Issue 96 | January 2013

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

LA EVENTS

  • TONIGHT!! Harvardwood & HBSASC present the 2013 Hollywood Panel - "Show Business is Good Business" (sponsored by Ameriprise), Wed., Jan. 2
  • Harvardwood co-hosts Global Networking Night, Mon., Jan. 14
  • Harvardwood Seminar Series: Producing Social Change through Transformative Media, Tues., Jan. 22
  • Harvardwood Presents: An Evening at the LA Art Fair & Trader Vic's, Fri., Jan. 25

NY EVENTS

  • Harvardwood Heads To...A Special Reception - THE SEVENTH FIRE, Wed., Jan. 9
  • Harvardwood GREAT BEERS Series: ENGLISH WINTER ALES, Thurs., Jan. 10
  • Harvardwood Presents: STELLA ADLER and America's Master Playwrights, Tues., Jan. 22
  • Harvardwood Presents Stand-Up Comedy: LAUGHTER TIMES THREE! Wed., Jan. 30

CHICAGO EVENTS

  • Harvardwood co-hosts Global Networking Night, Mon., Jan. 14

ONLINE EVENTS

  • Harvardwood Heads To...eBook Giveaway! Wed., Jan. 2 - Sun., Jan. 6

moniker_photo.jpg* Join the Harvardwood Board of Directors (Deadline - Jan. 8)
* And the 2013 Harvard ROCKS performers are...
* Seeking volunteers for Harvard ROCKS 2013
* Join the Chicago Chapter of Harvardwood
* Seeking company hosts and J-termship providers for Harvardwood 101 (coming up next week)
* Congrats to our 2012 Membership Drive Raffle winners!
* Industry Successes
* Artist Showcase feat. a Harvard ROCKS 2013 Finalist!
* Spotlight on Ameriprise - Learn more about Michael Persaud HBS '94
* Featured Member Posting: Associate Dir. of Marketing at the Sundance Institute - LA
* Member Profile: Jim Latham '84/'85

Director's Notes

Happy New Year to all of our illustrious Harvardwood members! I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful holiday and you are revved up for a great 2013. We’ve got a lot to look forward to on the Harvardwood front. First, we are extremely excited to welcome Ameriprise on board as our new corporate partner. Learn more about the man behind the collaboration, Michael Persaud HBS ’94, below, and chat with him in person tonight at our HBSASC/Harvardwood 2013 Hollywood Panel "Show Business is Good Business.” Networking on your resolution list? Start the New Year off right at Global Networking Night (GNN) on Jan. 14! Harvardwood is co-hosting GNN events in LA and Chicago. 2013, here we come!

-- Kelley

Message from Allison

Join the Harvardwood Board in 2013! Harvardwood is in a remarkable time of unprecedented growth (over 5,000 members!) and I'm very excited to welcome new applicants to help us move into the future. If you've got ideas for membership and career services, or our music and writers programs -- we'd love to hear them! Apply here by January 8.

Looking forward to seeing you all in the New Year!

-- Allison

Pencil Me In...

LA - TONIGHT!! Harvardwood & HBSASC present the 2013 Hollywood Panel - "Show Business is Good Business", Wed., Jan. 2

Join the HBSASC, Harvardwood, and the HBS Hollywood Trek for our 2013 Entertainment Panel and Mixer. The entertainment industry is stronger than ever. Traditional entertainment company stock prices are soaring. New entertainment companies continue to emerge. Our panel will address the current status and evolution of the entertainment industry -- and what it takes to succeed. Join HBSASC, Harvardwood, and current HBS students on Hollywood Trek for our 2013 Entertainment Panel and Mixer. Hear from HBS entertainment execs as they discuss the current state of Hollywood. A special thanks to our sponsors at Ameriprise for their support of this event! Learn more about Ameriprise and Board member, Michael Persaud (HBS '94) below! …To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=281855&group=

LA - Harvardwood co-hosts Global Networking Night, Mon., Jan. 14

Please join the Harvard Alumni Association, regional Harvard Clubs, and Shared Interest Groups (SIGs) worldwide for Global Networking Night on Monday, January 14, 2013! This unique event brings alumni together on one night, in cities around the world. It is a special opportunity to connect with fellow alumni and current students from across the University. Build new connections, reconnect with classmates, share your experiences with students, and welcome recent graduates to your city. Tap into the power of the network! Registration Deadline: January 9, 2013, 5:00PM Eastern Time (online registration only). Learn more and register today…To view full posting, please visit:
http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=283589&group=

LA - Harvardwood Seminar Series: Producing Social Change through Transformative Media, Tues., Jan. 22

How do we use cinema to motivate people to alter their behavior? This has been a serious concern for medical professionals, civic leaders, educators, community organizers, as well as the advertising industry. Jeremy Kagan, founder of the Change Making Media Lab at USC, will explore effective cinematic techniques that create strategic high-impact cinema, television, and multi-media visual imagery to inspire individuals, organizations, and communities into action. Note that this is a FREE event but we have limited seating available. There will be a special PRIORITY REGISTRATION period for dues-current Full Members, Friends of Harvardwood, and their guests through Wednesday, January 9th. If seats are still available, registration will be open to Affiliates and others after January 9th…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=283590&group=

LA - Harvardwood Presents: An Evening at the LA Art Fair & Trader Vic's, Fri., Jan. 25

Join Harvardwood on Friday, January 25 for an evening at the Los Angeles Art Fair and Trader Vic’s, a culinary tribute to the tropical paradise of Polynesia. The art fair is the largest in California, with over 100 exhibitors. The event includes a visit to the fair between 4 and 7 p.m. (Arrival between 4 and 5 p.m. at your convenience.) Afterwards, we will meet at Trader Vic’s at nearby L.A. LIVE for private dining and sampling of exotic dishes from the South Pacific. This package includes a sampling of appetizers, one choice of a meat, fish, poultry or vegetarian entrée, and gratuity…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=281856&group=

NY - Harvardwood Heads To...A Special Reception - THE SEVENTH FIRE, Wed., Jan. 9

Meet the creative team behind THE SEVENTH FIRE (Dir. Jack Riccobono '03) and get a sneak peek at never-before-seen footage. Currently in production, this feature-length documentary tells the story of three Ojibwe men caught between the violent rise of Native American criminal gangs and the struggle to maintain the traditions of their ancestors. Please join us at a special reception hosted by Jeffrey & Brondi Borer to learn more about the film and to have the opportunity to support the film's production! …To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=285554&group=

NY - Harvardwood GREAT BEERS Series: ENGLISH WINTER ALES, Thurs., Jan. 10

Our Harvardwood Great Beers series continues with a dinner and seminar devoted to England's extraordinary tradition of Winter Ales. Most people think of beer as a light refreshing summer drink. But England has a long tradition of magnificent "winter" ales--rich, complex brews, often quite high in alcohol, perfect for sipping next to a roaring fireplace. And these beers go spectacularly well with winter food! At this combined dinner and seminar, we'll be sipping and discussing seven of the very greatest of these pale ales, stouts, barley wines, old ales, and winter ales, all made by passionately perfectionist brewmasters at tiny artisanal English breweries. These will be some of England's most amazing beers, and the DTA's wonderful Chef Anthony LoCastro will show them off at their very best with a scrumptuously mouthwatering dinner carefully planned to complement the beers. The distinguished beer authority B.R. Rolya will be present to join in discussing the beers…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=277595&group=

NY - Harvardwood Presents: STELLA ADLER and America's Master Playwrights, Tues., Jan. 22

A great actress and a legendary acting teacher, Stella Adler was among the most influential figures in the American theater of the 20th century. The daughter of the great Yiddish actor Jacob Adler, Stella Adler began her life on the stage at the age of five. She was one of the co-founders of the revolutionary Group Theatre… Now, a new book, STELLA ADLER ON AMERICA’S MASTER PLAYWRIGHTS, compiled from lectures given by Adler in the 1980s, has been released to critical acclaim. It includes Adler's thoughts on O'Neill, Williams, Odets, Miller, Albee, and others. Ben Brantley wrote in the NEW YORK TIMES, "Even on the page, Adler (1901-1992) projects to the back of the house. It is indeed the voice of a giant . . . She gives as vibrant an impression as I’ve come across of the social and artistic chaos in which American playwrights of the early 20th century found themselves." …We've put together a remarkable panel to discuss Adler and her thoughts on the great American playwrights….To view full listing, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=284956&group=

NY - Harvardwood Presents Stand-Up Comedy: LAUGHTER TIMES THREE! Wed., Jan. 30

Start the New Year on a laughing note with a scrumptious dinner with wine, and THREE of the smartest, funniest comics anywhere! Enjoy professional comedians Kevin Flynn (who has performed in films starring Ben Stiller, Jim Carey, and Bill Murray and as a guest star in SEX IN THE CITY), Buddy Fitzpatrick (who has appeared on MAKE ME LAUGH and STAND & DELIVER on Comedy Central, as well as THE SOPRANOS), and Sherry Davey (named one of New York's "Top 10 Comedians" by Improper Magazine and honored as one of Hollywood Reporter’s "Magnificent Seven") in this evening of stand-up comedy at its best! Add in the DTA's wonderful chef Anthony LoCastro and his mouthwatering cuisine and you get a fabulous evening of great food, good companionship, and laughter! …To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=281858&group=

Chicago - Harvardwood co-hosts Global Networking Night, Mon., Jan. 14

Please join the Harvard Alumni Association, regional Harvard Clubs, and Shared Interest Groups (SIGs) worldwide for Global Networking Night on Monday, January 14, 2013! This unique event brings alumni together on one night, in cities around the world. It is a special opportunity to connect with fellow alumni and current students from across the University. Build new connections, reconnect with classmates, share your experiences with students, and welcome recent graduates to your city. Tap into the power of the network! Registration Deadline: January 9, 2013, 5:00PM Eastern Time (online registration only). Learn more and register today…To view full posting, please visit:
http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=285557&group=

Online - Harvardwood Heads To...eBook Giveaway! Wed., Jan. 2 - Sun., Jan. 6

Amazon #1 bestselling novel, TRADING DREAMS, also "Occupy's 1st bestselling novel," goes free at Kindle US and UK from Jan 2-6, 2013. It got 6000+ downloads and rose to #1 in Political Fiction during the last giveaway and is expected to do even better this time around. Some reviews: "...vivid scenes at a kinky sex club on the outskirts of Greenwich Village with references to the bursting economic bubble and the federal government's bank bailout." ― Publishers Weekly; "Occupy's 1st bestselling novel" ― Occupy Virtual Worlds; "An ideal read for suspense lovers interested in the current financial crisis." ― Booklist; "No 1 in Amazon’s Political Fiction section...Ms. Morin’s book is a fantastic read." ― CNN iReport …To view full posting and get the download link, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=282609&group=

Join the Harvardwood Board of Directors

The Harvardwood Board of Directors (BOD) is coming up on elections for its next term and we are looking for some energetic individuals to fill a few great positions! The Harvardwood BOD is the managing body that oversees the volunteer efforts of Harvardwood members worldwide, and it has worked to create an impressive array of events, programs, and online resources over the past decade. As a member of this dynamic team you will play a large role in determining the priorities and setting the course for the entire organization…To find out more about the available positions, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/110065/Join-the-Harvardwood-Board-of-Directors.htm

And the 2013 Harvard ROCKS performers are...

It was a tough race, but we are now pleased to announce the judges' picks for Harvard ROCKS 2013!! Started in 2009, Harvard ROCKS brings out the best of the best in Harvard's undiscovered musical talent. This year's acts were chosen by a group of top tier industry judges (see full list of judges at link below). The performing artists for Harvard ROCKS 2013 will be: Moniker, The Trees, and Dan Masterson. The runner-ups for this year's showcase are Onward Chariots and The Roads NYC. Now, get your tickets for the musical showcase with both brains and brawn! Catch the performing artists LIVE on February 20th and help select the 2013 Harvard ROCKS winner... http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=285571&group=

Seeking volunteers for Harvard ROCKS

We are seeking a few volunteers to help at the Harvard ROCKS showcase on Wed., Feb. 20th in LA. Volunteers will help check people in at the door, tally audience votes for the artists, document the event with photos and videos, and other duties as needed. Email [email protected] if you'd like to help make this night a smashing success! …To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/80140/Seeking-volunteers-for-Harvard-ROCKS.htm

Join the Chicago Chapter of Harvardwood

Calling all Chicago residents working (or strongly interested) in the arts, media, and entertainment! The Chicago Chapter of Harvardwood has been re-launched, and we want to hear from you! If you are in the Chicago-area, please join the Chicago Chapter through the Harvardwood website (instructions in link), or feel free to send an email with any questions, concerns, or ideas to Chapter Heads D. Dona Le '05 and Ramsey Lafayette[email protected] (also feel free to forward this along to friends in the area) …To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/112513/Join-the-Chicago-Chapter-of-Harvardwood.htm

Seeking company hosts and J-termship providers for Harvardwood 101 (coming up next week)

Harvardwood invites all Harvard alums and friends to get involved in the 11th 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:

  1. The Harvardwood 101 "Boot Camp" program takes place during the first full week of J-term, this year from January 7th - 11th, 2013. 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.
  2. The Harvardwood 101 "J-Term-Ship" program provides opportunities for the duration of the J-term (this year from Jan. 12th - 27th, 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 protected] if you have questions or are interested in any/all of the following:

  • Providing a "J-term-ship” opportunity for an individual student (or students)
  • Hosting all of the students for an office/set visit and/or participating in a panel discussion

For more information on Harvardwood 101, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/?Harvardwood101

Thanks for your support!

Congrats to our 2012 Membership Drive Raffle winners!

Congratulations are in order for dues-current Harvardwood members, Lorraine Rodriguez and Todd Senturia, the winners of our 2012 membership drive raffle!! Lorraine and Todd have won (respectively): 1) a one night stay at the luxurious Shangri-la Hotel, overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica (this offer is sponsored by the Long-Term Stay Program at the Shangri-la -- perfect for filmmakers and other folks making short term trips to LA) and 2) a 3-Star membership to the American Film Institute (AFI), a $250 value, which includes four movie passes (select, nationwide chains), a subscription to Entertainment Weekly, discounts on AFI Fest packages, and more! Learn more about the Long-Term Stay Program at the Hotel Shangri-la and membership to the American Film Institute at this link: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/111580/Congrats-to-our-2012-Membership-Drive-Raffle-winners.htm

Industry Successes...

Ryan P. Shrime's new comedy web series, BATHROOMIES, which he created, produced, and performs in, is now available to watch online at www.youtube.com/user/Bathroomies. There's a new episode every Thursday, so subscribe, like, comment and stay tuned!

Dick Sheffield's debut novel, LASSO THE MOON, has been released and is available in an EBook format through Amazon as well as directly from the publisher. Information regarding the book/author (synopsis, excerpts, where to buy, etc.) can be found on his website – www.dicksheffield.com (There is a slider page on the home tab). Please join Dick on Facebook (www.facebook.com/dicksheffieldbooks) and share with your friends. Other works: His short story, "Maere Tungol,” was a 2010 Hackney Literary Awards' third-prize winner and published in 2011. Sheffield, a journalist with ABC News in New York, plans to complete his second novel, CABLES FROM A RESTLESS HEART, in 2013. Both pieces can be previewed at www.dicksheffield.com.

Damien Chazelle's '08 script WHIPLASH was included on 2012 The Black List. Right of Way Films and Blumhouse Productions are producing the feature, which Chazelle will direct. A short film by the same name, which Chazelle also directed, will premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

Maria Konnikova's first book, MASTERMIND: HOW TO THINK LIKE SHERLOCK HOLMES, will be released by Viking/Penguin on January 3. It uses the Holmes stories to explore the psychology and neuroscience of how we think and has been called "fascinating...a delightful tour of the science of memory, creativity and reasoning" by Steven Pinker. Now available for pre-order on Amazon. NYC, Cambridge, and London tour dates can be viewed on Maria's website, www.mariakonnikova.com.

Jack Riccobono ’03 is co-hosting a special reception on 1/9/13 for THE SEVENTH FIRE. Currently in production, this feature-length documentary tells the story of three Ojibwe men caught between the violent rise of Native American gangs and the struggle to maintain their traditions. Meet the creative team and get a sneak peek at never-before-seen footage. With Sundial Pictures (PARIAH, JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI), co-editors Michael J. Palmer '03 (GEORGE HARRISON: LIVING IN THE MATERIAL WORLD, HISTORY OF THE EAGLES) and Adelaide Papazoglou '02, and composer Nicholas Britell '03 (GIMME THE LOOT). For more information, contact [email protected]

Harvardwood Artist Showcase feat. a Harvard ROCKS 2013 Finalist!

Each month the Highlights is proud to feature one or two artists from some of our various programs in the Harvardwood Artist Showcase. This January and February we are especially excited to feature the finalists in this year's music showcase -- Harvard ROCKS 2013! Click below to learn more about what they do and get your tickets in support of these fabulous artists!

moniker_photo.jpgMoniker is a progressive rock band based out of Boston MA, consisting of Socrates Cruz '06 (guitar/vocals), Luke Walker (bass), and Peter Bartash (drums). Their sound has been described as "ethereal sonic storytelling, with U2 textures, Radiohead rhythms, and Pink Floyd psychedelia." In 2012 the band released two albums and played at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, TX for the second consecutive year. Moniker was nominated for New England Emerging Artist of the Year in 2011, and won a regional poll for Artist of the Month that same year. According to TIME OUT Magazine, "Boston’s likely got more unsigned indie bands per cubic inch than any city in America, but even still it’s hard to imagine why someone, somewhere hasn’t picked up a band like Moniker."

Learn more about Moniker at www.whatsyourmoniker.com and then see them LIVE on Feb. 20th at Harvard ROCKS 2013!

Spotlight on Ameriprise - Learn more about Michael Persaud HBS '94

Harvardwood is proud to welcome Ameriprise as one of our new corporate partners. Through our partnership, Ameriprise will be supporting many of Harvardwood's programs and events throughout the year (catch them TONIGHT at "Show Business is Good Business"). With their generous commitment and contributions to the organization, Harvardwood is able to pass on additional benefits to our members.

michael_persaud_prof_pic_201.jpgMichael Persaud HBS '94 is a successful businessman and entrepreneur who recently joined the firm of Ameriprise Financial Services. Re-entering financial services is a coming home of sorts for Michael who began his career out of college in the financial industry. After spending many years running his own business and working to build others in media and entertainment, Michael is working with Ameriprise focusing his practice in those industry sectors as well as others, helping individuals, entrepreneurs and executives achieve their financial goals.

Prior to joining Ameriprise, Michael was President of Brand Development at MUSE Communications, a Hollywood based advertising agency. He also co-founded his own agency, Persaud Brothers, where he served as President for 8 years. Michael worked in the music industry for a number of years at Qwest/Warner Brothers Records and helped with the start-up of VIBE Magazine before that. In between undergraduate school and Harvard Business School, Michael worked at GE Capital where he was a Risk Analyst for GE Investments, managers of the General Electric Pension Fund among others. While there he regularly reported the risk position of the funds under management to the GE board of Trustees.

Michael serves mightily on the Board of Directors of Harvardwood (with a 2012 HARVY Award to prove it!), and he has also volunteered with Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) whose mission is to increase the presence of qualified students of color in leading entry-level careers and major graduate business schools as preparation for leadership positions in corporations, non-profit organizations and entrepreneurial ventures. Currently Michael also serves as an advisory board member to the Share for Life Foundation, which provides programs that address issues affecting disadvantaged communities in New York City through awareness education, media projects, the arts, and personal development activities.

Michael holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. He completed his undergraduate studies at University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. Michael is a 5-time marathoner and tri-athlete who loves playing tennis and has recently transitioned from skiing to the joy of boarding.

Harvardwood is thankful to Michael and his partners at Ameriprise for their support of tonight's event "Show Business is Good Business." Meet Michael in person tonight or contact him directly for a FREE, personal financial consultation at [email protected]

Featured Member Posting: Associate Dir. of Marketing at the Sundance Institute - LA

The Associate Director of Marketing is responsible for developing and leading the execution of comprehensive marketing strategies. Primary responsibilities include providing operational leadership for Marketing Department and managing the production, publication, and promotion of original content. The Associate Director will provide operational leadership for the Marketing Department as a whole, lead fulfillment of strategic partnerships, including media partnerships, foundation relationships, corporate sponsorships, and others, manage a diverse team of full-time staff, seasonal staff, vendors, independent contractors and volunteers to produce, publish and promote content in support of all Sundance Institute programs, among other duties as assigned…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/networking/opening.asp?id=144801

Member Profile: Jim Latham '84/'85Latham.jpg

by D. Dona Le

Film composer Jim Latham (AB ‘84/’85), a Quincy House resident, didn’t initially plan to select Music as his concentration when he first entered Harvard. He played guitar and sang in bands throughout high school, but Latham’s parents were academics, and "showbiz was not on the menu.” So freshman year, Latham took numerous math and physics courses, in addition to classes in the Music Department.

When it came time to declare his concentration, Latham’s advisor asked, "Why don’t you do what you like?”

Music was the clear choice. Latham played in several bands with Harvard classmates throughout college, including one called COMMISSIONER GORDON. Because of his strong reputation as a guitarist, songwriter, and composer, several Visual & Environmental Studies concentrators asked him to score their student films during their senior year.

Then, Latham took his own senior year off to attend Berklee College of Music, located in Boston, for one year. Even then, Latham wasn’t yet certain about pursuing a career in music. He learned at Berklee that he wasn’t interested in becoming a session musician, but in "doing the creation [of music].”

Toward the end of his senior year, his father asked what he intended to do after graduation. When Latham responded that he was considering real estate, his father asked, "What about the music?”

"I said I can’t make money doing that,” laughs Latham, "and he said, ‘What do you need money for? You don’t have kids. If you get hungry, come home and we’ll feed you.”

So after college, Latham remained in Boston for an additional year to perform as a professional musician with his band at clubs throughout the city and at other universities. A hockey injury required Latham to undergo a shoulder operation, however, and the band eventually petered out.

Next, Latham moved to Los Angeles, where he immediately got to work building his career as a film & television composer.

"I was broke when I got out of school, so if I was going to do music, I didn’t have the wherewithal to pursue a career in music that was a slow build of making money. And I liked writing for movies and TV,” he explains.

Early on, Latham took a master class for composing in television and film, where – for the first time – Latham could compose and hear his works performed by an orchestra.

The landscape of the music business has changed dramatically over the course of Latham’s career. When he was first starting out in Los Angeles in the late 1980s, composers had to spend a lot of money renting studio time to record their song demos for distribution to recording artists and shows. Today, laptops and readily available recording software make this process significantly cheaper.

To gain a steady source of income, Latham "talked the studio owner where I was doing the demos into hiring me.” As a result, Latham spent his first five years in LA working as a recording engineer, an experience that has given him invaluable skills to adapt to other crucial changes in the music industry.

"I got advice from an executive who said, ‘You’re going to have to be a hyphenate in the future: composer, producer, recording engineer, music editor … pretty soon that is going to be one person. All these job descriptions got pushed into one position; the composer does it all now.”

To Latham, being successful as a film composer requires more than those skills.

"The hardest part of the job is translating the clients’ needs into music,” says Latham. "Having worked in a recording studio helped me a lot because I learned the craft of getting the music from your brain onto a tape, which is no small feat, but I also got to watch all kinds of people come into the studio to record. I watched how they managed their clients, how and whether they made their clients happy, and what it was that made the clients happy.”

In fact, Latham says that when a television executive producer or a film director describes a favored composer, the first comment is, "He’s the greatest guy. And third or fourth on the list is how talented he is.”

In addition to writing music well, writing it quickly, and being able to collaborate successfully with clients, composers must "think like a filmmaker, assess what’s happening in the story” to enhance it with the score.

Latham mentions a composer he deeply admires, Dennis McCarthy, who scored STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION. McCarthy is "a great guy,” says Latham, before laughing ruefully. "See? Always the first thing you say.”

Latham would attend McCarthy’s recording sessions at Paramount, where it would be "a very intense three hours, or six hours if you’re doing a double. You’re like a director of a movie; all questions have to be answered by you.” McCarthy impressed Latham because of his ability to respond quickly and effectively to the feedback given by producers and directors during those recording sessions.

While working as a recording engineer, Latham was virtually on call for any opportunities to compose a song that could be pushed through to a television episode or film.

"A friend would call me up and say, ‘Listen, the song that the studio cleared for this scene, the director hates it. If you can write and record a song that sounds like it and get it over here by 4pm, I’ll cut it into the picture and we’ll get $500.”

Eventually, Latham landed his first full-time gig as a composer after attending The NAMM Show in Los Angeles, when he ran into former high school bandmates. They introduced him to a sound effects editor on an ABC cartoon, who noted that the show didn’t have a composer yet. Latham returned home, composed a one-minute main title, and sent it to his high school classmates to forward to the show. Latham was immediately hired to write the music for BUMP IN THE NIGHT, the animated ABC series.

"My dad had said, ‘Figure out what you want to do first and find someone stupid enough to pay you to do it.’”

After seven years in Los Angeles, Latham was able to quit his day job as a recording engineer and work solely on composing for film and television. He later founded Slashing Music, his own TV and film scoring company, in the mid-1990s.

When Columbia TriStar opened an animation department, Latham became the de facto in house composer. Since then, Latham has composed music for 500-600 television episodes, many of which were animation. In 1998 and 2002, he received the ASCAP award for Most Performed TV Themes.

Then, "about five years ago, I made a conscious decision to switch gears from doing TV to doing movies because doing television is really hard and relentless work. In the late 1990s, there were weeks when I was generating 100 minutes of music a week.”

Whether in television or film, music is the last addition to the finished product. For instance, Latham may receive an un-scored but completely filmed television episode on a Monday, and is then expected to compose its music by Thursday of the same week.

But movies are slightly different, and a film is "sometimes locked by the time a composer is even hired.” Latham will be shown a film with a temporary score inserted for test screenings.

"Scene by scene, temp scores are great, but over the arc of the whole movie, there’s no connection. The thematic or melodic material doesn’t make sense. So at that point, your job becomes making the director and producers love the new stuff you write instead of the old stuff, and having a through-line that connects everything.”

The typical movie score will take approximately eight to 10 weeks to complete, compared to the grueling hours and rapid-fire deadlines of a television series.

Nonetheless, Latham admits that television may be a better option for composers because it offers steadier and better pay. Ideally, he’d want to work on one television series and one to two movies per year, but overall Latham enjoys the versatility of his job.

"What I love about my work most is its problem-solving aspect. This week, I’ve got to reproduce a Beatles track for a television ad. Then I have to work with a seventeen-year-old pop singer for Katy Perry-type music, and then do an orchestral score for an independent film.”

Latham no doubt achieved success doing what he loves most because he is both passionate and pragmatic about composing.

"Successful people don’t believe in luck, and unsuccessful people do. Successful people are ready when the call comes in because they’ve been working hard, they’ve been doing what they do, and when their shot comes, they hit it out of the park.”

Latham was working hard to hone his composing skills even before he arrived in LA.

So he advises, "Work hard and be ready. The shot does come—you just have to recognize when it does.”

Jim Latham is one of the online judges for Harvard ROCKS 2013. Check out the finalists at the show on Wed., Feb. 20th in LA!

ddonale_page.jpgD. Dona Le is a freelance editor and writer currently residing in Chicago, IL. She currently serves as the Co-Chapter Head of Harvardwood's Chicago Chapter.

 


DISCLAIMER

Harvardwood does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any of the information, content or advertisements (collectively "Materials") contained on, distributed through, or linked, downloaded or accessed from any of the services contained in this e-mail. You hereby acknowledge that any reliance upon any Materials shall be at your sole risk. The materials are provided by Harvardwood on an "AS IS" basis, and Harvardwood expressly disclaims any and all warranties, express or implied.

Calendar Programs Jobs & Career Development