Stephen: Thinking, Reading, Doing


I would like to preface this blog post by saying that this is a complete rip from an idea my brother had a few years back. Go take a look at his original post and other posts too on his website here:

At this point in my life, I’m starting to encounter a lot of uncertainty. In just about half a year I will be graduating from BU with a film degree and that is about all I know. Where I live, where I work, who I interact with — these are all things that are just completely up in the air, and that’s okay. What’s important to do, though, is try to plan out my personal goals and aspirations and consider things that I can control. Here is where my post title comes into play. Thinking, reading, and doing is a simple way of listing out what I would like to accomplish or realize in the upcoming year. It’s not quite the end of 2020, but it’s about time to put this list together. So, let’s begin. 

Thinking –

This one is pretty straightforward for me. I’d like to spend more time self-reflecting. This doesn’t have to be anything grand or extensive either, and can instead focus on one week at a time. 

Additionally, I need to think more about my craft of filmmaking and photography. I have worked on combining the two to work together in a potential career more effectively, but I need to spend time refining these thoughts and plans. I’d also like to think more about how to combine my love for filmmaking into my care about the environment. I have begun making plans here to make this a priority, but I need to double down on my commitment and think about how to best approach it moving forward.

Reading –

This one is a challenge for me, but as a filmmaker I would very much like to get back into reading. I believe reading is extremely important for my line of work to learn more about storytelling and be immersed in other worlds, so I am going to make it a goal to read more. I have a few books with me that I would like to read first:

  • The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
  • Zero to One by Peter Thiel
  • The Peregrine by J.A. Baker

These three would be a great start, and I have already begun The War of the Worlds so I hope to finish that before the Spring semester. 

Doing –

There are plenty of things that I feel like I need to do, but with the Spring right around the corner, it’s time to narrow it down a bit more and focus up. 

Firstly, I need to get out into the world more to do not only photography, but various filmmaking projects. It can be very hard to find the proper motivation sometimes, especially in the middle of a very strange semester, but I’m always so happy to be out and about and I need to remember that whenever I feel doubt. 

I need a better workout plan. Over the past year I have worked out on and off in various ways, but I need to set a proper schedule and stick to it. Working out consistently will improve my energy and attitude and help with some anxiety issues that I have started to have. 

Lastly, I need to network. Now it is more important than ever to reach out to people and expand my connections. As a filmmaker, connections in the industry is vital, so doing additional research into the companies and studios I like to reach out to individuals is a must.

Stephen: Seeing the Old in the New

This past semester I was assigned a vocational project while I was studying abroad in London. The purpose of the project was to challenge our creative knowledge in a new way in the hopes that we would attain or appreciate a new skill set. At first, I jumped at the idea of creating a unique short film that focused on the creative use of time-lapses. However, as the weeks progressed I realized I had neither the time or the right drive to make that a reality. After postponing my time-lapse project for another time, I had to find a new focus for what I would do. Very quickly I arrived back at photography, which is where I tend to drift towards in many situations. In the end, I decided on creating my own “vintage” photos. Here is the before and after of one of these photos I did below:

Original1 Edit1

If you do not have the time to read on or have a short attention span like myself, I’ll break it down for you real quick and direct you to a video showing my process. Essentially what I did was take old photos I had captured before and utilized both Lightroom and Photoshop in an attempt to make them appear “old”. I flattened the images out (crushed blacks and muted highlights) to remove some modern depth/contrast from digital cameras and I applied a black and white filter to the photo. There are some other meticulous edits I took care of as well but they are not as important. I then simply brought the image into Photoshop and messed around with sepia color filters as well as “photo grunge” until I achieved the desired look. Here is a video I recorded showing myself undergoing this editing process. Thanks for reading this far and I hope you enjoy it!

Now on to a bit of self-reflection:

I have very little experience with film. Throughout the entirety of my time taking photos I have essentially only used digital cameras. I did receive an old Pentax ME Super that I should probably fix up and buy some film rolls for, but I have yet to do this. So, yeah, basically zero experience with film photography which is something that I definitely want to change sometime soon. I’m a digital photographer and my vocational project favored that heavily. However, the project did provide a unique opportunity to reach towards film without leaving the comfort of digital photography. As the above paragraph explains, I was essentially able to create fake film photos that had an aged appearance which was certainly a lot of fun. Here are the other two images I edited below:

Original2 Edit2

Original3 Edit3

At this point, this entire project has acted as a motivator for me to look into film and expand upon my photography knowledge. I definitely must practice film photography and become familiar with the medium in order to become a more well-rounded photographer. Regardless of what I am currently pursuing, becoming more well-rounded/versatile is always a goal in my mind. Once I become comfortable with the craft I have to find new ways to push it forward so that I may learn and grow. This project was a good step forward and I am eager to encounter the next.

Stephen: The “Boston” Bubble

Regardless of where you’re currently at in your college career at Boston University, you have undoubtedly heard the term “BU Bubble”. This bubble is very much real and I’m sure you have been told the importance of leaving the bubble to explore the city. You should definitely strive to do this and make it part of your routine (I know I need to work on this sometimes), but there’s another bubble present for many of us that goes unnoticed. The “Boston Bubble”.

The city of Boston provides countless activities to enjoy and places to explore, but one thing that many people don’t recognize is its location. As the hub of the New England area, Boston is a great central location to explore outwards into Massachusetts and other neighboring states. There are so many adventures to partake in while here at Boston University, and it would be a shame not to take advantage of that fact.

At this point you’re probably wondering how trips outside of Boston are even possible. Most students don’t have cars and the T only takes you so far. This is very true, but the commuter rail, which is also part of the MBTA system, is the solution.

For those that don’t know, from January 5th to June 30th of this year, the MBTA is providing $10 weekend passes that allow for unlimited travel across Boston’s commuter rail network. $10. Unlimited travel. That right there is the answer.

Now that you understand what amazing opportunity is at our fingertips, let’s take a look at some specific things we can choose to do:

  1. Visit Providence, Rhode Island

Leave the state entirely and go spend the day in another historic city in the New England area. Check out the Roger Williams Park Zoo, walk around Waterplace Park, or enjoy the famous Providence Athenaeum. You can also just walk around and enjoy the new scenery! It is your adventure so do as you please.

  1. Hike the Nashua River Rail Trail

Hop on the commuter rail and travel north to Ayer station located in Ayer, MA. If you’re looking for a quick hike in MA, this is just one of many options open to you. The New England area has a multitude of nature locations to explore and the commuter rail makes many of these viable options.

  1. Snowboard or Ski at Wachusett Mountain

If you’d like a neat winter experience before the season is over, take a train over to Wachusett Mountain. The resort also provides a free shuttle from the T station to the slopes so get over and experience the fun before the service starts wrapping up in March!

With so many other adventures as well, it would be a shame to not take advantage of this opportunity. The deal lasts throughout the entirety of the semester, so try to find a weekend or two at some point to travel around with some friends. It’s always super nice to take a break from the city regardless of whether or not you’re swamped with work. Putting some distance between yourself and your daily responsibilities eases the mind and simply makes you feel better (trust me it does).

So what are you waiting for then? Check out and get going!

Stephen: Importance of Following Through

I don’t want you to read this title and think I’m talking about following through on a golf swing or anything like that. I’m going to be mostly talking about following through on things you have already set in motion.

I’ve always been one to constantly be thinking of new ideas and things I can do. Whether it be personal projects, classwork, or some type of collaboration with others, I like to engage in these opportunities and get as much on my platter as I can. For one, I highly enjoy photography and traveling around to take photos. I have spent countless hours watching videos about photography and have spent a great amount of time also researching different places to go. I am always so eager and excited to do these things, but where does it all lead to? In all honesty, not very far sometimes. There have been a few times where I have planned a photo trip and actually followed through with going out to take the shots, but for the most part it all comes to a halt before the trip even takes place.

This same principle applies to many aspects of what I do as well. For example, towards the beginning of last semester I went out to shoot a short film for fun with a couple friends. We filmed the entire thing in one evening, and had a fantastic time doing so. I just finished editing that project last week. I didn’t finish because it took me so long to work on, I just happened to be organizing some files and decided to take a look at it again. At this point I think you all understand what I’m trying to explain so I’ll stop with the personal experience and instead share a couple reasons following through is fantastic, and something that has really helped me change my ways.

Happiness. It is simple but one of the most powerful motivators. If you want to be happy, finish what you started, whether the result is bad rather than good. You’ll have a higher appreciation for yourself for being committed enough to complete something, and others will view you as a go-getter rather than a quitter. If you talked to someone about going to a new club then actually go and see if it is something you’d enjoy rather than convincing yourself beforehand that it wouldn’t be for you. If you decided to start a gym plan, set in place a proper schedule and get others around you to motivate you to keep pushing forward. I guarantee that looking back on the things you followed through on will make you smile. It has for me, and I’d like to replicate that as much as possible.

Learning. The things you can learn from following through with what you have started is invaluable. Life is all about trying new things and learning from those experiences. Sometimes loss and failure are the best teachers for learning too so don’t be afraid to put yourself in uncomfortable situations where the outcome isn’t guaranteed. Easier said than done, I know, trust me, but the more you experience it the easier it gets.

As for how I’ve been working towards following through with my own work, it is actually quite simple. I have become a pro at keeping my calendar organized. A whole blog can be written about calendars and such, but I’ll keep things simple for now. I have always kept a calendar for different events and such going on, but I was never always on top of keeping my dates organized and having my calendar up to date. This year I decided to change all of that. My calendar is one of the first things I look at when I wake up, and one of the last things I look at before I go to sleep. As soon as I hear about a possible event too then I throw it up on the calendar and work my free time around that.

I hope this short blog has provided motivation to some of you. I know not everyone deals with this same issue, but there are definitely those out there that do. Just remember, finishing what you started leads to many great things, but two that have been most important to me are happiness and learning. Now get out there, plan something, and just DO IT.




Stephen: COM and Beyond

I am a COM student. Naturally, I have many friends in COM. I spend lots of time in COM and love talking about COM as well. Basically, COM plays a huge role in my life now, and although I knew it would get to this point when I first came to BU, I didn’t quite realize just what else would be present in my day to day activities. I say all of this because I wanted to talk about something I mentioned during the first Spring Open House which came as a bit of a surprise to me once I arrived on campus.

When it was my turn to introduce myself as a COM Ambassador, I knew exactly what to say to answer the question “What did you wish you knew before coming to COM?” for all of the prospective students. I said how I was so surprised to find just how easy it was to interact with so many different students across all sorts of different disciplines and majors, and that I would spend a huge amount of time with them outside of the classroom.


Coming into college, I always had the expectation that almost all of my friends would be from my program and that I might meet a couple people here and there on my floor from different majors but that would be about it. I had no idea that the environment I was actually being thrust into forced me (in a good way don’t worry) to meet new people and make friends wherever I can. At this point, a good majority of the people I hang out with are business students with the occasional engineer and bio major mixed in, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

I say all of this because I truly believe that interacting with as many different people as possible is one of the most important things you can do, not only as a student, but as a human being. You want to expand your horizon as much as possible and take in every experience that is offered to you so your perspective can adapt for our changing world. Quite simply, it helps you enjoy life to the fullest.


An example of the COM world colliding with Questrom can be found with my good friend Jimmy. I met Jimmy through a GroupMe chat that was started prior to anyone arriving on campus. Jimmy and I both joined the specific chat as it was made for a focus area of BU’s First Year Student Outreach Project (FYSOP – If you’re an incoming freshman, definitely take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity). We both bonded over our home state of Pennsylvania and the fact that we lived on the same floor, so we quickly decided to meet up and became fast friends.

Overtime, this friendship has grown and I’m proud to call Jimmy one of my closest friends. Where the collision between the worlds come in is BUTV10. I became a writer for the show COED and Jimmy decided to audition for a part I wrote. He got the job, and at this point, he’s getting a taste for what I’m truly interested in while also gaining new experiences for himself. On the other end, I have been able to get a glimpse into his world through his business fraternity DSP. I have gone to different events for the frat to understand what he goes through, and I actually took headshots for a lot of his peers during a LinkedIn workshop.


As I’m sitting here trying to conclude this blog, words are truly failing me. All I can say is that BU and COM has been absolutely 100% fantastic oh man 10/10 it’s a masterpiece. If you’re a prospective student or perhaps a junior considering some options for application, don’t pass up on the opportunity to apply to this school. It may not have specifically what you think you need, but you’ll be surprised what opens up once you arrive on campus. I don’t have a single doubt about coming here and I’m only just getting started. I’m excited for what the future has in store – Go Terriers.

Stephen: Lesser Known Gems Throughout Boston

When I arrived on campus for orientation this past summer, it was the first time in many years that I had spent more than a day in Boston. Now, as a second semester freshman, I’ve been in the city for months enjoying what it has to offer. From great food to exciting activities, there are endless numbers of things that can be done here. For me, however, one of my favorite activities is finding new places to take photos.

I come from a small town in the middle of Pennsylvania known as Carlisle. Now Carlisle is very nice and all, but it’s not quite as intense as Boston. The photography I did there usually required me to travel long distances to capture a sunset or simply an interesting landscape. Here in Boston, all of that has changed. Now I can just hop on the T, go to the North End and take new photos every time I’m there. However, is continually going to one spot really all that fun? For some perhaps, but for me not so much. That’s why I’m going to share five of my favorite places for photography that I have found in my short time being in the city. Before we get into the list, don’t worry about whether or not you prefer landscapes, portraits, cool insta shots, or whatever really. The list consists of all photography interests so it can apply to anyone.
Longfellow Bridge -
Longfellow Bridge is located right next to the Charles/MGH T station and has one of the best views of the city I have yet to see. The bridge has a pedestrian friendly walkway and you can often find bikers or runners making their way across. From my experience, it is best to come to the bridge during the dusk hours of the day when a lot of the city lights start to come on. Naturally, this spot is ideal for cityscape photos and long exposures such as the one below.
Chris and Ally’s Bench -
If you’re looking for a peaceful place near the river, this is the spot for you. Chris and Ally’s Bench is located along the Charles River Esplanade only a short walk from the BU Campus. It has some gorgeous weeping willow trees and there are great spots to climb around and enjoy nature. This spot is great for portrait work or for getting a nice shot of the river, especially on days where the river is full of boats. It shows up on google maps so you should have no trouble finding it!
Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge -
I have yet to go to this bridge just yet but it has peaked my interest for quite some time. If you don’t already know of this bridge, it is located in the North End and it has a quite iconic cable architecture. There are walkways underneath and around the bridge as well so you can get a view of it from many different angles. I’d personally like to do portraits in this spot and test around with some other shots as well. After you’re done checking it out too you can always walk right on into the North End for some quality food.
Coolidge Corner - 
A classic Boston location, Coolidge Corner is in the Brookline neighborhood and is about a 15-20 minute walk from West Campus. There are some great food options in the area in case you get hungry, and the photography is great too. The famous Coolidge Corner Theatre features some great lights for a nighttime shoot, and the rustic buildings on the corner of Beacon and Harvard street (right next to the T stop) are quite the sight. I’ve been here once but I am looking forward to returning at night for some more photography.
Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park -
Another North End location, this waterfront park is quite a nice area to spend some time in. This location is very popular so don’t expect to be alone, but do expect to get some cool pictures. At night when the archways are lit up, things can get quite pretty. Another great aspect of the park is its great view of the water as well as its proximity to Faneuil Hall. Grab some food, do some shopping, and then head down to the park for some pics.
While creating this list I really tried to avoid some of the more popular spots such as Boston Common, the Boston Public Library, or the famous Acorn Street. Those are all great options for photography as well, but the list features some not as popular gems that are still fantastic spots. Grab a friend, grab your camera, and get out there and start shooting! Not into photography? No problem whatsoever, hopefully this list can still add some locations for you to check out in the future.