Issue 179 | December 2019


In This Issue:

  • Message from Dona


  • Featured Member Posting: TV Business Affairs Assistant (Fox) - LA
  • Bid on exclusive TV/film memorabilia & other gifts in the online Harvardwood Holiday Auction
  • Celebrate the season with Harvardwood friends in NY and LA!
  • Make a tax-deductible contribution to Harvardwood by Dec. 31st


  • Harvardwood Board Favorites in TV and Film from the Past 20 Years
  • 2019 Harvardwood Volunteer of the Year: Todd Bartels AB '06
  • Industry Successes
  • New Members' Welcome
  • Special Comedy Feature by Alison Rich AB '09


  • Calendar
  • Get creative: Purchase a Harvardwood gift certificate

Message from Dona

I hope everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

We are gearing up for our annual silent auction (more info below). Bidding will begin online and via text on December 4th, and the auction will close December 15th—just in time for you to receive your auction items by the holidays! Preview some of the amazing items we have this year (including an autographed Jojo Rabbit script signed by Taika Waititi and the cast, which is my favorite), such as a hardbound copy of The Irishman signed by Martin Scorcese, a wood Godfather of Harlem chess set, and much more. 

Excited to party with our LA members at the Dec. 12th holiday party!

- Dona

Featured Member Posting: TV Business Affairs Assistant (Fox) - LA

The TV Business Affairs Assistant will provide administrative support primarily to the VP of Business Affairs and will also be responsible for ensuring timely receipt of contracts for Fox Productions.  Duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Answer calls, send emails, and assist in distribution of agreements/documentation to executives on a regular basis.
  • Schedule meetings and conference calls, create meeting agendas and circulates meeting materials, manage expense reports, and arrange mail, messenger and UPS/FedEx packages.
  • Assist in initial drafts of deal memos and other agreements; draft routine letters and other correspondence, and review and edit prepared documents for formatting and accuracy.
  • Work closely with Production, Business Affairs and Music to confirm on-time delivery of waivers, contracts and legal agreements based on production schedules.
  • Daily communication of status of production and recording schedules across multiple departments.
  • Coordinate production schedule tracking for all releases, to ensure accuracy and signed agreements are in place.
  • Maintain and administer filing system and information relating to the status of agreements, including keeping extensive status charts and coordinating the information with other internal departments and external stakeholders.
  • Deliver agreements for execution by parties and assist in monitoring dates of legal significance (e.g., options and expiration's)
  • Other administrative duties as assigned.

Bid on exclusive TV/film memorabilia & other gifts in the online Harvardwood Holiday Auction


GET READY TO BID: Our annual holiday silent auction goes live later this week on December 4th!

This year's auction items include exclusive, limited-edition memorabilia from:

  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • The Irishman
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • The Lighthouse
  • The Farewell

Bidders can also win a one-on-one lunch with Harvard alumni in entertainment, including Meredith BagbyEthan DroginAdam FrattoDJ JacobsGeorgia Lee, and Roberto Patino. Stay tuned for more info—we'll update auction bidding info here on our websiteFacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

All auction proceeds go toward the Harvardwood Fund in support of our 2020 programs, events, administrative and overhead expenses. 

The auction opens on December 4th, and all bidding ends at 5pm PT on Sunday, December 15, 2020.

Celebrate the season with Harvardwood friends in NY and LA!

To be perfectly honest, Harvardwood has been celebrating all year, and now is not the time to stop! Join Harvardwood friends in seeing off our 20th year with a bang—or more specifically, with fun holiday parties in New York and Los Angeles!

New Yorkers will be celebrating the holidays on December 6th—the party is free to attend, and we only ask that you bring a potluck item to share with your fellow party-goers. In Los Angeles, a limited number of tickets is still available, but RSVP soon for the December 12th celebration! The first 75 individuals to RSVP will receive a free drink ticket. At the Los Angeles holiday party, you'll be able to check out many auction items in person, enter the raffle for more TV/film memorabilia, and participate in our annual toy drive!

Make a tax-deductible contribution to Harvardwood by Dec. 31st

As we speed toward the end of the year, we hope you'll consider Harvardwood in your year-end giving! We've spent 2019 commemorating our past 20 years and connecting with our members—longtime supporters and new faces. Now, we're looking ahead to the fresh initiatives we have on tap, thanks to YOUR feedback and insight. Your gift of any amount will go a long way toward supporting Harvardwood in 2020 and beyond.

Make a 100% tax-deductible contribution to Harvardwood before the end of the year!

Harvardwood Board Favorites in TV and Film from the Past 20 Years

Here are the results of a survey we took of our Board members' favorite movies and TV shows from the past twenty years, by year of release. We've listed the top two favorites per year, though there were some ties for first and second place. Check out the results below! Any surprises?


2019 Harvardwood Volunteer of the Year: Todd Bartels AB '06

bartels.jpgSince 2010, Harvardwood has identified and honored a volunteer who has demonstrated outstanding service and dedication to our organization. This year, we're delighted to announce that the HARVY winner is Todd Bartels AB '06, Associate Director of the Harvardwood Writers Program - TV Modules! Todd has been an invaluable addition to the Board, working to put together a robust slate of events for our TV writers in Los Angeles every fall and spring semester. HWP-TV has historically been one of Harvardwood's most active and largest programs, and in the past years, it has only been further strengthened thanks to Todd's hard work, and we are grateful to him!

More about Todd:

Todd was born in Japan. He was raised in Connecticut by a real estate Dad and a stand-up comedian Mom. Before college he taught English in a Buddhist monastery in Nepal. At Harvard he concentrated in South Asian Religion and performed in the Hasty Pudding show. He played a Girl Scout named Wanda Buymycookies, which was probably the pinnacle of his career if not his life. He received an MFA at the NYU Graduate Acting Program. He began writing, and when writing became more interesting than acting, he moved to LA in 2015.

Currently Todd’s most excited about two projects: a mother-son road trip movie inspired by his comedian Mom, Jane Condon; and a TV pilot about young expats living in Shanghai.

When he's not writing, Todd loves to cook. He also loves exploring LA's amazing restaurant scene.

Industry Successes

Part detective story, part comedic heist, part history lesson that we should never forget‚—The Liegnitz Plot is a documentary film that investigates a tale surrounding a Nazi who stole priceless stamps from Holocaust victims, then buried them somewhere in Poland. Embarking on a real-life “Argo”-like adventure, Gary Gilbert—a one-time “Seinfeld” producer and all-around mensch—sets out to confirm the story, recover the stamps, and return them to their rightful owners. It's an extraordinary and untold story of the Holocaust. From Emmy, Peabody, and Academy Award-winning filmmakers Dan Sturman '89, Dylan Nelson, and Bill Guttentag. Watch the trailer and check out our Kickstarter campaign!

A multi-cam comedy written by Adrienne Rose White AB '08 (Quirky Female Protagonist), Aliee Chan, and Chris Case (co-creator of Sin City Saintsis in development at CBS. The three will executive produce the untitled project, along with Cedric the Entertainer and A Bird And a Bear Productions, Avalon Television, and CBS Television Studios.

HBO Max has ordered the pilot DMZto be written by showrunner and executive producer Roberto Patino AB '06 (Sons of Anarchy, Westworld), who has an overall deal at WBTV. Oscar nominee Ava DuVernay will direct the pilot, which is a futuristic drama that imagines a second American civil war. From Deadline, DuVernay says: "We’ve all worked diligently on this material, and I’ve witnessed Roberto in action.... He’s insanely talented and cares about telling stories with maximum impact and imagination. I’m eager to share this one with DC fans.”

Jonathan Eirich AB '03 produced upcoming Netflix film The Two Popeswhich will be released December 20th, starring Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce, and Juan Minujín. Watch the trailer hereThe Two Popes has won multiple awards and is also being screened at select theaters. 

Peter Lawson Jones AB '75, JD '80 just “wrapped” his scene in the Warner Brothers feature film about Chicago’s Black Panther Party and the murder of its leader, Fred Hampton, in 1969. The as yet “Untitled Fred Hampton Project” is being co-produced by Ryan Coogler, director of mega-hit Black Panther, and stars Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out). Mr. Kaluuya was one of Peter’s scene partners. Peter also just finished runs this fall in the Carson McCullers classic, The Member of the Wedding, and in the world premiere of Bluesman, an adaptation of a popular graphic novel.

Audible Originals has just released Life After Truth, a new novel by award-winning author Ceridwen Dovey AB '03. You can download the novel from Audible or visit for more info. About the book - Fifteen years after graduating from Harvard, five close friends on the cusp of middle age are still pursuing an elusive happiness and wondering if they’ve wasted their youthful opportunities. Old friends often think they know everything about one another, but time has a way of making us strangers to those we love, and to ourselves. 

W.A.W. Parker AB ’07 has been hired to adapt The Wasteland, a musical about T.S. Eliot, into a novel.

New Members' Welcome

Harvardwood warmly welcomes all members who joined the organization last month:

  • Catherine Beddingfield, College, Boston/Campus
  • Michael Blumenthal, College, Other U.S.
  • William Engelmayer, College, Boston/Campus
  • Claire Frederiksen, A.R.T., LA
  • Sarah Hoffman, GSE, LA
  • Nickclette Izuegbu, College, LA
  • Timothy McGinnis, HMS, Boston/Campus
  • Colleen McQuillen, GSAS, LA
  • Ash Sparks, Ext., Other U.S.
  • Jonathan Yang, HLS, LA

*FOH = Friend of Harvardwood

Special Comedy Feature by Alison Rich AB '09

performers20th.jpgAt Harvardwood's 20th Anniversary Celebration earlier this year, we were fortunate to be joined by Diallo Riddle AB '97Dan Mintz AB '02, and Alison Rich AB '09, all of whom gave HILARIOUS comedic performances. Alison has kindly shared the (excerpted) text from her performance as a humor piece. Enjoy!

Harvard is not the place you’re supposed to go if you want a career in the arts. It’s Yale or NYU or no-school-at-all and just get an Instagram, be hot, and make 15-second videos of you Bird-scootering over watermelons at the Library of Congress. There you go: instant stardom.

But thankfully, there’s Harvardwood—this awesome resource that fills in the gaps in our Harvard education as to how to traverse a field that can often feel like playing a game of Jenga inside a washing machine possessed by Satan.

rich_event.jpgSo I thought I’d use my time to suggest some additional courses Harvardwood could offer to help alums better navigate Hollywood.

This first class is an introductory entertainment business course called How to Get a Tutoring Job to Pay for Your Improv Classes. So you’ve decided to pursue a career as a writer, actor, director, or general Hollywood pervert, but right now, your most marketable skill is that you can help the children of rich people get stellar SAT scores, so they too can get into Harvard and not use that education toward a job that relates to their actual skill set. The cycle continues. This course will cover such topics as dealing with entitled parents, pretending you remember what fancy vocab words like “adumbrate” mean, and writing just enough of a kid’s admissions essay so that the parents don’t end up like Aunt Becky.

Next we have an introductory acting course. It’s called Acting Like You Have Professional Acting Experience When You Absolutely Don’t. Everyone has to start somewhere, and if you’re a recent Harvard grad, you’re starting out with some HRDC credits and a few On Harvard Time YouTube videos that will not age well. But with a little embellishing, those HRDC shows can be reframed as regional theater gigs at the prestigious American Repertory Theater. And those video sketches can be dressed up as indie film festival applicants! Because after all, isn’t acting really just lying?

This next course is an intermediate writing course. It’s called How to Be in a Writer’s Room When Your Personality is Bad—so you did it! You got your first legit industry job as a writer on a TV show. But the problem is if you’re a Harvard alum, your personality is bad. So this course will equip you with everything you need to hide how uncharismatic and socially inept you are. It covers such valuable personality hiding tactics as not talking, not correcting the grammar of the stand-up comedians in the room pitching actual jokes, not going up to the showrunner on day 2 and pitching your own edgy political time travel dramedy, and more not talking.

Next, we have an intermediate acting class. It’s called Acting Like You’re Happy For That Econ Major Who Was on Your Floor in Quincy House But Is Now Somehow Starring in an HBO Show. You didn’t even know he liked acting. You took every useless Harvard drama class and can’t manage to book a nonunion Wells Fargo commercial, but this guy did five years of i-banking and suddenly he’s at the Emmys? In this course, you’ll learn how to email that guy and say “you’re such a fan” and would “love to grab coffee sometime” because maybe he’ll introduce you to his agent or agree to be in the pilot presentation of your edgy political time travel dramedy.

Now we have another entertainment business course called Personal Branding. Hey, remember that On Harvard Time sketch you were in where you used that questionable accent? Or how about the time you did Primal Scream, but you didn’t realize how out of shape you were, so you didn’t so much run as limp around the yard, slowly enough for Harvard square locals to take pictures? This course is all about how to torch your shameful internet history, so that when you do finally sell that edgy political time travel dramedy to TBS, those unfortunate pictures and videos don’t resurface.

Lastly I’d like to suggest a directing course. It’s called Directing Your Family’s Attention To All The Harvard Alums Who are Doing Worse Than You. When your parents sent you to Harvard they thought, “Wow. We don’t have to worry about that kid now. They’re set.” But then you decided to go into entertainment, instead of literally any other field. In this course, we learn tips on how to direct your family’s attention to the Harvard student who murder-suicided her and her roommate in Dunster House in the 90s. You could be that woman. But you’re not. In fact, you’re not only not a murder-suicider, you’re well on your way to becoming a Hollywood bigwig because you just joined a Harvardwood writers group and you’ve found a community of driven artists to lean on, so get off my back, Mom and Dad!

But in all seriousness, it’s very special to have a community like Harvardwood. Congrats to twenty years. Here’s to many more!

rich.jpgAlison Rich is an actor, writer, and director. She currently acts and writes on ABC's The Goldbergs. Other acting credits include Drunk History, Angie Tribeca, The Lonely Island's Popstar, 2 Broke Girls, Life in Pieces, Other People, @Midnight, Comedy Bang! Bang! and more. She was a series regular on The Lonely Island's Fox sketch show Party Over Here and Hulu's Resident Advisors. She's written for Saturday Night Live, The MTV Movie Awards, Billy on the Street and various projects for Fox and Comedy Central. Alison recently wrote and directed a digital series called The MacMillan Genius Grant. Before that she wrote, produced, and starred in a late night pilot for TBS and won a development deal with IFC at The New York Television Festival. She's directed multiple stage shows at UCB including Ego Nwodim's "Great Black Women and Then There's Me". Most recently she directed Alana Johnston’s Self Esteem Party at the Lyric Hyperion. Alison appeared as a New Face for the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival. These days, you can catch her every Tuesday at 7 PM at UCB Franklin performing improv with her group Tuesday Club


FEATURED EVENT | Harvardwood Chicago Writers' Salon (CHI) - Sun., Dec. 15

Join us as we celebrate Harvardwood CHI writers with rustic Italian cuisine, ambience and optional wine tasting in a friendly, convivial space. Street and valet parking available at Vinci. Friends in writing and any aspect of the arts are welcome. Come as you are!


Los Angeles, CA

Harvardwood Heads To... IVY Entertainment's Winter Ball - Thurs., Dec. 5

You are invited to an exclusive Winter Ball with IVY Entertainment. Join us at this fourteen year tradition as we ring in the holidays with one of the best entertainment networking parties of the season. Sip exclusive cocktails all night while toasting industry successes in 2019 while building strategic relationships for the year ahead.

Harvardwood Heads To... "Between Riverside and Crazy" at the Fountain Theatre - Sat., Dec. l7

Join the Harvard Club of Southern California for the Los Angeles premiere of the Pulitzer Prize winning play Between Riverside and Crazy at the Fountain Theatre, with a post-show talkback with Los Angeles Times reporter Angel Jennings about gentrification in Los Angeles.  Price is $22 for Harvard Club of Southern California members, $32 for non-members.

"Between Riverside and Crazy," by Stephen Adly Guirgis won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play.  Walter “Pops” Washington is a retired New York City policeman. His wife has died, and his son, “Junior”, has just been released from jail. They live in a rent-controlled apartment on Riverside Drive in New York City. Junior’s girlfriend, Lulu, and Oswaldo, a recovering addict, also spend time at the apartment. Walter has been pursuing a discrimination suit against the Police Department, because he was accidentally shot by another police officer.

Harvardwood Heads To... The Ivy Plus Society's Winter Wonderland Party - Sat., Dec. 7

Let’s celebrate the end of the year with some holiday cheer! The Ivy Plus Society is heading back to the JW Marriott Le Merigot, a certified favorite spot in Santa Monica. Meet new friends and snuggle up to old ones near their outside fireplace as we take over their picturesque patio. Located just steps away from the Santa Monica Pier, The Winter Wonderland Party is the best way to mingle with LA’s finest and brightest in tech, finance, entertainment, education, marketing and more!

Harvardwood's Holiday Hurrah - Thurs., Dec. 12

Three hurrahs for Harvardwood! Come revel in holiday cheer and happy festivities with your fellow Harvardwood members, friends, and volunteers on Thursday, December 12th. It'll be a wonderful way to kick off not just your weekend, but also the season of holiday festivities! We're celebrating at The Parlor on Melrose, where you'll rub shoulders and make merry with entertainment's favorite Harvard alums. 

Food will be available for purchase at The Parlor. Cash bar. One free drink ticket per person to the first 75 people to RSVP!

  • Regular tickets will be $20/Members & Friends and $25/Non-Members from Dec. 1 - 11th
  • All walk-ins will be $25, regardless of Harvardwood membership status

In addition to the holiday festivities, join Harvardwood Helps in a toy drive for the holidays!  The Los Angeles County Fire Department's "Spark of Love" drive collects new toys and sports equipment for the Department of Children and Family Services for distribution to the foster children of Los Angeles County.  Any remaining toys are then distributed to non-profit charitable organizations within Los Angeles County.  New, unused, unwrapped toys and sports equipment for every age are appreciated.  Every year, however, there is an extra need for "Toys for Teens" and "Infant Toys. 1 DONATED NEW TOY = 1 RAFFLE TICKET

New York, NY

Our Happy Harvardwood HOLIDAY PARTY--!!! - Fri., Dec. 6

The holiday season is here! And that means—it's time for our Happy Harvardwood HOLIDAY PARTY!! This will be another great one, and a wonderful opportunity for you to meet more of our incredibly smart, sexy, and scintillating Harvardwood members! Major festivity and jubilation alert!

Admission is free, but you MUST bring something to eat or drink! Wine, beer, salad, chicken, cheese, pizza, pasta, brownies—everything will be welcome! Things that are real FOOD (as opposed to chips and such) will be especially appreciated. Harvardwood members are HUNGRY people!

Boston, MA

Harvardwood Heads To... OBERON's Old School Game Show - Sat., Dec. 14

Break out the eggnog and your favorite ugly sweater: Old School Game Show is back for our Holiday Special. This isn’t your Auntie MiMi’s holiday feast—OSGS is staying on the naughty list with more game show antics to keep your holiday season bright! Whether you’re celebrating the holidays or you just like to laugh, play, and win fantastic prizes, OSGS is the perfect present for you and your friends!

Old School Game Show is an interactive trivia experience like no other. Audience participants can get the chance to play our original pop culture games, competing to win fabulous prizes from local sponsors. Or we invite you to sit back and enjoy the spectacle of live music, special guests, dancers, and sketch comedy. You’ll feel like you’re in the audience of your favorite retro variety show. It’s all the fun of an afternoon spent rolling around in the rumpus room — without the rug burn.

Get creative: Purchase a Harvardwood gift certificate

Out of ideas for an original gift this holiday season? Get creative—and encourage the Harvard student or alum you know to do the same—by purchasing a Harvardwood gift certificate! Our gift certs are good for a year (or more) of Harvardwood membership, event tickets (e.g., admission to three masterclasses in 2020), the Writers Competition application fee, or the new Script Review Service, to name just a few examples. Ready to give the gift of Harvardwood this year? Contact us to tell us what Harvardwood "item" you want to gift, or we can also help you put together the ultimate Harvardwood gift package!



Harvardwood does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any of the information, content or advertisements (collectively "Materials") contained on, distributed through, or linked, downloaded or accessed from any of the services contained in this e-mail. You hereby acknowledge that any reliance upon any Materials shall be at your sole risk. The materials are provided by Harvardwood on an "AS IS" basis, and Harvardwood expressly disclaims any and all warranties, express or implied.

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