Issue 128 | September 2015


In this issue:

  • Director's Notes
  • Message from Allison


  • Featured Member Posting: Temporary Driver for High-Level Executive (Good for Aspiring Writer/Director) - LA
  • NY & Boston writers, join the Fall 2015 Harvardwood Writers Program - Deadline September 9th
  • Now accepting student applications to Harvardwood 101: Get a crash course in entertainment over J-term! 
  • Do community service? Apply now for a $500 unrestricted Harvardwood Heroes grant
  • Announcing the 2016 Harvardwood Film Festival: Open to all Harvard-affiliated filmmakers


  • Industry Successes
  • New Members' Welcome
  • Alumni Profile: Howard Cohen AB '81 & Eric d'Arbeloff MBA '93 (Founders, Roadside Attractions)

Calendar & Notes

  • Calendar
  • Member Discount to World Premiere of WAITRESS at the American Repertory Theater

Director's Notes

filmfestival.jpgSummer's over, but I don't mind because I'm too psyched about everything Harvardwood has in store for us in the coming months, especially the 2016 Harvardwood Film Festival! We're accepting your shorts, features, documentaries, and digital series now through January 1, 2016.

At the end of this month, I'm heading to Cambridge for an on-campus info session about Harvardwood 101 and the Summer Internship Program. I can't wait to meet the newest class of Harvard students and to catch up with 101/HSIP alums on our student panel. Harvardwood 101 applications are due in October, students, so renew your Harvardwood membership!  

Two more exciting developments to keep an eye out for later this month: the revival of the Harvardwood Chicago Chapter AND the opening of the application period for HWP - Features in Los Angeles! Follow Harvardwood on Facebook and Twitter so you don't miss these important announcements.

And finally, I can't adequately express how much of a joy it's been to be part of the Harvardwood family. I'm thrilled to continue on as Executive Director and, if you couldn't tell already, feeling very energized and excited about the upcoming academic year. A heartfelt thank you to our volunteer Chapter Heads and Board of Directors and to our invaluable members for making this community possible! 

— Dona

Message from Allison

First, I am thrilled to announce that Dona Le, Harvardwood’s Director, has now been promoted to Executive Director. We are extremely grateful to Dona for her outstanding leadership and organizational skills. Harvardwood is a complex, fast-growing organization and Dona makes keeping all the pieces together look easy. Thank you, Dona!!heroesalphabet.jpg

And second, I’m very happy to announce the opening for applications to our annual Harvardwood Heroes program. Submit your application to get a grant for your community arts-related project! We are very proud of the awesome projects we have been able to support over the past two years. Looking forward to hearing about more great work from our members!

— Allison

(photo: Kaitlin McGaw, a 2014 Harvardwood Hero,
and her non-profit organization, the Alphabet Rockers)

Featured Member Posting: Temporary Driver for High-Level Executive (Good for Aspiring Writer/Director) - LA

High-Level Executive seeking a sharp, friendly and personable driver for the next several months. This position is good for an aspiring writer/director.

The position is Monday – Friday from about 8am – 8pm, but you will not be driving the entire time. There will be some weekend days as well. Some of the job responsibilities include driving him to meetings, appointments, and to and from home. A great advantage to this position is there is downtime to work on your laptop, writing or any other personal project you may have. California license preferred. Must know your way around LA. 


NY & Boston writers, join the Fall 2015 Harvardwood Writers Program - Deadline September 9th 

Launched in 2005, the Harvardwood Writers Program (HWP) offers ongoing workshops for film and television writers in LA, New York, Boston, Washington D.C., and more. HWP groups meet regularly to discuss and critique original material and to hear from experienced guest speakers in different fields.

SCREENWRITERS IN BOSTON: Join the Harvardwood Boston chapter screenwriters' group by September 9th

This chapter has also fostered the formation of a supportive and committed community of writers in Boston. The Harvardwood Writers Program screenwriting group provides an environment for writers to try out ideas in a safe space and receive the encouragement to get started on a project—or to finally finish one. Writers of all levels of experience have shown improvement in the quality of their work as a result of their participation. Notably, one writer used his experience in the group to cut down and polish a script that went on to earn him representation and the interest of a major director. It is currently in production.

TV WRITERS IN NYC: Join the HWP - TV Module by September 9th!

The Harvardwood Writers Program — TV Modules use peer review, guest speakers and workshops to foster a motivating and supportive environment for each participant’s writing. Full Member participants of the HWP — TV Modules may be considered for the annual Harvardwood Most Staffable TV Writers List.

There is a high expectation of preparation and writing done outside of the meetings (approx. 15-20 hours per week). Each module will have approximately eight participants, and will meet for approximately eleven sessions over a fourteen-week period beginning tentatively in early October 2015. The program has a strict attendance policy, so please make sure that you can fully commit before applying. Participants are required to give constructive feedback to fellow writers in each session, so there is an expectation that you will have read applicable work prior to the meeting. The modules are successful because of this peer review, and you should expect a "writers room" format for your group.101.jpg

Now accepting student applications to Harvardwood 101: Get a crash course in entertainment over J-term!

The Harvardwood 101 career exploration program brings two dozen current undergraduates to Los Angeles during the January term and provides a series of career-related activities in order to demystify Hollywood and educate them about careers in the entertainment industry. The program began in 2003 and is cosponsored by Harvard University's Office for the Arts and the Office of Career Services.

This program is open to all current Harvard College students who are Harvardwood members. Students do not have to demonstrate prior experience in the arts, media, and entertainment—just a genuine interest in pursuing a career in one (or more!) of those fields!

Application deadline: Monday, October 19, 2015

We're also hosting an info session about Harvardwood 101 and the Harvardwood Summer Internship Program on Thursday, October 1, from 12-1pm at the Harvard OCS! This is your chance to learn the ins and outs of the program, ask questions about the application procedure/guidelines, and chat with students who have participated in 101 and/or had an entertainment internship.

Do community service? Apply now for a $500 unrestricted Harvardwood Heroes grant

We are now accepting applications to become a 2015 Harvardwood Hero and the recipient of a $500 grant! Apply by October 25, 2015.heroesghanimah.jpg

Launched in 2013, the Harvardwood Heroes grant program awards $500 grants to applicants who have demonstrated a distinguished level of service to their organizations of choice. Every year, grant winners will be determined by the strength of their proposal. They will receive the first $250 upon announcement of the winners and the balance of the grant upon submission of a final essay six months later. You do not need to be a Harvardwood member to receive a Harvardwood Heroes grant (applicants must be current students, alums, staff, or faculty), although Harvardwood members and/or applicants whose service project is arts-related will receive priority consideration. Read about the community service projects of past Harvardwood Heroes. (Photo to the left: Osh Ghanimah, a 2014 Harvardwood Hero, delivering a TedXBroadway talk about his non-profit, Broadway For All.)


Announcing the 2016 Harvardwood Film Festival: Open to all Harvard-affiliated filmmakers

The 2016 Harvardwood Film Festival is tentatively scheduled to take place in Los Angeles in the spring of next year. To be eligible, an individual in a key creative position (e.g., writer, director, producer, top cast) must be Harvard-affiliated, and only works completed after January 1, 2011 will be accepted. Open to all genres, and festival categories include features, shorts, TV pilots, and web series.

Selected films will be screened at the 2016 Harvardwood Film Festival! Learn more and submit your film here. Between now and October 31, 2015, Harvardwood members' submission fee will be waived.

Industry Successeskessling.jpg

We couldn't be more excited for Harvardwood President Allison Kiessling, whose spec pilot The Mighty Camilla is now in development at TV Land, which has also ordered a second script. In addition, Allison has a blind script deal with ABC Studios! Three cheers for Allison!

thurston.jpgHUGE news from Baratunde Thurston '99, who has joined Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah as a supervising producer overseeing digital expansion. The show will premiere on September 28th. Read The NY Times' interview with Baratunde! (Baratunde's Harvardwood profile)

Ceridwen Dovey's '03 new story collection, ONLY THE ANIMALS, has just been published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux (mid-September publication date). Her debut novel, BLOOD KIN, came out with Penguin/Viking in 2008. (Ceridwen's Harvardwood profile)

ZEN & THE ART OF DYING, the latest documentary by Broderick Fox ’96, will screen as part of Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs LGBTQ Film Festival on Saturday, Sept. 19, 3:30 PM, at Camelot Theatres. Full festival schedule here. More on the film here. (Broderick's Harvardwood profile)

poehlersmartgirls.jpgAmy Poehler's Smart Girls channel recently launched two must-watch series! Check them out! 

  • Experimenting with Megan AmramMegan Amram '10 loves science, but she also loves looking good. In her new series, the comedy writer and author of Science…for Her! demonstrates experiments, interviews compelling female scientists, and tries not to be distracted by “womanly things”. (Megan's Harvardwood profile)

  • Book Report: Comedy writer Aisha Muharrar '06 is your go-to gal for book reviews. In her new series, Aisha powers through the plot of a book she loves with a fun guest who adds his or her two cents.

A hearty congratulations to all of the Harvard-affiliated Emmy nominees this year! We're keeping our fingers crossed for the following great shows (and a documentary!) involving Harvard folks as showrunners, writers, producers, actors and actresses, and more. Watch the Emmys with us in Los Angeles later this month so we can cheer on our fellow Harvardians together! And if we've missed a show that should be on the list below, let us know

  • Black Sails
  • Bloodline
  • Bob's Burgers
  • Brooklyn Nine Nine
  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
  • The Good Wife
  • Homeland
  • Hot Girls Wanted
  • Modern Family
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Saturday Night Live
  • Silicon Valley
  • The Simpsons
  • Sons of Anarchy
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Veep
  • The Walking Dead and The Talking Dead

New Members' Welcome

Harvardwood warmly welcomes our newest members to the community! 

  • Jane Blumberg, Boston/On-Campus, GSE
  • Forrest Brown, NY, College
  • Jacqueline Burgos, LA, HBS
  • August Caimi, LA, College  
  • Alexandra Daks, NY, GSE
  • Lydia Deng, Boston/On-Campus, College
  • Reuben Fernandes, LA, HBS  
  • Adrian Horton, Boston/On-Campus, College
  • Jason Joffe, Boston/On-Campus, HLS
  • Kevin Lee, LA, College
  • Gayle Lemmon, Boston/On-Campus, HBS
  • Brian Mendel, LA, College  
  • Nicholas Nardini, LA, GSAS  
  • Susan Olsen, Boston/On-Campus, Staff Member
  • Joshua Pacheco, Boston/On-Campus, EXT
  • Michael Prettyman, NY, HDS
  • Nived Ravikumar, LA, EXT  
  • Eli Rivas, LA, College  
  • Kristin Rose, LA, College  
  • Emily Simon, Chicago, GSE

Alumni Profile: Howard Cohen & Eric d'Arbeloff (Founders, Roadside Attractions)

by Cristina Slattery

Eric d’Arbeloff MBA ‘93 and Howard Cohen AB ‘81 are the founders of Roadside Attractions, a specialty film distributor based in L.A. They are also a married couple and parents of a ten-year-old son. The films they acquire and distribute are designed to appeal to an intellectually curious audience and films have included everything from a documentary about Anna Wintour and VOGUE magazine to a story about Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. Stonewall2-1024x512.jpg

STONEWALL, a film about the famous Stonewall riots that initiated the gay rights movement in Greenwich Village in New York City in June of 1969, will be released on September 25th.

Both Eric and Howard agree that “movies can have a role in how we talk about these events” and they wonder if certain details such as who actually threw the first brick to start the Stonewall riots actually matters. “How do [we] talk about history in 2015?” ask Eric and Howard.

In this particular film, the narrative focuses on a homeless white teenager’s perspective of the riots. The truth being told is not “objective,” but rather one version of the story of the Stonewall riots. In 2015 America, gay marriage has been in the headlines with the Supreme Court’s recent decision to legalize same-sex marriage throughout the United States, and STONEWALL will allow moviegoers the opportunity to see a story of the gay rights’ movement’s early days in Manhattan.

Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff met in Los Angeles although both grew up in the Boston area. Both had entertainment careers that brought them to L.A., where they eventually married in the 1990s.

At their current company, they have the same title, although their duties are distinct and Howard is more “externally focused” while Eric is more “internally focused.”

HowardCohen.jpg“It was not a dream of mine growing up to work in movies,” Howard, who graduated from Harvard College in 1981, states, although post-college jobs in entertainment in New York eventually led him to L.A. in 1987.

Eric-DArbeloff-HS.jpgEric, who had a marketing background before entering Harvard Business School, ended up interning with Stephen Chao, a graduate of Harvard College (’77) and Harvard Business School (’81) and an internet entrepreneur and TV executive. This internship led to a full-time job post-HBS graduation and Eric realized that the reason he was in L.A. was to work in film and that he “wanted a business career that also had creative elements.”

Howard and Eric’s ten-year-old son comes with them every year to the Telluride film festival. He is interested in the rating system and raising him has been a “fascinating journey” for the couple.

One of the best aspects of movies is that you get to be “in the middle of a whole cultural conversation,” they say. For example, last year, they distributed a movie called DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, a film about a group of African-American kids living in a house on the campus of what was supposed to be an Ivy-league university. The film focused on the relationship between African-American students and white students on the college campus and it was “funny” and “quick-witted” according to Howard and Eric, while dealing with a serious topic.  

Other films they have released recently include MR. HOLMES, which features Sherlock Holmes at the end of his life, and A MOST WANTED MAN, based on a John Le Carre spy novel. Both Howard and Eric see the younger generation’s movie-going habits as the biggest challenge for the industry today. They wonder if the youth will be persuaded to watch movies in theaters in the future.

Finally, their advice to young graduates who want to “make it” in Hollywood is to write “great content” since there are many more opportunities to create now. One filmmaker that both Howard and Eric admire is Nicole Holofcener and they also have enjoyed working with the Duplass brothers.

With the upcoming release of STONEWALL, Eric and Howard will clearly be in the center of a cultural conversation. If the younger generation can be convinced to see this film, and others that they release in theaters, the hope is that they will be able to remain in the middle of future cultural conversations for a long time to come! 

slattery.jpgCristina Slattery is a freelance writer currently based in New York. Her articles have been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek Japan,, and elsewhere.


FEATURED EVENT | Harvardwood Presents Standup Comedy: LAUGHTER TIMES THREE - Thursday, Sept. 10th

Welcome autumn on a laughing note with a scrumptious dinner with wine, and THREE of the smartest, funniest comics anywhere! Three great comedians are funnier than one in this evening of stand-up comedy at its best! Add in the company of your fellow DTA members and Chef Anthony LoCastro and his mouthwatering cuisine and you get a fabulous evening of great food, good companionship, and laughter! 

We're giving a reception with wine and light hors d'oeuvres, dinner with wine, dessert, coffee and tea, and THREE top comics, all for $98 if you're a Full Member—and all in the stunning 1887 landmark surroundings of the beautiful and friendly Down Town Association and surrounded by some of the nicest people in town! Those of you who have been to our Comedy evenings know these are some of the most joy-filled events in New York.

Also in New York...

Harvardwood Classical Salon: HANDEL, SCARLATTI, & BACH at 330 - Wednesday, Sept. 16thgrinberg.jpg

Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, and Domenico Scarlatti have all turned 330 years old just this year, and we're celebrating this triple birthday with their music! Pianist Yelena Grinberg will perform Handel's brilliant Chaconne in G, followed by a selection of Scarlatti's delightful and incandescent Sonatas. The program will climax with Bach's magnificent Partita #4 in D, a dazzling display of Baroque imagination as it moves through and extraordinary sequence of dances, styles, and moods.

Harvardwood Heads To... Classical Concert at NYC's National Opera Center - Tuesday, Sept. 22nd

The Furuya Sisters Concert Series Season Opening Concert Features The Furuya Sisters & Special Guest Pianist Rudolf Golez, all Juilliard graduates. All concert ticket holders are welcome to the Talk at 7:15pm, which is organized for the University of Cambridge Emmanuel College alumni group. There will be a post-concert gathering for Cambridge alumni & guests at The Triple Crown Ale House downstairs. This concert presents classical masterworks for solo, duo, and/or trio for piano, violin, and/or cello! Come enjoy glorious music!

Los Angeles 

Harvardwood Heads To... Dirt Ladies w/ Rajskub, Jalees, DiGiovanni & Kashian - Tuesday, Sept. 1st

The NSA is watching everything you do. Fight the power: share everything.

It's Ladies Night at DIRT--the standup show where comics share their most damning personal secrets onstage. And audience members can do the same by texting in their their most damning dick pics to a burner cell phone.

Hosted by Kiran Deol & Emily Maya Mills

This month brings

+ Mary Lynn Rajskub (24)
+ Sabrina Jalees (Girl Code)
+ Jackie Kashian (Conan, The Dork Forest)
+ Debra DiGiovanni (Single Awkward Female)

Whistleblowers will be protected. Maybe. No guarantees.

C.L.A. invites Harvardwood to Navigating Gallery Representation and Consignment Agreements - Wednesday, Sept. 9th

Are you an artist, dealer, or gallery owner? Do you want to better understand the legal relationships between artists and galleries? Join CLA and attorney Louis E. Greenwald in a discussion of California laws governing consignment sales. The program will cover common contract clauses, while focusing on ways to avoid pitfalls and common mistakes. It will also include strategies for negotiating the best possible deal. You will learn how to review and analyze artist/gallery consignment agreements, how to make sense of any legalese, and how to make sure you do not sign something you will later regret.

Harvardwood Salon with ROBERT CAIN: China, Hollywood, & Money - Thursday, Sept. 10th

cain.jpgDiscuss China, Hollywood, and Money with Robert Cain over dinner at La Poubelle Bistro & Bar! Harvardwood Salons give attendees the unique opportunity to ask questions and engage in in-depth discussion with the featured guest in an intimate setting. 

Robert Cain has worked for more than 20 years in Hollywood and the global entertainment industry, primarily as a production, finance, strategy and creative development expert. Rob has consulted to most of Hollywood’s major studios and talent guilds and worked as a senior executive at talent-based companies such as Danny DeVito’s Jersey Films and Aaron Spelling’s Spelling Entertainment in formulating and executing business plans to expand their operations.

$10 for members // $15 for non-members. Only a few seats left at the dinner table, so RSVP right away!

Harvardwood Co-Hosts the 67th Emmy Awards Watch Party - Sunday, Sept. 20themmys.jpg

Harvardwood is teaming up with NUEA, DAEMA, NYU, and CUE to co-host this year's watch party for the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards! Swing by Bugatta on Sunday, September 20th to watch the awards show and mix/mingle with fellow Harvardwood members, as well as our alumni friends from Northwestern, Dartmouth, New York University, and Columbia. Free to attend. Cash bar. Friends are welcome!

Harvardwood Helps on National Public Lands Day - Saturday, Sept. 26th

Join REI and the Santa Monica Mountains National Park Service at Paramount Ranch to participate in the nation's largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands Americans enjoy. ALSO, all current Harvardwood members who attend will get a free ticket to our annual holiday bash! Hosted together with Stanford in Entertainment, our December 2015 holiday party is a can't-miss event (one complimentary ticket per member).

REI will be onsite to celebrate your volunteerism by providing refreshments and t-shirts to everyone that participates. Paramount Ranch in addition to being the launching off point of many trails into the mountains has been the filming site of countless movies since the 1927. One of the highlights is its western town. This is an excellent place to celebrate public lands, give back and have a great day. Anyone under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Harvardwood Heads To... The Ivy Plus Society's Sunset by the Sea - Tuesday, Sept. 29th

It's back to school season but we decided to take a different route. Join The Ivy Plus Society for our first ever inter-alumni event at the exquisite Hotel Casa Del Mar! This beautiful seaside oasis at is known for its sophisticated clientele, elegant furnishings, and delicious cocktails. Get a limited Early Bird - Buy One Get One Free ticket today and have a friend, coworker, or fellow alum join you for free!

C.L.A. invites Harvardwood to Collaboration Agreements for Creative People - Tuesday, Sept. 29th

Join CLA and attorney Carol Contes to learn how to protect your intellectual property when collaborating with others in the creation of a work—whether it be a painting, a script, or an album. Topics include:

  • What is a collaboration agreement?
  • When do you need a collaboration agreement?
  • What happens if you do not have a collaboration agreement in place?
  • The 'do's' and 'dont's' of collaboration agreements
  • Step-by-step guidance through an example collaboration agreement

SF/Bay Area

C.L.A. invites Harvardwood to Copyright Mechanics for Writers, Filmmakers, and Artists - Wednesday, Sept. 16th

This workshop on copyright law for non-lawyers offers practical advice for media creators—screenwriters, authors, photographers, filmmakers, internet content creators, etc.—from two perspectives. First we discuss how creators can show their work, discuss their work, and pitch their projects while protecting their work from infringement. Crucially, we also discuss the nuts and bolts of how to register work with the copyright office—an absolutely crucial and fairly easy way to engage the full panoply of copyright protections. Second we discuss how far creators may lawfully go in borrowing third-party material—information, reports, media, stories, images—and integrating that material into their own work without fear of lawsuits.

C.L.A. invites Harvardwood to Create Your Art, Create Your Brand - Wednesday, Sept. 23rd

This practical program will provide an overview of trademark and other intellectual property considerations important to creative artists, and will address such questions as: When should you register your work and how do you do so? What specific issues are involved in using trademarks in music, theater, visual art, etc. without permission? How much use is “fair use?” and many other important intellectual property issues specific to the creative community. The program will feature helpful practice tips and an informal, interactive question and answer session.

Member Discount to World Premiere of WAITRESS at the American Repertory Theater

This fall, attend the world premiere of Waitress at the A.R.T.! Harvardwood members can receive a special discount off certain shows in September; the code is good for discounted, fee-free tickets. Click the link above to access the code to select shows this month (for Harvardwood members only). Not a member? Join here.


Book by Jessie Nelson
Music and Lyrics by Sara Bareilles
Based upon the motion picture written by Adrienne Shelly
Choreographed by Chase Brock
Directed by Diane Paulus

Jenna, played by Tony Award winner Jessie Mueller (Beautiful), a waitress and expert pie maker, is stuck in a small town and a loveless marriage. When a baking contest in a nearby county offers her a chance at escape, Jenna must choose between her commitments and her dreams. Her customers, co-workers, and the town’s handsome new doctor all offer her conflicting recipes for happiness—but Jenna ultimately has to decide for herself. This poignant and uplifting new musical celebrates friendship, motherhood, and the courage it takes to pluck a long abandoned dream off the shelf. Featuring music and lyrics by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles (“Brave,” “Love Song”) and directed by Diane Paulus (Pippin, Finding Neverland).


Harvardwood does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any of the information, content or advertisements (collectively "Materials") contained on, distributed through, or linked, downloaded or accessed from any of the services contained in this e-mail. You hereby acknowledge that any reliance upon any Materials shall be at your sole risk. The materials are provided by Harvardwood on an "AS IS" basis, and Harvardwood expressly disclaims any and all warranties, express or implied. 

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