* Director's Notes
* Message from Mia
* Pencil Me In:
- **HARVARD IN HOLLYWOOD 2011 - "The Social Impact of Art, Media, and Entertainment," Sat., Oct. 29
- CLA invites Harvardwood to Independent Film Distribution Strategies, Wed., Oct. 5
- Harvardwood Salon Series presents: Bollywood Demystified, Mon., Oct. 10
- Harvardwood Heads To...Screening and Q&A w/ Director, Producer, and Star of film GIRLFRIEND, Mon., Oct. 3
- Harvardwood Presents: That's Entertainment Part 2 - An Introduction to Harvardwood Programs, Wed., Oct. 12
- The OPC/Harvardwood Connection: THE DEAL FROM HELL, Wed., Oct. 5
- Harvardwood Heads To...Celebrating Short Stories at the New York Society Library w/ Sallie Bingham, Tues., Oct. 11
- Harvardwood Heads To...Artist's Reception: Sculptures by James Dinerstein, Thurs., Oct. 20
- Harvardwood Presents: A Conversation with Oscar Winning Screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher '92, Tues., Oct. 25
- Harvardwood Heads To...Steve Seabrook: Better Than You, Sat., Oct. 1
* Announcing the 2011 Harvardwood Writers' Competition winners!
* Harvard in Hollywood Program Ad space for sale
* DEADLINE OCT. 5 - Submit to the Harvardwood Resource Directory
* Seeking items for Holiday Silent Auction
* DEADLINE OCT. 21 - Now accepting applications for Harvardwood 101!
* Seeking event and "J-termship" hosts for Harvardwood 101
* The Harvardwood Writers' Program in DC is back!
* Seeking mentors for the Harvardwood Mentorship Program (HMP)
* Don't forget - Full Members can become Harvard Club of SoCal members at a discount
* Join Harvardwood's Film Financing Fund committee
* Seeking volunteers for Harvard Career Forums in Boston
* Industry Successes
* Featured Member Posting: Q&A with filmmaker Massy Tadjedin now available on the Harvardwood Channel!
* Member Profile: Reginald Hudlin '83
A heartfelt congratulations goes out to the winners of the 2011 Harvardwood Writers' Competition! Be sure to check out the loglines of these delicious scripts and plays on the website and send over your own congrats. For ALL Harvardwood members and contacts within our network -- don't forget, the deadline to submit for free to the Harvardwood Resource Directory is coming up (Oct. 5th). The form takes about 30 seconds to fill out so be sure to submit today to be a part of the launch (forward to your friends and contacts as well). And Boston, here I come! Please stop by our Harvardwood information session entitled "That's Entertainment, Part Two" on Wednesday, Oct. 12th at OCS, 6pm. I love seeing old friends and meeting new faces in our Boston/Cambridge Harvardwood family. We'll be gathering here on the West Coast as well at our annual Harvard in Hollywood symposium on Saturday, Oct. 29th. Don't miss this year's intriguing and timely theme - "The Social Impact of Art, Media, and Entertainment." Review the speaker list and get your early-bird tickets today! Lastly, for all undergraduates, don't forget to submit your applications for the 2012 Harvardwood 101 program (deadline - Oct. 21).
Message from Mia
It's that time of year again -- tickets are now on sale for our 2011 Harvard in Hollywood symposium: "The Social Impact of Art, Media and Entertainment"! Come mix, mingle, and join in the discussion with our fabulous alumni speakers, including actress and SAG activist Amy Aquino, writer-director-producer Paris Barclay (GLEE, SONS OF ANARCHY, IN TREATMENT), Howard Cohen (President of Roadside Attractions - THE COVE, SUPER SIZE ME), Jeffrey Deitch (Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art), Josh Goldstine (President of Marketing, Universal Pictures), filmmaker and Harvard professor Alfred Guzzetti, Robert Kraft (President, Fox Music), writer-producer Jeff Melvoin (ARMY WIVES, ALIAS), producer Diane Nabatoff (NARC, TAKE THE LEAD), documentary filmmaker Dan Sturman (NANKING, TWIN TOWERS), and comedian Baratunde Thurston (Director of Digital, "The Onion"). More details below -- hope to see you there!
Pencil Me In...
LA - HARVARD IN HOLLYWOOD 2011 - "The Social Impact of Art, Media, and Entertainment", Sat., Oct. 29
Harvardwood, the Harvard Business School Association of Southern California, and the Harvard Club of Southern California are pleased to present the 6th annual HARVARD IN HOLLYWOOD symposium, entitled "The Social Impact of Art, Media, and Entertainment." The Arab Spring. Climate Change. The economic crisis. As the world around us evolves, it naturally influences the stories we tell, both fact and fiction -- and in turn, as artists, comedians, filmmakers and journalists reflect on the issues of the day, their work has the potential to shape society and alter the course of history. Come join our discussion about the iterative impact that art, media and entertainment have on the way we see the world, lead our lives, make choices, and interact with one another on both a personal and global scale...Featuring a live performance by the Harvard Yardbirds, Harvard's acclaimed alumni a capella group! To view full posting and to register for early-bird tickets, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=180994
LA - CLA invites Harvardwood to Independent Film Distribution Strategies, Wed., Oct. 5
In this workshop, we'll look at various strategies for distributing independent feature films. We'll start by looking at the importance of obtaining U.S. theatrical distribution, even a limited release, as it drives DVD, VOD, TV and foreign sales. Next, we’ll talk about using a producer's representative to create a successful film festival strategy. Then, we'll look at when is the right time to hire a foreign sales agent to take your film to film markets (e.g. AFM and Cannes). Finally, we'll examine the various methods and platforms of self-distribution…Full Members of Harvardwood can take advantage of discounted admission to this event…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=179686
LA - Harvardwood Salon Series presents: Bollywood Demystified, Mon., Oct. 10
In the latest installment of Harvardwood’s salon series, Arnold Peter, Hollywood’s resident Bollywood expert, will take participants through the inner workings of Bollywood. Ever wonder how Bollywood operates, how to enter the market, or what the truth is behind its past? Arnold has the answers and further insight. Authentic Indian cuisine will be served! Arnold Peter is the founder of the Peter Law Group and Media Partners Global. He works with and represents some of the top studios and filmmakers in Bollywood and Indian cinema. His clients include Yash Raj Films, Reliance Mediaworks, Hyde Park Entertainment, Anurag Kashyap Films, Pvt. Ltd., Vinod Chopra Films, Jim Furgele ("Delhi Belly”), Rupak Ginn ("Royal Pains”), Pooja Kumar ("Bollywood Hero”), Mallika Sherawat ("Hiss”), and Bedo Pain ("Chittagong”)...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=185459
BOSTON - Harvardwood Heads To...Screening and Q&A w/ Director, Producer, and Star of film GIRLFRIEND, Mon., Oct. 3
Join us for the Boston sneak preview of hit feature film GIRLFRIEND, as featured on BBC, MTV, Hollywood Reporter, indieWIRE, and Boston Globe. A Q&A session will follow with Director Justin Lerner, Producer Jerad Anderson, and star Evan Sneider. After a wildly successful reception at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, Moscow International, and Galway International -- GIRLFRIEND has recently won The Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Film and Best Director at the White Sands International Film Fest and both the Audience and Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature at Woods Hole Film Fest. Admission FREE…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=180351
BOSTON - Harvardwood Presents: That's Entertainment Part 2 - An Introduction to Harvardwood Programs, Wed., Oct. 12
Thinking about a career in the entertainment industry? Wondering how to learn more, or how to find an internship? Or already a member of Harvardwood but want to spread the word to your friends? Come to this event and learn more about Harvardwood, a global non-profit organization for Harvard University alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends working or strongly interested in the arts, media, and entertainment. In addition to the educational events Harvardwood produces around the world, Harvardwood is home to dozens of programs that aim to provide its members with tangible, career-advancing opportunities in their fields of interest. Specifically, Harvard undergraduates can take advantage of Harvardwood 101, an industry "boot-camp" offered over J-term and/or the Harvardwood Summer Internship Program, among others...To view full posting and register, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=180460
NY - The OPC/Harvardwood Connection: THE DEAL FROM HELL, Wed., Oct. 5
Veteran journalist (and Harvardwood Full Member) David Andelman is the President of the Overseas Press Club, and we're delighted that David has decided to open many of the Overseas Press Club's events to Harvardwood members! These events will feature an extraordinarily distinguished group of speakers. Because most of these speakers are working journalists, these events will usually be scheduled on relatively short notice. Here's the latest…In 2000, the Chicago Tribune merged with the Times Mirror Company in an $8 billion deal, bringing a host of publications and media outlets under a single roof. The result was a catastrophe. Journalist Jim O'Shea's new book THE DEAL FROM HELL: How Moguls and Wall Street Plundered Great American Newspapers tells the story of the merger and its consequences from the vantage point of an insider…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=182694
NY - Harvardwood Heads To...Celebrating Short Stories at the New York Society Library w/ Sallie Bingham, Tues., Oct. 11
Join us as Harvardwood Heads To...Celebrating Short Stories at The New York Society Library, feat. Harvardwood Full Member, Sallie Bingham! Sallie Bingham will be reading from her new book of short stories entitled, "MENDING: NEW AND SELECTED STORIES" (October 1, 2011, Sarabande Books) at the New York Society Library...From the publisher: "In MENDING, Sallie Bingham follows the often brutal course of yearning and its disappointments with an emotional acuity both unflinching and vigilant. From the first assertions and compromises of sexuality-those accommodations that tug and chafe-to the constrictions of adulthood and, finally, the fixed contours of a maturity where need has been winnowed down, but so has our ability to accommodate, Bingham’s stories radiate with an honesty that is as insistent as it is compassionate. These stories, spanning a career of 50 years and ranging from the fecund Kentucky of her youth to the starker landscapes of New Mexico, have been called "sharp, elegant narratives” by Entertainment Weekly and "luminous” by Publishers Weekly. Taken together, they offer a vision of our inexhaustible hope that there might be a fitting home for the heart."...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=185357
NY - Harvardwood Heads To...Artist's Reception: Sculptures by James Dinerstein, Thurs., Oct. 20
Join us as Harvardwood Heads To…Artist’s Reception: Sculptures by James Dinerstein. The Durst Organization is sponsoring an exhibition of 12 recent sculptures by James Dinerstein. The exhibition will run from October 17th through November 26th, 2011, and will fill the lobby gallery of the Wall Street Journal Building at 1155 Sixth Avenue between 44th & 45th Streets in New York. An opening reception for the artist will be held on Thursday, October 20th, from 6-8 pm…Louis Menand, critic for The New Yorker magazine and Professor of English at Harvard has called Dinerstein's work: "...astonishing fulfillment of the possibilities of their forms...sharing the sensibility of the most vital American art since the 1960." His sculptures "seem archaic and modernist at the same time. In other words, they are original. We can account for them, but only so far."…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=184057
NY - Harvardwood Presents: A Conversation with Oscar Winning Screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher '92, Tues., Oct. 25
In March of 2010, Geoffrey Fletcher won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for PRECIOUS. The film was greeted as both an artistic, and a popular, success. Barbara Bush hailed the movie, saying "If I were to give out a homework assignment, it would be this: go see the movie!" A.O. Scott praised Fletcher's "risky, remarkable film adaptation...It howls and stammers, but it also sings." Fletcher has just made his debut as a film director with VIOLET & DAISY, for which he also wrote the screenplay. He is currently working on a film about the 1971 Attica prison rebellion...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=184787
SF - Harvardwood Heads To...Steve Seabrook: Better Than You
Join us as Harvardwood Heads To..."Steve Seabrook: Better Than You”…I just finished the run of my new solo show at the SF Fringe Festival and I won a Best of Fringe award! As a result, I'm one of four shows that will put on an extra performance…The show can best be described as "three days of self-help in less than an hour." People have been responding to this character, and premise, like nothing I've done in my fifteen years performing comedy. In a dozen workshop performances over the past six months, people keep calling it "hilarious" and "seriously funny." They've called Steve a "wonderful, scary character" ... "I've attended and taught a few too many of those types of events, and you played the part amazingly well" ... "I was laughing because I bought that you believed and lived by every word your character said" ... "I loved that he came across as human and not a caricature" ... "It really spoke to me. But I feel pathetic that it spoke to me!"…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=183945
Announcing the 2011 Harvardwood Writers' Competition winners!
After working through 140 scripts and 3 rounds of judging, the RESULTS of the 2011 Harvardwood Writers' Competition are finally in! Feature Screenplay Category winners – Yalun Tu & Zach Hines for CAMERA PHONE; runner-up – Andrew Sodroski & Raven Burnett for DARK OPS; and second runner-up – Grainne Godfree for CONTRACTOR. TV Pilot Category winner – Jamie Mayer for TOMORROWLAND; runner-up – Caitlin Meares & Kyle Mack for APOCALYPSE NOW-ISH. One-Act Play Category winner – Keren Toledano for THE TUNNEL…View full posting with loglines and more info, here: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/72347/Announcing-the-2011-Harvardwood-Writers-Competition-Winners-.htm
Harvard in Hollywood Program Ad space for sale
Advertise your product or service in the 2011 Harvard in Hollywood program! Reach high-level decision makers in the LA entertainment industry. Expected attendance is 150+ and program advertisers will also have their ad placed in our eBLAST to all Harvardwood members about the event, as well as on the website (promotional outreach includes 4,500+ Harvard students and alumni). Receive a 10% discount if you purchase on or before Friday, Oct. 7…Deadline for purchase is Monday, October 17 (all text and graphics must be received by this date)…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/73012/HARVARD-IN-HOLLYWOOD-PROGRAM-AD-SPACE-FOR-SALE.htm
DEADLINE OCT. 5 - Submit to the Harvardwood Resource Directory
The Harvardwood Resource Directory will be a listing of relevant businesses and services associated with our community, giving our members and visitors a quick and easy reference guide for their upcoming projects and industry needs. All Harvardwood members and their contacts may list in the Resource Directory for free by submitting a listing before WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5th…To view more information and to sign up, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/?page=resourcedirectory
Seeking items for Holiday Silent Auction
This year, in conjunction with our annual holiday party, Harvardwood will host a silent auction in support of the Harvardwood Fund! We invite all Harvardwood members and their contacts to participate. Donate an item from your business or service in support of Harvardwood's educational events and programs. We are currently seeking tax-deductible items to be donated for the auction. Items may include things like: gift certificates (spas, yoga, stores, restaurants, etc.), recording or editing time in a professional studio (audio or video), gift baskets, a walk-on role on a film or TV show, lessons in your area of expertise (golf, tennis, yoga, voice, acting, etc.), a visit to a set or studio, and more…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/73752/Seeking-items-for-holiday-silent-auction.htm
DEADLINE OCT. 21 - Now accepting applications for Harvardwood 101!
Harvardwood is pleased to announce our 10th annual Harvardwood 101 career exploration program, cosponsored by the Office of Career Services and Office for the Arts. The program brings a group of Harvard undergraduates to Los Angeles during the first week of the January term (JAN. 2-8, 2012) and provides various career-related activities in an attempt to demystify Hollywood and educate current students about opportunities in the arts, media and entertainment. Past activities have included a studio lot tour, a visit to a working film set, a discussion of film development and production hosted by a major production company, a visit to a scoring stage, a panel on breaking into TV writing, an agency visit, lunches with alumni in various facets of the industry, and an info session and tour of the USC film school facilities.
In addition, Harvardwood 101 provides a limited number of optional "J-term-ship" opportunities (JAN. 10 - 23, or a portion thereof) for a subset of Harvardwood 101 participants who wish to utilize the rest of the J-term to further explore their area(s) of professional interest. J-term-ship opportunities may include such experiences as shadowing an alum who works in a particular field, visiting additional companies, observing on a film set, etc. Please note: J-termship opportunities may be in LA or other cities and are also open to past 101 and HSIP participants.
For more information or to apply, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/?Harvardwood101
APPLICATION DEADLINE – October 21, 2011
Seeking event and "J-termship" hosts for Harvardwood 101
Harvardwood invites all Harvard alums and friends to get involved in the 10th 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.
There are two segments of the Harvardwood 101 program:
- The Harvardwood 101 "Boot Camp" program takes place during the first week of J-term, JAN. 2 - 8, 2012. The entire group of about two-dozen students participates in office visits, panels, tours, and other activities sponsored by alums and friends working in the arts/media/entertainment industries.
- The Harvardwood 101 "J-Term-Ship" program provides opportunities for the duration of the J-term JAN. 9 - 22 (or a portion thereof) for individual students to further explore their area(s) of professional interest. J-term-ship opportunities might include such experiences as shadowing an alum, doing an intensive 2-week "internship” at one or more companies, observing on a film or TV set, assisting with project research, etc. PLEASE NOTE: "J-term-ship" opportunities do not have to be LA-based.
Please contact us at email@example.com if you have questions or are interested in any/all of the following:
- Hosting all of the students for an office/set visit and/or participating in a panel discussion
- Providing a "J-term-ship” opportunity for an individual student (or students)
For more information on Harvardwood 101, please visit:http://www.harvardwood.org/?Harvardwood101
Thanks for your support!
The Harvardwood Writers' Program in DC is back!
Year two of the HARVARDWOOD WRITERS’ PROGRAM in DC is starting soon! The workshop will focus on long-format fiction, primarily feature screenwriting and novels. The group will meet on alternate Wednesday evenings. The idea will be for each member to set their own goals -- completing a first draft, polishing final drafts in preparation for the marketplace, etc. The workshop leader will work with novelists to help them effectively present their manuscripts to agents and publishers. Screenwriters who are full members of Harvardwood and who meet all program requirements will have the option to post their work to the Harvardwood script menu. Screenplays will also be eligible for the writers’ showcase in LA next April…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/73442/The-HARVARDWOOD-WRITERS-PROGRAM-in-DC-is-back.htm
Seeking Mentors for the Harvardwood Mentorship Program (HMP)
Have you ever thought of being a mentor to someone trying to break into to the biz? The Harvardwood Mentorship Program (HMP) is underway for the 2011-2012 season, and we're seeking mentors. The hope is to foster meaningful professional relationships by matching Harvard graduates with more established alums in their fields of interest for a period of seven months. As working professionals in the arts, media and entertainment, there will be a great deal of flexibility to accommodate the mentors' needs. PLEASE NOTE: If you have already signed up to be a mentor for this program you do not have to sign up again…To learn more and/or sign up, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/?page=hmp
Don't forget - Full Members can become Harvard Club of SoCal members at a discount!
Attention all Affiliates and Full Members of Harvardwood - for an additional, discounted price of $20/year you can become a member of the Harvard Club of Southern California! In addition to sponsoring more social, entertainment, and educational programs for its members throughout Southern California, the Club also works to raise scholarship funds for Harvard College, interviews Southern California applicants to Harvard College, awards summer fellowships to deserving Harvard students, and more…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/72923/Dont-forget---Full-Members-can-become-Harvard-Club-of-SoCal-members-at-a-discount.htm
Join Harvardwood's Film Financing Fund committee
Harvardwood is in the early stages of creating a funding initiative that will offer financial assistance to feature film projects in various stages of development and production. The fund will be exclusively for the use of Full Members of Harvardwood and the finance will initially be raised from within the larger Harvard alumni community. It is more likely to be a form of soft rather than equity financing. This idea is currently in very early stages and Harvardwood is looking to form a committee that can bring it to fruition and/or help to run it. If you are interested in getting involved and have a solid background in film finance, film grants and subsidies, entertainment law or charity/non profit law (or would like to develop skill sets in these areas), please get in touch with London Chapter Head Uzma Hasan who will be leading the process - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seeking Volunteers for Harvard Career Forums in Boston
Connect with fellow Harvard students and Boston-based alumni in the arts! Harvardwood will be present for the Harvard Job & Internship Fair and the Harvard Summer Opportunities Fair on Friday, October 14th and Monday, December 5th, respectively. We are looking for volunteers (both students and alumni are welcome) to help man the table and spread the word about Harvardwood to interested students. Please contact email@example.com if you can sign-up to help at any of the following shifts: Friday, Oct. 14 (Sheraton Commander Hotel) - 1;2:30pm or 2:30-4:30pm; Monday, Dec. 5 (specific details TBA, but this usually takes place at the Gutman Conference Center on Appian Way from 11:30am - 4:30pm). Thanks in advance for your help! Email firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
Leonard Chang joined the writing staff of the new NBC crime drama, AWAKE, set to premiere in January 2012.
Lembit Beecher has been appointed the first Composer In Residence for the Opera Company of Philadelphia. The position, a joint appointment with Gotham Chamber Opera and Music-Theatre Group in New York, will last three years and provides Beecher with the opportunity to observe the inner workings of an opera company and to develop his own craft through personalized creative development and intensive, hands-on composition opportunities including readings, workshops and performances.
Janai-Ami has just been signed to be represented by a fine art gallery in New York City's Chelsea. Her work may be viewed on their site at www.AmsterdamWhitneyGallery.com (go to > "Artists" > "A" > "Janai-Ami). She will debut "Once Upon A Time" in a group show set to open on October 28 and run through November 29, 2011. There is a champagne reception on Thursday evening, November 3, from 6 - 8 P.M. All Harvardwood members in the New York area are invited to attend the reception and bring a guest.
Additionally, Janai-Ami's oil on canvas painting, "Water Flowers For Neil," (12" X 24") just sold in New York for $28,000. The painting is part of the 9/11 series of contemporary florals. Oil on canvas "Once Upon A Time" just re-sold in Germany. "Once Upon A Time" signed giclees (First Edition 250) has nearly sold out. The remaining prints will be available at the New York debut of the artist's work at the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery located at # 511 West 25th Street, Chelsea, New York City (Oct 28- Nov 29, 2011). Janai-Ami began painting in response to 9/11 and has no formal training as an artist.
Harvardwood Talent Group member Jeremy Rabb guest-starred opposite Justin Kirk and Hunter Parrish as an unusual priest on the season finale of WEEDS. This fall, he will be playing Sir Andrew Aguecheek in A Noise Within's production of TWELFTH NIGHT. This marks the inaugural production in the company's new permanent home in Pasadena.
Cole Wiley HLS '07 has won the 2011 Urbanworld Screenplay Competition sponsored by BET and HBO! His script, AFTER THE STORM, is currently being shopped around at various production companies and agencies in LA and NYC. Production dates are tentatively planned for Summer 2012. For more information visit http://www.heygoodimages.com.
Sidney Erik Wright ’05 has had a busy summer. He assistant directed BROADWAY BARES: MASTERPIECE for Josh Rhodes and the benefit raised a record-breaking $1.1 million for BC/EFA. He made his director/choreographer debut with a production of HAIR in historic Woodstock, NY. He choreographed CAMELOT at the Engeman Theater in Long Island. Newsday said "Sidney Erik Wright's choreography enhances the classic score." He can currently be seen on the dance reality web-series, Dance (212) @ dance212.com.
Featured Member Posting: Q&A with filmmaker Massy Tadjedin now available on the Harvardwood Channel
Dues-current Full Members and Friends of Harvardwood can now enjoy the Q&A with Massy Tadjedin after the screening of her film, LAST NIGHT, starring Keira Knightley and Eva Mendes, on May 5, 2011 at the LA Film School! Full Members of Harvardwood may view clips from this event and more, here:
Member Profile: Reginald Hudlin '83
by Dayna Wilkinson
Growing up in East St. Louis, IL, Reginald Hudlin found his story-telling voice early. "I wanted to do a parody of THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN called The Six Dollar and Forty-Nine Cent Man,” he says. "My aspirations weren’t necessarily high art at that time, I just wanted to do something funny and cool.”
He and his brothers were major comic book collectors and movie buffs. "Even before the term "independent” was really popular, I was always aware of other types of movies,” Reginald says. "We loved martial arts, so we were watching movies by Kurosawa long before most folks in the Midwest knew who he was.”
"I wasn’t even in high school, and I kept telling my brother Warrington, who was studying film in college, my film ideas. Then one Christmas he gave me a notebook with blank pages and said, ‘Here, write down your ideas in this.’”
By the time Reginald left for Harvard, he knew he wanted to be a filmmaker. "I guess if there was a movie that was a turning point, it was TOMMY, the rock opera by The Who. The combination of music and visuals in the movie long before the birth of MTV really put a fire into me. I wanted to make a movie that looked like that with the music of George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic.”
The 20 minute short film he wrote and directed for his senior thesis at Harvard won a Student Academy Award and was the basis of his first feature, HOUSE PARTY. "It goes back to that notebook my brother gave me,” Reginald says. "I had collected stories of funny things that happened to my siblings, my friends and myself, and was inspired by movies like RISKY BUSINESS, ANIMAL HOUSE, and AMERICAN GRAFFITI. I saw the huge culture shift with the rise of hip hop and thought, ‘you need to capture this.’” Made for around $2.5 million, HOUSE PARTY grossed $26.4 million domestically and led to three sequels, a Saturday morning animated series and a comic book.
Reginald’s film work includes directing BOOMERANG, COSMIC SLOP for HBO, THE GREAT WHITE HYPE, THE LADIES MAN, and SERVING SARA. He also wrote and executive produced the animated feature BEBE'S KIDS.
Reginald was the first President of Entertainment at Black Entertainment Television. In addition to developing seventeen of the twenty top rated shows in the network’s history and the BET Hip Hop Awards & BET Honors franchises, he created a profitable home entertainment operation and rebuilt the news division. "I loved the scope of the job. I loved having the giant machine to do all this stuff with,” he says.
While he was BET’s chief programmer, Reginald also fulfilled a lifelong dream and wrote for Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER comic book series. Created in 1966 (predating the Black Panther Party), Black Panther was the first black superhero in mainstream comics, a character Reginald remembered from his childhood. "I always liked the character but I was frustrated with his depiction,” Reginald says. "Black Panther wasn’t pivotal enough in storylines.” What was planned as a six-issue assignment turned into a four-year stint as a comics writer. "Objectively that’s a money-losing proposition,” Reggie says, "but I had a lot of fun and it led to me doing an animated series based on the comic book, which led to a bunch of other opportunities in animation. At the end of the day, if I do something I’m passionate about, no matter how far-fetched or unlikely, it tends to make money.”
Reginald’s television credits include directing episodes of THE BERNIE MAC SHOW, MODERN FAMILY, THE OFFICE, THE MIDDLE, and PSYCH. He was also the executive producer of THE BOONDOCKS.
Having worked as a writer, director, producer and executive, Reginald acknowledges having a big appetite. "There are always several projects in the works,” Reginald says, "but my main focus right now is DJANGO UNCHAINED,” the Quentin Tarantino film in pre-production. His involvement started with a conversation the two men had years ago.
"I said I wanted to see a film about the American slave experience that was like Spartacus, or Braveheart, and Quentin was excited by that notion. I didn’t know he was planning to actually act on it,” Reginald recalls. "Years later he shows up with this script and says, ‘you planted the seed and this is the tree, so you have to get on board.’”
So far, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx (as Django) have been cast. "Historically powerful, action-packed--this movie’s going to be spectacular,” Reginald promises.
"It’s great when you can do what you love in your business, and that’s what DJANGO UNCHAINED is,” he says. "Whether we’re out scouting plantations, or looking at which pistol to use or talking through the political implications of certain plot twists, that all falls in the category of getting the movie made. We’re having fun, whistling as we work every day.”
Reginald has some advice for aspiring screenwriters and directors. "Read books and screenplays. Learn to discern what a good or bad script is. You’ll be surprised at how much you can learn—you can’t read enough scripts.”
"If you want to be a director, make sure you’re living life,” he adds. "There are too many movies about movies. People should look out in the world and ask what’s going on in society that’s screaming to be talked about. If that subject resonates with what’s going on in your life, then that’s what you need to make a movie about.”
DJANGO UNCHAINED will be in theaters on Christmas, 2012.
Dayna Wilkinson is a proud New Yorker currently living, working and writing in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
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