In This Issue:
+ Director's Notes
+ Message from Allison
+ Featured Member Posting: Film Development Assistant, Jerry Bruckheimer Films — LA
+ Call for opportunities to feature in the 2015 Harvardwood Summer Internship Program
+ March Madness Membership Drive!
+ Accepting Harvardwood Publishing Seven Deadly Sins submissions — Deadline Apr. 15th
+ Seeking panelists for "I Was a Showbiz Intern" ARTS FIRST Panel
+ Harvardwood Q&A with Jodi Redmond, Producer of The Witch
+ Industry Successes
+ New Members' Welcome
+ Member Profile: Benjamin Scheuer '04, Singer, Songwriter, and Creator of The Lion
CALENDAR & NOTES
+ Activate your Harvardwood account on the new website!
We are very excited to unveil the brand-new Harvardwood website to all of you this month! Please visit the site to activate your account, do some exploring, and connect with other Harvardwood members online. And if you need help activating your account, just check out the instructions at the bottom of this message.
Now, on to important program news! We are currently accepting internship opportunities for the Harvardwood Summer Internship Program, so if your company (or a company you know) has internships and would like to publicize them to Harvardwood students, we want to hear from them!
Finally, in the hubbub of the new website, we haven't forgotten that it's March Madness! For the next two weeks, new or lapsed Full Members can get discounted membership at this link only. Welcome (back) to Harvardwood!
Message from Allison
Happy March! And as Dona mentioned, welcome to our new website! I want to take a moment to thank Dona for all the work it has taken to transfer us to a new, much improved platform. Our old site had 10 YEARS of posts and data and it has taken hours of diligence to go through it all and get us moved. We are so excited about the new features and ease of use—plus we’re now mobile-device friendly! Thank you, Dona!!
And to all members: we warmly welcome your feedback on the new site and also ask for your patience as we work out any final kinks after the launch.
Featured Member Posting: Film Development Assistant, Jerry Bruckheimer Films — LA
Distinguished Production Company in Santa Monica seeks a full-time film development assistant with a minimum of 2 years administrative experience in film and/or production. Agency experience is a must.
Assistant must efficiently coordinate Executive’s daily calendar and manage heavy call volume and scheduling. Job requires someone who is calm under pressure, resourceful, and a self-starter. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to: scheduling, rolling calls, reading and tracking material, correspondence, booking travel and managing interns.
Candidates must have strong communication and computer skills and the ability to multitask and prioritize. Flexible hours are expected, including over-time, evenings, weekends and holidays as required. We are in the middle of production so you must be able to become quickly acclimated to the pace and anticipate certain tasks and duties. Follow through is a must.
Call for opportunities to feature in the 2015 Harvardwood Summer Internship Program
Harvardwood is pleased to announce the 2015 Harvardwood Summer Internship Program, and we're seeking internship opportunities worldwide! HSIP provides a list of internship opportunities in the arts, media and entertainment to Harvard undergraduates and also coordinates career-related events over the summer for program participants in LA, NYC and other cities.
If your company is interested in listing an internship via HSIP, please fill out this short internship submission form. While your company is welcome to list an internship at any time, we recommend submitting your internship by Friday, March 20th to be included in the first round of HSIP offerings and thus reach the greatest number of Harvard students.
March Madness Membership Drive!
This month, Harvardwood is hosting our second March Madness Membership Drive! What better way to invite new and lapsed members to our community—not to mention the new website—than by offering a $5 discount off your membership dues? This offer is only available to Full Members and is valid until March 15, 2015. Join or renew your membership for $40/year here.
If you are a lapsed Harvardwood member, activate your account (see instructions at the bottom of this message) first before renewing your membership. It'll save you time completing profile information!
Accepting Harvardwood Publishing Seven Deadly Sins submissions — Deadline Apr. 15th
Harvardwood Publishing is seeking short stories and poems for our next anthology, which will feature the theme of The Seven Deadly Sins. Pick one (or several!) juicy sins and send us your original work for consideration in this anthology. Deadline for submission is April 15, 2015; the entry fee is $15 per short story or poem. If you have any questions about the anthology, please direct them to the Director of Harvardwood Publishing, Patricia Danaher, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seeking panelists for "I Was a Showbiz Intern" ARTS FIRST Panel
Harvardwood is putting together an on-campus panel event, "I Was a Showbiz Intern," ahead of ARTS FIRST weekend. If you've participated in HSIP or a 101 J-termship in the last couple of years, live in the Cambridge/Boston area, and are willing to participate in this career-oriented panel for students, please email Dona Le with the subject line "Showbiz Panel." Thanks!
Q&A with Jodi Redmond GSE '08 | Producer of The Witch
By Sara Lynne Wright
This year at Sundance, The Witch, produced by Jodi Redmond GSE '08, received the Directing Award: U.S. Dramatic and then was acquired by A24 & DirecTV (U.S. distribution rights) and Universal Pictures International Productions (foreign rights).
New England, 1630. William and Katherine lead a devout Christian life, homesteading on the edge of an impassable wilderness, with five children. When their newborn son mysteriously vanishes and their crops fail, the family begins to turn on one another. In his debut feature, writer/director Robert Eggers painstakingly designs an authentic re-creation of New England - generations before the 1692 trials in Salem -- evoking the alluring and terrifying power of the timeless witch myth. Told through the eyes of Thomasin, the teenage daughter (in a star-making performance by Anya Taylor-Joy), and supported by haunting camera work and an ominous score, The Witch is a chilling portrait of a family unraveling within their own fears and anxieties, leaving them prey for an inescapable evil.
What attracted you to this film? How did you get involved?
I had worked with Robert Eggers, our writer-director, on smaller projects, and we’d been good friends for a long time. I love his taste. He’s worked quite a bit as a production designer, is a history and art buff, and we’re both fans of old fairytales. When Robert came up with the idea, I felt strongly that it could be a winner even before he wrote the script.
Robert grew up in a tiny town in New England. Since his childhood, the past of New England has been a huge part of his consciousness, and witches have been a huge part of his nightmares. Salem was nearby, and I'm fairly sure he would go there every year during Halloween. He wanted to create an archetypal New England horror story; a nightmare from the past that would feel like the inherited nightmare of a Puritan family, a place in which witches felt real and terrifying. That was really intriguing to me, particularly as I was familiar with that "childhood" place.
Robert and I talked about the fairytales of our youth, how they were as scary as any Hollywood horror film, not Disney-fied or watered down the way they often are today. I'm talking about the fairytales where you saw the drawing or picture of the woods and simply knew not to go into them. I like to describe this film as a hyper-realistic fairytale.
What makes this story about a family of Puritans banished to the woods relevant to modern audiences?
Because this family is transgressing against and questioning one another, it’s falling apart. I think most people can relate to that.
You literally see a witch in the film, but the title is also figurative; fear has always had power to make people turn on each other. That power is one possibility for what the witch represents. These Calvinists believed absolutely in the supernatural, which is a foreign mindset to most of us. But this wasn’t long ago in the grand scheme of things, and most of our country’s still religious. This family is not much different from modern ones.
Audiences will see aspects of themselves within the characters. There’s the father who wants the best for his family, the teenager whose awkwardness and angst makes her pull away from and clash with her parents, despite the fact that she yearns for acceptance…Although they’re devout and they’ve chosen this dogmatic lifestyle, we hope the audience will come to have compassion and empathy for them. I certainly did through the development process.
Can you talk about the source material you pulled from for this project?
Years of research went into understanding the everyday life of an English settler in early New England, from reading the Geneva Bible and Elizabethan witch pamphlets to revisiting fairytales to the director’s long walks in Massachusetts. One of the most interesting things that came out of the research was the idea that for people of the early modern period, there is a blurry line between the real world and the fairytale world. Everyday life was riddled with the supernatural. It was simply a fact. We knew the film would be most compelling for audiences if it felt real and particularly because there are so many fantastical elements, we knew that the audience had to be grounded in this world - the world of these Puritans - in order to make it come off as authentic.
A crucial aspect of the process was understanding the mindset of these devout Puritans. At first it was hard to relate to them; to understand how believing in Calvinism and predestination could be a gratifying and hopeful way of living. But when we read the diaries and letters that allow us to see their day-to-day stories of love, loss, living, and struggle, we were able to see a connection. In the extreme rituals of their daily lives and in imbuing daily life with sublime significance, they were in a way living their lives as a work of art.
The director became fascinated by the archetypal figure of the witch and its role in the early modern mind. The witch represented the darkness in all of us and became the answer to unanswerable tragedies, gaining power from despair. If a cow stopped giving milk, a crop was spoiled, or an innocent child died, the witch became a reason. She was the antimother. This terrifying fairytale ogress, who grounds up children’s entrails to give her the power to fly, was an easy scapegoat. It didn’t matter whether she was real or not, as long as she was real in people’s minds. The witch of this period is much more terrifying than we can remember.
We did a lot of research at Plimoth Plantation, a Smithsonian-affiliated living museum in Plymouth Massachusetts, with their staff (experts on the period), in their library, and within their structures in the colonial village there. This work was crucial in informing the script. We pulled quotations from period sources, some of which the director actually used to create the dialogue. A lot of what the children say comes right out of Cotton Mather’s or Samuel Willard's accounts of witchcraft and possession. Most of the prayers are truncated versions of prayers from a Puritan prayer manual. One of our historians, Jim Baker, went through the script to assure historical accuracy and point out any anachronisms and to find historical evidence to support the story points. The Sundance Institute support definitely encouraged us in the process. We had a first draft after about 10 months, but it was four years of work before we had a shooting script.
We built the farm from scratch, using the same materials the Puritans would have used. Thankfully, we found a production designer who was fanatically uncompromising about the creation of the sets as Robert was, which were actually closer to real structures than sets. Everything that appears on camera is made out of the correct building materials that a Puritan family would have used, and authentic techniques and tools were used wherever necessary. While we used modern technology like chainsaws and drywall screws to complete the set in a timely, cost-effective manner, it was essential to have things like hand-riven oak clapboards to sheath the structures (it’s unusual to have lumber shipped from Massachusetts to Canada, but we did), reed-thatched roofs, and hand-forged nails to make the world believable. We were using quite a lot of natural light, aside from night interiors lit by open flame (custom-made triple-wicked candles to look like the lumpy tallow candles that would have been used in the period), so it was especially important to maintain accuracy in production design.
What was the casting process?
The two other main producers and I saw the power in casting the film without stars; something the director had wanted from the start. It’s hard to convince investors and producers of this, because it’s riskier and makes the film harder to finance. But because of the nature of the story, particularly the supernatural elements, the family couldn’t be people recognized widely as actors with dirt on their faces. They had to look like real Puritans.
Robert had been aware of Ralph Ineson, who plays the father, for years before he wrote the script. It was actually Ralph’s voice Robert imagined when he was writing the William character. Ralph’s commitment to the project set the tone for the entire cast and crew. He brought unwavering love and energy to the set every day and made me believe in actors again.
Kate Dickey was recommended by Daniel Beckerman, our Canadian producer. Then Robert watched a movie called Red Road that she was in and was hooked. During the shoot, he said he’d never seen such a dedicated and emotionally available artist in his life. In Anya Taylor-Joy's audition, she actually read the lines just as Robert had imagined when he wrote the script. It was electric; every flash of emotion came through her eyes.
We had a fantastic UK casting director named Carmel Cochran. We looked at child actors out of London but quickly realized that we needed to expand the search to schools in the North of England. It was crucial that the youngest actors were using their native accents or else the authenticity of their performances would fall apart.
Ralph, Kate, Anya, and the kids stayed in a tiny hotel together for the entire shoot, and had a week on their own together before the shoot, where they developed this trust and strong relationship with the children, work they did on their own that was invaluable. They were already like a family unit when they came to set. In this story, we see the family at their worst, so there needed to be a sense of underlying love.
What was the biggest challenge in the development process?
Financing. The biggest question was how to get people to give us millions of dollars for a first-time, unproven director, a question many people are dealing with in the independent film world. We struggled with it for a long time. Then I found a fund in Canada we could access so we brought on a Canadian producer, Dan Beckerman. Then we went to Sundance’s Catalyst program and were financed soon thereafter. We could not have done this without Northern Ontario and Sundance.
What were the biggest challenges with the shoot?
We shot in an abandoned lumber town called Kiosk in Northern Ontario, entirely overgrown with forest, in the Unorganized South Nipissing district, population eighty. We found a small open field surrounded by large white pines and hemlocks, similar to New England, and knew it was the spot for our film. The problem? It had no wifi or cell service. It was nearly an hour from where we were staying and our office. Not only did we have to get cast and crew there and back every day, but if we needed to check the weather (we were literally chasing the weather at each moment of every day) or see if someone had called, we had to drive an hour.
We were chasing weather the entire shoot, which was twenty-six days long. We would lay sixty to eighty feet of dolly track in the woods every day. Other challenges: The script was almost all exteriors, there were animals and child actors on set, complex practical effects (we didn’t want visual effects), stunts everyday, and high stakes emotional scene work.
I think we had pretty much all the elements that could go wrong with a film. Luckily, we had no issues with talent – dedicated, hard-working actors made it easier.
What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned?
My last movie was micro-budget. I’ve never made a $4 million movie, so pretty much everything about this process felt new to me. Thank goodness there were other producers to lean on and work with. But I think the biggest takeaway for me was sticking with your gut. Ultimately, if you believe something should be as it’s written or produced a certain way, you have to stick to your guns. If we had loosened the reins at certain points, many more things could have gone wrong. Oh, and collaboration. That became my gift.
Also don’t work with goats. The trained raven and the hare were easier to work with than a lot of humans, but goats? Leave them alone.
Congratulations to Whiplash and Birdman for their Oscars wins! Whiplash was written and directed by Damien Chazelle '07/'08, Produced by Helen Estabrook '03, and Executive Produced by Couper Samuelson '02. Birdman was Produced by John Lesher '88.
Kurt Bodden makes his annual performance pilgrimage to Fresno, this time as half of the 2-person physical comedy show "An Awkward Sensation," through March 7th. And his one-man satire of the personal-growth movement, "Steve Seabrook: Better Than You," plays at South by Southwest in March 16th and in Mill Valley, CA, on April 10th. See kurtbodden.com.
Rachel Garlin's latest album Wink at July will be released on April 21, 2015. Recorded in San Francisco with producer JJ Wiesler, the 12-song album of folk-rock originals features Michael Urbano (Smash Mouth, John Hiatt), Prairie Prince (Journey, The Tubes), Jon Evans (Sarah McLaughlin, Tori Amos) and Julie Wolf (Ani Difranco, Indigo Girls) among others. Rachel won the Newport Folk Festival Talent Search at the start of her national touring career as a performing singer-songwriter. Her songs have aired on Click and Clack's Car Talk, Democracy Now, and in the feature film "Fuel." For upcoming shows in LA and SF, please visit Rachel's page.
New Members' Welcome
Harvardwood warmly welcomes all members who joined the organization over the past month, including:
John Agbaje, HBS, LA
Brian Corcoran, FOH, LA
Ashleigh Cote, College, BOS/On-Campus
Donna Cryer, College, DC
Rachel Garlin, College, SF/Bay Area
Christopher Glenn, FOH, ATL
Jack Hight, College, DC
Matthew Hutchins, HLS, LA
Keith Johnson, FOH, LA
Alika Keena, College, BOS/On-Campus
William Keith, College, BOS/On-Campus
Karen Kim, College & HLS, NYC
Stephen Kim, College, NJ
Joey Longstreet, College, BOS/On-Campus
Melanie Martinez, College, London/UK
Madeleine Mejia, GSE, LA
Stephanie Ng, EXT, Other Europe
Hannah Nunez, College, BOS/On-Campus
Ed Ogosta, GSD, LA
Garrett Parrish, College, NYC
Sarah Zeiser, GSAS, BOS/On-Campus
*Friend of Harvardwood
New members, this is a great time to join Harvardwood! As we break in the new website, we are looking for feedback from the entire community, whether you're a long-time supporter or a new member. Do you want to see a certain type of member directory that's not yet available? Are you interested in starting a local program or hosting an event? The sky's the limit! Just get in touch with us.
Member Profile: Benjamin Scheuer '04 | Singer, Songwriter, & Creator of The Lion
By Cristina Slattery
Benjamin Scheuer is the singer, songwriter and creator of the critically acclaimed off Broadway musical, THE LION. THE LION is currently playing at the Lynn Redgrave Theater in New York through March 29th and will travel to Portland, Oregon, in May. Who is Benjamin Scheuer? Well, his show tells his story. Armed with several guitars, the 32-year-old Scheuer sits in different spaces on the small stage, and sings his autobiographical songs to the audience. In this intimate setting, audience members experience an intensely emotional journey. This one-man musical includes songs that explain Ben’s life and the several traumatic experiences he has had to endure. These incidents include the death of his father when Ben was only thirteen, the break-up of a long-term relationship, and his battle with lymphoma at age twenty-eight. (He is now cured.) This singer/songwriter knew from a young age that he wanted to be a musician. In fact, it was music that helped him connect with his father, a mathematician. Scheuer grew up in Larchmont, a Westchester suburb. After his father passed away, the family moved back to England, his mother’s native country. There, Ben attended Eton, one of the UK’s top boarding schools, and one of his best friends from that time was recent Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne.
Ben later attended Harvard, graduating with the class of 2004, although his life at Harvard isn’t the focus of any of his songs. Harvard afforded him “the opportunity to write and stage two pieces of musical theater.” Ben says his favorite class as an undergrad was Janet Sylvester’s expository writing class and mentions that he played in a band called FinkFankFunk while in college. He adds that Harvard helped him get to where he is today. “I’m in the extraordinary position now that I can help other artists to come up,” he states. Scheuer wants to inform up-and-coming songwriters about the opportunities offered by the Johnny Mercer Foundation, for instance, which include a residency program devoted to musical theater writing. He would also like to see Harvard College provide a recording studio for young artists.
This former Cabot House resident admires Eminem’s lyrics and the way Eddie Van Halen plays the guitar. He is a fan of songwriters Sam Wilmott and Jean Rohe. HAMILTON, heading to Broadway, is an exceptional piece of musical theater, in Scheuer’s opinion. Future plans include summer at the Williamstown Theater Festival, more music videos, in addition to other projects, and to start a family of his own within the next five years. Ben is the oldest of three brothers, and became the oldest male in his family’s little “pride” of “lions” upon his father’s untimely death. He has created a musical in which many situations are universal: the struggle to find one’s identity, falling in love, losing love, and the experience of grieving. Other experiences such as his battle with cancer are shared by many. However, songwriting, when done well, allows everyone to become a part of the story. Although we, in the audience, are only observers, he makes us feel as though we are part of his story, too.
Cristina Slattery is a freelance writer currently based in New York. Her articles have been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek Japan, Forbes.com, and elsewhere.
***Featured Event*** Harvardwood Jazz Series: The Art Baron Quartet - 3/4/2015, NYC
The defining moment in jazz trombone great Art Baron's career came in 1973, when Duke Ellington hired him for the Duke Ellington Orchestra. After his time with Ellington, Baron went on to play with many of the most brilliant artists in jazz and pop, including Illinois Jacquet, Stevie Wonder, Buddy Rich, Lou Reed, Mel Torme, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, B.B. King, Cab Calloway, and Wynton Marsalis's Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars.
This event includes a reception with wine and hors d'oeuvres, dinner with wine, the performance, and dessert with coffee or tea, all in the stunning 1887 landmark surroundings of the beautiful and friendly Down Town Association and surrounded by some of the nicest people in town. RSVP FOR THIS EVENT.
Harvardwood Presents: Bringing a Show to Off-Broadway | Ben Scheuer's The Lion - 3/17/2015 - NYC
Great. You've created a show. But now what? How do you get it seen? THE LION written and performed by Ben Scheuer '04 has opened off-Broadway to dream reviews: "An irresistible winner. Benjamin Scheuer beams charisma," wrote The Daily News, and the Huffington Post said, "Spellbinding. See it now. See it again. The best musical I've seen this year!" The New York Times praised it for "a directness and good humor that only the hardest-hearted could resist." Ben Scheuer will be joined by Eva Price, one of the producers of THE LION, to talk about the process of bringing a show to Off-Broadway. And perhaps we can even get Ben to perform a song or two. RSVP FOR THIS EVENT.
Harvardwood Heads To... DIGITAL HARVARD IN AUSTIN 2015, 3/15/2015 - Austin, TX
Explore the latest innovation at Harvard and connect with Harvard's creative, business, internet, and media industry leaders at the fourth annual Digital Harvard in Austin during the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival. Join us for a festive event celebrating our impressive and extensive network of alumni driving digital initiatives in a wide range of industries. Come meet up with old friends, and make new ones! Attendance, appetizers, and drinks are free, but space is limited; register now to be added to the guest list. Don't forget to link your social profiles when you register so you can connect with other attendees before, during, and after the event. MORE INFO HERE.
Harvardwood Heads To... The Ivy Plus Society's March Mixer, 3/6/2015 - LA
The Ivy Plus Society (“TIPS”) produces social networking events for young alumni of a select group of schools, with the aim of creating a community of talented, dynamic individuals. The chance to meet incredible people was one of the best aspects of the schools we were privileged to attend. TIPS events extend those opportunities beyond the iron gates of our alma maters. The Ivy Plus Society recognizes the need to set the roof on fire and raise a glass with friends, new and old. MORE INFO HERE.
Harvardwood Heads To... Singer-Songwriters Kate Isenberg '97 & Rachel Garlin at Room 5 Lounge, 3/7/2015 - LA
Kate Isenberg '97 and Rachel Garlin '96 have much in common: they are Harvard alumnae, singer-songwriter-guitarists, and friends. On Saturday, March 7, Isenberg and Garlin play back-to-back sets at Room 5, an intimate listening lounge in Los Angeles's mid-Wilshire neighborhood. $10 cover includes both the 8pm and 9pm sets. Room 5 is located on the 2nd floor, upstairs from Amalfi restaurant (which has some valet parking available). MORE INFO HERE.
C.L.A. invites Harvardwood to Legal Issues for the Sale & Use of Photography, 3/11/2015 - Bay Area
Please join CLA as we present Bay Area Attorney and photographer Amitai Schwartz. This workshop will address legal issues in connection with the creation, use, and sale of photographic images, including ownership, reproduction and manipulation, copyright, invasion of privacy, and First Amendment rights. Special attention will be given to internet related issues for photographers. MORE INFO HERE.
Instructions to activate your Harvardwood account on the new website
Activating your account is easy. You just need your original Harvardwood account email—that's probably the email address at which you're receiving this message. Click here and enter your email address in the right column, under "Create Your Harvardwood Account." Hit "Send account activation," and you will receive an email to activate your Harvardwood account.
If you do not receive an email from us, please check your spam folder first. The account activation link may have been mistakenly sent to your spam folder.
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.