Photo of Maggie Borgen taken during a taping of the ArtHouse sitcom project. Credit: Guramar Lepiarz.

Workplace Comedy Inspired by, Admittedly, BU Workplace

December 18, 2023
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Workplace Comedy Inspired by, Admittedly, BU Workplace

Maggie Borgen’s love for filmmaking started, of all places, at the Apple store.

About to enter third grade in Montclair, New Jersey, Borgen was spending part of her summer at a day camp the computer store ran to teach kids iMovie, and it was there she got her first taste of film production making a comedy with her friends. The film included a scene in which her friend runs straight into a realtor’s sign falling dramatically on the lawn.

“I thought this was the funniest comedic bit ever,” she said. “I was like, ‘This is comedic genius!’ And it was a little ridiculous of a plot, but that was the spark of both the filmmaking side and that love of comedy.”

Borgen (COM’25) went on to make countless films with her brother and friends throughout her childhood, including a superhero trilogy about the Rubber Band Guys in elementary school and an election documentary about local candidates for mayor and town council in high school.

Now a junior at Boston University, she is the showrunner of Admitted, a workplace comedy set in a college admissions office at the fictional Beacon Hill University. In November, the five-episode series won Best Comedy Series Episode at the Houston Comedy Film Festival and was an official selection at the London Lift Off Film Festival.

A trailer for Borgen’s Admitted, the college admissions office mockumentary web series.

The idea for the show stemmed from Borgen working in the BU Admissions office during the spring of her first year at COM.

“A lot of people in America go to college and have been on these college tours and these college information sessions, but I haven’t seen this workplace environment be discussed as much, in terms of just like an interesting place for stories,” she said.

She wrote the idea in her phone’s notes app, assuming that she’d maybe write a pilot script in college but not do much more with it. That was until she told her friends about the idea, and they said it should be brought to life right now.

With that support solidified, Admitted began production. This was Borgen’s first time helping to run a writer’s room — her dream future workplace — to complete the story over the summer before filming began in the fall 2022. She worked alongside Serena Ata (COM ‘25), who was co-head writer on the project.

“It was a very surreal experience to be able to take this random idea in my Notes app, and that it turned into this whole writer’s room,” she said. “We ended up being a production of more than 20 people for cast and crew.”

She and many of the other writers were also actors in the show, a trick she admired from shows like “The Office.” Borgen had acted previously on BUTV10’s “Bay State” drama.

“I like being able to do both [on-screen and off-screen work] in different projects and then having some projects where I’m able to do multiple aspects because I just like being able to really think about a story from multiple different perspectives and from different roles,” she said.

The show would not have been possible, Borgen added, if not for Innovate@BU, where she is part of the Innovation Pathway, a program designed to help students start their own businesses. Admitted was filmed in the BUild Lab on campus.

Since Admitted has finished production and is awaiting more film festival results, Borgen created another show. Her latest project is a dramedy whodunnit called Inattentional revolving around a staged university diversity photoshoot based on the phenomena of inattentional blindness. The web series will be available to watch online this winter.

“The BUild Lab is a second home, both for Admitted and Inattentional,” she said. “I encourage any film and TV people to go to the BUild Lab. You can be innovators, too.”

BU was the leading choice for Borgen when deciding where to attend college because of the ability to take courses outside of the Film and TV department and get connected with a lot of on-campus organizations. And that hasn’t deterred her away from film and television as a career path, either.

“Every time I’ve been on set and just been working on it, it was like, ‘Okay, this is what I really love. I really love being here and doing this,’” Borgen said. “Because of all the opportunities at BU and then being able to really jump in immediately and try out different things, I’ve had an amazing experience, and that’s really just affirmed my interest.”

She credited some of her favorite professors, like Scott Thompson and Paul Schneider, for their support of her ideas and teaching.

“There are just so many course offerings and cool opportunities that I didn’t necessarily even know I was going to have like with Art House,” she said. “I ended up really diving deeply into those film and TV courses, and that’s been my main focus.”

Borgen was a producer and first assistant director for the sitcom pilot episode partnership between the College of Communication and the College of Fine Arts.

“It’s really made me believe, this is a viable career and something that I can make possible,” Borgen said.

She will be studying abroad in Paris next semester but keeps working on new projects with an eye to moving to Los Angeles after graduation to be a television writer and showrunner.