* Director's Notes
* Message from Mia
* Pencil Me In:
- Harvardwood London and London Business School Screening of THE INFIDEL, Tues., Mar. 9
- Harvardwood Heads To...UK premiere of Engi Wassef's MARINA OF THE ZABBALEEN, Thurs., Mar. 11
- Harvardwood invited to - IVY Entertainment Oscars Viewing Party, Sun., Mar. 7
- Harvardwood Seminar Series: On Comic Books -- Everyone Has to Start Somewhere! Thurs., Mar. 11
- Harvardwood Heads To...Cornerstone Gala celebrating Paris Barclay, Tues., Mar. 16
- Harvardwood Heads To..."Reverse Aging Now" Harvard Club lecture, Wed., Mar. 17
- Harvardwood Heads To...HBSWANY Media & Entertainment Insiders Event, Mon., Mar. 8
- Harvardwood Seminar Series: Internationally Acclaimed Director ANDREI SERBAN, Fri., Mar. 12
- Harvardwood Heads To...Hasty Pudding Show in NYC! Sat., Mar. 13
- Showbiz Store & Cafe invites Harvardwood to a FREE screenwriter's workshop, Thurs., Mar. 18
- Harvardwood NJ Chapter Launches with an event on Sun., Mar. 7!
* Seeking Opportunities for the 2010 Harvardwood Summer Internship Program Worldwide!
* Announcing a new grant for developing theatrical work from the A.R.T. Alumni Lab Artist Grants
* The New Jersey Chapter of Harvardwood Launches!
* Harvardwood participates in the HAA Global Month of Service
* Industry Successes
* And the Oscar goes to...
* Featured Member Posting: Comic Book Publishing Venture Seeks Junior Executive/Editor - LA
* Member Profile: Todd A. Kessler '94 & Glenn Kessler '92
There are so many wonderful opportunities to take advantage of this month with Harvardwood! I'll start off by thanking our wonderful partners at the A.R.T. Institute Alumni Association for opening up their Alumni Lab Artist Grants to members of the Harvardwood community. This is an awesome opportunity to secure funding for the development of new theatrical work, so read on for more details! And of course, with Spring we prepare for another great season of the Harvardwood Summer Internship Program (HSIP). If your company, production, or organization is in need of some help this summer, find out how to submit your internships below. February marked the start of a brand new Harvardwood Chapter in the state I call home, the lovely New Jersey (yes, it IS lovely!). NJ folks be sure to check out the launch event on March 7th. Lastly, we've got your March calendar covered with great member events and informative seminars so don't miss out!
Message from Mia
March is roaring in like a lion with a surfeit of Harvardwood activities around the world! In LA, we've already had back-to-back events for the Harvardwood Writers Program -- Monday night saw a gathering of the HWP TV writers for a special comedy panel with Steve Tompkins '88 (THE BERNIE MAC SHOW) and Stewart Burns '92 (THE SIMPSONS), and yesterday filmmaker-cum-renaissance-man Ed Zwick '74 (photo, right) led a fun and informative master class for the HWP screenwriting group. Read on for more Harvardwood happenings this month as well as an inside look at two of the masterminds behind FX's hit show DAMAGES, brothers Todd A. Kessler '94 and Glenn Kessler '92...
Pencil Me In...
LONDON: Harvardwood London and London Business School Screening of THE INFIDEL, Tues., Mar. 9
Written by David Baddiel and starring Omid Djalili, THE INFIDEL tells the story of Mahmud Nasir, loving husband, doting father and something of a "relaxed" Muslim who discovers after his mother's death that not only was he adopted at birth...but he's Jewish. THE INFIDEL was produced by London Harvardwood Chapter Head, Uzma Hasan. For more information, visit http://infidelmovie.com/ Come and meet the Harvardwood team, mix and mingle with alums working and/or interested in arts, media, entertainment, and education…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=95701
LONDON: Harvardwood Heads To...UK premiere of Engi Wassef's MARINA OF THE ZABBALEEN, Thurs., Mar. 11
Thursday, March 11th is the UK premiere of Engi Wassef's '02 film MARINA OF THE ZABBALEEN, a feature documentary about a little girl who lives and works in Cairo's Zabbaleen village, which boasts the highest recycling rate in the world. The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York to sold out audiences, and went on to win major awards at festivals around the world…The film has been the focus of governments around the world, due to the recycling message it promotes, and was sponsored by National Geographic to screen in front of an audience of various government officials in the Obama Administration in Washington D.C. MARINA OF THE ZABBALEEN has also qualified for an Academy Award this year…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=98291
LA: Harvardwood invited to - IVY Entertainment Oscars Viewing Party, Sun., Mar. 7
Join us for IVY Entertainment's annual Oscar Viewing Party to help cheer on IVY alums at the Oscars! Cheer on IVY nominations; Play the winner prediction ballot game for your chance to win prizes, including Arclight giftcards; Dress up: blazer for guys, cocktail dress for ladies; Network like crazy during the commercial breaks. Your ticket includes light appetizers (shrimp cocktail, chicken satay skewers, sliders, veggie platter, and unlimited soda, juice, water). Cash Bar…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=98292
LA: Harvardwood Seminar Series: On Comic Books -- Everyone Has to Start Somewhere! Thurs., Mar. 11
The Harvardwood Seminar Series (HSS) presents: On Comic Books -- Everyone Has To Start Somewhere! - a workshop with Scott Lobdell. Sure, he's a world famous comic book writer now... but Scott Lobdell remembers what it was like some two decades ago when he was first breaking into the business…He'll provide all the basics you need to get started, and then be available to answer all your comic book related questions…On top of all this he is hilariously funny and enormously entertaining so you will not want to miss this! To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=96958
LA: Harvardwood Heads To...Cornerstone Gala celebrating Paris Barclay, Tues., Mar. 16
Join Harvard alums and others in celebrating acclaimed director/producer Paris Barclay '79 as he receives an award from Cornerstone Theater Company, founded in 1986 by Harvard alums Bill Rauch, Alison Carey, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Moore, and others. It will be a wonderful evening plus great food and special guest performances. Alum Amy Aquino will MC the entire night, and actress Jane Lynch will be there to bestow the award on Paris…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=97979
LA: Harvardwood Heads To..."Reverse Aging Now," Harvard Club lecture, Wed., Mar. 17
Emmy Award-winning producer Paul M. J. Suchecki '76 discusses the anti-aging methods explored in his award winning documentary REVERSE AGING NOW, with cutting edge research by doctors and scientists from Harvard, Yale, Stanford, UCLA, USC and more. In a multimedia presentation, Paul will offer a range of complementary techniques that attendees can use to feel and look better, boost their energy, fire up their sex life, and slow aging…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=98736
NY: Harvardwood Heads To...HBSWANY Media & Entertainment Insiders Event, Mon., Mar. 8
Join us as Harvardwood Heads To...HBSWANY Media & Entertainment Insiders Event. Is your day spent thinking about: a) Pay walls, b) Convergence, c) Team Edward vs. Team Jacob, d) Snooki, e) All of the above? If so, join us for the HBSWANY's Media and Entertainment Industry Insider’s event! This is your chance to connect with fellow HBS alumnae working in the sector for an informal evening of discussion, debate and connections. Learn more about the HBS Women’s Association of New York and how you can be involved…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=98760
NY: Harvardwood Seminar Series: Internationally Acclaimed Director ANDREI SERBAN, Fri., Mar. 12
For four decades, Andrei Serban has been one of the most original, innovative, and internationally influential directors in theater and opera. His work has been seen in New York in venues ranging from La Mama to Lincoln Center (including Aeschylus's Agamemnon, and his Tony-winning production of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard starring Irene Worth, Meryl Streep, and Raul Julia) to the Metropolitan Opera. He has staged plays and operas at the royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Comédie Française, the Opera de Paris, the Guthrie, the Vienna State Opera, the Royal National Theater, and major theaters and opera houses throughout the world….He has, in addition, been Professor of Theater at Columbia University since 1992, directing the Hammerstein Center for Theater Studies and heading the MFA Acting Program…Andrei Serban will speak about and take questions on theater, opera, and the education of theater professionals….To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=96997
NY: Harvardwood Heads To...Hasty Pudding Show in NYC! Sat., Mar. 13
Join us as Harvardwood Heads To...Hasty Pudding Theatricals 162: Commie Dearest. As the nation's oldest collegiate theater group, Harvard's Hasty Pudding Theatricals has been performing its unique brand of humor since 1844, when the first hairy-chested heroines took the stage in "Bombastes Furioso." In essence, the show is a no-holds-barred burlesque musical, with men playing both male and female roles…SYNOPSIS: It's the 1950s, and the residents of a typical American suburb are all vying to win the American Dream, a bowling trophy. But the arrival of star ball-loving ballplayer Doug Out and sexy-but-fishy starlet Marlin Monroe to award the prize brings everyone's secrets to the surface…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=98936
NY: Showbiz Store & Cafe invites Harvardwood to a FREE screenwriting workshop, Thurs., Mar. 18
Showbiz Store and Cafe invites Harvardwood to a FREE workshop for writers: Character Map Seminar - Create a Visual Map of Your Character's Emotional Journey, led by Laurie Hutzler of ETB Screenwriting. Laurie will demonstrate how to create a visual map of your character's emotional journey and your screenplay's dramatic structure…Laurie Hutzler has taught these powerful methods to screenwriters and television writers all over the world…There is a VERY LIMITED number of seats for this FREE event! To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=96773
NJ: Harvardwood NJ Launches with an event on Sun., Mar. 7!
Celebrate the launch of the Harvardwood NJ Chapter with a concert event on March 7th! Please join fellow members and Harvard affiliates for: Anthony Branker & Ascent featuring vocalist Kadri Voorand. Composer Anthony Branker also leads the group Ascent, a jazz collective formed in 2004 dedicated to the performance of original new music by its founder, which has featured some of the most significant jazz artists working today, including Steve Wilson, Ralph Bowen, Antonio Hart, Bryan Carrott, Clifford Adams, Conrad Herwig, Jonny King, Kenny Davis, Belden Bullock, John Benitez, Adam Cruz, Ralph Peterson Jr., Renato Thoms, Wilby Fletcher, and Estonian vocalist Kadri Voorand…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=98276
Seeking Opportunities for the 2010 Harvardwood Summer Internship Program Worldwide!
Harvardwood is pleased to announce the 2010 Harvardwood Summer Internship Program (HSIP). HSIP provides a list of internship opportunities in the arts, media and entertainment to interested Harvard students. Harvardwood also coordinates career-related events over the summer for program participants in LA, NYC and other cities. If your company is interested in listing an internship via HSIP, please go to full posting for more details: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/37523/Seeking-Opportunities-for-the-2010-Harvardwood-Summer-Internship-Program-Worldwide.htm
Announcing a new grant for developing theatrical work from the A.R.T. Alumni Lab Artist Grants
Harvardwood is pleased to announce the A.R.T. Alumni Lab Artist Grants, a new collaboration with the A.R.T. Alumni Association, a volunteer-run, independent nonprofit organization for graduates of the Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University/Moscow Art Theater School. Lab Grants aim to support the development of new theatrical work, including full-length original plays, adaptations, translations, musicals, solo plays, and interdisciplinary theater projects. In 2009, the A.R.T. Alumni Lab issued six grants of $1,000-$2,000 to A.R.T. Institute alums, helping produce two theater workshops, two fully staged productions, one reading, and one film project. This year, we are pleased to make one Lab Grant of up to $2,000 available to members of the extended Harvardwood community…Deadline: April 15…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/37387/Announcing-a-new-grant-for-developing-theatrical-work-from-the-A.R.T.-Alumni-Lab-Artist-Grants.htm
The New Jersey Chapter of Harvardwood Launches!
Calling all New Jersey residents working (or strongly interested) in the arts, media, and entertainment! Harvardwood is starting up a New Jersey Chapter, and we are in the process of planning an exciting series of events and activities in the NJ area that will be informative, fun, and great for networking. If you are in New Jersey, please join the New Jersey Chapter through the Harvardwood website (find instructions for joining in the online posting), or feel free to send an email with any questions, concerns, or ideas to Chapter Head Mariam Nazarian – [email protected]…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/36682/The-New-Jersey-Chapter-of-Harvardwood-Launches.htm
Harvardwood participates in the HAA Global Month of Service this April
Harvardwood is excited to participate in the HAA's Global Month of Service this April! We are seeking volunteer opportunities in which Harvardwood members worldwide can participate. If you have any service opportunities taking place this April that you'd like to promote to the Harvardwood community please email [email protected] with the details.
Lara Hirner ‘05 and her vocal jazz quintet, WEST SIDE FIVE, will be performing their first lounge gig on March 16 from 8:30-9:20 PM at Parkside Lounge on Houston St, NYC. $5 cover charge. All five members are Harvard Graduates and met singing in the Harvard-based VoxJazz vocal jazz group - we'd really love to see some Crimson in the crowd! You can hear sample tracks at my MySpace page or find us on YouTube if you'd like a preview!
James P. Connolly ‘88 will be performing in the 3rd Annual Laugh Detroit Comedy Festival Monday, March 22nd hosted by Lewis Black. You can go to www.comedycastle.com for festival show info and tickets.
New Harvardwood member, Jeff Layton, HGSE (tentative class of 2010), was awarded "Best Educational Short for Ages 8 to 12 years" at the Kids First! Film Festival in Santa Fe, NM for his original production, DIG INTO HISTORY with California Jones: Gold Rush. DIG INTO HISTORY is a social science series created and produced by Jeff Layton that is designed to educate and engage a young diverse audience.
Alum singer-songwriter Sara Melson's track "Anywhere Anytime" is the theme song for several new Chevy spots, the first three of which have been airing throughout the Winter Olympics. Keep an eye and ear out for them! For more information and licensing / composition requests, please visit www.saramelson.com and find Sara Melson on Facebook. Cheers!
State of the Art Decor and Neon Abstracts, an art and photography show, opens Tuesday, March 2 next to the Boston Design Center featuring custom digital innovations for interior and outdoor rooms, "to make a place unique." Meet the artist, Holly Alderman, at the reception, 2-4 pm, at the new Gallery Showroom of Irish Limestone US, 21 Drydock Avenue, Boston. Collections include garden tapestries on satin, antique Aegean wallpaper scenes, photoshop murals, ferns, and neon paper collage. Art and photo samples on rag papers and canvas as well as adhesive fabric, satin, sheer silk, eco-friendly vinyl substitute, and clear film, fun stuff. Details at HollyAlderman.com or call 617-733-5493.
Karen-Eileen Gordon (Harvard College) has booked the female lead in an independent feature film comedy titled PANAMA CITY, shooting this summer in Atlanta, Georgia and Panama City, Florida!
And the Oscar goes to...
In celebration of Oscar season, we want to cheer on our fellow alums vying for that prized golden statue! Join Harvardwood in congratulating the following nominees:
-Matt Damon for Best Actor (INVICTUS)
-Geoff Fletcher for Best Adopted Screenplay (PRECIOUS)
-Robert Kraft and Fox Music for Best Score (AVATAR-James Horner & FANTASTIC MR. FOX-Alexander Desplat) and Best Song (CRAZY HEART-"The Weary Kind" by T-Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham)
Featured Member Posting: Comic Book Publishing Venture Seeks Junior Executive/Editor
Looking to fill a junior executive/editorial position in a new comic book publishing venture with one of the biggest names in comics today. Responsibilities will include overseeing production on 6 existing titles, launching 2 new titles, finding additional originals and potential licensed titles, foreign sales, marketing and more. Primary focus will be in the publishing world, but there will be significant film/tv/videogame/merchandising overlap. The ideal candidate needs to be entrepreneurial, motivated, a huge comic book fan, and a self starter…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/networking/opening.asp?id=75743
Member Profile: Todd A. Kessler '94 & Glenn Kessler '92
by Dayna Wilkinson
Todd Kessler: "It’s a rare moment in one’s career when you get to work with people you’ve known your whole life and do a show that’s inspiring with great actors…We really try to not take it for granted.”
Glenn Kessler: "To be able to work with people you’ve enjoyed for so long and you’ve been interested in collaborating with is certainly a dream come true.”
Phrases like "Inherent trust,” "rare opportunity,” and "long-time friends” are often heard when the topic is Damages, the character-driven legal thriller starring Glenn Close, now in its third season on FX. Todd Kessler ’94, Glenn Kessler ‘92 and Daniel Zelman ’90 are the show’s co-creators and executive producers. On the Damages set the three men are referred to simply as KZK—also the name of their production company.
Other Harvard grads can be found among the show’s actors and on the production staff. "It’s been a pretty terrific creative experience, working with people with whom you have a shorthand because you’ve known them for 20 years.”
The shorthand was developed at Harvard where Todd, Glenn and Daniel did a lot of performing and writing. (In one of those classic Harvard coincidences, Glenn and Daniel were members of The Hasty Pudding Theatricals in 1990 when the Woman of the Year was none other than Glenn Close. "Daniel and I met Glenn Close seventeen years before we met her to ask if she’d like to star in Damages.”)
How did their undergraduate dramatic experiences lead to where they are today? "You never know how a hobby and passion can end up as something you can turn into a career,” Glenn says.
"None of us went to film school,” Todd adds, "we all just started working. Glenn and Daniel started first as actors and I started as a writer, and we’ve been able to use these professional experiences as our training ground. There’s no better way to learn than to throw yourself into it and pick up as much as you can from actually having the deadlines and having to produce material.”
After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Harvard with a degree in Dramatic Literature & Playwriting, Todd began his career as a playwright working with David Rabe. He moved into film and television when Spike Lee hired him as a screenwriter. Before Damages, he wrote and produced "The Sopranos” for two seasons, Michael Mann’s "Robbery Homicide Division” and the first season of "Providence.” Glenn graduated from Harvard with honors with a degree in English and American Literature, after which he earned an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program. He started as a playwright and is an acting veteran of film, television and stage. He broke into television writing on "Robbery Homicide Division.”
Which brings us to Damages. "One of the great things about one-hour dramas,” Todd notes, "is that as writers and creators, we have a tremendous amount of creative control. Glenn and I have each acted in the show, and all three of us have been able to direct episodes.”
Their main motivation with Damages was to show two women in power relationships--the ruthless mentor Patty Hewes (Glenn Close), and mentee Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) who becomes a formidable ally/adversary. Things are never as they seem, and each season-long case promises twists, deception and shocks. Season three includes new cast members Martin Short, Lily Tomlin and Campbell Scott, as Patty Hewes goes after a Madoff-like character.
Damages has been notable for its extraordinary cast. "The experience of working with actors like Glenn Close, William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden and Ted Danson -- you learn so much every day,” Todd says. "The actors and everyone we’ve been working with have been able to create a community that’s collaborative and very unlike a lot of what happens in the entertainment industry.”
Critics have been enthusiastic and the show has garnered numerous nominations and awards. Damages has won four Emmy Awards, including two for Glenn Close as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2008 and 2009. The key to it all has been the writing. "I have always been seduced by really good writing," Glenn Close has said, "and very early in my career I made a decision to go where the writing was.” Todd, Glenn and David have also been nominated for Best Writing, Best Directing and twice for Best Drama Series, a first in basic cable history.
So what is it that makes Todd, Glenn and Daniel a successful writing team? "I don’t know if we have a full understanding of what makes it work,” Todd says, "except for the fact that it’s in the spirit of collaboration. The desire to hear each other’s ideas is really at the forefront.”
Glenn adds, "There’s a great faith that through debate--sometimes spirited debate -- every idea is going to get better. There’s no sense of proprietorship or protecting your ideas. We want the best idea to win.”
When asked how they would advise aspiring writers and others, both said to look inside for direction and rewards. "The biggest thing is to pursue what’s of interest, and write what’s of interest,” Glenn says.
"There’s no one path to take,” notes Todd. "Lead an interesting life and follow what inspires and excites you. As a writer, having diverse interests is going to feed you.”
"No one knows what’s going to be successful or what people are going to respond to,” adds Glenn. "If you create something that you’re actually interested in, the rewards start to come from within as opposed to hoping that other people might also be interested. These things can take years of your life so the best you can do is start with something that you actually have a passion for.”
What does the future hold for Todd, Glenn and Daniel? "We don’t know yet whether we’ll have a fourth season of Damages. It’s standard FX policy to not pick up shows until their season is finished,” Todd says. "But the three of us will continue to work together. We have ideas for new television shows and will also be writing and directing features.”
Glenn adds, "We want to continue to branch out and maybe try something with a different tone, whether that’s actually a comedy or some version of a half-hour show. Also, I’ve written some plays, and have some theater work that I’d like to accomplish. We have a lot of ideas and we’re excited to continue to explore.”
Now that we have established a company in New York” says Todd, "we’re very excited about what’s ahead and will continue to challenge ourselves.”
Top photo-Todd Kessler, credit: J. Vespa/WireImage
Bottom photo-Glenn Kessler, credit: Craig Blankenhorn/FX
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