Issue 39 | April 2008

  • Message from the Membership Directors
  • Message from Mia
  • Harvardwood Summer Internship Program
  • Harvardwood NYC Spring Party
  • Member Profile: Nick Stoller '98
  • Industry Successes
  • Pencil Me In -- Harvardwood Presents...An Introduction to Film & TV Casting with Lisa Beach
  • Featured Member Posting: Industry Joblist with Employment Opportunities

Message from the Membership Directors

Two big wins for Harvardwood! First, congratulations to our own Mia Riverton for receiving the HAA's Outstanding Contribution award. Second, check us out in the news: Two reasons to renew that membership and get more involved with Harvardwood! Remember to check out what your local chapters are up to on our website:

In the meantime, enjoy this month's profile on Nick Stoller '98. As always, thanks to everyone who contributed to this issue. Congratulations to all of you and please continue to share your stories, as your participation is what Harvardwood is all about!

Angela and Kibi

Message from Mia

Spring has officially sprung, and April showers are upon us from coast-to-coast (yes, even in LA)... While away those rainy-day blues by checking out the alum-directed films hitting theaters this month -- first up is Vanessa Parise's JACK AND JILL VS. THE WORLD, which opens tomorrow in select cities (see below for more info on Vanessa and the film). FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL, directed by this month's profilee (Nick Stoller '98) opens on April 18th.

And an important piece of news from our alma mater... Longtime Harvardwoodian and advisory board member Robert Kraft '76 is running for one of six elected positions on the Harvard Alumni Association Board of Directors this year. Those ballots will be arriving in your mailboxes soon, so please cast your vote and spread the word -- this is a great opportunity to make sure the arts & entertainment community continues to have a voice at fair Harvard!


Harvardwood Summer Internship Program

Started in 2003, the Harvardwood Summer Internship Program (HSIP) provides a list of summer internship opportunities in the arts, media and entertainment to interested Harvard students. In addition, HSIP facilitates career-related activities throughout the summer for participating students and companies in NYC and LA. The HSIP opportunity list is now posted on the website -- it will be updated daily as new postings come in, so please check back regularly. If you are a company wishing to list an internship, please contact us for details... To view full posting, please visit:

Harvardwood NYC Spring Party

Hey, Everybody! It's time for our big 2008 FABULOUS SPRING PARTY! (Er, that is, our very serious spring networking meeting.) It's going to be on Friday, April 18 starting at 8 p.m..! A Harvardwood member has very generously volunteered her living room as the space for the party. Everyone is asked to bring something to eat or drink. To RSVP and to get the full details, visit the NYC page on the Harvardwood website:

Member Profile: Nick Stoller '98

by Stacey Collins

It was a treat to interview Nick Stoller, Class of '98. A man with a funny bone, he's also had the smarts to hone those skills to advance his writing and directing aspirations. These are exceptional times for this young filmmaker. His debut as a feature director happens this month; FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL, starring Kristen Bell and Jason Segel, and produced by Judd Apatow, will be released by Universal on April 18th.

Nick made friends with Segel eight years ago while working on "Undeclared" as a staff writer. The two men shared a sense of humor. "Both of us thought there was nothing funnier than seeing a grown man cry."

On the set of KNOCKED UP, Nick learned that Segel was working on a feature film script about relationships and that the screenplay included grown men crying. The script would eventually become FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL. With the support of Judd Apatow, Nick convinced Universal to allow him to direct it.

Nick shares writing credit with Apatow (creator of "Undeclared") for the 2005 feature FUN WITH DICK AND JANE, starring Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni. YES MAN, another Carrey film for which Nick wrote the screenplay, is in post-production.

Nick has always dreamed of being a writer-director. He remembers being ten or eleven years old, watching "Saturday Night Live" and reading humor columnist Dave Barry's articles, thinking how neat it would be to do the same. "You can write stuff, and it makes people laugh."

"Obsessed with comedy" since he was a kid, Nick met like-minded people at the Harvard Lampoon. For him, the Lampoon provided a clear path and better understanding of comedy. Working on the Lampoon was a "trial by fire" experience for writers, and in some ways it prepared him for a career in Hollywood. During the "comp," the application process in which Lampoon hopefuls submit writing samples for consideration, "[current Lampoon members] can write harsh comments." After comping twice, Nick joined the Lampoon his sophomore year and in due course became vice-president.

One of his Lampoon connections helped Nick launch his career. Mike Schur '97 recommended Nick for a show called "The Austin Powers Animated Series". Although the production was ultimately canceled, Nick signed with United Talent Agency as a result of that experience. A year later, Judd Apatow was seeking talented writers represented by UTA.

In addition to the Lampoon, Nick credits the Immediate Gratification Players improv group at Harvard for its influence on his writing. Improv taught him that it's okay to throw jokes out, and he gained performance experience that informed his writing process.

Another event that shaped Nick's writing was an advertising stint in New York. Although he found writing sketch comedy to be more fun, working in the advertising world taught him discipline. He says it forced him to "write about things you don't want to write about." He doesn't believe in writers' block, and although he acknowledges some days will be better than others, he states that "you just push through" no matter what.

His career isn't the only facet of Nick's life that has benefited from his Harvard roots. Nick met his wife, Francesca Delbanco '95, through a playwriting workshop organized by a group of friends from Harvard. The first time they met, they were both dating other people – and Nick was sporting a beard. A year later, when Nick was clean-shaven, they met again through the same workshop, and a romance sparked shortly after that.

What's on the horizon for Nick Stoller? He's working on two scripts, both in collaboration with Jason Segel. One of the projects is another comedy, FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT, with Nick helming and Segel starring. The other is the next Muppet movie for Disney, which they are cowriting.

If you're not impressed enough already, consider that this talented writer-director also contributed to the film BLADES OF GLORY – as a songwriter. As he modestly points out, Nick's song was enhanced by professional songwriters – nevertheless, versatility and a willingness to take risks are clearly part of his repertoire.

Industry Successes

Vanessa Parise's JACK AND JILL VS THE WORLD opens in limited theatrical release on April 4. It is directed, co-written, and produced by Vanessa Parise and along with Parise stars Freddy Prinze Jr., Taryn Manning, Kelly Rowan, Robert Forster, and Charles Martin Smith. In this romantic, funny, and thoughtful film, the lead character suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, a terminal lung disease. It's not every filmmaker who would choose to treat a terminal disease in a romantic movie, which Parise herself describes as a "love story for cynics." But by design, Parise's films are more than pure escapist entertainment; they're life-affirming, multi-dimensional and socially-aware – and also lots of fun. Says Parise, "If we can affect people — by making them think about their lives in a new light, or by making them laugh or relax ...even smile — then this nonstop 4-year intensely challenging yet magical endeavor will be worth it." Parise graduated Magna Cum Laude in Biology from Harvard and was accepted into Harvard Medical School. But with her heart in acting from the age of five, she decided to turn down Harvard Med to pursue a career in acting. She was accepted to the prestigious Circle in the Square Theatre School in Manhattan and never looked back. Acting as well as writing and directing have brought Parise out of her head and into her heart, a transition Parise has fully embraced. The JACK AND JILL VS THE WORLD fundraiser/red carpet film premiere is on April 3, 2008 in Beverly Hills and opens in Los Angeles on April 4 with East Coast showings the following week. Please visit for more information.

Jamie Mayer won the $5000 first prize in the Hollywood Nexus screenwriting competition with her script "Crowbar Smile" ( She is represented by Rogers Hartmann at Code Management.

Julio Vincent Gambuto '00 invites you to jump on board the Staten Island Ferry (well, actually, you can just come to Times Square), for an evening of sit-down-stand-up-storytelling comedy (yes, that's a technical term) that follows Gambuto from the fifth and oft-forgotten borough of Staten Island to the ivy-covered gates of Harvard Yard to the streets of South Brooklyn. Come one. Come all. Julie from Staten Island, A Comic Stage Memoir about Getting In, Fitting In, and Tryin' to Follow All the Rules, April 10-13, Theatre Row, New York City. Tickets are $20 and are available online at Additional show information at

Sue Chan '92 has signed with the Mirisch Agency to represent her for film, television, and advertising work as a Production Designer. Past credits include "Punch Drunk Love", "Shopgirl", "In Good Company" and "Shall We Dance" as art director and the feature films "Shades of Ray" and "Dancing in September" as Production Designer. Check out her work and reel at

Peter Fox's play ACTS OF GOD will get an extended run at the Ojai Art Center Theatre until April 19th. Interested parties should go to for a March cover story about Fox and the play.

Miranda Yousef '98 is headed to the AFI Dallas International Film Festival with three films. "Collectibles," a comic short she directed and edited, will have its world premiere in the Shorts Competition. "FOOD FIGHT," a feature documentary she edited, will screen in the Community Showcase section. And she worked as a contributing editor on "I.O.U.S.A.", the latest feature doc from "Wordplay" director Patrick Creadon, which played Sundance 2008 and will screen in the AFI Dallas Documentary Competition. Check out for more information, and look her up if you're in Dallas between April 1-6!!

DARK MATTER, written by Billy Shebar '79, starring Liu Ye, Aidan Quinn and Meryl Streep, will be released in ten cities, starting April 11. The film won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize at Sundance in 2007, and was recently shown in Lincoln Center's Film Comment Selects series. DARK MATTER is about a young Chinese physicist whose radical ideas about the cosmos put him at odds with his American mentor. Directed by Chen Shi-Zheng, it's a provocative look at culture clash and campus violence. For more information and to view the trailer or poster, please visit: or

Miles Fisher '06 has landed a recurring role in A&E's "The Cleaner," starring Benjamin Bratt. He's onscreen as Tom Cruise in Dimension's "Superhero Movie" and his credits include "Gods and Generals" and "Lone Star Struck."

Pencil Me In

Harvardwood Presents...An Introduction to Film & TV Casting with Lisa Beach

Harvardwood is pleased to announce our upcoming on-campus seminar, "Harvardwood Presents...An Introduction to Film & TV Casting with Lisa Beach", cosponsored by the Office for the Arts and Office of Career Services. Lisa Beach, Harvard Class of 1980, has spent the last 20 years as a casting director for feature films and television. She has cast over over 50 films, TV movies, TV pilots and series, winning three Artios Awards (given by the Casting Society of America) for her work on “Wedding Crashers”, ”About Schmidt”, and “Election”. Lisa will be conducting on-campus workshops for student actors from May 2-4. Registration will be announced shortly, with Full Members of Harvardwood given advance notice and preference to attend the program events. For more details, please visit:

Featured Member Posting: Industry Joblist with Employment Opportunities

Click here for a list of job openings in the media/entertainment industry:



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