Michael Busza: Creating inclusion
A Producing & Directing course with Assistant Professor Kristine Trever Weatherston spurred Michael Busza—who majored in communications and minored in business and English—to create, write and direct Temple’s first full-length web sitcom, one of the guys.
“The first day of class, we show up and [Weatherston] says, ‘By next week, I want you to have a story concept, the first 20 pages of a script, a distribution model, a target audience, possible networks, and advertisements and pitch it to the class,’” Busza recalls. “The next week, half the class had dropped the course and the other half were scared out of their minds. But I wasn’t afraid. I had never been more confident in anything I'd ever done.”
Since he pitched one of the guys—about three gay roommates and a straight subletter—it has aired online, is Temple’s first LGBTQ program and has been nominated by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for two college awards.
“I’m a 21-year-old gay man with two straight brothers and a lot of straight guy friends,” Busza says. “The relationship between gay and straight men is one that I’ve lived. It’s a relationship that's not seen on television very frequently. It’s a relationship that needs to be shared.”
His “college Emmys” for one of the guys were not the only honors to come Busza’s way while he was a student at Temple. He also is the inaugural recipient of the university’s MacDavid LGBTQ Scholarship, which was established in 2013 to recognize a student’s efforts to further the inclusion of the LGBTQ community at Temple. Additionally, he will address his fellow School of Media and Communication graduates during the school's graduation ceremony in May.
“That my university thought enough about my community to have a scholarship—it’s empowering,” he says. “College is expensive. Without scholarships, I would be really in debt; I would not have been able to do the TV projects I’ve produced. But it’s not about the money. It’s about the fact that someone’s willing to support my academic path and my dream.”
– Jeff Cronin and Hillel Hoffmann