Tag Archives: alumni

Hooray, It’s LA!

Hollywood Bound

Here in the MFA section of Film and Television at Boston University, we get really hyped up about something most people our age find absolutely detestable as a conversational centerpiece–the future.  A case could be made that we’re all just too engrossed in our own work, but the solution may be more ridiculous: it’s our school. The Film and Television department offers a pretty sweet opportunity at the end of our program, one in which we can defer our graduation after taking an additional semester of focused classes and internships in Los Angeles.

This is a pretty big deal, as jobs in Hollywood are notoriously difficult to find.  When people say you need a friend in the industry, they’re not joking.  This program, though, helps us get a foot in the door.

Here’s how it works.  During your final semester, you send off an essay that details exactly what you want out of your future career and a portfolio of what you’ve done so far.  If you’re accepted, a representative from the BU in LA program, or in my case, the Writer in LA program, will come and interview you and help you find an internship or three.

It seems to me that the question isn’t so much why you’d want to do this, but instead–why wouldn’t you?

I’m a career-minded person.  I have a lot of trouble staying in the present with both of my personal and professional lives, and I’m always thinking more about the sale and production of my scripts than the actual writing of them.  As soon as I’m finished getting down the premise, I’m already thinking about shots, actors, and audience reception.  Now, this isn’t exactly a terrible thing, but it’s also not what I’m here to talk about.

This problem leads me to a few solutions.  I’m really interested in developing stories and structures for television.  I like thinking about how characters develop and change over time–after all, change is the essence of storytelling–so I’d love to get into a show-runner position.

Back up–how does this affect what I’m doing now?  My goals, for now, is to get an internship working in a writer’s room.  My philosophy is that the best work starts from the bottom, and being able to work my way up to the top, learning all the way, will make me more well-rounded in the end.   Being in graduate school has taught me a few things, and if you’ve ever spoken to me or read my other posts on this blog, you’ve certainly been beaten over the head by this before.

First, graduate school isn’t the end of your education, but the beginning of your career.  Second, it’s dangerous to have the attitude that the learning stops once you leave the school.  But that’s the really brilliant thing about this program.  Being able to get your start in a place like Boston is really essential, as you don’t have to fight ten thousand other filmmakers scraping for jobs, locations, and actors.  The opportunity to transition over to the land of the big dogs once you’ve had a chance to learn and expand in a free-form environment sets you a cut above everyone else that’s tried (and often, failed) to run out to LA with a suitcase and a dream.

The Writer in LA program, for me, just makes sense.   Hollywood is where the action happens–from writing to production.  It’s the place to be if you’re serious about filmmaking, and the opportunity to have someone hold your hand while you try to figure it all out is too good to pass up.

See you in Los Angeles.

The Name of the Game

Suddenly, it’s two years ago.  I’m looking at graduate school, and I’m asking myself the big questions.

I won’t lie to you–when it came to my decision to apply to Boston University–I only had one thing in mind.  Success.  I searched for the top ten graduate schools for screenwriting and ran down the list.  I didn’t want to be in Los Angeles or New York City.  I didn’t want to be at a school that wasn’t going to set me apart.  I wanted to go somewhere I could write, get better at what I already did well, and push myself to be better than everyone else.

When I was thinking about graduate school, I wasn’t thinking about an extension of my undergraduate life.  The first day of graduate school was the first day of my new career.  The time for changing majors, taking throwaway classes, and sleeping late to avoid that eight-in-the-morning monster of a class had passed.  I knew that with every paper I wrote (and I wrote a lot of them), I’d be showing my expertise, knowhow, and intellect to people who would be paying attention and making a list.  I wanted to be on that list, because I knew who that person was–that person was capable of getting me where I wanted to be.

I knew what I wanted, and got the chance to take it–so I did.  I knew that in my field, a degree in screenwriting from Boston University was a big thing.  I mean, look at what our alumni have done.  Scott Rosenberg wrote High Fidelity and Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead. Bruce Feirstein wrote the three greater Brosnan-era Bond films and oversaw the production of L.A. Confidential. Richard Gladstein produced Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and The Bourne Identity.

I came to Boston University because I wanted to be the best.  I’m not there yet, but I’m getting there.  I’m making big connections, developing my craft in a way I didn’t think possible, and am well on my way to getting exactly what I want: success.

Boston University took me a long way in getting there.

 

Why BU COM?

I pretty much knew I was going to BU the moment I got the acceptance email. As someone who is interested in public relations, it was difficult to find many programs that actually offered it as a course of study. Boston University was among the few – and the only one I applied to that actually called it what it is: public relations (not strategic communication).

But what really stood out to me? When I came to visit, I could tell the professors actually cared. They wanted to instill knowledge in you and help you succeed. Furthermore, I knew that if I went to BU, I would have a greater chance of coming out on top with a stronger competitive edge in the job market. The community of alumni was stressed as being one of the best, and I knew that being in Boston would give me many more internship opportunities than the other colleges I applied to.

Practical Experience... and supportive, high-fiving professors

But my number one reason for applying to BU in the first place? Being able to have the opportunity to build my portfolio. The emphasis on applied work was important to me when I have had zero public relations experience. PRLab, the oldest student-run PR agency in America, would give me a chance to work with an actual client and build a media kit. Because I’m in PR I can speak wonders of the program, but I’ll also note that it’s not the only program which is applied. From the friends I’ve made in other programs, I know none of them regret coming here. And I know they’ll all come out with work they can show off to their future employers.