In This Issue:
- Message from Dona
- Featured Member Posting: Feature Film Development Coordinator (Amazon) - LA
- Seeking an editor for our ONCE UPON A FAIRYTALE anthology
- Meet the 2019 Harvardwood Heroes community service grant recipients
- Sponsor Spotlight: Recognizing supporters of the Heroes program
- Q&A with Harvardwood Leaders: Reflecting on 20 Years
- Industry Successes
- New Members' Welcome
- Alumni Profile: Dan Mintz AB '02 (Stand-up Comic, Voice Actor, and Writer, Veep, Bob's Burgers, Son of Zorn)
CALENDAR & NOTES
- Welcoming the Class of 2019 with discounted membership
Message from Dona
If only I could be in two places at once! We are kicking off this month with two fantastic events. I'll be in Cambridge with Class of 2019 grads and #HarvardReunion attendees for Harvardwood's 20th Anniversary Mixer on Saturday afternoon. Swing by Charlie's Kitchen and say hi!
On the same day, home in Los Angeles, Harvardwood Helps director Stacy Cohen AB '89 leads a group of volunteers to restore Backbone Trail for National Trails Day. Now that the weather in Los Angeles is finally spring-like, what better way to begin your weekend than basking in the sun and doing good? We expect to have almost 20 volunteers on hand—don't miss the fun!
Featured Member Posting: Feature Film Development Coordinator (Amazon) - LA
Amazon Studios is seeking a dynamic, self-motivated Film Coordinator to support the feature film department. An ideal candidate would bring a daily passion for film and a fierce hunger to learn the business. They will need to be able to effectively multi-task a high volume workload; have the ability to complete administrative tasks and projects quickly with little to no guidance; react with appropriate urgency to situations and events that require quick response or turnaround; and efficiently and creatively solve difficult or complex problems that affect people within the group or other related groups. The candidate would also have great attention to detail while still meeting tight deadlines, have regimented organization skills, and have the ability to switch gears at a moment's notice.
Seeking an editor for our ONCE UPON A FAIRYTALE anthology
We've selected the excellent short stories and poems to be featured in Harvardwood Publishing's second anthology, Once Upon a Fairytale, and we are now working on the anthology's publication.
To that end, we're seeking an editor to help us prepare the manuscript for publication. The text consists of short fiction, poetry, and the writers' biographies. If you can pitch in and donate your editing expertise to Harvardwood Publishing, please contact Patricia Danaher at [email protected] by June 15, 2019.
We're excited to showcase these talented writers and their works in Once Upon a Fairytale, and we thank you in advance for helping us bring the anthology to print!
Meet the 2019 Harvardwood Heroes community service grant recipients
After reviewing numerous outstanding community service proposals, we are delighted to present to you the following 2019 Harvardwood Heroes. Each grant recipient will receive $500 to use at his/her discretion.
This year's Heroes are:
Athena Bowe AB '15 | Chinese in Entertainment
Karen Harris JD '94 | JPYC Foundation
Megan McDonnell AB '14 | Future2Film
Rodney Sanders EDM '13 | Perfecting Gifts
We thank all of the applicants who submitted proposals for consideration. It was truly inspiring to read about the amazing service work that Harvard students and alums are performing across the globe!
We would also like to recognize and thank
this year's generous Harvardwood Heroes sponsors:
Marty and Catherine Bowen
Arwen Leonard & Warren Hsu Leonard
David & Rebecca Mandel
Sponsor Spotlight: Recognizing supporters of the Heroes program
Harvardwood thanks our generous in-kind donors who supported the annual Harvardwood Heroes program and made our celebration the special evening that it was. We are very grateful to John Bowman AB '80, MBA '85 and Shannon Gaughan AB '81 for their gracious hospitality. In addition, we heartily thank Dana Lawson AB '01 and Ben Ullery of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for sharing their music with us.
Westward® is a celebration of the American pioneer spirit, and the highest rated American single malt whiskey (2019 Double Gold, San Francisco World Spirits Competition). Westward American Single Malt Whiskey is made from scratch in Portland, Oregon using locally sourced two-row barley, brewed with American ale yeast for outstanding flavor, double pot distilled for exceptional character, matured in new American oak barrels, and never chill filtered. Westward is available at Total Wine & More, BevMo!, K&L Wine Merchants and other independent retailers, and online through caskers.com. The distillery is co-owned and operated by two Harvard alumni, Arturo Litwak MBA '01 and Tom Mooney MBA '01.
Q&A with Harvardwood Leaders: Reflecting on 20 Years
This year's celebration of Commencement and Reunions in Cambridge is extra special because it's also Harvardwood's 20th birthday! We recently caught up with Mia Riverton Alpert AB '99 and Adam Fratto AB '90, two of Harvardwood's three founders, and President Allison Kiessling EdM '05. They shared their thoughts on Harvardwood, then and now—and twenty more years into the future!
Q. You have all remained deeply involved with Harvardwood! What are the most exciting or standout changes you've seen the organization undergo in the last two decades?
Mia: I am most excited about our evolution into an organization that works toward positive changes in our industry and our society—by providing resources to bolster the talents of our wonderfully diverse membership, by using our network and platform to amplify traditionally underrepresented voices, and by engaging in programs designed to support people who are making a difference in communities in need.
Adam: The hiring of paid staff has made a massive difference.
Allison: I came in through the Writers Program, so it is really moving to me to see all the new writers come through and the motivated, amazing volunteers that have taken on each successive iteration of the program. It’s very difficult for an organization to not get entrenched in its own ways, but our volunteers have kept the program nimble—it keeps evolving and getting better every year.
Q. Does Harvardwood today match the vision you had for the organization's future when you founded it 20 years ago?
Adam: No. It is way bigger, better, cooler and smarter than I ever imagined.
Mia: To be honest, I did not have a grand vision for the future of Harvardwood 20 years ago. There were two primary goals in the early days—to connect our alumni arts, media and entertainment community, and to better educate students about potential career paths in those fields. At the time of my graduation, a lot of peers were defaulting into jobs in consulting and investment banking because those were the companies proactively recruiting on campus—not that there’s anything wrong with those career paths, but I felt students should at least have greater access to “alternative” resources so they could make more informed decisions. Twenty years on, Harvardwood has definitely exceeded my expectations in those two areas (though we are always aiming higher!), and I’m also delighted that our mission has expanded to include utilizing the arts, media and entertainment as forces for social change.
Tom vs. Time, a docuseries about quarterback Tom Brady from executive producer Victor Buhler AB '95, won the Sports Emmy for Outstanding Serialized Sports Documentary. The Sports Emmys awards ceremony was held in New York City last month.
Katherine Heigl and Harry Connick, Jr. have signed on to star in thriller feature I Saw a Man with Yellow Eyes, written and directed by Castille Landon ALB '16.
Go see Booksmart, in theatres NOW! Directed by Olivia Wilde, the coming-of-age, female-centric comedy feature was penned by writing duo Emily Halpern '02 and Sarah Haskins '01. The film has been widely acclaimed by viewers and critics alike!
Last month, the live-action remake of Aladdin was released from Rideback's Dan Lin MBA '99 and Jonathan Eirich AB '03. In its opening weekend, Aladdin made over $110M at the box office.
Baratunde Thurston AB '99 recently released a TED talk entitled Living While Black: How to Deconstruct Racism, One Headline at a Time. Watch the TED talk here!
The Baker and the Beauty has been picked up to series by ABC. The one-hour romantic comedy is executive produced by David Frankel AB '81 and Becky Hartman Edwards AB '85.
Producer Tracey Bing MBA '01 (Badabing Pictures) has a new project with Anthony Anderson in the works—a rom com entitled Football or Me! "The story follows Peter (Anderson), a lifelong American football addict who falls for Veronica, a successful entrepreneur who is one of Atlanta’s brightest rising stars – and completely out of his league. He has to decide if he’s willing to sacrifice his love of the game for the love of his life" (Deadline).
New Members' Welcome
Harvardwood warmly welcomes all members who joined the organization last month:
- Michael Arbuckle, College, SF/Bay Area
- Jonathan Baskin, College, NY
- Trevor Hall, GSE, LA
- Olga Klimuk, FOH, NY
- Myles Marshall, College, BOS/Campus
- Laurence May, College, GA
- Peter Mervis, FOH, LA
- Ben Milliken, College, CHI
- Deborah Natoli, GSE, LA
- Ana Alicia Ortiz, FOH, LA
- Andrew Perez, College, BOS/Campus
- Gabrielle Preston, College, BOS/Campus
- Angelica Rosa, College, CHI
- Amy Schwartz, Radcliffe, NY
- Jeanne Simpson, College, LA
- Darriya Starr, College, SF/Bay Area
- Tina Tseng Duke, College, LA
- Christine Whitlock, GSE, BOS/Campus
- Jay Winsten, Faculty, LA
- Elizabeth Woodham, HBS, NY
- Lux Zhao, College, BOS/Campus
*FOH = Friend of Harvardwood
Alumni Profile: Dan Mintz AB '02 (Stand-up Comic, Voice Actor, and Writer, Veep, Bob's Burgers, Son of Zorn)
By Daniel Gale-Rosen AB '10
When he was growing up in Alaska, Dan Mintz AB ‘02 had a number of pretty unrealistic ambitions. He thought he might like to be a spy, or a professional athlete, or any number of other careers that seemed totally unmatched to what he felt was his personality. Being in Hollywood was, to him, the same kind of unrealistic ambition, but now, as a writer, voice actor, and stand-up comic, he’s certainly proved his younger self wrong. Although he’s probably best known for being the voice of Tina in the animated series Bob’s Burgers (“that’s the only thing it’ll say in my obituary,” he jokes), he’s been a writer on many television shows, from his first official gig on Crank Yankers to, most recently, the latest seasons of Veep. And he’s been doing stand-up comedy since his sophomore year at Harvard, which he credits with giving him his break into the industry.
While he was at Harvard, he focused on two main activities outside of the classroom: stand-up and the Lampoon. Both of these were stressful at first (especially when comping the Lampoon), but Mintz found them easy enough as he went forward, because he could choose how much time he wanted to commit—or not commit. But, he notes, both were a great way to move towards the plan he had of what he wanted to do—succeed as a writer and performer in the entertainment industry. The Lampoon gave him something nice to put on his resume and, while the alumni network didn’t necessarily give him any immediate job opportunities, it did give him the “false confidence” of thinking that it would be really easy to get a job. He wasn’t a huge risk taker, Mintz says, and so if he’d had a clearer idea of how hard it would actually be to make it in Hollywood, he might have not ever taken the leap.
Stand-up gave Mintz his first opportunity. He was lucky enough to have had the time and energy to treat it like a hobby in college, rather than a job, although he did think it was a bit more stressful when the alternative was to “get a terrible day job or, you know, starve to death.” Having practiced for almost three years in Boston, Mintz stood out in a crowd of people trying new material with a polished five-minute act. He performed at some open mics, and managed to get in on the ground floor of the next “high-profile alt comedy room” that industry people frequented and comics hung out at. A booker for Jimmy Kimmel was in the audience and got Mintz his first set on Kimmel’s late night show. Shortly after, Mintz was invited to submit to Crank Yankers (also produced by Kimmel) and, while it didn’t guarantee him a spot, his stand-up connection brought his packet up to the top of the pile, and he was hired.
Crank Yankers didn’t have a writer’s room per se, so Mintz's first experience in that environment was a little while later, at Lucky Louie. And, to be honest, he found it somewhat intimidating.
He says, “Sometimes people are surprised that a shy person would do stand-up but it’s actually very easy because you write it all in advance and then you’re just reciting. In a writer’s room, you have to think of a joke on the spot, question if it’s funny enough to pitch, and then actually pitch it. You have to be ready to tell a joke you’ve only had a second to think of."
Mintz has learned coping mechanisms over the years, grown more confident with his experience, and he’s also learned about himself and where he works best. Recently, he was on a show where he felt incredibly comfortable. Then, two more writers were hired and he became nervous again. He realized that it was about the number of people—his limit, Mintz discovered, was about six people. Any more, and he starts feeling like he doesn’t have a chance to speak. This kind of self-knowledge really helps in developing a career, whether you’re a writer, an actor, or anything else—and he encourages people to find out more about themselves.
Writing and stand-up have always been part of Mintz's plan, what he really wanted to do. Voice over, however, was more of a chance occurrence, but a welcome one. Mintz had thought about doing it when he first arrived on the West Coast, but never really was able to find auditions. Then, one year, when working on Important Things with Demetri Martin, his co-writer and friend H. Jon Benjamin said, essentially, “Hey, do you want to come record this weird cartoon thing?” Figuring it would be just a few hours of work and an easy paycheck, Mintz agreed. A few months later, he was called back in to re-record a few more pieces. He and Benjamin didn’t hear anything for quite some time, and then “all of a sudden it was picked up and it was a show.” Ten seasons later, it’s so funny to Mintz that it’s the last thing he ever pictured doing with his life, and yet it’s one of the most significant things people know about him. He loves that he’s lucky enough to have a balance between writing and performing in his life, and is excited to see where he goes next.
Mintz’s path to where he is today was not a direct one. He had a lot of dreams, a lot of interests, and a lot of activities, but he thinks this is part of why he succeeded. “Everything is so fragmented these days—there are a lot of possible paths, and each one has a smaller chance of working out, so you want to try doing as many things at once as you can. If you’re doing different things, like stand-up, writing, or different sides of the industry, they can feed into each other.” Mintz notes that this still happens, even for him. Although he says his voice is naturally soft, people in writer’s rooms, if they’ve seen Bob’s Burgers, recognize his voice and can key in better to it and make sure they hear what he’s saying. It’s a little thing, but every little bit helps, especially, Mintz notes, when you’re just starting out.
And if you’re interested in comedy? Try stand-up, whether you’re in college, high school, or even younger. It’s not emotionally easy, but it’s logistically pretty easy, depending on where you are.
“A lot of times people don’t know if they’re going to be good or bad at it at first," Mintz says, "so you can just spend a couple years doing it. If after that you’re still not good at it, you’re probably not going to be good at it, but you might as well try because otherwise you’ll never know.” Stand-up was one of Mintz’s passions and led him down the many paths he took to get to where he is today. Who knows where it could lead you.
Daniel Gale-Rosen AB '10 is a digital marketer by day/writer by night.
He also makes escape rooms sometimes, and lives in Los Angeles.
FEATURED EVENT | Harvardwood Helps Restore Backbone Trail for National Trails Day (LA) - Sat., June 1
The National Park Service, the Santa Monica Mountains Fund and REI are organizing a trail restoration event for National Trails Day, the largest annual celebration of our nation's hiking trails. The Santa Monica Mountains are home to approximately 500 miles of trails, including the stunning 70 mile Backbone Trial. In the fall of 2018, vast swaths of the Santa Monica Mountains, including many miles of the Backbone Trail, were devastated by the Woolsey Fire. Volunteers will redefine and reshape portions of theEncinal Canyon section of the Backbone Trail which is within the Woolsey Fire perimeter. This work improves public access and safety and also protects vegetation by clearly defining trail boundaries. Please come and be a part of this historic and important restoration!
Los Angeles, CA
Have you ever been told you have a great speaking voice? Would your voice be perfect for animation or character recording? Now is your time to see if voice-over is a career you would like to explore? If your reasons for entering the voice-over arena include achieving success, you’ll again want further clarification. What does success in voice-over mean to you? And how will you know when you’ve nabbed it? IVY Entertainment and Garden of Sound Voice Over Studio will host you through an afternoon of the basic fundamentals of voice over as an optional career. (limited to 15 seats each).
The Harvard Club of Southern California is doing a joint event with the Stanford Alumni Association to see Mamma Mia! at East West Players on Saturday, June 2. East West Players is the longest running Asian American theater organization in the country, and is in its 53rd season. The show has received rave reviews, and features actors who have had major roles on Broadway and/or in national touring companies!
Harvardwood Heads To... The Ivy Plus Society's Summer Kickoff - Thurs., June 6
Nothing says summer like a relaxed ambiance and LA’s finest and brightest achievers. For the first time ever we’re heading to the upscale Beverly Hills Marriott. We’re taking our Summer Kickoff to the next level by stepping into BH Marriott’s unique design details and defining decor. Break away from business for a while to embrace California’s beautiful weather by sitting on their plush lounge chairs next to the refreshing pool.
Harvardwood Heads To... The 2nd Annual Moonlight Mixer by TIPS - Wed., June 19
Come explore a Summer networking experience at the Marina del Rey Marriott in the heart of one of the most desirable coastal communities in Southern California. We’re mixing and mingling at their spacious Sinder Lounge with only the finest and brightest LA has to offer. Sinder is a refreshing indoor and outdoor venue surrounded by a special blend of water and fire elements. An exclusive $8 Barcardi Punch drink special for our group will be available during the duration of the event.
On the evening of June 25th, attend an intimate dinner with ABC Studios' VP of Drama Development, Cort Cass AB '03 (Blackish, American Housewife, Speechless)!
Cort Cass is a Vice President of Drama Development at ABC Studios. He previously served as Vice President of Comedy Development at ABC Studios and has spent the last 15 years in various positions within the company. In these positions Mr. Cass develops and oversees series across broadcast, cable and streaming platforms. For ABC Network he shepherded Emmy and Golden Globe nominee BLACKISH as well as AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, SPEECHLESS, and the upcoming, yet-to-be-named Cobie Smulders drama. On the streaming side, he is currently shepherding THE BOOK OF ENCHANTMENT fantasy series based on Disney’s Villains franchise for Disney’s streaming platform (premiering 2021) and a JOHN GRISHAM multiverse project for Hulu based on his books. Previous series credits include HAPPY ENDINGS, DOWNWARD DOG, TROPHY WIFE, HELLO LADIES, THE MAYOR, and GRANDFATHERED among many others.
Mr. Cass recruited many of the studio’s biggest talent deals including: Kenya Barris (BLACKISH, GROWNISH), Lee Eisenberg & Gene Stupnitsky (SMILF, HELLO LADIES, TROPHY WIFE), Simon Rich (MAN SEEKING WOMAN, MIRACLE WORKERS), James Griffiths (BLACKISH), Randall Einhorn (THE MICK), and Danny Chun (GRANDFATHERED, SPEECHLESS).
Mr. Cass began his tenure at ABC Studios in 2004 as an assistant/ coordinator in both the comedy and drama departments and was promoted to manager in 2007. He previously worked at Creative Artists Agency. Mr. Cass started his career as an author, publishing THE REDHEAD HANDBOOK and THE BLONDE BIBLE for publishing house Blue Mountain Arts. He graduated from Harvard College in 2003, where he developed deep relationships with the comedy community as a member of The Harvard Lampoon. His annual BEEFSTEAK charity dinner raises $20k for the LA FOOD BANK. He currently resides in Sherman Oaks with his fiancée and 6-year-old daughter.
You are invited to mix, mingle, and celebrate the summer at an exclusive entertainment industry professional power networking mixer. Expand your network by mixing with entertainment industry professionals from Yale, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, U. Penn, and Dartmouth. From award winning Chef David Lespron and Umbrella Hospitality Group comes a menu inspired by the glitz and glamour of Old Hollywood. Tiki-inspired cocktails pair perfectly with dishes packed with Far East flavors so intense, you'll feel like you just stepped into the Ring of Fire.... LONO Hollywood invites you to join us in our urban oasis, away from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood Boulevard. A curated adventure awaits the intrepid explorer in all of us in this classy homage to the escapist drinking palaces of yesteryear.
Harvardwood 20th Anniversary Reunion - Sat., June 1
Every year, Harvardwood hosts a mixer during Harvard's Commencement/Reunion Weekend, and this year is extra special because we're also celebrating our 20th anniversary! So on Saturday, June 1st, mosey on over to Harvard Square and meet some friendly Harvardwood folks, both local chapter members and alumni in town for Reunions. We will be at an old favorite, Charlie's Kitchen, from 3-5pm. Join the fun: over 50 RSVPs and counting!
Celebrate the memory of professor and playwright William Alfred, who died twenty years ago on May 19, 1999. We will show a funny 1-hour video of various actors—including Bill Murray, Stockard Channing, Christopher Reeve, Brian Doyle Murray, and Kathryn Walker—reading some of Bill's favorite poems. There will be drinks (including martinis like Bill served at his house), and snacks (including the sort of cookies and milk he served in his play-writing class). Feel free to contact me if you'd like to help host the event, or bring snacks and drinks. Please RSVP. Location will be at friend's apartment near the law school unless someone would like to make a Harvard room available.
New York, NY
A dance celebrating the company's ballerinas, exploring themes of girlhood aspiring to womanhood, women’s intimacies and solitude, their brave vulnerability, their everyday heroism—how, in words by the poet Mark Strand that inspires one of the ballet’s musical scores, they “move to keep things whole.” A new ballet suitable for audiences of all ages—including aspiring young ballerinas!
CHOREOGRAPHY by Christopher Caines
MUSIC by Pauline Oliveros, Alison Taylor Cheeseman (commissioned score), Paul Kerekes
LIGHTING DESIGN by Philip Sandstrom
COSTUME DESIGN by two-time Tony Award nominee Gregory Gale
MUSICIANS: Alison Taylor Cheeseman, mezzo-soprano; Kelley Barnett, flutes; Eric Umble & Vicente Alexim, clarinets; Marija Ilić, piano
Harvardwood Presents the NY Premiere Screening of UNDERGROUND 68 - Tues., June 18
The late 1960s counterculture was a mass awakening. It was a renaissance of music, art, experimental films, underground comix, psychedelic drugs, Eastern philosophy and cosmic consciousness. It was the dawn of the movements for peace, civil rights, environmentalism, sexual diversity, and women’s liberation.
UNDERGROUND 68 is the story of Ariel, a Harvard student writing her 2017 senior thesis about campus opposition to the Vietnam war fifty years ago. She digs up more than she bargained for in the unconventional lives of artists, musicians and activists from the Harvard class of 1968. Her story shines a blazing light on today's realities.
Harvardwood is delighted to present, in a joint event with The Lambs, the New York premiere of this new film by Peter Coonradt AB '68.
On June 23, there will be a screening of the award winning film, "Isaac Pope: The Spirit of an American Century" in Philadelphia as part of New Freedom Theatre's first Juneteenth celebration. For the post-screening discussion there will be people with ties to Heritage House, which in the 1960s was the Black cultural center founded by Eugene Wayman Jones, the remarkable activist and composer who is prominently featured in the film. Heritage House was located where New Freedom Theatre is now. Pope and Jones served together in WWII at the Battle of the Bulge in the 969th Field Artillery Battalion, becoming close friends despite their very different backgrounds. The 969th was the first Black unit the Army "allowed" to go into battle in WWII and was the first to win a Presidential Citation for Meritorious Service at the Bulge.
Welcoming the Class of 2019 with discounted membership
Harvardwood happily congratulates the University's Class of 2019 from Harvard College and all of the graduate schools!
In celebration of their achievements, as they embark on the next adventure after Harvard, we're delighted to offer the Class of 2019 a $10 discount off their dues. Our annual membership fee is ordinarily $48/year ($4/month), but new members of the Class of 2019 may join Harvardwood for $38/year. This offer is only valid for new Harvardwood members. To receive your membership gift, email us with your full name, as registered with the Harvard Alumni Association, and we'll send you the special link to become a member. Take advantage of this offer by the end of this month!
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.