boston University.

This year’s 1st place winner and the winner of Best Screenplay, was Bryan Sih (COM’14.)  His film Winter/Spring, was about a Spanish-speaking couple working on a farm.

What inspired you for this film?

Lots of things. I started thinking of parenthood after reading Sherwood Anderson’s The Untold Lie. I began questioning the bringing of a child into the world when adults are just as confused as a child. Immigrants always inspire me with their bravery and often-tragic necessity to seek an alien world, and so I included that in the film. Then there are the actors themselves, since the film relies on improvisation, they are responsible for a lot. Unfortunately, I wrote the whole script for the spring. When we scouted the farm, it was covered in three feet of snow that refused to melt so I rewrote the film on the spot.

How long and what type of preparation did this film take?

I started preparing the script in December and we were still writing into April. I like to lock myself into a room, get a large piece of paper and write the scenes in blurbs all over the page. It usually lasts a few days and I am constantly rewriting it. I am a terrible writer, so the real preparation begins with the actors. I also have the actors work beforehand. For Winter/Spring, they drove up to the farm together without the crew and when they arrived on set, had formed their own private language. It made them come across as a self-enclosed unit.

RedstoneFirst place winner Bryan Sih (COM’14) flanked by his actors, Herlin Navarro and David Quiroz

What is the message that you wanted to portray in this film?

It was more a question: what does it mean to be ready for parenthood? It is a film about being on the cusp of great life change and not fully being ready, but learning how to work through this struggle together, with tenderness, forgiveness and communication.

You don’t speak Spanish, but your film is in Spanish with English subtitles, why is that?

I grew up in a diverse town with many immigrant families, they’re part of my world. The couple in this film is isolated somewhere in North America, and they’ve retained their spoken language. The film focuses primarily on their relationship actually, not ethnicity. Also, directing in a language you don’t speak makes observing the things that matter all the more vivid.

What does the future entail for you now that you’ve won the Redstone?

The Redstones gave me a camera to shoot more films with, so I hope to be more productive. I’ve learned so much from my experience with Winter/Spring and can’t wait to dive into the next project.

Alumni Spotlight: Megan Turchi and Life after Grad School

By Ali Parisi
MS Public Relations ’16
BU College of Communication

Alumni Spotlight: Megan Turchi and Life after Grad School

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t it feel like getting a job is constantly on the mind?  It’s only the second of my three semester program, but all I can think about is finding a good job or internship this summer and then where that will lead for employment after graduation in December.  And yet, just my school work keeps me from finding time to write a decent cover letter.

What if I can’t find a job at all?  Or if I find one but hate it?  I think it’s safe to say that most grad students are feeling this way (and even undergrads for that matter).  If you’re a part of this group, let me tell you that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Megan Turchi (COM ’14) finished her Masters in Journalism this past December.  Now, this BU alum works as a staff writer for Boston.com covering jobs, cars, and real estate.  And she enjoys it!

What’s a day at your job like?

Every single day is different, which I love! A typical day involves phone interviews for articles I am working on and sometimes getting out to do an in-person story. I did a profile on a dog walker a few weeks ago and tagged along while she walked dogs.  It was great! This job entails constantly learning new things and becoming an expert on a variety of interesting subjects.

MTurchi1

Megan Turchi at the Boston Auto Show. Her Instagram caption: “Sitting in a $620,000 Rolls-Royce that is the only one in the US, one out of 20 in the world, for work, obviously. #bostonautoshow”

What was your major at BU and why?

I got my masters in print journalism, but it was very multimedia focused and I took a variety of audio and video classes as well.  I chose it because I thought it would be an interesting way to use my undergraduate degree in American Studies. I knew I loved to write and I knew I had an interest in telling stories about fascinating people and topics.

Looking back, how did BU prepare you for your job?

BU prepared me a lot! Not only did I have fabulous professors with a lot of journalism experience, but I was thrown in to the real world from day one.  We reported from the ground right from our first class and that made my internship and job now so much easier.

Your advice for current COM grad students looking for jobs?

My advice would be to respect and learn as much from your professors as you can. Not only do they have lots of connections to jobs and internships, also a lot of experiences they can share with you. Be open to all kinds of jobs – you may not do exactly what you want to do at the beginning, but any experience is a learning experience!

MTurchi2Megan Turchi reporting on the “sleepwalker” statue at Wellesley College for a BU News Service report. Here’s the link to the report, done by her and one of her classmates from COM.

 

 

Internships: The Best Ways to Sell Yourself

By Gina Kim
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

Just about a month into the second semester means quite a few things for COM graduate students across the board. It means really getting into the thick of things, having turned in a handful of assignments (or maybe just one or two thanks to the record-breaking snowfall the past month), stressing out over how much more difficult the workload is than the fall, and most importantly, summer plans.

COM students don’t get to have the luxury to bask in the summer sun, to take time off and do nothing at all. If anything, we’re trying to do even more work than the regular school year.

Internships—that dreaded word has become one of the hottest topics to discuss in between classes, in passing during winter break, or something to congratulate each other on. Internship decision season is finally upon us and we are reminded of a year ago, when we scurried around having anxiety attacks over graduate school admissions.

Along with the courses that COM teaches us, another important part is this process of securing an internship—hunting for the right ones that fit your next career move, perfecting resumes and convincing your prospective employers why you’re right for the job.

In the midst of all the stresses and worries for the amount of work that is piling in front of me every day, I remind myself how lucky I am to have the opportunities to do assignments that’ll equip me for the summer job. I was lucky enough to find an internship at The Courier Journal-Louisville that I found through the COM Newsletter last semester.

After receiving my first and only acceptance, I realized that the semester’s workload is only going to help me. My future employers informed me how impressed they were with my academic resume and most importantly, my experiences last semester with multimedia.

Remember that weekend class we all had to take last fall and the crazy hours it came with? That Multimedia Toolkit course was what landed me an internship. Adding that I knew not only how to write, but to use all types of media platforms, means and mechanisms to report a story really marketed my accomplishments to showcase me as a favorable applicant. Here is a link to the piece I created.

With an increasingly paperless world and the prominently digitized society that we are becoming, we have to prove that our skills in reporting aren’t just limited to one medium. We need to show that we can handle all kinds.

We are lucky that our program at COM whose hindsight is 20/20 understands this and requires students to learn all facets of multimedia journalism, albeit during the weekend from 9-5:30!

For anyone who is still looking for help on hunting for jobs, resume advice and further questions, visit the COM Career Services for drop in hours.

Spring ’15; all that’s new this semester

By Michelle Marino
MS Journalism ’15
BU College of Communication

The Fall 2014 semester seems like another time and place, a lifetime ago. I had just transferred over from PR and was starting an entirely new course load and journey into journalism. I was pretty overwhelmed by the transition and trying to take on everything at a quicker pace than other first semester journalism students, since I knew I would only have a year to accomplish everything they would be doing in a year and a half. Last semester I wrote for this blog, the features department at The Daily Free Press, a Boston-based online food magazine called Simmer, and freelanced for BU’s online magazine The Quad.

Besides that, I was searching for an internship for the spring; I knew that would be critical to me entering the workforce come graduation in May ’15. I fortuitously ended up with an internship with Boston magazine this semester, and am already enjoying it. Since my preferred topic and medium is lifestyle magazine writing, I couldn’t be happier. I am doing a lot of fact-checking, which allows me to dig deep into how sources were gathered and the information given. Although it can be painstaking, I’m learning a lot about the newsgathering process and topics I knew nothing about.

On Feb. 24, my first article will be published in Boston HOME. It is a piece on an artist and her gouache paintings. If you know what that means, I salute you. I didn’t before I wrote the article. I’m hoping I will get to write many more over the course of the semester. I’m also an editor of the Spotlight section of The Daily Free Press. Editing has really given me the opportunity to keep on top of AP style as well as keep up with the news cycle. Having to pitch several stories every week keeps me constantly on the lookout for what’s coming up on the horizon and what is newsworthy.

This semester is going to be a whirlwind, especially once the thesis gets off the ground. I think the hardest part about starting it will be deciding on a topic. I’m hoping some of my professors will be able to help, and I’ll aim to do a print series (with some multimedia) on some aspect of agriculture or the fishing industry. The one thing I’ve learned from all the craziness is the more involved you are with everything around you, the more you are able to connect the dots. Whether you’re interviewing a professor, chef, biologist, business owner, or Miss USA, you can learn from each one something that will surprisingly apply to something else you are doing.

IMG_2908Michelle Marino at her desk at the Boston magazine office

This is especially true when it comes to networking. I went to a COM networking event last semester and met the Food Editor of Boston magazine. At my internship, I am sitting right behind her and get insight into what she’s working on every day. Here’s to a great Spring 2015 semester!

Carr

Remembering David Carr, COM Professor and NY Times columnist

By Nikita Sampath
MS Broadcast Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication 

As the journalism community grieved the loss of David Carr last evening, students at COM had to put emotions aside and do what they are being trained to do in the face of such a happening; report.

The recent couple weeks have been unfortunate for the world of journalism; the killing of two Japanese journalists by ISIS, Jon Stewart stepping down from the daily show, Bob Simon of CBS’s 60 Minutes passing away and last evening, David Carr.To us at COM, he was not just another journalist. He was one of our professors, one of us.

Within minutes of hearing the news about his death though, students at the Boston University News Service (BUNS) and The Daily Free Press sprung in to action.

“Bulletin: There’s chatter on Twitter that David Carr has died. We need to confirm or debunk this. If it’s true, we need to report. If it’s not true we need to report how this happened.” posted Prof. Michelle Johnson on the Facebook page for BUNS contributors.

Within an hour of her posting, there were over a 100 responses in the comments section. Students had reached out to current professors, the Dean, students taking his class this semester and others who had taken it previously. The obituary that came out from this teamwork can be found on the BUNS website.

Jamie Bologna, a recent COM grad, who had taken Carr’s class last semester,tweeted about the loss.

Jamie_Carr

Jamie Bologna’s tweets from the night of 12th Feb, ’15

Prim Chuwiruch who took his course, Press Play, in the fall of 2014 said, “David Carr went beyond being just a professor. He was a mentor and a friend in times when he didn’t need to be, but he did anyways.”This is what the syllabus for his course Press Play looked like. I’m a second semester grad student at BU and I’ve not seen a syllabus from any other course look anything like this.

The Daily Free Press put together a page overnight dedicated to the late professor.  COM alumni Megan Turchi and Justine Hofherr who both took his class wrote this piece for Boston.com. More coverage on the life of Carr and his demise will be up on BU News Service over the next couple days.

Despite being sad for the loss COM has suffered, I’m honestly grateful for the experience of working in a newsroom with such great teams. These are essential lessons that we learn for our lives as journalists. And I’m glad I’m learning it here at COM.

 

(Featured image courtesy: BUNS)