In This Issue:
- Director's Notes
- Message from Allison
- Featured Member Posting: Assistant to Executive Producers (NBCUniversal) - London
- Recap of the 2017 Harvardwood Summer Internship Program
- Sept. 15-16: Attend the HAA QUESTION + CREATE Weekend at Harvard
- The 2017-18 Mentorship Program begins soon | Volunteer to mentor
- Apply to the Harvardwood Writers Program (TV & Features) - LA, NY, & BOS
- Exclusive Q&A with Ryan Halprin AB '12 (Vice President - Live Action & Animated, Lin Pictures)
- Industry Successes
- New Members' Welcome
- Alumni Profile: Danielle Feinberg AB '96 (Director of Photography for Lighting at Pixar)
CALENDAR & NOTES
- Program Spotlight: Harvardwood Music
- Back to School: Students, contact the Harvard OCS about membership dues
The Harvard College Class of 2021 is all settled in, and I'm so excited to meet many of the new students—as well as old friends and fellow alums—when I'm back in Cambridge Sept. 15-16th for the Harvard Alumni Association's QUESTION + CREATE Weekend! While I'm in town, I'll also be hosting an info session on our College J-termship program, Harvardwood 101, at the Harvard OCS on Sept. 15th. Students, I'll see you at the info session, and EVERYBODY is welcome at the Harvardwood Question + Create Mixer Friday night at Charlie's Kitchen!
But things are still cooking in Los Angeles! On Sept. 12th, we're heading back to the Hollywood Bowl for a special Yo-Yo Ma AB '76, DMU '91 all-Bach concert—half our tickets have already been sold! The next week, on Sept. 20th, we'll be sitting down with showrunner Dustin Thomason AB '98 (Castle Rock, Lie to Me, Manhattan) in the next Harvardwood Salon.
Have a great Labor Day Weekend, everybody!
Message from Allison
Happy September! It's time for the Fall 2017 Harvardwood Writers Program (HWP)! Check out the deadlines ASAP for HWP-TV in Los Angeles (deadline Sept. 4th!) and HWP-Features in Los Angeles, Boston, and New York.
Featured Member Posting: Assistant to Executive Producers (NBCUniversal) - London
The role will report to and primarily support two Executive Producers of Carnival Films. The successful applicant will look after the administration of these two executives, which will include:
• providing day-to-day administrative support; diary, call, schedule and email management; meeting support; filing;
• making travel arrangements and collecting travel documentation and receipts;
• preparing and processing expense reports, ensuring timely settlement of expenses and credit card activity;
• assisting in the organisation of programme-related events, including planning and coordinating of all elements necessary;
• liaising with producers, writers, production offices, broadcasters and agents;
• assisting with the maintenance of company and programme-related systems and processes;
• supporting script management and research;
• attending meetings with writers and consultants and taking minutes of all activities.
Recap of the 2017 Harvardwood Summer Internship Program
Thanks to the tireless work and volunteer time of Program Director Marie Kim, we had another amazing Harvardwood Summer Internship Program this year! We are also grateful to all of the alumni and companies that supported the program and invited our 2017 HSIPers to visit their offices for panels and other speaker events. HSIP was a huge success this year! Don't believe us? Check out the testimonials from a few of our participants below.
"I’m so grateful to the Harvardwood Summer Internship Program for giving me the opportunity to have intimate chats with industry executives as they gleefully debunked Hollywood myths and confirmed others. As they charted the twists and turns in their careers from college to where they are now, I learned about the surprisingly numerous entry points to the industry. I took tours of production companies and even watched a studio live-stream an Australian boy-band performance. Harvardwood events were also a great way to connect with other Harvard students taking their first tentative steps into entertainment jobs and get a glimpse into the vast alumni network that awaits us in the industry. It helped to know that I’ll never be alone, and I came away from the experience feeling wiser and more hopeful about the future."
- Claire Park AB '20
"Attending the events organized by HSIP has been one of the highlights of my summer internship experience. They are a fantastic way to meet and learn from new people, and offer an invaluable opportunity for exposure to countless unique sides of the entertainment industry. Only halfway through my internship I have already had the chance to talk with people throughout the business from both Harvard and beyond whose passion, work, and missions equally inspire and motivate me. I look forward to growing these relationships and continuing to make new ones for the rest of my time with the Harvardwood Summer Internship Program. Extra special thanks to Marie Kim for making it all come together!"
- Max Moulton AB '18
"I have never grown so much both intellectually and artistically as I have this summer working as an apprentice at Studio Romolo. For eight weeks, I studied with Provincetown sculptor and Harvard alumnus Romolo Del Deo AB '82, working in bronze, wax, clay, plaster, and more as I helped Mr. Del Deo prepare for his show at Berta Walker Gallery and created my own art. The insights I gained through Mr. Del Deo’s powerful teachings and my time in Provincetown’s artist community have transformed my understanding of art and composition, and will no doubt provide an invaluable foundation as I pursue a career in film. I cannot recommend the Studio Romolo Art Apprenticeship program more highly, and I strongly encourage students interested in any form of art to apply."
- Vivian Tian AB '20
Sept. 15-16: Attend the HAA QUESTION + CREATE Weekend at Harvard
This September, our alumni community will come together to explore the role of the arts at Harvard and in the world. Join us and discover how the arts are shaping Harvard's campus and community. Meet alumni, students, and faculty practitioners from across the globe who are using the arts to inspire new ways of thinking and creating. Examine the role of the arts in cross-disciplinary teaching and learning. Discover how we can use art to teach and inspire empathy. And grow your community of alumni who care about the arts. Watch this brief video from Executive Director Dona Le AB '05 about Question + Create Weekend!
Harvardwood is also hosting a mixer for ALL alumni the first evening of Question + Create, Sept. 15th, at Charlie's Kitchen. Swing by the second floor between 7-9pm to meet fellow Harvardians in the arts, media, and entertainment. Free to attend, and friends are welcome. After all, the more the merrier!
The 2017-18 Mentorship Program begins soon | Volunteer to mentor
We're looking for alums to volunteer as mentors for the 2017-18 Harvardwood Mentorship Program (HMP). HMP aims to foster meaningful professional relationships between Full Members of Harvardwood and established alums in their fields of interest. Our volunteer mentors and advisors are the force that enables Harvardwood programs to thrive and support new voices and the next generation of Harvard arts, media, and entertainment professionals.
We are looking for mentors and advisors in a wide array of arts-related professional fields for 2017-18, and we hope you'll join us!
Apps for mentees will open September 18th through October 2nd. Mentees must be located in the same metropolitan area as the mentors, most of whom reside in Los Angeles. Applicants must be dues-current Harvardwood Members to request a mentor via this program. Mark your calendar for Sept. 18th and find more info about the program here!
Apply to the Harvardwood Writers Program (TV & Features) - LA, NY, & BOS
Just because you're done with college doesn't mean you don't have to worry about deadlines anymore! In fact, we have FOUR important deadlines coming up for our screenwriters in Los Angeles, New York, and Boston. Stop procrastinating, get to your computer, and make sure you sign up to participate in the 2017-18 Harvardwood Writers Program to whip that script into shape!
Exclusive Q&A with Ryan Halprin AB '12 (Vice President - Live Action & Animated, Lin Pictures)
By Emily Zauzmer AB '18
Ryan Halprin AB ’12 serves as a Vice President at Lin Pictures, where his responsibilities include co-producing the LEGO movies and developing live action features. A neurobiology concentrator at Harvard, he found his passion in the college’s theater community as an actor turned director. He started as an intern at Lin Pictures in the summer after his junior year and rose through the ranks after college. Here, he discusses his career path, his advice for students hoping to follow in his footsteps, and his work on The LEGO Ninjago Movie, which comes out this month.
Q. How did you go from concentrating in neurobiology at Harvard to pursuing a career in entertainment? Does your science background inform your career path at all?
A. There’s a lot of overlap for me—the two fields get at the same big questions: why do we do what we do? Why are humans so weird? If we study behavior, can we understand it? Help people live better? What does that even mean? When I started college I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I had that curiosity, and the psychology class I took inadvertently revealed that the answers to all these questions are getting unearthed by neuroscience. I wanted in on that action. I thought I could get at the microbiology of love, or fear, even comedy. The more I dug in though, the more I found that so much of what is studied today is organisms with a few thousand brain cells, because humans have 80 billion neurons and there are a lot questions we have to answer before getting to the sexy ones. The practice of it was slow, not very creative, and seldom collaborative.
What got me up in the morning was theater. With no centralized major, the biggest shows were open to the science nerds. And when I acted in shows my friends were directing, it made me want to choreograph and direct. And doing shows with the Pudding and OFA that were directed by pros helped me understand for the first time how one could have a career in the arts. I ended up spending way more time in the theater than in the lab, and told my parents I wanted to try LA for a summer after junior year and never really looked back. And again, it all comes from that same interest—effecting an audience is really tapping into their humanity, sharing insights into ourselves together. I’m still exploring human behavior, just from a storytelling perspective.
Q. How did you rise from intern to vice president at Lin Pictures?
A. I got very lucky. I got an internship at a company that was growing and with a CEO who likes investing in his team. As an intern, because the slate was larger than the team could handle, I was asked to be an assistant (unpaid) when they discovered I was potentially not clueless. They also allowed interns to pitch TV ideas, and I had 2 ideas that they developed at WBTV briefly. So I got a pretty deep toe-dip into producing very quickly, and loved it. Went back to school for senior year and made as much theater as I could, and came right back out. Started in the UTA mailroom but very quickly a position opened up at Lin—assistant to the CEO and to the Head of Film.
I was not ready for this job, but they took a chance on me. I made many mistakes and was almost fired multiple times. Probably should have been! But the Head of Film Jon needed his assistant to be a creative partner, so trained me to read specs, do notes, assess material, and develop relationships with talent in the time I wasn’t spending on administrative support. I’m very lucky to have had a mentor like that. I worked round the clock for a year and then Jon left the company, which left a hole on our executive team, and I had prepared to pitch myself to fill it with his help. I worked as a junior exec on our live action slate until THE LEGO MOVIE came out, at which point my role expanded to work on that franchise as well. After my work on and the success of LEGO BATMAN I was promoted to run our animation department. I’m very lucky to still have a hand in both animation and live action, in production and development, and to be at a company that values young folks. I’ve made tons of mistakes, but try not to make the same mistake twice.
Q. What do you look for when you're developing new projects? What kind of content excites you?
A. Anything that tackles a tough question about humanity and behavior I get really excited about. Which is pretty genre-independent. Beyond that, our company competes in the studio system where the goal is to create event movies that global audiences want to see in a theater. More and more, those movies are based on IP. For us though, we want to find a brand that can serve as a platform for an original story, or at least give us a lot of leeway to do something new. It’s about finding a platform that attracts exciting storytellers, and fostering a creative space where they can realize a vision within the boundaries of brand guidelines.
Karyn Langhorne Folan JD '89 has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Washington DC chapter of Women in Film and Video.
The Reconstruction of Huck Finn (Over Mark Twain’s Dead Body!), a screenplay by Tim Plaehn EDM '96, progressed to the semi-final round of the Nicholl Fellowship.
Keep Me Posted, an original web series written and directed by Hillary Nussbaum AB '09, premieres at 8pm Friday, 9/15. The series is a biting look at the impact of texting and social media on our closest relationships, told through the lives of three childhood friends trying to grow up without growing apart. Check it out at www.keepmepostedseries.com.
Congrats to Nick Stoller ’98 and Francesca Delbanco ’95 on the Season 2 renewal of Netflix comedy series Friends from College!
Paula Caplan AB '69 has high praise for the Harvard interns assisting with her documentary, Isaac Pope: The Spirit of an American Century: "Claire Park AB '20 has been working with us and with intern Sophia Higgins... whom I had met at a Harvard networking in D.C. some months ago, and both of them have been terrifically helpful, resourceful, and hardworking."
Robert Popa Ext. '16 released an album on August 9, 2017 called Central Park Demos. It started out as an assignment in his digital media class on-campus to make a short documentary, and then turned into this album. Robert produced it and wrote all the music.
The 69th Primetime EMMY Awards will be on Sunday, Sept. 17th, and there's a whole host of Harvard nominees to support, from Best Comedy Series to Best Production Design for a Variety Nonfiction, Event or Award Special! View the list below, and keep your fingers crossed for all our Crimson Creatives!
Alec Berg AB '91
- SILICON VALLEY (Comedy Series)
- SILICON VALLEY (Writing for a Comedy Series)
Robert Carlock AB '95
- UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT (Comedy Series)
Jim Dauterive AB '79
- BOB'S BURGERS (Animated Program)
Al Jean AB '81
- THE SIMPSONS (Animated Program)
- THE SIMPSONS - Planet of the Couches (Creative Achievement in Interactive Media Within a Scripted Program)
Billy Kimball AB '81
- VEEP (Writing for a Comedy Series)
John Lithgow AB '67, Ar.D. '05
- THE CROWN, Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Derek McLane AB '80
- The Oscars (Production Design for a Variety Nonfiction, Event or Award Special)
- Hairspray Live! (Production Design for a Variety Nonfiction, Event or Award Special)
David Mandel AB '92
- VEEP (Comedy Series)
- VEEP (Directing for a Comedy Series)
- VEEP (Writing for a Comedy Series)
Lisa Joy Nolan JD '07
- WESTWORLD (Drama Series)
- WESTWORLD (Writing for a Drama Series)
Roberto Patino AB '06
- WESTWORLD (Drama Series)
Alan Yang AB '02
- MASTER OF NONE (Comedy Series)
New Members' Welcome
Harvardwood warmly welcomes all members who joined the organization over the past month, including:
- Javier Arango, College, LA
- Andrew Barlow, Staff, BOS/Campus
- Rashida Bartley, FOH, LA
- Sarah Bates, HMS, BOS/Campus
- Mitch Blumberg, HBS, LA
- Romain-Alexis Bouche, FOH, NY
- Allegra Caldera, College, LA
- Frank Caprino, Ext., NY
- Nikki Daurio, College, BOS/Campus
- Sebastien Delisle, GSE, BOS/Campus
- Frances Esparza, HBS, LA
- Angela Gulner, A.R.T., LA
- Zack Guzman, College, NY
- Anna Hagen, College, NY
- Susan Johnson McCabe, GSE, BOS/Campus
- Robert Lazo, FOH, NY
- Robert Lemos, Ext., LA
- Andrew Park, College, BOS/Campus
- Mark Pelofsky, College, BOS/Campus
- Marcella Prieto, College, NY
- Zach Raynor, College, LA
- Martin Reichel, MD, College,NY
- Melissa Robinson, Ext., BOS/Campus
- Amber Scott, FOH, LA
- Rachel Stauber, HLS, LA
- Sam Stewart, HBS, LA
- James Thackara, College, NY
- Connie Yan, College, LA
*FOH = Friend of Harvardwood
Alumni Profile: Danielle Feinberg AB '96 (Coco, Director of Photography for Lighting at Pixar)
written and illustrated by Susan Bin AB '16
“When I was seven years old, some adult asked—you know how adults love to ask kids that—‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ I said, ‘I want to be an artist,’ and this person crushed my dreams without realizing it. ‘You want to be an artist? You can’t make a living being an artist!’”
Seven months after graduating from Harvard, Danielle Feinberg joined Pixar in 1997. Two decades later, she has an impressive roster that includes the world’s most beloved and popular films from A Bug's Life, Monsters, Inc., The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Wall-E, and Brave. After finishing work on Brave in 2012, Danielle Feinberg was attached to the upcoming Coco as the Director of Photography for Lighting.
As Director of Photography for Lighting, Danielle is responsible for the placement of icons of light in a virtual three-dimensional space. Pixar builds universes, Danielle lights those worlds, and we, the audience, see their cinematic screen projections: underwater ribbons of light for a clownfish to dart through, the ineffably translucency of Parisian fruits, stirring atmospheric canvasses of one robot’s epic.
Immediately following our conversation, Danielle has to run to a daily review session. Even though she’s been on Coco for four years counting, she can’t escape the overwhelming moments of, “Oh… We’re doing something really important here. [That feeling] happened the other day, and I got teary-eyed. ‘Oh. This is really important.’”
When I ask Danielle the biggest challenge faced during Coco, she immediately responds, “There’s two worlds in Coco, Land of the Living and Land of the Dead. The biggest design challenge is figuring out what that world is going to look like. In Monsters Inc., you’re making a whole city but you’re monster-izing it. […] In Inside Out and with the Land of the Dead in Coco, it’s less obvious. You don’t really want to make the place with your ancestors look like the same old place you live now but just skeletonized.” Pixar films demand environments to hold their own against the characters. “You have to make it grand and wonderful and fun and magical! [..] [The Land of the Dead] serves as this backdrop for our main character Miguel to go off on this crazy adventure where he learns about his family and chases his dreams.”
“We wanted it to be big and grand,” Danielle pauses, “which in computers translates to really, really hard.”
Considering the new territory covered by Coco, the film required an exceptional visual identity. The team watched stage shows as compositional treatments to guide their fine-tuning of light to complement Coco’s musical numbers. Danielle gives me examples of knowing lighting’s versatility and restraint: light that is utilitarian in one scene needs to emulate rock-n-roll glamour in another according to the demands of storytelling. At one point Danielle asks me rhetorically, “How would stage lighting in 1920s Mexico be different from current times… and how would they do that in the Land of the Dead?”
Further, as part of their visual development for the film’s look, the Coco team embarked on research trips to the historic town of Guanajuato, Mexico. “You never know early on what’s going to become the biggest things for a film, but [these trips] ended up being the biggest touchstone for the Land of the Dead,” she explains.
It’s no wonder Guanajuato conjured up such spectacular vistas. Guanajuato, with its adjacent mines, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features subterranean streets. “Guanajuato has these hills around the town,” Danielle reflects. “There’s buildings at the sides that are these vibrant, beautiful colors, and they’re stacked architecturally with mixed time periods. There’s tunnels underneath, because it was this old silver mining town. There’s narrow walkways up through between the buildings. It’s such a neat place where it felt a tiny bit European, but was very clearly Mexico.”
“We took a million photos; it was so inspiring, and we kept referencing those photos.”
Travel and photography go hand-in-hand for Danielle as a manipulator of light. “In computer animation, we create the whole world. We can make any world we want, we can bend the the laws of physics. To have complete control is actually a problem sometimes.” While observing light through photography informs Danielle’s decision-making in the virtual world, it also affords her a reprieve from editing, a task she says can be “exhausting.” “I can nitpick an image to death, so it’s almost like my vacation to go out with a camera and capture existing light.”
Travel, too, is part of a larger constellation of Danielle’s lifestyle. “I think traveling and seeing different people, different places, and different design aesthetics is a major influence on me, and how you not only approach different visuals, but how you live your life thinking of the bigger world out there.”
However, Danielle’s alchemy of art and science to drive narrative existed prior to her joining Pixar. Her interest in repurposing math, science, and code for storytelling started when she was young. She tells me in fourth grade, she would program horses to run across the screen. It would take switching to Computer Science from Mechanical Engineering at Harvard for her to fully uncover her passion for computer animation.
“At that time [1994, she estimates], there wasn’t a lot of computer animation and what was there wasn’t accessible. My professor one day puts a VHS tape and plays the old Pixar films from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. I knew about special effects and maybe a couple of commercials on TV… and I watched those short films and was blown away. Wait, you’re telling me all this math and science and programming I’m learning, I can do that with it? I have to do that!”
And did that, she would despite the barriers of entry. “There was no clear path on how to do it, there was nobody doing it that was visible in any way. I didn’t even know what company,” she admits. Then, her senior year, TOY STORY came out. It was her ah-ha moment. “Someone is making a feature film. There is a group of people working on this film. There is clearly a company,” she announces earnestly, sitting in the cafeteria of said company.
After joining a graphics group with Professor Joe Marks, the same teacher who introduced her to Pixar shorts, she followed with independent studies and a Visual and Environmental Studies Animation course. Seven months after graduating, began work on in an entry level technical position on A BUG’S LIFE at Pixar. “There was no clear path, so I couldn’t feel beaten down. It was wandering through the woods trying to find the right thing, so I kept pursuing the things I was interested in and narrowing it down, until I had this epiphany of, ‘That’s what I want to do!,’ and I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I’m going to work really hard trying to do it.”
When it comes to pursuing the industry now, Danielle declares, “It’s a completely different world.” She directs prospective animators to the Pixar Undergraduate Program, a 10 week program whereby interns complete different rotations per week. PUP interns culminate the 10 weeks with their own project with their own advisor whose own technical experiences align with the aims of the project.
Although it’s become much easier to study Computer Animation in school, Danielle describes that those who succeed in courting Pixar remain exceptional. “It really shows if you’re super passionate, because you’re not just doing what other people are doing on assignments. This one applicant, her assignment was heads and shoulders above everyone else when we went to recruit. ‘I was up three nights doing this, and I don’t know if it’s any good.’” She recalls her astonished reaction to the final project: “This is amazing. You have to come work at Pixar! It was so awesome, that stuff shines through.” Her advice now boils down to, “If you’re passionate about it, then go full force. That always comes through.”
Outside of Pixar, Danielle mentors with various groups to get girls interested in STEM, including Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering women in computer science. It seems only intuitive that someone who was scolded from a childhood pursuit would dedicate her efforts to outreach increasing agency and visibility. She explains sincerely, “It impacts how I live my life in a better way, bringing good things to people. I remember what it’s like to be a teenager and having all these options available and open to you, and also the chaos and craziness in which way to go with life.”
To resolve the aspirations of her seven-year-old self though, Danielle happily confides that she dabbles in all sorts of artistic ventures now—drawing and sculpture as mainstays in addition to her photo trips. When I press her on whether she has any ambitions to see her personal projects develop into larger titles, she responds, “When you have all these amazing Pixar films with all these resources where you can build these ridiculous worlds, sometimes it’s more fun to revel in that and be a part of that.”
For Danielle, her profession and activism are immense duties to uphold. On the inordinate staying power and canonical status of Pixar in the lexicon of most of our childhoods, she confesses, “Seeing the impact Pixar movies have had on people makes you remember how important your job is. ‘I have to work really hard again today,’ you get into the grind of things… and then you go, no, woah, this is really important.”
Things couldn’t be any more different with Coco, which is slated for a November release in the US. Knowing how intense the anticipation is to finally reveal years of hard work to a public audience, I ask if there’s any scene Danielle has in mind when it plays for viewers. She can’t help replying with an infectious energy, “That’s the glory of this movie! There’s lots of moments like that. This is such a movie about family and the people you know, but also the people you’ve never met that came before you and learning all the little gifts they gave you coming down through the years. I can’t wait to see how audiences react to those.”
Me neither, Danielle!
About the Illustrator
Susan Bin is a freelance artist who graduated in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard College in 2016 after working at Dreamworks Animation and Legendary Entertainment. She’s had the opportunity to contribute illustrations to Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables, Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, HBO’s Game of Thrones, and Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. When she’s not selling her art at conventions or traveling, she’s busy working on her original comics and projects. You can follow her art and trip adventures on Instagram and Twitter, or check out her visual development portfolio here.
FEATURED EVENT | HIGH NOON: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic - Mon., Sept. 25 (NY)
Gary Cooper was the star of High Noon, and his daughter Maria Cooper Janis will join us to discuss the making of the movie.
Maria Cooper Janis is a distinguished painter in her own right, and is the author of Gary Cooper Off-Camera: A Daughter Remembers and Gary Cooper Enduring Style. She is working on a documentary film about the 20-year friendship of Gary Cooper and Ernest Hemingway, the score for which is by her husband, the great pianist Byron Janis. Glenn Frankel is the author of High Noon:The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic, which has been enthusiastically reviewed in the New York Times and Washington Post. Frankel was for many years a reporter and editor for the Washington Post, where he was their Bureau Chief in London, South Africa, and Jerusalem. He won the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism in 1989 for his coverage of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Glenn Frankel and Maria Cooper Janis will be interviewed by Foster Hirsch, Professor of Film at Brooklyn College and author of 16 books about film and theater, including books on Kurt Weill, Woody Allen, Hal Prince, and Otto Preminger, as well as the classic study of Film Noir, The Dark Side of the Screen. A booksigning will follow the talk.
New York, NY
Maria Konnikova's latest bestseller The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time is a fascinating and disturbing exploration of con artists, how they operate, and the psychology behind their success. Maria Konnikova is the NY Times bestselling author of The Confidence Gameand Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes. She writes a regular column for the New Yorker about psychology and culture, and is the host of the storytelling podcast The Grift. Konnikova's writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times, The New Republic, The Paris Review, The Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, and many more. She is a Harvard alum with a PhD in Psychology from Columbia University.
Speaking with Maria Konnikova is award-winning journalist Walter Shapiro, the author of Hustling Hitler: The Jewish Vaudevillian Who Fooled the Fuhrer, which was published by Blue Rider Press last year. The Confidence Game will be available for purchase, and a booksigning will follow the discussion.
Special thanks to Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, and to Andy Goodwin and the Plymouth Hill Foundation.
Los Angeles, CA
In his second solo exhibition at Gabba Gallery, mixed-media artist Toshee (aka Alain de Leoanrdis AB '97) delivers vibrant streetscapes of Los Angeles and its inhabitants. The show explores cultural intersections that occur throughout LA, particularly in neighborhoods with strong immigrant traditions. The show’s title, LAyered, refers to this urban layering as well as the artist’s signature technique. Curated by Jason Ostro and Elena Jacobson AB '99.
The event is free and open to the public. No RSVP required. DJ Jonathan Williams spinning.
Harvardwood at the Hollywood Bowl: Cellist Yo-Yo Ma AB '76, DMU '91 - Tues., Sept. 12
Attend this unprecedented solo recital featuring the timeless music of J.S. Bach performed by world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma AB '76, DMU '91! This is a great event for Harvardwood Members and Friends to bring their families and other guests! Advance registration is required—only 20 tickets are available, so make your plans and RSVP soon.
Yo-Yo Ma’s multi-faceted career is testament to his continual search for new ways to communicate with audiences, and to his personal desire for artistic growth and renewal. Whether performing new or familiar works from the cello repertoire, coming together with colleagues for chamber music or exploring cultures and musical forms outside the Western classical tradition, Mr. Ma strives to find connections that stimulate the imagination.
Harvardwood Heads To... The Ivy Plus Society's End of Summer Mixer - Wed., Sept. 13
Join The Ivy Plus Society on the patio of the beautiful Wokcano Santa Monica, an “upscale nouvelle-cuisine experience, catering especially to young professionals doing meetups after work” (LA Splash). Mix and mingle with professionals from tech, entertainment, marketing, education, finance, and more at The End of Summer Mixer.
Harvardwood Salon with Dustin Thomason AB '98 - Wed., Sept. 20
Our first Fall 2017 Salon features showrunner Dustin Thomason AB '98 of the upcoming Hulu show Castle Rock. Join our small group for a candid discussion of the ins and outs of showrunning and drama television. Seats for Harvardwood Salons are extremely limited (capacity = 10) in order to nurture a more intimate conversation among attendees and our Salon guest.
Dustin Thomason is the co-creator and showrunner of Castle Rock, forthcoming from Hulu in 2018. Dustin has written and executive produced numerous other series, including ABC drama The Evidence, Fox's Lie to Me and WGN America's Manhattan. He began his writing career as a novelist and was the co-author of NY Times Bestsellers The Rule of Four and 12.21. Dustin studied anthropology while at Harvard and received his M.D. and his M.B.A. from Columbia. For your own safety, please do not ask him any medical questions; he doesn't remember much and barely passed his board exams in the first place.
On-Campus Info Session: Harvardwood 101 & Summer Internship Program - Fri., Sept. 15
Current Harvard students, planning to apply for Harvardwood 101 to spend your 2017 J-term in Los Angeles? Want to learn more about obtaining and excelling at a summer internship in Hollywood? Attend this on-campus info session on both Harvardwood programs at the Office of Career Services.
Harvardwood offers two programs for current students: Harvardwood 101, which takes place during the January term, and the Harvardwood Summer Internship Program (HSIP). At this event, you'll learn about the application procedure, timeline, and logistics of both programs, followed by a chat with current students (see bios below) who have done both programs. Finally, the info session will conclude with Q&As with the student panelists and Harvardwood's Executive Director. Pizza will be served!
Question+Create: Harvardwood Mixer - Fri., Sept. 15
This September, Harvard University's alumni community will come together to explore the role of the arts at Harvard and in the world. On the first evening of the event, Harvardwood is organizing a mixer for ALL alumni to attend.
Whether you work in or are interested in the arts, media, and entertainment, swing by the SECOND FLOOR of Charlie's Kitchen, a Harvard Square favorite, between 7pm and 9pm and say hello! Harvardwood's Executive Director, Dona Le AB '05, will be there to chat and answer any questions you might have about our SIG.
Free to attend. Cash bar.
Question+Create: A Harvard Alumni Gathering on the Arts - Sept. 15-16
The arts ask us to look closely. To slow down. To reflect. To question. To imagine.
This September, our alumni community will come together to explore the role of the arts at Harvard and in the world. Join us and discover how the arts are shaping Harvard's campus and community. Meet alumni, students, and faculty practitioners from across the globe who are using the arts to inspire new ways of thinking and creating. Examine the role of the arts in cross-disciplinary teaching and learning. Discover how we can use art to teach and inspire empathy. And grow your community of alumni who care about the arts.
We look forward to welcoming you back to Harvard for this special program. Full program here.
Harvardwood Meet-up at the Black List DC Happy Hour - Wed., Sept. 6
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! This event is free and open to the public (cash bar). RSVP here.
Writers’ Happy Hour with the Harvard Club of DC - Wed., Sept. 20
Step away from your pens and keyboards! The DC Chapter of Harvardwood and the Harvard Club of Washington, DC invite alumni to a Writers’ Happy Hour. From aspiring writers to working professionals, all writers are welcome regardless of genre or medium. Free to attend. Cash bar and food.
Toronto International Film Festival
Matt Damon headlines a cast that includes Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Laura Dern, Jason Sudeikis, Alec Baldwin, and Neil Patrick Harris in Alexander Payne’s sci-fi social satire about a man who chooses to shrink himself (literally) to simplify his life.
Harvardwood Heads To... TIFF: Darren Aronofsky's MOTHER! - Sept. 10-13
Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer star in Darren Aronofsky's (AB '91) highly anticipated psychological thriller about a couple threatened by the arrival of uninvited guests to their tranquil home.
Kaitlin Solimine AB '02 will read from her debut novel Empire of Glass and be in conversation with local author and children’s book publisher, Eva Lou, whose debut story collection was published by Editions Lenore (Paris).
Program Spotlight: Harvardwood Music
Harvardwood Music continues to be available to all students and alumni who reach out with questions about all aspects of the music industry. Moving forward, we'd like to be involved with Harvardwood 101 by offering assistance with music-related programming and activities. Online, Harvard musicians are encouraged to share their tracks/albums via the Harvardwood Radio.
More about Program Director Megan Goldstein AB '05:
Megan Goldstein is a Los Angeles native who, after graduating Harvard '05, returned quickly to her home city to attend graduate school at USC in Cinema/Television. After finishing school she spent six years at Warner Music Group negotiating sync for film, television, and trailers on the record label side. She is now a Director at BMG working in sync on the publishing side. She works with a broad range of clients including many music supervisors, as well as working with Universal Pictures, WB Pictures, Disney, CBS, HBO, among many others. Megan is also a musician, playing saxophone, and clarinet (and occasionally flute when she's forced to) around Los Angeles, as well as a singer with a small ensemble, The Dulcet Singers. She is also the Director of Handbells at First United Methodist Church of Pasadena where she conducts various groups and performs regularly.
Back to School: Students, contact the Harvard OCS about membership dues
School is decidedly back in session! Students, we'll begin accepting applications to flagship J-termship program Harvardwood 101 soon. Only students who are also Harvardwood members can participate in 101, but the Harvard OCS is kindly willing to sponsor all College students' membership dues. Simply email Ruth Wilson of the OCS with your request to join Harvardwood.
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