Issue 63 | April 2010

* Director's Notes
* Message from Mia
* Pencil Me In:


  • IVY Entertainment presents DEALMAKERS and DEAL BREAKERS, Thurs., Apr. 8
  • Celebrate Earth Day with the Harvardwood Helps Launch Event! Sat., Apr. 17
  • Harvardwood Heads To...Kelley Nicole @ The Talking Stick, Fri., Apr. 30


  • Harvardwood Heads To...DIY Days, Sat., Apr. 3
  • Harvardwood Heads To...a reading of Peter Johnson's novel GRANT'S INDIAN, Wed., Apr. 7
  • Harvardwood Presents: Yale Professor Joanne Freeman on BRAWLS IN THE HALLS OF CONGRESS, Fri., Apr. 9
  • Michael Mao invites Harvardwood to a FREE performance by Michael Mao, Thurs., Apr. 15
  • Harvardwood Presents: The Meeting Point of Opera and Chess, Wed., Apr. 28

* Seeking Non-Profit Fundraising Expertise
* Seeking mentors for the new Harvardwood Mentorship Program! - LA
* Call for Entries - Harvardwood Film Festival
* Seeking Hosts for the 2010 HSIP in LA and NY
* Calling all filmmakers going to Hot Docs in Toronto
* Seeking new participants for the NYC Harvardwood Writers Groups - NY
* 2010 Harvardwood Summer Internship Program listings now available
* Industry Successes
* Featured Member Posting: SPECIAL Discount for Harvardwood members for Level One Improv Class - LA
* Member Profile: Michael Cohen '99

Director's Notes

This April I am very excited for the launch for Harvardwood Helps, a program that will aim to deepen Harvardwood's commitment to public service. To kick it off, we are proud to take part in the HAA's Global Month of Service, working closely with the Harvard Club of Southern California to bring you some great volunteer opportunities! Join us on April 17th for some fun in the sun to help plant trees at the Los Angeles State Historic Park. Click on the event listing to learn more about winning fun prizes and getting some free months of Full Membership for your efforts! And with April upon us I know many of you are putting together your summer plans. Be sure to check out the great internship opportunities listed with the Harvardwood Summer Internship Program. This year we have opportunities around the country so you can be an "HSIPer" no matter where you end up!

-- Kelley

Message from Mia

We're delighted to announce the development of yet another brand-new initiative, the Harvardwood Mentorship Program (HMP) -- we hope this will become yet another valuable way for members to connect, give/receive career advice, and learn from one another's professional experiences. More details and info on how to become a mentor below... As for all you Harvardwood filmmakers out there, be sure to submit your work for our first-ever Harvardwood Film Festival, taking place in Los Angeles this year!

-- Mia

Pencil Me In...

LA - IVY Entertainment presents DEALMAKERS and DEAL BREAKERS, Thurs., Apr. 8

Dealmakers and deal-breakers fuel Hollywood. In this one-time-only panel, Hollywood's dealmakers discuss the inside scoop of what happens behind the scenes in film, tv, and new media. Ever wonder what it takes to make it happen in Hollywood? Find out at this exclusive event...For more info and to register, please visit:

LA - Celebrate Earth Day with the Harvardwood Helps Launch Event! Sat., Apr. 17

This Spring we are very excited to launch HARVARDWOOD HELPS, a new program that aims to deepen Harvardwood's commitment to public service! Join us for the Harvardwood Helps inaugural event with some fun in the sun to celebrate EARTH DAY 2010! Harvardwood is collaborating with North East Trees on the California State Parks Foundation’s Wetland Restoration Project at Los Angeles State Historic Park just north of downtown LA next to Chinatown. This is a truly incredible project that will have a huge positive impact on our city! Come celebrate and receive 3 free months of Full Membership to Harvardwood as well as a chance to win some fun prizes…To view full posting, please visit:

LA - Harvardwood Heads To...Kelley Nicole @ The Talking Stick, Fri., Apr. 30

I am delighted to make my first west side musical appearance at a great venue called The Talking Stick! I will be performing with some of the best r&b/funk players I know, bringing that special mix of "Alicia Keys meets India.Arie to go jam with Erykah Badu" kind of sound...I hope you can make it! To view full posting, please visit:

NY - Harvardwood Heads To...DIY Days, Sat., Apr. 3

How do we sustain ourselves as storytellers in this day of shifting distribution systems? How do we monetize our work and get the word out? Presented by WorkBook Project - DIY DAYS aims to answer these questions with a day of panels, round-table discussions and workshops: A look at how to fund, create, distribute and sustain….To view full posting, please visit:

NY - Harvardwood Heads To...a reading of Peter Johnson's novel GRANT'S INDIAN, Wed., Apr. 7

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… Peter Johnson ‘66, Ed. School ’68, is an award-winning author, actor and lawyer. A stage and voice-over actor ("swaggering good voice,” says Time Magazine), he has narrated over 500 audio books, including his own novel, GRANT’S INDIAN. Come hear Peter perform selections from the book and talk about making fiction from history and audio drama from the printed page…(A note from Spence: I've seen Peter perform, and he's wonderful! This is more a one-man show than a conventional "author's reading"!) To view full posting, please visit:

NY - Harvardwood Presents: Yale Professor Joanne Freeman on BRAWLS IN THE HALLS OF CONGRESS, Fri., Apr. 9

The hallowed halls of Congress--the words evoke dignity, even a sort of serenity. Yes, we know about the partisan bickering, the petty politics, even some disillusioning behavior. But brawls? Yale History Professor Joanne Freeman is working on a book about Congressional violence in the first half of the 19th Century…Whether you attend for the sheer appalling comedy of it all, or to gain a greater insight into our nation's political roots, this will be a memorable, entertaining, and sobering evening…To view full posting, please visit:

NY - Michael Mao invites Harvardwood to a FREE performance by Michael Mao, Thurs., Apr. 15

Harvardwood Full Member Michael Mao is one of today's leading choreographers. The Village Voice praised his "Exquisitely crafted work . . . satisfying in its suave beauty." For Immigrant Heritage Week, Michael Mao Dance will perform "Immigrant Paths." Michael Mao's diverse company of immigrant and native-born dancers will share their own immigrant paths and invite the audience to share theirs or those of their families. Following the performance, the dancers will invite audience members to join them on stage to learn traditional dances. One top audience participant, selected by Chelsea Art Museum staff and Michael Mao dancers, will win a free annual museum membership. Full Members of Harvardwood will receive priority registration until April 1…To view full posting, please visit:

NY - Harvardwood Presents: The Meeting Point of Opera and Chess, Wed., Apr. 28

François-André Danican Philidor was the great composer who revolutionized opéra comique in France. But he was also the greatest chess player who had ever lived up to that time, completely transforming the way people thought about chess…This unique event will explore both Philidor the genius of music and Philidor the genius of chess. Talking about Philidor's place in the chess pantheon will be Bruce Pandolfini, probably the most famous chess teacher and coach in the world today (Bruce was portrayed by Ben Kingsley in Chasing Bobby Fisher). Presenting Philidor's charming and irresistibly melodic music will be members of Opera Lafayette, a small extremely high quality opera company specializing in French opera of the 17th and 18th centuries...To view full posting, please visit:

Seeking Non-Profit Fundraising Expertise

As Harvardwood enters its tenth year of existence, we are excited by the ways in which the organization continues to grow and thrive. This year, to help take this organization to the next level, we would like to plan and implement a long term fundraising strategy that will ensure Harvardwood's continued existence and growth for generations to come. If you have or know of someone that has fundraising expertise that can help formulate and/or execute a plan in this area please contact [email protected] We welcome any and all advice/help in this matter. Thank you in advance for your support! To view full posting, please visit:

Seeking mentors for the NEW Harvardwood Mentorship Program! - LA

Harvardwood is pleased to announce the launch of our new Harvardwood Mentorship Program (HMP)! The HMP aims to foster meaningful professional relationships by matching Harvard graduates with more established alums in their fields of interest for a period of nine months of one-on-one career mentoring. We're currently seeking mentors for this program. Career focus and compatibility will determine the mentor/mentee pairings. While each mentor will be asked to participate in a few one on one meetings or phone conversations to discuss topics such as professional goal-setting, career plans, general advice on the industry, etc., there will be a great deal of flexibility in the nature of the relationship to accommodate the mentors’ needs...To view full posting, please visit:

Call for Entries - Harvardwood Film Festival

Harvardwood is accepting submissions for its inaugural film festival in Los Angeles, tentatively scheduled for Saturday, May 1st! In addition to a preview screening of an upcoming major studio release directed by a Harvard alum and other events, the festival will feature a program of short films…Shorts must be 20 minutes or less (any genre) and have a significant Harvard affiliation (director, producer, writer or star must be student, alum, faculty or staff). Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Submissions will be due April 15…To view full posting, please visit:

Seeking Hosts for the 2010 HSIP in LA and NY

Harvardwood seeks accommodations hosts for the 2010 Harvardwood Summer Internship Program (HSIP)…Because several of these internships are unpaid, many HSIP participants are in need of accommodations to help defray the costs of accepting these opportunities. If you have a spare couch, futon, sleeping bag, or room(s) you can provide to a student or students for an extended period of time this summer please let us know! In addition to our undying gratitude, you will receive a free year of Full Membership to Harvardwood and you will be invited to attend special HSIP activities including a thank-you event at the end of the summer. Hosts are NOT expected to provide transportation, meals, entertainment, etc. If interested, please email us at [email protected]…To view full posting, please visit:

Calling all filmmakers going to Hot Docs in Toronto!

The Toronto Chapter of Harvardwood is looking for Harvard alums involved in any of the films featured at Hot Docs this Spring. If you know of any alums traveling to Toronto to screen at Hot Docs let us know! We would love to host an event and/or highlight the film in some way. Please contact Toronto Chapter Head, Mark Solovey at [email protected]…To view a full listing of films and the full posting, please visit:

Seeking new participants for the NYC Harvardwood Writers' Groups - NY

The NYC Harvardwood Writers' Program is seeking new participants! The following groups are seeking new members: Comedy Writing, Prose Non-Fiction, and Writing For Television…If you'd like to register for a group, just e-mail us at [email protected], and we'll forward your message to the appropriate group leader…These groups are open only to Full Members of Harvardwood and, in limited numbers, to Friends of Harvardwood…To view full posting, please visit:

2010 Harvardwood Summer Internship Program listings now available

We are happy to announce that the 2010 Harvardwood Summer Internship Program list of opportunities is now available! New opportunities are added each week so check back often. To access this list, please visit:

Industry Successes...

Kitty Beer’s new novel, HUMAN SCALE, is coming out in April in honor of Earth Day. It’s a sequel to WHAT LOVE CAN'T DO, the first novel to portray the human consequences of climate change. Boston is mostly under water, seasons have gone haywire, and regional enclaves compete for essential resources. Vita battles to save her daughter from the decrees of the ruling theocracy. At the same time she must confront her husband’s allegiance to authority, and struggle with her attraction to an enigmatic spy. A fully realized, compelling world, conveyed with powerful, lyrical imagery and deep psychological insight. Plain View Press. Porter Square books reading April 25 at 3 p.m.

In February when YouTube removed all the videos she’d posted, including sections of CLUB MIDNIGHT/AGAINST CENSORSHIP, Amy Greenfield was outraged at such censorship of film art. Google’s guidelines places "art” in the category of "pornography." Not finding a way to appeal to YouTube, Greenfield contacted the National Coalition Against Censorship. Supporting her work, and agreeing that the issue is very important for filmmakers, the NCAC, with the leading Internet civil rights organization, Electronic Frontier Foundation, went up against the Internet giant to help bring to light the issue of YouTube/Google’s censorship of nudity. With an outpouring of press and public support on the Internet, YouTube, in an unprecedented decision, restored Greenfield’s films to their site, unrestricted, recognizing her use of nudity as art. Described by Vince Musetto of the New York Post as a "female empowering mix of cutting-edge film and raw performance art” CLUB MIDNIGHT is an evening-long film cycle of six interlinking films which transform the expressiveness of multi-talented women who have performed in the famous Blue Angel erotic cabaret, into emotion drenched, dynamic, visually dazzling digital cinema, which moves them from witnesses of victimization to freedom and power. This Saturday, April 3, for one time only, the NewFilmmakersNY Spring Fest presents Amy Greenfield’s award-winning CLUB MIDNIGHT/AGAINST CENSORSHIP, complete and uncensored on the big screen. 8:00 PM at Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Ave at 2nd Street. Admission is $6.00. For more information go to or

Charles Degelman’s new show ABOVE THE LINE tells the story of an accidental making of a hit movie right here in Hollywood. Love, lust, betrayal, and lofty ideals clash with Hollywood’s "bottom line” to create an accidentally brilliant, Oscar winning musical film! The show runs Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8pm from March 19 – April 24 at the Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA. Go to for more details.

This Sunday, April 4, at 9pm on the Food Network, Michael Cohen ’99 competes against his dad (and 2 other contestants) to make the best burger on the show ULTIMATE RECIPE SHOWDOWN. The winner gets $25,000 plus $5,000 in cooking merchandise. This is the ultimate grudge match, don’t miss it!

Featured Member Posting: SPECIAL Discount for Harvardwood members for Level One Improv Class

A well known improv theater is offering a SPECIAL discount for Harvardwood members for its Level One Improv Class, a fun and exciting introduction to the art of improv comedy. A minimum of ten people is required (the cap is 16). This will be a 6-week improv class JUST for Harvardwood. Normally offered at $285, this special rate is $100 per person. The class will take place Saturdays, Noon-3pm beginning May 1…To view full posting, please visit:

Member Profile: Michael Cohen '99

by Cristina Slattery

MichaelCohen.jpg"You have to be prepared for luck,” Hollywood, Florida born-and-bred Michael Cohen, ’99 advises those eager to succeed in Hollywood (California). An almost-chance encounter with a Mather House tutor helped Cohen change his professional focus post-Harvard from law to music. The tutor persuaded Cohen to apply to USC’s Thornton Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television program, for which he turned down Harvard Law School. However, he explains, he had been mastering instruments (bass guitar in 9th grade, guitar in 12th) since his childhood in South Florida.

"I didn’t take any music classes at Harvard, except a core class on music in fin de siècle Vienna,” Cohen acknowledges. He had taken the Advanced Placement music theory exam in high school without having actually enrolled in the class and continued to follow his passion in college as a composer for three Hasty Pudding shows. A naturally-gifted musician who started writing his own pop songs at age twelve, the Hasty Pudding performances allowed Cohen a chance to branch out into writing for more traditional musicals with a ‘40s and ‘50s type of style.

Cohen has worked on music for video games, commercials, reality TV shows, films and other projects since graduating from the USC program. USC had not initially accepted him because his undergraduate concentration was psychology and not music specifically, but a letter from Hasty Pudding Music Supervisor, Allen Feinstein, ’86 helped convince those in charge that Cohen had the requisite background to succeed. Now, Cohen spends his days working from home in L.A., thrilled that his professional life as a composer doesn’t mean he needs to endure L.A. traffic jams. He talks about his profession with an undertone of humor in his voice – like he can’t believe that he gets paid to do something so fun. The film score that he most enjoyed creating was for the 2003 film, "The Hebrew Hammer,” for which he had to combine Jewish Klezmer music with ‘70s "Blaxploitation” funk sounds. Other films for which he has written scores include "Higher Ed” (2001), "Spider’s Web” (2001), "Go For Broke” (2002), "Old Coaches” (2002), "Guns and Roses” (2003) and "Broken Fences” (2008). In addition to these feature films, Cohen has composed the scores for over seventy short films.

Not all projects leave room for the creativity that "The Hebrew Hammer” required, Cohen admits, and much of his time is often spent putting together more routine scores, or reaching out to people to find out about new work. Networking is a facet of his professional life that Cohen says requires time and some finesse. Harvard contacts have helped him get in front of directors who went on to hire him. According to Cohen, the difficult part is not so much getting the project once he knows about an opportunity, but finding the opportunities in the first place. In the best case scenario, an organic process takes place – once you work for someone and do a good job, he or she will be more likely to hire you in the future. Most of the time, Cohen is composing multiple scores. He could be creating a score for a feature film – which typically takes six to eight weeks from start to finish – and simultaneously composing shorter pieces for TV or video games, for example.

Even in his spare time, Cohen doesn’t let his creativity go to waste: one hobby, cooking, he takes very seriously, and it has become a lucrative pursuit for him. He competes in cooking and recipe contests, including one coming up this Sunday, April 4 called "Ultimate Recipe Showdown,” in which he hopes that his burger recipe will be the winner. (You can catch it on the Food Network, Sun. April 4th at 9 p.m. Eastern time.) Even if you don’t see him on TV touting his skills as a chef, remember to listen carefully next time you turn on the tube – it could be that Cohen’s music is the accompaniment that makes the film, show or commercial you are watching truly memorable.


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