In this issue:
Message from Justin
- SAVE THE DATE: 2022 HARVARDWOOD WRITERS COMPETITION!
- Calling all current Harvard College students! - Harvardwood on Campus
- Cultural Insights Manager (UTA) - NY/LA
- Exclusive Q&A with Eric J. Cheng AB '20 (Actor, writer, producer)
- Industry Successes
- New Members' Welcome
- Alumni Profile: Zadoc Angell AB '03 (Literary manager)
CALENDAR & NOTES
- Become a Harvardwood member as we further engage in socially active programming, discourse, and action to help change the entertainment industry
- Want to submit your success(es) to Harvardwood HIGHLIGHTS? Do so by posting here!
Message from Harvardwood
We are so excited to announce that the 2022 Harvardwood Writers Competition is launching soon! Submissions will open September 1st, so start dusting off those scripts. More information is directly below!
We're already gearing up for a productive, busy fall and couldn't be more excited. Also stay on the lookout for more HWP programming, announcements around our 101 programs in 2022, and much more.
As always, we want to hear from you - if you have an event or programming idea you'd like implemented, please tell us about it here. If you have an announcement about your work or that of others, please detail it here (members) and it will appear in our Weekly, and/or next HIGHLIGHTS issue.
As we continue with our expansion plan and updates to every aspect of Harvardwood, we ask that you please consider making a donation of any amount. Thank you so much for the consideration!
Last but not least, we are grateful for the work we are able to do, expanding creative and professional opportunities for our Harvardwood family. We could not do it without the support of our donors, volunteers and membership.
Justin & The Harvardwood Team
SAVE THE DATE: 2022 HARVARDWOOD WRITERS COMPETITION!
Calling all Harvardwood writers! The Harvardwood Writers Competition is back, so get your scripts ready! Submissions open September 1, and the final submission deadline will be Oct. 15, 2021. Since its inception, the HWC has helped launch dozens of careers, paired winning writers with VIP industry mentors — and we offer cash awards. Official submission instructions will be available soon — in the meantime, for more info on past competitions and winners, check out this page. All semi-finalists will receive numerical feedback from our judges, and writers will also have the option to opt into the Harvardwood Notes Service for additional feedback.
Harvardwood On Campus (HOC)
Calling all current Harvard College students interested in arts, media and entertainment careers! We invite you to join HOC (Harvardwood On Campus), a newly formed on-campus chapter of Harvardwood that serves as a community for current students looking to break into the industry — a place to meet like-minded peers, share challenges/success stories, and make friends with folks interested in entertainment. Over the course of the school year, we will be hosting panels, guest speakers, and workshops, as well as to connecting current students with mentors and industry professionals. Fill out our interest form here!
Cultural Insights Manager (UTA) - NY/LA
Minimum Years of Experience: 5+ years experience in writing, editing, trends, and/or consumer insights (ideally several of these areas)
Job Description: UTA IQ, the data, research, and digital strategy division of UTA, a leading global talent, entertainment, and sports agency, is looking for a Cultural Insights Manager. This newly created role will support the written data-driven deliverables produced by UTA IQ and help create new cultural intelligence for the agency, its talent, and brand clients. You will work on numerous types of projects for UTA IQ, including short-form daily newsletters, strategic decks, bespoke brand reports, and thought leadership.
UTA IQ's Cultural Insights Manager will have experience that spans across writing, editing, trends, and consumer insights (or at least several of these areas). The role is ideal for someone looking to grow their career in trends and data journalism with a strong passion for entertainment. You will benefit from the close mentorship of an executive in a senior position on this team and will work with a cross-functional group of strategists, researchers, and product experts.
- Contribute to and edit data-driven daily newsletters about social media, TV, movies, and other areas of entertainment for UTA and its clients in order to surface and monitor trends
- Research trends across consumer categories, not limited to entertainment, and package them into custom reports for brands
- Edit and elevate the writing and cultural context of entertainment decks and curated insights requested by UTA agents in order to advocate for UTA's clients and help them land new opportunities
- Serve as a thought partner to executives, brainstorm and conduct infographics and consumer studies
Exclusive Q&A with Eric J. Cheng AB '20
Eric J. Cheng AB’ 20 is a Chinese American actor, writer, and producer based in LA. He recently was a part of the 24 Hour Plays: Nationals and acted in AFI thesis Cure. At Harvard, was a cast member of The Hasty Pudding Theatricals.
Q. When did you know you were a storyteller? What experiences in Michigan made you know you wanted to act?
A. I remember growing up and performing with kids in the family friend group—five girls who all danced and sang. I vividly recall performing in front of all the Chinese families every New Years and having the time of my life. It wasn’t until I approached high school though that I got to really act. When I was in eighth grade, I saw a production of The Drowsy Chaperone at my local high school, and I immediately fell in love. I promised myself that I would try to be a part of the troupe, so when I started freshman year, I took a leap of faith and auditioned. If I remember correctly, I got cast in a tiny role in the play Harvey but later got promoted to a slightly bigger role when the boy originally cast dropped out (or got kicked out— I can’t remember). After that, I kept at it, and with every production I fell in love even more.
Q. What has it been like transitioning from Harvard to LA, even part-time, as a recent grad? Can you talk about the journey to LA and what you've seen thus far in our increasingly remote (and changing) industry?
A. It’s been a crazy ride with ups and downs; I’m very thankful for it. My move to LA feels like it’s been a long time coming. I came to LA for the first time during the summer of 2019 to pursue an internship at MTV. I aimed to know once and for all if I really wanted to pursue this path after graduating. The summer served its function; I had gotten a taste of LA and the industry, and I left the city with the awareness that that I wanted to be a creative as an actor and writer.
Outside of coming to LA for few weeks or months at a time before going back home as the pandemic worsened, I’ve attempted pursuing an acting and writing career remotely— writing at home, taking Zoom classes, doing virtual performances— for the past year. Now that we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with the pandemic (fingers crossed) , I feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment being here. I’m finally able to shoot the project I’m working on and collaborate with other creatives.
I have a lot of hope for the industry with regards to representation. This past year has demonstrated that we need stories that reflect the state of our world. As someone who creates projects from the Asian and LGBTQ+ perspective, I feel a sense of excitement. Though I still get discouraged at times, I think that the change that we are seeing will only continue. In a way, I think that the shift towards more virtual processes has actually been conducive to this. There are new ways to tell stories and get one’s voice out that didn’t previously exist, and the need for content to be high-budget has dissipated. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in all of this (and one singular piece of advice that I’ve universally received), it’s that creating one’s own work and opportunity leads to positive outcomes. And in a time when people are looking for authentic, diverse, and new stories, I like to think that holds true now more than ever.
Q. For a young actor/writer/producer, how do you balance your days? What do they look like?
A. Often I still don’t know! I think I am still and will continue to be striking a balance; I feel like my day-to-day always changes. Usually though, my day starts after I knock out some tasks for my part time jobs. I try to prioritize writing at least four times a week, though in reality my inability to counteract distraction sometimes makes this an unmet goal. Other than that, I spend my days taking acting and improv classes at The Groundlings (which I’ve loved), filming tapes/doing auditions, trying to meet new people and collaborators, and producing the project that I’m currently working on.
Will Smith Returning to Netflix for Major Project, to be executive produced by Terence Carter AB ‘01. (Pop Culture)
Courtney B. Vance AB ‘82 was recently nominated for an Emmy for Lovecraft Country, Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series. (Emmys)
Don’t miss an encore presentation of Judgement Day, a play by Rob Ulin AB ’84 with Jason Alexander, Michael McKean and Patti Lupone. This week only – all proceeds benefit the Barrington Stage Company. (Barrington Stage Company)
From the Schlump With the Shiv, Two Plays Turned Podcasts featuring actor and playwright, Wallace Shawn AB ’65. (The New York Times)
Writer-director-producer Nick Stoller AB ‘98 Re-Ups Sony Pictures TV Overall Deal, Teams With Emerald Fennell For Sweetness Comedy. (Deadline)
Amy Aquino AB ‘79 discusses the final season of Bosch and her role on The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, which is streaming on Disney+. (KTLA 5)
Debra Martin Chase HLS ‘81 of Martin Chase Productions and Andrew Coles AB ‘09 of The Mission Entertainment, to produce Being Mary: The Mary Tyler Moore Documentary. (MSN)
On the list of 18 brilliant LGBTQ+ opera stars you should know: John Holiday, slated to debut at The Met this year in Matthew Aucoin AB ‘12 ’s Eurydice. (Classic FM)
Check out the best original soundtrack moments Love, Victor Season 2 - with Marty Bowen AB '81 as an executive producer. (The Wrap)
DURANG!, Featuring Four One-Act Plays By Christopher Durang AB ’71, Will Be Performed at the 2021 Hollywood Fringe Festival. (Broadway World)
How Women of Color Are Using Equity Crowdfunding to Achieve Success in the Tech World: How these four entrepreneurs found an alternative path to financing their businesses including founder of Caribu, Maxeme Tuchman MBA '12 MPP ‘12. (Harper’s BAZAAR)
New Members' Welcome
Harvardwood warmly welcomes all members who joined the organization last month:
- Seiyoung Jang, GSAS, Bos/Campus
- Adriana Colon, College, LA
- James McAuley, College, LA
- Janani Krishnan-Jha, College, LA
- Maxwell Kanter, GSE, Bos/Campus
- Brian Mott, College, LA
- Hyonju Yoon GSBA, NY
*FOH = Friend of Harvardwood
Alumni Profile: Zadoc Angell AB '03 (Literary manager)
Zadoc Angell AB '03 began his career as a TV Literary Agent at Paradigm, where he worked for seven years. Transitioning to Literary Management in 2010, Zadoc joined forces with manager Dave Brown and grew a team of literary managers which they brought with them to Echo Lake in 2013. You can read about his new Co-President position here.
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written by Brandon Boies
If I proclaimed that growing up on a 400-acre dairy farm could lead to an exciting and successful career as a television literary manager, there might be a few objections. Not from Zadoc Angell. I had the pleasure of talking with Zadoc, who was recently named Co-President of Echo Lake Entertainment’s Management Division, to discuss his life story, passions, and overall career as a TV literary manager. He was very personable, extremely motivated, and – as you may have guessed – grew up on a dairy farm in rural New York.
That’s where we began our conversation. After all, it seemed a bit unexpected to start in a small-town setting and eventually take a career path that would adventure toward the glamorous lights in Los Angeles. Even Zadoc understood the unlikelihood of his own journey. “Few people ever got away,” he said. However, he always felt in tune with his creative side. “I always loved television and storytelling. I was just exploring all of these interests in a place that wasn’t very accommodating.”
The answer to his problem? Applying to and attending Harvard, where he would study VES (Visual and Environmental Studies) with a focus on film. He reflected on his time there and how he enjoyed the city. More notably, he discussed how his upbringing paired nicely with the challenges he faced being in such a new place with the pressure Harvard creates. “I had this insane farmer work ethic. You have to have a really strong work ethic. And in my case, today, that means to keep fighting for my clients.”
After college, Zadoc adjusted his goals, realizing that being purely creative wasn’t what he wanted to pursue. After a few years of working as an agent, he instead found a liking for management (which involves helping clients get booked in writers’ rooms for television, guiding career paths, and even strategizing business deals).
With a career that encapsulates so many different tasks, I asked Zadoc to describe a time that he felt successful, something that fully captured the experience of being a literary manager. One of the stories Zadoc shared with me was about writer Ingrid Escajeda. He had managed to book her on the second season of the ever-nostalgic Hannah Montana. This was a big win – not only because of the connection to what would become everyone’s favorite pop-star named after a state – but because it was the first writer he had ever booked. But guiding Ingrid’s career didn’t end there. After finishing three seasons of staffing on comedies, Ingrid voiced a desire to change her career path, moving toward dramatic writing.
Zadoc faced a difficult choice. Should he advise her to keep practicing what she does best, sticking with comedy writing? Or does he encourage an unknown path, potentially risking future writing jobs?
Zadoc chose the latter, valuing Ingrid’s future career goals. He shared his thoughts on the matter, stating “Once a person is successful, I want to make sure we are making the right choices and finding the right opportunities.” According to Zadoc, that responsibility comes with understanding that his industry is a business, but balancing that with his clients’ happiness. Because of his sage advice, Ingrid felt encouraged to take up the new genre, and her career transformed because of it. She went on to write for shows like Sneaky Pete, Justified, and Empire.
What is Zadoc up to now? He is currently developing and fostering longer-term career goals for his clients, focusing on booking them in the highest positions in television. “A lot of my job is building staff writers to showrunners in their own right,” he said. Part of that process included working with Kira Snyder, who started as a staff writer and has worked through the ranks for shows like The 100 and The Handmaid’s Tale. Kira is now the co-showrunner of J.J. Abrams’ new series Demimonde for HBO.
Zadoc, who has certainly always had a creative bug, seems perfectly suited to his current role. He has a deep understanding of a writer’s creative process (and struggles), but he also knows how to get writers the jobs they need to beef up their resumes and open doors to more successful career paths.
In all, much like He-Man, his favorite cartoon growing up, Zadoc Angell has a few superpowers of his own. But rather than being the star of the show, he might just get you booked to write it instead.
Zadoc Angell currently resides in Los Angeles with his husband and two children.
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Brandon Boies is a rising senior studying English at Harvard University. He is interested in pursuing screenwriting and television writing. He also has a 150-pound English Mastiff named "Big".
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Harvardwood Presents: A Conversation with Gene Pao, SVP of Shout! Factory and Harvardwood Board Member - Tuesday, Aug. 3rd
Gene Pao joined Shout! Factory in 2013 and is currently Senior Vice President of Digital Enterprises, where he leads all digital video efforts for the company—including direct-to-consumer digital businesses, YouTube channels, and digital marketing. In 2015, Gene spearheaded the launch of Shout! Factory TV, a new digital streaming service offering classic and cult TV and film that shape today’s pop culture. The service is available on a wide variety of devices including Roku and Apple TV, and branded channels on Twitch, Amazon, Pluto TV, and Comcast Xfinity among others.
More info HERE
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Want to submit your success(es) to Harvardwood HIGHLIGHTS? Do so by posting here!
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In these unprecedented times, we are doubling down on providing impactful programming that not only helps our membership build and further entertainment careers, but create socially active habits and spheres of influence and knowledge. The entertainment industry is changing before our eyes, and our recent programming is just the tip of the iceberg. We'd love your help in furthering this mission. In various capacities, we work hard to create programming that you, the membership, would like to be engaged with. Please consider joining Harvardwood and becoming an active member of our arts, media, and entertainment community!
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