Issue 49 | February 2009

* Message from Membership Directors Kibi & Angela
* Message from Mia
* Harvardwood Seeks Part-Time Paid Coordinator
* Harvardwood Writers Program 1-Hour TV Spec Scripts Now Available
* Member Profile: Arthur Roberts
* Industry Successes
* Pencil Me In - Harvardwood Winter Networking Event at the NAC, March 4 - NYC
* Featured Member Postings:

  • Seeking Off-Broadway Producer for One Man Show - NYC
  • Seeking Story Producer - LA

Message from the Membership Directors

As always, hope this email finds you doing well. Thanks to everyone who helped out with events last month, from Harvardwood 101 in LA to the Visual Arts panel in NYC (which will, incidentally, be available soon for viewing on the Harvardwood Channel for all Full Members - check it out!). In planning the events, we appreciate all the volunteers, the support, and most of all, your time. Please don't hesitate to contact your local Chapter Heads or the Program Directors with ideas - most likely, if you can think of an event, we'll gladly help you make it happen!

Cheers!
Angela and Kibi

Message from Mia

The 2009 Harvardwood 101 program was a huge success, with 23 undergrads making the annual trek to LA -- thanks again to all of our hosts as well as our alum speakers: Taii Austin, Ali Binazir, Theresa Botello, Carolyn Cassidy, Stacy Cohen, Michael Cohen, Dan Donahue, Helen Estabrook, Ben Forkner, Mark Gill, Guido Giordano, Josh Goldstine, Alan Horn, Melinda Hsu, Sergio Ibarra, Caroline Jennings, Diane Klein, Robert Kraft, Jieho Lee, Melissa Lee, Franklin Leonard, Alain & Elena de Leonardis, Doug MacLaren, Sergio Martinez, Elizabeth Atwater Menes, Molly O'Gara, Evelyn O'Neill, Milan Popelka, Amy Retzinger, Couper Samuelson, David Seltzer, Josh Simon, Adam Stein, Dan Sturman, Krishnan Unnikrishnan, and Jed Weintrob.

Happy Oscars!
-Mia

Harvardwood Seeks Part-Time Paid Coordinator

Harvardwood seeks an enthusiastic, motivated, entrepreneurial individual to assume the role of Coordinator in our highly dynamic organization. This paid position will be part-time to start, with the possibility of additional hours or eventual full-time employment depending on performance. The Harvardwood Coordinator will work closely with the volunteer board in executing various activities to expand and enhance the organization. Duties will include: - Event coordination (logistical planning, speaker outreach, day-of execution, sponsorship outreach, post-event follow-up, collaborating with local Chapter Heads on global events, etc.) - Membership activities (new member outreach, incentive programs, overseeing existing member needs, interfacing with Harvard University alumni & career offices, etc.) - Program activities (organizing logistics for ongoing programs such as Harvardwood 101, Harvardwood Summer Internship Program, Harvardwood Career Counselors, Harvardwood Presents, Harvardwood Screenplay Competition, etc.)... To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/networking/opening.asp?id=62254

Harvardwood Writers Program 1-Hour TV Spec Scripts Now Available

The HWP TV One-Hour Spec Module is an intensive four-month workshop in which participants develop and write a spec episode of an existing TV show. This challenging program is entirely peer-review based and also features a series of guest speakers, panel discussions and workshops to integrate real world skills and experience. We are very proud to present the following nine writers (in alphabetical order). If you are an agent/manager, TV producer, TV executive, or assistant to the above, we invite you to peruse the material... To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/22770/Harvardwood-Writers-Program-TV-1-Hour-Spec-Scripts-Now-Available.htm

Member Profile: Arthur Roberts

by Couper Samuelson '02

A few days ago, the veteran actor Arthur Roberts was in his Marina Del Rey apartment talking about the beginning of his career. “It was Harvard in the sixties and I didn’t do drugs but I did do sex and acting, well, acting felt better than sex.” So Roberts decided to do a lot of acting. “Now,” he thought to himself, “if only I could get them to pay me to do this…” (The acting, not the sex).

Roberts has been paid to act for 43 years and has left behind a wide body of work. He will look familiar to you, possibly because he’s had roles in everything from soaps to series, from Arthur Miller plays to Superbowl commercials to "Masseuse: The Sequel" (he wasn’t in the first one). He also simply looks familiar—salt-and-pepper-hair, oarblade cheekbones, like someone in the photograph that comes with a picture frame (Roberts has done print ads, too).

After graduating from Harvard, Roberts was told acting was a hard road. So he went to NYU Business School, where he developed a plan to break into acting from the business side: “I thought I would work at a film company and then one day I would raise my hand and say, ‘Hey, I did a little acting in college,’ and I would get the part.” But Roberts was bored by business school: “A businessperson is a suit and an actor is an animal.” Roberts promptly decided to make acting his fulltime goal and apply himself with the same seriousness of his classmates entering the business world.

During his first season of Summer stock, Roberts earned $27 per week—enough to cover his room and board. He would go on to play the lead roles opposite future movie stars Faye Dunaway and Jane Alexander in Summer stock productions like “Boeing Boeing,” “Poor Richard” and “Mr. Roberts” (no relation). Whereas at Harvard, actors had weeks to rehearse a play, “In Summer stock, you show up on Monday and five days later the curtain goes up in front of 300 people and you’re either wonderful or you’re idiotic.” Roberts must have been wonderful more than he was idiotic because he won the prestigious Barter Theatre Award. This success led to roles in celebrated Off-Broadway productions like “The Boys in the Band” and the Tony-winning “Borstal Boy.”

Roberts’ big break came in 1972 from a well-reviewed turn as the cuckold Karenin in the off-Broadway adaptation, “Anna K.” He decided to use this momentum to make a break for Hollywood, where his agent had lined up a meeting with the casting director of the most popular show on television, “General Hospital.” At the meeting, Roberts proffered a stack of rave “Anna K.” reviews from every critic in New York. To which the casting director replied, “I don’t watch reviews.”

Still, the casting director gave him a part as a guest star and Roberts gradually worked his way up to series regular. This break kicked off a television career that has included guest stints on “Starsky & Hutch,” a series regular role on the Lorenzo Lamas show “Air America,” and, more recently, “Scrubs.”

Roberts has also carved out a niche playing the “CEO” roles in B-movies shot in Eastern Europe from exploitation moguls like Avi Lerner. Roberts looks bemusedly upon his forays into these late-night cable movies—"Ways of the Flesh", "The Erotic Misadventures of the Invisible Man", and "Countess Dracula’s Orgy of Blood", among others. “The 20somethings get to fight and fuck. Me? I just show up and do the exposition.” Roberts rarely sees the final product: “I don’t even have those channels but friends see me all the time.” The interviewer is skeptical that his friends would admit to have seen these films, to which Roberts exclaims, “You admitted it!” (Point taken). Roberts considers his work in these lower-brow movies just as important to the tuning of his acting instrument as playing in Pinter. “Film captures feelings. If you’re feeling something, they will feel it. You can burn a hole in the screen even if you’re just saying,” Roberts pitches his voice low: “Welcome to the island, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the club.”

Now in his 60s, Roberts says he wouldn’t have managed his career any other way. His film work gained him admission to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and he’s even returned occasionally to the theater, in productions at the Mark Taper Forum and the Los Angeles Theatre Centre. “My only regret is that I haven’t hit a higher level of stardom. But I’m still working at it—it can still happen.” He’s even taught a popular class at UCLA called “Actors’ Survival: How to Earn Your Living Acting.”

In the 70s, Roberts was referred to the psychologist/philosopher Willard Beecher, author of the bestselling book "Beyond Success & Failure". Beecher told Roberts, “Never work. Work is when they pay you to be there even though you don’t like what you’re doing. We should play to live, not work to live.” To which Roberts adds, conspiratorially, “You know what the big secret is? Figure out what you like to do and see if you can get them to pay you to do it. In that sense, I’ve lived a life of great integrity.”

Most recently, Roberts went to an audition for a Tylenol commercial where a casting director asked him to strip down to his shorts (Roberts is in good shape). At the subsequent callback, Roberts was on his way to a swim, “So I had my speedos on under my gym shorts. And they ask me to strip down again and so this time I take off my gym shorts too and I’m standing there in nothing but my Speedos. And I say, ‘This is as far as I’ll go!’”

The casting director laughed. Roberts got the part.

Industry Successes...

Harvard College alum John Unger Zussman & Patricia Zussman have been hired by producer Erik Bauer to write THE TRIAL, a contemporary political drama set on the front lines in Afghanistan. The Zussmans are represented by HLS alum Kemper Donovan of Circle of Confusion. The Zussmans' screenplay ORIGIN, a biopic of Charles Darwin, received two dramatic readings in January by members of the Stanford Drama Department. The reading was presented as part of Stanford's celebration of Darwin's 200th birthday, and the audience response was enthusiastic. ORIGIN won the Harvardwood Screenplay Competition in 2007.

TWO LOVERS, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Gwyneth Paltrow and co-produced by Couper Samuelson '02, is in NY and LA theaters this week before expanding to most major markets on Feb 27.

Alum Michael Tringe had a screening of his USC thesis SHATTERCANE earlier this month. SHATTERCANE is a coming-of-age drama about a closeted farm teen who must face his family after being outed by his youth minister. www.shattercanefilm.com

Pencil Me In...

Harvardwood Winter Networking Event at the NAC, March 4 - NYC

Join fellow Harvardwood members and other entertainment professionals at our winter networking event, Wed. March 4 from 6:30 - 8:30 pm. Thanks to member Cornelia Ravenal, the event will once again be held at the National Arts Club, an elegant private club located at 15 Gramercy Park South (20th Street) between Park and Irving Place. Business attire (jackets, no jeans) required. Space is limited and RSVP is required. Advance registration is currently limited to Full Members of Harvardwood... To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=48634

Featured Member Postings

Seeking Off-Broadway Producer for One Man Show - NYC

Julio Vincent Gambuto '00 is currently looking for an Off-Broadway producer for his one-man comedy "Julie from Staten Island." The show, which has been running monthly since its initial run in April 2008 will continue on the 25th of every month at Theatre Row in Times Square. The 80-minute comedy is directed by standup veteran Linda Smith (The Rosie O'Donnell Show, The Caroline Rhea Show, At The Multiplex with Judy Gold) and 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. Gambuto presented the show in Los Angeles in Oct and Dec 2008, where he is currently developing the feature film version with independent producers. He is seeking a theatrical producer for an Off-Broadway run... To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=2200

Seeking Story Producer - LA

Non-fiction television production company seeks Story Producer for brand new series. We are growing rapidly and are looking to expand our staff. Experience with non-fiction TV is a plus… To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/networking/opening.asp?id=62431


 

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