In an age of multimedia, there is no question that the younger generation knows their way around social media, TV shows and YouTube channels. But while some people are okay to simply watch, others desire to create their own content. Nikita Chaubal, a sophomore at Tufts University, made her own voice on the Internet by starting her own news project Bosfeed.
Bosfeed, which gets its name from the popular news organization Buzzfeed and Tuft University’s mascot the Jumbo, is a totally student-produced and student-created news project hosted under Tufts University Television (TUTV).
Between filling her time as a bio major with a multimedia arts minor and a pre-med track, Nikita aspires to make lighthearted, Buzzfeed-inspired content for her university.
Kayla Lichtman: Can you tell me when and how Bosfeed got started?
Nikita Chaubal: Over the summer, I had the idea of doing this kind of accessible video project. The videos wouldn’t be too long — the kind of Buzzfeed style of video that works for college students both for watching and creating.
I explored some different ways of getting the show produced, but TUTV is such a great organization and they’re so supportive of all their filmmakers. So I knew that’s where it had to end up going.
I went through a pitch process where I told them what equipment I would need, how many crew members I would need, what I was expecting for the cast. After the pitch process, TUTV approved Bosfeed.
So we went into pre-production during October and November, filmed our first video early December, and released it in mid-December. Now we’re in our full production schedule for the semester.
KL: You mentioned that you were inspired by Buzzfeed. Are there certain elements of Buzzfeed that you’re trying to replicate in Bosfeed?
NC: I find that Buzzfeed videos do a really good job of targeting a lot of people. So I wanted to make sure that [our] videos would be something that a lot of people could watch and would enjoy, but wouldn’t be a huge time commitment. I wanted it to be something that college students could watch on a five-minute break.
KL: What has been the reaction from the community and your friends?
NC: It’s been so positive. We knew that our first video, Tufts students react to Tufts, would be a great place to start and that a lot of people would find that entertaining.
We got a really great response to that video. Then the Tufts student newspaper, The Daily, did an interview with us. They were on set for a day and really liked it so that was super positive for us.
We have this thing called Tufts Secrets, which is a forum for people to anonymously put things that they think about, and people were also saying that they liked it on there.
KL: Where do you get inspiration for the episodes? Is there a creative team?
NC: We have a team. I am the creator and one of the directors. I have a co-director, Rachel Napoliello, and a producer, Kate Golding, who is also our head of planning. She does video planning meetings which are open to anybody who wants to say “I think we should do this type of video.”
Then she heads up the creative team in terms of which types of videos we want to do. Other than that, it’s kind of [up to] all the people involved. We have a cast and crew, and people will just throw out ideas.
KL: How easy is it to get people involved? Do you use the same cast each time?
NC: We do have a main cast, since we wanted a group of people that we could rely on to be in our videos. Filming is a time commitment and I didn’t want to try to find new people each time. We also have two head editors, Mary Kate Kelley and Peter Lam, alongside sound operators and camera operators.
KL: In The Daily article, you mentioned that you wanted to ensure that everyone gets a chance to learn the basics of filmmaking in front of and behind the camera. Do you think that’s been happening?
NC: Definitely. We have people working on the project who have never worked with film equipment before. Our sound operators came in not knowing how to do it and our head editors had never worked with Adobe Premiere Pro before. So we trained them to use it and now they’re head editors.
We really wanted it to be if you want to learn filmmaking, you don’t have to have any prior knowledge coming into this. That was really important for me.
When I went into TUTV, I had no prior knowledge of sound equipment or editing. I knew how to work a camera from my work with photography, but I had never done anything with filming.
KL: Have there been any learning moments for you?
NC: Definitely! I hadn’t worked extensively with premier before so I was learning about editing as well. In general, being on set and running a set are completely different from each other. I had been on a set but I had never run one or come up with a film schedule. It’s been a whole learning process and I’m still figuring it out even now.
KL: What is your favorite part about being on set and doing this project?
NC: Our set environment is so much fun. The people involved and the types of videos we’re filming make it so enjoyable to spend time on set. Half the time we’re all just laughing; you can hear it in the background of our videos.
KL: What do you think is the most challenging part of the process?
NC: Being a college student and while trying to figure out the filming schedule is challenging. I’m definitely a planner so I love having a timed schedule, but it gets difficult, especially since everyone involved has their own schedule as well.
KL: What can people expect in the next few months?
NC: Tomorrow we’re shooting three videos with our main cast. The first two are Tufts-centric videos, so the students on our campus might enjoy them. The other is more about college in general. We also have an exciting project coming next month called Break the Bank which will be series within Bosfeed, involving exploring different restaurants in the Boston area.