* Director's Notes
* Message from Mia
* Pencil Me In:
- HBS Entertainment & Media Club invites Harvardwood to the EMC Conference, Thurs., Feb. 11
- Harvardwood Boston Pre-Oscar Party! Thurs., Feb. 25
NEW YORK EVENTS
- Harvardwood Heads To...a reading of Peter Johnson's novel GRANT'S INDIAN, Tues., Feb. 2
- Harvardwood Presents: The Pleasures of High-End Artisanal "Hard" Ciders, Wed., Feb. 10
- Harvardwood JAZZ Series: Grammy Award Winner Brian Lynch, Wed., Feb. 24
- Harvardwood Heads To..."Geared Up," John Himmelfarb '68 at Luise Ross Gallery, Thurs., Feb. 25
- Harvardwood Heads To...Alumni Talk, Wine and Cheese Reception, and Book Signing, Sun., Feb. 14
- Harvardwood co-sponsors a Conversation with Drew Gilpin Faust, Thurs., Feb. 18
- Harvardwood Presents: Classic Tales and Rebel Rants feat. Jeff "The Dude" Dowd, Fri., Feb. 19
- Harvard Design School invites Harvardwood to a reception in honor of Charles Waldheim, Fri., Feb. 26
- Harvardwood Berlinale Mixer, Tues., Feb. 16 - Berlin
* Seeking Panelists for HBS Entertainment and Media Conference - Boston
* Seeking a new Harvardwood Chapter Head for Seattle! - Seattle
* Seeking Writers for HWP Fiction Group - LA
* Positions Available for HWP Feature Showcase
* Industry Successes
* Harvardwood 101 Testimonials!
* Featured Member Posting: Executive Assistant/Business Analyst - LA
* Member Profile: David Seltzer '87
Harvardwood had an extraordinary start to this brand new decade with the 2010 Harvardwood 101 program! Thanks to all of our wonderful alums, we were able to provide a unique, educational and fun experience for those undergraduates that decided to make this crazy trek out west! Specifically we want to thank our awesome alum speakers and participants, including: Ryan Barlow, Theresa Botello, Sam Brown, Sue Chan, Mike Cohen, Stacy Cohen, Nancy Cotton, Carlton Cuse, Marjorie David, Dan Donahue, Jonathan Eirich, Helen Estabrook, Ben Forkner, Caleb Franklin, Adam Fratto, Guido Giordano, Josh Goldstine, David Greenspan, Reggie Hudlin, Jeremy Kagan, Matt Kozlov, Morgan Kruger, Franklin Leonard, Doug Maclaren, Erin May, Matt Mazzeo, Jeff Melvoin, Sasha Mervyn, Garrett Morgan, Noah Oppenheim, Marc Resteghini, Amy Retzinger, Michael Roiff, Liz Ryan, Chris Salvaterra, Couper Samuelson, Keith Sears, Lane Shadgett, Matthew Snyder, Mark Sourian, Larry Tanz, Mike Tringe, Larry Wasserman, and Claudia Weill.
We would also like to thank those alums that graciously offered housing to our 101ers, including: Ali Binazir, Chuck Bush, Alex Celemin, Andrew Coles, Julie Ann Crommett, Chris Hanley, Sergio Ibarra, David Meadow, Elizabeth Menes, Molly O'Gara, John Provine, Couper Samuelson, Lano Williams, and Patty Woo.
Of course we must also thank our wonderful "J-termship" hosts, including: Kat Alix-Gaudreau, David Alpert Chuck Bush, Alex Celemin, Stacy Cohen, Garrett Law, Jasmine McGlade, Julia Ogrydziak, Gene Pao, Milan Popelka, Kate Schutt, Linda Steele, and Marielle Woods. And last but certainly not least, none of this would be possible without the Harvardwood Board members who worked tirelessly on this program, including Kibi Anderson, Stacy Cohen, Adam Fratto, Allison Kiessling, Crescent Muhammad, Jonathan Reiman, Mia Riverton, and Amit Samuel. Many thanks to everyone who put in large amounts of time and energy to make this program a success!
Message from Mia
A huge thank you to all of our generous hosts, sponsors, speakers, and everyone who participated in making the 2010 Harvardwood 101 program bigger and better than ever! We kicked things off with a one-week "boot camp" for the students including visits to CAA, Dreamworks, ICM, The Film Department, the set of "Little Fockers", Management 360, Reveille, Sony Music, Sony Pictures Entertainment, USC, and Vuguru, as well as panels on film and TV development and production. After boot camp, most of the students participated in 2 week "J-termships" -- these opportunities ranged from working hands-on with professional artists, filmmakers and musicians to shadowing alums and friends of Harvardwood at companies including AttentionSpan Media, Circle of Confusion, FilmNation, Fuel TV, Great Road Capital, Gurney Productions, Iguana Films, Roserock Films, and Wild Whip Records. We had a number of additional opportunities as well, including a behind-the-scenes look at the ARMY WIVES writers' room, a visit to a sitcom taping, and one-on-one conversations for each of the students with an industry expert in their field of interest.
All in all, this was our most successful edition of Harvardwood 101 to date! But don't take my word for it -- read on for Sanyee Yuan's ('12) and Minji Kim's ('11) perspectives on their Harvardwood 101 experiences...
Pencil Me In...
BOSTON: HBS Entertainment & Media Club invites Harvardwood to the EMC Conference, Thurs., Feb. 11
Join the HBS Entertainment & Media Club (EMC) as they invite Harvardwood to the EMC Conference 2010! The EMC has graciously extended its early registration deadline for Harvardwood members that would like to attend. The keynote speaker will be Michael Ovitz, Founder, CAA and Former President, Walt Disney Co. Conference panels will include: Film - Changing Distribution Patterns in the Film Landscape; TV - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Innovation in Creation and Delivery of Content; Music - Band and Brands: The Evolving Relationship between Music and Marketing; and New Media - Internet Killed the Video Star: How New Media is Changing the Marketing and Monetization of Content…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=94242
BOSTON: Harvardwood Boston Pre-Oscar Party! Thurs., Feb. 25
Meet other Harvardwood Boston members, and register your picks for this year's Oscar award winners! RSVP by Feb. 24...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=94258
NYC: Harvardwood Heads To...a reading of Peter Johnson's novel GRANT'S INDIAN, Tues., Feb. 2
Peter Johnson’s novel and audio book GRANT'S INDIAN dramatizes the life of Ely Parker, a Seneca Indian who, as Grant's military secretary, penned the surrender at Appomattox. From Appomattox, the story loops back to Parker as an Indian boy in upstate New York, his youth as tribal translator and diplomat and his meeting "Useless" Ulysses Grant in a barroom in Galena, Illinois. After Appomattox, Parker marries a white girl half his age, becomes commissioner of Indian affairs, resigns in disgrace, makes and loses a fortune on Wall Street and spends his last twenty years as a clerk in the New York City Police Department…PETER JOHNSON, College ’66, Ed. School ’68, is an award-winning author, actor and lawyer….To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=91171
NYC: Harvardwood Presents: The Pleasures of High-End Artisanal "Hard" Ciders, Wed., Feb. 10
When the United States was founded, the most popular alcoholic beverage wasn't wine or beer--it was "hard" (alcoholic) cider! This dinner, in the stunning landmark setting of the 1887 Down Town Association, will be itself a landmark in the revival of great cider, the first event of its type in New York, and the DTA's gifted Chef Anthony LoCastro has devised a mouthwatering menu to mark the occasion, with every dish carefully designed to complement the unique flavors of these remarkable ciders. As we dine, we will be tasting and discussing half a dozen of the greatest new "hard" artisanal ciders from the U.S., Canada, and England, produced by some of the world's greatest cidermakers...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/event/hardciderFeb10
NYC: Harvardwood JAZZ Series: Grammy Award Winner Brian Lynch, Wed., Feb. 24
Join us for a fabulous night of gorgeous jazz, great food, and general fun! We're offering a reception with OPEN BAR, cheeses, and light hors d'oeuvres, followed by a mouthwatering sit-down dinner with wine, followed by a performance by some of the greatest jazz musicians alive, followed by a buffet of desserts! Launching our new Harvardwood Jazz Series is Brian Lynch, one of the most wonderful trumpet players in all of jazz, a breathtaking improviser, often with a seductive Latin tinge…For this appearance, Brian Lynch will be performing with his own quartet, including pianist Rob Schneiderman…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/event/lynchFeb24
NYC: Harvardwood Heads To..."Geared Up," John Himmelfarb '68 at Luise Ross Gallery, Thurs., Feb. 25
Please join me for a glass of wine at my upcoming reception for "Geared Up." The exhibition will include new sculpture, painting, prints, and a tapestry with imagery derived from trucks. I look forward to meeting any of you who can make it...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=94256
LA: Harvardwood Heads To...Alumni Talk, Wine and Cheese Reception, and Book Signing, Sun., Feb. 14
Celebrate Valentine's Day with the Harvard Club! Join us for an Alumni Talk, Wine and Cheese Reception, and Book Signing by Harvardwood member and HCSC Board Member, Chair of the Recent Graduates Committee and HuffingtonPost.com contributor Ali Binazir, MD MPhil (College '93). Ali will discuss his recent book on the science & spirit of having a fulfilling love life, THE TAO OF DATING: THE SMART WOMAN'S GUIDE TO BEING ABSOLUTELY IRRESISTIBLE, inspired by and written for Harvard women. Space is limited…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=93827
LA: Harvardwood co-sponsors a Conversation with Drew Gilpin Faust, Thurs., Feb. 18
Harvardwood, along with the HAA and the HCSC, co-sponsors A Conversation with Drew Gilpin Faust, President and Lincoln Professor of History, Harvard University. Full Members of Harvardwood may register at the discounted rate. To view more information, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=89391
LA: Harvardwood Presents: Classic Tales and Rebel Rants feat. Jeff "The Dude" Dowd, Fri., Feb. 19
Join us as Jeff "The Dude” Dowd, whose persona is famously portrayed by Jeff Bridges in THE BIG LEBOWSKI, presents "Is it the Best of Times or the Worst of Times?” his lively discussion on how we can shape education, culture, politics, and a new economy to make our future the best of times and have fun doing it! A fixture of the American indie movie scene as described by the NEW YORK TIMES, Jeff is a Santa Monica based writer, producer, producer’s representative, activist, and a nationally recognized authority on marketing, distribution, and exhibition of movies. Jeff helped Robert Redford start the Sundance Institute and Sundance Film Festival…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=93830
LA: Harvard Design School invites Harvardwood to a reception in honor of Charles Waldheim, Fri., Feb. 26
SAVE THE DATE - Mia Lehrer, FASLA, and Michael Lehrer, FAIA, cordially invite you to attend a reception honoring Charles Waldheim, Professor and Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design....To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=94252
GERMANY: Harvardwood Berlinale Mixer, Tues., Feb. 16
On Tuesday, February 16, 2010, Harvardwood, in collaboration with the Harvard Club of Berlin, will host a mixer to toast the Berlin Film Festival. Members of Harvardwood, the Harvard Club of Berlin, HAA and friends are warmly invited...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=94669
Seeking Panelists for the HBS Entertainment and Media Conference - Boston
The HBS Entertainment & Media Club is seeking panelists to appear on its Television Panel. Entitled "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Innovations in Creation and Delivery of Content”, the panel will cover the ways in which the internet, DVR/TIVO, and other technological advances are changing the way TV content is both created and viewed. The conference will be on February 11th at HBS in Boston, MA. Co-panelists include Mike Lang, EVP Business Development and Strategy for Fox and Brannon Braga, EP of 24 and Co-creator for Flash Forward. The keynote speaker for the conference is Michael Ovitz, Founder of CAA and former President of Walt Disney Co. If you are involved with the world of TV on either the creative or business side, we would love to have you. Please reach out to me at [email protected] at your earliest convenience for more details….To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/35959/Seeking-Panelists-for-Harvard-Business-School-Entertainment-and-Media-Conference---Boston.htm
Seeking a new Harvardwood Chapter Head for Seattle!
Harvardwood is seeking a new Chapter Head to help foster the Harvard arts and entertainment community in the Seattle area. If you are interested in this position, please email us at [email protected]…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/35871/Seeking-a-new-Harvardwood-Chapter-Head-for-Seattle.htm
Seeking Writers for HWP Fiction Group - LA
The HWP (Harvardwood Writers Program) Fiction Group seeks a writer to fill an open position in our group. We're writers working on novels who meet every third Saturday to critique each other’s work and provide support and motivation. You should be working on a novel, live in the Los Angeles area and be willing to both submit your own work and spend time reading others. In the interest of making sure you're a good fit, please include a summary of what you're working on in your e-mail. To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/30656/Seeking-Writers-for-HWP-Harvardwood-Writers-Program-Fiction-Group.htm
Positions Available for HWP Feature Showcase
On April 27, Harvardwood is excited to present its first ever showcase for members of its feature screenplay writing group. The evening will consist of four staged readings of excerpts from the best screenplays to come out of the program. These will be professionally cast and performed for an audience of industry professionals and representative. Last year’s television writers’ showcase was a smash hit, leading directly to career breakthroughs for writers and actors alike. We are hoping to build on that success to generate even more success stories this time around….The producers are looking for a few great people to fill these positions - Stage Manager and Screenplay Judges….To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/34417/Seeking-Screenplay-Judges---HWP-Feature-Showcase-.htm
Peter Fox '72 and Garry Williams have optioned their one hour drama pilot script TIJUANA, OHIO to Fox Television Studios.
Come check out ABRAHAM INC. for their US CD debut, featuring Harvardwood member Jerome Harris '73 on bass! In ABRAHAM INC., klezmer clarinet virtuoso David Krakauer collaborates with trombonist Fred Wesley--one of the great masters of funk (known for his work with James Brown, Bootsy Collins and Parliament Funkadelic), and Montreal beat architect SOCALLED. Add a three-piece horn section led by Wesley, and members of Krakauer's Klezmer Madness! band (including Jerome Harris '73 on bass), and the result is an all-out klezmer-funk dance party! Thursday, February 25, doors open at 7:00 pm, show at 7:30 pm. $25 advance; $30 day of show ($20 for students with valid student ID) at Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street (bet. Thompson & Sullivan Sts.), NYC 10012. Abraham Inc.'s debut CD Tweet Tweet (Table Pounding Records) will be available for sale at the show!
Congratulations goes to Harvardwood Advisory Board member Robert Kraft '76 for recent wins at the Grammys for Best Compilation Soundtrack ("Slumdog Millionaire") and Best Song from a Motion Picture ("Jai Ho" by AR Rahman from "Slumdog Millionaire").
Writer/Director/Comic Book Creator Dani Dixon is a finalist in the Lens On Talent (LOT) filmmaker contest. Out of nearly 1,000 submissions, only 6 directors have advanced to the final round. The winner of LOT will receive $100,000 to produce his/her next short, which will premiere on BET next season. For more info visit: http://www.conflictfilms.com/ (film); http://tumblecreekpress.com/ (comics).
Harvardwood 101 Testimonials!
Sanyee Yuan '12
"It’s all about the connections.”
I remember the first time I heard this. I had just watched Lindsay Lohan’s debut in The Parent Trap and decided that I wanted to become an actress. With the abridged movie-novelization in one hand, I turned to a page of dialogue and attempted my best, slightly broken British accent. Upon watching my performance and hearing my decision to pursue Hollywood, my older sister told me that people only became successful through connections. I had no idea where she had gotten the grounds for this claim, and after hearing it, I imagined Hollywood as an inter-connected and solely exclusive family tree, disappointed that we did not have ties to Steven Spielberg or Tom Hanks.
Ten years after hearing my sister’s assessment, I heard it again. This time, in Los Angeles, during the Harvardwood 101 J-term trip. However, this time around, I realized the actual definition behind the term "having connections.”
The Harvardwood 101 trip, which took place at the beginning of Harvard’s first-ever J-term, was the best media whirlwind boot camp of a week that I could possibly imagine. From tours of movie sets to studio visits to panels with top agents, I gained an incredibly comprehensive view of the media industry. As the other Harvardwood 101 members and I sat through meetings with Harvard alumni and other executives, I could garner common themes in each of the anecdotes that they shared. No two stories were alike and it became clear that there was no direct path to lead to working in Hollywood.
However, there were similar key pieces of advice that stood out. Be nice to everyone. Collect business cards and always follow up. Be politely persistent (no matter how paradoxical that may seem). Do grunt work with a smile. Know that your friends who pursue financial banking and consulting will make approximately ten times what you make but will most likely be ten times unhappier. Love what you do.
These running themes did nothing to dissuade me from pursuing my goals in Hollywood. Instead, they reinforced my dreams. Still an aspiring actress, I also hope to work as an entertainment news correspondent and talk show host in the future—and I am now glad to know that the "connections” that are so integral to working in the business do not need to come from family, but from one’s own networking know-how.
Hearing so many success stories, of how the managers, agents, producers, directors, and executives had gotten to their established places in the industry through their perseverance and chance circumstances, inspired me. Allusions to hours spent in the mail room and time spent washing cars as an assistant highlighted the necessity of the resilient spirit in Hollywood. What stood out the most for me, during the trip, was the willingness of the industry representatives to share their stories and impart advice for us. Their generosity with their time and straightforward honesty with the answers they provided to our streams of questions meant so much to me and the other Hollywood-hopeful students.
Each day of the trip was packed and exciting; each visit resulted in meaningful new encounters. The trip was an invaluable experience, and I gained an incredible amount of insight to shape my career goals and my post-graduation direction. Because the program also allowed us to live with Harvard alumni in the area, my roommate and I got to embrace the Los Angeles culture—enjoying the feeling of strolling along Santa Monica’s white sandy beaches at sunset, exploring the bustling, artsy Venice neighborhood, and driving down the trafficked streets with the windows rolled down and music blaring from our rental car. I also had a terrific time interacting with the other members of the program: Harvardwood 101 enabled me to meet students from school who were not interested in medicine, law, or business careers, but fostered the same hopes that I did of working in the dynamic media field.
During the program, though, I felt nagging thoughts at the back of my mind that I might have been able to benefit more from the experience if I had been a senior instead of a sophomore. Part of me already clamored to move out to sunny Los Angeles, rent my own apartment, buy my own car, and spend my days and nights constantly socializing with industry executives. I also could not wait to be able to gain enough experience to impart my own advice to eager, wide-eyed students. However, once the program ended and I headed back home to San Francisco, I realized that I had had an equally valuable experience as the upperclassmen on the trip.
I had made key contacts in the business, laying the foundation for the ever-important connections. I had a clear idea of the attitude that the industry required. I had fallen in love with the city of Los Angeles.
And I realized that I had two more years of enjoying college life before plunging into 16-hour workdays in the entertainment field. That also means that I have two more years for gaining internship experience, making connections, and developing my producing, filming, and hosting skills.
One alum that we met with emphasized the key quality of audacity in succeeding in the industry. Another underscored the meaning of hard work. These two, coupled with resilience and persistence, are obviously integral traits for success. However, there is also another significant factor: luck. As one of my favorite talk show hosts, Oprah Winfrey, says, "Luck is preparation meeting opportunity.”
Harvardwood 101 gave me the opportunity; now I am ready for more preparation.
Minji Kim '11
Having lived in Southern California my entire life, I was pretty familiar with Los Angeles before the Harvardwood 101 trip this January. The tall palm trees lining the grey sidewalks, the cars lined up on the 60 freeway, the cookie-cutter houses, the constant sunshine that makes winter gear a fashion statement rather than a necessity—all of this was home to me.
But Hollywood was a wholly different world. Though I myself am fairly religious about going to see movies, my impression of the entertainment industry was this esoteric, secretive world inhabited by only the beautiful and the super-talented (or not). My closest encounter with entertainment was as a stage designer for a musical in high school, and I had absolutely no idea what it took to create a movie or TV show. Thinking that the Harvardwood 101 trip would be a good and easy way to satiate my curiosity, I signed up to go on the excursion.
Highlights of the trip included visiting ShineReveille, a studio and production company for shows like "The Office” and "The Biggest Loser,” and entering through the Jurassic Park gates on our way to meet the CFO of Dreamworks. We even got to be on the set of "Little Fockers,” as the art director of the film led us through the Focker house. We toured the kitchen, the living room, and some of us even snuck onto the Fockers’ bed in the master bedroom. It was like touring an open house for sale, except it was a fake one (though you could definitely live in it if you wanted to), and every little detail, including the can of Spaghetti-O’s in the cupboard, was painstakingly placed by the art department.
Near the end of the week, we entered through the glass doors and into the most lavish and formidably beautiful building I had ever seen. The inside of the Creative Artists Agency, a top talent agency with clients like Beyoncé and George Clooney, was nearly entirely made of shining, cold marble. We were greeted by agents in sharp suits and sat around a huge marble table to listen to their anecdotes about the industry. We tried hard to be in our professional’s best, but I’m sure that they could see the awe and yearning in our eyes.
Through all of these experiences, I was surprised by how many of these people in Hollywood were Harvard graduates. Additionally, seeing all of this in person made the glittering world of celebrity and fame all the more within our reach. (Some of us even saw Rumer Willis at our rendezvous point, the Ralphs store on Sunset Boulevard.) All in all, we were told if we were to get far in the entertainment industry, you had to know the right people. At first, I have to admit I was a bit put off by this mantra. It sounded awfully like entering a lottery and being at the mercy of how much luck the Hollywood gods would bestow upon you. But it was just that the way you climb the ladder differed hugely from Harvard’s work-hard-get-ahead mentality. Although hard work is definitely a part of it, those in Hollywood got by largely because the right people noticed their hard work.
Hollywood is a huge bubble made of shiny, seemingly impenetrable glass, but I learned that with serious resolve, going through the rites of passage of mail room work, and all the right connections, everyone had a chance at achieving their Hollywood dreams.
Featured Member Posting - Executive Assistant/Business Analyst
Chernin Entertainment, a company engaged in the development and production of feature films and television properties, is seeking a candidate for Executive Assistant/Analyst. This role will support two executives in a newly established group that aims to grow the company by investing in and managing media, entertainment, and technology businesses. Responsibilities will primarily include: a) assisting two VPs with typical administrative duties, including scheduling, phones, travel, and document preparation; b) assisting the business team with project management and research, including project tracking, news gathering, and collection/synthesis of research reports and data. The Executive Assistant/Analyst will have the opportunity to become increasingly involved in strategy, operations, and financial analysis, depending on interest level and fit…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/networking/opening.asp?id=74714
Member Profile: David Seltzer '87
by D. Dona Le
Proactive, versatile, and entrepreneurial are three words that perhaps best describe David Seltzer '87, founding partner of Management 360, and explain the upward trajectory of his career. Seltzer’s path from Harvard to Hollywood is marked by the well-engineered pursuit of his interests, driven by a true passion for the creative arts. Today, Seltzer manages an impressive group of actors, including Eva Mendes, Holly Hunter, Josh Hartnett, Christina Ricci, Eric Dane, and Ben McKenzie, among others.
Seltzer was raised outside of New York City, where he studied drama and voice in high school. He continued performing at Harvard where his concentration was History and Literature. He wrote his senior thesis on Laurence Olivier’s film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry V.
After performing for his first two years at Harvard, Seltzer turned his energies to working behind the scenes. He was actively involved in the Hasty Pudding Theatrical Film and Talent Group, which hosted a directors’ series, in which the organization screened movies by significant Harvard filmmakers and invited them to campus for Q&A sessions after the screenings. He also produced several cabarets at the Pudding featuring talented Harvard undergraduates.
Having heard about a number of Harvard graduates who had gone on to have successful careers in Hollywood as studio executives, producers, and agents, Seltzer decided to explore potential careers in the motion picture and television industries. "I spent a lot of time as an undergrad getting in touch with people whose careers I admired who work in the entertainment field, some of whom were Harvard graduates, and many of whom were not. A lot of people I respected were very generous with their time and advice.”
Perhaps the most significant of these individuals was the legendary Jack Lemmon (Harvard ’47), who starred in such films as Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, The Odd Couple, and Grumpy Old Men. During Seltzer’s sophomore year, he learned that Lemmon would be making an appearance in New York City. Having admired Lemmon’s work since childhood, Seltzer wrote a letter to Lemmon, suggesting that he could travel from Cambridge to meet with the actor in New York. Lemmon agreed, and from then on they shared "a wonderful relationship that grew out of our shared Harvard background.” Through Lemmon, Seltzer was introduced to the producer who would provide him with his first Hollywood job on a low-budget film after Seltzer’s sophomore year at Harvard. Lemmon became Seltzer’s mentor and close friend, and Seltzer represented the renowned actor during the final years of his life.
Under Seltzer’s management, Lemmon starred in Tuesdays with Morrie (1999), for which he received an Emmy award. Together, Seltzer and Lemmon also remade the classic film Inherit the Wind for television. "Jack had wanted to do it on stage, but I said, ‘Why don’t we do it for Showtime instead?’” Lemmon was awarded a Golden Globe for his performance in the film.
When Seltzer applied to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Lemmon wrote him a letter of recommendation. At this point, Seltzer had worked in Hollywood for a few years and believed that earning an MBA would complement his academic and professional experiences. Seltzer was particularly attracted to the Wharton School because of its emphasis on entrepreneurship, as reflected in his later decision to found his own talent management company.
After receiving his MBA degree, Seltzer returned to Los Angeles and spent ten years as talent manager at Industry Entertainment. In 2002, Seltzer decided to create a new company, Management 360, with five like-minded colleagues. "I had come to a place in my career as a talent manager where the idea of starting my own company became very attractive to me. My background at Wharton helped prepare me for the challenges involved in starting a new company and nurturing its growth.”
Management 360 is currently thriving as one of the preeminent management/production companies in Hollywood, despite the recent global economic crisis that has affected the entertainment field as well. Seltzer’s savvy perspective of the industry is certainly integral to the company’s success: "The business is changing due to new technology and other factors beyond our control, and much of our continued success will depend on our ability to adapt to these changes. The Internet alone impacts us in so many ways. For our actors, it means that whatever privacy they might have left is virtually eliminated by the way that gossip and news is now conveyed to the masses on a global basis.”
Seltzer has pursued his devotion to the arts with a single-minded intensity, astutely recognizing invaluable opportunities and – more importantly – seizing them. He optioned the rights to Speed Racer for only $1 over twenty years ago in order to transform the Japanese anime series into a movie. Seltzer remained involved in the project for 22 years, and he executive produced the Warner Bros. film which was released in 2008.
When tackling new projects and approaching new talent, Seltzer seeks qualities that his own contacts and mentors in Hollywood must have recognized in him. "In terms of younger clients, you try to identify people who you think have the potential to go the distance – people who have the potential to be major forces in the business. Some of that requires that you rely on your instincts. My partners and I have been involved in discovering talent very early in their careers. We have also enjoyed working with already established talent who are looking to us to help them maximize the opportunities available to them.”
Indeed, professional success has not deterred Seltzer from remaining extremely appreciative of those individuals who helped him to navigate the film and television industry as a college student. He speaks fondly of Harvard graduate David Frankel, director of The Devil Wears Prada, who offered Seltzer a summer job after his junior year at Harvard as his assistant on the TV series The Ellen Burstyn Show. "Apart from giving me the chance to work for him which was a tremendous opportunity to learn, he went through his Filofax, and gave me about 10 or 15 names of friends of his in Hollywood to call when I graduated from college. He was a fantastic early mentor to me as well, and I met him through Harvard circles.”
Seltzer is warm, frank, and engaging in conversation, which reveals just how he has become one of the top talent managers in Hollywood today. Moreover, he dispels the misconception of Hollywood as insular and cutthroat. On the contrary, Seltzer encourages current Harvard students and recent graduates interested in pursuing careers in film and television "to avail themselves of the extraordinary network of Harvard alumni working in the entertainment industry. But don’t limit it to just the Harvard network. People are generally open to sitting down and giving advice to young people who they think might have potential, and I think the best approach is not to ask somebody for a job, but to ask them for a few minutes of their time for advice.” Seltzer himself has hired and mentored several Harvard graduates who have gone on to enjoy great success in Hollywood, and he takes great pride in watching them do so well. Seltzer remembers how Lemmon helped him early on, and the wonderful example the two-time Oscar winner set for him.
Clearly, given the career Seltzer enjoys today, his advice is foolproof.
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