Richie: Approaching Graduation

As a senior, the reality of graduation being just around the corner has definitely began to hit me. I know many of you may still be in you sophomore or junior years, or even better, freshman year. But, graduation is something we’re all going to have to face at one point. The fears and the excitement that come from it are very much a reality.

A few weeks ago I started to experience a mini-crisis about post-graduation life. Where would I live? Would I have to return back home, would I even be able to afford going anywhere else? Where would I work? Would I hate my job? Would I even get a job? Should I try staying in school longer to avoid any of these real questions?

After about a week of this, I somehow came to a point where everything felt good. I’ve started to become extremely excited about my graduation. I started to think that although I may not be completely positive about everything that’ll happen once I’m done at BU, I’m excited for it.

I guess we have to see it as not the end of something, but the beginning of something else. I remember in high school hearing from people the tired and cliche line “these are the best years of your life.” I didn’t know why but I used to hate hearing that so much. It was so fatalistic to me. So absolutely tragic. Like we were all doomed to a hopeless life the minute we left high school. Seemed like a self-fulfilling prophecy if I had ever one (props to COM 101 for that term). But I got to college, and had an incredible time. Made amazing friends, challenged myself in filmmaking, and took classes completely out of my comfort level. I learned about things like sailing, acting, and was able to sharpen my directing skills.  I traveled to Europe for the first time and got to intern at the world’s largest film festival.

High school was incredible, but it wasn’t the best years of my life. And I’ve come to realize college won’t be either. Make every year you live the best year of your life. There’s no reason to look ahead with fear thinking, “I’ve already experienced the best, so there’s nothing else to do now.” Reinvent the way you look at life everyday. Challenge yourself and bask in the glory of falling down or failing at something. I realized, I’m not exactly sure what the future holds for me, but something about that excites me. Because it can be absolutely anything. And whatever it is, it excites me to frustrated at times, but it will be my job that I earned by myself, and my job that I use to learn more from. It’ll be my loans I pay off every month and nobody else’s. Something about that excites me. I feel almost grateful to have these as all mine. It’ll be just another experience for me to learn from, for me to become myself again.

Don’t we all have to be a little lost so that we can find ourselves? Weren’t we all a little lost when we got into college? Wasn’t it exciting to settle into that life, find your routine and rhythm, and then sometimes shake it up a bit? Besides, I’m graduating from a great university, learned an enormous amount about film since I first came here, and have taken some amazing internship experiences from the whole process. Wherever I end up can’t be that bad.

Wherever you guys are in you education, enjoy every moment of it. I know I’ve been guilty of living a certain year and thinking, “man last year was so much better.” We all seem to look back and think of how good we had it, but if we took the time to realize how good we have it right now, then we would never have to look back in the first place. Maybe all the points I’m making are clearly understood by most of us already. But I guess we all need to have it reiterated from time to time. We’ve all got to be told every once in a while, “It’s alright.” I’ve finally come to a good place in viewing my graduation, and look back at my time here extremely fondly. I hope when you all reach this point, you can all feel the same, and be excited on what comes next.


Richie: Film Studies and the Insurmountable Mountain of Editing

Hope you guys all had a great holiday break and are finally in the swing of your spring semester. I have to say, as a senior in my last semester, I am incredibly happy with all the classes I am taking. I’m finally taking a break from some production classes and actually focus on two different Film Studies courses, a higher level screenwriting course, a beginning acting class offered through CFA, and an introductory class on the Adobe Suite. After, many classes focusing on production, I decided my last semester I would devote my time to becoming a better filmmaker in a different manner.

I have to say I’ve been extremely happy with the American Independent film course taught by Professor Carney.  We really get to see quite a diverse selection of independent films throughout the semester and are introduced to the work of some really incredible filmmakers. However, I’ve been very intrigued by the different manner we try approaching films in class. We try avoiding formulaic and symbolic approaches of character psychology and focus more on the perspective and intentions of the actual filmmaker on the audience. Sounds extremely boring as I write it here, but I’ve been having a blast!

I’ve also started to take on the incredible task of organizing and editing all the footage I shot for my independent short film last semester. With close to 200GB of video footage, I’ve spent days on end just naming files and organizing them into folders. The other day I actually woke up at 830am and stayed near my computer until 7pm simply transcoding and organizing all the bins on Final Cut so that I could finally start editing! It seems like it’s going to be a lot more difficult than I thought, but has been a huge learning experience, as I’ve never taken on such a massive editing project before! I’ve also entered a few talks with students at Berklee interested in doing the Sound Design and mixing of the film, which is really exciting as well. I have a close friend who is already composing a score for the film and I’m waiting back to be notified on my application to work at the Cannes Film Festival once again this May! Hopefully if all goes right, I’ll be back in Cannes with my short film and trying to make some moves!

I have to say to all you Film and TV students: If you have an idea for a project or a passion to create something that doesn’t quite fit into your classes while here, then please just go and make it! Making this film has been one the biggest learning experiences of my life and I feel I have come such a long way in learning everything from writing, pre-production, casting, rehearsing, shooting on location, and now editing and post-production! Balance all your classes and do the absolute best on your projects, but don’t be afraid to throw yourself into an unfamiliar territory outside of class and tackle that additional film short you always wanted to do for yourself. I promise you won’t regret it.


Richie: Thankful after Sandy

Most of us see Thanksgiving break as a quick break from school. It’s seen as a time to fill-up on turkey, watch some football, bump into old friends, and go Black Friday shopping. It’s a great time to be with family, but unfortunately most of us don’t actually stop and take time to give thanks. I know I’m guilty of it. This past weekend was the first time I went back to Lindenhurst in the past few months and I quickly found I had a lot to actually be grateful for.

Lindenhurst, being a town on the south shore of Long Island was very affected by Hurricane Sandy. For weeks I had seen friends posting pictures on facebook of their homes flooded, property destroyed, home-made signs threatening looters, and even photos of the National Guard who had set-up checkpoints. My home was just a few blocks north from most of the destruction so my family had luckily only suffered a power outage for a little over a week. But I had many close friends who lost a lot of property, had basements and first floors flooded, and some who weren’t even able to live in their homes anymore.

A friend who came back from college for Thanksgiving Break actually ended up staying with me every night. All the storage he kept below his home and in the garage had to be moved into his home and there was physically nowhere he could actually sleep. He’d spend the days with his family at a relative’s house and the nights at my place. He had always been a close friend so it was great having “sleepovers” like we used to when we were younger, but obviously we wished it could’ve been under better circumstances.

I drove around some of the areas that saw the most destruction and was taken back. Most of it had been cleaned up, but debris still lay around in many places, some roofs torn off homes, and a close friend’s house I saw was completely blocked off with caution tape.

It was a very surreal but a very sobering experience. It helped me be thankful for what I had. I enjoyed thanksgiving with my family and we even began decorating for Christmas around the house a bit early. My girlfriend even came out to visit a close family friend who lives a few minutes from me and she got to meet my family for the first time. It was a great break and seeing my family was very much needed. I hope that my friends and any other victims of the storm, on Long Island or anywhere else, will soon find help in rebuilding and recovering. I know I’m waiting to get back for Christmas break and hopefully see things better worked out around my town.

Richie: Film Production During a Hurricane

Hey everyone! Some of you may know I’ve been in the process of directing a short film. I’ve come to find out that during production problems you had never anticipated will always come up. Sometimes minor or sometimes major, but they always have to be addressed and solved.

This past Sunday, my crew and I were all on location filming in Allston. A few minor problems began to pop-up like I thought they might. The owner of the house we were filming at woke-up late and we started very behind schedule, a truck at one point parked right in front of the house we were filming at and the sound became a nightmare so we had to wait it out. We were able to roll quickly with the minor things thrown at us and keep on filming. We finished right on time and began traveling to the next location. That’s when the major problem came.

One of my main actors has been coming from Queens, New York every single weekend to act in the project. While we were on the way to our second location, with five more hours of scheduled filming time, my main actor was called by a friend back in NYC. “They’re shutting down the entire MTA at 7pm tonight until Wednesday” he told me once he got off the phone. It was already 12:30pm and the trip back to Manhattan is usually sometime in between four and five hours. If my actor took a bus home when he had planned to (at 6pm that night) there would be no one in Manhattan to take him back to Queens. (That is, even if buses would have been running that late to New York.) I offered for him to stay at my place, but his grandmother who also lives in Queens was going to be completely alone during the storm, and with no transportation back, he might’ve been getting back days late which he did not feel comfortable with. I had him quickly take the T over to South Station and see if there were any more buses. The plan was to keep setting up and the next location and if there were no buses back to NYC, he would come back and act in the remainder of the scenes. If there was a bus, we would have to scrap the whole day, which was also difficult since I already had another actor on his way from Portland, Maine for the next scene.

The actor ended up calling me from South Station and he had been able to catch a bus for 1:30pm. He cut it very close but he called me later on letting me know he had made the final subway of the night. While the whole day of filming had to be cancelled, the following scene was a big party scene, so I had ample amounts of food and the actors and crew who were there were able to relax and mingle a bit. Everyone left early and was able to focus on other things they had later that night. It ended up working well, almost as an icebreaker for many and everyone was understanding that nothing could have been done about Hurricane Sandy abruptly changing our plans. We still had a U-Haul van and plenty of equipment taken out, so my producer made a quick call to a singer/songwriter who had been asking my friends and I for quite some time to film an acoustic session with her at her home. Within two hours we were able to shift our plans quickly and ended up filming a great set with this artist!

I’ve been having a crazy time rescheduling shoots with all the actors’ availability but the whole experience was extremely helpful. It was a very high stress situation, but as the director it was a huge learning experience for me and I now feel prepared to take on anything else thrown at me!


Richie: The Process of Making a Short Film & What I’m Coming to Learn

Hope everyone’s school year went off to a good start! I know all us COM Ambassadors are all insanely busy with internships, overloading in classes, and being extremely involved in multiple extra-curricular activities! For you freshman, I hope you’ve started to find a good balance between your school life and your social life; definitely one of the hardest things first going into college.

Personally, this semester has been my busiest yet.  I’m not overloading, I don’t have an internship, and I actually left my part-time job on campus.  Yet, every single moment of my day goes to the pre-production of a short film I co-wrote and hope to direct later in the fall. It’s a pretty ambitious project but I never imagined how much time would have to be devoted to it!

The development process started a whole year ago. I wrote a simple 20 page screenplay for a class. I liked the premise and the plot, but I knew the story had a lot missing. I knew the theme and mood I wanted to get across but I wasn’t quite getting there. The next semester my friend from Long Island and I began brainstorming ideas and I would go back and change the screenplay.  I’ve had more rewrites than I’m able to remember, but towards the end of this past summer we finally had a script we felt comfortable with in structure.

I then approached my friend Chris to see if he wanted to produce it.  Chris, my other two friends, and I, had started an independent production company the year before and I knew they’d all be willing to get it started.  We mostly specialized in free-lance promotional material around Boston, but we all wanted to make the next step.

It was around August when we met, and we began carving out a plan together for the pre-production process. When we finally got back to Boston, everything starting moving so extraordinarily fast. I found myself filling up my calendar with 5 different tasks everyday going towards my short film. Meetings with potential crew members, fixing up the budget, location scouting, extensive conversations with my cinematographer, Jorge, to capture the “look” I was going for, even opening up a bank account with Bank of America so I could keep track of the budget I would be providing. Most recently I’ve been in the casting process.  I went through CPCasting which was definitely the best choice I could’ve made. I received hundreds of emails within just a few days responding to my project. The casting process has been amazing but incredibly difficult; creating an electronic sign-up, emailing all those interested, attaching files with their sides (portions of the script for the specific role they wish to read for), and spending long hours at night going through all the auditions, sometimes with over 20 people a night!

In the beginning I was starting to feel a bit overwhelmed. The director is usually more on the creative side of things. Constantly doing small re-writes, in long meetings with my cinematographer, meeting with the main actor for rehearsals.  Yet, having such a heavy hand in the pre-production process and logistics of everything began to take it’s toll on me. Luckily, I’ve more recently been able to delegate jobs to Chris, Max my AD, and Jorge. We already also have Erik, our Editor, in conversations with some people from Berklee for Sound Design, Sound Mixing, and Film Scoring (Taking a bit of stress off for post-production).

Our first day of shooting is approaching fast and it’s all very exciting.  I’ve definitely learned how much planning and organization goes into making a film, short or feature-length. It’s been an incredibly rewarding process and I know I’d be nowhere without my solid crew members and the help of oneonefive Productions!

If you’re ever thinking of making a short film, give yourself ample time to organize everything, and make sure you surround yourself by dedicated and reliable people!

Richie: Back to Bay State Road!

Welcome back to Boston everyone! I hope you all had a great summer, I know I definitely had one of my best experiences this past summer! Interning at the Cannes Film Festival, traveling Europe and visiting Los Angeles for the first time in August all made for an incredible time! However, I’m even more excited for everything in this upcoming semester. I moved back to my on-campus apartment on Bay State Rd and am loving it even more than last year. The new Student Center on 100 Bay State is directly across from my building and I have to say it’s absolutely amazing. Obviously my lack of a dining plan make my visits seldom, yet having such a modern and incredible building nearby changes the atmosphere of my area for the best from when it was just a construction site.

I’m also extremely excited for all the classes I’m taking! Advanced Directing and Acting for Writers and Directors already seem to be my two favorite classes. Being primarily interested in directing, learning acting will be a huge benefit. Not only being able to communicate with actors, but gaining a stronger appreciation of the vulnerable position they put themselves in will definitely be a huge help in my directing.

I was also recently selected to help in recruiting more interns for the Creative Mind Group which brought me out to the Cannes Film Festival. I’m starting to reach out to students in the Boston area, and I’ve been getting some good responses.

Probably the project I’m most exited for this semester though is the short film my friends and I will be shooting outside of class. We’re working off a script I wrote during the summer and have been in intense pre-production meetings since we got back.  It’s still in the early stages but I’m happy to say we have a crew set, our budget finalized, shooting schedule and even some of the main actors. It’s going to be a very ambitious film close to twenty minutes in length, but we’re all psyched to get started!

Richie: Finding the Right Professor

Summer’s nearing its end and soon you’ll all be in Boston, enjoying the company of new friends and starting an incredible four year long adventure. The start of college is no doubt, exciting. Yet, I know some of you might have your small fears or may be even experiencing minor panic attacks. I promise you it’s a lot easier to adapt to than you think.

Starting off new classes was one of my personal fears. First off, its definitely wise to look up what building your class will be in before the first day. The majority of your classes your first semester are general education requirements, and for that reason, will be very spread out across the campus. Get familiar with the names and acronyms of the different buildings. Don’t be afraid to ask someone for directions.

Having a good sense of where your classes are located will also help you better understand where you’ll be able to stop for lunch in between your classes. Will you have time to make it to this dining hall, or even go back to your dorm for a bit?

It’s also good to know that all professors always go through the syllabus on the first day of classes. A break down of the grade percentage, tests, upcoming projects, will be will be explained to you right away. That way you’ll have a good sense of what’s expected of you and you won’t have to worry about being thrown to the wolves. If you realize the class you signed up for wasn’t exactly what you thought it was, don’t hesitate to talk to an academic advisor to switch out of a class.

My main bit of advice is on professors though. I know I was worried about trying to build connections with my professors.  I left high school with a lot of friends in the faculty. Recommendations and help from teachers were easy to come by, and I worried it might not be the same in college. In your smaller classes you’ll be able to stand apart and establish a good relationship by just speaking up, but your larger classes will require a bit more of you.

I’d definitely recommend finding out a professor’s office hours and making an effort to show up. They’ll admire your desire to receive extra help and will also appreciate the company. Trust me, this will be very helpful later on if you need a recommendation later on in an extracurricular, and, for many COM professors, it’ll be very helpful when your looking for that internship during the summer.

BU really has some incredible professors and I really do suggest you shape your classes around them. I always schedule my classes according to recommendations from other students, and sometimes even the website ratemyprofessor. Obviously, the reviews on the site have to be taken with a grain of salt since most people writing reviews are going to be either irrationally angry at the professor, or madly in love with them. Either way, it does help a bit. A great professor really does make all the difference in your experience at college. Not just one that will give you an easy grade, but will engage you, interest you, challenge you, and then be able to help you in after you leave their class.

Ask upperclassmen (and obviously your COM Ambassadors!) what professors they must absolutely recommend and I’m sure they’ll give you a huge list.  I definitely know the film professors that are top in my head.

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer, and get excited for Boston. I’m already excited and it’s not even my freshman year.

Richie: Cannes Film Festival, Europe, and Colombia!

I hope everyone’s summer has been going great! For those of you just graduating high school, congratulations! If you haven’t done our Summer Orientation at BU yet, I promise it’s such an awesome experience.  Some of my closest friends today, I actually met during my BU Summer Orientation.  Enjoy your last few weeks at home, and get excited to finally be at COM in the Fall!

I personally have to say, I’ve had the best summer of my entire life so far. A few months ago I wrote about being accepted into an internship program at the Cannes Film Festival.  I was unbelievably excited to start working at the Film Festival in May, but I never expected all the amazing things I would be a part of.

I arrived to the beautiful tropical town of Cannes on May 14th. I had been in Paris for a few days before with my brother and thought most of France would look just like Paris. Obviously, I was surprised when I arrived to beautiful beaches lined with palm trees!  The program I had received my internship through, Creative Minds, was also hosting about 150 other students. I quickly became friends with student from Texas, California, China, Mexico, and even The Netherlands!

Some had come with the networking aspect of the program where they partook in dozens of workshops with industry professionals like Randall Emmett.  Others came with the filmmaker aspect, and were put in teams to create a short film while at the film festival.  I was a part of the internship experience and was placed with WME.

Most of the internships at the film festival have the students work every other day, and sometimes only up to 8 days. Whereas, WME is a very sought after internship, I was working every single day from May 16th to May 27th.  My days would usually start around 9:30am and could sometimes even last until 10pm! While the work was tough at times, WME was an incredible agency to work for.  I learned an incredible amount of the industry on the talent agency side and was treated very well by all the agents I helped.  My duties were mostly errands and any odd job an agent might need for us to do, but they never hesitated to answer our specific industry questions and give us great insight to the world of film.

While I did miss some screenings of films during the day, I still managed to make it to a number of Red Carpet Premieres and other exclusive screenings! My favorite two films would have to be Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson’s new film that premiered on the opening night, and Beasts of The Southern Wild, an American Indie film that won this year’s Grand Jury Prize for dramatic competition at the Sundance Film Festival! Just with every festival, you’re bound to see a few films that you quite honestly won’t enjoy. Yet, I must say Cannes offers an array of all types of films and Beasts has to be one of my favorite films of all time now.

The film festival is also known for some of the craziest and most exclusive parties in the world! While I mentioned I wouldn’t get out of my internship until around 9pm on some days, the night hadn’t even started!  I found myself out until 4 and 5 in the morning almost every single night.  Different parties hosted the likes of Swedish House Mafia, Busta Rhymes, David Guetta, and many more.  A memory that’ll definitely stick out in my head is going to the very exclusive premiere of Cruel Summer, Kanye West’s short film!  The film was shown on seven huge screens and all shot with multiple cameras to immerse the audience in all the action.  Afterwards I even shook Kanye’s hand and was able to speak to him for a few minutes on his film! Jay Z and Kim Kardashian were in attendence, and afterward the protagonist of Kanye’s film, Kid Cudi, even performed!

I could go on about Cannes but also want to let you guys know how amazing my traveling in Europe was! I had never been to Europe before the Film Festival, and obviously wanted to do a bit of traveling while I was there. As soon as the Film Festival ended, I took a train over to Nice for a night. I stayed at an amazing hostel where I instantly made friends from all over the place! (Traveling through Europe and staying at hostels is highly recommended, definitely the cheapest, funnest, and easiest way to meet plenty of young people with amazing personalities and awesome travel stories! Definitely go through!) I then traveled to Pisa, Florence, Rome, and took a flight back to Paris to be with my older brother.  It was a great experience, and traveling alone definitely opens you up to making friends a lot easier! I made one last weekend trip to London and then prepared to leave Europe after about 5 weeks!

It’s been a very eventful summer and right now I’m winding down and spending some family time in Colombia.  It’s been about five years since my last visit and I have to say I alway love coming back.

If any of you are interested in the Cannes Film Festival Program, I highly recommend it. I’m actually going to be recruiting new students for next year’s program and would love to answer even more specific questions on how to get in! It’s the experience of a lifetime and looks incredible on a resume no matter what field you want to get into after college!  Send me and email at or message me on facebook by just searching my name!

Next post I’ll catch you guys up on the pre-production of my new short film being shot here in Boston during the fall! Can’t wait to meet you all in September!

Richie: Final Projects over Final Exams at COM!

Richie ImageCongratulations to all you accepted into the Class of 2016 here at BU! At this point in your senior year you may be bombarded with a lot of work. College decisions, prom preparations, senior events, AP exams, and even final exams coming around the corner may have you begging for summer. Trust me though, despite some last minute hard work on your part, these last weeks of high school will be incredibly fun and memorable. Before you know it you’ll be going to orientation, making new friends from around the country, and enjoying everything Boston has to offer!

Now, you may experience some of the same feelings in college nearing the end of your semester. With final exams and final papers, it’s no secret that college students also get stressed out.

However, one of my favorite things about majoring in COM is the absolute lack of final exams! Don’t get me wrong, for the year or two you’ll be mostly taking general education requirements, you will absolutely have final exams in some of your classes like any other student in the country. But, as a junior majoring in Film and Television, I can confidently say my specialized courses seem to always ask for final projects instead of final exams! (This also rings true for most other majors in COM). Think about it, you can’t really give a student a written test about how to carefully craft a film or construct a successful ad campaign?

As seniors in high school, you may not see the benefit in final projects over final exams just yet. (I, for one, was actually a great test taker and usually did better on my finals). But, trust me, you’ll learn to love it. Last year I only had one final during final week, and both semesters of this year I’ve had a grand total of ZERO finals!

When you’re planning to head back home for the holidays or planning a summer trip, that extra week and a half really comes in handy! This semester I’ll be finished with classes on May 2nd and heading over to France on May 8th!

Once you get into your advanced classes in COM, you’ll be the envy of all your other friends on campus! For now though, enjoy your senior year!

Richie: Indie Production Company

Richie ImageHey everyone,

If you read my last post, you might’ve heard that I was able to get an internship at the Cannes Film Festival for this summer. Obviously I’ve been incredibly excited for it. I’m sure I will learn plenty about the festival process, screenings, distribution of motion pictures, and even more.

 However, I am most interested in the production of actual movies. While I could try searching for another internship or job on the actual set of a short film, I instead thought, “What better way to learn about making movies, than just going out and making plenty yourself?”

That’s why three friends of mine and I have decided to start a small production company. We’ve helped each other out on our Production 1 films and since last year have been shooting and editing a few live sessions for independent musicians around Boston. We’ve had experience working with each other and thought it was time we stepped it up. With a name finally agreed upon, oneonefive productions has finally begun preproduction for our own independent short film.



Recently we’ve been making changes to the script, setting up a budget, and creating a schedule. We’ve even gone into researching the best resources for casting, equipment rental, and even deadlines for film festival submissions months in advance. Our first film’s will be about three adolescent working class Boston kids. Unable to receive a college education, like so many in their position, they grow a resentment towards the student’s inhabiting their city from distant parts around the country. The group cons and robs affluent college students in the Boston area, yet our protagonist begins to have a change of heart.

We’re confident in the story premise but still definitely have a few details to iron out before we start shooting.

Getting Jobs to Fund our First Film:

Apart from making changes to the script I wrote, a large part of what’s been on our plates has been funding the project. Although a Kickstarter campaign was thought of, we feel we must be a bit more established before we can realistically start getting strangers to give money for our film. This is why we’ve been focusing on getting jobs shooting promos, live music sessions, music videos, and anything else we may find a client interested in. Our first job will be at a hair salon on Newbury Street, interested in shooting a few instructional videos on how to use their products. This way, we’ll be getting more experience, building contacts, establishing a track record, and funding our film all at once.

Our production company is very young, but we’re all very excited to finally be doing more of what we love. We always talk about crafting our skill or making that first real legitimate film. Though we may have a bit until that film gets completed, the group is happy that action has been replaced by mere talking. I definitely recommend engaging some close friends of yours in different talks and meetings and see if you guys can create a small production company or artistic collective. I definitely think it’s the best way to start learning apart from classes or internships, and start establishing a name for yourself! By the way, if anyone has us in mind for a shoot, email us at!