Issue 102 | July 2013

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


  • Harvardwood Classical Salon Series presents: YELENA GRINBERG Plays BACH's Goldberg Variations, Tues., July 2
  • Our Smart Is Sexy Hot Harvardwood Sizzling Summer PARTY!!! Fri., July 19
  • Harvardwood Jazz Series: ROMANTIC JAZZ FOR A SUMMER EVENING with MELISSA STYLIANOU, Wed., July 24


  • Harvardwood DC Heads To...the Capital Fringe Festival feat. Alexandra Petri '10, Sat., July 20


  • NYU Tisch West vs. Brown vs. Harvard vs. Northwestern Movie Trivia Night! Wed., July 10
  • C.L.A. invites Harvardwood to Copyright and Publishing Agreements for Writers, Sat., July 13
  • C.L.A. invites Harvardwood to Rights Clearances for Filmmakers (feat. a Harvardwood member!), Thurs., July 25 - LA


  • C.L.A. invites Harvardwood to Business Issues for Bands, Wed., July 31

Hirschhorn.jpg* Submit for the 2013 Harvardwood Writers' Competition! (Deadline Aug. 15)
* Check out an event overview of JACK VIERTEL on Today's American Theater
* Seeking a new Co-Chapter Head for Toronto
* Changing your email address? How to update your account.
* Submit to the Harvardwood Visual Arts Gallery!
* Industry Successes
* Announcing the 2013 Harvardwood Heroes Grant Winners!
* Featured Member Posting: Development & Production Executive (Ideate Media) - LA/Southeast Asia
* Member Profile: Charles Hirschhorn '79

Director's Notes

I'm super excited to unveil our first-ever Harvardwood Heroes grant winners this month. Read on to learn more about how your fellow Harvardwood members are changing the world through arts, media, and entertainment! And we've got lots of fun things lined up for you this July - from romantic summer evenings filled with classical and jazz music to theater to informative workshops and even a movie trivia night with alums from NYU, Brown, & Northwestern, there's something for everyone. Enjoy!!

-- Kelley

Message from Allison

Happy July, everyone! Here's two great podcast to check out this month while you're (hopefully) lounging at the beach or heading out on vacation travels: First, THE TOOLS SESSIONS, with Barry Michels (Harvard College) and Phil Stutz. These famous Hollywood therapists discuss psychotherapy and creativity and interview heavy hitters such as Howard Gordon, Ron Perlman, and Kate Walsh. Second, THE SEND UP, with insightful interviews of TV comedy writers. Check out the episodes with Harvard alums Luvh Rakhe (NEW GIRL) and Nick Malis (TOSH.O).

-- Allison

Pencil Me In...

NY - Harvardwood Classical Salon Series presents: YELENA GRINBERG Plays BACH's Goldberg Variations, (TONIGHT!) Tues., July 2

One of the greatest and rarest joys of music is the opportunity to hear a great musician in the intimacy of her own home. We are thrilled that Yelena Grinberg, one of New York's finest pianists, has agreed to welcome us into her home a very few times each year for a special series of intimate concerts, played on her own piano, just for us. At these concerts, Yelena will talk about and perform some of her very favorite works from her vast repertory. Yelena's living room seats just 20 people, so we strongly recommend early registration…To view full posting, please visit:

NY - Our Smart is Sexy Hot Harvardwood Sizzling Summer PARTY!!! Fri., July 19

It's SUMMER! And Summer is HOT--but Harvardwood is HOTTER! Which means--it's time for a PARTY!! And this will be a great one, and a fabulous chance for you to meet more of our incredibly smart, sexy, and scintillating Harvardwood members. Major FUN alert!! Looking forward to seeing you there!...To view full posting, please visit:


Enjoy summer in New York at its most enchanting with singer Melissa Stylianou and her trio in an evening of musical romance and delight. "A spellbinding groove that advances her to the forefront of contemporary vocalists, rivaling the storytelling élan of Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon!" raved JazzTimes. Downbeat gave her latest album 4 1/2 stars and put it in their Top 50 of 2012. Melissa Stylianou is one of the best singers of the American Songbook around--and she's a terrific songwriter as well!...To view full posting, please visit:

DC - Harvardwood DC Heads To...the Capital Fringe Festival feat. Alexandra Petri '10, Sat., July 20

What if the tragic heroines of Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, King Lear and Othello had brunch? In TRAGEDY AVERTED, a comedy by Alexandra Petri '10, Ophelia, Juliet, Cordelia and Desdemona air their grievances and maybe even find a way to avert their tragedies….To view full posting, please visit:

LA - NYU Tisch West vs. Brown vs. Harvard vs. Northwestern Movie Trivia Night! Wed., July 10

We have been officially challenged to a Movie Trivia Night by our clever brethren at NYU Tisch West! In addition to the cinephiles of NYU Tisch, the competition will include alumni from Brown and Northwestern. Movie buffs and more casual competitors alike are welcome to attend and fight for our school! Attendees will be placed in teams of five and there will be prizes (as well as bragging rights)! ...To view full posting, please visit:

LA - C.L.A. invites Harvardwood to Copyright and Publishing Agreements for Writers, Sat., July 13

The nuts and bolts of the business of writing are as essential to a writer’s success as the writer’s work itself. How does a writer get an agent and an attorney? How does the writer’s work get sold and how is the writer compensated? What will the agent and the lawyer do for the writer? How are they compensated? How do writers work together? Presenter Paul S. Levine wears two hats–he is a lawyer and a literary agent. Mr. Levine has practiced entertainment law for over 30 years, specializing in the representation of writers, producers, actors, directors, composers, musicians, artists, authors, photographers, galleries, publishers, developers, production companies and theater companies in the fields of motion pictures, television, interactive multimedia, live stage, recorded music, concerts, the visual arts, publishing, and advertising…To view full posting, please visit:

LA - C.L.A. invites Harvardwood to Rights Clearances for Filmmakers (feat. a Harvardwood member!), Thurs., July 25

Production of audiovisual programming - whether it be a theatrical feature, scripted or reality television series, or even digital short - requires careful attention to legal considerations even before the start of pre-production. Without doing all the required footwork in the legal clearance process and without obtaining the necessary types of insurance, precious production time and thousands or even millions of dollars may be wasted… This workshop, led by longtime Harvardwood member Roger Kaplan, Esq., will give practical guidance as to the policies and procedures that should be followed to ensure a smooth production…To view full posting, please visit:

SF - C.L.A. invites Harvardwood to Business Issues for Bands, Wed., July 31

Presenter Keith L. Cooper, Esq. will be leading this workshop which covers legal and business issues faced by musicians forming and playing in a band. Keith L. Cooper, Esq. is a litigation, business and entertainment attorney, who has been practicing since 1995. He represents clients in copyright and trademark matters, including acquisition, protection and licensing…To view full posting, please visit:

Submit for the 2013 Harvarwood Writers' Competition (Deadline Aug. 15)

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); and 3) One-act plays (40-min maximum, no minimum)…The deadline for submissions will be Thursday, AUGUST 15 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time. Scripts will be evaluated by industry professionals and winners in each category will be announced in October. First-place writers will receive a cash award and free admission to the 2013-14 writers’ program…To view full posting, please visit:

Check out an event overview of JACK VIERTEL on Today's American Theater

For those that missed Harvardwood & the ARTIAA present: Jack Viertel on Today's American Theater on June 24, 2013, check out this wonderful event overview by Harvardwood member Martha Steketee…To view full posting, please visit:

Seeking a new Co-Chapter Head for Toronto

The Toronto Chapter of Harvardwood is seeking an enthusiastic co-Chapter Head to help strengthen membership in the region. Ideally this person is energetic, full of ideas, people smart, and able to organize events and programs effectively. If you are in the Toronto area and have an interest in cultivating the Harvard arts, entertainment, & media community in that region please email Mark Solovey at [email protected] to learn more about the position.

Changing your email address? How to update your account.

For those in the class of 2013 changing your email addresses, you can update your account email at anytime by logging in and going to the "My Profile" menu on the right. When you are there, click on "Manage Profile" then click on the "Edit Bio” icon. Here you will see where you can make any necessary changes to your account, including updating your email address. Please also provide us with an alternate email under the "Contact Information" section. Harvardwood emails are more quickly received at non "post" addresses, so we recommend using your post address as the alternate. Congratulations!

Submit to the Harvardwood Visual Arts Gallery!

Calling all visual artists! Don't forget that you can display your work online in Harvardwood's Visual Arts Gallery. All dues-current Full Members can submit their work at the link below at anytime (Affiliates can pay a one time posting fee) and a notice about your submission will appear in the upcoming Weekly newsletter, which reaches over 5,000 Harvard alumni and students worldwide! Submit here:

Industry Successes...

We warmly congratulate Harvardwood profilee and featured speaker, Paris Barclay, on his new appointment as the President of the Directors Guild of America! An active member of the DGA, he has served 8 years at First VP and 6 years as Third VP, and has directed over 130 episodes of TV including SONS OF ANARCHY, GLEE, SMASH, and HOUSE (among others). Other Harvard community members elected to the DGA Board include Liz Ryan, Jonathan Mostow, & Karen Gaviola. Harvardwood member Jeremy Kagan also continues to Chair the Programming Committee at the DGA as well. Congrats all around!

Harvardwood applauds Tim Plaehn GSE ’96 and his film THE PANJIAYUAN DIARY, one of the Feature Film First Prize winners in the 2013 Beijing International Screenwriting Competition! As a First Prize winner Tim received an all expenses paid trip to Beijing in June to attend the awards ceremony and a cash prize. Congratulations Tim!

TONY Award-winner Alice Ripley and HAIR's Kacie Sheik and Andrew Kober joined Meghann Fahy (NBC's CHICAGO FIRE), Preston Sadleir (NEXT TO NORMAL Tour), Krista Pioppi (SPRING AWAKENING Tour), and Taylor Noble (A LASTING IMPRESSION) on June 29th at 7pm at Joe's Pub for a concert of Zoe Sarnak's '09 musical A LASTING IMPRESSION. Cutting Edge Composers presented the show on June 29th at Joe's Pub (at the Public Theater).

Karen-Eileen Gordon continues to appear in her 2nd season in the hit STARZ Original Drama MAGIC CITY, set in 1959 Miami Beach's fictitious opulent Miramar Playa hotel. Gordon is FLORENCE, tough-funny N.Y. dame and long-time executive assistant to Hotel King IKE EVANS, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Join her EVERY FRIDAY NIGHT IN JULY, 9 pm EST, for live-tweet fun along with several other cast members during the first-run broadcasts (on Twitter: @GotKarenEileen, #MagicCityTV). Watch Episode 1 of Season 2, "Crime and Punishment" for free for a limited time here:

Announcing the 2013 Harvardwood Heroes Grant Winners!

Harvardwood is delighted to announce the 2013 Harvardwood Heroes (HH) grant winners! The HH grant program aims to spotlight and support those members of Harvardwood that have made or plan to make an exceptional contribution to the community, specifically at the intersection of arts and service. The following Heroes exemplify the mission of Harvardwood, demonstrating the power and purpose of the arts, media, and entertainment.

The 2013 HH grant winners are:

Robyn Abraham – In the interest of promoting social justice, Robyn has been successfully ‘translating law, business and finance’ to television, documentary films and social media for more than a decade. She is producing a documentary entitled KIDS FOR CASH, which tells the tragic story of how several American States are drugging and experimenting on children for multimillion-dollar profit.
Los Angeles, CA

Dr. Mari Hamill – Mari is an engaged volunteer with two art/community organizations – LA’s Best and Inside Out Community Arts. Building upon her work organizing benefits, speaking with youth about college life and academic goals, and helping children develop creative work, Mari will utilize this grant to develop an outreach project for Inside Out Community Arts.
Los Angeles, CA

D. Dona Le – A longtime Harvardwood Highlights profile writer and the Co-Chapter Head of the Chicago Chapter of Harvardwood, Dona also works with the Westside Writing Project (WWP), a youth enrichment program that uses journalism and digital media as tools for personal transformation and civic engagement.
Chicago, IL

Lisa Wong – Lisa integrates the arts into medical education through her work with the Committee for the Arts & Humanities at Harvard Medical School. This committee encourages faculty, students and staff involved in the arts & humanities to explore ways to incorporate their art into medical education, personal advancement and patient care. Cambridge, MA

Congratulations to our 2013 HH winners!

Featured Member Posting: Development & Production Executive (Ideate Media) - LA/Southeast Asia

Ideate Media is a joint venture between Khazanah Nasional Berhad (the private equity arm of the Malaysian government) and Astro Overseas Limited (the overseas Arm of Malaysia's leading diversified Media company), set up to develop, create and monetize TV and film content internationally. The company has its HQ in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and is opening an office in Los Angeles….Ideate Media seeks a mid-level Development and Production Executive to manage process and projects in multiple genres (film + TV, live action + animation) through their development and production cycles…Core duties include finding talent and building relationships in local and regional creative communities; run development process in scripted television and/or feature films; production executive on scripted television and/or feature films…To view full posting, please visit:

Member Profile: Charles Hirschhorn '79Hirschhorn.jpg

by Dayna Wilkinson

Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Charles Hirschhorn '79 liked movies but he loved cooking, so after sophomore year at Harvard he took a year off to cook.

"I was on my feet, cooking in a hot restaurant kitchen twelve hours a day,” he recalls. "I quickly realized that cooking is much too difficult and I had to find a new way to make a living. I decided I wanted to work in the movie business.”

Back on campus, he took filmmaking studies and studio arts classes toward a joint degree in Economics and VES (Visual and Environmental Studies). He made contacts in the film industry through Harvard’s Office of Career Services and spent spring break junior and senior year in Los Angeles, meeting film executives and producers.

After graduation, he worked in Boston then went off to film school at USC—but not for long.

"I started at USC in September and quit in December,” Charles explains. "I thought I should try to find a job as soon as I moved to Los Angeles, so I kept pursuing contacts I’d made while at Harvard. I was lucky—one of them was promoted to be president of production at Universal and he hired me as a junior executive.

"It was great working at a large studio like Universal. The movie business in the early 1980’s was more entrepreneurial than it is today. More pictures were being made at a variety of budget levels, and there was more risk-taking and opportunity.”

Charles followed his Universal boss to an independent production company. Because of his experience in movie production including films like BULL DURHAM and DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, Charles was hired by the new Fox Network to develop a night of movie programming each week.

Then Fox decided not to do movies.

"I went from being an aspiring young movie producer to being a development executive on a TV network that hadn’t quite launched,” he says. "When you’re new to television you’re at a disadvantage because you don’t have long-term relationships with well-established showrunners--it was incumbent on me to find new ones.”

Perhaps Charles’ biggest find was Keenen Ivory Wayans.

"Keenen had made a really funny independent film called I'M GONNA GET YOU SUCKA. It had two guys in it who ran a rib joint, and I thought ‘those guys running their rib joint--that could be a funny half-hour comedy.’

"I told Keenen my idea, and he said ‘no, we should do a sketch comedy show called IN LIVING COLOR with dancers and a troupe of comedians,’” Charles laughs. "And I said ‘Great—let’s do that.’” Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez, Damon Wayans and others got their big breaks on the show, which ran for four years.

Having been "sort of bait-and-switched into TV” at Fox, Charles jumped at the chance to get back into the movie business, this time with Disney. "We launched a studio called Hollywood Pictures and made a lot of movies,” Charles says. "My personal favorites were QUIZ SHOW and THE SANTA CLAUSE.”

After Disney bought ABC, Charles was transferred from Hollywood Pictures to television--again--but this time he embraced it. He relaunched THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY on ABC and became president of Walt Disney Television and Television Animation.

Charles’ immersion in the world of animation led to his interest in video games.

"Although it’s interactive, a video game contains 20-50 hours of animation,” he explains. "It seemed to me that you could repurpose that animation in a linear world to create a television channel, much as MTV repurposed music videos.”

He left Disney to develop this idea, launching it with Comcast in 2002 as G4 Television, the only 24/7 television network dedicated to video games.

"Having been involved with the launch of the Fox Network where I was an employee, it was exciting and fun to launch a network from scratch where I was the founder,” he says. "The flaw in the G4 business model was that ultimately, gamers would rather play video games than watch television about it. But the proof of the G4 content concept is Machinima.” (Machinima provides gamer-centric videos and is one of YouTube’s top non-music networks.) "G4 was version 1.0 in the linear, old media world and Machinima is a very similar idea in an interactive, digital new media world.”

After G4, which was aimed at males 18-34, Charles was brought in to launch Retirement Living TV (now RLTV) targeting adults 55 and over. Then he was asked by AEG and CAA to help them launch AXS ("Access”) TV. Today, Mark Cuban, Ryan Seacrest Media and CBS are also AXS TV partners.

"At AXS TV we don’t want to be a news or a sports channel,” Charles says, "we want to focus on non-sports, mainstream, live ticketed events like music, festivals and comedy awards shows.” Charles is the president of AXS TV, which is currently available in over 40 million homes.

Charles came to Hollywood and climbed its ranks as the line between film and television blurred and technology exploded. Today, video services are digital, online, interactive, and available on multiple devices and on demand. "It’s a fantastic time to be in the video business,” Charles says, "barriers to entry and production costs have fallen dramatically, and there’s room for all kinds of new offerings.”

His advice for people who want to break into the media field?

"You don’t need anyone’s permission to pursue a career in media. If you want to be a screenwriter, you don’t have to be hired, you can just write a screenplay. Or film a video. If you want to produce or direct or be a composer, you need to start doing it. If you like it and you’re good at it, ultimately in some serendipitous form you’ll probably succeed. But don’t wait for someone to give you permission.”

As for Charles:

"I would guess the future for me would involve a digital video service—or maybe I’ll end up in the restaurant business after all.”

Harvardwood thanks Charles for hosting our Harvardwood Salon Series this past April entitled "The Past, Present and Future of Cable TV."

daynawilkinson.jpgDayna Wilkinson is a proud New Yorker currently living, working and writing in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. She currently serves as the DC Chapter Head for Harvardwood.



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