Hothouse Productions at the College of Communication is an intensive semester long field- and classroom-based experience for talented graduate and undergraduate students at Boston University. Taught by Sheila Sitomer, an award-winning producer and a professor in COM’s TV department, Hothouse Productions provides students with an opportunity to put into practice what they have been learning in the classroom. Teams of students are created, usually four to a group. The goal is for each group to complete a student-run, client-driven production by the end of the school semester. Nonprofit and for-profit organizations seek the energy, determination, and creativity of the Hothouse Production teams.

Timeframe for Hothouse Production Projects

For the fall semester, productions begin in early September and are completed by early December. For the spring semester, productions begin in mid-January and are completed by early May.

Process of Communication

Students typically work in teams of four. Once a student producer is assigned to a project, the client and student teams will connect by phone, email and/or text. Client meetings with the students are a must. As Hothouse does not have an official office, those meetings will usually be at the client’s office, a BU classroom, a mutually convenient location, or by video conferencing.

Hothouse Productions Process

Over the years, Hothouse Productions has learned that certain basic requirements are needed in order for the production to work and for the client to be pleased with the final product.

  • Students and clients need to be clear about long and short-term goals of the production. They should be defined in writing early in the process through a client application (below) and by providing any additional materials that will help students to create the production.
  • The primary focus and mission of the organization must be specified before shooting or production begins. It’s best if this is in writing.
  • Both client and students need to be clear about the parameters of the production.
  • The client must either be THE contact person or designate ONE person from the organization who is the “yes” person; the one person who can say yea or nay to production goals, needs, etc. This person could be the executive director or it could be a staff person, but it must be clear to everyone (client and students) at the start of the production who this person is.
  • No project will be accepted unless it can reasonably be completed during one semester.
  • A fee of $500 must be submitted by the client before production begins. While students are not paid for their services, this fee helps BU’s Hothouse Productions purchase and maintain technical equipment that is up to industry standards.
  • The $500 fee does not cover additional expenses specific to the client’s project such as taxis and other travel, props, location fees, actors, etc.
  • The students and client will meet at the start of the semester to determine production needs.
  • Students will then submit a budget estimate to the client for approval. These expenses tend to run from $250 to $1000, depending largely on travel needs. Every project has different production requirements.
  • The client must agree to cover the $500 Hothouse fee PLUS the agreed-upon budgeted expenses.
  • Download the Application to work with Hothouse Productions (updated April 2021)

Student Teams

Undergraduate and graduate students chosen to participate in Hothouse Productions have taken Video/Film Production and Creative Producing. Many have taken additional courses in production, post-production, and producing.

Completed Video Projects

Clients own the completed video and the copyright. It is legally theirs, but Hothouse students will be able to use the produced video for online resumes and on the BU/Hothouse website. See our past work.

For Additional Information

For additional information or clarification regarding projects please email Professor Sheila Sitomer at ssitomer@bu.edu.