Production I is an introductory class that every Television graduate student takes in their first semester at BU’s College of Communication (COM). Professor Geoffrey Poister, who has 15 years of experience in the film and TV industry, teaches the course.
In Production I, students start off by learning how to use a basic DSLR camera and what different lenses are used for different effects. Next, they move on to the more advanced Panasonic camcorder, which is used by professional TV crews and is good for shooting interviews. Students learn to record sound using various microphones such as the wireless, lavaliere and shotgun. They also touch upon lighting techniques and learn how to use Avid, Hollywood’s editing software of choice.
For their first assignment, students produce a silent film. The script for this project must be highly action-based. After the script is complete, students learn how to add sound to their film. Students choose to either record new music or select from the available media libraries on COM’s computers located in all the labs on each floor.
Their second assignment is a group assignment in which students have to work on a documentary—one with real people and characters. This semester, one group chose to work on a story about Professor Poister himself, as he is part of a band. “This is the course I have most fun in. Professor Poister is very funny! I was really surprised to know that he was part of a band,” said Maggie Shuting Cao, a first semester television graduate student.
Professor Poister gives his students creative leeway while giving them hands-on instruction for learning the techniques of film production. Students learn to differentiate between producing say, a more dramatic, fictional movie and one that is more ground in reality, a documentary kind of production. This way they learn two different ways to narrate stories, all in one semester.
Mohammad Behroozian, a student from Afghanistan, who took the class this semester said he really appreciated the “opportunity to test the edges of [his] creativity.” For his first project he produced a stop-motion animation. Beginning right from scratch, he built a set on his study-table. He created mannequins and gave them costumes and lit it artificially. Check out his work here!
Mohammad Behroozian says he would like to work on producing educational television material for children back in Kabul once he graduates from BU’s College of Communication.
Want to learn more about the programs offered by COM’s Film/TV department? Visit our website here and find out how you can apply to one of the graduate programs here at COM.
Tucked away in the College of Communication’s Film & Television department sits a relatively new Master’s program that you may not know much about—Media Ventures (visit our site to find out program details). The program, which has only been around for five years, already has its graduates making quite a splash in the world of new media.
Media Ventures (MV) is a 12-month MS program that focuses on media innovation and entrepreneurship—a creative degree for creative students. This bi-coastal program combines practical experience with theory and mentorship to help students prepare for a career in technology, business and media (if the business component appeals to you more, a dual MBA/MS degree in MV is available- more information can be found here).
"I look at it as the new producing," says Media Ventures Director Cathy Perron. "I was a TV producer and I liken this to that process [producing]. You have the idea phase to air date, and all the constituents you work with until the show airs. Here, instead you are coming up with a new media process and working with similar constituencies," she says.
During their first semester in Boston, MV students develop a new media business product or service, complete with prototype, business and marketing plans (this project serves as the degree’s thesis component). Students work with each other to brainstorm and pitch different ideas. The following two semesters are spent in Los Angeles, where students complete two internships while simultaneously finalizing their thesis. "Los Angeles has a very vibrant startup community and most are focused on media startups," says Perron.
Students in MV talk about their experiences as interns in start-ups in Boston and LA.
As the two semesters unfold in LA, students are constantly working to improve their new media project. Each summer, COM hosts their annual summer PitchFest, which gives MV students the opportunity to present their projects to a guest panel of media start-up and venture capital experts. This 15-minute presentation with 15 minutes of Q&A allows students to receive valuable feedback on their ideas and create networking connections with those in the media industry. Check out pictures from this year’s PitchFest by liking BUMediaVentures on Facebook.
Even if creating the next big app is not your goal, there are other things you can do you’re your MV degree. "Students who have graduated are getting really good jobs," says Perron. "They are in well-compensated strategic positions. The program was timely in its launch because the kinds of jobs out there are jobs that Media Ventures will prepare students for," she says. The program has alums in positions like Senior Manager at Hulu and Editor of Bloomberg.com.
Beth Haber, Consumer Insights Manager at Hulu and graduate of the program, says her role at Hulu is directly related to what she learned in Media Ventures. "Media Ventures is focused on the execution of media and the introduction of new media platforms," she says. "Hulu has really been a part of that. It's interesting to see what I was learning in the program and how it relates to what I do every day now," Haber says.
COM’s current MV class is comprised of students from all walks of life—a largely international crew with backgrounds in technology and engineering, design and even law. "What I want to stress is it's a cross-disciplinary program," says Perron. "Anybody who's interested in any different form of media could come into this program as a one-year grad program and learn the strategies of innovation," she says. "You get real roll-up-your-sleeves practical experience, where at the end you have a calling card [thesis project] to show a possible employer or investor and you can show them what you've done from concept to marketplace," says Perron. "It's a tremendous opportunity."
Make sure to follow @BUmediaventures, so you can keep up with what’s going on in their program.
Do you have a great idea for media innovation? The Media Ventures graduate program could be for you! Learn how BU’s College of Communication can help you take that next step in your career by visiting our site here. Have questions? Ask us in the comment section below.
Check out the video below to hear what HBO Senior Vice President, Jay Roewe (COM '79) has to say about PitchFest and the forward-looking aspect of a Media Ventures degree.
One of the greatest components to Boston University College of Communication’s Journalism graduate program is the professional project. When I say “greatest,” I don’t mean easy, fun or relaxing. As with anything great comes hard work, and that is exactly what the professional project showcases. After three semesters worth of classes, sleepless nights, and every ounce of blood, sweat and tears you have finally reached the end. You are now a mere shadow of what you were when you first entered grad school, and your professional project is your opportunity to show everyone else that transformation.
What is a professional project? I will explain. All candidates for the MS in Journalism must submit a professional project in their final semester. Each student arranges for a faculty member to be their adviser for the project. Upon completion, students are expected to endeavor to sell or place their work with a professional news organization.
Third semester Broadcast Journalism student Ashley Davis set out to accomplish one of the most daunting tasks and most impressive professional project to date— The Midterms 2014, a live coverage production of this year's midterm elections. I shall elaborate.
Monday, November 5 at 6 p.m., the night before Election Day, a dress rehearsal took place. About 60 BU students (both grad and undergrad) were involved, including an impressive number of BU COM faculty and staff. Everyone had a job to do. Some were helping in the studios, a handful of students (selected by Ashley after auditioning) were anchors at the National Desk and others were scattered throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire and even D.C. to act as call-in reporters for the live production.
Ashley went over every aspect of the entire coverage the night before and explained exactly what needed to be done. After she sent the troops on their way, she remained at COM to get ready for Tuesday, November 4. This was her professional project, and since everything was going live, there wasn’t any room for mistakes, as per usual.
Tuesday, November 4 came quickly. Some people were asked to report to the studios several hours before going live at 9 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., the anchors prepared their cut-ins—pre-made news packages (stories). These packages would air in-between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m., mixed in with some live shots, on-cam anchoring and reporters calling in from different headquarters around Massachusetts.
I spent my time on COM’s third floor in Room 321, where I worked with others to help Professor Susan Walker push out live content and numbers for the anchors to live report as votes came pouring in from states across the nation.
Here is a breakdown of The Midterms 2014's amazing team and their various roles:
On campus at COM, in Studio East/West:
First Block: Anchors Supriya Muppala and Peter Zampa
Second Block: Anchors Taylor Walker and Justin Shrair
Third Block: Anchors Mikaela Lefrak and Jamie Bologna
During this block, Kate Kahn — BU professor and former Senior News Producer for WHDH-TV (NBC-Boston)— served as the live shot producer, coordinating all the live reporters. Andre Khatchaturian and Louise Liu— both Broadcast Journalism students at COM— were anchors at the National Desk. Lauren Westberg— Broadcast Journalism grad student— was a live reporter and interviewed Professor Groshek, Professor Carroll and Tom Fiedler—the Dean of COM.
Candidate Headquarters: Students were placed at all of the following locations in order to quickly report polling results back to BU’s College of Communication.
Steve Sisto— MA 6th Congressional District, Seth Moulton Headquarters
Paul Dudley—MA Governor Charlie Baker Headquarters
Ashley Paul— MA Governor Martha Coakley Headquarters
Christina Erne—The Casino
Hayley Crombleholme—MA Senate Edward Markey Headquarters
Noelia Valero—Washington D.C.
Rachel Mccubbin—NH Senate Scott Brown Headquarters
Nikita Sampath and Rebecca Sananes—NH Senate Jeanne Shaheen Headquarters
Keri McAlpine and Kathlene Gibbs—MA 6th Congressional District, Richard Tisei Headquarters
COM Professors Involved: The following faculty and staff members stayed hours and hours after they should have gone home. Instead, they helped make sure this live-production was nothing less than exceptional. Just one more example of COM's professors doing all they can to make their students succeed.
R.D. Sahl- Broadcast Journalism Professor
Susan Walker- Broadcast Journalism Professor
Christophor Cavalieri- Film & Television Professor
Jacob Groshek- Emerging Media Studies Professor
John Carroll- Mass Communication Professor
Kate Kahn- COM Professor
Technical Operations Team: Quite possibly the most important part of this production, these students and staff members worked hard to make sure everything in the studio was functioning and the coverage aired without flaw.
The Midterms 2014 was an immense success. Ashley Davis could not have done a better job handling such a high-stress situation, nor could she have selected a better team. Ashley never lost her composure, always made time to answer questions and kept very calm throughout the entire evening. She had so much responsibility lying squarely on her shoulders, but yielded excellent results.
Watching Ashley’s professional project come to life makes us first semester grad students realize that this time next year, a similar task is awaiting us. Although it was a little intimidating, I now feel inspired to find a professional project in which I can showcase all I have learned throughout grad school. No other institution would provide the resources, the studios and opportunities to create something so impressive and professional. Now, not only does Ashley have a remarkable production to add to her resume, but she also made history happen, right there on the third floor of COM.
Ashley Davis’ final professional project is currently being edited. Check back here to view the final publication and follow her on Twitter @ashley_m_davis to see what else she is up to.
On Wednesday, December 10 from 5-7 p.m. in Room 209, the College of Communication's Department of Journalism is hosting the Journalism Graduate Showcase. The event will feature journalism graduate students presenting excerpts of their professional projects. Seniors, graduate students and faculty members are all invited. Adult beverages will be served, so please bring your ID.
Interested in one of BU College of Communication's graduate programs? Tell us which one and why in the comments section below. You can find out more information on our website, so be sure to check it out here.
Even if you're not in the communication world, chances are you've probably heard at least one conversations discussing new media—social media has changed everything, from interpersonal communication to journalism, and more. Traditional media may still be around, but new media is quickly growing. It feels like an absurd amount of media outlets and technologies have come and gone over the past few years, especially with the widespread use of smartphones. I had to wait till my freshman year of high school to get a chunky old flip phone. Now, parents are handing iPads and iPhones to their kids before they can even talk!
After a few years of discussion, BU’s College of Communication finally decided to introduce a one-year Master’s program that focuses solely on new and emerging media. The MA program, Emerging Media Studies, is one of the first in the nation to do so (go BU!).
One of the primary courses taught within EMS is a collaborative class entitled Extended Group Research Project Seminar. Quite a mouthful, right? But the year-long class is not as intimidating as it seems. According to EMS Director and Professor James E. Katz, Ph.D., the class aims to prepare students to take positions that will be a fast track to leadership in various organizations by helping them to become experts in big data, consumer psychology interaction, and research methods.
“Our goal is to mentor students in doing meaningful research relating to emerging media so that when they take their post- graduate positions, they will already know how to do research and will have a portfolio to show employers,” explains Katz. I may be a PR student, but I already love the sound of this class. It’s a class that does more than just theoretical and academic discussions. It’s actually preparing students for the “real world” after graduation.
One of Katz’s students, Katharine Sipio, heartily agrees. Having majored in both English and Communication Studies at Saint Joseph’s University for undergrad this past spring, Sipio is excited for the possibilities this class has opened up.
“The readings and projects we do not only give us some strong writing samples, but [also] research skills that would be applicable in different types of careers,” says Sipio. After taking this class, Sipio can see herself going into a “various number of communications careers such as a social media consultant, or maybe even going into PR, media management, copywriting, or exploring the world of digital writing and publishing.”
In addition to Sipio, I was able to talk with two more of Katz’s students, Adrien Park (Syracuse, ’14) and Brittany Anderson (UMASS Lowell, ’14). All three of them had nothing but good things to say about this class, even describing it as their favorite class of the semester. Park adds that the class has become somewhat as a family between the students and faculty because it is solely for EMS students.
“The professors and TA’s are extremely caring and helping, giving us a lot of great tips and insight about working on research [projects],” explains Park.
Next semester, the class will begin working with a project sponsor. This sponsor will be a local organization for which students will work on a research project that focuses specifically on that organization’s needs – just one more example of how BU is preparing its students for post-graduation careers.
Make sure to follow EMS on Twitter @DEMSatBU and like them on Facebook so you can stay updated on all the happenings within the program!
Does this sound like a program you’d like to learn more about? Tell us why in the comment section below!
Please feel free to ask us any questions you have about the EMS program and be sure to check out or website for more information on all graduate programs offered through BU’s College of Communication.
After 3,500 miles in the air, 2.5 hours in the bus, and boundless weeks of preparation, the day had finally arrived; my dream was becoming a reality. I was walking into my first public relations conference…. in England!
I’m not embarrassed to say that my morning consisted of sweaty palms and a stomach full of butterflies. But, as I entered the University of Bournemouth and was welcomed into the 5th International History of Public Relations Conference, my fears were quickly alleviated. I felt right where I belonged, surrounded by people from all over the globe who shared the same desire as me to expand and share their knowledge of public relations.
On the first day of the conference, Dr. Dustin Supa and I presented our proceeding, entitled “What’s in a name? The history and evolution of the naming of sports venues as a public relations tool.” Surveying the role of branding with regard to the name of a particular stadium, the paper studies the Coliseum, Wrigley Field and Busch Stadium.
As research assistant for Dr. Supa, a BU professor for both graduate and undergrad students, I’ve had the opportunity to assist with various research initiatives, focusing primarily on the history of public relations.
I’m humbled to have had the opportunity to interact with my Boston University professors outside of the classroom setting and to watch as they literally played on a global intellectual stage, in front of noted scholars from all four corners of the world.
It was an honor to see firsthand the respect that other public relations academics have for BU’s program. I can say with extreme fervor that I’m proud to be a BU graduate student.
I feel fortunate (and a little star struck) to have spent time interacting with prestigious and highly esteemed academics, researchers, and practitioners from more than 15 countries.
As keynote speaker Dr. Gunter Bentale, distinguished professor at Leipzig University, said, "the true definition of public relations is to work for, with, and in the public."
After this past week, I couldn’t agree more.
This conference has truly enriched my outlook on the world of public relations. The knowledge, feedback and stories I have received are invaluable.
In the final plenary of the conference, Tim Travis Healy concludes, “character is the most crucial part in professional public relations. The checklist to success is simple. Be personable, mature, articulate, courageous and humorous and you will equip yourself with the tools to succeed in this field.”
As a future practitioner, I will utilize all that I learned this week. I look forward to attending more conferences in the future and I hope to maintain the connections I’ve made for years to come. I couldn’t have asked for a better #myCOM experience!
*Jaclyn is a graduate student in the Public Relations program. For more information on the program, click here.