Issue 69 | October 2010

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

LA EVENTS

  • **HARVARD IN HOLLYWOOD 2010 - "The NEW New Media," Sat., Oct. 30
  • HBSASC invites Harvardwood to: Will blockbuster strategies survive the rise of digital technology? Thurs., Oct. 7
  • Harvardwood Heads To...Singer/Songwriter Sara Melson @ Cafe Was, Tues., Oct. 12
  • Harvardwood Heads To...WHY AREN'T YOU WRITING PLAYS?, Sat., Oct. 16

BOSTON EVENTS

  • Harvardwood Presents: Creating Memorable Characters - A Discussion with Talent Manager, Marilyn Atlas, Sun., Oct. 3
  • Harvardwood Presents: Taking the First Steps in Your Arts, Entertainment, or Media Career, Wed., Oct. 13
  • Harvardwood Heads To...HAAAA Summit 2010, begins Fri., Oct. 15

SF EVENTS

  • HYA + Harvardwood Host - Cocktails and a Movie: Vertigo, Fri., Oct. 22

NY EVENTS

  • Harvardwood Heads To...Redemption Song (Harvardwood members can receive a 50% discount!), Tues., Oct. 5
  • Harvardwood Presents: World Piano Competition Gold Medalist YOONJUNG HAN Plays CHOPIN, Wed., Oct. 6
  • Harvardwood Presents: A NIGHT IN PARIS, Wed., Oct. 27

* Seeking event and "J-Term-Ship" hosts for Harvardwood 101
* Now accepting applications for Harvardwood 101!
* Harvardwood partners with the California Lawyers for the Arts (CLA)! - LA & SF
* Harvardwood Writers' Competition Winners!
* Support Harvardwood by shopping at Ralphs and get FREE months of membership!
* Join the Screenwriting/Playwriting group in NYC
* Industry Successes
* Harvardwood Artist Showcase
* Featured Member Posting: Writers' Room PA
* Member Profile: David Alpert '97

Director's Notes

A huge THANK YOU to the mentors and mentees that made the launch of our new Harvardwood Mentorship Program (HMP) last month a success! A good time was had by all at our first event, and a special shout-out goes to HMP Director, Stacey Collins, for making it all happen. September was awesome, but October will be no slouch. I'm excited to travel to Boston for our Harvardwood informational meeting on Wednesday, October 13th, entitled "Taking the First Steps in Your Arts, Entertainment, or Media Career." Bring all your questions, thoughts, testimonials and friends interested in the biz. And take note, it's Harvardwood 101 time again! Check the news items below to find out how to participate in the 2011 program, either as a student, an event host, or a "J-Term-Ship" provider. And finally, last but certainly not least, is our 5th annual Harvard in Hollywood symposium, taking place on Saturday, October 30th. We've got a ton of fantastic speakers lined up for our theme this year -- "The NEW New Media." Check out the speaker bios and get your advance tickets ASAP!

-- Kelley

Message from Mia

Big congrats to all the winners and runners-up in the 2010 Harvardwood Writers' Competition... In the Screenplay category, Richard Arthur (winner, "Only Way Out") and Alex Schemmer (runner-up, "The Furies"); in the TV Pilot category, Sean Presant (winner, "Mental Case") and Leonard Chang (runner-up, "Isa's Return"); in the One Act Play category, Alex Burger (winner, "3/5s") and Samuel Chalsen (runner-up, "Honey, The Dog is Dead").

Hope to see everyone at our annual "Harvard in Hollywood" symposium on Sat., Oct. 30th, where we'll hear about "The NEW New Media" from illustrious alums including Stephen Chao (Founder & CEO of WonderHowTo.com, former President of Fox TV, Fox News, USA Cable and the SciFi Channel), Albert Cheng (EVP Digital Media, Disney ABC Television Group), Carlton Cuse (Executive Producer of ABC TV series LOST), Jon Goldman (CEO of Qlipso, former CEO of Foundation 9), Josh Goldstine (President of Creative Advertising at Sony), Marty Kaplan (Norman Lear Professor of Entertainment, Media and Society at USC and Huffington Post blogger), Laura Martin (entertainment/media analyst and Managing Director of Needham & Company), Ron Sanders (President of Warner Home Video), Thania St. John (TV writer-producer and Co-Founder/President of the League of Hollywood Women Writers), and Larry Tanz (CEO of Vuguru, former CEO of LivePlanet).

-- Mia

Pencil Me In...

LA - HARVARD IN HOLLYWOOD 2010 - "The NEW New Media," Sat., Oct. 30

Harvardwood, the Harvard Business School Association of Southern California, and the Harvard Club of Southern California are pleased to present the 5th annual HARVARD IN HOLLYWOOD symposium, entitled "The NEW New Media," sponsored by Level 3 Communications…From YouTube to Hulu, from Twitter to Facebook, from Kindles to iPads, iPods, iPhones and everything in between, the NEW new media has revolutionized the way we interact with pop culture and entertainment. Come learn about topics including the impact of new media on traditional forms of entertainment, the role of social networking in the marketing and distribution of content, the evolving ways in which entertainment is made, defined, and consumed -- and much more! Featuring a live performance by the Harvard Yardbirds, Harvard's acclaimed alumni a cappella group!...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=126299

LA - HBSASC invites Harvardwood to: Will blockbuster strategies survive the rise of digital technology? Thurs., Oct. 7

  1. The emergence of digital technology is having a profound impact on the media and entertainment industries…Drawing on empirical research involving large data sets as well as in-depth case studies of companies in this space, HBS Professor Anita Elberse will offer insights into consumer behavior in digital channels and the likely consequences for managers. The central question is whether popular "blockbuster strategies” remain viable in the digital age. The session will focus on issues such as the possibilities for monetizing the "long tail” of media content, the consequences of the unbundling of content (think of the move from selling albums to individual songs in music), and the new rules of promoting content through YouTube and other video aggregators…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=126687

LA - Harvardwood Heads To...Singer/Songwriter Sara Melson @ Cafe Was, Tues., Oct. 12

Join us as Harvardwood Heads To... Singer-Songwriter Sara Melson, Tuesday evening October 12th at 8pm sharp, in the stunning room of Ivan Kane's Cafe Was in the heart of Hollywood. Cafe Was serves delicious California/ French fusion bistro food & great wines. The performance on the grand piano in the 25 foot-ceilinged-main hall is in the round, with tables adorning the circular room's many balconies, glowing with lanterns and candles. The vibe, intimate yet grand, is reminiscent of 1930's Paris. Entry is FREE and the show is all ages. You can make a dinner reservation at http://www.cafewas.com, and for more info on Sara check out www.saramelson.com...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=128185

LA - Harvardwood Heads To...WHY AREN'T YOU WRITING PLAYS?, Sat., Oct. 16

Toss excuses aside after taking this playful intensive on how to write for the stage. The workshop synthesizes playwriting tools, rules and suggestions on character, structure, discipline, and how to give and receive comments on writing. Previously presented in NY, Louisiana and Alabama, Steve Harper, an award winning playwright and a graduate of Yale, The A.R.T. Institute at Harvard and the Juilliard playwriting program, has developed this class to teach EVERYTHING he knows about theatrical writing in 3 dynamic hours…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=127824

BOSTON - Harvardwood Presents: Creating Memorable Characters - A Discussion with Talent Manager, Marilyn Atlas, Sun., Oct. 3

The difference between a marketable script is quite simply the characters and the difference between a writer who gets assignments and one who does not is their ability to create memorable characters. Harvardwood and Harvard Square Screenwriters present a discussion with Producer and Talent Manager for writers, actors, and directors, Marilyn Atlas. She will also speak about the Hollywood development process including discussion of: current trends - what genres producers are looking for and what genres are flooding the market; choosing the right production company to pitch a project and different ways to pitch a project; the importance of actor attachments in pitching and packaging - how much is the writer expected to do and what kinds of attachments actually can hurt a project…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=127818

BOSTON - Harvardwood Presents: Taking the First Steps in Your Arts, Entertainment, or Media Career, Wed., Oct. 13

Interested in pursuing a career in the arts, entertainment or media after graduation? Come and learn more about Harvardwood…In addition to the educational events Harvardwood produces around the world, Harvardwood is home to dozens of programs that aim to provide its members with tangible, career-advancing opportunities in their fields of interest. Additionally, Harvardwood has an active online community, including a website, alumni directory and various email lists through which our close to 4,000 members worldwide can send and receive information regarding career-related issues, social events, classified ads, and other areas of interest…Come learn more about Harvardwood on Wed., Oct. 13th at the New College Theatre, 4pm. Bring friends! Co-sponsored by the Office for the Arts and the Office for Career Services…To register and view more information, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=126097

BOSTON - Harvardwood Heads To...HAAAA Summit 2010, begins Fri., Oct. 15

Join us as Harvardwood Heads To...the Harvard Asian American Alumni Association Summit 2010! Since the 1990s, Asian Americans have been among the largest and fastest-growing segments of the Harvard alumni population—a group that includes some of the world’s most innovative figures in public service, business, science, technology, law, academia, media and the arts, representing a broad range of experiences and backgrounds. The Summit will convene this dynamic and invaluable global network to reflect together about critical issues inside and outside of Harvard…The Summit will open with a welcome by Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust and includes a keynote address by Secretary of the Cabinet Chris Lu J.D. '91…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=124749

SF - HYA + Harvardwood Host - Cocktails and a Movie: Vertigo, Fri., Oct. 22

Get a jump-start on Halloween with Hitchock's chilling masterpiece, paired with a chilled concoction guaranteed to enhance your viewing experience. This ultimate tale of intrigue, obsession, and of course, heights, showcases 50's San Francisco in all its retro glory. For less than the price of an SF movie ticket, come hang with friends, enjoy 2 free cocktails, maybe even some popcorn and candy, and sit back and enjoy the show. And hey, if you're in the costume spirit early, feel free to dress to the nines, Kim Novak would…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=126989

NY - Harvardwood Heads To...Redemption Song (Harvardwood members can receive a 50% discount!), Tues., Oct. 5

Join us as Harvardwood Heads To…Redemption Song, an evening of conversation and performance exploring the relationship between artistry, dependency, recovery, and longevity… Begins at 7:30pm with a panel discussion and performance; then continues at 9:30pm with an exclusive meet-the-artists after-party sponsored by FUZE Beverage Providence…The panel includes: host Henry Rollins—musician, actor, performer, and writer; Steven Adler, musician/drummer (Guns N’ Roses, Adler’s Appetite) and author (My Appetite for Destruction: Sex, and Drugs, and Guns N’ Roses); Rickie Lee Jones, blues, folk, and jazz musician, singer-songwriter, producer, and performer; Ace Frehley, original guitarist of KISS, songwriter, and author (No Regrets); and Darryl "DMC” McDaniels (Run-DMC), musician, founding member of the hip-hop group Run-DMC, and author (King of Rock: Respect, Responsibility, and My Life with Run-DMC)…Harvardwood members can receive 50% off tickets to this dynamic event…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=128252

NY - Harvardwood Presents: World Piano Competition Gold Medalist YOONJUNG HAN Plays CHOPIN, Wed., Oct. 6

Pianist Yoonjung Han will perform an all-Chopin program in honor of the 200th anniversary of Chopin's birth. Richly poetic and emotionally communicative, Han has been hailed by critics around the world. The Cincinnati Enquirer praised her "flowing tones, poetic phrasing, and heavenly singing melodies." The New York Concert Review hailed the "drama, yearning, and passion" of her recent solo debut at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. The Helsinki Post called her "A simply phenomenal player! Absolutely stunning!" Yoonjung Han was the gold medalist at the 2008 World Piano Competition in Cincinnati. Han has been named the "Most Promising Young Artist” by the Korean Ministry of Culture, and has won a host of other awards…This will be an opportunity to hear a major new artist at the start of an important career…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=124954

NY - Harvardwood Presents: A NIGHT IN PARIS, Wed., Oct. 27

Escape from New York for a Night in Paris. Enjoy the romance and elegance of DTA Chef Anthony LoCastro's superb French cuisine, accompanied by carefully selected French wines. Enjoy the sophisticated conversation of your fellow Harvardwood members. And then, the room falls silent as Dutch cabaret artist Frans Bloem, winner of the coveted Bistro award in 2002, performs songs written by or associated with such great French artists as Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, and especially Charles Aznavour, who personally authorized Bloem to perform his material. With his spare but intense manner, in the tradition of the legendary French singers whose work he performs, Bloem builds a song to the highest pitches of emotion, from despair to rapture, from loneliness to love…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=126737

Seeking event and "J-Term-Ship" hosts for Harvardwood 101

Harvardwood invites all Harvard alums and friends to get involved in the 9th annual Harvardwood 101 career exploration program, co-sponsored by Harvard’s Office of Career Services and Office for the Arts. Harvardwood 101 brings a group of Harvard undergraduates to Los Angeles during the January term (or "J-term”) and provides various career-related activities in an attempt to demystify "the biz" and educate current students about opportunities in the arts/media/entertainment industries… Please contact us at [email protected] if you are interested in any of the following: Hosting all of the students for an office/set visit, participating in a panel discussion, providing a one-on-one informational interview, and/or providing a "J-term-ship” opportunity for an individual student (or students). PLEASE NOTE that J-Term-Ship opportunities may be in LA or other cities…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/news.asp?id=50007

Now accepting applications for Harvardwood 101!

Harvardwood is pleased to announce our 9th annual Harvardwood 101 career exploration program, cosponsored by the Office of Career Services and Office for the Arts. The program brings a group of Harvard undergraduates to Los Angeles during the first week of the January term (JAN. 3-9, 2011) and provides various career-related activities in an attempt to demystify Hollywood and educate current students about opportunities in the arts, media and entertainment…In addition, Harvardwood 101 provides a limited number of optional "J-term-ship" opportunities (JAN. 10 - 23, or a portion thereof) for a subset of Harvardwood 101 participants who wish to utilize the rest of the J-term to further explore their area(s) of professional interest…Please note: J-termship opportunities may be in LA or other cities…Application DEADLINE: November 1, 2010…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/50010/Now-accepting-applications-for-Harvardwood-101.htm

Harvardwood partners with the California Lawyers for the Arts (CLA)! - LA & SF

Harvardwood is excited to announce our partnership with the California Lawyers for the Arts (CLA)! Through this partnership, Full Members can receive the CLA's Lawyer Referral Service (or LRS -- the LRS refers clients to members of their attorney panel for consultation on a variety of arts-related business problems) at a discounted rate, as well as discounted entrance fees to all CLA events and workshops…To view full posting and learn how to take advantage, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/48839/Harvardwood-partners-with-California-Lawyers-for-the-Arts-CLA.htm

Harvardwood Writers' Competition Winners!

After working through 120 scripts and 3 rounds of judging, the RESULTS of the 2010 Harvardwood Writers' Competition are finally in! First, a hefty congratulations to all FINALISTS – selecting winners and runners-up was difficult in every category. We were aware we had a lot of talented writers in the Harvardwood community, but were blown away by your submissions, and are immensely proud of our winning scripts. Also, a huge thank-you to everybody who helped out as JUDGES in this competition. You’ll remain anonymous as promised, but we’re grateful that you leant us your time and expertise. Without further ado…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/48709/Harvardwood-Writers-Competition-Winners.htm

Support Harvardwood by shopping at Ralphs and get FREE months of membership!

In order to keep Harvardwood dues low, each year our organization participates in the Ralphs grocery store Community Contribution program -- every time one of our members shop at Ralphs, a small percentage of the total expenditure goes back to Harvardwood! As an added bonus, if you sign up for the Community Contribution program before Oct. 15th, we'll add 3 FREE MONTHS of Full Membership to your account! PLEASE NOTE: If you enrolled last year you must enroll again by following the instructions below…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/30657/Support-Harvardwood-by-shopping-at-Ralphs-and-get-FREE-months-of-membership.htm

Join the Screenwriting/Playwriting group in NYC

Led by Michael Robin and Yannis Kyriazis, the Screenwriting/Playwriting group has been a great success. The group will re-launch this fall and currently welcomes new members. The group meets approximately twice a month (sometimes Saturday afternoons, sometimes weekday evenings). If you're already a member of this group, there's no need to re-register (but do make sure your Harvardwood membership is up to date). If you'd like to join, e-mail [email protected]

Industry Successes...

Mandel Ilagan ’99, an executive at Hasbro Studios, recently acted as a supervising producer for FAMILY GAME NIGHT and PICTUREKA!, two new family game shows premiering this October on The Hub! FAMILY GAME NIGHT premieres on SUNDAY, OCTOBER 10th at 7 PM (Eastern) / 4 PM (Pacific) as part of the launch lineup for The Hub. PICTUREKA! airs weekdays beginning MONDAY, OCTOBER 11th at 4 PM (Eastern) / 1 PM (Pacific) only on The Hub. The Hub is a new kids' channel that will be replacing Discovery Kids on most cable and satellite platforms on October, 10, 2010. For more information on The Hub, go to http://www.hubworld.com.

Dani Dixon will be speaking at the Latino Book & Family Festival (LBFF) on Saturday, October 9 at 2:00 PM ("Viva Cartoons!" in Room 184-E). The LBFF attracts close to 20,000 attendees and takes place at Cal State, Los Angeles. This event is free and open to the public. For more info visit http://www.lbff.us.

Nick Weiss is the supervising producer of THE BURIED LIFE, which premiered on Monday, September 27 on MTV (10:30pm EST). THE BURIED LIFE is a reality show about four guys crossing things off their bucket lists (no, they're not terminally ill, they're just seizing the moment). The first episode featured the guys at a major league soccer game trying to streak the field...and get away with it. Oh baby. Pop it on your DVR and don’t miss it!

Harvardwood Artist Showcase

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

Melson.jpgSara Melson lives somewhere beyond the boundaries of rock, pop, and folk. With or without a band, on piano or on guitar, her unique voice and timeless songs cut through the noise of modern life to soothe, inspire, and uplift. Tracks from Sara’s first full-length album, DIRTY MIND (Nettwerk Records 2008) have been featured on GREY’S ANATOMY and as the theme of a new Chevy ad campaign. The record climbed high on the iTunes pop chart and landed her features on iTunes, Myspace, and Yahoo, prompting Yahoo to choose her as their New Buzz Artist and for their Who’s Next/ User’s Choice campaign. Sara is an electric live performer who has shared the stage with Ben Folds, Ben Lee, Juliana Hatfield, Silversun Pickups, Inara George of Bird and the Bee, Marc Broussard, Neil Halstead, and many others. She’s been a guest vocalist with Mojave 3 and the Dandy Warhols on KCRW’s MORNING BECOMES ECLECTIC.

Hear Sara’s music on her website, http://www.saramelson.com, on Facebook, YouTube, and MySpace, AND see her live on Tuesday, October 12 at Café Was in Los Angeles.

Kouffman.jpgComposer/recording artist Joyce Kouffman's fourth self-produced CD, FIERCE UNRULY JOY, will be released on October 15 and 16, 2010 with twice National Book Award Finalist, poet Linda Pastan '54, in a uniquely designed Spoken Word Jazz recording. After ten years of immersion in Pastan's work, Kouffman has created a memorable recording for Pastan's worldwide readers - a reading by Linda of 20 poems selected from her 30 year anthology, CARNIVAL EVENING and from one of her recent volumes, QUEEN OF A RAINY COUNTRY. Pastan's new volume, TRAVELING LIGHT, will be published by Norton in January 2011. For the music section of the CD, entitled FIERCE UNRULY JOY, Kouffman has extracted essential phrases from three of Pastan's love poems and created stand-alone music pieces following Linda's readings of them. Of Joyce's musical interpretations of his own, Jane Hirshfield's, and Linda Pastan's poems, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Robert Hass has called them "...startlingly intimate and alive..." Award-winning poet Jane Hirshfield has said," Joyce Kouffman brings her unique talents as composer into conversation with poetry in a way that expands both music and words, creating a third dimension in which each part of the whole exists both in its own fullness and changed."

As a life-long community arts activist, Joyce will be hosting a month-long participatory multi-arts festival - "Sea of Creativity" - for the entire month of October 2010 in Point Reyes Station, California, a world-class destination for viewing the natural world in Point Reyes National Seashore. Please see details of the festival at http://www.joycejazz.com.

Featured Member Posting - Writers' Room PA - LA

Seeking PA for working writers’ office on prominent cable television show. Job starts Monday, October 4th and goes through mid-November with a strong possibility of extension. Hours are 10am-5pm. Duties include very light phones, lunch runs, and keeping the break room stocked. Applicants must have a car. This is a great job for someone interested in writing- especially television writing. There is plenty of down time and people are encouraged to use that time to work on their own material. Good entry-level position for someone interested in being part of a working writers' room. Please send resumes, etc. ASAP…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/networking/opening.asp?id=85983

Member Profile: David Alpert '97

by Dayna Wilkinson

Alpert.jpg"I knew there was this place called Hollywood where people made a living in film and television, but I had very little understanding of what that meant and how I could get there from Harvard,” muses David Alpert ’97, partner at prominent management-production company Circle of Confusion, and Executive Producer of the highly-anticipated AMC series THE WALKING DEAD.

Although he was captain of the Harvard swim team and won all-Eastern College Athletic Conference honors, he didn’t spend all of his time in the pool.

"In my junior year I was president of Harvard Radcliffe TV and was the showrunner for HRTV’s soap opera IVORY TOWER. I was into every aspect of it-- the writing, the directing, the production. We raised money, got companies to donate materials and built a studio in North House [now Pforzheimer]. It was a question of starting things yourself, rounding people up and getting them going. There were a lot of incredible, talented & motivated people there.”

Then came NYU Law School. "While I was in law school I started a Hollywood-related web company. That gave me a reason to be in L.A. talking to people in the industry. I also learned a lot from working with investors and running the day-to-day operations of a startup.”

After selling the internet business, David started a literary management company in New York. At first it was hard, but then he established his niche. "I’ve been a comic book fan my whole life and knew that world very well. At the time, very few people were focused on comic books as a source for film and television—it wasn’t the mainstream phenomenon it is now.”

"I started by contacting people I knew in the comic book space. The comics community is very small and close-knit – everybody knows everybody. Once I demonstrated that I could add value, word of mouth spread. Within a short period of time I was lucky enough to be working with some of the most innovative names in the comic book business. That soon led to the opportunity to represent screenwriters and directors as well.”

As a one-man shop it was hard to gain access to all the information and relationships he thought he should have. "My business started growing rapidly, and I realized I could benefit from having partners with experience and interests in the same arena,” says David. That led him to Circle of Confusion, founded by Lawrence Mattis. Now, nine years later, he continues to run the New York and L.A.-based management and production firm with partners Mattis and David Engel.

As a manager and producer, David says, it’s all about serving the long-term strategic agenda while "fighting fires so nothing burns so brightly it causes real problems. On THE WALKING DEAD my role changes from minute to minute. Sometimes I’m a negotiator, sometimes a cheerleader, sometimes a therapist. It’s about lining everything up and getting out of the way of the great creative.”

"Shows from BATTLESTAR GALACTICA to LOST to MAD MEN really expanded the realm of what’s possible to program. THE WALKING DEAD pushes those boundaries even further. I think our show will open doors for a lot of great properties that previously couldn’t get on TV.”

Don’t expect a mindless gorefest. "This is a show that surprises you,” David explains. "It’s all about compelling characters and relationships in a heightened world. It’s an examination of the human condition under trying circumstances, as much LORD OF THE FLIES as DAWN OF THE DEAD.”

"If you’re going to try one show that’s a little outside your comfort zone, this should be that show.”

David has come a long way since he started managing writers in New York. He acknowledges "finding a fair amount of success” but says "I still have plenty to learn as a producer. In some ways I’m still finding my sea legs.” When asked how he would advise aspiring writers and producers, he doesn’t hesitate.

"For writers, it’s that truism: writers are always writing--they can’t help but write. So if you’ve been out there pushing and pushing one screenplay or one novel, don’t worry so much about the pushing, worry about the writing. It’s a skill like anything else and the more of it you do, the better. Things don’t come out of people’s heads fully-formed--it’s all about multiple re-writes and polishing.”

As for would-be producers, he says "The best way to show somebody that you’re a good producer is by producing. Find a way to make something--theater, an internet short, a television show, an independent film. Don’t let things get in your way. People say ‘I have a great idea but I don’t have the money’ – well, no one has the money when they start. You have to find the money, or find a way to make it for free.”

Want to reach the next level as a writer, producer or swimmer? Take David’s advice: just get out there and do it.

THE WALKING DEAD premieres on October 31st on AMC at 10pm Eastern Time.

Dayna Wilkinson is a proud New Yorker currently living, working and writing in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.


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