Bosfeed: A new form of student-produced media

TUTV films its new show Bosfeed in its Curtis Hall studio on Jan. 26, 2018. (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily)

Even before the shoot begins, the set of Bosfeed is full of laughter and camaraderie while maintaining the unmistakable air of professionalism, the creators demonstrating their desire to create great content.

In the Tufts University Television (TUTV) studio black box, a camera is set up in the middle of the room with two chairs placed directly in front of it. While the crew bustles around setting up the lighting and sound equipment, Bosfeed’s head of planning, sophomore Kate Golding explains the structure of the episode to a couple.

The crew is filming Bosfeed‘s Valentine’s Day episode, where they interview Tufts couples to see how well they know each other — a play on The Newlywed Game. The first episode aired on December 19th and featured Tufts students reacting to online reviews of the university.

When asked what the overarching vision was for Bosfeed, creator and co-director Nikita Chaubal said that she wanted to create lighthearted content that Tufts students could relate to.

“I’m on Buzzfeed a lot, probably too much, and I thought that this was a good way to connect the Tufts community,” Chaubal, a sophomore, said.

She added that she wants Bosfeed to offer a more casual take on the news in a way that mirrors its namesake.

“The hope is that we make fun, relatable content for the Tufts community,” Chaubal said.

One of Chaubal‘s other goals for Bosfeed was to be inclusive of every student who wanted to be a part of the production, whether in front of or behind the camera.

“I wanted it to be a low time commitment so that busy people can still come and help out when they’re available,” she said. “The episode we shot today [involved] couples we asked to be in the episode but we also have a cast that have committed to regular hours.”

Co-director of Bosfeed Rachel Napoliello explained that one of her roles on set is to manage casting and to train the crew to operate the equipment.

Both Chaubal and Napoliello view Bosfeed as a great opportunity for the production crew to learn the mechanics of creating a web series and the basics of filmmaking.

“We want to make sure that this is a community where everyone learns, so it was really important to us for everyone to respect the equipment but also to learn how to use it for Bosfeed and the future,” Napoliello, a sophomore, said.

Many of the crew members, including Napoliello, have never received any formal training on camerawork, lighting and sound design. Instead, they picked up those skills by shadowing and watching others. Now, Napoliello makes sure to give new crew members some hands-on training before they start.

“In the beginning it was really daunting, being around all this equipment and not really knowing how to use it,” she said. “It was really important to me to give people the starting information so that they aren’t going in totally blind.”

Chaubal added that the crew has been enthusiastic about the production from the very beginning.

“People were super ready to go and willing to learn,” she said.

Bosfeed operates as a TUTV project, which means that the project receives all equipment and funding from TUTV, but enjoys creative freedom, like all other TUTV projects.

Chaubal noted TUTV’s inclusivity and mentioned that there are not many groups that would open up their space for a biology major with little film experience like herself to direct a web-series. She was also grateful to TUTV for their flexibility and openness during the pitch process.

“Pitching went more smoothly than I ever could have imagined,” Chaubal said.

Kerry Crowley, TUTV’s station manager, explained that the pitch process is intentionally structured simply, so students from all walks of life can have a chance to share their ideas.

“First, you have to fill out a standard pitch document outlining your idea and what you’ll need. Then you have to make your pitch to the [TUTV] board and we decide whether to approve it,” Crowley said.

Crowley expressed that she is impressed with how Bosfeed production is going and loves being on set with the team whenever possible.

While there is no fixed schedule for the airing of new Bosfeed episodes, the team hopes to put out new videos regularly.

“Because we’re in the early stages, there is no regular day [when we release videos], but we want to release content on a regular basis,” Chaubal said.

For the present, Chaubal said that while she couldn’t reveal all the show’s future plans, you can count on more reaction videos coming your way on TUTV’s YouTube channel where all TUTV content is uploaded.

“We also have some longer-term projects in the works, but we can’t say much about them yet other than that they’re very Tufts-centric and college-centric in general.” Chaubal said.