Issue 127 | August 2015


In this issue:

  • Director's Notes
  • Message from Allison


  • Featured Member Posting: Creative Advertising Coordinator (Universal Pictures) - LA
  • GET YOUR BID ON! Extended deadline to participate in the Harvardwood Summer Silent Auction
  • Pick up that mic and enter the 2nd annual Harvardwood Karaoke Contest
  • Volunteer Needed: Seeking a Harvardwood Chicago Co-Chapter Head
  • Become a Harvardwood mentor or advisor!
  • Apply to join the Harvardwood Writers Program in Fall 2015 (TV and Features) - NY, BOS, & LA


  • Industry Successes
  • New Members' Welcome
  • Alumni Profile: Alexandra Petri '10 (Playwright, Author, Washington Post Columnist/Blogger)

Calendar & Notes

  • Calendar
  • Summer's ending, and we're heading back to school... time to renew your membership!

Director's Notes

The Harvardwood Writers Competition might be over, but it's time to turn our attention to the Fall 2015 Harvardwood Writers Program. TV/features writers, check out the info below about applying to the Fall 2015 HWP in Los Angeles, Boston, and New York.

Also, you're all in luck! We extended the bidding period for our Summer Silent Auction, so don't forget to browse the many items we have available, including your chance to bid on one of our VIP lunches with Terence Carter (EVP, Drama Development & Programming, FOX), Amy Retzinger (Partner/Agent, TV Literary, VERVE), or Mark Goffman (Writer & Producer, Sleepy Hollow, The West Wing)!karaoke.jpg

— Dona

Message from Allison

Happy August! Congratulations to all the writers who submitted for last night’s deadline for the Harvardwood Writers Competition. And as a great way to celebrate and blow off some steam, check out this month's 2nd Annual Harvardwood Karaoke Contest online! Post your entry to compete for an awesome prize, and more importantly, Harvardwood glory.

— Allison

Featured Member Posting: Creative Advertising Coordinator (Universal Pictures) - LA

Universal Pictures seeks Creative Advertising Coordinator. Individual will be part of team reporting to an SVP of Creative Advertising (oversees trailers, TV spots, print). Responsibilities include administrative duties, maintaining A/V and print materials, providing content (dailies, photography) to vendors, and accounting. Must be extremely organized, able to multitask/juggle multiple responsibilities, have strong work ethic, be proactive, and be very interested in creative advertising. Click below for additional job details and application details.


GET YOUR BID ON! Extended deadline to participate in the Harvardwood Summer Silent Auction

You've still got a chance to get that Collector's Edition of the complete Lost series, autographed by Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof! 

The deadline for the Harvardwood Summer Silent Auction has been extended to Sunday, August 9th, at 11:59pm PT. View the complete list of items and start bidding!

Some of the goodies include: 

  • VIP lunches with Terence Carter (EVP, Drama Development & Programming, FOX), Amy Retzinger (Partner/Agent, TV Literary, VERVE), and Mark Goffman (Writer & Producer, Sleepy Hollow, The West Wing)
  • gift sets for The Vampire Diaries, The League, and The Walking Dead
  • gift certificates to screenwriting courses with Jen Grisanti Consultancy, Corey Mandell, and Steve Kaplan
  • our special 2016 Sundance Film Festival ticket package
  • VIP tickets to the LA Dodgers and the WNBA Los Angeles Sparks
  • and much more! 

Pick up that mic and enter the 2nd annual Harvardwood Karaoke Contest

Harvardwood Karaoke is a virtual, online competition that features Harvardwood members and affiliates singing along to a song of their choosing. Contestants record their original Karaoke rendition and upload it via YouTube for the review of the Harvardwood Music Committee. The top Karaoke’ers will be featured on the Harvardwood Music page throughout the month of September, when the winner will be determined by popular online vote. Find out more about the Karaoke Contest guidelines and submit your video!

Chicago.jpgVolunteer Needed: Seeking a Harvardwood Chicago Co-Chapter Head

The Chicago Chapter of Harvardwood is seeking an enthusiastic Co-Chapter Head to help direct Harvardwood programming and events in that region. We have a great volunteer interested in reviving Harvardwood's Chicago chapter, and we're seeking another volunteer to help serve as Co-Chapter Head. Ideally, this person is energetic, full of ideas, people smart, and able to organize events and programs effectively. In addition to having an interest in the arts, media, and entertainment, the Co-Chapter Head should be based in Chicago to help coordinate, for example, guest speaker events, film screenings, a writers' group, etc.

If you are in the Chicagoland area and have an interest in cultivating the Harvard arts, entertainment, & media community in that region, please email [email protected] to tell us more about yourself and your arts-related interests!

Become a Harvardwood mentor or advisor in 2015-2016

We are currently seeking mentors and advisors for the Harvardwood Mentorship Program and the Harvardwood Career Advisors program. Both programs aim to foster meaningful professional relationships between Full Members of Harvardwood and established alums in their fields of interest. Our volunteer mentors and advisors are what enable these Harvardwood programs to continue to thrive and support the next generation of Harvard arts, media, and entertainment professionals. We are looking for mentors and advisors in a wide array of professional fields, and we hope you'll join us

Apply to join the Harvardwood Writers Program in Fall 2015 (TV and Features) - NY, BOS, & LA

Are you working on a spec you just can't finish? Do you have a great idea for a pilot, but just don't know where to start? Do you have a finished script in need of some polish? This month, we're accepting applications to the HWP-TV Modules in Los Angeles and New York. The Harvardwood Writers Program — TV Modules use peer review, guest speakers and workshops to foster a motivating and supportive environment for each participant’s writing. Apply here (note the different deadlines for Los Angeles [Aug. 31st] and New York [September 9th]).

Launched in 2005, the Harvardwood Features Program currently offers writing groups in Los Angeles and Boston. HWP groups meet regularly to discuss and critique original material and to hear from experienced guest speakers in different fields. These speaker events are only open to participating writers. The Fall 2015 HWP-Features program in Boston will begin in late September and is accepting applications from August 1 - September 9, 2015. APPLY FOR HWP-FEATURES BOSTON. The Fall 2015 HWP-Features program in Los Angeles has not yet begun. Please check back in late August 2015 for additional information.

Industry Successes

Congratulations to Harvardwood Writers Program alum (also previously named to the Harvardwood Most Staffable TV Writers List) Emmylou Diaz, who has been staffed on The CW's hit show, Jane the Virgin!

New Members' Welcome

Harvardwood warmly welcomes all members that joined the organization over the past month, including:

  • Avrahm Berkowitz, HLS, NYC
  • Haley Daniels, College, Boston/On-Campus
  • Rolla Donaghy, GSE, Boston/On-Campus
  • Humberto Garcia, KSG, NYC
  • Parker Grayson, College, NYC
  • Justin Grinstead, College, International
  • Dave Kwan, GSAS, LA
  • K. Lee Lerner, EXT, LA
  • Eric Macomber, College, Boston/On-Campus
  • Hannah McGovern Gross, FOH, NYC
  • Sandra Moreno, College, LA
  • Johanna Rodda, College, NYC
  • Rebecca Sanders, College, SF/Bay Area
  • Marina Schwabic, KSG, LA
  • Henry Schwarz, College, LA
  • Sasha Stiles, College, NYC
  • Kristen Strezo, EXT, Boston/On-Campus
  • Nancy Taubenslag, HBS, NYC
  • Z.P. Villanyi, College, Boston/On-Campus

*FOH = Friend of Harvardwood 

Alumni Profile: Alexandra Petri '10 (Playwright, Author, Washington Post Columnist/Blogger)

Alexandra_Petri.jpgBy Dayna Wilkinson

Photo courtesy of Trina Sobotka

“I love being able to communicate with people and tell stories. People ask, ‘why do you spend so much time writing?’ Well, why do you eat cake?”

Writer and humorist Alexandra Petri ‘10 had a happy but slightly unconventional upbringing. From the time she was a child, she traveled from Washington D.C. to Wisconsin to campaign for her father, former Congressman Tom Petri ’62, HLS ’80. “There were parades,” she recalls. “Lots of parades.”

Alexandra was always a voracious reader, but not of the books you’d expect. “When I was really young my mom (Anne Neal ’77, HLS ’80) said she’d either read me her old art history text book or a graphic novel of Othello with the unabridged text.  I chose the latter, and just loved it, though as you’d expect a lot of it went over my head. After that, we’d read King Lear and other works out loud.”

“I was a nerdy kid. I loved books and reading and was chock full of facts--if you punctured a hole in me I’d start spewing information about William of Orange.” As a teenager, Alexandra’s secret rebellion was “sneaking downstairs when my parents were asleep to watch biopics of Oscar Wilde.”

She was fascinated by Siegfried Sassoon, the World War I novelist. “like most writers I love, he was both gay and dead. When I heard that he’d written this slightly naughty story, I said ‘oh man, I’ve got to get it’ so I wrote to the Rutgers University Library for his papers. I was like, ‘Pardon me, could you photocopy this?’  I secretly sent them a money order and when the envelope arrived I dashed up to my room and hid it under my bed. My mom was suspicious-- ‘What are you hiding from me?’ But I didn’t even tell my girlfriends--this was between me and Siegfried.”

Alexandra’s always been a newspaper enthusiast. “I’d grown up reading the newspaper. I have to get my shelter, my wifi and my newspaper. Any maybe heat, or at least coffee.”

In high school she founded an Onion-like newsletter, The Perturbed Squirrel, writing articles like “Bush Declares Plans for War on the Weather.” Two of her short plays received performances from Arena Stage as part of their Young Playwrights’ program. “I’ve always been interested in writing in different forms,” she says.

Harvard offered many creative outlets, but did she always want to spend her college years in Cambridge? “I was one of those kids where there was a Harvard rocking chair prominently displayed in the living room. There was no pressure, but there was the rocking chair. Actually I was hoping that I wouldn’t want to go to Harvard—no offense to my parents or to Harvard—but I got there and found that I really loved it.”

Her grandmother (Georgianne Davis Neal RAD ’51) was one of the first women on the Harvard Crimson and her mother Anne had also been a staffer. In addition to writing the Crimson’s humor column, Alexandra co-wrote the freshman musical and two Hasty Pudding Theatrical shows with Megan Amram ’10 (Parks & Recreation, Science…For Her!) and others.

Alexandra was also co-president of the Harvard Stand-Up Comic Society (“interesting people doing incredibly different and delightful things”) and wrote for On Harvard Time, The Daily Show-like internet campus news show. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude in English with a secondary field in Ancient Greek (her senior thesis was a verse translation of Aristophanes’ comedy The Frogs). When asked how she sustained such a high level of scholastic and extra-curricular productivity, she says, “I guess I didn’t sleep a lot? (No, I slept a good amount, Mom, don’t worry). I think when you’re excited about anything you find time to do it. Everything that was going on was exciting and fun.”

Having interned with The Washington Post writing editorials, after graduation Alexandra joined the newspaper to write a weekly column and a daily blog offering a humorous take on the news of the day. “I like having a perch where I can write and have people see what I’m doing. The world of the newspaper felt very natural.”

But this doesn’t mean Alexandra is settling in. “I feel like I’m at the stage of young adulthood where I’ll be forced to let go of one creativity balloon, and I’m like ‘no, I want to hold onto ALL the balloons!’”

In the five years since she graduated, nine of her theater works have been staged in Washington or New York. A sampling of their titles reflects her range of topics: Hookups, Young Republicans, Treetop Idol, Miss Emma's Matchmaking Agency for Literary Characters, and Never Never (a drama about pedophiles that’s a nod to Peter Pan). “Releasing a play from the page into the wild—that’s the joy of the theater.” Each work doesn’t have to find a huge audience; like the song says, ‘I’d rather be nine people’s favorite thing than a hundred people’s ninth favorite thing.’”

Recently Alexandra was selected to join The Welders, a playwrights’ collective. “The group is really cool, from many disciplines. It’ll be awesome finding our group language.”

PetriBook.jpgOn top of everything else, Alexandra is working on two musicals as a member of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop; one is a rock musical with Sam Linden ‘10 about Percy Shelley, Lord Byron et al called Young Romantics

Her memoir A Field Guide to Awkward Silences, a collection of humorous essays, was published in June, with such chapters as “How to Join a Cult by Mistake…” and “Grab Life by the Debutante Balls.” “What’s great about writing a book is that it’s tangible--you can carry it around, hit a bug with it. I’d definitely like to do another book and maybe pursue television and film projects.

“I just have to figure out how to make those things happen without losing what I love about my life right now,” she laughs. “I think I can do it!” daynawilkinson.jpg

Follow Alexandra on TwitterTumblr, and on her Washington Post blog. Purchase a copy of A Field Guide to Awkward Silences.

Dayna Wilkinson is a proud New Yorker currently living, working and writing in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.


Gary.jpgFEATURED EVENT: Harvardwood Summer Music | Gary Negbaur '89 - The Big Apple & The Big Easy - Tuesday, Aug. 4th

Enjoy summer in New York at its very best with an evening of delicious food and great music, featuring singer/keyboardist/songwriter Gary Negbaur '89. Gary will perform an evening of jazz standards, gems from the great American songbook, swing, blues, boogie, and R&B, all paying tribute to two great American musical cities, New Orleans and New York.

And our friends at Carma have come up with a special dinner to go with the performance! Newly opened in the West Village, CARMA serves a distinctive Taiwan-based cuisine with strong American and European influences. With a signature menu created by the Executive Chef of Taiwan's renowned Din Tai Fung in collaboration with TAO, the cuisine of CARMA features artfully balanced and locally sourced ingredients.

Combine the happy companionship of your fellow Harvardwood members and friends, the mouthwatering cuisine of CARMA and the rollicking music of Gary Negbaur and you get the perfect way to spend a stunning summer evening!

Los Angeles

Harvardwood Heads To... Beachwood Canyon Summer Soirée (for the whole family!) - Saturday, Aug. 1st

Join us for complimentary wine and cheese at 8; music begins at 8:30. Besant Lodge is a magical secret church tucked into the heart of beautiful Beachwood Canyon in the Hollywood Hills. Four accomplished LA singer-songwriters, including alum Sara Melson, play romantic acoustic music on piano and guitar. All ages/ kids welcome. Snacks and drinks served. Besant Lodge is a non-smoking venue. Free street parking. Dressy attire encouraged (but not required!). For more information, please visit

Harvardwood Heads To... DIRT @ UCB Franklin w/Foley, Dunn, Cook + Special Guest - Tuesday, Aug. 4th

dirt.jpgThe NSA is watching everything you do. Fight the power: share everything.

DIRT is a standup show where comics share their most damning personal secrets onstage. And audience members can do the same by texting in their their most damning dick pics to a burner cell phone.

This month's Dirt features the revelations of these illustrious Americans:

                • Erin Foley
                • Colton Dunn
                • Bryan Cook
                • + Special Guest

Hosted by Kiran Deol & Emily Maya Mills

Whistleblowers will be protected. Maybe. No guarantees. Past patriots include: Maria Bamford, Jerrod Carmichael, Kyle Kinane, Jake Weisman, Nicole Byer, Jullian McCullough, James Adomian, Christian Duguay, Beth Stelling, Joe Wengert, Kate Berlant, Byron Bowers, Hampton Yount, Baron Vaughn, Eliza Skinner, Moshe Kasher, Brooks Wheelan, & Sean Patton

[SOLD OUT] Harvardwood Salon Series: Dinner with NANCY COTTON - Tuesday, Aug. 4th

Get to know Nancy Cotton, Senior Vice President of Creative Affairs at Fox 21 Television Studios, over dinner at La Poubelle Bistro & Bar! The Harvardwood Salon Series gives attendees the unique opportunity to ask questions and engage in in-depth discussion with the featured guest in an intimate setting. This event is at capacity.

Harvardwood Heads To... How Women Can Succeed in the Workplace with Valerie Alexander - Tuesday, Aug. 4th

Open to men and women, this provocative presentation by Valerie Alexander is bound to challenge many of your basic assumptions about how to navigate the workplace. In her provocative book, Valerie writes candidly about how she believes “female” instincts often get in the way of women's success and what she believes women can do to talk the language of success and then to walk the talk. This topic will be useful to a broad audience given the tremendous diversity in today’s work environment across genders, ages, professional etiquettes and expectations.

Harvardwood Heads To... Weekly Harvardwood Trivia - Tuesday, Aug. 4th

Welcome Harvardwood to Weekly Trivia on Tuesday nights in Pasadena! Last night our team Shady Grey & Crimson took 2nd Place! Fun meetup and winnings go to the team's beer and food the following week. $100 first, $50 second, $25 third place, free pitcher of beer round. City parking available on Raymond or DeLacey. Go to the upstairs bar and ask where the Shady Grey team is sitting and join us. RSVP required!

C.L.A. invites Harvardwood to Dispute Resolution Techniques for People in Arts and Entertainment - Monday, Aug. 10th

As an artist, writer, musician or creative person, have you ever found yourself in conflict with collaborators, producers, or other people involved in your project? Do you wish that you knew how to manage the situation better to reduce the level of anger and frustration on both sides of the conflict? Join CLA and mediator and artist Dorit Cypis for a program covering some practical tools to assess and respond to the situation. Cypis will discuss how the nature of conflict is affected by relationships--who we are to ourselves and who we are to others and how identity beliefs form bias habits that contribute to conflicts. This hands-on workshop will also cover some practical strategies to minimize the harm caused by these identity issues in the context of conflicts over creative projects.

Harvardwood Heads To... The Ivy Plus Society's Summer Standard - Tuesday, Aug. 11th

This isn't some standard summer, this is the summer that you'll dive into the greatest escapades of your life and it all starts with meeting the right people. Join The Ivy Plus Society for an inter-alumni networking event at The Standard's Pool Deck. The Pool Deck is an iconic Hollywood poolside venue with blue astroturf, large heated pool, walk-up bar and cocktail service, ping pong tables and fantastic views of Los Angeles.

maderakitchen.jpgHarvardwood & Columbia University Entertainment Mixer - Thursday, Aug. 13th

Join us for a fun mixer with Columbia and Harvard alums in entertainment! See what people are saying about this “beautiful indoor/outdoor rustic New American restaurant called Madera Kitchen on Cahuenga. Soak up the incredible SoCal weather, and savor the summer the right way — enjoying cocktails and making new connections in your glamorous neighborhood.

[SOLD OUT] Harvardwood + Berklee at the Hollywood Bowl—2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY - Tuesday, Aug. 18th

Recognized as one of the greatest works of science fiction cinema, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 is acclaimed for its technological realism, creative audacity and inspired use of music. Behold the film’s visual grandeur on the Bowl’s big screen while the soundtrack is performed live, including Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra, music by György Ligeti, and the “Blue Danube” Waltz.


C.L.A. invites Harvardwood to Before You Sign: Evaluating Your Publishing Agreement - Wednesday, Aug. 19th

The excitement of securing a literary agent, receiving a publishing offer, or having a movie producer show interest in your work can make it easy to overlook many important issues that can make a deal go from thrilling to terrible. This workshop will address a range of contract issues that adversely affect an author's income, their ability to use their work in other contexts and projects, and their freedom to pursue future projects. Those attending will learn about common problems in agent-author and author-publisher relationships, alternatives to consider during negotiations, and resources for additional information and assistance.

Harvardwood Heads To... The Ivy Plus Society's Back to School Party - Saturday, Aug. 29th

Named one of L.A. Weekly's Top 10 Bars in Santa Monica, Bodega Wine Bar is the premiere place to have The Ivy Plus Society's 'Back to School' Party! We're kissing the summer air goodbye with a conversation-friendly atmosphere and good music. This inter-alumni networking event is the perfect spot to continue that summer fling or develop a fall friendship before you enjoy the rest of your Saturday evening! Early Bird - Buy One Get One Free tickets are limited to the first 50!

SF/Bay Area

C.L.A. invites Harvardwood to Forming a CA Corporation for Your Creative Arts Business - Tuesday, Aug. 4th

This workshop is a step-by-step guide to setting-up a California corporate entity for your creative arts business. Find out whether a corporate entity would benefit your creative arts business. Learn the differences between:

New-CLA-LOGO1.jpg- Sole Proprietorship
- LLCs
- C-Corps
- S-Corps
- B-Corps
- Partnerships
- Cooperatives
- Etc.

Also, learn how to reduce liabilities, raise capital, and build your own successful creative arts business. Presenter Bob Pimm, Esq. is Chief Learning Officer and Director of Legal Services at California Lawyers for the Arts.

C.L.A. invites Harvardwood to Non-Profits and Fiscal Sponsorships - Wednesday, Aug. 26th

Thinking of starting a nonprofit organization? Whether you are a filmmaker, a dance company, or an arts group, many grants are only available to public charities. So how do you obtain public charity status? What are the disadvantages? What about fiscal sponsorship? This workshop answers your questions. Presenter Cherie Evans is a partner in the law firm of Evans & Rosen LLP. She advises nonprofit organizations with an emphasis on corporate and tax law matters. Over the years, she has counseled hundreds of nonprofit organizations of all sizes, including public charities, private foundations, social welfare organizations, and business leagues. Prior to forming Evans & Rosen, she was an associate at Silk, Adler & Colvin and practiced in the area of tax-exempt organizations. She is Past Chair of the California Bar’s Nonprofit Organizations Committee and a panel attorney for California Lawyers for the Arts.

Summer's ending, and we're heading back to school...

Time to renew your membership! With the 2015-2016 year ahead, Harvardwood membership will give you access to the Harvardwood Mentorship Program (LA), Harvardwood 101 (current students), the Harvardwood Writers Program (multiple chapters), not to mention the benefits of being part of our online community. If you're not yet a Harvardwood member, join now to make the upcoming fall deadlines for some of these programs.


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. 

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