Keep COM and Carry On

A Note from the Dean

Mariette DiChristina

I used to travel to London nearly every month in my past role and always have appreciated the “Keep Calm and Carry On” outlook. In the past weeks, the COM community has demonstrated its own admirable aplomb as we’ve moved to remote learning and working because of COVID-19, the coronavirus disease.

Radio Reporting Goes Global

When our student radio station closed, Associate Professor, Journalism, Anne Donohue and her Radio Newsroom class did their weekly live show on WTBU through Zoom. Reports Donohue: “The students totally rose to the occasion, doing phone reporting all morning and turning those phone interviews around for ‘zoomcast’ on deadline. Amazing!” Students connected from Puerto Rico, London, Barcelona, Italy, New York, and Boston to produce the broadcast. WBUR quoted Donohue about the experience in its report.

Virtual Film Studio

The Department of Film & Television is using the challenge of teaching cinematography and production remotely as a chance to vault forward on ambitions to expand learning opportunities in VFX and animation. The faculty are now piloting the use of previsualization software called Frameforge, which lets students make films using optically accurate cameras, virtual actors, and "physical" camera and lighting equipment. The software produces storyboards and animatics. To learn more about it, director David Evans explains how he used Frameforge in making the movie “Downton Abbey” in this video.

Live Events Move Online

Sumner M. Redstone Professor of Narrative Studies Mitchell Zuckoff talked about the art of structuring a complex nonfiction narrative on April 3; MIT PhD candidate Laura Perovich explained “Data Visualization for Action” on April 7; and the Redstone Film Festivals for both LA and Boston offered a combined presentation on April 24. If you missed any of them during their live streams, you can still watch them and other events online. Visit a full listing of our spring virtual events.

Even-More-Creative Café

Going virtual means that the ever-popular Creative Café is no longer confined to an evening group session in one large room. Advertising faculty reached out to alums and colleagues throughout America to find volunteers who would like to work with current students in the program. Students are connecting with each volunteer professional via email, so they can share their portfolios digitally and then arrange to have a video chat.

These are just a handful of the ways we’ve been responding. To all the faculty, staff, and students: thank you so much for your patience, grace, and hard work.