Issue 88 | May 2012

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

LA EVENTS

  • Harvardwood Seminar Series presents: Adventures in Casting with Craig Campobasso (FREE), Wed., May 9
  • Harvardwood invited to: Live Talks LA presents Harvard Professor Michael Sandel, Wed., May 9
  • Harvardwood Salon Series presents: The Ins and Outs of China's Film Business, Thurs., May 17

NY EVENTS

  • Harvardwood Presents Houston Symphony's Brinton Smith & Evelyn Chen '90: Hollywood Connection, Tues., May 8
  • Harvardwood Special Offer: Discount to OUR MAN IN HAVANA (Film Society of Lincoln Center), Sun., May 13
  • Harvardwood Presents: Legendary Actress and Cookbook Author, MADHUR JAFFREY, Wed., May 30

BOSTON EVENTS

  • Harvardwood Heads To...IFF Screening of award-winning film THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, Wed., May 2
  • Harvardwood Reunion Event: Harvard screening of the award-winning film THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, Fri., May 25
  • Harvardwood Reunion Mixer, Sat., May 26

Lynton.jpg* Submit for the 2012 Harvardwood Writers' Competition!
* Earn $750 through Harvardwood's partnership with Sungevity
* Calling all Summer Interns!
* Seeking hosts for the 2012 HSIP in LA & NY
* 2012 Harvardwood Summer Internship Listings still available
* Industry Successes
* Harvardwood Artist Showcase
* Featured Member Posting: Entertainment Industry Job List
* Member Profile: Michael Lynton '82, MBA '87

Director's Notes

May is here and with May comes the annual Harvardwood Writers’ Competition! Get those scripts ready for submission – the deadline for this year’s contest is JULY 31. Also with May comes the onset of summer and we are excited to announce our new partnership with Sungevity, a leading solar company that makes going solar much more affordable for all. Sungevity is offering $750 cash to anyone that signs up for a solar lease, as well as a $750 donation to Harvardwood! Help the environment, help Harvardwood, AND earn $750 – we thought it was a pretty good deal. Learn more about it below!

And of course, there’s so much to learn and enjoy this May at a trusty Harvardwood event near you. Hear crazy stories and insights into the casting process with our special guest, Craig Campobasso; learn how to navigate the ever-evolving world of the Chinese film industry with Rob Cain '84; meet legendary actress AND cookbook author, Madhur Jaffrey, while enjoying delicious Indian cuisine in her honor; and lastly, for those enjoying reunion festivities (myself included!), be sure to add both Harvardwood reunion events to your "must-attend” list of activities. I look forward to seeing you there!

-- Kelley

Message from Allison

Happy May, Everyone! As the 2012 presidential election gets into full swing, I want to share my excitement about another development on the political front -- VEEP on HBO. VEEP is the first foray into TV of fellow Harvard alum Frank Rich, who is one of the show's Executive Producers. Rich brings his knowledge of drama and comedy from his stint as the New York Times theater critic (where he was known as "The Butcher of Broadway"!), as well as his political savvy, honed as a political columnist for the Times and now New York Magazine. Check it out, and I look forward to seeing you at one of Harvardwood's great events and seminars this month!

-- Allison

Pencil Me In...

LA - Harvardwood Seminar Series presents: Adventures in Casting with Craig Campobasso (FREE), Wed., May 9

After casting for more than two decades, Craig Campobasso has got a lot of stories to share! Join us as Craig discusses the beginning of his career working on Frank Herbert's DUNE for writer/director David Lynch, and the subsequent two and a half decades of his experience as a casting director. He will also talk about his current casting projects and his new book, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN EXTRATERRESTRIAL SAGA: I AM THYRON, with FOREWORD by Sylvia Browne, New York Times best-selling author and psychic…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=224674

LA - Harvardwood invited to: Live Talks LA presents Harvard Professor Michael Sandel, Wed., May 9

Harvard Professor and best selling author of JUSTICE, Michael Sandel, is visiting Los Angeles for his upcoming book tour in support of his new release, WHAT MONEY CAN'T BUY. Should we pay children to read books or to get good grades? Should we put a price on human life? Decide how much pollution to allow? Is it ethical to pay people to test risky new drugs or to donate their organs? What about hiring mercenaries to fight our wars, outsourcing inmates to for- profit prisons, auctioning admission to elite universities, or selling citizenship to immigrants willing to pay? Hear what Sandel has to say on the "moral limits of markets." The conversation will be moderated by Patt Morrison, KPCC host and LA Times columnist…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=229725

LA - Harvardwood Salon Series presents: The Ins and Outs of China's Film Business, Thurs., May 17

Launched in 2007, the Harvardwood Salon Series brings together experts in a specific field with a small group of members who are interested in further exploring relevant issues, asking questions and seeking advice in an informal salon setting. This month we are proud to present "The Ins and Outs of China's Film Business," with Rob Cain. In the latest installment of Harvardwood’s salon series, Rob Cain, author of the ChinaFilmBiz blog (reporting news, analysis, and opinion on the world's fastest growing film market), will discuss the current state of China's film industry and where things appear to be heading. Delicious Chinese cuisine will be served! To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=231410

NY - Harvardwood Presents Houston Symphony's BRINTON SMITH & EVELYN CHEN '90: Hollywood Connection, Tues., May 8

Drawn by the film industry, many of the world's greatest classical composers and performers settled in the Hollywood area in the 1930s and 40s. This concert will include richly melodic masterpieces for cello and piano composed or arranged by such masters as Rachmaninoff, Korngold, and Rozsa, as well as other composers and arrangers with a Hollywood connection…Featuring Brinton Smith who is widely applauded as one of the world's leading cellists for his passionate and charismatic virtuosity. The Principal Cello of the Houston Symphony, he has been hailed by New York Newsday for "Extraordinary musicianship... forceful, sophisticated and entirely in the spirit of the music.” Also featuring his wife, pianist Evelyn Chen, an extraordinary artist in her own right. The New York Times called her "a pianist to watch . . . brilliant technique, warm, clear tone, and exacting musical intelligence." …To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=226785

NY - Harvardwood Special Offer: Discount to OUR MAN IN HAVANA (Film Society of Lincoln Center), Sun., May 13

We're delighted that the Film Society of Lincoln Center has invited dues-paying Harvardwood members and their guests to attend this special program at a reduced price…This is for our dues-paying members only (Full Members and Friends of Harvardwood) and their guests. If you're an Affiliate (free) member, this would be a great time to upgrade! Told he "stole” every film he appeared in, actor Noël Coward happily agreed, insisting "it was only petty larceny.” His co-star in THE ITALIAN JOB, Michael Caine, sharing the feeling of many, remarked, "Playing with Noël is a lot like working with God.” In this special illustrated talk, Coward scholar and Coward series programmer Barry Day will screen a selection of clips spotlighting Coward’s work in front of the film camera, followed by a complete screening of OUR MAN IN HAVANA…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=231003

NY - Harvardwood Presents: Legendary Actress and Cookbook Author, MADHUR JAFFREY, Wed., May 30

Madhur Jaffrey is the revered star of half a dozen Merchant-Ivory films. She became an international star with 1965's Shakespeare Wallah (Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival). Time magazine wrote of that performance, "Miss Jaffrey dances away with the show. Pale as an ibis, she slithers through the film like an erotic temple carving come to life." She went on to appear in more than 20 films, including THE GURU, AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A PRINCESS, HEAT AND DUST, THE PERFECT MURDER, COTTON MARY, SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION, and VANYA on 42ND STREET. Simultaneously, she has been celebrated as the six-time James Beard Award winning author of treasured, classic cookbooks… Madhur Jaffrey will be interviewed about her stellar careers in both film and food, by Foster Hirsch, professor of Film at Brooklyn College…The interview will be followed by a special Indian dinner with wine…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=229173

BOSTON - Harvardwood Heads To...IFF Screening of award-winning film THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, Wed., May 2

Harvardwood is excited to support the critically lauded Sundance documentary, THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, directed by acclaimed filmmaker and photographer Lauren Greenfield '87, who won Best Director at Sundance 2012 for this work. With the epic dimensions of a Shakespearean tragedy, THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES follows billionaires Jackie and David’s rags-to-riches story to uncover the innate virtues and flaws of the American dream. We open on the triumphant construction of the biggest house in America, a sprawling, 90,000-square-foot mansion inspired by Versailles. Since a booming time-share business built on the real-estate bubble is financing it, the economic crisis brings progress to a halt and seals the fate of its owners. We witness the impact of this turn of fortune over the next two years in a riveting film fraught with delusion, denial, and self-effacing humor…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=227138

BOSTON - Harvardwood Reunion Event: Harvard screening of the award-winning film THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, Fri., May 25

Join us for another Harvardwood Reunion Event - a screening of the award-winning documentary THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES. Harvardwood is excited to support the critically lauded Sundance documentary, THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, directed by acclaimed filmmaker and photographer Lauren Greenfield '87 - who won Best Director at Sundance 2012 for this work. With the epic dimensions of a Shakespearean tragedy, The Queen of Versailles follows billionaires Jackie and David’s rags-to-riches story to uncover the innate virtues and flaws of the American dream. We open on the triumphant construction of the biggest house in America, a sprawling, 90,000-square-foot mansion inspired by Versailles. Since a booming time-share business built on the real-estate bubble is financing it, the economic crisis brings progress to a halt and seals the fate of its owners. We witness the impact of this turn of fortune over the next two years in a riveting film fraught with delusion, denial, and self-effacing humor…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=231205

BOSTON - Harvardwood Reunion Mixer, Sat., May 26

It's back again, our sixth annual Harvardwood Reunion Mixer! Join Boston-based Harvardwood members, folks in town for reunion week, and current students for food, drink, and general merriment! RSVP highly recommended…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=226763

Submit for the 2012 Harvardwood Writers' Competition!

Started in 2006, the Harvardwood Writers' Competition was created to give emerging Harvard writers the opportunity to gain industry exposure and to recognize superior work. The contest includes these 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 Tuesday, 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 cash award, free admission to the 2012-13 writers’ program, and a series of informational meetings with Harvardwood industry contacts, tailored to career trajectory and needs…For more information and to enter visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/?page=WritersCompetition

Earn $750 through Harvardwood's partnership with Sungevity

We are excited to announce our new partnership with Sungevity (a leading California home solar company) – giving Harvardwood members the opportunity to: reduce their carbon footprint, earn $750 CASH, raise money for Harvardwood, and save on their electric bills…all through solar power! With summer coming and electricity bills slowly creeping up we were excited to hear about Sungevity’s offer which makes going solar a much more affordable opportunity for homeowners. And our friends at Sungevity are offering a special promotion for Harvardwood members who own a home: Sungevity will give you a $750 check for signing a zero-down solar lease AND they will donate an additional $750 to Harvardwood! To learn more, visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/90486/Earn-750-through-Harvardwoods-partnership-with-Sungevity.htm

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 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! In addition to being eligible for all HSIP activities, you will also have the opportunity to enter our HSIP housing lottery for the summer…Please sign up before May 15 to be eligible, the lottery results will be announced in late May…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/87353/Calling-all-Summer-Interns.htm

Seeking hosts for the 2012 HSIP in LA & NY

Harvardwood seeks accommodations hosts for the 2012 Harvardwood Summer Internship Program (HSIP). The HSIP provides a list of summer internship opportunities in the arts, media, and entertainment to interested Harvard students. In addition, HSIP facilitates career-related activities throughout the summer for participating students and companies in NYC and LA.

Because several of these internships are unpaid, many HSIP participants are in need of accommodations to help defray the costs of accepting these opportunities. If you have a spare couch, futon, sleeping bag, or room(s) you can provide to a student or students (either free or discounted) for an extended period of time this summer (most internships run from mid-June to early August) please let us know!

In addition to our undying gratitude, you will receive a free year of Full Membership to Harvardwood and you will be invited to attend special HSIP activities. Hosts are NOT expected to provide transportation, meals, entertainment, etc.

If interested, please email us at hsip@harvardwood.org. Thank you very much in advance for your help.

2012 Harvardwood Summer Internship Listings still available

Don’t forget there are several summer internship opportunities listed under the Harvardwood Summer Internship Program, and more have been added since the initial posting. For more information please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/?page=hsiplistings

Industry Successes...

Rob Vilardi will be in an off Broadway production in June as a comedic role.

Georgia Bellas '97 helped create and produce an award-winning short film, CHANGING GEARS: A LOVE STORY, about two bicycles falling in love. The film has been in several Boston-area film festivals and won Audience Choice Award in the 7th Annual Boston Bike Film Fest in October and received Somerville Community Access TV's Best Narrative Award in January. The film is available to watch in an online film competition at http://www.seeflik.com/changing-gears-love-story ...AND

Georgia Bellas's teddy bear has been co-hosting an Internet radio show, "The Secret Lives of Stuffed Animals," Tuesday nights on Boston Free Radio for the past year. Mr. Bear and Stumpy won Somerville Community Access TV's award for Best Radio Show in January and were recently featured on Boston Art Life, a website highlighting local artists. You can check out their photo shoot and interview at http://www.bostonartlife.com/2012/03/27/secret-lives-of-stuffed-animals/. Podcasts of the show are (slowly) becoming available at http://secretlives.podbean.com/ or you can subscribe through iTunes. They are always looking for new guests — and listeners!

Karen-Eileen Gordon continues to recur on the new Starz original series MAGIC CITY, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Friday nights, 10pm EST/PST). Gordon plays FLORENCE, tough-smart-funny New York dame, and long-time executive secretary to Morgan. Tune in every Friday night at 10pm through the end of May, and especially on MAY 11th, to watch Flo in action. Season two begins filming in Miami this summer. First released on-set still of Florence: http://yfrog.com/z/ntocgerj Gordon will be live-tweeting during every episode (EST & PST) through May 18th. Join her at: http://twitter.com/gotkareneileen

Harvardwood Artist Showcase

Each month the Highlights is proud to feature one or two artists from some of our various programs in the Harvardwood Artist Showcase. Click below to learn more about what they do!

karen-eileen_gordon_as_flore.jpgIn a Harvard Crimson poll during her time at Cabot House, classmates voted Karen-Eileen Gordon "One of the Ten Funniest" on campus, thanks to her daily-changing voicemail greetings. Gordon's shape-shifting performances in television and film continue to impress audiences and critics alike.

Gordon currently recurs on the Starz original series MAGIC CITY, set in 1959 Miami Beach, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Gordon plays FLORENCE, Morgan's tough-smart-funny, "New York dame" executive secretary. Season two films summer of 2012 in Miami. Gordon will live-tweet during all May episodes...join her Fridays at 10pm EST & PST: http://twitter.com/gotkareneileen

On film, Gordon recently starred in the independent feature A FREE BIRD as southern whirlwind TAMMY, directed by George Foster Peabody and British Academy of Film and Television Arts award-winner Gregg Russell. The project, now in post-production, debuts in 2013. View the MPAA red band (R rated) trailer on YouTube.

Gordon can be contacted on Facebook. You can also view her animation voice-over reel, her comedy film/television reel, and on IMDb's "Ten Actresses to Watch in 2012" list.

Featured Member Posting: Entertainment Industry Job List

Access a comprehensive list of entertainment industry opportunities...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/networking/opening.asp?id=124938

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We're sad to report the passing of Harvardwood member, Ricki Tannen HLS '91. Our prayers are with her family and friends during this difficult time.


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Member Profile: Michael Lynton '82, MBA '87Lynton.jpg

by D. Dona Le

"I don’t write, I don’t paint, and I don’t take photographs,” Michael Lynton (AB ‘82, MBA ‘87) says bluntly, when asked about his creative tendencies.

What does he do?

Mr. Lynton is the Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) and, just last month, was named CEO of Sony Corporation of America. As of June 27, 2012, he will not only be co-chairman of SPE with Amy Pascal, but also oversee Sony Music Entertainment and Sony/ATV Music Publishing. And Mr. Lynton’s professional accomplishments are not limited to film and entertainment. Before joining Sony Corporation in 2004, he was the President of AOL International and the CEO of the Penguin Group.

While his resume is certainly formidable, Mr. Lynton himself is extraordinarily modest about his achievements.

"I never had a plan for my career. I always simply tackled those things that looked interesting to me, and then, inevitably, when they weren't interesting any longer, another opportunity came along and presented itself. Sometimes the opportunities weren't that obvious, and other times, they were more obvious; but it was never with a plan in mind.”

As an undergraduate at Harvard, he found the most interesting concentration to be History and Literature.

"I thought the way that Harvard had them relate to one another made a lot of sense. I had a particular interest in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century American and English history and literature, and so this concentration allowed me to focus on both.”

After graduating in 1982, like many of his peers, Mr. Lynton decided to work in investment banking and took a position at First Boston (now Credit Suisse First Boston). "That was the one decision I made that I wasn't being very thoughtful about.”

He was based in First Boston’s New York office but wanted to relocate, so the company loaned him to an Australian mining company in Melbourne for one year. Then, Mr. Lynton moved to First Boston’s London office to assist in the company’s venture with Credit Suisse.

Ultimately, investing banking was not Mr. Lynton’s passion. "I tended to deal with lots of smart people in senior positions, but I didn't care for the fact that you weren't a decision maker. You were mostly just working in an advisory capacity, not somebody who had to live with the consequences of their decisions. So I wanted to get out of investment banking and consulting, and get into operations.”

Mr. Lynton returned to the United States to attend Harvard Business School, somewhat reluctantly, with his sister. "The first year [of HBS] was very fruitful and interesting, particularly the first six to seven months,” he says, but he doesn’t believe that one must attend business school to do what he does now.

Then, Mr. Lynton was recruited by The Walt Disney Company to handle the business development of its consumer products. At that time, Stephen Burke—now CEO and President of NBC Universal—was establishing The Disney Stores. So Mr. Lynton helped to found Disney’s publishing division, Hyperion, where he collaborated with such industry giants as publisher Bob Miller and John Skipper (now President of ESPN, Inc.).

Several years later, he became president of Hollywood Pictures, another Disney division known for such films as THE ROCK, QUIZ SHOW, and CRIMSON TIDE. However, Mr. Lynton’s experience in finance and publishing did not necessarily make the transition to Hollywood seamless.

"It wasn't the greatest of experiences for a lot of different reasons,” Mr. Lynton reveals. "Disney was in turmoil, and I didn't know much about the movie business, so to be thrown in to run a production label is probably one of the most difficult things to do, even if you do know what you're doing. I would count it as not a success; as much as I enjoyed some of it and I certainly learned a lot, I’ve learned more from failure than from success.”

So in 1996, Mr. Lynton left Hollywood to become the Chairman and CEO of Pearson PLC’s Penguin Group, the second-largest publisher of English language books. Under his direction, Penguin acquired and integrated Putnam Inc.; he also expanded Penguin’s global publishing operations.

"Running Penguin was the first job I had that was really a pure management job; we had a lot of employees, both on the editorial side and on the sales side, operations, warehousing, so it was really a big business to run. It was also an international business—Canada, India, London, New York City.”

In some ways, Mr. Lynton notes, there are parallels between the publishing and entertainment industries.

"You’re doing so in different ways, but you’re definitely managing a creative process. The part of the [film] business that is similar [to the publishing industry] is the DVD business, dealing with inventory and whatnot.”

The differences, however, are huge.

"The money is much greater and everything moves much more quickly [in entertainment],” Mr. Lynton explains. "The involvement you need from actual folks on the corporate side is greater. A book is written by an author, who has a one-to-one relationship with an editor; not many people at the company are involved with the actual book. This is very different from a studio’s involvement with a movie or television show.

"The movie and television business tends to be a lot more conventional in the way they tell stories than the book business. It’s much more a mass audience business because movies and shows have to be marketed; you don’t do much marketing in the book business, but you do a lot in both TV and film. Those marketing methods respond much better to traditional story structure than the non-traditional structure.

"And technology plays a much greater role in entertainment than any other media business. Film and television have been affected by technology, over and over again, and we’re now in the middle of it again.”

Mr. Lynton is more knowledgeable than most about the impacts of technology on the entertainment industry. After four years with Penguin, he became the CEO of AOL Europe and the President of AOL International and Time Warner International, during an era when Internet usage was exploding across the globe.

Several years ago, he was an outspoken critic of online piracy, although the situation has changed.

"Now, for the first time, we’re seeing models that allow people to pay for the content that they’re viewing, which wasn’t the case in 2009, so that’s a good thing. There's a viable alternative to piracy.”

More importantly, in his current position, Mr. Lynton is harnessing technology to ensure the growth of Sony’s operations worldwide. Part of his responsibilities includes the global production and distribution of Sony’s films, television programs, and digital content. He points out that rapidly growing movie markets are found in Brazil, South Korea, and Russia, while the television industry is expanding significantly in Latin America and India.

Thus, utilizing technology effectively has been crucial to Mr. Lynton’s demonstrated success at SPE—success that no doubt contributed to his recent promotion, which will unify Sony’s entertainment and music divisions under his sole direction.

"I think that the Internet has become a much more sophisticated place for marketing our products than was the case in the past. You have all these devices—tablets and phones—that are connected, people are watching movies and TV shows on a huge variety of devices. Staying on top of this technology change is obviously a constant challenge because whether it’s in the production of our content or in the distribution of our content, all of this is changing every day. If you don’t stay on top of it, then there are losses.”

Mr. Lynton’s effective leadership is also rooted in his care and genuine appreciation for his co-chairman, Amy Pascal, his colleagues, and their team at SPE.

"My partnership with Amy is a hugely satisfying component of my job. A lot of our job is making certain that we have the right people in the right jobs, and that they are motivated, that they feel that their jobs are rewarding, and that they have the resources necessary to do what they need to do.”

His influence and community involvement extend far beyond Sony Pictures and Hollywood as well. Since 2007, Mr. Lynton has helped to compile Newsweek’s annual list of the "50 Most Influential Rabbis in America.” In addition to being a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Lynton serves on the boards of the L.A. World Affairs Council and the Rand Corporation, and in 2009, President Obama nominated him to the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lynton also makes time to engage with the Harvard alumni community. He interviews applicants to Harvard yearly and is co-chair of his class’s 30th Harvard College Class Reunion Gift Committee. This year, the Harvard Club of Southern California awarded him the John Harvard Award for Outstanding Community Service.

Mr. Lynton is currently a candidate for the Harvard Alumni Association’s Board of Overseers, with elections taking place in May 2012 (ballots must be received by May 18, 2012).

Raised in the Netherlands, Mr. Lynton is fluent in English, French, German, and Dutch; but despite this international background, he considers the American education system to be superior to that of Europe.

"I think when it works—and there are huge problems, particularly in the U.S. public school system—but when it works, I think it is vastly superior on two levels. First, generally, an American spirit of giving back is demonstrated in all aspects of American society, but also in the schools. The other aspect—and you see it in everything going on, whether in Silicon Valley or down here in Hollywood—is this hugely entrepreneurial spirit, this spirit of innovation and creativity that is not as prevalent in other education systems.”

Mr. Lynton places particular value on a liberal arts education. "It’s helpful in almost everything that you do. Whether somebody is in the sciences, finance, in any area, a liberal arts education definitely broadens your perspective on things; it’s hugely helpful and valuable from a professional standpoint.”

It is particularly valuable to Mr. Lynton in his profession. "The movie business comes down to storytelling and having a narrative. The more stories you've read, the more you know about history, the more you understand about science, the better the perspective you're going to bring to making movies and TV shows. The other stuff can be learned on the job.”

Although Mr. Lynton himself may not paint, take photographs, or write, he has strengthened and expanded a creativity-based business in a cutthroat creative industry during a particularly challenging era of technology with that willingness to learn on the job.

"I sit a lot with Amy and with other folks at the studio, and you definitely have to have a grasp on what's going on creatively in the business to make sure everything is running successfully. You have to be able to look at something and determine whether that's commercial or not commercial, good or not good, works or doesn't work.”

"Oftentimes I can’t,” Mr. Lynton admits, "but to the degree that I can, I can because I watch a lot of television and I watch a lot of movies and I like them both. You develop tastes and perspectives, and they don’t necessarily have to do with the job. Although you are informed a lot by the marketplace, after you market enough movies and shows, you tend to know what works, what doesn't, and you get surprised. The surprise is what makes the job fun.”

As long as Mr. Lynton’s job is fun for him, then Sony Pictures—and soon, Sony Music too—will continue to deliver entertaining, innovative content that engages audiences around the world through a multitude of digital media outlets.

And don't forget about your Harvard Alumni Association ballot! The HAA ballots are due back by May 18th and we ask that you consider voting for longtime Harvardwood supporters, Michael Lynton (nominated for Overseer) and John Bowman (nominated for Elected Director).

ddonale_page.jpgD. Dona Le is a freelance editor and writer currently residing in Chicago, IL.

 


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