In This Issue:
- Director's Notes
- Message from Allison
- Featured Member Posting: Administrative Assistant (E! Entertainment) - LA
- Last month to enter the 2017 Harvardwood Writers Competition!
- A COMMON GROUND - A documentary fiscally sponsored by Harvardwood
- Sneak peek at our 2017 Summer Silent Auction
- Where Are They Now? Q&A with 101 Alum Derrick Wang AB '06 (Composer, Scalia/Ginsburg)
- Artist Showcase: Woodlynn Daniel AB '17 (Singer/Songwriter, "What We Could Be")
- Industry Successes
- New Members' Welcome
- Alumni Profile: Winnie M. Li AB '00 (Author, Dark Chapter)
CALENDAR & NOTES
- Program Spotlight: Harvardwood Mentorship Program
- Be a member to participate in the Harvardwood Facebook group
Wow, did everybody notice that it's the 150th edition of the Harvardwood Highlights?! Harvardwood's Board members, past and present, gathered for our annual retreat last month and reminded me just how fortunate I am to be part of this dynamic growing organization! We couldn't do it without all of our stalwart volunteers, dedicated program leaders, creative chapter heads, and of course, the many Harvard alums who contribute their time and expertise to Harvardwood activities!
This year, there will be a Harvardwood presence at Comic-Con, thanks to breakfast hosts Amy Chu MBA '99 & Sumalee Montano AB '93! Sign up to attend the July 22nd networking breakfast—seating is very limited, but don't worry, you don't need to have a Comic-Con pass to attend.
Message from Allison
The deadline for our annual Harvardwood Writers Competition is at the end of this month! Writers, get those drafts revised and in shape to submit by July 31st. We're accepting features, original pilots, and shorts—our judges are all industry professionals, and they're looking forward to reading this year's batch of material from you!
Have a great Fourth of July weekend!
The Administrative Assistant will provide administrative support to the Executive Producer, E! News Productions, and SVP & Editor-in-Chief, E! News & Online. Responsibilities include -
• Assist with administrative duties accurately and efficiently
• Act as liaison between executives, employees and outside contacts
• Answer phones and take messages
• Type memos and correspondence promptly and accurately
• Coordinate meetings including rooms and materials
• Assist supervisors with travel arrangements and expense reporting
• Track and code invoices
• Working with research and finance groups on performance reporting
• Maintain database of vendors and other contacts
• Organize mail and other deliveries
• Schedule appointments, meetings and conference rooms, for supervisors and teams, as needed
• Order office supplies and premiums as needed
• Maintain administrative files
• Assist with all production scheduling and paperwork, including obtaining appropriate signatures and maintaining files
• Copy and distribute materials as required
• Conduct research as needed
• Some weekend work is possible during Red Carpet season
• Additional duties, special projects and tasks assigned as needed
Last month to enter the 2017 Harvardwood Writers Competition!
Writers, stop procrastinating! You've only got one month left to submit your feature, original pilot, or short to the Harvardwood Writers Competition (HWC)! The HWC was founded in 2006 with the aim of recognizing superior work by Harvard writers and giving these talented individuals the opportunity to gain industry exposure.
Winning scripts will be read by an array of industry professionals, including literary managers, agents, and development professionals. All winners and runners-up will also receive free admission to the 2017-18 Harvardwood Writers Program module of their choice and a small cash award. Check out the full announcement, and make sure you don't wait until the last minute to apply so you can get multiple rewrites under your belt. (Pictured to the right: Winners of the 2016 HWC)
A COMMON GROUND - A documentary fiscally sponsored by Harvardwood
Harvardwood is delighted to serve as the nonprofit fiscal sponsor for documentary A COMMON GROUND by KSG alumni Catherine Lee and Peter Ajak. A South Sudanese “Lost Boy,” whose life has only known war, decides enough is enough. Against the wishes of the President, he is gathering youth of fighting tribes for reconciliation and forgiveness and to bring a unified message for peace to the leaders of his country and neighboring nations.
Find out more about the documentary, Peter, Catherine, and their team here. Donations to A COMMON GROUND are tax-deductible.
Sneak peek at our 2017 Summer Silent Auction
Harvardwood's SUMMER SILENT AUCTION (held online) will go live late this month. Make sure you're subscribed to receive Harvardwood e-mails, so you don't miss the window to bid, and mark your calendars for July 31st - August 4th.
In addition to a Sundance ticket package for 2 to the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, we'll be auctioning off one-on-one lunches with Harvard entertainment VIPs, including screenwriter Jonathan Aibel AB '91 (Trolls, Kung Fu Panda I, II, & III), actress Tatyana Ali AB '02 (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Kiss the Girls), exec Susanne Daniels AB '87 (Head of YouTube Originals), producer Lucy Fisher AB '71 (The Great Gatsby, Divergent series), author/screenwriter Gregg Hurwitz AB '95 (The Book of Henry, The Nowhere Man), & writer-director Massy Tadjedin AB '99 (Last Night, The Jacket)!
Pictured, clockwise from top left: Aibel, Tadjedin, Fisher, & Hurwitz.
Where Are They Now? Q&A with 101 Alum Derrick Wang AB '06 (Composer, Scalia/Ginsburg)
by D. Dona Le
In the #HWire blog's "Where Are They Now?" series, we check in with Harvardwood program alums to find out what they've been up to and to showcase their accomplishments since participating with Harvardwood!
Derrick Wang AB '06 is the composer and librettist of opera Scalia/Ginsburg, inspired by the opinions of U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia. After attending Harvard, where he participated in Harvardwood 101, Derrick earned his Master of Music from the Yale School of Music, before continuing his graduate studies at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, where he received his J.D. Last week, Derrick announced that he will be joining the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University. Scalia/Ginsburg will be performed at the 2017 Glimmerglass Festival this August.
Q. When did you first begin composing? Can you tell us more about your music background and how your Harvard undergraduate experience helped shape your career path?
A. I probably began scrawling notes on music paper around the age of four, when I was taking piano lessons and thought: why don't I write my own pieces? At school, I scored plays, conducted and orchestrated for the theater program, and wrote a musical (Prom)—songs from which later appeared in various Learning from Performers masterclasses at Harvard (thanks, Tom Lee!). For me, Harvard affirmed my impulse to bridge styles and genres: I could write a string quartet based on playground chants, or a Hasty Pudding show with classical techniques, and it was all not only acceptable but encouraged. From that perspective, writing an opera based on constitutional-law principles was perhaps inevitable.
Q. You were a participant of one of the first-ever Harvardwood 101 trips: how was that experience?
A. Harvardwood 101 was eye-opening. As a musician, I especially appreciated the time we spent with [Harvardwood Advisory Board member] Robert Kraft AB '76, then head of Fox Music. I remember him mentioning that he had wanted to be a music concentrator at Harvard but that his background didn't align with the departmental requirements at the time. Not long after, he was on campus as guest speaker in a music class I was taking—and when it was time for questions, I asked if he would perform "How Can I Not Love You" [the Golden Globe-nominated song he co-wrote for the 1999 film Anna and the King]. He sat down at the piano, played and sang for us—and then observed that this, at long last, was his portfolio submission to the Department of Music. And who could argue with that?
Q. What made you decide to attend law school after graduation? Were you anticipating a hiatus from music and composing, or did you always envision yourself melding these two fields?
A. Looking back, I think that on some level I was searching for an extension of the experience I'd had at Harvard—in this case, a way to move beyond the traditional boundaries of a career in the arts. Luckily, while I was in law school, I did receive some inspiration on that front.
Q. Which brings us to Scalia/Ginsburg! What inspired you to create this opera?
A. I was inspired to compose Scalia/Ginsburg by the dueling opinions of U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia. When studying constitutional law, I was reading case after case after Supreme Court case—when I came upon three magic words: "Scalia, J., dissenting." Every time I read a Scalia dissent, I would hear music in my head: a rage aria about the Constitution. And when I read the contrasting counterpoint from Justice Ginsburg, I realized: this could be an opera.
Artist Showcase: Woodlynn Daniel AB '17 (Singer/Songwriter, "What We Could Be")
Woodlynn Daniel is a pop singer, songwriter, and producer. Her rich and soulful soprano, combined with clear pop sensibilities, make for a unique sound that evokes sincere emotion. She recently released her single, "What We Could Be", which became a best-seller on Bandcamp in the pop music category. The video for "What We Could Be" is available on YouTube. The song itself is available for download on iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon, etc. and for streaming on Spotify.
Harvardwood Co-Founder Adam Fratto AB '90 recently joined Reel One Entertainment, where he will lead the company’s global drama series expansion. Adam previously worked with Pukeko Pictures and Lifetime, and he executive produced acclaimed series Cleverman, which was recently nominated for a Peabody Award and has been renewed for S2; Cleverman airs on Netflix and the Sundance Channel. Congratulations, Adam!
This month is the premiere of widely-anticipated FX drama Snowfall, with writer/co-executive producer Leonard Chang (Justified, Awake). Don't miss the series premiere on July 5th! It has received rave reviews, and was described by Mic as "The Wire meets Los Angeles—with some '80s flair."
Justin Monticello AB '09 won the award for best short documentary at the LA Press Club's 2017 SoCal Journalism Awards. His documentary, entitled This LA Musician Built $1,200 Tiny Houses for the Homeless. Then the City Seized Them." Watch it here on YouTube.
Netflix original comedy series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, from Tina Fey & Robert Carlock AB '95, has already been renewed for a fourth season—barely a month since the S3 premiere. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has received 11 Emmy nominations.
2012 Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith AB '94 was recently named U.S. Poet Laureate. From this NPR article: "Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said in a statement that Smith's work 'brings history and memory to life' and 'calls on the power of literature as well as science, religion and pop culture.'"
Celebrating the launch of its third season this summer, Studio Romolo is an art atelier that revitalizes old master sculpture methods to train creative thinkers in all disciplines, founded by Romolo Del Deo ‘82. This year it will host its first Harvardwood Apprentice, Vivian Tan AB ’20.
Writer-Director Massy Tadjedin AB '99 (The Jacket, Last Night) will direct Focus Features' Circle of Treason, a political thriller adapted from the 2012 book, Circle Of Treason: A CIA Account Of Traitor Aldrich Ames And The Men He Betrayed, by Sandra Grimes & Jeanne Vertefeuille.
New Members' Welcome
Harvardwood warmly welcomes all members who joined the organization over the past month, including:
- Maria Jose Acosta Robayo, College, LA
- John Paul Andree, HBS, LA
- Sara Binder Hamilton, College, LA
- Sylvia Brodbeck, GSE, Boston/On-Campus
- Martha Casillas, College, LA
- Alison Deldicque, HBS, NY
- Josh Friedman, College, LA
- Robert Giargiari, College, LA
- Andrew Grotta, HBS, LA
- Gregory Haley, GSD, NY
- Katherine Hess, College, LA
- Hetal Jani, GSE, NY
- Castille Landon, Ext., LA
- Gabriella Lombardo, College, Boston/On-Campus
- Joey Longstreet, College, LA
- Ann Heilman Murphy, College, Savannah
- Michael Noronha, HMS, LA
- Alexandria Rengifo, College, NY
- Carol Sessions, College, NY
- Jinesh Shah, HMS, NY
- Sandra Shimon, HBS, LA
- Anthony Stern, College, NY
- Katie Tutrone, College, NY
Alumni Profile: Winnie M. Li AB '00 (Author, Dark Chapter)
by Nicole Torres AB '11
Author of DARK CHAPTER, an upcoming novel based on her experience as a survivor of assault
By Nicole Torres AB '11
It’s Friday morning in Los Angeles and mid-afternoon in London, and Winnie M. Li AB '00 and I meet over Skype to discuss her upcoming novel Dark Chapter. (Photo credit: Grace Gelder)
Born in New Jersey, Winnie Li was drawn to literature and storytelling from a very young age. In particular, she had a fascination with Celtic culture and mythology that she can pin down to a very specific memory from her childhood. “I traced it back to one incident, I would’ve been quite young, like 6 or 7. I was in a travel agency in suburban New Jersey at the time and my mom was booking a holiday to Florida or something like that. I remember sitting and looking at all these different travel brochures and I found these glossy travel brochures about Ireland and Scotland and there were all these crumbling castles and I was fascinated with it.”
Her fascination continued throughout high school, and when she was accepted to Harvard and realized at prefrosh weekend they had a Folklore and Mythology concentration where you could specialize in Celtic languages and literature, she was sold. At Harvard, Winnie also wrote for the Let’s Go travel guide, which gave her the opportunity to visit the countries she studied and admired from afar.
Her senior year at Harvard, Winnie was selected to be a Mitchell Scholar and assigned to the National University of Ireland in Cork, where she switched to studying English after realizing studying Celtic was no longer the most relevant. However, although Winnie’s career path appeared to be headed down a more literary route, a decision to volunteer for the Cork Film Festival exposed her to an entirely new world of possibility.
Winnie had always had a love and fascination for film. She had taken some courses in film studies at Harvard, but had never really considered a career in film. However, her time volunteering for the Cork Film Festival sparked a new passion in her, and she began to see a career in film as a possibility. After finishing her master's in December 2001 at the National University of Ireland, she moved to London to give a career in film a shot. She recalls, “I think I said I’ll give myself six months and if it doesn’t work out, then I’ll travel around the world for a year and then move to LA to work in film.”
Fortunately it did work out, and quite well too. Winnie started as an intern for a producer at Ugly Duckling Films and gradually worked her way up the ranks. “I became her intern and then her assistant and then her development executive and then kind of an associate producer. I wasn’t really getting paid very much at all but it was a great, hands-on way to see how a film was being made.”
Winnie’s description is quite humble, since during her time there, she was involved in producing six award-winning feature films and two shorts, one of which was Oscar-nominated and the other Oscar-shortlisted. She attended the Oscars in 2006. She continues, “I was at Ugly Duckling Films for about six years and I was working for them up until the assault happened.”
By this, she means her violent 2008 assault and rape by a 15-year-old stranger in a Belfast park, which was widely covered in the local media at the time. The event also brought an abrupt end to her flourishing film production career.
Winnie recalls, “The assault took place the day before a red carpet premiere of a film that we had. I was on the verge of being a producer on a feature film when the assault happened. I was in Northern Ireland for the tenth anniversary of the peace process because I’d been invited there as a former Mitchell Scholar, but when I was there I was having meetings with potential financiers for this film that we were going to make. It was going to be my first film as a full producer, and that was an adaptation of some short stories by a Northern Irish writer. So that was meant to happen, but then the assault took place, and that changed everything. I haven’t returned to producing since then. I think a lot of it was the PTSD and the agoraphobia and the mental health consequences of that kind of trauma. It was impossible for me to do my job, which was obviously sad at the time. Even in the autumn I was still trying to pretend to be a film producer and still trying to get that film to happen and I just realized, ‘I’m never going to get better and recover if I’m still trying to do my career at the same time.’”
She devoted herself to her recovery and rebuilding her life, especially after her perpetrator was convicted in Spring 2009. An avid travel and adventure lover, she spent much of 2009 traveling, and embarked upon a solo three-month backpacking trip to Southeast Asia. In 2010, she began looking for employment and after substantial difficulty came across an exciting opportunity to work for the Doha Tribeca Film Festival and Doha Film Institute in Qatar.
Originally the position was temporary, as they were recruiting people with a background in film to move out there and work on the festival for several months. However, the position soon became permanent and Winnie was offered the opportunity to help start up the Qatar national film institute. Winnie recalls the time fondly: “I worked there for a number of years in the programming department for the festival. Also they wanted to have a year round screening series, so I oversaw that whole process and that was really interesting. Imagine working for a film festival that had zero budgetary concerns. But it was interesting and I was getting to still engage with film in a slightly different capacity and making things happen. At the same time, I was living in a place where nobody knew about the assault so I felt like I was sort of not addressing that part of my life.”
She briefly moved to Singapore after being offered the opportunity to work on an ecotourism project. Although she found the work interesting, ultimately she knew she wanted to return to her literary roots. She states, “I had negotiated a six-month contract because I was thinking of going back to do my creative writing master's. When my six-month contract ended in Singapore I didn’t renew it and moved back to London. The day after I landed in London, I went to class for this creative writing course, and the novel has been an all consuming project since then.”
When she returned to London for the creative writing course, Winnie already knew what she wanted to write about. Even though she didn’t officially start working on Dark Chapter until five years after her assault, soon after the incident she knew she needed to write about it. She explains, “As a writer the way I always process the world, or try and make sense of life, is through writing. So actually the prologue of the book, the first two pages, I wrote a few weeks after the assault.” She continues, “But I knew I had to get to the point in my life and recover and rebuild my life, which is why it was five years before I could start writing the novel. I needed the distance and the perspective from the trauma itself, and I myself needed to be able to say this is a choice I’m making to leave this other job which has given me a salary to write this novel because the novel’s that important for me.”
Why a novel as opposed to a memoir? Because several other memoirs had already been written by rape survivors and Winnie wanted to bring a different viewpoint to the table. She knew she wanted to include a trial, for although in reality she was fortunate enough to have been spared from one, from a narrative standpoint she felt it was a more dramatic choice. She also particularly wanted to explore the perpetrator’s perspective and felt that fiction was the only way to do so. She elaborates, “The key thing for me in writing the novel was trying to figure out why did he behave the way he did. So I had meetings [with] and interviewed a number of social workers and psychologists that work with juvenile sex offenders.” Driven by a strong desire for authenticity, her research for the novel was incredibly extensive. In addition to the aforementioned she also sat in on various rape trials and did extensive research into the Irish Traveller community. Like her real-life perpetrator, Johnny’s character is an Irish traveler and she wanted to do justice to his portrayal as such without criminalizing the entire community.
One wonders how difficult it must have been to undergo this entire process. Winnie remarks that the most emotionally challenging part was writing Vivian’s storyline, as it was essentially reliving her own experience. However, creating Johnny’s character was more challenging from a creative standpoint. Not only is his character’s literary voice in stark contrast to that of Vivian, but it involved researching and creating a character from an entirely different social world, which she found more interesting creatively. Also challenging was the process of actually editing down the novel, which is punishment for any writer. The last section in particular was a source of constant negotiation between Winnie and her editors. Ultimately a majority of it was trimmed down, but there is a slight difference between the U.K. and U.S. editions, the latter of which has two additional scenes.
Now that the novel is complete, Winnie is focusing on the present. Dark Chapter has been attracting strong media attention and acclaim in the UK and Ireland, and promoting it enables her to bring in her activism. She is pursuing her PhD at the London School of Economics researching the impact of social media on the public discourse about rape and sexual assault. Winnie is also planning the 2nd edition of the Clear Lines Festival, the UK’s first-ever festival dedicated to using the arts and discussion to address sexual assault and consent. In many ways her activism has been driven by her frustration at the improper portrayal of assault in television, film, and society as a whole.
She explains, “Living that experience is totally different from what you expect from film and TV and books. In some ways it’s all over the media and yet a lot of the media representations don’t actually accurately represent the lived experience.” Through her research, Winnie hopes to be better equipped in her activism efforts.
Would she love for Dark Chapter to be adapted for screen? Certainly. But for now she’s just taking it one day at a time. “One thing I learned from the assault is you obviously can’t predict what happens in your life, so I don’t really plan ahead. I just do what I feel is important and see where that takes me.”
Her debut novel, Dark Chapter, is currently out in the U.K. and will be available in the U.S. September 12 with Polis Books.
Nicole Torres is an attorney, actor, and writer living in Los Angeles.
FEATURED EVENT | Harvardwood Comic-Con Networking Breakfast - Sat., July 22 (San Diego)
Harvardwood goes to Comic Con! Join us for a networking breakfast hosted by Amy Chu MBA '99 (writer, Poison Ivy, Red Sonja, Wonder Woman) and Sumalee Montano AB '93 (actor, NCIS, VEEP, Transformers Prime).
Seating is limited to 1 2, and advance registration is required (all-inclusive breakfast buffet). This event takes place outside the Convention Center, at the Omni Hotel's McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant, so you do not need pass to get in.
Los Angeles, CA
Harvardwood Heads To... Outfest Los Angeles - Thurs., July 6 - Sat., July 15
Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival is eleven days of not to be missed world-class films, panels, and parties. Each summer Outfest Los Angeles screens more than 150 feature and short films to an audience more than 40,000 people. Outfest Los Angeles is the oldest film festival in Los Angeles and is considered the preeminent LGBT film festival in the world.
Harvardwood Salon: In Conversation with JOSH BRENER AB '07 - Tues., July 11
You've certainly seen him in HBO's SILICON VALLEY and in THE INTERNSHIP, and now, you can chat with actor Josh Brener AB '07! Seats for Harvardwood Salons are extremely limited (capacity = 10) in order to nurture a more intimate conversation among attendees and our Salon guest.
The Harvardwood Salon Series gives attendees the unique opportunity to engage in in-depth discussion with the featured guest in an intimate setting. Salons are only open to Harvardwood Members & Friends. Find out how to join the conversation with Josh Brener!
Harvardwood Heads To... The TIPS Out of Office Pool Party - Fri., July 21
Get out of the office early on Friday, July 21st to mix, mingle, and swim in the heart of West Hollywood on the legendary Sunset Strip. The Ivy Plus Society is playing hooky and going to what Paper Magazine calls “an instant classic” The Standard, Hollywood. Join us on the blue AstroTurf pool dec
Harvardwood Meet-up at the Black List DC Happy Hour - Wed., July 5
The Black List is creating social hubs for writers around the world where they can meet other screenwriters and discuss the craft and the reality of the screenwriter's life. So join your fellow writers at the DC happy hour! Come to enjoy the drinks and the company. You never know who you might meet!
Harvardwood Heads To... THE REGULARS at Capital Fringe Festival - Thurs., July 13 - Fri., July 21
A young black woman navigates the DC dating scene and encounters a group of drinking buddies that take it upon themselves to interfere in the fate of her first date. Hilarity ensues, stereotypes are revealed, but will love conquer all?
Playwright: Sherrita Wilkins, Chinwe Nwosu AB '08,SM '12, & Tiffany Cain
Online sales end 2 hours before performance, but tickets may be available at venue 45 minutes prior to show.
Playwright Alexandra Petri ’10 was recently named one of “The 50 Funniest People Right Now” by Rolling Stone and “The Only Op-Ed Columnist America Needs Right Now” by Longform. Join DC Harvardwood at a performance of her new work!
About the play: Elsie is your typical high school outcast: a nerd with delusions of grandeur whose only friend is Ophelia and whose sole outlet is writing online stories about her favorite characters from fiction and history. When Elsie discovers her father might have been murdered by her new stepdad, her efforts to solve this mystery come bursting out in her writing – with disastrous consequences.
Harvardwood Heads To... The PA Academy - Sat., July 22 - Sun., July 23
This two day, bootcamp-style Production Assistant workshop is perfect for those just starting their career in the industry as well as those looking to advance their knowledge of what it takes to succeed as an office or on-set production assistant working on commercials, industrials, music videos, independent films, television series and studio features.
Harvardwood Chicago Writers' Meet-up - Tues., July 25
Harvardwood's Chicago Chapter is creating a space for writers from varied backgrounds to get together and connect in person. Writers in all genres and career stages, from beginner to working professional, are welcome. Playwrights, comedy writers, screenwriters, authors, novelists, poets, content producers... all writers, any specialty! Writers friends are welcome.
Harvardwood Heads To... Cinema/Chicago Special Summer Surprise - Sat., July 29
Cinema/Chicago, the presenting organization of the Chicago International Film Festival, is a year round non-profit arts and education organization dedicated to fostering better communication between people of diverse cultures through the art of film and the moving image. In addition to the International Screenings Program, Cinema/Chicago's programs include: the Chicago International Film Festival, Chicago International Television Festival, CineYouth Festival, and year-round Education Program. Celebrating its 53rd edition October 12-26, 2017, the Chicago International Film Festival is North America's longest-running competitive film festival.
Kaitlin Solimine will read from her novel Empire of Glass and be in conversation with Val Wang, author of Beijing Bastard. Check our calendar for additional Empire of Glass readings by Kaitlin throughout the country!
Program Spotlight: Harvardwood Mentorship Program
From Gene Pao MBA '97, Director of the Harvardwood Mentorship Program:
The Harvardwood Mentorship Program gives the opportunity for both new and seasoned entertainment professionals to advance their career within media, entertainment, and the arts. Mentees are matched with mentors who can provide one-on-one guidance throughout the course of a year. In addition, the program looks for other unique opportunities for professional learning and networking.
Past HMP participant Julie Wong AB MPP '97 (currently staffed on Grey's Anatomy) was kind enough to share a little bit about her experience: "I've now had two mentors through the program and both were very generous with their time and experience. It was especially great to have an HWP mentor as I transitioned into my first job as a TV writer—I was able to ask her specific questions and get helpful guidance about everything from agents to writing samples."
Gene Pao is a 15 year veteran in the entertainment industry. After graduating Harvard Business School in 1997, he joined the Boston-based agency Strategic Interactive Group (now Digitas). In 1998, Gene moved to LA to help start up Viant's LA office, where he also developed business and marketing strategies for entertainment companies, including Columbia Tristar Home Video, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Sputnik7 (music video website co-founded by MTV's Les Garland). In 1999, Gene joined MusicNow, which later became Firstlook.com, one of the first companies to use streaming media to promote music, movies, video games, and television shows.
In 2001, after the first dotcom crash, Gene spent the next six years at Disney in the affiliate sales and marketing group where supported the cable network distribution negotiations for Disney Channel, ABC Family, the ESPN family of networks, and other emerging networks. He also developed new services such as VOD, interactive television, HD channels, and broadband services for Disney and ESPN, as well as providing industry analysis for senior executives. After Disney, Gene spent the next four years at Fox, first as VP Marketing and Business Development of Fox Interactive Media's Television Stations Group, and then as VP of New Media and International Development at FUEL TV, the action sports network.
From FUEL TV, Gene briefly consulted for YouTube's Sports Partnership group before joining NBCU, first as VP of Marketing for Golf Channel and then as the General Manager of Biggest Loser Digital, a joint project between NBC Entertainment and Shine America. In 2013, Gene joined Shout! Factory, an independent entertainment company, where he is currently SVP Digital Media.
Gene has a BS from N.C. State University and a Master's Degree from Cornell University. He resides in Hermosa Beach.
As one of the founding Harvardwood Board members, Gene went on hiatus for several years and recently rejoined to head up the Mentorship Program. He is also on the Board of the Harvard Business School Association of Southern California (HBSASC) and is the producer of the annual Harvard Hollywood Panel.
Be a member to participate in the Harvardwood Facebook group
Harvardwood's official Facebook page now has an offshoot group page, where members can post announcements, share videos and photos, and interact with one another directly (subject to the posting guidelines). But to get into the mix on Facebook, you need to be a dues-current Harvardwood Member or Friend, so join here!
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.