Unaired pilot screening to showcase assistant prof.’s efforts

by Andrea Shea / Pop Columnist • September 28, 2011

, Beacon Staff/strong

A young hotel concierge vying for a management position. His escaped convict brother arriving on his doorstep. A host of wealthy New York City elite with a long list of demands. Welcome to a darker sort of paradise. Welcome to emEden/em, a TV series pilot screening tonight at 7 p.m. in the Paramount Center.

Emerson cinematography professor Harlan Bosmajian landed the director of photography (DP) position on the emEden/em shoot earlier this year. He arranged for the screening and a question and answer session featuring both himself and director Jace Alexander (emRescue Me/em, emRoyal Pains/em).

The only episode thus far — shot from February to April of this year — was filmed for USA Network, but it was not picked up for the Fall 2011 season, meaning that only a small handful of people have seen the finished product.

“I think it’s interesting to show the students that all this work and effort and money can be put into something and then possibly no one sees it,” he said in an interview. “And it just gets lost in the ether of film.” Still, he is hopeful it will be reconsidered for the next season.

Bosmajian established a relationship with Alexander in 2008 when the director was considering cinematographers to work on the pilot for USA’s emRoyal Pains/em.

“Turned out I was their second choice and they got another guy,” the assistant professor said good-naturedly. “Sometimes that’s the way it goes.”

But the connection paid off when Alexander approached Bosmajian, whose years of shooting smaller movies in the Big Apple familiarized him with local crews and locations, to DP the New York-based emEden/em pilot.

Though the bulk of his work has been in film (he had a hand in shooting the regatta scene on the Charles River for the 2010 Oscar-winner emThe Social Network/em), Bosmajian is no stranger to television — the 45-year-old assistant professor worked on Comedy Central’s emStrangers with Candy/em and was a second unit DP on the more recent AMC hit emMad Men/em.

He  says that emEden’s/em budget — six to seven million dollars — was part of its allure. Though six million might seem low to some, in the past the professor had only worked as a cinematographer for smaller projects.

“One of the reasons I got on this was because I know how to work within a budget level and [make] it look good.” But he also said that it was a good milestone that shows his versatility. “[I’m not] just the indie film guy… I can also do a national television show and get it in on time and on a budget.”

Bosmajian was forced to take a special leave of absence from his students last semester just one week into the term in order to shoot the pilot. “The hardest part of [working on emEden/em] was actually having to leave my classes,” the professor said with a note of regret. “I don’t think I’d want to do that again.”

Even with one more project under his belt, it is clear that teaching is high on Bosmajian’s priority list. This past summer he brought three Emerson students in to work on the set of a non-union movie called emBackwards/em.

“We created something unique. I was really proud of the work that I did,” Bosmajian said with a smile after divulging that Thursday’s attendees will be the emEden/em pilot’s very first — and perhaps only — viewers outside of studio executives. “It’ll be interesting to see an audience reaction.”

strongemEden /emscreens tonight, September 22, at 7 p.m. in the Bright Family Screening Room./strong

emShea can be reached at andrea_shea@emerson.edu. /em