She’s Not The Next Greta Gerwig, She’s The First Claudia DeTrempe

Claudia DeTrempe’s passion for filmmaking, and arguably her Film and TV major, all started with her love of watching movies growing up. Also very involved in advertising––her other major––DeTrempe grew up making commercials for her local library just outside of Chicago. In the seventh grade, she wrote a spec script for the show Glee and found that some of her predictions ended up coming true. Now getting ready to graduate from BU, DeTrempe has not only studied her lifelong passions, but she has interned for PBS, studied abroad in London, hosted a few radio shows and made valuable connections through COM.

Can you tell me about your majors and why you chose them?

I am…double majoring in film and television and communication with an emphasis in advertising. My whole life I’ve always wanted to do something that included film. Growing up, I actually made commercials for my local library at home in Chicago…and I [thought] wow, advertising can be involved in filmmaking, so that’s how I picked my two majors. Now I’m almost graduating, and it’s been pretty crazy to see where those paths have taken me and it’s not just making commercials, it’s producing or doing entertainment advertising. I don’t know if my thirteen-year-old self would have seen all the different options that both of my majors could have taken me but it’s pretty cool to see where I am now.  

Which filmmakers do you admire?

I think my whole life I’ve kind of leaned more onto the TV side…I really do admire Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and all these women who come from different backgrounds and none of them really studied TV. And now I’m studying TV, so I can kind of apply what I’ve learned to what they’ve done and they’ve all made some amazing shows and had a variety of careers. While I’m not interested in writing, and most of those women come from a writing and comedy background, I really admire their role in Hollywood and being boss women who really wanted to make their own shows and they did it….hopefully, one day I can get to that point and start pitching shows and people will listen to me. I [also] really admire Greta Gerwig [director of Lady Bird]…I know I focus a lot on TV but I think she did a great job telling a good story that was relatable and hopefully that’s what I will do one day…follow in Greta Gerwig’s footsteps.

You had an internship at PBS. What was that like?

The summer after my sophomore year at BU I interned at PBS’ affiliate station in Boston WGBH in their lifestyle content programs which was Studio 6. That was really cool because I got to work on a variety of shows that summer. A lot of it was pre-production or post-production, so they wrapped filming things…and I got to log all the footage, and sit in the edit room and see how they piece together nonfiction, travel, and food shows. They were also at that time working on the pilot season of PBS’ first late night show which, [at the time], was called Point Taken. I got to be on set and I got to help with researching…for it and actually seeing it come to life because it was a tight turn-around. We filmed at 7:30 or 8 at night and it would probably air at 11 pm that night. [It] was really cool to see what it’s like to be on set and what the editors do after … and what it’s like to film in front of a live studio audience. So that internship took me from the research stages to the filming stages to the post-production…I got to see how it all works with different shows, and how they’re balancing all of these different programs and they are doing it so well and making content that people across the nation are watching. 

You’re working on two short films. Can you tell me about those?

Right now, I actually just had my first shooting day for one of the films I’m working on…and it is a really exciting project because my best friend from childhood also goes to BU and she’s in the School of Theatre and she’s the lead. This is the first time we’ve ever gotten to collaborate …we’re both so busy, and now that we’re both getting ready to graduate we can both work on this project together. Without giving too much away, it’s a story about this girl who wants to make a short film and kind of finding people she wants to collaborate with and finding people who share her story. [It’s] kind of similar to what I think my life has been over the past four years. It’s a tale of friendship, it’s about women, it’s about sharing your own story, and it can also be relatable to anyone. We’re hoping to film over the next four weeks and wrap once the semester is over…and then edit over the summer. Last semester was a different short. It was one long [25 or 30 minutes] scene and…the person I worked with…was the writer, I’m the producer…[we wanted to see] how we could push ourselves and one long scene was something we were interested in doing…and then this one is more of a short film where there are a bunch of different scenes and it’s one story meshed together [and] the other one was just one scene, two characters, and that was it. So seeing how you could tell a story with two people and [another] with a bunch. Just pushing myself, I think, is what those short films are about.

You’re a COM ambassador. What’s that like? That’s probably my favorite extracurricular on campus. I love the COM ambassador program. I started as a COM ambassador my freshman year and what you are is a mentor for students. You’re also a representative of the school so you run all the open houses, give tours to prospective and admitted students, and then in the fall, you actually are given a group of students and you can plan events. You’re just there answering questions that they have and making sure that their transition to college is a little bit easier and so that’s been a highlight of my time at BU. I actually moved from being just a COM ambassador to being one of the coordinators of the program, so helping with social media, interviewing COM ambassadors, and just organizing the open house and working with the faculty and the staff here at COM to make sure that goes smoothly and that people have a good time. 

You studied abroad in London; can you tell me about that?

I did the BU Study Abroad program in London and an internship program for my advertising major, so I was on that advertising and marketing track and while I was there I interned at an entertainment advertising [agency] called Feref, and it was incredible. I met the best people, and I really got to see what it was like to do campaigns for movies and for TV. I got to go to pre-screenings of Beauty and the Beast, I got to work on some of their promos for the premiere, I worked on some Star Wars DVD releases…they are the agency that first did promo for Star Wars…and that was the best internship I think I’ve had. One of my favorites, for sure. The people there were just so kind, and I got to work on movies I liked, and I loved movies so it was nice to be around people who had similar interests to me and got to work on fun campaigns that were mostly based in the UK and some that went into the European market too so that was cool because I got to explore a different market and explore a different career path. 

What else are you involved in?

So [in] my time at BU, I’ve been involved in a lot of different organizations but one of my favorites is WTBU, which is the radio organization on campus. I started off as a girl who loved musical theatre and ended up interning on an indie rock show, and I applied the semester after I interned to have my own radio show which was 6 am on Fridays, all musical theatre so, obviously, we had a large fan base. From there I actually was the intern director, so I got really involved, joined the executive board, and helped people from across all the colleges at BU find a place at the station and something that matched their music interest. From there they can apply to have their own show… Once I finished that, I went back to being a regular DJ…it’s a hobby, and it’s really nice to take a break and play music and talk to my friends on the radio…I’ve loved [it] so much. I’m also very involved in AdLab, which is our student-run advertising agency on campus. I’m the VP of production for that. I got to make [a commercial] for Acura my junior year, which was pretty cool, and a few local clients and national clients as well… I [also] have a radio show Wednesday nights from 8-10 pm, it’s called Hollywood Catch-up. We play pop culture music, and it’s my friend Juliet, who’s also on the e-board with me…and we have two interns and three other DJs on our show. We talk about things that are relevant in pop culture so whatever the most recent news is, we’ll talk about that, we’ll pick a different theme every week and we’ll play music that is relevant. 

Credit: Rachel Leiner Photography, WTBU Photo

You’re graduating soon…what’s next?

I’m taking a little bit of a break and going on a European trip with my family. My brother is also graduating from high school this year so we’ll do a big graduation trip. I will get to see some of my friends from when I was studying abroad in London and from my internship there and then hopefully move to New York and start working later this summer. 

DeTrempe says that the most significant takeaway from her four years in COM is the collaboration in which she has taken part. She learned “great things in her classes," but the valuable experience of finding people who want to tell similar stories connected her with friends with whom she wants to work “forever”. DeTrempe doesn’t know exactly what her career path is, but she definitely knows she wants to find a way to tell stories––her experiences and her majors have prepared her well for that.   


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