Boston Student Film Fest. Finalists: “The Pulse of the City”

Well this was a pleasant surprise.

My BU Hothouse team and I created a promotional video for Hotel Commonwealth in the Fall of 2013. We heard about the Boston Student Film Festival and decided why not throw ourselves into the mix. Little did we know we’d turn out to be finalists.

We get judged in Boston on March 22 (too bad we’re all studying in LA right now…).

Wish us luck!

Watch the alternative version we submitted below. The voiceover here is provided by Kellan Reck.

XOXO, Rhett: A Sketch Comedy

Part of my position as a Program Advisor for BU Orientation this summer was to be the Skit Director, a job that required me to write and direct a 30 minute sketch comedy to be performed 5 times for 4,400 incoming BU students.

Thus, “XOXO, Rhett” was born.

It tells the story of Kyle fighting to keep his secret safe, but needs the help of fairy god-doggie Rhett once Gossip Girl threatens to reveal his secret to all of BU’s campus. Of course there’s a dance sequence thrown in there for good measure, as well.

But the creation of Kyle’s story definitely was not formed so easily. At first, Kyle was going to stuck on BU’s campus, finding that all of the buildings were disappearing by some imaginable power, and he would have to find some sort of central control on campus to stop the destruction.

However, that felt too dystopian and the world has seen too much of that on the big screen and in itself recently. I decided to stray away from a “theme,” per se, and focus on the individual that Kyle always was to me: insecure, scared, filled with latent talents, and harboring confidence way beneath the surface of his skin. The struggle was, how can I create a world for Kyle that can showcase all of that, and still be relatable to the new BU students that were going to watch his journey as he got to campus? He couldn’t be a wimp, but he also couldn’t instantly be this macho character everyone fell in love with.

I decided on giving Kyle a secret superpower. That way, he could in need of being confident but still too insecure to let anyone in the knowing of his secret. It directly mirrors anyone’s first year at college, as any student has hidden, amazing talents (or, “superpowers”) but don’t exactly know if people will accept them for who they are.

The obvious threat to this situation is obviously the possible reveal of Kyle’s power. I won’t delve into the plotline, as that would spoil the whole show! However, the creation of Gossip Girl felt like a relatively powerful and additional evil that all students could relate to. Whether you’ve seen the show or not, practically everyone has heard a reference to Gossip Girl. She’s a gossip menace, the last thing Kyle wants to deal with.

The whole peak to this mountain comes with the final dance routine, set to a song I again won’t spoil here (sorry!) but fits the situation perfectly. Turns out, even Gossip Girl has her own secret. I thought this would send a powerful (and entertaining) message that, again, everyone has their own hidden talents and fears, and confidence only comes from embracing them. Communicating them. Being you.

(There are more animations and inserts that the YouTube footage doesn’t cover, as there were large screens next to the stage to portray them, and obviously not everything could fit on the stage.)

I just want to thank my cast and crew from the bottom of my heart for making this possible, most especially my Director of Orientation, Shiney James, for giving me the opportunity to put a bit of my heart onto that stage. Everyone worked enormously hard to get to this final product, and I think it damn well paid off.

Written, casted, directed, and produced by Chris Roys.
Filmed by Jim Russell and Tami Gabriely. Edited by Jim Russell.
Animations and inserts filmed & edited by Chris Roys and Jim Russell.

KYLE performed by Michael Aniolek
RHETT performed by Ally Dawson
GOSSIP GIRL performed by Jessie Torrance
PETER performed by Ross Huston
CHELSEA performed by Quanesha Boykins
LAUREN performed by Francesca Coveno
ZACH performed by Swanson Ninan
COUGAR performed by Sam Sarkisian
DEAN ELMORE performed by Dean Elmore
MS. DARCY performed by Jenna Blinkinsop
BATSY performed by Jesann Prashaw
PROFESSOR performed by Joe Reed
LIAM performed by Zach Costello
ZANE performed by Grant Bachhuber
JESS performed by Hillary Caplan
COOPER performed by Sam Hoffman
DANCERS
Michael Aniolek, Ally Dawson, Ross Huston, Quanesha Boykins, Francesca Coveno, Swanson Ninan, Sam Sarkisian, Jessie Torrance, Jesann Prashaw, Hillary Caplan, Sam Hoffman, Haejee Park, Nicolette Maggiolo, Lauren Bufe, Stephanie Gianni, Meg Poulin, Collin Kelly, Mike Parello, Jamie Bloom, Dani Rives, Gina Vitentti, Erin Snyder, Natalie Russo, Annie DuBois, Elizabeth Agneta, Jeray Thelwell, Stephanie Hill, Rachel Jensen, Kerissa Kow, Jun Tsuboike, Paige Machado, Sarang Shah, Kate Aspinwall
PARTIERS
Rachel Jensen, Kerissa Kow, Jun Tsuboike, Paige Machado, Sarang Shah, Thomas Andrews, Jean Carlos DeJesus, Mike Parello, Jamie Bloom, Dani Rives, Gina Vitentti, Erin Snyder, Natalie Russo, Annie DuBois, Elizabeth Agneta, Jeray Thelwell, Stephanie Hill, Collin Kelly
CROWD WALKERS
Nicolette Maggiolo, Allen Li, Lauren Bufe, Mariah MacKenzie, Tom Honsinger, Nicole Enriquez, Alex Bruno, Tate Gieselmann, Hersh Bendre, Beata Coloyan, Stephanie Gianni, Meg Poulin
CHOREOGRAPHY: Jesann Prashaw, Haejee Park
RUNNERS Mariah MacKenzie, Paige Machado, Mo Brodeur, Ghita Benslimane

Behind the Scenes: “Let Her Go”

UPDATE: Watch the new, full video here!

I’m not usually one to take people behind the camera lens as I create my videos (unless I’m getting paid to!), but with my upcoming work for Passenger’s breakout hit “Let Her Go” I just had the urge to. Sometimes you just gotta roll with those urges.

“Let Her Go” is an extremely evocative song, filled with so much emotion, perfectly balancing heartbreak with happiness and a tinge of future uncertainty. I used all three in creating my vision for the song.

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While I don’t want to spoil the premise of the whole film, I will say that I structured it as a film within a film. One character finds a DVD another character left behind and plays it, watching all the heartbreak, happiness, and future uncertainty unfold before his own eyes. It’s more of a film that will illustrate an acceptance of the blending of those three.

I’m struggling, however, with the effects, as I want a nostalgic tone, but not so much so that it looks like a movie from the ’80s (which has been a bit of my mantra the past couple of films). It’s a bit of challenge to separate what’s the real film and what’s the film on the DVD, but I’ve been working out different methods on this challenge.

One thing is for sure, though, it’s all slowly but surely coming together. As it always does, I suppose.

But hey, if we can’t celebrate the coming together but only the finished product, where’s the fun in that?

BU Study Abroad: Dear Orientation Me…

The following video was quickly strung together to be used for the Boston University Class of 2017 Orientation sessions this summer. It features your very own Two Biddies and a Bloke!

Reliving “127 Hours”

My final project for the Post Production FX Editing class I took this past spring semester was to take the film “127 Hours” and create a brand new trailer. I needed to propose a reason as to why I wanted to create a new trailer, and how mine would be different.

The film is largely an internal look at Aron Ralston’s character development – what led him to this horrible circumstance, and how he learns from them to get out of it. From that standpoint, I developed a trailer that tracked his journey to the moment he was trapped by the rock, filled with spots of the moments in his life that marked momentous decisions or serious character traits (read: flaws).

Beginning with Dido’s “Blackbird,” I segued into Oliver Tank’s “Last Night I Heard Everything in Slow Motion,” a song most know from the viral YouTube Aussie hit “It’s Time.” Tank’s synths develop the sympathy towards Aron’s character I wished to portray.

The final result might actually bring a tear to your eye.

Boston: My ‘Hometown Glory’

As I near the end of my third year at Boston University, I can firmly say that Boston has become more of a home for me than I ever thought it would. The history, the contemporary, the scenery, the lack of a street grid system, the T, the Pru, the food, the food, the food, and the people…all of it is quite a large percentage of what’s made my first 3 years in college the most incredible unexpected experience.

And then, one fine Boston Marathon day, my beautiful city went up in smoke – literally.

I could waste the rest of this post talking about the bombing and the terrorists. But I don’t want to give them attention. Instead, I present a tribute to my favorite city in the entire world. Boston. Forever beautiful. Forever strong.

In other words, Boston’s the hometown glory I never expected to find.

Take it away, Adele.

Gangnam Style Down Under: “Sydney Style”

I was asked to make a parody video of Gangnam Style to promote the Boston University study abroad program in Sydney, Australia. I just mashed clips together from my documentary/video  blog series and dubbed my voice into the audio.

The intro is actually a graphic I created on AfterEffects…I’ll get into that eventually. Stay tuned!

And then…magic! BU Sydney Style.

Video: BU Sydney Style: Gangnam Style Parody (Boston University Study Abroad)

Date Uploaded: November 2, 2012

Note: The video is blocked in Germany. My apologies fellow Germans. Not that I have anyone from Germany reading my website…at all. Just throwing it out there.

Meeting Taylor Schilling of “The Lucky One”

Taylor Schilling, who plays the female lead in “The Lucky One” alongside Zac Efron, participates in a Q&A with the audience of a pre-screening of the movie at the AMC Loews 19 Theater at the Boston Commons. She talks to the Boston Globe about Zac Efron, playing a lead female character, among other things.

Video: Taylor Schilling talks about “The Lucky One” at a pre-screening

Date Uploaded: July 8, 2011

STOP SMOKING ALREADY…But Really: a PSA

My first semester at Boston University involved a mandatory communications class called COM101. One assignment we had was to show how a wordless argument conveys its message without using words. You could choose an advertisement or some sort of vehicle for the assignment, but I decided to create my own video for it.

I noticed that many more people smoke in cities than back home…so I focused on creating a PSA about second-hand smoking, using one of my roommates and another friend, Kendall.

It’s nothing special, but I love good dramatic nonsense. This is that nonsense.

Nonsense that got me an A! (Sorry, that was very conceited of me.)

Video: Second-Hand Smoking PSA

Date Uploaded: October 2, 2010

Note: The video is blocked in Germany. My apologies fellow Germans. Not that I have anyone from Germany reading my website…at all. Just throwing it out there.

The Aesthetics of Loss: Remembering Mr. Willy

One summer day in 1998, I met my best friend. He was furry. He didn’t speak English, but we still had the best connection. He just happened to wander out of the woods into my yard. He was the same age as me. Fate.

His name was Mr. Willy, aka the best cat a guy could ask for. A lead actor in my Missing series. A friend til the end.

One winter day in 2010, that all was taken away from me. But it was all for the best, as my best friend had been suffering for quite some time, and there was nothing anyone could do for him anymore. The night of his passing, my parents and I had decided we should put him down the next day. Fate had it that Mr. Willy decided to go on his own that night, as he lay by my side on my bed.

Together until the end. This video is for him.

Video: Mr. Willy (19991-2010)

Date Uploaded: February 11, 2010