Tag Archives: alumni

Founder, Owner & CEO of LA entertainment company honored by BU

By Iris Moore
MS Broadcast Journalism ’15
BU College of Communication

At Boston University’s College of Communication (COM), the beginning of a new semester also means the start to another year filled with exciting events for faculty and staff. Yes, it is important to get your schedule right and books bought, but it’s also important you are made aware of the once-a-year, beneficial networking events happening right now.

This Thursday, September 18th at 5:30 p.m., the College of Communication (COM) is hosting the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards at the School of Management. The event, which is free and open to the public, will honor some of COM’s most accomplished alumni. Previous alumni recipients who have attended the event include: – Co-Host of Market Place Morning Report and American Public Media, Jeremy C. Hobson (‘04) – White House Photographer, Peter J. Souza (’76), – Bravo’s Executive Vice President of Development & Talent, Andy Cohen (’90). The list goes on. If you have time, check it out here.

This year, you may get the opportunity to network with the BU COM alum who was the first African American to produce a CBS Schoolbreak Special. Yup, that’s right, Cleveland O’Neal III (COM ’78) is one of the four COM alums being honored at this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards for his impressive accomplishments in the entertainment industry.

hollywoodreporter.com

O’Neal began his career at a young age when he was a child actor at the Cleveland Playhouse in Ohio, which is one of the League of Resident Theaters. During his undergraduate studies at Boston University’s College of Communication, O’Neal began planning what would become his privately held company Connection III Entertainment Corp.— producer of the weekly TV series “Made in Hollywood,” “Made in Hollywood: Teen Edition and “Live, Life and Win!”

As Founder, President, and CEO of the company, O’Neal has brought diversity across a variety of media platforms, including music, television and motion pictures. Connection III has received two Emmy nominations and was the recipient of the “Arts and Entertainment Company of the Year” Award from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa.

Watch O’Neal’s interview with TVWeek reporter Andrew Krukowski to learn more about his TV series franchise, “Made in Hollywood”, that has a gross average audience of 5.2 million viewers.

So, make sure you join the BU COM community on Thursday night as we raise our glasses and toast Cleveland O’Neal III for his impressive career in the entertainment industry (yes, that’s right, an open bar and heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served). Go here to find out more or sign up for the event.

Quad amputee and filmmaker: Will Lautzenheiser to be honored at Distinguished Alumni Awards

By Iris Moore
MS Broadcast Journalism ’15
BU College of Communication

At Boston University’s College of Communication (COM), the beginning of a new semester also means the start to another year filled with exciting events for faculty and staff. Yes, it is important to get your schedule right and books bought, but it’s also important you are made aware of the once-a-year, beneficial networking events happening right now.

This Thursday, September 18th at 5:30 p.m., the College of Communication (COM) is hosting the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards at the School of Management. The event, which is free and open to the public, will honor some of COM’s most accomplished alumni. Previous alumni recipients who have attended the event include: – Co-Host of Market Place Morning Report and American Public Media, Jeremy C. Hobson (‘04) – White House Photographer, Peter J. Souza (’76), – Bravo’s Executive Vice President of Development & Talent, Andy Cohen (’90). The list goes on. If you have time, check it out here.

This year, you may even be lucky enough to meet the BU COM alum who is making more than just movies, but medical history too. One of the four COM alums being honored at this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards is filmmaker Will Lautzenheiser (CAS’96, COM’07),  who lost both his arms and legs to a deadly bacteria, three years ago.

thegratefulwill.blogspot.com

Lautzenheiser completed his undergraduate studies at BU’s College of Arts and Sciences. Eventually, in 2005, he made the decision to return to BU for graduate school at the College of Communication. Lautzenheiser extended his stay at BU when he became a lecturer at COM in the fall of 2007. During this time, he produced and directed the short film Just Like It Was, which won a CINE Golden Eagle Award.

In the spring of 2011, Lautzenheiser left BU for a teaching job at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. Ten days after his move, Lautzenheiser’s fight for his life began. While doctors struggled to diagnose Lautzenheiser, his organs began to shut down. Eventually, he was diagnosed with streptococcal toxic shock syndrome,  a bacteria that causes vital organs to shut down and infection that quickly kills muscle, skin, and underlying tissue. Lautzenheiser underwent 16 surgeries that removed both of his arms and legs.

This past June, doctors at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) approved Lautzenheiser for a bilateral arm transplant, a procedure that has been performed only a few times in the United States.

In an interview on WBUR’s Here & Now, Lautzenheiser talked about how he has been able to use stand-up comedy to help with the healing process. He has been able to use his incredible journey from over the past three years as material for his shows.

Lautzenheiser just completed writing and starring in the short-documentary, Stumped. Directed by Robin Berghaus, the film is about Lautzenheiser’s survival and rehabilitation as a quadrilateral amputee. It has been shown at multiple film festivals across the country and has received multiple awards, including “Best of the Fest” for audience’s favorite documentary at the Palm Springs International ShortFest. On November 6th, Emerson College will be airing Stumped at their Bright Light Series, as well as hosting a comedy set and Q&A with Lautzenheiser.

To learn more about Lautzenheiser’s story before seeing him on Thursday at BU COM’s Distinguished Alumni Event, check out these videos by BU Today producers Joe Chan and Robin Berghaus.

If you would like to make a donation to help Will on his road to recovery, please visit the Will Lautzenheiser Fund.

 

Cynthia Cordes: acclaimed human-trafficking prosecutor honored by BU

By Iris Moore
MS Broadcast Journalism ’15
BU College of Communication

At Boston University’s College of Communication (COM), the beginning of a new semester also means the start to another year filled with exciting events for faculty and staff. Yes, it is important to get your schedule right and books bought, but it’s also important you are made aware of the once-a-year, beneficial networking events happening right now.

This Thursday, September 18th at 5:30 p.m., the College of Communication (COM) is hosting the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards at the School of Management. The event, which is free and open to the public, will honor some of COM’s most accomplished alumni. Previous alumni recipients who have attended the event include: – Co-Host of Market Place Morning Report and American Public Media, Jeremy C. Hobson (‘04) – White House Photographer, Peter J. Souza (’76), – Bravo’s Executive Vice President of Development & Talent, Andy Cohen (’90). The list goes on. If you have time, check it out here.

This year, you may have the chance to network with the BU COM alum who has prosecuted more human trafficking cases than any assistant U.S. attorney in the country. Yup, that’s right, Cynthia Cordes (COM ‘01) will be attending this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards, as she is one of the four COM alums being honored for her impressive professional accomplishments.

molawyersmedia.com

Cordes completed her undergraduate studies at Boston University where she received her B.S. in Journalism. Following, Cordes earned her J.D. at the University of Notre Dame. She began her legal career as a trial attorney with the U.S. Attorney General Honors Program. It did not take long before Cordes was recognized for her pioneering work as a federal prosecutor.

As an assistant U.S. attorney, she led multiple, ground-breaking human trafficking investigations and prosecutions. In 2014, Cordes was named Lawyer of the Year by Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly and selected nationally in the Top 250 Women in Litigation by Benchmark Litigation.

Currently, Cordes is a partner at Husch Blackwell in Kansas City. Although she is no longer a prosecutor, she is still actively involved in the fight against human trafficking.

So, join your COM community as we enjoy an open bar and hors d’oeuvres in celebration of these alums’ accomplishments. For more information visit the Alumni Weekend page. 

Bill Simmons to be honored at this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards

By Iris Moore
MS Broadcast Journalism ’15
BU College of Communication

In graduate school, networking has become a term on which so much value has been placed. Whether it be at job fairs, via social media, or during a casual conversation on the T, your ability to recognize, create, and act upon business opportunities has become a determining factor for the success of your professional future. However, the skill of networking is only half the battle. You’ve heard it before, “it’s all about who you know,” and unfortunately, it’s true.

Thankfully, we are in graduate school; and, an advantage of being in graduate school at an institution like Boston University, is the numerous opportunities made available through the university, which can help you improve your networking skills and maximize your professional relationships and connections.

This Thursday, September 18th at 5:30 p.m., the College of Communication (COM) is hosting the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards at the School of Management. The event, which is free and open to the public, will honor some of COM’s most accomplished alumni. Previous alumni recipients who have attended the event include: – Co-Host of Market Place Morning Report and American Public Media, Jeremy C. Hobson (‘04) – White House Photographer, Peter J. Souza (’76), – Bravo’s Executive Vice President of Development & Talent, Andy Cohen (’90). The list goes on. If you have time, check it out here.

Not only is there an open bar and heavy hors d’oeuvres, but you will have the opportunity to practice your networking skills with some of the most successful COM graduates. Why not check it out? I mean, who knows…. maybe you’ll end up talking to The Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, who is one of this year’s Alumni Award recipients.

http://media.jsonline.com

For those of you who don’t know, Bill Simmons is the Editor-in-Chief of Grantland.com, a sports and pop culture website owned by ESPN. He began his career working for the Boston Herald covering high-school sports and doing freelance work for the Boston Phoenix. While living and working in the Boston area, Simmons completed his M.S. in Journalism from Boston University.

After gaining notoriety from his online column, “Boston Sports Guy,” Simmons was hired to work as a writer on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Eventually, he was hired to write full-time for ESPN. This marked the beginning of Simmons’ unmatched, colorful career in the sports journalism world.

Simmons is considered one of the country’s most read sports writers. In 2007, he was named the 12th-most influential person in online sports by the Sports Business Journal. Simmons is also the author of The Book of Basketball, a New York Times No. 1 Bestseller. Even if you’re not a sports person, Simmons is definitely a highlight at this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Interested in signing up or finding out more about this event? Go here.

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.