A series created at Temple University has earned the bragging rights of being called the best in the nation after winning a College Television Award April 23.
One of the Guys, Temple’s first web-based sitcom, is written and directed by senior communications major Michael Busza and produced by Jen Parmer, MSP ’13, and Jaime Sweet, a senior film and media arts major. The story of three gay friends and their straight roommate, it earned the top prize in the Best College Series category for its third episode, “Twenty-Somethings.” It is the first time a Temple student has ever won the award.
The three Owls were among the most promising television producers in America at the 35th Annual Television Academy Foundation’s College Television Awards Gala at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre in North Hollywood, Calif. The award was presented to them by actor Matt Bomer, best known from the USA Network’s White Collar.
“Our heads are still spinning. It is a gigantic honor, and we will never forget this experience,” Busza said in an email from Hollywood the day after the event.
Parmer, too, was still reeling from their win. She recalled in an email that, just a year ago, being named a College Television Award finalist was merely a dream.
“Being out here among the top collegiate film producers from some of the top schools has been incredible and we are honored to be among them representing Temple,” Parmer said.
The series was created in a “Producing and Directing” class led by Kristine Weatherston, assistant professor of media studies and production.
“One of the Guys is the best college series in the country because from concept to creation, the passion put forth from the entire cast and crew on the series translates directly to the audience into a comedy of heart, soul and story,” said Weatherston, also the show’s executive producer.
Time to network, time to learn
Even beyond the excitement of their award, Busza said they were able to rub elbows with some impressive Hollywood professionals.
“It was so powerful and overwhelming to have members of the Academy approach us to share that our show was innovative, well-written, well-directed and well-produced,” Busza said. “They told us they want to see our show on a prime time broadcast, that we’re taking the comedy of the moment and making it our own, and that our show is as professional as anything they’ve seen.”
For Sweet, their time in Hollywood beyond the awards ceremony proved invaluable.
“It’s been an incredible experience to be recognized by the Academy Foundation, as well as have the opportunity to listen, learn and network with industry professionals as well as all of our fellow nominees,” she said. “One of the big takeaways from Tuesday’s nominee summit was that, at the core of what we do as media directors and producers, is to be storytellers. The story, and the characters within a story, are the reasons we follow a series.”
Scott Gratson, director of the communication studies department, has been a mentor to Busza throughout his time at Temple.
“I know that Mike’s goal has always been to create a better sense of inclusion for the LGBTQ community,” he said. “Through his directing, he has combined creative work with advocacy. The result has been fantastic.”
Soon, the reality of being the best college TV series in the nation will set it for the production team, but for now, they’re still buzzing.
“Things like this don’t just happen,” Busza said.
The series’ first four episodes can be viewed online at oneoftheguysTV.com. Episode 5 will debut April 29 and episode 6 will be added in May.
Watch the award-winning episode here: