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COM Alums Helm New Indie Dramedy Give or Take Director and producer on themes of loss, memories, and gay marriage, pandemic delays, and how everyone pitched in to get it made

Film poster courtesy of Breaking Glass Pictures

Film & TV

COM Alums Helm New Indie Dramedy Give or Take Director and producer on themes of loss, memories, and gay marriage, pandemic delays, and how everyone pitched in to get it made

Paul Riccio has experienced a lot of loss in his life: his parents died when he was in his teens, followed years later by the death of his brothers and a sister. So when the Hollywood veteran set out to make his first feature film, he wanted to explore the themes of love and death. 

The film, Give or Take, opened in theaters last month and is now available on digital platforms. Riccio (COM’90) directed, cowrote, and produced the dramedy, which was filmed in and around Orleans on Cape Cod in spring 2023. Riccio has worked in the film industry for three decades: his 2013 short film Space Cadet premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival; his mockumentaries, 2024’s The Timmy Brothers—Water Makers (about Brooklyn-based makers of bespoke water) and 2023’s Boccamazzo Construction—We Build “Walls”! (about the idiocy of building the Mexican border wall) have played at numerous festivals. In addition, he has created commercials for brands such as JetBlue and Gillette. 

Angela Malley (COM’10), who has worked on Emmy-winning commercial campaigns and as a postproduction coordinator or assistant on feature-length films (including How to Survive a Plague, nominated for a Best Feature Documentary Academy Award), was also a producer on the film. 

Give or Take follows Martin (Jamie Effros, the film’s cowriter), a young man whose estranged father, Kenneth, has just died. Their relationship was further complicated after Kenneth came out following his wife’s death and quickly started dating a younger man, Ted (played by two-time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz), who eventually moved in with Kenneth. Martin makes the trip home to Cape Cod to clean out his dad’s house (which Ted is currently living in). Martin and Ted clash at first, but come to understand each other and work to honor the man they both loved. The film also stars former Saturday Night Live comedian Cheri Oteri as a pushy real estate agent.

The movie had its world premiere at an all-virtual Woods Hole Film Festival in 2023 (where it won the audience award for best narrative feature) and later appeared at numerous other festivals. The film currently has a 94 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Bostonia spoke with Riccio and Malley about their BU connection, what drew them to the project, and what it was like to make an indie film during a pandemic. 

Q

&

A with Paul Riccio and Angela Malley

Bostonia:

Did you two know each other before you started this project?

Paul Riccio: No, Angela and I did not know each other.

Bostonia:

When did you realize the connection?

Bostonia:

Angela, what interested me most about your background was that you combined an undergraduate degree in film with a master’s in public health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Can you talk about that?

Bostonia:

Paul, can you talk about these themes and how audiences have responded to the film?

Bostonia:

How did you get the idea for the film?

Bostonia:

Death isn’t normally funny, but you and cowriter Jamie Effros manage to make this film really funny at times. How did you do this?

Riccio: There’s a bit of crying in the film, but I also thought that humor was crucial to it too, otherwise it would be just a real downer. Cheri Oteri’s performance is integral to the enjoyment of the film and its sort of cohesive nature. I’ve done a lot of writing and a lot of films and that’s one thing I’ve always remembered: you’ve got to let the audience off the hook, so to speak, and give them places where they can breathe. We were very careful about mixing the humor and the drama, and I think they play off each other.

Bostonia:

Angela, what made you want to produce the script when you read it? 

Bostonia:

Paul, what were some of the challenges you encountered making this film?

Riccio: I actually give ourselves a lot of credit, because I don’t think we bit off more than we could chew. We knew what we had at our disposal. We knew the time we had, we knew the money we had, and I think we made a movie that we knew we could get done in a reasonable amount of time if everything went perfectly. It felt like we were pushing a rock up a hill trying to get the thing going. We had the script in 2024 and it took three years to kind of get it going. We had to wait for Norbert [Leo Butz]’s schedule—he was on Broadway in My Fair Lady, so we had to push into the spring of 2023: we shot in April and May of 2023. That was the biggest challenge.

Bostonia:

How did the pandemic affect the shoot?

Bostonia:

Paul, you say in your director’s note that an important moment in your life was going through a shoebox in your childhood home and seeing old family photos and mementos. How did this memory make it to the screen?

Riccio: Well, there’s a part in the film where Martin goes back to his old house and he is going through these accumulated mementos and ephemera and what have you. I’ve done that personally, many times. And it’s a very odd experience, where you’re going through boxes and you’re wondering why they kept something. And then what you realize is that you’re looking at the accumulation of someone’s life and their things speak volumes about them, even though they’re not there. It’s a wave of memories, and some of the pictures are ones you hadn’t seen for 25 years and moments that you never thought were captured, things like that. So that always sort of interested me and it’s a very difficult thing to go through.

Bostonia:

Paul, any parting thoughts?

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Htc One (M8) For Windows Review: A Novel New Take On Windows Phone

Lumia, Lumia, Lumia. Lest you forget that Microsoft’s Windows Phone business is more than a single Nokia product line, HTC has released the One (M8) for Windows. It’s just as much a flagship phone as the Android version of the One (M8), and in some ways it feels even fresher thanks to the fact it runs Windows Phone 8.1, a veritable OS curiosity.

In fact, the HTC One (M8) for Windows might be the best Windows Phone available—but that’s simply because not many Windows Phone devices have been released lately. And let’s not lose perspective: Most people will probably conclude that the Android version of this phone is the better choice.

From a hardware perspective, both versions of the HTC One (M8) are virtually identical: its weight and dimensions (160 grams; 146.36 by 70.6 by 9.35 mm); its display (5.0 inches, 1080×1920 resolution); and its guts (2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801; 2GB RAM; 32GB of storage plus a microSD slot). You’ll also find the same dual UltraPixel camera on the back, and the 5-megapixel selfie camera on the front. HTC hasn’t forgotten its powerful BoomSound internal speakers, either.

Mike Homnick

Both versions of the One (M8) are nearly identical, save for the operating system each runs.

About the only difference in hardware is that the One (M8) for Windows ships standard with 32GB of internal storage, as opposed to the 16GB and 32GB options that HTC offers for its Android version. The HTC One (M8) for Windows will be sold by Verizon for $100, and by AT&T for an undisclosed price at a later date.

The case for Android

The One (M8) for Windows is definitely a solid WP8.1 device. But it’s the lesser of HTC’s nearly identical phones, if only because Android has a stronger software ecosystem, and appears to be a more efficient OS. Sure, a number of third-party alternatives can compensate for Windows Phone’s lack of productivity apps, but Microsoft’s ecosystem still suffers a serious dearth of entertainment apps. We also compared HTC’s new Windows Phone to the One (M8) Harmon Kardon Edition, and that Android phone just flew, snappily loading apps. It felt much faster than the One (M8) for Windows. And oddly, the Windows Phone version of the One (M8) took far longer to boot.

Mike Homnick

HTC also sells this neat Dot Case for about $27. Tapping on the case wakes up the phone, and beams the time and other info through tiny holes.

Oddly, we found that the Android One (M8) delivered substantially better battery life than its Windows doppleganger, playing a looping video for 6 hours and 46 minutes under full brightness. The Windows Phone version died after 5 hours and 39 minutes—almost a 20 percent difference. Nonetheless, HTC says that the One (M8) for Windows delivers 10 percent more talk time than the Android model.

Between the One (M8) and the Icon

Microsoft’s recent decision to address “affordable segments” has left slim pickings for people looking at high-end Windows Phones. Indeed, if you’re committed to the Windows Phone platform, you really have only two respectable choices: the Verizon-exclusive Lumia Icon and the One (M8). Both phones are solid, quite literally, as Nokia and HTC each chose to use aluminum, rather than plastic, bodies. And in terms of industrial design, the Icon feels more like a no-nonsense work phone, while the HTC One (M8) more adroitly bridges the gap between work and play.

Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t allow its hardware partners to redesign its Live Tiles interface in the way that Google allows OEMs to reskin Android. As a result, HTC services like BlinkFeed are just like third-party apps on Windows Phone. Mark Hachman

BlinkFeed somewhat duplicates Cortana, in that Cortana delivers news according to your interests. But BlinkFeed is much more visual.

The phone also includes an app for Sense TV, a well-designed remote control for your set-top box. It’s a nice service for browsing content if your provider is still saddling you with an archaic channel guide. 

Fortunately, the One (M8) for Windows is relatively free of bloatware. I was annoyed that Verizon bundled VZ Navigator, its $5/monthly navigation service, when anyone can download the free (and superior) HERE Maps from the Windows Store. Still, I was mollified a bit when I found I could uninstall VZ Navigator from our review unit.

A contentious camera

The One (M8)’s camera features will likely polarize consumers choosing between HTC’s latest model and Nokia’s Lumia phones. HTC likes to trumpet how its “UltraPixel” camera sensor lets in more light, resulting in better image quality when shooting in dark environments. This rear camera also includes a second lens, enabling a wide range of perspective effects. I also found that the One (M8)’s selfie camera has a competitive edge: It captures 5-megapixel images, offering far better clarity than virtually all other front-facing smartphone cameras, period. Mark Hachman

Refocusing a shot after taking it, or using parallax to “jiggle” it, never gets old in the HTC Photo Edit app.

On the flipside, HTC’s rear camera is limited to just 4 megapixels, its light-gathering prowess notwithstanding. Nokia’s Lumia phones, meanwhile, prioritize megapixels; the Icon, for one, captures 16-megapixel images. The upshot is that Nokia fans will likely find it hard to let go of their Lumia cameras, if only because of their increased resolution. The One M8’s camera delivers perfectly serviceable images up close, and delivers evenly lit photos in low light. The shutter lag is about half a second or less, much shorter than the Lumia cameras. But you can still notice a lack of detail in cityscapes, and in zoomed-in images and video.

A vote for novelty

The One (M8) doesn’t do enough to distinguish itself to receive my unconditional recommendation for Windows Phone users. Neither BlinkFeed nor SenseTV justify the purchase, leaving the One M8’s camera technology as the primary reason to buy the phone.

Still, the idealist in me hopes that there’s more to come from HTC’s Windows Phone vision. Microsoft recently loosened its grip on Windows Phone hardware, a policy decision that was instrumental in allowing the HTC One (M8) to come to market. That breath of fresh air makes me yearn for something more. Cloning my existing Windows Phone apps and settings onto new hardware is appealing. But I’d like to see HTC interpret Windows Phone with its Sense aesthetic, too.

HTC’s Sense 6 on Android. Would you like to see this translated to Windows Phone?

The bottom line is that I still see the Lumia Icon as the premiere Windows Phone for work and productivity, while HTC’s selfie camera, BoomSound speakers, and novel dual-camera approach justify a purchase for more creative types.

Shiba Inu Could Take A Clothing Twist! Will Its Price New Highs Through It?

Shiba Inu Community Gets Curious as John Richmond is Building a Buzz for Upcoming Milan Fashion Week 2023.

Sir John Richmond, an official business partner of th, 2023. In addition,

What’s more with Shiba Inu?

Shibarium is a blockchain/layer-2 solution first proposed by Ryoshi, the creator of Shiba Inu Coin. Once it launches, SHIB tokens will be migrated to the L2. Ryoshi initially used the phrase blockchain, Shibarium is more likely to be an L2 that sits on top of an already existing (Ethereum) blockchain. The SHIB creator said: “The line between an L2 and own blockchain is thin, I mean what is the difference really between Matic L2 and BSC?” It’s worth noting here that Shibarium is not its blockchain, nor does it mean there is a Shiba Inu 2.0 token coming. SHIB will remain connected to Ethereum. One of the primary goals will be to lower transaction fees for those in the Shiba ecosystem. Ryoshi first said that Shibarium’s transaction fees will be minimal, or even zero. Speaking on the Shiba Discord, Shytoshi Kusama, the Shiba Project Lead, said “Shibarium will offer low fees for every service, game or whatever that builds on it.”  

Shiba Inu’s Future

2024 was an eventful year for many cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Shiba Inu, etc. However, among the front-running tokens, SHIB scored big in the past year. Besides the long-term gains, the Dogecoin killer also recorded some whopping short-term profits that made investors go berserk. However, things have been dark for Shiba Inu in 2023. The cryptocurrency was fighting against the bearish trend that surmounted the whole market. Fortunately, Shiba Inu managed to break through the odds and recorded impressive growth in March. In the past week, it registered a 20% spike, according to CoinMarketCap data. On the other hand, ShibArmy is also trying its best to bring back SHIB into the spotlight. Constant burnings and newly-added features in the Shiba Inu ecosystem are expected to pump in more value this year. Therefore, investors are already staking up the Shiba Inu token before it could go on a 2023-like rally. Remarkably, this Shiba rally in 2023 came as a big surprise to many crypto enthusiasts. Although SHIB didn’t disappoint the investors despite the bear takeover, the market was not expecting the beginning of the bull run in March. Shiba Inu has now managed to pair up some of the losses made this year and is already above its 20 and 50-day exponential moving averages. Still, it has to keep up the pace to break its temporary resistance level. But according to predictions, SHIB could record a 100% spike this month. Shiba Inu has introduced ‘SHIB’, its metaverse initiative. To compete with Decentraland, the community has unleashed SHIB to form a perceived virtual reality environment. It is aimed to create ‘one of the strongest communities ever gathered in all of the crypto’s history. Recently, Shiba Inu has made its debut in Netcoins, an online cryptocurrency brokerage that makes it easy to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies in Canada. Besides, fashion brands including John Richmond have announced SHIB and LEASH burns to pump the value of the tokens. Anonymous whales are also purchasing Shiba Inu tokens in large numbers. On 30th March alone, over 621 billion SHIB have been secured by the top ETH whales.  

Will Shiba Inu ever reach US$10?

A prediction of Shiba Inu made by a crypto-research firm- Telegaon that employs AI has caught sight of the community.  The firm expects SHIB to hit a maximum of US$9.61 by the year 2050. Learning from the detailed analysis, SHIB is expected to hit a new ATH by 2025, following the halving of Bitcoin. The analysts expect Shiba Inu to claim a new ATH by 2040. As the canine coin could have lost 50% of its supply to burns. While the predictions are overwhelming for any SHIB holder, however, since the US$9 target is decades ahead. We cannot really expect things to unfold alike, as the digital asset would undergo an “n” number of events over time. In a note-worthy instance, Shytoshi Kusama cited that the bear market opens up the best opportunity for one to buy or burn.

4 Reasons Why Bloggers Should Give Links

It’s sad to say that many sites are still link hogs, with some editorial policies stating specifically that outbound links are not to be given unless under special, and incredibly specific, circumstances. Why all the link hoarding?

Well, luckily, bloggers have a say in the matter when their editorial decisions are purely their own, and it’s good to see that more bloggers are becoming more generous and strategic in their linking decisions, but for those who need some more incentive to link out, or are link hoards entirely, here are a few reasons you MUST give links:

1. You offer value to your readers who then see you are a great resource when you link to informative articles

When you’re sharing more information than what is necessary, you are thought of as the hub to go to for information on a topic, the ‘thought leader’ in your niche, because you know all the other great blogs and posts relevant to what you are writing about.

While, yes, you are pretty much sending your readers over to another site, allowing them to engage somewhere you don’t manage or benefit from, your readers will remember you for sending them to the other articles because if you linked to useful places, you will have given them more value than you could have on your blog unless you were to plagiarize and never give attribution to the source.

2. Stories are more credible when you’re referencing other quality works

Unless you’re a blogger with more than 25 years of experience in a field, or part of a research firm investing tens of or even hundreds of thousands of dollars into a study, not all of your posts will be read with 100% credibility unless you have some solid facts to support your writings, and those solid facts can come from in-house case studies, experiments and surveys, so it’s useful for to increase your credibility by referring to other experts who have similar thoughts and opinions.

3. You gain (not lose) pagerank when you link to authoritative sites and stories, even when the sites you’re linking too aren’t linking back to you

Since you’re showing the search engines you’re not a link hoard, and are linking to useful sites and stories, your post will be deemed as more authoritative by the search engines because you’re sharing credible content that will clearly benefit your users, and searchers who the search engines may send your way.

Sometimes the most relevant result a search engine can offer, especially for searches that just don’t have one right answer, is the result with a great summary of all the best answers out there with attribution to the original sources for further detail. Think chúng tôi but less about content aggregation and more value added.

4. You spread some goodwill when you give links because when you give links, you’re likely to get links from those who you’ve given links to and others too

What goes around comes around. In the karmic linking world, if you give links, you’re more likely to get links from the sites you’re linking too who will be thankful you showed them link love first. You are also more likely to get links from others who see your credible post that is linking to other quality posts. Since you’re linking to those other great posts, your post may look like the most comprehensive post of them all, making you the most likely candidate for link love!

Recent Com Grad Dishes About Espn Internship

Recent COM Grad Dishes about ESPN Internship Working at sports media giant “one of my favorite experiences”

As an ESPN production operations intern, Tami Nguyen (COM’18) helped produce shows and live games, mix audio, and edit video clips, among other tasks. Photo by Carl Peer

Tami Nguyen spent this summer interning in production operations at Bristol, Conn.–based ESPN, the global pay television sports channel owned by the Walt Disney Company and Hearst Communications. It’s the latest in the recent College of Communication film and television major’s string of high-profile gigs. As an undergrad, Nguyen (COM’18) was a web production intern for Live Nation Entertainment and worked the control room operations at TD Garden and Agganis Arena. As a member of BUTV10, she shot Terrier basketball games. She also spent three seasons filming game footage for the Boston Bruins, the Boston Celtics, and BU men’s ice hockey, and she attended the BU Los Angeles Internship program (BU in LA). And if that weren’t enough, she also has a side business managing social media and shooting photography and videography for clients involved in Boston’s nightlife scene.

Briefly describe the internship and your duties.

I was one of three interns within Production Operations at ESPN, and my official title was production operations intern. I was placed into the Production Control Room group, where we essentially took little puzzle pieces and put them together for television. This included adding cuts and transitions from one camera shot to another, mixing audio levels, incorporating game highlights, and more. My supervisor liked to phrase it: “We take content and put the bling on it for TV.”

I helped produce shows and live games and mix audio to add Spanish voice-overs. I also was trained in EVS and DreamCatcher, which are used to produce game replays and in building video packages. I learned how to properly mix audio and the basics of cutting TV shows and using Quantel to edit video clips.

What was the application process like?

My application process was different from that of other interns. As a student member of the Asian American Journalists Association [AAJA], I was exposed to a few scholarship and internship opportunities. I applied to three and within a couple of months, I learned I was the recipient of the 2023 Al Young Sports Journalism Scholarship, which provided $2,000 towards tuition, the ESPN internship, and a Columbia School of Journalism Fellowship. The Columbia fellowship funded my trip earlier this month to the AAJA Convention in Houston.

For the internship, I submitted my résumé, work samples, and a cover letter. Several weeks later I received a phone call from a Disney recruiter, who informed me that although I had applied for the editorial internship, I might be a better fit for Production Operations. She sent my documents to both departments and I had several phone interviews. I ended up getting placed in Prod Ops, which has been one of my favorite internship experiences.

Describe a typical day on the job.

Most days I came in at 8 am. I added Spanish voice-overs to existing shows. I learned how to use the video switcher and audio board and how to record and edit video clips. I met with new trainers every day, which definitely helped me network. There was also free time, when I could observe other departments at ESPN, like the magazine or film departments.

The internship was what I made of it.

Being at ESPN helped me improve my networking skills and fine-tune my technical skills in producing television. I was not afraid of cold emailing or meeting people, including the new president and his team or the director of photography for ESPN the Magazine. I also got more comfortable running an audio board and doing basic replay. I see myself pursuing this direction further to better my skill sets back home in Boston.

What did you learn about the real world?

Working in television means working nights, weekends, and holidays. I also learned there’s more to television than just what is on camera. I found myself being very interested in ESPN the Magazine and the marketing side of ESPN. I truly see myself in helping a company grow, more so than running a camera.

What was the biggest mistake you made?

Part of my job was to cut the video to black and mute the audio between segments. The assistant director gave me cues for when to dip the video to black and when to mute the audio. I don’t really know Spanish, so one time I muted the mics way too early and interrupted the segment. Thankfully, we were able to redo the segment. No one was mad, which was good.

The most frustrating thing?

Truthfully, the most frustrating thing was not being close to home. BU was only 30 minutes away from home for me. At ESPN I was two hours away from home, and not really involved in family matters, including my oldest sister’s run for state representative in Massachusetts.

Your proudest accomplishment?

I was able to operate the video and audio boards on my own within three weeks. I learned that I adapt fast and ask a lot of questions. And I was able to help produce a show within a few weeks.

The most important thing you took away from the internship?

I learned that community matters. ESPN was one of the most welcoming companies, and it made coming into work more enjoyable. I looked forward to working with certain trainers because they had so much to offer and teach me. A proper learning environment is crucial, and ESPN was very inclusive.

Do not think you are underqualified for a position. I really didn’t know too much about sports, but I knew I wanted to work in a fast-paced environment. When I first came to ESPN, someone told me: “Shoot for the moon and hopefully you land amongst the stars.” Those words have stuck with me.

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Mad Men Director Comes To Com Tomorrow

Mad Men Director Comes to COM Tomorrow Jennifer Getzinger (COM’90) to speak at Cinematheque

Jennifer Getzinger (COM’90) will screen an episode of Mad Men and speak at COM’s Cinematheque tomorrow night. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Getzinger

Fans of AMC’s critically acclaimed series Mad Men may well recall an episode from 2010 titled “The Suitcase.” In the episode, Peggy (Elizabeth Moss) ditches her birthday dinner with her family and boyfriend to help her boss, Don Draper (Jon Hamm), put together a last-minute ad campaign for a suitcase company. After pulling an all-nighter, the two find they have a newfound respect for each other. Hamm and Moss both submitted “The Suitcase” to the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for consideration for a 2011 Emmy Award, and both were nominated for the episode. Time magazine called the episode a “knockout,” and CNN said it had some of “the most powerful scenes” of the entire series.

“The Suitcase” also earned director Jennifer Getzinger her second Directors Guild of America nomination.

“It was funny how it came along, because oftentimes you don’t plan for something like that, and you don’t know what type of attention it’s going to get,” says Getzinger (COM’90). “When I read the script, I knew it was getting to the heart of things that were going on for a couple of seasons. But everyone on the show was shocked by the amount of attention it got and the response to it, because it is a small, intimate, really emotional episode. I felt lucky to be part of an amazing script, and it was definitely a joy to do.”

After studying broadcasting and film at BU, Getzinger began her career as a script supervisor on films, among them Requiem for a Dream and The Devil Wears Prada, and television series, including Strangers with Candy, Sex & the City, and The Sopranos. She first started working at Mad Men as a script supervisor, but has gone on to direct seven episodes. In addition to being nominated for “The Suitcase,” the DGA nominated her for direction of a 2009 episode titled “The Gypsy and the Hobo.” She has also directed episodes of AMC’s The Killing, TNT’s Men of a Certain Age, starring Ray Romano, Showtime’s The Big C, starring Laura Linney, HBO’s Hung, and ABC’s long-running series Desperate Housewives. Getzinger was selected to participate in the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women, an experience she says helped her earn a chance at directing Mad Men.

Getzinger is this week’s guest at the BU Cinematheque series, a College of Communication program that brings accomplished filmmakers to campus to screen and discuss their work.

BU Today: What does a script supervisor do?

Getzinger: A script supervisor is a continuity person. Back in the old days, the position was called a script girl, because for some reason it’s often women who do this job. It’s basically the person who sits right by the director and is in charge of tracking the script. That person makes sure that the actors say all of their lines correctly, keeps track of what scenes are being shot, writes notes for the directors and the editors. You’re also making sure that the actors are matching their continuity: that is, if they pick up a glass with their left hand, they do that same thing in all of the following shots, to help with editing.

How did you transition from supervising scripts to directing?

As an aspiring director, what I found really helpful about being a script supervisor was learning about what all of the shots are, how you put these scenes together. You discuss the shot list with the director and how you get all of the pieces you need. That was always very helpful to me and really interesting, because, of course, it is not a science and every director has a different approach to how to shoot a scene. It’s a good way to learn different styles of directing.

Some people shadow a director, following them around through the entire process to learn how they do things. Being a script supervisor, I got to shadow directors my entire career. I got to really learn how they approach scenes. Even though it’s not officially a part of your job, you end up discussing an actor’s performance.

Who are some of your favorite female directors?

Kathryn Bigelow, who directed The Hurt Locker, is a really amazing director. She does tough, gritty films, which I really admire, and Mimi Leder [Emmy award winning director of ER and the films Deep Impact and The Peacemaker], but I also admire directors who will do things a little more simply. I always admired Nancy Savoca [television movie If These Walls Could Talk], who did much smaller, independent films, Nicole Holofcener [Sex & the City, Six Feet Under, Parks & Recreation], and Jane Campion [Academy Award winner for best screenplay for The Piano]. Filmmakers like that are incredibly thoughtful, and in a way, uniquely female, directors. They make films that men couldn’t have made.

How did you get involved with Mad Men?

I script supervised the pilot, and it was really a perfect storm of things happening, because it was right after I had done the directing workshop for women at AFI. I literally had in my bag DVDs of the short film I had made, so I could talk about how I had just done this amazing directing program, and I gave my DVDs to people on the show and the AMC executives.

When you first get a script to direct a show, how do you get ready? What’s your process?

The process can be a little different on every show, just because there are different requirements. You often get the script in different stages. Part of the reality of doing this is that it is a very intense process and everyone’s working very hard, but it doesn’t always come out as smoothly as you want it to. Sometimes you have a very rough draft, sometimes a draft that’s very far along. A lot of it is really familiarizing yourself with the show in general: the tone, the style—the camera style and acting style. When I first get a script, I read it to get a general sense of the plot, decide where I think things are working, where they might have trouble, because if there are parts you’re worried about, you want to mention them right away. Then it’s a process of going through and slowly breaking the script down to see what the different dramatic beats are, the different character arcs. Oftentimes I’ll read it through a couple of times from all of the different characters’ points of view to see what happens to them in that episode.

Then you have the stages where you are visualizing it, when you go to the sets to walk around and look at the reality of the physical space. That’s when you start putting it up on its feet. One of the trickier things about TV is that you don’t get a rehearsal. A lot of the prep you’re doing is kind of guessing what the actors might do or thinking of notes and ideas and the blocking you can give them to make sense of the scene and plan your shots around that. You’re not able to figure it out in a really concrete way with the actors. You have to be ready to think on your feet if something isn’t working.

How did BU prepare you for your career?

Before I went to BU, I was interested in writing. In college it became clearer that I was leaning towards directing. I realized that through watching films, and being exposed to films I had never seen before, films by John Cassavetes, for instance. I was in complete awe of these films that I had known nothing about. It made me realize that there is so much that can be done by a director in storytelling, like how you reveal certain things or how you develop a character. I still write a bit, but that was when I felt I wanted my focus to be on directing. Being able to do the hands-on stuff, like super-8 classes and a 16-millimeter class—having that hands-on experience was good and made how you make a film and put it together more of a reality.

What’s it like to direct so subtle and understated a show as Mad Men?

A lot of the subtlety is in the performances. Obviously it’s there in the writing as well. The way things are done on Mad Men would be different on other shows. Even in the camera work, we just never hit anything too hard. We want to let things play out in a little more natural way, in a little more subtle way. It’s hard to describe, but there’s that line of making sure something lands and plays and that it’s not too over the top. That’s the style on Mad Men, and it’s the style I’ve always been drawn to. It’s a great place for me to start as a director because it helps inform a lot of things, even other shows that I do. It’s always better to be able to read the subtleties, even if it’s a comedy, or something that’s going to go a bit bigger. It still has to be grounded in reality. Working with the actors and material on Mad Men has really trained me to pay attention to that.

Can you give any teasers about the season premiere, airing March 25?

I am definitely sworn to secrecy about the season premiere. Just last week they announced that it’s a two-hour premiere, which I directed, and even that was something I couldn’t tell anyone until it was officially announced. It’s great, amazing, exciting—I think hopefully it’s going to be all everyone has been waiting for and more. I think that having a two-hour season premiere is a great way to come back after being away for so long.

The Mad Men episode “The Suitcase” will be screened tomorrow night, Friday, February 3, at 7 p.m., followed by a talk by Jennifer Getzinger, in COM 101, 640 Commonwealth Ave. The event, part of the BU Cinematheque series, is free and open to the public.

Season five of Mad Men will premiere on Sunday, March 25 on AMC.

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