Issue 77 | June 2011

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


  • Harvardwood Music presents STORYTELLERS, Thurs., June 2
  • HWP & Voyage Media present: Making the Power Move from Amateur to Pro, Sat., June 4
  • Harvardwood Heads To..."Valuing Art" Workshop, Wed., June 1
  • Harvardwood Heads To...Harvard Producer Maya Anand '03 Debuts First Feature Film in Los Angeles, Sat., June 4
  • Harvardwood attends SPARK Discovery Night! Mon., June 6


  • Harvardwood Heads To...A.R.T. in NYC/Sleep No More, Wed., June 1
  • Harvardwood Presents: Lyric Tenor RAY HORNBLOWER, Thurs., June 2
  • Harvardwood Special Offer: See Jimmy Tingle's Show for FREE and hang out with Jimmy after! Fri., June 10
  • Harvardwood and New River Fiction Present the Black Magic of Alethea Black, Mon., June 13
  • Harvardwood Heads To...the Cherry Lane! Mon., June 20
  • Our Fabulous June Jubilation Hot Harvardwood Summer PARTY!! Fri., June 24

* Submit for the 2011 Harvardwood Writers' Competition!
* WRITE THAT SCRIPT! HWP Playwriting & Screenwriting Intensive (NY)
* Changing your email address? How to update your account.
* Are you attending the IIFA in Toronto?
* Harvardwood congratulates its "Most Staffable TV Writers" for Spring 2011!
* Seeking advisors for the Harvardwood Career Advisors Program
* Calling all Summer Interns!
* Industry Successes
* Featured Member Posting: Executive Producer for a Feature Non-Profit Documentary Film
* Member Profile: D.A. Wallach '07

Director's Notes

I first have to send a hefty congratulations to all members of the class of 2011, you made it! As you take your first steps into the world beyond Harvard, don't hesitate to check out all that Harvardwood has to offer to aid in the development of your career. And be sure to keep your contact info current! If you need to update your email address, read below to find out how. For all of you writers out there, we've got opportunities galore. Get those screenplays, one-act plays, and TV pilots ready for our annual Harvardwood Writers' Competition! The deadline for submissions is JULY 31. And don't miss this Saturday's workshop on Making the Power Move from Amateur to Pro. New Yorkers, be sure to take advantage of the new screenwriting and playwriting intensive, appropriately entitled WRITE THAT SCRIPT!

Lastly, we've got another great Harvardwood hang-out planned for you this month at the beautiful Foundation Room in the House of Blues. Come out tomorrow night to enjoy fantastic views of LA at sunset, good food & drink, and listen to your fellow Harvardwood members share their musical stories (including yours truly!).

-- Kelley

Message from Mia

A hearty congratulations to Harvardwood's eight "Most Staffable TV Writers" for 2011, who were featured in a recent issue of Variety and will be mentored by some of our resident Harvardwood TV luminaries! I look forward to seeing great things from these folks in the seasons to come.

We're delighted to welcome our new crop of HSIP summer interns, who are ready and eager to learn the Hollywood ropes -- please let us know if you're interested in hosting or participating in an event for these bright young minds (LA or NYC)!

-- Mia

Pencil Me In...

LA - Harvardwood Music presents STORYTELLERS, Thurs., June 2

This Spring Harvardwood Music is proud to premiere STORYTELLERS, bringing artists together to share their musical journey through conversation and/or song. For its inaugural event STORYTELLERS will feature intimate performances from Harvardwood Music artists SARA MELSON and KELLEY NICOLE, and a special conversation with D.A. Wallach. D.A. is best known as one-half of CHESTER FRENCH, a critically-acclaimed duo signed by Pharrell Williams to Interscope Records. An '07 graduate of Harvard College, D.A. has been featured in GQ, Rolling Stone, Vogue, and countless other publications, and has performed on the Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel shows. He has toured with Lady Gaga, Blink 182, and Weezer and has written and performed on recordings with Diddy, Common, Rick Ross, and Janelle Monae, among others.…To view full posting, please visit:

LA - HWP & Voyage Media present: Making the Power Move from Amateur to Pro, Sat., June 4

Establishing a career as an entertainment professional requires much more than just talent—it requires strategy. This is an in-person seminar on how to step out from behind that computer and approach the industry as a business person. Taught by the executives and producers of Voyage Media – a company that has helped writers, producers, and directors package, polish and pitch over 1,100 high-profile entertainment projects in film, TV, and branded entertainment – this course provides a fresh-from-the-field perspective on building a career in an exclusive, seemingly impermeable industry. Some topics include: avoid wasting time on the wrong ideas (and start spending time on the right ones); Stop going it alone. Choose supporters and delegate the way the pros do; be your own agent – and use their best tricks to your advantage; get ready to pitch and sell so you don’t blow it when your moment comes…To view full posting, please visit:

LA - Harvardwood Heads To..."Valuing Art" Workshop, Wed., June 1

The "Valuing Art” workshop will introduce you and your clients to helpful resources for art business success. The program will present essential information for corporate financial managers and investment managers to understand the important role that art assets play in world financial markets. Attendees will also hear important new developments related to the listing of shares in works of art on the Paris Art Exchange and private investments in art related businesses. The program will introduce time-tested techniques for estimating art prices and finding the best values in the art market…To view full posting, please visit:

LA - Harvardwood Heads To...Harvard Producer Maya Anand '03 Debuts First Feature Film in Los Angeles, Sat., June 4

SWEET LITTLE LIES, the feature debut of Producer Maya Anand '03 and Director William J. Saunders, will compete in the Dances With Films Festival in West Hollywood on June 4th. SWEET LITTLE LIES is an independent feature about Bess, a lonely rebellious trailer park teen, who steals a car and makes a desperate journey from Kansas to Las Vegas in search of the father she never knew. Starring Caitlin Kinnunen ("Spring Awakening") and Bill Sage ("Mysterious Skin," "American Psycho"), the film is the debut project of Anywhere Films LLC, founded by Anand and three of her former Columbia School of the Arts classmates….To view full posting, please visit:

LA - Harvardwood attends SPARK Discovery Night! Mon., June 6

Join us for free food and a fun introduction to Spark's engaging work! Harvardwood Helps has officially partnered with the Spark Program, an innovative non-profit organization that connects disadvantaged middle school kids up with apprenticeships in their dream jobs. Over the course of their semester apprenticeship, Spark students work on a project with their mentors, which they present to the community at "Discovery Night” graduation events at the end of the semester...We’re really excited to connect our membership with some of Spark’s great kids next semester, as there are many of them who are really interested in careers in entertainment and the arts….…To view full posting, please visit:

NY - Harvardwood Heads To...A.R.T. in NYC/Sleep No More, Wed., June 1

Kevin Cole Costin, Trustee and Diane Paulus, Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater, cordially invite you to the inaugural gathering of A.R.T. in N.Y.C., an evening of conversation, cocktails and a performance of SLEEP NO MORE to support the work of the American Repertory Theater "expanding the boundaries of theater.” Celebrity guests include Alexis Bittar, Andy Cohen, Gavin Creel, David Alan Grier, Cherry Jones, Moises Kaufman, Santo Loquasto, Audra McDonald, Stephen Schwartz, and Will Swenson. Join us to celebrate works born at the A.R.T and bound for NYC including the upcoming revival of PORGY AND BESS that will open the 2011-12 season in Cambridge…To view full posting, please visit:

NY - Harvardwood Presents: Lyric Tenor RAY HORNBLOWER, Thurs., June 2

The London Daily Express called tenor Ray Hornblower "A splendid voice . . . most memorable and astonishing!" Les Novelles de Versailles praised his "delicate phrasing and iridescent timbre." L'Indépendent hailed him as "A tenor of utmost quality." And Paris Normandie wrote, "A valiant voice with clarity of phrasing, limpidity of style, and solidity in all registers." A Harvard alum (and former Harvard football player), Ray Hornblower has performed major roles at festivals, concert halls, and opera houses throughout Europe…Hornblower will perform a program of favorite songs and arias by composers including Schubert, Scarlatti, Mozart, Gluck, Donizetti, and Rossini…To view full posting, please visit:

NY - Harvardwood Special Offer: See Jimmy Tingle's Show for FREE and hang out with Jimmy after! Fri., June 10

Comedian Jimmy Tingle's off-Broadway one-man show was a huge hit several election cycles back, with some of the best reviews ever. Jimmy went on to become nationally known as commentator for 60 Minutes II and MSNBC and as star of his own HBO Comedy Special. And Jimmy is a Harvardwood member, so he's offered us this AMAZING deal: On Friday, June 10 only, see Jimmy's show FOR FREE (with 2-drink minimum) instead of the regular $25 price--and then hang out with Jimmy at the theater after the show! Yes, Jimmy has agreed to stick around after the June 10 show specifically to hang out with Harvardwood members…Tickets are normally $25 so if you go on June 10 with a guest, you've MORE than saved the price of your membership! If you're not a Full Member, this would be a great time to upgrade…To view full posting, please visit:

NY - Harvardwood and New River Fiction Present the Black Magic of Alethea Black, Mon., June 13

Harvardwood Full Member Alethea Black '91 has just had her first collection of short stories, I KNEW YOU'D BE LOVELY, published to fabulous acclaim. Pulitzer Prize laureate Robert Olen Butler wrote, "Alethea Black is downright brilliant at capturing the restless striving for a self that we all are feeling in this parlous and unsettling age. A splendidly resonant debut by an important young writer.” Three of Alethea's wonderful stories will be read by some very distinguished actors….To view full posting, please visit:

NY - Harvardwood Heads To...the Cherry Lane! Mon., June 20

Join us as Harvardwood Heads To...the Cherry Lane Theatre for a workshop performance of Tim Plaehn's WEST ASHEVILLE...The Barefoot Theatre Company will present the play in Cherry Lane's Studio Theatre at 38 Commerce Street, and the ten dollar ticket price includes beer and live music. WEST ASHEVILLE follows the life of Abby Wall after she realizes--the hard way--that suicide is not the answer. The ensemble cast features A.R.T. grad Therese Plaehn...To view full posting, please visit:

NY - Our Fabulous June Jubilation Hot Harvardwood Summer PARTY!! Fri., June 24

Summer is coming up! And Summer is HOT--but Harvardwood is HOTTER! Which means--it's time for a PARTY!! And this will be a great one, and a fabulous chance for you to meet more of our incredible Harvardwood members. This will be FUN!! Everyone is asked to bring something to eat or drink....To view full posting, please visit:

Submit for the 2011 Harvardwood Writers' Competition!

Started in 2006, the Harvardwood Screenplay Competition was created to give emerging Harvard writers the opportunity to gain industry exposure and to recognize superior work. Based on the success of last year’s competition, the contest this year, re-titled as the Harvardwood Writers' Competition, will once again include three categories – 1) Feature screenplays (90-120 pp., all genres), 2) Television pilots (30-min and 60-min, all genres), 3) One-act plays (40-min maximum, no minimum). The deadline for submissions will be Sunday JULY 31. Scripts will be evaluated by industry professionals, and winners in each category will be announced no later than September 1. First-place writers will receive a small cash award, free admission to the 2010-11 writers’ program, and a series of informational meetings with Harvardwood industry contacts, tailored to career trajectory and needs…To view more information, please visit:

WRITE THAT SCRIPT! HWP Playwriting & Screenwriting Intensive (NY)

Walk in with an idea--walk out 8 weeks later (admittedly with a certain amount of work in between) with a finished first draft! The group will be led by playwright and screenwriter Greg DePaul (BRIDE WARS, SAVING SILVERMAN). Greg has sold screenplays to Miramax, New Line, Fox, Disney, Sony and Village Roadshow Pictures. His plays have been performed in Los Angeles and New York, and he has sold a TV pilot to Fox Studios. He holds an MFA in Playwriting and has founded writing groups in which scripts were developed that were sold, produced and performed. He has conducted workshops and spoken about writing for The American Film Institute, UCLA, The Austin Film Festival, Vanderbilt University, NYC Screenwriter and The Unicorn Writers Conference. This group is for writers who are prepared to commit to doing a substantial amount of work in a relatively short time…To view full posting, please visit:

Changing your email address? How to update your account.

For those in the class of 2011 changing your email addresses, you can update your account email at anytime by logging in and going to the "My Profile" menu on the right. When you are there click on "Manage Profile" then click on the "Edit Bio” icon. Here you will see where you can make any necessary changes to your account, including updating your email address. Please also provide us with an alternate email under the "Contact Information" section. Congratulations!

Are you attending the IIFA in Toronto?

The Toronto Chapter is wondering if anyone involved in film or otherwise from the Harvardwood community is coming to the IIFA weekend in Toronto ( ), and would be willing to be part of an event. Perhaps an informal gathering? A film screening? A mini-workshop? If you are in town that weekend we would love to hear from you and welcome you to T-DOT !! Email [email protected] if you will be attending.

Harvardwood congratulates its "Most Staffable TV Writers" for Spring 2011!

Eight writers have been selected for the 1st Annual list of Harvardwoodʼs Most Staffable TV Writers. A panel of 17 industry professionals selected these writers based on their original TV pilots completed during the Harvardwood Writers Program this past fall. This yearʼs winners are (listed alphabetically by author): Jonathan Bird*, Katherine Boutry, Emmylou Diaz*, Teresa Hsiao*, Allison Kiessling, James C. Oliver, Loni Sosthand*, and Eric Trueheart…Each writer will receive one-on-one mentorship with an industry professional. This year’s mentors are…To view full posting, please visit:

Seeking advisors for the Harvardwood Career Advisors Program

We're pleased to launch the Harvardwood Career Advisors Program (HCA), intended to provide informational interviews for Harvardwood Full Members looking to learn more about different fields in the entertainment industry. Harvardwood considers informational interviews to be one individual conversation between the advisor and the member looking for career advice. The advisor is only expected to share their experience and provide knowledge that may be helpful to the member. Important to note, advisors can indicate on the application the ideal time to be contacted, and will be able to limit the number of requests. If you're interested to be a career advisor, please click here:

Calling all Summer Interns!

Calling all summer interns for this year's Harvardwood Summer Internship Program (HSIP)! If you are interning and/or working in any facet of entertainment this summer let us know! Please fill out the HSIP participant form at the link below so we may stay in touch with you regarding HSIP events and activities. You do not have to have an internship that was listed on the HSIP list of opportunities. All summer interns affiliated with Harvard University can participate! Fill out the HSIP participant form, here:

Industry Successes...

Rebecca (Levy) Lawrence has been cast as Dvoshe in the National Yiddish Theatre's production of THE ADVENTURES OF HERSHELE OSTROPOLYER at the Baruch Performing Arts Center in NYC. Performances are May 15th - June 26th. For more information, you can visit the theater's website: or Rebecca's website: If you're in the area, she hopes you can come see it!

Brían Wescott gave a SAG workshop on May 14 at the Black Hills Film Festival in South Dakota, with Anne Sward-Hansen (National Board member) and Adam Moore (Interim Director of Affirmative Action and Diversity).

Kate Isenberg, a singer-songwriter based in San Francisco, was a finalist in the Indie Acoustic Project (IAP)'s annual competition among newly released acoustic CDs. Isenberg was a top-3 finisher in the Best Lyrics category for GOLD RUSH TOWN (2010), a CD of original folk-pop songs featuring Isenberg on guitars and vocals, with bassist Jon Evans (known for his work with Tori Amos), accordionist/organist Julie Wolf (Indigo Girls), and trumpeter Erik Jekabson (John Mayer). IAP recognizes "outstanding works of innovative, independently produced acoustic music from around the world." Isenberg's 2007 CD, THE TIME COMES ON HUMMING TRACKS, was a finalist for that year's Best Female Singer-Songwriter Album. Songs can be streamed on,, or iTunes.

Rob Vilardi ’98 got the star role in Family Nutrition comedy skit - recommending Cocaine frosted flakes for families to start their day with.

Zoe Sarnak is a proud member of East 3rd Productions, currently in the midst of its latest show, STRANGE SNOW by Stephen Metcalfe. April 1983. An early spring snow covers the ground; preserving a lost beauty beneath it - a stale house bereft of any life force, a haunted specter of time...Within this strange snow, a brother seeks to repress the dreams and aspirations he once sought. A sister grasps at the chance to realize her beauty and potential to love again. A friend searches for his own redemption in the companionship left within the ruins of the Vietnam War. Tickets at, E3PF discount code (Equity members FREE!), Thursday May 26- Saturday June 11, 8pm curtain, 3pm Saturday Matinee. Theatre @ 2 Great Jones St (between Broadway and Lafayette).

Theresa Loong's documentary, EVERY DAY IS A HOLIDAY, has been greenlit by the Independent Television Service. She raised over $11,000 on Kickstarter, and has prepared a free presentation for those interested in launching a crowd-funding campaign. For more information, including how to make a tax-deductible donation, visit

Featured Member Posting: Executive Producer for a Feature Non-Profit Documentary Film

THE GREY AREA is a non-profit feature documentary about the lives of inmates at a maximum-security women’s prison in Mitchellville, Iowa. The film, which is currently in post-production, focuses on the unique experience of teaching and learning Feminism inside a women’s prison, and the power of education in the criminal justice system. We are looking to raise significant funding in donations to finish the film. Once post-production and distribution expenses are paid in full, we plan to donate 100% of the film's remaining proceeds to non-profit women’s advocacy groups. For an Executive-Producer credit, we are looking for someone to spearhead the fundraising campaign and help us raise our post-production budget in donations from serious private donors and from other non-profit/charity organizations…To view full posting, please visit:

Member Profile: D.A. Wallach '07Wallach.jpg

by Sara Melson

D.A. Wallach’s popular, ever-entertaining, and elucidating blog is called "D.A.’s Wild Ride,” and for good reason. His ascension, along with bandmate Max Drummey (together they make up the group CHESTER FRENCH), from college student to public pop persona can only be described as dizzying. The duo’s debut, LOVE THE FUTURE, recorded at Harvard during their senior year, was released on Pharrell’s Star Trak label in 2008, just a year after graduation. A huge array of flattering press ensued, with the pair written up in numerous magazines and featured in glossy color photos in adorably ironic outfits that were best described by Vibe magazine as "glee-club glam.”

In a GQ article from 2008, Pharrell is quoted as saying that CHESTER FRENCH sounds like "Brian Wilson singing over Motown tracks with a rock edge.” The same GQ article describes the band’s sound as "cross-pollinated,” with a "never-ending supply of pop hooks.” And Vibe says that for CHESTER FRENCH, "musical boundaries are just imaginary fencing.” People magazine says that the record has elements of the "Beatles, the Beach Boys, and Prince.” "There is so much music that I love,” says D.A., "and I suppose that's why my natural inclination is to blur boundaries, cross categories… I like thinking about what happens when you take ideas or motifs from one style or attitude of music and migrate it to another.”

D.A. played the drums in high school, but had never been a singer, or done choir, musicals, or the like, before coming into his own as the frontman of CHESTER FRENCH. "I got into the drums mainly because it was fun,” recalls D.A. "I loved how, as a drummer, you could really effortlessly jam with people without needing to learn much about a song. I drummed in the pep band at school and eventually rose to the level of top Louie, Louie drummer in the band. I played that song at dozens of pep rallies. Then in high school, I had a crew of friends with whom I jammed every weekend. I rarely have musical experiences these days that are as cathartic and magical as the ones I had in high school, despite my friends and my awful musicianship at the time.”

His initial college plans involved pursuing his major of African-American Studies with the possible intention of going into academia or public policy. D.A. says that "the morphing took place” when he joined the band, which initially was comprised of Max and himself along with three other members. "I got beat out by a better drummer,” says D.A., "so the other dudes asked me if I wanted to try singing. After we started playing around campus for a few months, I guess I just really got infected by the desire to grow the group and to attempt to write better material than those we were doing.”

Max and D.A., having pared the band down to a duo, recorded a six-song EP in the recording studio in Pfoho House after their freshman year. "We had some great help from older members of the studio, who were prior grads of Harvard who had stuck around after college to keep using the studio,” says D.A. "They taught us how to truly record a full band, how to engineer for any sort of project that might come through the door. As I go to studios all the time now, I'm actually surprised to see how much we learned compared to even professional engineers. Engineering is a dying art.”

CHESTER FRENCH's music is smart, undeniably catchy, blisteringly funny, and refreshing in its refusal to take itself––or the entire pursuit of fame, fortune, and success––seriously. The chapters of the band’s free album, "Jacques Jams Volume 1: Endurance,” which was released concurrently with LOVE THE FUTURE to entice fans into their sphere, read as follows:

CHAPTER 1: Starting A Band

CHAPTER 2: Trying To Be Cool

CHAPTER 3: Realizing Being A Nerd Is Cool

CHAPTER 4: Arriving In LALA Land

CHAPTER 5: Becoming A Douche Bag

CHAPTER 6: Regaining Your Hard On

CHAPTER 7: Love The Future

D.A.’s persona as a performer is effortlessly flirtatious and sexy. He grins, preens, and poses, in turn beguiling and hilarious, his wide-eyed, mischievous innocence masking an ironic blasé and easily bored intelligence. He’s got all the right moves: subtle gyrations, suggestive head cocks reminiscent of Mick Jagger, and an understated, elegantly minimal dance style that is both nerdy and strangely enticing. While Max generally stays in the background, banging away on various instruments, wild hair flailing in face Cobain-style, D.A. owns the spotlight with unabashed ease, confidence, and panache.

Despite D.A.’s obvious talent, he claims that lately performing has lost some of its luster for him. "My interest in performing has waned somewhat,” he says, "because I now am much more into the ideation process than I am the execution process. I've recently been doing some songwriting for other people, and I love it, because I get to sculpt the idea of a song for someone. It's all about the ideas. It's fun to get on stage and let go and perform, but ultimately I don't find too much direct fulfillment in it.

"It's very interesting to me to see my love of performance evaporating a bit. I think when I was younger, I very much craved attention in a way that I don't any more. Not that the pursuit of attention was the main motivating force behind my various hobbies, but it was always a part of the equation. I wanted people to watch me; to have fun being entertained. Magic was my first passion, and I got into it because my dad had also been a magician when he was young. It was the activity my dad and I really shared. Everyone else was playing catch in the front yard, but I was practicing card and coin exercises in the house. I somehow very early came to love music… My dad liked jazz, and turned me on to it, but prior to that, I discovered The Smashing Pumpkins, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, and a few other key influences… Aerosmith, Beck, The Beatles, Bob Marley… I really came to love great songs from a very early age.... or at least artists who were sort of defined by great songs.”

D.A. seems to have the kind of personality that lends itself to celebrity, or at least to allowing others into his world in a very big way. He has the distinction of being the first artist ever to use facebook, and has nearly a million Twitter followers (@dachesterfrench). His blog, DA's Wild Ride, quite ambitious in its scope and import, is a forum for D.A.’s wealth of knowledge on and fascination with a wide range of relevant subjects.

"I certainly still love being social, I love conversation. But conversation moves in two directions, and that's more interesting to me than broadcasting in one direction,” muses D.A. "Politics is interesting to me for its power to impact history and the material lives of people, but it involves such an awful lifestyle, and I'm decreasingly optimistic about the practical potential of our political system. It is just so deeply dysfunctional.”

While a political career may or may not be in his future, D.A. Wallach is likely to be one artist whose imprint will extend well beyond the realm of pop music. For the meantime, though, fans of the band can expect "lots more music,” he says. "And I think all the new stuff I'm working on, including the new CHESTER FRENCH album, is a lot better than anything I've done before in music... Recorded music is most magical to me, because it represents time-travel. When I put on some intimate Bob Marley record with a single tracked vocal and an acoustic guitar, he's right there with me, fifty years later. And I can close my eyes and I'm there. When I record now, I want to capture a moment for someone later in the world to enjoy.”

Read more about D.A. here and join us tomorrow, June 2nd, as he shares his musical journey in person in the exclusive Foundation Room at the House of Blues! Click here to register!

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



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