Issue 73 | February 2011

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


  • Harvardwood Heads To...KAVITA SHAH LATIN PROJECT, Thurs., Feb. 3
  • Harvardwood Heads To...The New York Premiere of AMERICAN SEXY at The Flea Theater, Sun., Feb. 13
  • Harvardwood Heads To...BLOOD FROM A STONE (Harvardwood members receive a 25% discount!), ends Sat., Feb. 19
  • Harvardwood Presents: Harvard's Linda Schlossberg on GETTING WRITING DONE, Mon., Feb. 21
  • Harvardwood Presents Two of JAZZ's Greatest Stars--Together! WYCLIFFE GORDON and JAY LEONHART, Wed., Feb. 23
  • Harvardwood Heads To...PROPERTIES OF PLAY, Mon., Feb. 28


  • Harvardwood Heads To...UCLA Anderson Media, Entertainment, & Sports (MEMES) Week, from Jan. 31 - Feb. 5
  • Harvardwood Heads To...WHY AREN'T YOU WRITING PLAYS?, Sat., Feb. 5
  • CLA invites Harvardwood to: Legal and Business Workshop Series for writers, Wed., Feb. 9 & 23
  • Harvardwood Writers' Cafe - Sharing Stories, Thurs., Feb. 24


  • Harvardwood Presents: From Agassiz to New York's City Center, Wed., Feb. 23

* Harvardwood Student Screenwriters' Workshop - Cambridge
* Seeking new participants for the NYC Harvardwood Writers' Groups
* Donating a Piano? - NY
* Amazon Studios is giving out $100,000 in prizes to filmmakers!
* Announcing the Harvard ROCKS 2011 winner!
* Industry Successes
* Paperlinks on
* Harvardwood Artist Showcase
* The Pilot Season Survival Guide - HAP NYC
* Harvardwood 101 Testimonial!
* Featured Member Posting: Executive Assistant/Talent Manager Coordinator (NY)
* Member Profile: Mynette Louie '97

Director's Notes

Phew, what a way to start off 2011 -- we've had Harvardwood success from coast to coast! From 101 to HAP NYC, to rockin' musicians and hilarious comedians, January was nothing short of amazing. I want to take a brief moment to thank all of the alums that helped make the 9th annual Harvardwood 101 program a success! Alum bootcamp speakers and participants included: Ryan Barlow, Theresa Botello, Carolyn Cassidy, Michael Cohen, Andrew Coles, Dan Donahue, Jonathan Eirich, Ben Forkner, Broderick Fox, Caleb Franklin, Mark Gill, Guido Giordano, Josh Goldstine, Jennifer Elizabeth Graham, Steve Harper, Billy Hawkins, Melinda Hsu, Jeremy Jusso, Matt Kozlov, Robert Kraft, Morgan Kruger, Franklin Leonard, Doug Maclaren, Erin May, Matt Mazzeo, Noah Oppenheim, Howard T. Owens, Luvh Rakhe, Amy Retzinger, Mia Riverton, Chris Salvaterra, Couper Samuelson, Jeff Schaffer, Keith Sears, David Seltzer, Adam Shulman, Mark Sourian, Adam Stein, Larry Tanz, Michael Tringe, Larry Wasserman, Claudia Weill, and Nicholas Weinstock.

-- Kelley

Message from Mia

The creativity, diversity, and sheer talent of the Harvardwood community never cease to amaze. This month's Highlights is chock full of particularly tasty morsels...from the groovy tunes of Harvard ROCKS winner Rachel Brown to the scoop on indie producer extraordinaire Mynette Louie; from Harvardwood NYC actors gettin' their pilot season on to the latest Harvardwood Publishing release from Sean O'Rourke. Looking ahead to the next generation, we'd like to congratulate friend of Harvardwood Hailee Steinfeld on her recent Academy Award nomination -- her acting talent was on display well before TRUE GRIT, in our very own Harvardwood Writers Program pilot showcase in 2009. Way to go, Hailee!

-- Mia

Pencil Me In...

NY - Harvardwood Heads To...KAVITA SHAH LATIN PROJECT, Thurs., Feb. 3

Kavita Shah ( has been hailed by the legendary Sheila Jordan as a "masterful” singer with a "deep personal connection to the music.” Ms. Shah began her musical education in classical piano at age 5, and at age 10 joined the world-renowned Young People's Chorus of New York City. She has led jazz, R&B, hip-hop, salsa, and bossa nova bands in Boston and New York, and performed in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and historic jazz clubs like the Lenox Lounge and Minton’s Playhouse….To view full posting, please visit:

NY - Harvardwood Heads To...The New York Premiere of AMERICAN SEXY at The Flea Theater, Sun., Feb. 13

A searing exploration of sexuality in the digital age, AMERICAN SEXY follows four college students en route to a carefree fling in Sin City, when an unexpected stop at the Grand Canyon reveals depths that none of them are prepared for. On the edge of one of America’s most magnificent vistas, relationships rattle and bonds break, creating rifts as wide and relentless as the canyon itself. "AMERICAN SEXY is one of the most haunting premieres to come down the pike in a long time,” says Simpson. "As always, The Flea is excited to introduce to New York audiences gripping new works and performances via the ever electrifying Bats…” To view full posting, please visit:

NY - Harvardwood Heads To...BLOOD FROM A STONE (Harvardwood members receive a 25% discount!), ends Sat., Feb. 19

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 Presents: Harvard's Linda Schlossberg on GETTING WRITING DONE, Mon., Feb. 21

Are you a creative person who struggles with inspiration, motivation and deadlines? Are you confused about how to begin or how to complete your current project? Linda Schlossberg (PhD, English and American Literature, '98) will speak about her recently published coming-of-age novel LIFE IN MINIATURE and will offer practical suggestions and advice on committing to a writing project and finishing it. Jonathan Keats called LIFE IN MINIATURE "a compulsively readable and deeply insightful first novel…" To view full posting, please visit:

NY - Harvardwood Presents Two of JAZZ's Greatest Stars--Together! WYCLIFFE GORDON and JAY LEONHART, Wed., Feb. 23

Wycliffe Gordon (trombone) and Jay Leonhart (bass) are two of the greatest musicians in all of jazz today. Beyond that, they are two of the most rapturously joyous entertainers you will ever see. Add in DTA Chef Anthony LoCastro's mouthwatering cuisine and the friendly companionship of your fellow Harvardwood members, and you have an evening of irresistible music and amazing fun! To view full posting, please visit:

NY - Harvardwood Heads To...PROPERTIES OF PLAY, Mon., Feb. 28

Like jazz musicians playing off each other, this improvisational troupe uses their unique nurturing techniques to bring 3 non-actor audience volunteers into 3 spontaneously created 30 minute "plays” each evening. The volunteers are not simply part of these plays, they are the principal characters- the stars of each play. They invent most of the dialogue and drive the story line. The Properties of Play team seamlessly helps the volunteers release the latent improvisational "actor” within each of them. "Absolutely incredible, touching and funny... intense and emotional…. you never know what is going to happen. … The beauty of live entertainment- where anything is possible.” - Theater Online…To view full posting, please visit:

LA - Harvardwood Heads To...UCLA Anderson Media, Entertainment, & Sports (MEMES) Week, from Jan. 31 - Feb. 5

Join us as Harvardwood Heads To...UCLA Anderson Media, Entertainment and Sports (MEMES) Week - Harvardwood members can get a 30% discount on admission! Come Enjoy Media & Entertainment Industry Lectures and Featured Events, "State of the Industry” Address with Jeff Berg, CEO Media Innovation Roundtable, Industry Mixers, Workshops and Featured Presentations and Lectures. Week is hosted by UCLA Anderson Center for Managing Enterprises in Media, Entertainment & Sports (MEMES - formerly, Entertainment & Media Management Institute)…To view full posting, please visit:

LA - Harvardwood Heads To...WHY AREN'T YOU WRITING PLAYS?, Sat., Feb. 5

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:

LA - CLA invites Harvardwood to: Legal and Business Workshop Series for writers, Wed., Feb. 9 & 23

California Lawyers for the Arts is pleased to present...Legal and Business Workshop Series for Writers…The third workshop in this series, taking place on Wednesday, Feb. 9., is entitled "From Inspiration to Publication,” and will feature Cheryl Klein, the California Office Director for Poets & Writers. This workshop will provide an overview for writers of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction who are ready for the "next step.” It will discuss finding the right outlet for your work, seeking an agent, querying literary journals and independent presses, and presenting your work at readings and other events...Also check out the fourth workshop in the series, entitled "Literary Publishing Contracts For Writers,” taking place on Wednesday, Feb. 23…Full Members of Harvardwood get a special discount through Harvardwood’s partnership with the CLA…To view full posting, please visit:

LA - Harvardwood Writers' Cafe - Sharing Stories, Thurs., Feb. 24

Enjoy the funky atmosphere of REHAB Vintage Furniture and join members of the Harvardwood Writers’ Program as they share some of their works in progress. This event will include readings from Desiree Lyle (HWP, New York), Matt Grzecki (HWP, LA), and Patricia Danaher (HWP, LA). Come out and support! To view full posting and register, please visit:

BOSTON - Harvardwood Presents: From Agassiz to New York's City Center, Wed., Feb. 23

This event is the story of how the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players (NYGASP) came into existence, starting with its roots in the Harvard and the Barnard College Gilbert and Sullivan (G&S) organizations. NYGASP performs the entire G&S repertoire from TRIAL BY JURY to THE GRAND DUKE. It is the only company that does so with professional musicians. In addition to its New York season NYGASP’s touring company performs nationwide, from Washington to LA, and has appeared in England….The founders of the company, Lucian Russell ’65 and Albert Bergeret Columbia ’70 have created a multimedia story of a 50 year artistic journey, with video highlights from the many, many shows spanning that time period, from Harvard G&S Iolanthe Nov 1961 to Utopia Limited in 2010 and the Mikado in 2011…To view full posting, please visit:

Harvardwood Student Screenwriters' Workshop

Interested in screenwriting, getting connected to Harvard people in the movie industry, and meeting other student writers? Join Harvardwood's NEW student writing workshop! We will meet twice a month on Thursday evenings, where we will share writing, read, screen and talk with professionals about the field. Please email Laura Hogikyan at [email protected] if interested. Our first meetings are: Thursday, February, 3 and 10 at 7:30pm. The workshop is open to all Harvard students who are Full Harvardwood members!

Seeking new participants for the NYC Harvardwood Writers' Group

The NYC Harvardwood Writers' Program is seeking new participants for its Comedy Writing, Television Writing, and Prose Non-Fiction groups! If you are interested to register for any of these groups, view each group description and find the appropriate contact information for joining, here:

Donating a Piano? - NY

The NYC Chapter of Harvardwood would LOVE to acquire a professional quality small grand piano in good condition (a Steinway M or S would be our dream) in order to upgrade our music programming. Harvardwood is a 501(c)(3) organization. We'll be delighted to hear from any possible donors at [email protected]

Amazon Studios is giving out $100,000 in prizes to filmmakers!

Amazon Studios is having a Best Film Contest, and is giving out a prize of $100,000 each month for the next three months. That’s a lot of camera equipment. Here’s how it works. Pick any script on Amazon Studios, and create a film that tells that story. Your entry isn’t expected to be a polished movie that would be shown in a theater. Instead, it should be a rough visualization that will help the writer and the audience see how the story works up on its feet. Your film could be live action, an animatic, or a table read. It could be a storyboard or a series of still photos with an underlying voice soundtrack. You can do anything, as long as it tells the story. To be eligible, the film must be at least 70 minutes long, and be a complete realization of the whole script, not just a couple of scenes. Of course, you can modify the script and don’t have to shoot it word for word…To view full posting, please visit:

Announcing the Harvard ROCKS 2011 winner!

rocks.jpgAfter months of collecting submissions, initial review by our fabulous ROCKS judges, and uncontainable anticipation for the show, we are happy to announce the Harvard ROCKS 2011 winner….RACHEL BROWN! Rachel will walk away with the ultimate music industry prize package – worldwide distribution from Fulsircle Entertainment; a vocal recording session with hit songwriters, Anne Preven and David "DQ” Quiones; performance opportunities at the House of Blues and the Red Light Lounge; soundtrack consideration at Fox Music; and a brand new track from producers C-Aye Purcell and Skye Lewin. A big THANK YOU to all of the judges and prize providers (see full list here) that made this night a success! In her own words…

rachel_brown1.jpg"Harvard Rocks gave me the opportunity to share my music with people who were not only my peers, but also incredible artists and industry pros. Meeting and connecting with people at varying stages in their careers, learning from them and making new friends, was both inspiring and just plain fun. It was also really great to see so many different genres represented - no two performers sounded alike, yet we were all linked by our alma matter and passion for music. I walked away from the Cat Club on Wednesday night with indispensable advice and 4 other artists/bands whose careers I'm excited to follow!”

Learn more about Rachel and hear her music at And view clips from the show at the Harvardwood Music page -!

(Harvard ROCKS photo credits: David Meadow)

Industry Successes...

Comedian James P. Connolly '88 will be appearing in the San Luis Obispo Comedy Festival Feb 24 27. For more information go to

ASHLEY/AMBER, a short film Rebecca R. Rojer '09-'10, has been selected to screen in the Berlin International Film Festival's Berlinale Shorts Competition. The film, her VES thesis, is a dark comedy about an antiwar activist who finds fame only after she is outed as the one-time star of an internet porn video. The premiere is on Tuesday, February 15 at 10pm, with additional screenings on Friday, 2/18 at 5:45pm and Saturday, 2/19 at 4pm. The film will also screen at the Soho House Berlin on 2/25. For more information please visit and

Paperlinks on

Hamilton Chan '95, JD '99, Founder and CEO of, is pleased to announce the launch of a new product line: business cards and headshots powered by Paperlinks (a proud sponsor of Harvard in Hollywood). Through the magic of Paperlinks, a Quick Response (QR) barcode is printed on the backs of business cards and headshots that can be designed through Headshotbox's online interface. When scanned by the free Paperlinks iPhone app or any QR code reader, viewers can immediately see your online portfolio, an acting demo reel, your contact info and more, right through their smartphones. All Harvardwood members will receive 15% off their entire order by entering promo code "harvard" upon checkout. Check it out at!

Harvardwood Artist Showcase

The Highlights is proud to bring you the Harvardwood Artist Showcase. Each month the Highlights features one or two artists from some of our various programs. Read on to learn more about what they do.

grace_under_pressure_cover.jpgHarvardwood Publishing has released GRACE UNDER PRESSURE: THE LIFE OF EVAN SHIPMAN by Sean O’Rourke (available at or on Amazon).

Both of Evan Shipman’s parents attended Harvard, and he would have if he had passed the French examination. Instead he was sent to study at Louvain and ended up in Paris where he became a lifelong friend of Ernest Hemingway. (Gertrude Stein’s "You are all a lost generation,” was directed at Hemingway and Shipman.)

In the 1930s, he fought in the Spanish Civil War. During World War II he served in a tank battalion. In the late Forties and Fifties he established himself as our foremost turf journalist in the revival of harness and thoroughbred racing that followed World War II.

The book is co-published by Unlimited Publishing LLC, founded by Dan Snow ‘78. Visit <> to learn more about Shipman and his times. Read the review by Antje Clasen (Mellon Fellow ’94-6) on Amazon. Be sure to use both title and subtitle.

Sean O’Rourke studied Latin and Greek at Harvard. He has published dozens of articles both scholarly and popular. This is his first book. He is now developing a documentary based on it.

The Pilot Season Survival Guide - HAP NYC

pilotsurvival.jpgThe Pilot Season Survival Guide was a filmed showcase produced by the Harvardwood Actors' Program, New York Chapter. The 18 actors were paired up into scene types, e.g. procedural, hospital dramedy, sitcom, etc. Five professional writers came in and wrote scenes for those actors, and they then hired two directors and their respective production companies to film the 7 scenes. The group had a showing at Playwrights Horizons on January 18th, 2011 to a diverse audience of industry professionals and colleagues, with all industry participants receiving a DVD of the screening as well as background and contact information for every person involved in the process.

The project was a bold attempt to re-invigorate the industry's perception of actors and to reacquaint the industry to the graduates of Harvard and the American Repertory Theatre / Moscow Art Theatre Institute's MFA program. Our graduates are highly trained in the classics, and yet the industry does not get to see them in the light of TV or film actor -- until now. Our goal is to change perceptions and create opportunities for our members.

Harvardwood 101 Testimonial!101.jpg

At Harvard, the revised academic calendar schedules examinations before Christmas and allows students to pursue other interests during the first three weeks in January. This year many returned to Cambridge to toil over their theses and endure the second blizzard of the winter. Thirty fortunate juniors and seniors traveled to Los Angeles to participate in Harvardwood 101 followed by internships of one or two weeks.

They were greeted by Mia Riverton and Amit Samuel, who emphasized that the entertainment industry is a business and to succeed, it is necessary to understand how the business works.

For the next four days, participants stayed at the Oakwood Apartments in Burbank and traveled around town in a chartered bus. At Sony and Dreamworks they learned about feature film development, production and marketing. At Fox Music Robert Kraft told them about the music business. At Vuguru Larry Tanz explored the world of emerging media.

At Shine Reveille and the Gersh Agency students heard about television development and production. At CAA, ICM, and Management 360, agents and managers explained what they do and do not do. Friday morning was spent at the USC film school, and in the afternoon the group attended the taping of an episode of MELISSA AND JOEY.

Pooja Venkatraman ’12 commented: "I would 100% recommend Harvardwood 101 to anyone interested in the industry. I learned so much. I met new people, and they were all fantastic!”

Your faithful correspondent is Sean O’Rourke MAT ’68.

Featured Member Posting: Executive Assistant/Talent Manager Coordinator - NY

Position scope and responsibilities include: Day-to-Day Support for President / Talent Manager; Project Management; Heavy phones, travel arrangements, office management, logistics & operational duties; Coordinate ongoing projects, database and file organization, off-site meetings and events; Heavy scheduling & calendar management using Outlook (must have previous experience); Create travel and event budgets; Research and organize all artist-related press; Compile press updates and reports…To view full posting, please visit:

Member Profile: Mynette Louie '97

by Mark Saltveit

Film producers are "suits," financiers, number crunchers and contract negotiators. They're not creative – they're the people directors have to fight in order to be creative. Independent producer Mynette Louie, '97, laughs. "That’s the most common perception out there, and I think that’s why Sundance decided to start the Creative Producing Lab three years ago."

Mynette.jpgLouie was one of the first fellows of the Sundance Institute's Creative Producing Lab. She has also been a participant in Cinemart's Rotterdam Producers Lab, and frequently participates in conference panels. After just 6 years in the film business, she has emerged as an innovative producer of indie movies and a vocal participant in the conversation about the future of film.

Indie producers actually need to be very creative in how they accomplish their primary tasks: assembling the script, financing and production team; casting; and, nowadays planning the distribution. But Mynette also keeps her focus on the reason she goes to all this trouble – her desire to tell great stories in imaginative ways. As she told IndieWire, the type of films she likes best – dark, complex dramas – happen to be "the most difficult to market and the hardest to find financing for.” On microbudget features like Tze Chun's acclaimed CHILDREN OF INVENTION, her best known production, a producer has plenty of opportunities to express her artistic side directly. Louie had input in the script, casting, costume design, and production design; she even created the website.

At the same time, she is entirely comfortable with finance and cutting deals, having worked in business development and marketing (in the magazine and Internet industries) for several years after graduation. In her job as an associate with Jupiter Research, she interviewed dozens of entrepreneurs. One of them, in 1999, was Reed Hastings, the CEO of a new startup called NetFlix. He explained to her that the DVDs were just a way to build the company's customer base; within three years he expected to be streaming movies over the Internet. "He was about ten years ahead of himself," she observes.

Her business career was instructive and financially "practical," but Louie was dissatisfied. Fearful of leaving her stable corporate haven, it took 9/11 to prompt her to quit her job and reevaluate her priorities and life choices. She decided on producing films. She worked as a crew member or producer on several films, and co-produced MUTUAL APPRECIATION by Andrew Bujalski '98, the godfather of the "Mumblecore" movement. Then she got a job with Hawaii's film commission, where she authored a film tax credit bill that was adopted by the state legislature.

Mynette Louie's innovative approach to distributing CHILDREN OF INVENTION has garnered a lot of attention in the independent film world. She stunned many by turning down nine separate distribution offers (and counting), when many feature filmmakers would kill for one. To Louie, though, the reason was simple: "The deals sucked." She had heard many horror stories about bad distribution contracts from filmmaker and producer friends, and when she examined the offers, the numbers just weren't there. "Once you sign a 25-year exclusive distribution deal, your film is trapped," she notes.

So she distributed the film herself, following an indie rock band tour model -- leveraging live appearances at film festivals for maximum press and direct sales on DVD. She arranged for the film to screen for a week at one theater in New York (the minimum required for reviews) by pairing it with another indie feature —she emphasizes that she did not "four-wall" (pay rent at) any theaters —and subsequent booking requests from arthouse theaters in other cities followed. She then cut separate deals for cable VOD, Internet VOD, and DVD--including, yes, Netflix. CHILDREN OF INVENTION was one of the first five films sold through YouTube Rentals. Splitting up the rights this way was a lot more work than signing an all-rights deal, but with the old distribution paradigm crumbling, she felt it was the most responsible way to get the film seen, recoup the budget, and repay their investors.

A knack for both storytelling and finance may be an unusual skill set, but it comes naturally to Louie. She grew up in Brooklyn, the daughter of Chinese immigrants who were both creative themselves. "My dad sold watercolor paintings in Washington Square Park. But he was also a stockbroker, and in business, before that. So when he pushed me to become a lawyer or an accountant, it was because he knew how hard it is for artists to make a living."

Louie was always good at math as well as painting, dance and music. Even as a child, stumbling upon the many film shoots in New York, she imagined herself as a producer rather than a director, knowing that she enjoyed both the business and artistic sides.

Mynette remains a strong advocate of liberal arts education. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the East Asian Studies department, focused on Chinese film and literature – one of the world's newest, and one of its oldest narrative traditions, respectively. She learned the essence of story, as well as how to form and articulate her thoughts, which helped her in both her corporate and film careers. In fact, she found the same secret to success in college as she did in her post-9/11 film career: do what you love, so that you enjoy working hard, and let success take care of itself.

As the film and Internet spaces change and merge, while old business models collapse, Mynette Louie has demonstrated that creative producing is no longer an oxymoron – it's a necessity.

marksaltveit.jpgMark Saltveit '83 is a writer, speaker, palindromist and stand up comedian based in Portland, Oregon.



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