Issue 70 | November 2010

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

NY EVENTS

  • Harvardwood Presents: EDWARD ALBEE, Thurs., Nov. 4
  • Harvardwood Presents: SALLIE BINGHAM, Wed., Nov. 10

LA EVENTS

  • Harvardwood Heads To...a KELLEY NICOLE musical residency, Thurs., Nov. 11
  • Harvardwood Heads To...WHY AREN'T YOU WRITING PLAYS? Sun., Nov. 14
  • Harvardwood Actors Program presents: Butoh for the Actor (an actor's workshop), Sun., Nov. 21

* Seeking band/artist submissions for Harvard ROCKS! (Deadline Nov. 9th)
* Seeking event and "J-Term-Ship" hosts for Harvardwood 101
* Harvardwood Actors Program (HAP) NYC Seeking Financing
* Seeking new participants for the NYC Harvardwood Writers' Groups - NY
* OCS looking for current film students
* Industry Successes
* Featured Member Posting: Seeking TV Agent Assistant
* Member Profile: Andrew Bujalski '99

Director's Notes

In this season of giving thanks, Harvardwood was delighted to pay special tribute to our fearless leader, Mia Riverton Alpert, at the annual HARVARD IN HOLLYWOOD symposium, this past weekend. Thank you Mia for your inspired vision and relentless dedication and service to Harvardwood! Many of us (4,000+ and growing!) are very grateful for your work. And of course, a hearty thanks to everyone -- from panelists, to volunteers, and all of the wonderful attendees -- that made our 5th annual HARVARD IN HOLLYWOOD symposium a success! Can't wait to do it again next year.

Up next for November are some great events including an interview with award-winning playwright, EDWARD ALBEE, a reading with acclaimed writer SALLIE BINGHAM, and "Butoh for the Actor," our first community-wide actor's workshop. And Harvardwood musicians take note -- Harvard ROCKS is back by popular demand and in need of your pimped out submissions! The prize package is intense this year, with a chance at landing worldwide distribution for your next project. Don't miss this train, the submissions deadline is November 9th!! Lastly, don't forget to contact [email protected] if you'd like to host a few eager Harvardwood 101ers at your office this January, sit on a panel, or provide a specified "J-Term-Ship." We look forward to having you involved!

-- Kelley

Message from Mia

A huge thank you to all of the people who contributed to the success of our 2010 Harvard in Hollywood symposium, "The NEW New Media"! Special thanks to our alum speakers: Stephen Chao, Albert Cheng, Carlton Cuse, Aubrey Freeborn, Jon Goldman, Marty Kaplan, Laura Martin, Thania St. John, Ron Sanders, Nell Scovell, and Larry Tanz. Video of the event will be available on the Harvardwood Channel shortly!

-- Mia

Pencil Me In...

NY - Harvardwood Presents: EDWARD ALBEE, Thurs., Nov. 4

Edward Albee is one of the truly great writers of our time. His plays include Zoo Story (Drama Desk Award 1960), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Tony Award 1963), Tiny Alice (1964), A Delicate Balance (Pulitzer Prize 1967), Seascape (Pulitzer Prize 1975), Three Tall Women (Pulitzer Prize 1994), The Play About the Baby (1996), The Goat or Who is Sylvia? (Drama Desk Award and Tony Award 2002), and Me, Myself & I (2010). He is the recipient of the Gold Medal in Drama from the American Academy and Institute of Arts & Letters (1980), the Kennedy Center Honors (1996), the National Medal of the Arts (1996), the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement (2005), and a Drama Desk Special Award (2008). Mr Albee will be interviewed by playwright (and Harvardwood NYC Co-Chapter Head) Spence Porter…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=125896

NY - Harvardwood Presents: SALLIE BINGHAM, Wed., Nov. 10

Sallie Bingham '58 is one of our best-loved and most profoundly admired writers. She is the much-praised author of MATRON OF HONOR, STRAIGHT MAN and five other novels, four collections of short stories, numerous plays, three books of poetry, and the acclaimed memoir Passion and Prejudice. Her stories have been published in Mademoiselle, The Atlantic Monthly, Redbook, Playgirl, McCalls, MS, The Radcliffe Quarterly, and many other periodicals, and have been included in more than 15 collections, including Best American Short Stories and the O Henry Awards….Writing about her most recent poetry collection, IF IN DARKNESS (2010), Richard Pease hailed her "undeniable wisdom and clear-eyed vision . . . tinged both with melancholy and an ever-present generosity of spirit that compels me to come back to these poems again and again." Frederick Smock praised the poems "for their sharp edges and their subtle magic." Sallie Bingham will read both from IF IN DARKNESS and from her 2008 short story collection RED CAR ("Luminous . . . There is not a false note in Bingham's striking collection."--Publishers Weekly)…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=131385

LA - Harvardwood Heads To...a KELLEY NICOLE musical residency, Thurs., Nov. 11

Join us as Harvardwood Heads To... a KELLEY NICOLE musical residency! This will be my second time appearing at Four Leaf Tea & Crepes, and I have to tell you all, it's a delightful time! The crepes are superb, the tea is delicious, and how can you go wrong with the sounds of some of your favorite cover tunes (Roberta Flack, Alicia Keys, and John Lennon anyone)?? I will also share some tunes off my forthcoming EP, so don't miss it!...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=132750

LA - Harvardwood Heads To...WHY AREN'T YOU WRITING PLAYS?, Sun., Nov. 14

Toss excuses aside after taking this playful intensive on how to write for the stage (back again for November!). 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=132703

LA - Harvardwood Actors Program presents: Butoh for the Actor (an actor's workshop), Sun., Nov. 21

Discover a new level of authenticity in your work, and a new depth of understanding toward your physical, emotional, and expressive body. Butoh is a form of dance and performance art with roots in Japan’s post-war avant-garde movement. It has since become a major tool for artists and performers across genres, to harness the energies of the body, the environment, and the universal mysteries of life. We are privileged to have Shakina Nayfack, MFA, PhD, a theatre director and third-generation Butoh artist, trained beneath the founder of Butoh Ritual Mexicano, Diego Piñón. His approach integrates traditional Butoh exercises with new, inter-cultural explorations in improvisation, guided meditation, text-based imagery and ensemble driven action…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=131387

Seeking band/artist submissions for Harvard ROCKS! (Deadline - Nov. 9th)

Back by popular demand is the musical showcase with both brains and brawn -- Harvard ROCKS. Started in New York in 2009, Harvard ROCKS brings out the best of the best in Harvard’s undiscovered musical talent. This year the performing acts will be chosen by a group of top tier industry judges including Robert Kraft (President of Fox Music), Ken Kragen (former manager of Lionel Richie and Olivia Newton-John), DA Wallach (of Chester French), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave), Anne Preven (Academy Award nominated songwriter) and more! The performing acts will then compete for the ultimate music industry prize package: A world-wide digital distribution deal from Fulsircle Entertainment, soundtrack consideration at Fox Music, a performance slot at the Red Light Lounge, one of LA’s most popular monthly talent showcases, and a vocal recording session with Anne Preven…This Harvard ROCKS will take place in Los Angeles in late January 2011…All genres will be considered. Bands/Artists can submit from any part of the world but must be prepared to perform in LA in January if chosen…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/51083/Seeking-BandArtist-submissions-for-Harvard-ROCKS.htm

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 either of the following: Hosting all of the students for an office/set visit and/or participating in a panel discussion or providing a "J-term-ship” opportunity for an individual student (or students)…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/news.asp?id=50007

Harvardwood Actors Program (HAP) NYC Seeking Financing

The Harvardwood Actors Program (HAP) New York Branch is seeking capital to launch our first year. Our first major project, the Pilot Season Survival Guide (a filmed actors' showcase) is set to begin filming this November, for a January screening. Our budget for the showcase is $3,000, and an additional $2,000 is needed for general operations. Our initial group features 19 actors from the ART / Harvard community. If you have questions, please email Adam Kern at [email protected] If you are interested in donating to the showcase or the program, please visit www.indiegogo.com/evolve. Please note that all donations are tax deductible…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/51854/Harvardwood-Actors-Program-New-York-Branch-seeking-Financing.htm

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

The NYC Harvardwood Writers Program is seeking new participants! 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… The following groups are seeking new members: COMEDY WRITING: Led by Dawn Fraser, this group will welcome comedy writing of all sorts, including sketches, essays/memoirs, sitcoms, storytelling, and stand up; WRITING FOR TELEVISION: Led by Liz Levy, this will welcome writers interested in both comic and dramatic television writing. Other episodic endeavors, such as web series, are welcome as well!

OCS Looking for Current Film Students

If you are a current film student (or recent graduate of film school), the Office for Career Services (OCS) at Harvard is looking for you! OCS is looking for any alums in film school that wouldn't mind sharing their experiences with interested seniors. Please email Gail Gilmore ([email protected]) if interested.

Industry Successes...

Harvardwood Highlights writer, Cristina Slattery, was recently published in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EUROPE. View her article here.

Allison (Harnisch) Leotta, JD ‘98, a federal sex-crimes prosecutor in D.C., published her first novel, LAW OF ATTRACTION about – surprise! – a fictional sex-crimes prosecutor in D.C. Library Journal gave it a starred review and said, "With this riveting debut legal thriller, Leotta joins the big leagues with pros like Lisa Scottoline and Linda Fairstein." Alan Dershowitz said, "I loved it. Realistic, gritty, and filled with twists and turns. A great read for anyone who loves legal thrillers, cares about domestic violence, or wonders how lawyers can live with themselves." Suspense Magazine said Leotta is "an up-and-coming literary giant." http://www.allisonleotta.com/

Geoff Watson's '00 first book, EDISON’S GOLD, is due out in stores in October 2010 through Egmont US, a division of Random House. It's a middle-grade adventure story that follows Thomas Edison's great great-grandson on a National Treasure-style adventure through New York City, in search of the secret formula to create gold. http://www.egmontusa.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781606840948

James P. Connolly '88 is producing/hosting a Veterans Day Benefit Comedy Show on Nov 11th at the new Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank, CA. The event will raise funds for the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, a non-profit organization providing scholarships for post-high school education to deserving sons and daughters of Marines with particular attention given to children whose parent has been killed or wounded in action. Comedians scheduled to perform have been seen on Comedy Central, Chelsea Lately, The Tonight Show, Showtime and many more. For full press release go to: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2100/01/prweb4659544.htm. Tickets are $25.00 and can be purchased online at: http://www.flapperscomedyclub.com.

Dr. Audry Lynch ’55 asks - please help "an old school tie” by asking your local librarian and/or college librarian to purchase my books. They would be good for student research. 1) The Rebel Figure in American Literature and Film: The Interconnectedness of John Steinbeck and James Dean. By Audry L. Lynch, Edwin Mellen Press, ISBN 10:0-7734-4662-1, ISBN 13: 978-0-7734-4662-5, Pages: 120: Year, 2009: USA. List price $89.95 2) The Development of Roy Simmonds as a Steinbeck Scholar as Evidenced through His Letters: The Life and Achievements of an Independent Academic by Audry L. Lynch, Edwin Mellen Pres, 2010, ISBN 10: 0-7734-3745-6, ISBN 13: 978-0-7734-3745-2, Pages 620, USA List Price:$149.95, Discounts are available by contacting Mrs. Miller at 716 754 2788

Laura Hogikyan ‘14, recipient of VSA's Playwright Discovery Award, had her play performed at the Kennedy Center on September 30th and October 1st, 2010. The award-winning play, titled THE MARIONETTE EFFECT, deals with the struggle of a pianist to regain control after suffering a stroke. For more information, find her on Harvardwood!

John Unger Zussman '72 and Patricia Zussman have acquired the film rights to the popular Silicon Valley thriller, SMASHER, by Keith Raffel '72. Published last year by Midnight Ink, SMASHER is about a young high-tech CEO who must fend off a hostile corporate takeover by a ruthless billionaire while trying to figure out who tried to kill his wife, a deputy district attorney. The deal was negotiated by the Zussmans' manager, HLS grad KEMPER DONOVAN of Circle of Confusion, and Raffel's agent, JOSH GETZLER of Russell & Volkening. The Zussmans won the Harvardwood Screenwriting Competition in 2007.

Featured Member Posting - Seeking TV Agent Assistant

I’m looking for an A+ assistant...I'm seeking someone with exceptional organizational skills, tremendous energy, and a passion for television (has to be specifically television -- if you are more interested in film, music, stand-up comedy, or other areas, please do not apply). It's a hectic, fast-paced desk, with a great opportunity to learn how television production and post-productions works. Job is 9:30am-7pm, M-F and pays $500/week plus benefits; there is very little overtime but what is worked is paid. Looking to hire within the next couple of weeks to start as soon as possible...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/networking/opening.asp?id=87277

Member Profile: Andrew Bujalski '99

by Cristina Slattery

Bujalski.jpgFilmmaker Andrew Bujalski '99 states that the "desire for a controlled existence” is a theme that runs through his work. This writer/director of independent films, FUNNY HA HA, MUTUAL APPRECIATION, and BEESWAX, currently lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, novelist Karen Olsen, and their five-month old son. The journey that has taken him from Harvard to Austin is one that started in a supportive family in Boston. Unlike many artists who use their anger against family members to propel their creativity, Andrew states that this is a "well from which he has never been able to draw.” He adds that his "family has been supportive…without fail” and says that he is sure that this is the basis for any confidence he has, clarifying that he will take full credit for any and all of his insecurities.

Bujalski is grateful to have studied at Harvard’s Visual and Environmental Studies department (VES), a concentration in which students learn filmmaking, studio art, photography, and related disciplines, and says that the program helped shape him into the filmmaker he is today. Harvard’s VES program allowed Andrew access to incredibly smart people and didn’t provide too much "hand-holding,” but enabled students to become fully immersed in the creative process and the craft of storytelling and making films. Unlike programs that are more focused on "how the professional world works,” VES gave him the tools to become proficient at filmmaking and the freedom to worry less about how the movie industry is organized. "Certainly my VES training has been massively influential on how I continue to make films. The spine of that program is documentary and I hope I've brought a documentarian's eye to narrative filmmaking, most of my favorite films operate in some ways on documentary principles.”

A "great lesson from documentary is that you don’t know what you’re going to get,” explains Andrew. For his film BEESWAX, for example, he wrote the film with two sisters in mind, the Hatcher sisters. "I would not have dared to try to make it with anyone else,” Andrew emphasizes. "Maggie I knew from Harvard, she'd acted in my thesis film, and shortly thereafter I met her twin, Tilly. They're both remarkably compelling people, and together make up a kind of supernova of charisma. I always thought it would be great to try to build a movie around them. And there does seem to be something inherently cinematic about twins, they're an immediate visual metaphor for the differing paths we choose to take, the same face in different circumstances. As for what people take from it, I can't prescribe any specific reaction, but I will say that I always thought of it as a kind of ‘Sunday afternoon’ film. I suspect that if you watch it during those hours it might soak in better and surprise you later in the week...”

Bujalski thinks viewers of his films should come to the stories as "observers,” and his films do tend to show the influence of his documentary training. Although the characters are often facing their own personal crises, the action or high-stakes drama that some viewers are used to from Hollywood is typically absent from his stories. "I seem to be compelled by mysteries of human behavior,” Andrew says. "A typical Screenwriting 101 orthodoxy would be ‘up the stakes’--e.g. This scene will be more interesting if there is a bomb about to go off in the corner, and even *more* interesting if it's a *nuclear* bomb. But, much to the detriment of my earning potential, I like stories about people's behavior in apparently low stakes situations,” he acknowledges.

A favorite writer of Bujalski’s when he was younger was Don DeLillo and Andrew admires "anyone creative and brave enough to look beyond the accepted orthodoxy of ‘how things are done’ on whatever path they tread.” He remains mindful that "peer pressure" is not just something that exists in adolescence and notes that it "seems all the more powerful and insidious in adulthood.”

Andrew is currently teaching at the University of Texas and working on new projects, and he enjoys the friendly creative community in Austin. Although Bujalski states that he "desperately wants to make more films,” he says that with a family, finding time to write and direct films has become even more challenging.

At Harvard, Bujalski lived in Grays East, on the 2nd floor. "I remember it seeming like all the other rooms in the dorm had been designed by the housing-assigning masterminds with clear themes (confident preppy dudes, affable science dudes, etc.) and ours seemed like a mop-up for whoever was left over,” he recalls. An observation like this, perhaps, would have escaped the mind of another student. But, such a comment is evidence of how this writer/director thinks. His films chronicle the lives of this "mop-up” of students post-graduation - the unexpected paths that some have forged, and the aimlessness that characterized some members of his generation after college. What Andrew will show us next remains to be seen, as his peers, now in their 30s, confront the challenges and opportunities of this next stage of life. Independent film audiences, however, are surely looking forward to seeing whether or not they identify with his characters’ struggles and everyday anxieties in the future.

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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