FEBRUARY 2001

BHA Seniors to Produce Own Sitcom for Independent Thesis Project
By Debra Halpern, The Tartan, February 2001

Two Carnegie Mellon University BHA seniors with concentrations in drama and creative writing, Jessica Glassberg and Jennifer Petrini, tool a random idea and made it into their senior thesis. Off Campus is a sitcom that explores five wacky University of Pittsburgh students living off campus together in one house.

The story begins with two girls, one a gorgeous art student named Abigail (played by Sonni Abatta), and the other a sarcastic "girl next door" type named Carson (played by co-creator Jessica Glassberg). Carson invites her friend Joe, (played by Ethan Kunning Clay) to live with them, and he invites his sarcastic friend Davide (played by Stephen Fletcher). The invitations to live in the house continue on after Davide invites Steve, but Steve bails out of living with his friends, and they begin their comedic search for another housemate to fill his void.

First, Glassberg and Petrini went in search of an advisor. They were taken under the wings of Shirley Saldamarco, who is an adjunct professor at CMU and is also a professional independent producer. Saldamarco acted as Glassberg and Petrini's advisor for their senior thesis as well as the show's executive producer. The next issue Glassberg and Petrini had to deal with was getting money for the show. The show received funding from a Small Undergraduate Research Grant (SURG), the Dean of Student Affairs Office, BHA, CFA, H&SS, among others. After finding an advisor and receiving money, shooting began. Editing then became the next step to complete the project. Saldamarco lead Glassberg and Petrini to Richard Noel from Post Modern Productions, who taught the girls hands-on how to edit their sitcom and ready it for viewing.

Two episodes will air in McConomy. The first can be seen Saturday, February 24 at 3pm. The second date has not been set yet. A donation to the drama leagues fund will be requested at the screening. Both Glassberg and Petrini hope to take the sitcom out to Los Angeles when they showcase their works.