Jason: Just Go For It

Just go for it.

This is the message I’d like to leave you with for my last COM Ambassador blog post.


Over the course of my four years at Boston University I’ve monitored planetary nebula at BU’s observatory in Flagstaff, lived, worked, and studied for four months in Madrid, and produced content for a national sports event. I’ve taken a number of classes outside of my major: Spain and the European Union, Sociology of Deviance, and Controversies in Public Health, just to name a few.


The experiences I’ve had in my last semester speak to everything I’ve learned thus far. Working on my own startup app, proposing social media strategies for airline companies, and joining the ski team are all ventures I never would have considered to have any value. But opportunities arise in places where you least expect. Because of the people I’ve met through my business class, for example, I’ve taken on three new freelance jobs and am now connected to an entire network of creative professionals.


There’s not much else to it. There’s certainly something to be said about managing your workload and how many projects you involve yourself with—not to mention spending time with your friends, practicing your hobbies, and other activities—but as they say, “YOLO.” Or in this case, YOLICO, you only live in college once. So maybe that’s the message I’d like to leave you with for my last COM Ambassador blog post. Take on projects that will foster your success, build meaningful relationships and YOLICO.



Jason: Countdown to the Finish!

It may be snowy here in Boston, but things are heating up for me at BU! As I mentioned in previous post this is my last semester-- so anyone who knows of any job openings... Just kidding. But I've started to solidify my post college plans and so far things are looking pretty good.
Right now the most exciting thing in the way of what I'll be doing after BU is my recent acceptance for an internship at CBS News! I still don't know my placement in the big world of CBS but it's still very exciting to have been offered this opportunity.
This semester I'm going a little out of my comfort zone and taking a couple business classes. One class, TV to Tablets, focuses on how the television and film industries are using new media to promote their products. The second class, Media Entrepreneurship is very unique class. I'll actually be creating a business plan and a pitch that could turn into a real business!
For now I'll end with a little self promotion. If you're interested in some of the work I've been doing check out my new website, jasonkashdan.com. Comment at the end of this post if you guys have any feedback. I'd love to hear it!
Thanks and stay tuned for more later in the semester! And as always make sure you're checking up for the newest episode of COMlife.

Jason: Halloween Season in Boston

It's nearly halfway to Halloween!

If you guys didn't know I'm pretty into the holiday and like to think of myself as an amateur expert. I'm gonna take a break from the usual stories about my work and classes here at BU to tell you about all the things you can do in and around Boston for Halloween.

The most popular destination for everyone around here is, of course, Salem, MA. As you probably know, Salem was founded nearly 400 years ago and has a rich history related to Halloween. Between the ghost tours, the tour of The House of the Seven Gables, and just people (or witch) watching as you stroll down the cobblestone street, there's plenty to do.

Check out http://www.hauntedhappenings.org/do for more info!

For something a little more local, the Frog Pond is going to be hosting the first pumpkin Luminary event! The City of Boston is inviting everyone, young and old, to bring a carved pumpkin for the festival. They'll be lighting all of the pumpkins and floating them on the spray pool. I'll be there to participate and might even get to carve one of the larger pumpkins that they'll be displaying at the event!

And last but not least, trick or treating! Yes, believe it or not you can still trick or treat in college! There are plenty of suburban neighborhoods just off of Comm Ave where you can fill all of your candy cravings. And if you're here you can even stop by our house! Jimmy and I decorated my house over the weekend and it's looking pretty good so far.

Hope you all have a safe and Happy Halloween!


Jason: A New Year

Two weeks of school have already gone by! Let me fill you guys in on how my year is looking because it’s going to be much different than the previous three years.

I’m actually only taking two classes this semester! I know what you’re thinking. Wow, someone’s got the case of senioritis. Well guess what? I’m only taking two classes next semester as well. But before you judge, let me explain why.

One class I’m taking is called Hot House Productions.  The best way to describe the class is that it’s a freelance class. We have two clients who pay our small class of eight people to make videos for them. This semester we’re working with the Commonwealth Hotel and an organization called Hospitality Homes. I’ve chosen to work with Hospitality Homes, a nonprofit organization that provides short-term housing and volunteer host homes for families and friends of patients receiving medical care in the Boston area. I am very excited to work as the DP for this project.

My second class is a sociology class about deviance.  This will be my third sociology class and second with Professor Yeager (who actually got his undergraduate degree in journalism!) This is an advance seminar class so there are only about twelve students total. Even cooler, we don’t have any exams. In fact, the whole class, including the bi-weekly two to four page papers, all gear up to our final twenty page thesis paper.

So you might be thinking, wow that doesn’t sound like that much work. Why are you only taking to classes? Well…

I’ll be continuing to work at Spy Pond Productions, the documentary company where I worked over the summer, I’ll have some new projects with the Skating Club of Boston (check out the video I made for them at www.thenext100years.org), and I’ll be helping out with the production of another documentary.

So there, I’m pretty busy!

I hope you guys are enjoying your school year so far! As always, let me know if you have any questions, especially as you get closer to finishing your applications!

Stay tuned for this year’s first episode of COMlife at the end of the month!



Jason: Summer In Production

It's summer! Well at least it almost is for you all right? We're already coming up on a month of our summer vacation and it has been an incredible month for me.

I'm currently working at a company called Spy Pond Productions. Spy Pond is a documentary production company that has produced films for PBS, National Geographic, and the Discovery Channel. The name might not mean much, but let me tell you what I've gotten to do and you might be a little more excited.

The company is making a film about James Baker (wiki him to find out more) and my role as a (paid) production assistant has mostly been to research material for the film and assist with interviews for the film. And now I have to name drop here because there's just no way around it. Three weeks ago I was in NY to help out with our interview with former President Clinton. Last Friday I was in NY again to help out with our interview with Lesley Stahl.

In a few weeks I'll start work at the Academy of Media Production (AMP) as the Co-program coordinator. For those of you who don't know, AMP is a four week long summer program that explores all areas of film and television. I graduated from the program in '09 so I'm really excited to be able to work as one of the camp leaders this summer.

In addition to that I've also been hired by the Skating Club of Boston to produce a few different video projects for them! This has already been an awesome experience, learning how to work with clients and create completely original content based off their needs.

What have you got planned for the summer? Tweet me @jasonkashdan and let me know!


Jason: Docs, Concerts, and Skiing Down Comm Ave

Can you guys believe it's already almost March? I feel like time is flying!

So I promised I'd tell you all about the project I'm working on. A few weeks ago I began work on a new documentary. Over the next four months I'll be following Boston University student and musician Peter Hung. Peter is an international student from Taiwan and soon to be BU graduate, who is spending the next four months on his  final attempt to land a record deal with his band Surefire before his visa expires 30 days after graduation. This project is extremely exciting because Peter is risking his ability to stay in this country, but also the respect and financial support of his family.

I've already filmed a ton of material including Peter's comeback concert last Saturday. My team and I had a three camera set up: an overhead of the crowd and stage, one on stage toward the crowd, and another at Peter and the band. That was my first multi camera shoot and it went great- and more importantly the footage looks awesome. I'm working on the website and first teaser video now, and let me tell you: this plus my three classes- I'm definitely keeping myself busy.

Bad news is Lady Gaga got hurt and needs surgery so that concert won't be happening. Good news is Matchbox Twenty is next weekend and I'll get to go home to Connecticut for the weekend so I'm looking forward to that.

I hope you guys checked out the last COMlife episode! I ski down Commonwealth Avenue so that makes the entire episode worth watching. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWtKXiahWp8

How is your second semester going? For the seniors, I hope the stress of college selection has calmed down a bit. And for the juniors- get ready for some fun times!

As always, let me know if you have any questions about anything!


Jason: Back in the USA

Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday and I am back in the United States watching football.

That's right guys, COM Ambassador Jason has begun life back in the states again and everything is under full swing. I'm living in Stuvi 2 again (but in an apartment this time) and I'm taking 3 classes: Production 2, Creative Producing 1, and Understanding Film. I've only had a few weeks of classes but I can tell this is going to be my favorite semester.

So far in Production 2 we've shot a small mock scene from the Social Network as an exercise and will be shooting an entire scene in full for our first project. Understanding film is great for all you film buffs out there because the class is structured around watching and talking about films- pretty simple. But the producing class just might be my favorite. We're learning about how to take ideas for talk shows, reality shows, and documentaries and turn them into viable projects. And next month we'll actually be skyping with Andy Cohen from Bravo to pitch reality show ideas to him.

Because I'm only taking 3 classes I've also just begun a new project that could turn into something pretty big. But I'll save that for the next blog and keep you guys in suspense. Oooo.

Mostly I'm excited because this semester is going to be the semester of concerts. I wen to fun. on friday, and lined up I've got Mumford and Sons, Lady Gaga, Matchbox Twenty, and I would love to go to Imagine Dragons, Chris Thile, and a couple others. Check out those guys if you don't know 'em.

As always shoot me an email, tweet, or post card if you have any questions!


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.