Sarah: Tales of a Nicktern

Hey there terriers! Whatever you find yourselves doing this summer, I hope you’re making it fun and meaningful. Make these next few weeks count – fall will sneak up on us before we know it!

Your first summer after your first year of college tends to go a bit differently than the previous, especially if you’re a COM student. But fear not! This change is often for the best. Come springtime, if not as a freshman than definitely as a sophomore, you’ll be hit with the same question countless times: “What are your summer plans?” This year, with a smile and maybe just a hint of smug satisfaction, I was able to respond with something that makes the 8-year-old kid in all of us do cartwheels: I’m working for Nickelodeon.

As of last Monday, I officially started my internship with Nickelodeon Animation in beautiful Burbank, California. The program hosts roughly 30 interns on various shows and in various departments. I’m working in the post-production department with the vault librarian, and after only my first week as a Nicktern, I can tell that this will be a near life-changing experience. Nickelodeon has built a climate of genuinely passionate and friendly people who are excited about their jobs and excited to teach interns.

This really isn’t your typical internship program. Our supervisors trust us with a lot of the work and responsibility given to employees. And because of it, we’re held to very high standards. But it’s not all work – being a Nicktern certainly has its perks. Interns have the opportunity to take classes, see screenings, attend networking events, meet with some big names in the industry, and just have a lot of fun (I play ping-pong almost everyday with co-workers in the outdoor courtyard). Nickelodeon really knows how to treat its interns.

Being on the west coast still feels a bit surreal to me. Just weeks ago, I was in student services planning out my schedule so I could participate in the LA program my senior year. Now, two years early, here I am. There were certainly a few bumps in the road. Moving out to the West Coast from New York was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to coordinate (I may have spent more time on Craigslist looking for a place to stay than I did studying for finals). But, it was absolutely worth it!

The perpetual follow-up question I got about my summer plans was, “How did you get that gig?” The simple answer: I applied. Having connections is a great way to get your foot in the door, but NEVER underestimate the power of a polished cover letter and genuine passion for a position. As a BU COM student, some pretty incredible internships are well within your reach. This summer alone, I have COM friends interning at Lifetime, Sirius Radio, VH1, ABC and some other pretty cool companies. Searching for internships can be one of the most stressful tasks as a college student, but in the end, also the most rewarding. Take advantage of all the career services COM provides. And just apply! You’ll never know until you do.

So soak up the sun and enjoy your last few months pre-BU. And be prepared to make next summer count!

See you new terriers in the fall!

Sarah: Free (and legal!) Movies on Campus

Sarah ImageWe all love free stuff, and as college students, we have plenty of it available. At any given campus event, you might walk away with flip cam, a gift card or, best of all, a free t-shirt. While I welcome all free things, there is nothing quite as satisfying as a free movie. Here are a few (legal) ways to catch a free flick right here on campus.

Krasker Film Library

This place is Mugar’s hidden gem. In the basement of the library hides a secret stash of over 18,000 movies on DVD, Blu-ray and the ever-popular VHS. Krasker has every film from Citizen Kane to Superbad, and plenty in between. All of the films are catalogued and can be reserved online. You can’t take films out of the library, so head here on a rainy day when you have an afternoon to kill.

Geddes Language Center

This is the Krasker of foreign films, housed on the fifth floor of the College of Arts and Sciences building. There are thousands of films in nearly 30 different languages, including Russian, Korean, Italian, ASL, Creole and Yiddish. Language professors typically use this facility for class screenings, but individual students can also reserve films. All you need to watch a film is your BU ID. These films must also stay at the center.


If anyone knows the worth of a good movie, it is BU’s Film & TV department. Each semester, several writers, directors, producers and actors visit COM as a part of the department’s Cinematheque series. Our guests typically screen a movie or TV episode and then hold a Q&A session afterwards. Sometimes we’re even lucky enough to get COM alumni who have struck some success in the business. Last month, Jennifer Getzinger was here to screen an episode of Mad Men that she directed. Pretty cool, huh?

Redstone Film Festival

Another department event, this film festival is all about student work. All COM students are invited to submit their original work, which is judged by a panel of industry professionals. Once a year, they roll out the red carpet in front of the Tsai Performance Center to screen the top films and announce the winners. It feels like a Hollywood movie premiere right on campus. The theater always sells out, so show up early!

Programming Council Events

BU’s Programming Council hosts more campus events than I can ever keep track of. From open skate to comedy shows to semi-formal dances, PC does it all. My favorite PC events, of course, are free movie screenings. They host “drive-in movie” nights throughout the semester at different locations. When the weather is nice enough, they even project movies on jumbo screens on the BU Beach or Nickerson Field. The usually show double features, like Bridesmaids and Horrible Bosses, and serve free popcorn!

And if you just love the ambiance of the traditional movie theater, check out the GSU ticket office on the second floor for discounted tickets to Regal Cinemas. Being a BU student has its perks – take advantage of some of them!

Sarah: A Story of Love

Sarah ImageAs the last traces of Valentine’s Day linger in the air, I seize this moment to reflect on one of my own relationships – one that has become very important to me over the past six months. What began as a mere fling has blossomed into a lasting and unbreakable bond. It’s thrilling. It’s passionate. It’s real. Now, you might be thinking this is not the most appropriate outlet for an expression of the sort, but this kind of affair is not one to be silenced. I write to you today, fellow and future terriers, because I’ve fallen madly, truly and deeply in love with American Sign Language.

Rewind to freshman year. After actively avoiding a certain part of the COM curriculum for over a year, I began receiving concerned emails about my unfulfilled language requirement. Unwilling to spend two semesters learning a language, I looked high and low for possible loopholes. Option 1: test out of Latin, a language I hadn’t studied in four years. Option 2: take an eight-week intensive course in Russian. Option 3: pray for COM to drop the language requirement. When none of these choices proved feasible, I broke down and began looking at fall language courses. On a whim, I registered for ASL 1.

The summer came and went without a second thought about the dreaded language requirement. On the fist day of classes, my apathy became panic. To my (shamefully oblivious) surprise, a Deaf man – Professor Jason Norman, showed up to teach the on the first day of class. How does a Deaf professor teach a class full of hearing students with no experience in ASL? It would be futile for me to try to articulate exactly how he teaches the class because it’s a mystery even to me. All I can say is that last semester, Professor Norman played matchmaker – he introduced me to the rich and expressive language I would come to love.

I learned more in one semester of ASL than I ever thought possible. For three hours a week, I found myself engaged, focused and dedicated to mastering this new language. While I sometimes shied away from participating in other classes, I found myself eager to ask questions, give examples and sign in front of the class. By the end of the semester, I was confident and competent enough to hold conversations in ASL, even with native signers.

Now, don’t be fooled. ASL and I are a match made in heaven, but like any relationship, there have been a few bumps in the road. Learning ASL is fun, but not easy. The switch from aural to visual communication is a dramatic one that requires a certain level of commitment and training. Also, to master fingerspelling at normal pace takes years of practice. The language gap between Professor Norman and I was the biggest hardship last semester. There were times that I held back questions and comments simply because I didn’t know how to sign them. These issues work themselves out with both patience and practice.

I now take ASL 2, but sadly, ASL and I might have to take a break after this semester. The year I once thought I would waste learning a language is coming to an end – but I’m not ready to call it quits. However, with hopes of internships and studying abroad, ASL classes might not fit into my schedule. But, fear not – I’m confident this love story will have a happy ending. The things I’ve learned and the people I’ve met through ASL and Deaf culture studies will surely transcend into other aspects of my life. Maybe I’ll even make a film about it some day.

College is such a short part of life, yet so packed full of opportunities. When else will you have the chance to study Buddhism in America? Or zooarchaeology? So, I dare you – I triple dog dare you – to take a class that you know will challenge you. A class you know nothing about. A class you might not be eager to take. You never know when you might uncover a hidden passion; you never know when you might fall in love.

Sarah: True Life: I’m an Intern

SarahHey terriers! While many begin the hunt for a summer internship, I thought I’d reflect a little on my own.

This past summer, I had the most incredible first internship a film student can ask for – being a production assistant on the set of a feature film. The Place Beyond the Pines, a film written and directed by Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine), and starring Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper, began filming last July in Schenectady, NY. Schenectady might not sound familiar to you, but I grew up practically next-door. It was a BIG deal for such a small town.

Being on set was unlike anything I’ve ever done before. I gained practical knowledge, made connections and experienced feature filmmaking first-hand. It turned out to be the most rewarding (and brag-worthy) internship I could have hoped for. It was also the most overwhelming. I went through a trial and error period in the beginning, but I learned more from my initial uncertainty. Here are just a few things I picked up as a first-time film intern.

1. Comfortable shoes are essential.
Twelve-hour days are average. Fourteen-hour days are typical. Sixteen-hour days are not unlikely. Production assistants do not sit. Ever. You might get twenty minutes to scarf down lunch, but that does not guarantee you any time off of your feet. Flexible shoes with some support will help prevent throbbing feet at the end of the day. After day one, I ditched my tennis shoes for an old pair of running sneakers.

2. It takes a LOT of people to make a movie…
…and you have to know all of them. I was astonished to discover how many people it takes to make a feature film (this was a low-budget, independent film, mind you). Directors, producers, gaffers, electricians, personal assistants, sound mixers, location scouts, prop masters and makeup artists make for a substantial crew. When you consider all of the work done both before and after filming, the crew on set is just a portion of a larger team – a team of hundreds. As the eyes and ears of the assistant directors, production assistants are responsible for knowing who everyone is and what everyone does. Study up right away – there will inevitably be seven Mikes.

3. Filmmaking has its own lingo.
Do you know what sides are? A hero house? A squib? Neither did I. There isn’t any kind of vocabulary list you receive before hand, but nearly everything on set has some shortened ID. The key PA might brief you on your first day, but just like knowing every person on set, it’s your responsibility to know all of the terms used on set. It will mostly come with time and repetition, but doing some research beforehand can’t hurt.

4. Everyone is your boss.
The only position lower than a PA is an interning PA. There is a key PA who all others will generally report to and receive instructions from. The higher-ups will relay instructions, requests and problems to the key PA, who then delegates responsibilities to everyone else. It seems pretty common, however, for other crew memebers on set to ask a PA for assistance. Whatever they ask – do it. For me, most times it was someone asking for a pen or a new radio battery (or to hold an umbrella for Ryan Gosling so the rain won’t smudge his tattoos). If a crewmember asks you to do anything that requires you to leave set or an assigned post, make sure you tell the key PA. They must keep tabs on their minions at all times!

5. Days are long, but not necessarily busy.
On my first day, my key PA told me that the job involves doing everything and doing nothing – bizarre, yet true. There is no single responsibility of a PA. Tasks change with current needs and circumstances on set. Most days, my responsibilities required me to run around set for twenty minutes and then act as a human traffic cone for the rest of the day. It’s the nature of the business; I had to do my job so the actors and directors could do theirs. If you want to impress the crew, be the happiest, most attentive traffic cone on set. And don’t sit down!

6. Call sheets are tricky.
Call sheets hold SO much information. This one piece of paper holds almost everything you need to know for the day – call times, weather, scene numbers, props, location and the entire crew list. It isn’t of much use, however, if you don’t know how to read it. My key PA tried decoding it for me on my first day, but barely made it through the heading before he got pulled away. This is another thing you kind of have to learn through experience. The interns on set would often band together to decipher the scene descriptions. I found out, though, that interns are not the only ones who have trouble reading call sheets. The assistant directors would often joke about holding a Call Sheet 101 class.

If you have the opportunity to work on a movie set, take it! Maybe my rookie mistakes and lessons learned will help you through your first few days!

The Place Beyond the Pines is scheduled to release in the fall – go see it!

Sarah: Fy-What?

Sarah Bellardini
Sarah Bellardini

First off, I have to thank everyone who came to open house. Kudos to Admissions for picking you guys! You were well worth getting out of bed at 7am for. Hopefully we’ve helped guide you toward a decision. If you are already sold on BU, take a breath of relief, but also start looking ahead to all BU will offer you.

I recently received some exciting news – I was accepted to be a staff leader for FYSOP22! FYSOP (one of BU’s countless acronyms) is BU’s First Year Student Outreach Project run by the Community Service Center. I think I speak for all involved when I say nothing welcomes you to BU quite like FYSOP.

In a nutshell, FYSOP is a week of community service throughout the Boston area. The week before classes begin, students will volunteer in one of ten issue areas, ranging from environment, to hunger to elders (Choose elders! Maybe I’ll be your staff leader). You’ll work hard, make friends, avoid the move-in rush, get awesome T-shirts, learn more cheers than you will ever remember and create memories that will last for the rest of your time at BU.

But don’t just take my word for it – ask around. FYSOP has become such a popular program that nearly 1 out of every 4 freshman in the class of 2014 participated. While the very name FYSOP might look strange to you, everyone on campus knows about it.

If you are at all interested in serving the community, becoming acquainted with Boston, settling in early and meeting some truly incredible people, consider applying for FYSOP. Yes, this does mean a week less of summer at home, but trust me, by the end of August you’ll be itching to leave the nest.

Check out the website for more FY-info.