BU Today

Arts & Entertainment + Campus Life

In the Dorms and on Camera

Click the video above to watch students begin postproduction work on the series.


Last semester, the College of Communication film and television students tapped to create Res.Life — a 30-minute sitcom for mtvU that explores life as a resident assistant in a college dorm — had the previous year’s work to use as a model. After all, Res.Life is the second collaboration between BU and mtvU. But as this year’s crew learned, experience doesn’t necessarily make everything run smoothly.

“We were shooting in the dorms last spring, but the week we’d planned to get everything done was the quiet week just before exams,” says Paul Schneider, a COM associate professor of film and television. “We had to back it up and shoot on weekends for a month afterward. The students had classes all week and worked all weekend — they earned their credits, that’s for sure.”

Despite the setbacks, Schneider says, everyone involved learned a lot from last year’s sitcom, Roller Palace, and the cast and crew are pleased with the finished product, which premieres tonight, October 12, at 7 p.m. at the Photonics Center. Part three of The Making of Res.Life, a short documentary about the process, runs today on BU Today; parts one and two ran earlier in the week. The documentary will be shown again at tonight’s event.

The college-themed plot is a key difference between Res.Life and Roller Palace — Schneider says it was a happy accident that the panel of BU, mtvU, and entertainment industry judges selecting this year’s script chose a sitcom pilot set in a college dormitory — but he thinks the setting and the issues will resonate more with a BU audience. The locale also meant that this year students could manage the entire process; last year, shooting Roller Palace in Salem, Mass., meant that Schneider had to step in as the director because of student schedules.

The writers and directors also experimented with extra Web content this year, conducting mock interviews with cast members and posting them on the Res.Life Web site at www.reslifebu.com. While it meant a departure from the script, says Schneider, some of the extras found their way into the show, making for a better product overall.

“It’s more lively and spontaneous,” he says. “I think the whole thing turned out to be a pretty creative experience for everyone.”

Res.Life will be shown at 7 p.m. in the Photonics Center, 8 St. Mary’s St.

Click here to see part one of the series, where students get their assignments and start learning from the professional filmmakers brought in to advise them. Click here to see part two, where the script is finalized and the rehearsal process begins.

Alan Wong can be reached at alanwong@bu.edu.