Issue 65 | June 2010

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

LA EVENTS

  • Harvardwood Heads To...Alum Singer/Songwriter Sara Melson @ Room 5, Tues., June 1
  • Harvardwood Seminar Series: Screenwriting Lecture w/ Paul Gulino, author of THE SEQUENCE APPROACH, Thurs., June 3
  • Harvardwood Heads To...the Sunset Strip debut of music group "AS/Ees," Wed., June 9
  • Harvardwood Salon Series: Music, Intellectual Property, and the Law, Thurs., June 17
  • Harvardwood Heads To...LA Screening of THE INFIDEL, Fri., June 25

NJ EVENTS

  • Harvardwood Presents: VERITAS(TY) Swiss Chocolate Tasting at Lindt, Fri., June 4

NY EVENTS

  • Our Fabulous June Moon Harvardwood PARTY!! Fri., June 4
  • Harvardwood Presents: TAMMY GRIMES, Wed., June 16
  • Harvardwood Presents MASTER & DISCIPLE: Beethoven and Ferdinand Ries, Wed., June 23
  • Harvardwood Heads To...NYC Food Film Festival feat. Debra Zarne, Sat., June 26

SF EVENTS

  • Harvardwood Seminar Series: The Science Behind the FOX TV Hit, LIE TO ME, Wed., June 23

OTHER EVENTS

  • Harvardwood co-hosts the Global Networking Night (various cities), Tues., June 22

* Submit for the 2010 Harvardwood Writers' Competition
* Seeking members for the LA Events Committee
* Join the Harvardwood Writers' Program in DC!
* Harvardwood Seeks Office Space
* TV Pilot Showcase Seeks Actors for Exclusive Industry Reading
* Changing Your Email Address? How To Update Your Account
* Industry Successes
* Harvardwood Artist Showcase
* Featured Member Posting: Entertainment Industry Job List
* Member Profile: Geoffrey Fletcher '92

Director's Notes

Summer's here and there's plenty to enjoy on the Harvardwood front! First, a heads up to all of the Harvardwood writing talent -- polish up those manuscripts and get them ready for the 2010 Harvardwood Writers' Competition (which has expanded this year to accept screenplays, television pilots, and one-act plays). Deadline for submission is JULY 30 so you have plenty of time to put the finishing touches on your masterpiece! In addition to the competition, this month also sees the start of a new writers' group in our DC Chapter. And of course there are a bevy of events to choose from this June, including a yummy chocolate tasting in our brand new New Jersey chapter on Friday, June 4th. Hmm, my mouth waters just thinking about it. Finally, we hope you enjoy a brand new section of the Harvardwood Highlights where we feature the work of a couple of artists from some of our programs. Writers, musicians, painters, and more, what can we say, we're a well-rounded bunch! Enjoy!

-- Kelley

Message from Mia

Thanks to everyone who came out for our special Harvardwood sneak preview of MOTHER & CHILD with special guests writer-director Rodrigo Garcia '82 and actress Tatyana Ali '02! A video of our post-screening Q&A discussion will be up on the Harvardwood Channel shortly, so stay tuned...

Meanwhile, summer fun is just around the corner with a variety of Harvardwood events from coast to coast (and beyond) -- see below and get involved!

-- Mia

Pencil Me In...

LA - Harvardwood Heads To...Alum Singer/Songwriter Sara Melson @ Room 5, Tues., June 1

Join us as Harvardwood Heads To... Alum singer/ songwriter Sara Melson at Room 5 at 143 N. La Brea, 8:45pm on Tuesday June 1st. Cover is 6 bucks. More info at http://www.room5lounge.com and at http://www.saramelson.com. Find Sara on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sara-Melson/7577152530 ...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=109769

LA - Harvardwood Seminar Series: Screenwriting Lecture w/ Paul Gulino, author of THE SEQUENCE APPROACH, Thurs., June 3

The great challenge in writing a feature-length screenplay is sustaining audience involvement from page one through 120. Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach expounds on an often-overlooked tool that can be key in solving this problem. Paul Gulino, author of THE SEQUENCE APPROACH, will give an overview on this famous method and show it at work by breaking down the sequences in TOY STORY. We highly recommend watching Toy Story and/or picking up a copy of Paul's book before attending...To view full posting and register, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=105829

LA - Harvardwood Heads To...the Sunset Strip debut of music group "AS/Ees," Wed., June 9

Harvardwood Music member Alexander Celemin (aka Alex Au Dio) is one of the two exciting front-men in "AS/Ees" - "motion and emotion music to motivate your booty!" Support your comrade and have a great time! Immediately after, join Alex a few blocks away for a little birthday celebration at his home..To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=110396

LA - Harvardwood Salon Series: Music, Intellectual Property, and the Law, Thurs., June 17

Harvardwood is pleased to present the next installment in our popular Harvardwood Salon Series… This month, to discuss Music, Intellectual Property, and the Law, is Harvardwood member Diane Klein '87, JD UCLA '97. Diane will address a variety of intellectual property and contract issues related to music, including what musical copyrights are, what is covered and what is not; using the work of others; some famous musical copyright infringement cases; and a bit about contracts…this event is open to all members of Harvardwood, but preference will be given to members of the Harvardwood Music Group…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=110430

LA - Harvardwood Heads To...LA Screening of THE INFIDEL, Fri., June 25

Culture swap comedy THE INFIDEL produced by Harvardwood London Chapter Head, Uzma Hasan GSAS '03, is showing in Los Angeles at Laemmle's Sunset 5 from June 24 - June 30th. THE INFIDEL tells the story of Mahmud Nasir - a Muslim cabbie who discovers that he is adopted and actually Jewish! The only person he can turn to is Lenny (Richard Schiff, The West Wing), a drunken Jewish cabbie that lives across the street who starts to haphazardly teach him how to be 'Jewish'. Contending with suspicion from his long suffering wife Saamiya (Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife), Mahmud tumbles into a full-scale identity crisis in this comedy of religious errors…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=109515

NJ - Harvardwood Presents: VERITAS(TY) Swiss Chocolate Tasting at Lindt, Fri., June 4

Come mingle with fellow Harvardwood members, alumni, and friends over Lindt's signature chocolate selection! There will be a short presentation on the Swiss chocolatier halfway through the event, and a FREE bar of chocolate presented at the door to everyone that registers for this event online! To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=109514

NY - Our Fabulous June Moon Harvardwood PARTY!! Fri., June 4

June is coming up, and June rhymes with Moon, so it's time for a PARTY!! And this will be a great one, and a fabulous chance for you to meet more of our incredible Harvardwood members. A great selection of wines will be provided by Bill "Tish" Tisherman of Wine for All. So you're asked to bring something to eat or drink but NOT wine…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=108108

NY - Harvardwood Presents: TAMMY GRIMES, Wed., June 16

Two-time Tony Award winner TAMMY GRIMES is one of the major stage actresses of the second half of the 20th Century. Noel Coward launched her career, starring her on Broadway in his LOOK AFTER LULU in 1959, for which she won a Theatre World Award. She became a major musical star on Broadway the following year as THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN, winning her first Tony… Ms. Grimes will be interviewed by Brooklyn College's distinguished Professor of Film Foster Hirsch..and just perhaps we'll be able to prevail on Ms. Grimes to sing a few songs for us . . .To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=108107

NY - Harvardwood Presents MASTER & DISCIPLE: Beethoven and Ferdinand Ries, Wed., June 23

Ferdinand Ries was one of Beethoven's closest friends and favorite disciples. Join us in hearing one of Beethoven's best-loved works, the Ghost Trio, Op.70 No.1, alongside the North American premiere of a magnificent piano trio by Ries, played by pianist Susan Kagan (one of the world's leading authorities on Ries), the distinguished cellist Gerald Kagan and Violinist Eric Grossman...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=109500

NY - Harvardwood Heads To...NYC Food Film Festival feat. Debra Zarne, Sat., June 26

If you like food and you like films, you may enjoy the NYC Food Film Festival taking place June 23-27, 2010. The festival offers moviegoers the opportunity to "taste what you see on the screen"--which should be interesting in the case of Debra Zarne's film, pertaining to cannibalism. "An Ordinary Woman" (said film) will be screening Saturday night, June 26, at 8:32 pm under the Brooklyn Bridge. Check out the website: http://www.nycfoodfilmfestival.com. Let Debra know if you'd like to meet up at the festival…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=110081

SF - Harvardwood Seminar Series: The Science Behind the FOX TV Hit, LIE TO ME, Wed., June 23

Erika Rosenberg, Ph.D., of the Center for Mind and Brain at UC Davis, is an expert on facial expressions of emotion. She currently serves as the Scientific Consultant for the hit Fox TV show, LIE TO ME. Join us for a lively talk and demonstration of the science behind the show...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=108798

Various Cities - Harvardwood co-hosts the Global Networking Night (various cities), Tues., June 22

Please join the Harvard Alumni Association, regional Harvard Clubs, and Shared Interest Groups (SIGs) worldwide for Global Networking Night on Tuesday, June 22, 2010! Harvardwood is excited to co-host the Global Networking Night in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Hoboken, NJ, and Munich, Germany. Stop by to meet your local Harvardwood representatives! In addition to the cities listed above, the Global Networking Night will be adding cities throughout the month of June. If you would like to represent Harvardwood at any of these events please contact [email protected] To view full posting and register, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=110431

Submit for the 2010 Harvardwood Writers' Competition

Started in 2006, the Harvardwood Screenplay Competition was created to give emerging Harvard writers the opportunity to share their material with industry professionals. This year the contest will be re-titled the Harvardwood Writers' Competition and will expand to include three categories: 1) Feature screenplays (90-120 pp., all genres), 2) Television pilots (30-min and 60-min, all genres), and 3) One-act plays (40-min maximum, no minimum). The contest is co-sponsored by Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment. The deadline for submissions will be July 30. Winners will be announced on September 1. The winners will receive a small cash award, free admission to the 2010-11 writers’ program, and informational meetings at Kaplan/Perrone as well as a leading Hollywood agency…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/42116/Submit-for-the-2010-Harvardwood-Writers-Competition.htm

Seeking members for the LA Events Committee

Harvardwood is seeking a few friendly, out-going types to join the LA Events Committee! In addition to helping cultivate a friendly atmosphere at current LA events, committee members will assist in putting together more social gatherings for LA Harvardwood members. Committee members should have a desire to help galvanize the LA Harvardwood community in new and creative ways. If you are interested to join this committee, please email [email protected] with the subject line "LA EVENTS."

Join the Harvardwood Writers' Program in DC!

The HARVARDWOOD WRITERS’ PROGRAM is coming to DC! A new workshop will begin in June, focused on long-format fiction, primarily feature screenwriting and novels. The group will meet on alternate Tuesday evenings, and the idea will be for each member to set their own goals -- completing a first draft, polishing final drafts in preparation for the marketplace, etc. The workshop leader will work with novelists to help them effectively present their manuscripts to agents and publishers…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/42856/Join-the-Harvardwood-Writers-Program-in-DC.htm

Harvardwood Seeks Office Space

Harvardwood is currently seeking office space for its operations. Ideally we are looking for a space that can hold an office or two, has general meeting rooms for events like workshops, panels, and showcases, and has a screening facility (or any combination of these). If you have or know of any space that can be donated or leased at a discount rate, please contact [email protected] Harvardwood is a 501(c)3 organization -- any space donated will be tax deductible.

TV Pilot Showcase Seeks Actors for Exclusive Industry Reading - LA

Harvardwood TV Pilot Showcase seeks actors for an exclusive industry reading. To find out more about each role and how to audition, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/42580/TV-Pilot-Showcase-Seeks-Actors-for-Exclusive-Industry-Reading---LA-.htm

Changing Your Email Address? How To Update Your Account

For those in the class of 2010 (and others) changing your email addresses, you can update your account email at anytime by logging in and going to the "My Profile" menu on the right. When you are there, click on "Manage Profile" then click on the "Edit Bio” icon. Here you will see where you can make any necessary changes to your account, including updating your email address.

Industry Successes...

Gary Negbaur's wine tasting musical (WINE LOVERS) will reopen in New Orleans this summer with tours to follow. It's a show about a wine class where the audience becomes the class and samples wine while they watch. For those of you in New Orleans, or looking for an excuse to visit, go to http://www.lepetittheatre.com/winelovers for info/tickets. Gary will be attending the opening and participating in the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (http://www.nowfe.com). He'll be performing at the Superdome during their "Grand Tasting" event over Memorial Day weekend. What a hoot!

San Francisco-based singer-songwriter Kate Isenberg ‘97 has released GOLD RUSH TOWN, her second album of folk-pop original songs. With clear, soulful vocals that can show-stop or whisper secrets; guitar riffs that make unusual chords sound easy; and full-band arrangements of chamber-pop and tongue-in-cheek indie rock, GOLD RUSH TOWN is both sophisticated and accessible. Isenberg's listeners play her songs over and over not just for the ear candy, but also the food for thought. Isenberg will play a full-band CD release show for GOLD RUSH TOWN on Saturday, June 12, at the Red Devil Lounge in San Francisco (1695 Polk Street at Clay). Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Isenberg and her ensemble (including special guests Jon Evans and Erik Jekabson) will perform starting at approximately 9:00 p.m. For tickets, please call 1-866-468-3399 or visit Ticketweb - http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?dispatch=loadSelectionData&eventId=2057435&pl=reddevil

JC Cassis '06, a New York City-based singer/songwriter/producer of dance-pop music, has had a very busy few months performing and building up her network of contacts in the gay club world, which has been a dream come true thus far, since that scene is perfect for her music. She has also been blessed to find two amazing new drag queen backup dancers from Brooklyn-based avant garde dance/performance art group, bacKspace, who greatly enliven her show. She continues to produce new music, her podcast and music videos, and document all her adventures in independent music on her blog at JCCassis.com. Along with Audrey Boguchwal '04, she is also helping to organize Figment, an explosion of interactive public art, dance and music, which is taking place on Governor's Island on June 11-13. Figmentproject.org.

Nick Weiss '00 has been hired as supervising producer on season 2 of MTV's The Buried Life. The show is about 4 guys who travel the country crossing items off their bucket list and helping strangers do the same. New episodes air starting in September.

Karen-Eileen Gordon is headed to ATLANTA and PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA for the months of June/July, where she will be filming the female lead in the independent comedy feature PANAMA CITY, written/directed by Gregg Russell (George Foster Peabody and British Academy of Film and Television Arts award-winner)...the independent comedy RANGER ROB, in which she filmed a large supporting role, had its Los Angeles red carpet premiere on May 26th…and, NO ORDINARY FAMILY, the ABC pilot that she filmed (starring Michael Chiklis), was picked up! Happy Summer to all!

Lauri Donahue (HLS) wrote all three screenplays in the top 3 on Zoetrope.com for March. This seems to be the first time this has happened in Zoetrope history. (Founded in 2000, the Zoetrope Virtual Studio "is a submission destination and collaboration tool for filmmakers -- a community where artists can submit and workshop original work.") Lauri also won the More Magazine screenplay award and placed in the top 30 (out of 5000+ scripts) in the Nicholl fellowship competition -- twice. Lauri is seeking new representation and can be reached at [email protected]

Harvardwood Artist Showcase

The Highlights is proud to introduce the Harvardwood Artist Showcase. Each month the Highlights will feature a couple of artists from some of our various programs. Click each person's name to learn more about what they do.

Harvardwood Music Group leader Alex Celemin, aka Alex Au Dio to his fans, can be seen playing guitars and singing for 60s/90s party outfit, Al Dog Orchestra, and bass guitar and singing for the exciting new motion-emotion sensation, "AS/Ees.” Check out Alex in the Harvardwood Music Directory and his group "AS/Ees” as they take the stage at the Cat Club, Wednesday, June 9, for their Sunset Strip debut!

Featured Member Posting: Entertainment Industry Job List

View a comprehensive list of current entertainment industry opportunities…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/networking/opening.asp?id=79977

Member Profile: Geoffrey Fletcher '92

by Cristina Slattery

Fletcher.jpg"My name mean somethin’ valuable—Precious,” the protagonist of the novel, PUSH, by Sapphire, asserts. Geoffrey Fletcher ’92, winner of the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for the film PRECIOUS: Based on the Novel "Push” by Sapphire, and the first African American to win an Oscar for screenwriting, agrees. He says he fell in love with the character and likens her resilience to that of Odysseus and her self-awareness to that of Huck Finn. "Who hasn’t felt underestimated or discarded?” Fletcher asks. Many of us may have felt underestimated -- but for Precious, the heroine of the eponymous film, her entire life has been an unending experience of poverty and abuse. Her father, who has sexually abused her repeatedly since infancy and caused her to become the mother of a retarded baby at twelve and another baby at sixteen, and her mother, who is aware of the sexual abuse and yet verbally abuses her daughter, are not the only perpetrators of misery in her life. The community and the school system appear to have discarded her as well. But when her pre-G.E.D. teacher helps her to become literate and pursue her own writing, Precious begins to actually feel precious.

Geoffrey Fletcher, who grew up the youngest of three boys (all of whom went to Harvard), knew he had to tell her story. His mother, a school principal, and his father, a submarine technician, provided an environment that was nurturing and supportive of education and the arts while he was growing up. But Fletcher says he felt that he had a window into Sapphire’s character because he himself knew what it was like to struggle.

Having trained as a director at NYU Film School, his journey to become the Oscar-winner that he is today included early short films that got attention and praise, and many, many rejections from those in the industry as he sought out additional opportunities to write and direct. Fletcher explains that he needed to make his own voice heard for PRECIOUS as a writer and "the goal was to create a pile of pages that spoke for itself.” Getting to his big break with the PRECIOUS project, however, took years of determination. "If one is going to keep going in the face of all that [rejection]” he says, "one is going to learn a lot about themselves [by continuing] to try to refine his or her work and craft.” He acknowledges that he learned a lot about himself during the years after film school in which he worked at temp jobs, one of which entailed showing up to work each day in a windowless room, while continuing to pursue his artistic passions in film. (Of course, not all of his jobs were this bleak: Fletcher taught in the film programs at Columbia and NYU from 2006-2009 and says that he thoroughly enjoyed working with students since they kept him sharp.)

While at Harvard, Fletcher credits his friendship with Matt Damon, a fellow resident of Matthews South during his freshman year, for inspiring him to follow his desire to write and direct films professionally. Damon was "so passionate about acting in film,” he recalls. Fletcher's parents had encouraged his interest in photography and video in his youth, and at Harvard he continued to make short films while concentrating in psychology. (He also played football and baseball his first two years and acted in plays his last two years.) He cites an internship on the set of THIRTYSOMETHING while in college as pivotal in helping him to learn some of the more technical aspects of film, and he emphasizes that many things he had learned on that set crystallized years later.

"Every experience can be drawn up to make one a better artist,” he states. For instance, his background in psychology undeniably informed his understanding of how to depict Precious cinematically. He points out that the fantasy sequences in which Precious escapes into a dream-image of herself as a glamorous singer with her "perfect boyfriend” provides psychological relief to the audience as well.

Fletcher maintains the belief that writing and directing films is what he "was meant to do” and knows that having this sort of calling can be "a curse, in that you live and breathe for opportunities…[and] opportunities to make one’s living at it are few.” But he says that "no matter how long it took, I would keep going.”

With many projects coming to him in the wake of his recent accolades, Fletcher no longer has to struggle in the same way. He is mindful, however, that the most successful people he has met are "alert, curious” and willing to continue learning. He notes that the contribution of writers to the industry "cannot be overstated” and feels that writers are most certainly underappreciated by the industry.

These days, many women who look nothing like Precious stop Geoffrey and say they "are” Precious; it seems that, in being unwilling to give up on his dream, he embodies a significant part of her character as well.

Cristina Slattery is currently living in Barcelona, Spain where she teaches English to adolescents, university-age students and adults, writes freelance articles and reviews English-language fiction manuscripts for the Spanish-speaking market for Viceversa Editorial.


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