Exclusive Q&A with Reginald Hudlin AB '83 (MARSHALL, Former President of BET)

By Brittany Turner AB '10

Reginald Hudlin AB '83 is a television and film writer, director, and producer whose film MARSHALL, about the first African-American supreme court justice, premieres in theaters October 13. His Harvard VES thesis film, House Party, was the basis for the breakout teen comedy that launched his career in the 1990s. Since then, Hudlin has directed and produced films like BOOMERANG, BEBE’S KIDS, and DJANGO UNCHAINED,  and TV shows like THE BERNIE MAC SHOW, as well as a number of live awards specials and events. For three years, he served as President of BET Entertainment, overseeing the successful AMERICAN GANGSTER series, among others. Hudlin is also a lifelong comic book lover, and wrote many of the BLACK PANTHER series for Marvel Comics, as well as an award-winning run of SPIDER MAN. 

2014headshot.jpgQ. What made you want to get involved with MARSHALL and tell this story in particular?

A. I was always a Thurgood Marshall fan, always felt that he was one of the most underrated heroes in American history. I thought this would make an especially good movie because it’s a part of his life that we don’t know—we know about him as a judge, and fighting Brown vs. Board of Education—but this is a case that’s very lurid—sex, murder, mayhem, racial tension—and the audience doesn’t know the outcome. It had the makings of a really good legal thriller.

Read more
Share

Congrats to Second Rounders in the 2017 Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition!

Congrats to all the Harvardwood members who made the 2nd round of the 2017 Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition, including:

Jill Bayor (2016 Harvardwood Writers Competition winner), Giselle Cheung, Lauri Donahue, Renee Donlon (Harvardwood Writers Program participant), Karyn Folan, Richard Ho & Rebecca Maddalo, W.A.W. Parker (HWP participant), and Tim Plaehn!

Let us know if we missed you by emailing us at harvardwood@harvardwood.org.

Share

Exclusive Q&A with RYAN HALPRIN (Lin Pictures)

By Emily Zauzmer AB '18

halprin.jpgRyan Halprin AB ’12 serves as a Vice President at Lin Pictures, where his responsibilities include co-producing the LEGO movies and developing live action features. A neurobiology concentrator at Harvard, he found his passion in the college’s theater community as an actor turned director. He started as an intern at Lin Pictures in the summer after his junior year and rose through the ranks after college. Here, he discusses his career path, his advice for students hoping to follow in his footsteps, and his work on The LEGO Ninjago Movie, which comes out this month.

Q. How did you go from concentrating in neurobiology at Harvard to pursuing a career in entertainment? Does your science background inform your career path at all?

A. There’s a lot of overlap for me—the two fields get at the same big questions: why do we do what we do? Why are humans so weird? If we study behavior, can we understand it? Help people live better? What does that even mean? When I started college I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I had that curiosity, and the psychology class I took inadvertently revealed that the answers to all these questions are getting unearthed by neuroscience. I wanted in on that action. I thought I could get at the microbiology of love, or fear, even comedy. The more I dug in though, the more I found that so much of what is studied today is organisms with a few thousand brain cells, because humans have 80 billion neurons and there are a lot questions we have to answer before getting to the sexy ones. The practice of it was slow, not very creative, and seldom collaborative.

Read more
Share

Exclusive Q&A with Author NATE DERN

By Henry Johnson AB '18

Nate-Dern-B46A2530-7_(2).jpgNate Dern AB ’07 is a comedy writer, actor, and author of the book Not Quite a Genius, a collection of short fiction and essays out this month. In addition to pursuing a PhD in Sociology at Columbia University, Nate has written for The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, and New York Magazine. Nate has also served as senior writer for Funny or Die, as well as artistic director for the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.  Follow Nate on Twitter @natedern, and get Not Quite a Genius on Amazon!

Q. When did you realize that you wanted to work in comedy?

A. I knew that I loved comedy from a very early age, but I didn't even consider the possibility of working in comedy until fairly late. Growing up, my mom would let me stay up on Saturday nights to watch SNL with her. I think most of the humor was above my head when I started watching, but I loved the silly voices and the performances. Also, I loved the live studio audiences, and I mostly watched in admiration of these people able to get laughs. In high school I did student government rather than theatre, but my favorite part was putting on assemblies and acting out skits from SNL and comedy films with the other SGA members. I think if you'd pressed me, I would have told you that I wanted to work in comedy, but I felt the desire in the same way that I wanted to be an astronaut or win the lottery. Of course I want that, but, like, it's not something that happens in real life, right?

Read more
Share

Congrats to the 2017 Emmy nominees!

Congratulations to all the Harvardians nominated for an Emmy award this year! 

emmys.jpg

Read more
Share

WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Q&A with 101 Alum DERRICK WANG (Composer, SCALIA/GINSBURG)

By D. Dona Le


In the #HWire blog's "Where Are They Now?" series, we check in with Harvardwood program alums to find out what they've been up to and to showcase their accomplishments since participating with Harvardwood! 


Derrick Wang AB '06 is the composer and librettist of opera Scalia/Ginsburg, inspired by the opinions of U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia. After attending Harvard, where he participated in Harvardwood 101, Derrick earned his Master of Music from the Yale School of Music, before continuing his graduate studies at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, where he received his J.D. Last week, Derrick announced that he will be joining the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University. Scalia/Ginsburg will be performed at the 2017 Glimmerglass Festival this August.

Q. When did you first begin composing? Can you tell us more about your music background and how your Harvard undergraduate experience helped shape your career path?

A. I probably began scrawling notes on music paper around the age of four, when I was taking piano lessons and thought: why don't I write my own pieces? At school, I scored plays, conducted and orchestrated for the theater program, and wrote a musical (Prom)—songs from which later appeared in various Learning from Performers masterclasses at Harvard (thanks, Tom Lee!). For me, Harvard affirmed my impulse to bridge styles and genres: I could write a string quartet based on playground chants, or a Hasty Pudding show with classical techniques, and it was all not only acceptable but encouraged. From that perspective, writing an opera based on constitutional-law principles was perhaps inevitable.

Read more
Share

Exclusive Q&A with Author KAITLIN SOLIMINE

By D. Dona Le

Headshot-_Solimine.JPGThis summer, award-winning writer Kaitlin Solimine AB '02 is releasing her debut novel, Empire of Glass! In addition to co-founding Hippo Reads, a/k/a the "TED Talks for readers," Kaitlin was a Fulbright Creative Arts Fellow, a Donald E. Axinn Scholar in Fiction (Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, 2010), and received the 2012 Dzanc Books/Disquiet International Literary Program award. She concentrated in East Asian Studies at Harvard University and graduated from the UC San Diego MFA program in writing.

Q. What sparked your interest in China and your decision to concentrate in East Asian studies at Harvard?

A. When I was a freshman at Phillips Exeter, I requested to study Japanese but the class was full (this was in 1994 when Japan was in focus!) so the language director suggested I study Mandarin instead (ironically, less crowded). Immediately, I loved the language. My teacher, Ming Fontaine, told me about a home stay program, School Year Abroad (SYA), that had just launched in Beijing (the first high school home stay program in China!), and I jumped at the opportunity. Despite never having left the country, in 1996, I traveled with SYA to China and lived in Beijing as a teenager in my host family’s local apartment. I knew from that point onwards, I wanted to do a scholarly deep dive into Chinese history, culture, language, and more.

Read more
Share

Harvardwood entertainment insiders talk shop!

Earlier this year, we polled Harvard entertainment insiders about their thoughts on the industry... here is what they said.

Read more
Share

WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Q&A with 101 Alum FELIPE TEWES (Netflix)

By Henry Johnson AB '18


In the #HWire blog's "Where Are They Now?" series, we check in with Harvardwood program alums to find out what they've been up to and to showcase their accomplishments since participating with Harvardwood! 


Tewes.jpgFelipe Tewes AB '06 is currently Senior Manager of International Originals at Netflix and has previously worked at HBO and Focus Features. He began his career in entertainment at William Morris Agency and attended Harvardwood 101 while an undergraduate at Harvard College.

Q. When did you realize you wanted to work in the entertainment industry?

A. I always loved film growing up, and around junior year of college I started to think about what I’d do after graduation. A lot of my friends were doing fellowships abroad, and I remember thinking that I’d do my version of that. I’d try going into entertainment for a year even though it wasn’t the “safe” thing to do.

Read more
Share

2016 Heroes Update: Rylie Zhang AB '13

We caught up with the 2016 Harvardwood Heroes and are excited to bring you their program updates throughout April!

Find out what Rylie Zhang AB '13 has been up to with her nonprofit, No Limits Media, since receiving a 2016 Harvardwood Heroes grant.

"In 2016, I had proposed that the Harvardwood Heroes grant be used for supporting students in film classes produce films involving disability-related content or disabled actors / filmmakers.... We have successfully sponsored one student from Northwestern to produce a short disability-related film; we are looking forward to be involved in the process this year and next year. In addition, the Harvardwood Heroes grant has helped us move forward with several other No Limits Media initiatives. The grant has helped provide initial funding for a new No Limits Media documentary called Rolling Across America. The focus of the film will be to show for the first time the disability community of the United States. The documentary’s host is Chris Waddell, a 13-time Paralympic champion and the co-anchor of NBC’s 2016 Paralympic Games coverage. Chris will travel around the country highlighting a variety of people with disabilities and their accomplishments.... Thank you Harvardwood for providing this generous grant and furthering our mission of changing the image of disability in society!"

Read more
Share

Calendar Programs Jobs & Career Development