Issue 72 | January 2011

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


  • ***Harvardwood Presents: Harvard ROCKS 2011! Wed., Jan. 26
  • Harvardwood's NEW YEAR Mixer! Wed., Jan. 5
  • CLA invites Harvardwood to: Legal and Business Workshop Series for Writers, starts Wed., Jan. 12
  • HBSASC and Harvardwood present: HBS Hollywood Panel, sponsored by Level 3 Communications, Wed., Jan. 19


  • Harvardwood Heads To...BLOOD FROM A STONE (Harvardwood members receive a 25% discount!), starts Mon., Jan. 3
  • Harvardwood Heads To...REMAKING THE CHINESE CITY panel (FREE tickets available for Harvardwood members), Wed., Jan. 5
  • The OPC/Harvardwood Connection: KIDNAPPED BY THE TALIBAN, Tues., Jan. 11
  • Harvardwood Presents Stand-Up Comedy: LAUGHTER TIMES THREE! Wed., Jan. 26

VARIOUS CITIES (LA, DC, Atlanta, NY, Boston, Toronto, and more!)

  • Harvardwood participates in the HAA's Global Networking Night, Thurs., Jan. 13

* Seeking volunteers for Harvard ROCKS
* Are you going to Sundance?
* Harvardwood Helps success!
* Industry Successes
* Harvardwood Artist Showcase (featuring performers in Harvard ROCKS 2011!)
* Featured Member Posting: Digital Coordinator for NBC Universal
* Member Profile: Anne Preven '86

Director's Notes

2011 is here and I hope you are all over your holi-daze because I can't wait to see your smiling faces at all of the fantastic events this month! First up, come out and welcome our Harvardwood 101-ers at the Harvardwood NEW YEAR Mixer this Wednesday. Share your Tinseltown war stories with our latest set of newbies! And in New York our fellow Harvardwood members have hooked us up with discounts to some fascinating events this January, be sure to examine the schedule and sign-up. And last but certainly not least in my book, is Harvard ROCKS 2011! The performers have been chosen from a large pool of talented Harvard musicians (check out this month's profile of hit songwriter Anne Preven below, one of our ROCKS judges this year) and they are ready to show you all what they've got cooking. The artists are flying in from all over the country to strut their stuff at the Cat Club on January 26th, so learn more about them below and then come out and show your support! Happy New Year!

-- Kelley

Message from Mia

Our Harvardwood elves have been burning the midnight oil over the holiday break...and we're kicking off the new year with a bang, so mark your calendars and make a resolution to get even more involved in your local Harvardwood happenings in 2011!

-- Mia

Pencil Me In...

LA - Harvardwood Presents: Harvard ROCKS 2011! Wed., Jan. 26

Back by popular demand is the musical showcase with both brains and brawn...Harvard ROCKS 2011!! Started in New York in 2009, Harvard ROCKS brings out the best of the best in Harvard’s undiscovered musical talent. This year's performers were chosen by a group of top tier industry judges and they have promised to bring their A game. The overall showcase winner will win the ultimate music industry prize package…Learn more about each artist and then COME SEE THEM LIVE on January 26th in LA!!…(You can buy your advance ticket in support of any of the artists listed, or vote for your favorite at the show.)…To view full posting, please visit:

LA - Harvardwood's NEW YEAR Mixer! Wed., Jan. 5

Start the New Year off right with another fabulous Harvardwood Mixer! Come out to mix and mingle with fellow Harvardwood members AND give our Harvardwood 101 students a proper welcome to Tinseltown. Don't miss it! To view full posting and register, please visit:

LA - CLA invites Harvardwood to: Legal and Business Workshop Series for Writers, starts Wed., Jan. 12

California Lawyers for the Arts is pleased to present...Legal and Business Workshop Series for Writers…In the first workshop, taking place on Wednesday, January 12, Marc S. Williams, Esq. will address the basics of copyright and idea submission law for writers…How do you obtain and enforce rights under copyright laws? What are the best practices for protecting your idea, even if they are not protected under copyright laws? This workshop will clarify questions writers have about their contributions when they are not the final or only writers on a project...Full Members of Harvardwood get a special discount through Harvardwood’s partnership with the CLA…To view full posting, please visit:

LA - HBSASC and Harvardwood present: HBS Hollywood Panel, sponsored by Level 3 Communications, Wed., Jan. 19

Join HBS alums, Harvard alums and current HBS students interested in media entertainment in a networking and panel discussion on trends in entertainment, what it’s like to work in entertainment, and getting a job in entertainment from the HBS MBA's perspective. We expect 100-150 people in attendance comprised of 35-50 current HBS students who are visiting LA as part of the Hollywood Trek. Appetizers or buffet dinner will be served (working on menu), cash bar…To view full posting, please visit:

NY - Harvardwood Heads To...BLOOD FROM A STONE (Harvardwood members receive a 25% discount!), starts Mon., Jan. 3

An electric and darkly comic portrayal of a troubled working-class family in New Britain, CT. Travis visits his parents' home to check on his brother Matt and his mother, only to find himself sucked into intractable conflicts, and a whole household on the verge of implosion. An intimate drama of subtly epic proportions, BLOOD FROM A STONE is a stunning and shattering debut by Tommy Nohilly. Featuring Gordon Clapp, Ann Dowd, Thomas Guiry, Ethan Hawke, Natasha Lyonne, and Daphne Rubin-Vega. Set design by Derek McLane ’80…Harvardwood members receive 25% off on tickets…To view full posting, please visit:

NY - Harvardwood Heads To...REMAKING THE CHINESE CITY panel (FREE tickets available for Harvardwood members), Wed., Jan. 5

The Asia Society and NY-based architecture firm KPF are pleased to present...Remaking the Chinese City. Remaking the Chinese City is a series of panel discussions exploring the development of the contemporary Chinese city, including topics such as models of urban development, the role of infrastructure and sustainability, real estate development, the relationship between public and private realms in urban China, and art and culture in the Chinese City. Speakers include leading political, academic, artistic and commercial figures from China and around the world. On January 5th, 2011, Asia Society will kick-off the series by focusing on the phenomenon of China’s bi-nodal cities – cities that have a relationship between traditional city centers and newly created edge or central business districts through the lens of Shanghai’s Pudong and Puxi districts…. SPECIAL OFFER for HARVARDWOOD MEMBERS - Complimentary tickets (normal price is $15) are available to the first 10 Full Members of Harvardwood to reply…To view full posting, please visit:

NY - The OPC/Harvardwood Connection: KIDNAPPED BY THE TALIBAN, Tues., Jan. 11

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Rohde spent seven months kidnapped and incarcerated by the Taliban. His new book, co-authored with his wife Kristen Mulvihill, A ROPE AND A PRAYER tells the tale of his capture, imprisonment, and, against all odds, escape, as well as of his family's anguish thousands of miles away…The husband and wife team will speak about their ordeal from the two corners of the world – the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region and New York City. Books will be available for sale and signing…To view full posting, please visit:

NY - Harvardwood Presents Stand-Up Comedy: LAUGHTER TIMES THREE! Wed., Jan. 26

Start the New Year on a laughing note with a scrumptious dinner with wine, and THREE of New York's smartest, funniest comics! NBC TV called Scott Blakeman "the top political comedian working in New York today!”…Andy Pitz has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman and on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson…Maureen Langan appears regularly on the Joy Behar show and headlines at Caroline's…Three great comedians are funnier than one in this evening of stand-up comedy at its best!...To view full posting, please visit:

VARIOUS CITIES - Harvardwood participates in the HAA's Global Networking Night, Thurs., Jan. 13 (events in LA, DC, Atlanta, NY, Boston, Toronto, and more!)

Please join the Harvard Alumni Association and regional Harvard Clubs and SIGs worldwide for Global Networking Night on Thursday, January 13, 2011! Events are hosted in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Ecuador, Houston, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Palo Alto, Philadelphia, Seattle, Stamford, Toronto, and Washington, D.C. This unique event brings alumni together on one night, in cities around the world. It is a special opportunity to connect with fellow alumni and current students from across the University. Build new connections, reconnect with classmates, share your experiences with students, and welcome recent graduates to your city…To view full posting, please visit:

Seeking Volunteers for Harvard ROCKS

We are seeking a few volunteers to help at the Harvard ROCKS showcase on Wednesday, Jan. 26th in Los Angeles. Volunteers will help check people in at the door, tally audience votes for the artists, and other duties as needed. Email [email protected] if you'd like to help make this night a smashing success! Volunteers will get access to the Live Nation after party after the event…To view full posting, please visit:

Are you going to Sundance?

Calling all Harvard-affiliated films and filmmakers heading to Sundance! Are you heading to Sundance this year? Will one of your films be presented? Please let us know! Ivy Entertainment will be putting together a list of all Ivy-affiliated films at the festival and they are also looking for a few panelists to speak about their experience at the Ivy mixer on 1/22. Email [email protected] to add your name to the list.

Harvardwood Helps success!

Thank you to everyone that participated in our Harvardwood Helps Holiday Toy Drive. Harvardwood collected 21 toys for the Los Angeles County Fire Department's "Spark of Love" Toy Drive, making the holidays a little bit brighter for children in our community. Stay tuned for more ways to stay involved with Harvardwood Helps!

Industry Successes...

Congratulations to David Alpert '97, Executive Producer of the Golden Globe-nominated AMC series THE WALKING DEAD!

Jodi Redmond '08 has signed a deal with RDF Media (now Zodiac) for a reality show which she created/developed and will executive produce. In addition, CRAZY BEATS STRONG EVERY TIME, the short film produced by Redmond, will premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

WOMAN REBEL (Kiran Deol, Harvard College) won the IDA Award for Best Short Documentary. View the article on Hollywood Reporter!

Jeremy Rabb (ART) booked an episode on SOUTHLAND that will air in February on TNT.

David Allyn is proud to announce that he is now represented by Robert A. Freedman Dramatic Agency. Thank you to the members of the Harvardwood community who attended the reading of COMMENCEMENT on December 7.

Harvardwood Artist Showcase

Each month the Highlights features a few artists from some of our various programs in the Harvardwood Artist Showcase. This month we are excited to feature three of the performers that will be demonstrating their musical prowess at Harvard ROCKS this month. Click each artist's name to learn more about what they do and then come and support them at the showcase on Wednesday, January 26!**

comandate.jpgComandante Zero is a Brooklyn-based drum/bass/laptop duo consisting of bassist/singer/producer Dan Freeman and hip hop drummer/producer Ken White -who mix the heavy live groove of bygone dance bands like Chic with a modern electro sound and baritone Leonard Cohen-esque vocals. In 2008 they created a set fusing live grooves with laptops running Ableton Live and began a cutting-edge musical/visual collaboration with artist 0h10M1ke. They've shared the stage with acts including The Juan Maclean, The Brazilian Girlsand Stellastarr*, performed in London and Berlin, and were labeled one of the nation's best unsigned bands by Music Connection magazine. Learn more about Comandante Zero at and vote for them at Harvard ROCKS 2011!

dollavant_harvardrocks2011.jpgDoll Avant is a singer/songwriter/actress/producer/musician with a 5-octave vocal range. This Harvard grad and Atlanta native is always into something big, including a European press and concert tour kicking off in London in March 2011. She calls her musical sound, a tribute to R&B, funk, pop, soul, gospel, jazz, classical and even rock, "Dollhouse Rock.” Her first single, "Masquerade,” (now spinning on radio in markets across U.S.!), is a pop-dance track that simultaneously reminds listeners of Prince, Motown, and Cyndi Lauper. She is currently in production for her own reality show "DollTV: From Dreams to Destiny.” Visit to learn more about Doll and then come check her out LIVE on January 26th at Harvard ROCKS!

rachelbrownphoto.jpgRachel Brown is a 23-year-old singer-songwriter, born and raised in New York City with Bermudian and Ethiopian heritage. With her band of talented musicians from several African countries, she fuses pop, country, Caribbean, Hawaiian and world sounds into a captivating groove. Rachel graduated with honors this May from Harvard University where she was selected as one of Harvard’s "15 Most Interesting Seniors.” She is the 2010 recipient of the ASCAP Foundation’s Robert Allen Award for her song "Bumblebee.” Visit Rachel at and vote for her at Harvard ROCKS 2011!

**You can buy your advance ticket in support of any of the artists above, or vote for your favorite artist the night of the show.

Featured Member Posting: Digital Coordinator for NBC Universal - LA

NBC Universal Digital Entertainment & Studio are looking for a Coordinator to support the heads of two departments in Digital. Position will cover both the creative and business side of new media, so a strong interest in all aspects of new media is a must. Desk is busy, with scheduling, travel-booking duties, and workflow/client requests, but lots of opportunities to learn and participate in the substantive work of the two departments. Prior coordinators have been promoted into either creative (new media production) or business roles (strategy/business development). Stellar organizational, multi-tasking, interpersonal, and communication skills, a great attitude, and a willingness to roll up your sleeves, is required. Please have one year experience on a desk (e.g. at a talent agency or production company) or relevant work experience. An interest in branded entertainment is a plus…To view full posting, please visit:

Member Profile: Anne Preven '86Preven.jpg

by Sara Melson

Anne Preven wrote her first song in the tenth grade, as part of a creative-writing assignment. "I got encouraging feedback from my teacher,” she recalls, "even though I forced my cousin to write the lyrics, and I borrowed the chord progression from a Neil Young song.”

At Harvard, Anne was actively singing, but not songwriting. She sang in (and for one year was musical director of) THE OPPORTUNES, performed in a cabaret-style show called MOOD INDIGO, and was an occasional guest vocalist in a friend’s band. She didn’t actually write another song until after she’d graduated Harvard and was living in New York. "A friend I sang with in college, who had graduated two years before me, basically called me from the real world and said, ‘Avoid a regular job at ALL cost.’ So we formed a little band, and after getting terrible songs from an ad we had placed in the Village Voice, I decided I would just write the songs myself. I got a hold of a little Casio keyboard and a simple recording setup, and went to work.”

A friend in New York heard one of Anne’s early song attempts and put her in contact with someone at BMI in writer/publisher relations. He set her up on some meetings that eventually led to a publishing deal and her first record deal. She describes both as "disastrous… all a good learning experience, but I would not have described my career at that point as healthy!”

She moved to LA, where her publisher introduced her to Scott Cutler, a young but already successful songwriter. The two hit it off and decided to start a band. The band, christened EDNA SWAP, got its first record deal with East West/Elektra by playing a "mini show” in Scott’s living room for A&R executive Sylvia Rhone. "We would pretend to break a string after the third song” laughs Anne, "because we only knew three songs. We did everything backwards. We became a proper band after getting signed and didn’t really play our first full live show until after we had turned in the record.”

EDNA SWAP's audiences were electrified by the willowy-yet-powerful lead singer, with her smoky, sultry voice, and by the explosiveness of the performances, which were charged with physical and emotional energy. The songs were hooky and unforgettable, but Elektra was not pleased with the more alternative direction that the band wound up taking. As quickly as the band was dropped from Elektra, they were snatched up by Chris Blackwell and signed to Island Records, making their second record in the Bahamas at famed Compass Point studios. That record led to tours with NO DOUBT, WEEZER, FAILURE, and BETTER THAN EZRA, among others. Preven and Cutler made one more EDNA SWAP record for Island before shifting their focus to songwriting and producing, which began demanding more and more of their time.

Anne describes the ride that she and Scott Cutler took together on their first major hit, "Torn,” sung by Natalie Imbruglia. Anne and Scott had written "Torn” on a trip to London that the two had taken right before putting the band together. Before the Imbruglia version came out, the song had been covered by a few other European artists, with relatively under-the-radar success, so the two writers had assumed that nothing much would come of this new cover, or that it would be only a regional hit, as the others had been. But this version turned out to be a big hit in the UK and Europe, and then came to America shortly thereafter, with tremendous momentum. "We were equal parts excited and horrified. So happy to hear a song we had written on the radio, and yet of course it was mixed, because our band was struggling to get any radio airplay at all. In the end, ‘Torn’s’ success was a life-changing event, and it provided a whole new career for me and for Scott as songwriters, even though it led to the destruction of EDNA SWAP.”

The mega-success of "Torn,” which spent fourteen weeks at the top of the US airplay chart and went on to become one of the most performed songs of the decade, led to subsequent songwriting collaborations with Madonna, Sinead O’Connor, Katy Perry, Beyoncé , and Miley Cyrus, among many others. As for her writing process and method of inspiration, Anne says, "I do it (write) any which way I can. I find it much easier if there is a title or a concept to begin with, but sometimes that concept comes from hearing a great piece of music. I keep notebooks and computer files filled with ideas, and then browse through them with a particular artist in mind, or when I’m listening to a track. It’s unrealistic to expect pure inspiration to strike at the exact right hour on the right day, so it’s very helpful for me to write down ideas as they come any time of day or night, and then plug them into a songwriting session.”

"Listen” written for the film DREAMGIRLS, turned out to be another major milestone for Anne, winning a host of honors, including a Golden Globe nomination, a Critic’s Choice award for Best Original Song, and an Academy Award nomination. "We had done some movie songs over the years for Randy Spendlove from Paramount,” says Anne. "He asked us to try writing a song for another spot in DREAMGIRLS with the original Dreamgirls composer, Henry Krieger. They really needed a showstopper for Beyoncé in the second act, an emancipation anthem for her character…The director felt it was a pivotal scene for her, and the song had to reflect her transformation from beaten-down protegé to in-control independent thinker. We decided to take a crack at it. I had the idea of it being called ‘Listen’ before there was any melody or music, and we sat at the piano and just wrote it. It changed a lot from that first version, but the spirit remained the same. It was an endless job, because so many people had to sign off on it, from Beyoncé and her Dad, to David Geffen. The demo singer was pregnant when we started, and had a four-month old child at the last session she did for us. Then there was a lot of angst and drama around the Academy Award potential, because they had changed the rules about how many writers could be nominated, and we had too many, but we petitioned the Academy, and Beyoncé graciously took her name out, since she had a smaller percentage. It was fun and surreal getting dressed up and going to all the parties and the Golden Globes and Critic’s Choice Awards. Nerve-wracking, but super fun.”

Her busy professional life is now balanced with the equally demanding role of Mom to two adorable kids, Max (7) and Violet (3). As such, she’s had to learn to do some delegating. She’s now shepherding eight talented writers and producers, who are building their own careers at the publishing company that she founded with partners Cutler and Josh Abraham. Check Your Pulse Music Publishing, or CYP, has churned out four number-one hits in the first two years of its existence, including Katy Perry’s "California Gurls” and "Teenage Dream,” Taio Cruz’s "Dynamite,” and Neon Trees’ "Animal.”

"Nowadays I split my time between writing sessions and the publishing company,” Anne says. She’s at the helm of a successful operation that has given rise to new talent writing hit songs of their own, and as she puts it, "that has been very gratifying to watch.”

Anne Preven was a judge and a prize provider for Harvard ROCKS 2011.

sara_melson_octhighlights.jpgSara Melson is a singer-songwriter (Nettwerk Records) based in Los Angeles.



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