In this issue:
Message from Justin
- APPLICATION CLOSES TONIGHT: Apply for The Jeff Sagansky Harvardwood TV Writers Program: New Modules!
- Save the Date: 2022 Harvardwood Writers Competition!
- Start Spreading the News: Harvardwood announces New York City Writing Modules for Fall 2021/Spring 2022!
- Calling all current Harvard College students! - Harvardwood on Campus
- Assistant to TV Writer with Development Deal at Netflix
- Exclusive Q&A with Uzo Ngwu '23 (Illustrator, animator, musician, multidisciplinary artist)
- Industry Successes
- New Members' Welcome
- Alumni Profile: Jaime Dávila AB '07 (Producer)
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're excited to help facilitate an inspired, productive fall! We have many goings on, from new writing modules, to our Competition launching soon, additional student and on-campus presence, and so much more. Many updates, applications and exciting events are in this issue, so read up!
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
APPLICATION CLOSES TONIGHT: Apply for The Jeff Sagansky Harvardwood TV Writers Program: New Modules!
The deadline to submit for The Jeff Sagansky Harvardwood TV Writers Program is tonight, Wednesday, September 1st at 11:59pm PT!
The Jeff Sagansky Harvardwood TV Writers Program uses peer review, guest speakers, and workshops to foster a motivating and supportive environment for each participant’s writing.
Tailored to each writer’s needs, the Program is broken up into 4-5 modules (Half-Hour, Hour-Long, Rewrite etc.) where writers read and provide personalized feedback for each other, supervised by experienced Module Leaders. Throughout the semester, guest speakers and workshops supplement the peer-review experience, and build a functional and meaningful community out here in Hollyweird. “Come for the deadlines, stay for the friends.”
The 12-week program culminates in a “pitch panel” event where you pitch your freshly-written project to industry veterans to get feedback on your concept and practice pitching your writing.
APPLY BY CLICKING HERE
Save the Date: 2022 Harvardwood Writers Competition!
Calling all Harvardwood writers! The Harvardwood Writers Competition is back, so get your scripts ready! Submissions now open by September 15th, 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.
Start Spreading the News: Harvardwood announces New York City Writing Modules for Fall 2021/Spring 2022!
Calling all writers in the greater New York area! Havardwood will be launching writers’ groups for New York chapter members. The Fall 2021 module will focus on Feature Screenwriting, and the Spring 2022 module will feature Television Writing. Members of all experience levels are encouraged to apply.
While the goal is to launch in-person groups, we understand that due to Covid some members may be unwilling or unable to meet in person. We’ll be exploring hybrid formats and hope to accommodate everyone who seeks to strengthen the film and television Harvard community in New York. Please fill out our Application to indicate interest in in-person or hybrid. Costs to members will be $50.
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!
Assistant to TV Writer with Development Deal at Netflix
Job Description: TV writer with development deal at Netflix is seeking a full-time assistant. Assistant will work remotely from home for the time being and be available for research, scheduling, administrative tasks, etc. Assistant will also be asked to perform personal errands on occasion and needs to be comfortable driving. Although full-time, the assistant can expect to have some down time between tasks, making it an ideal job for applicants working on their own writing projects. Looking to hire aspiring TV writers only and would like applicants to submit a TV writing sample along with their resume.
How to Apply: Email resume and writing sample to [email protected]
Exclusive Q&A with Uzo Ngwu '23
Uzo Ngwu is a rising junior at Harvard College, dual-enrolled at Berklee College of Music studying Art, Film and Visual Studies and Vocal Performance. She’s a multidisciplinary artist with focuses in illustration, film/animation and music, but also has interests in writing, acting and directing. Alongside her academic obligations, Uzo works as a freelance illustrator and some of her clients include Hulu, Freeform and MTV.
Q. What sparked your passion for animation, visual art and graphic design? Do you define yourself or identify more as one than the others?
A. My passion for visual art is one I’ve had since I was a child. In elementary school we made compliment booklets at the end of the school year, and I vividly remember one of the recurring compliments in my book being “I like your drawings.” All throughout middle and high school I was known as the artsy kid, probably because I always decorated my textbook covers and went above and beyond on creative projects. Despite my obvious love of visual art, it wasn’t until freshman year of college that I really started to develop my skills as a visual artist. I purchased my first iPad and used it as my primary tool for visual art. Drawing so frequently made me realize how much I love the craft, and it reignited my love for digital art and illustration.
Similar to my passion for visual art, my passion for animation started young. As a child, I loved watching animated films and TV shows and for a while I refused to watch media with “real people.” I’ve always loved watching animated media, but my passion for creating animated media didn’t come until much later. This passion was sparked when I had to create a short animation as a final project for the class Fundamentals of Animation. There was something so satisfying about bringing my ideas to life and telling a story through animation.
I strongly identify with all the art forms I engage with. I like to refer to myself as a multidisciplinary artist or a multi-hyphenate creative because I can’t be defined by just one medium.
Q. What do you study at Harvard, and how does that relate to your interests and aspirations?
A. At Harvard I study Art, Film and Visual Studies, which is perfect because it directly relates to my interests and aspirations. There are 3 tracks you can pursue within that concentration, and I’m pursuing both the Studio Art and Film/Video tracks. That means I get to take classes on subjects ranging from drawing to animation to narrative filmmaking. I also love how much freedom I have to explore my own specific interests within this department. Last semester I took a class called Directed Research, which was an independent study style class. I crafted my own syllabus and used class funding to purchase a 2D animation package.
NextStop Theatre to reopen fully with fall season in person, with a show lineup including An Act of God by David Javerbaum AB '93.(DC Metro Theater Arts)
Love Is A Losing Game And Choice Is A Curse In The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller AB '84. (NPR)
Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry Director R.J. Cutler AB '83 On His Intimate Portrait Of Young Artist: “We See The Full Picture”. (Deadline)
Fear The Walking Dead, with executive producer David Alpert AB '97 Sets Season 7 Premiere Date, Drops Dual Look At Upcoming Episodes. (Deadline)
Great review of the newest book by Nick McDonell AB '07, The Council Of Animals. (NPR)
Paramount+ green lights Grease prequel musical series Rise of the Pink Ladies with executive producer Marty Bowen AB '81. (Rappler)
Colson Whitehead AB '91 ’s Sag Harbor Series Adaptation In Works At HBO Max From Laurence Fishburne & Boat Rocker. (Deadline)
John Lithgow AB '67 Joins Martin Scorsese Apple Original Film Killers Of The Flower Moon. (Deadline)
Josh Brener AB '07 will be headlining Bromates comedy exec produced by Snoop Dogg. (Deadline)
Rutherford Falls Creator Sierra Teller will work with Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard AB '00 for the upcoming Apple comedy starring Maya Rudolph. (Hollywood Reporter)
Maria Konnikova AB '05 has been shortlisted for a Telegraph Sports Book Award: The Clays Best Sports Writing Award for her recent novel The Biggest Bluff. (Sports Book Awards)
Karen Robinson, managed by Daniel Abrams AB '90, will join Echoes Netflix limited series. (Deadline)
Redbox and Quiver Expand Original Film Slate Acquire True-Crime Thriller BANDIT Based on the Best-Selling Novel The Flying Bandit Starring Nestor Carbonell AB '91, Josh Duhamel, Elisha Cuthbert, and Mel Gibson. (Businesswire)
Nicholas Hoult to star in Renfield; Universal’s latest monster movie focused on Dracula henchman, produced by David Alpert AB '97. (Deadline)
Margot Robbie joins Tom Hanks in Wes Anderson’s next film, produced by Jeremy Dawson AB '90. (Full Circle Cinema)
Ashton Kutcher Joins Reese Witherspoon In Netflix Romcom Your Place Or Mine with a script by Aline Brosh McKenna AB '89. (Deadline)
Billy Eichner will star in a “gay divorce comedy” for Amazon Studios, co-written and executive produced by Nick Stoller AB '98. (Gay Times)
Dan Lin MBA '99 will executive produce Avatar: The Last Airbender: Netflix live-action adaptation. (Deadline)
Debut Book The Impossible Art: Adventures in Opera by Composer Matthew Aucoin AB '12 to Publish in December 2021. (OperaWire)
Danny Troob AB '70 will orchestrate the upcoming U.K. and Ireland Tour of Beauty and the Beast. (Playbill)
Derek McLane AB '80 will be lighting the new production of MJ opening on Broadway in the fall. (Playbill)
Impeachment: American Crime Story: Mira Sorvino AB '89 added to cast. (Deadline)
The award-winning feature documentary 'Shelter Without Shelter' (2020) exploring the hopes and challenges of sheltering refugees across Europe and the Middle East, has been selected as the Closing Film at the 2021 Architecture Film Festival London. The film is the directorial debut of Mark E. Breeze GSD '08. More screenings and Q+As are coming soon! www.shelterwithoutshelter.com
Strath (Ben Strathmore AB '18) put out his debut EP, Soon Everything Will Be Perfect. He celebrated the release with his first headline show in his hometown, Melbourne, before returning to LA to continue performing and producing for the rest of the year. Listen to the project here.
Nick Davis AB '87 produced and directed Once Upon a Time in Queens, a 4-part documentary series about the 1986 Mets. It will air on ESPN as part of their 30 for 30 series in September. He also wrote the book Competing With Idiots, about Herman and Joe Mankiewicz, a dual portrait about his grandfather and grandfather's brother. It will be published by Knopf this month!
Court Stroud MBA '98 was awarded a 2021 Lambda Literary Fellowship!
New Members' Welcome
Harvardwood warmly welcomes all members who joined the organization last month:
- Brad Marshland, College, SF/Bay Area
- Elizabeth Miller, College, NY
- Mark Fish, College, LA
- Daniel Parino, HLS, LA
- Jennifer Dorsey, GSE, Other U.S.
- Niska Encalade, GSAS, Other U.S.
- Shayla Durbois, NY
- Alfred Staggs, HDS, Other U.S.
- Marc Johnson, KSG, LA
- Lawrence Weru, HMS, Other U.S.
- Andrew Lindheim, LA
- David Aguilar-Rodriguez, College, LA
- Linda M. Steiner, LA
- Annelise Kollevoll Medina, EDM, LA
- Brandon Edwards, Ext., Other U.S.
- Sarah Conyngham, College, NY
- Alexia Hartogensis, College,
- Isabel Wagner, College, BOS/Campus
- Matthew Maceda, Ext., LA
*FOH = Friend of Harvardwood
Alumni Profile: Jaime Dávila AB '07 (Producer)
Jaime Dávila AB '07 is the President of Campanario Entertainment, a prolific source of multilingual content and a production bridge between the U.S. and Latin America. He has various projects in development including Bridges, a multi-generational series to be produced in partnership with Eva Longoria’s UnbelieEVAble Entertainment at ABC. Dávila holds a Master of Science degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University.
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written by Sophie Kim '24
Jaime Dávila is bringing diverse Latinx stories to the screen. Dávila is the founder and President of Campanario Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based production company that develops content by and for the Latinx community. Dávila founded the company in 2013 in order to address the lack of Latinx representation on-screen. With an authenticity to its Latinx roots and appeal for mainstream audiences, Dávila’s work includes Selena: The Series (a biography about Tejana star Selena Quintanilla) on Netflix, Mexican Dynasties on Bravo, immigration documentary Camelia la Texana for Telemundo and Netflix, the dramedy Como Sobrevivir Soltero, and the family separation and immigration documentary Colossus.
Dávila’s experiences at Harvard inspired him to pursue a career in entertainment. Being part of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ tech crew and helping to create theater productions from scratch was a highlight of his college experience. “I loved that you could work together with a bunch of people, have nothing, and then by the end of a few months have an entire show, it was just so cool,” Dávila said. After graduation, Dávila initially pursued graduate school. However, he was inspired by friends who moved to Los Angeles to start careers in Hollywood. After a year of graduate school, he moved to Los Angeles himself, and started working as an assistant.
Dávila founded Campanario Entertainment in order to not just address the lack of Latinx representation in the media, but to bring Latinx stories to the mainstream. “This majority/minority thing is just not true, we’re already living in a multicultural America, and Latinos, Latinx, Latinas, we’re already part of this mainstream. And so that’s a big reason why I started the company, was to reinforce that message which I’ve always known but for some reason gets lost in the media landscape,” Dávila said. Dávila recounted times when he would be told that telling Latinx stories was “niche,” to which he responded by working hard to showcase Latinx stories and gain viewership. For example, of “Selena: The Series,” which was released in December 2020 and concluded in May 2021, “We proved that when you work with Latinx creators on both the writing side, the directing side, the production side, you could have a huge global hit,” Dávila said.
Dávila also spoke about combating Hollywood’s tendency to pigeonhole creators into one genre or role, especially creators from marginalized backgrounds. As a Mexican-American, he said, he’s often “put in a box” in terms of stories that he is expected to tell. “I don’t want to be pigeonholed as a Latino producer (who) can only produce Latino stuff, because oftentimes what that means is only immigration, or it means only border stories, when actually you could tell a sci-fi Latino story, you could tell an amazing litany of genres,” Dávila said. As a producer, he’s able to produce content in a wide variety of genres (including scripted, unscripted, and documentary) and showcase the diversity of Latinx experiences and stories. He is also currently working to expand the scope of Campanario Entertainment to include not just Latinx inclusion, but multicultural inclusion.
Dávila also noted that Campanario Entertainment can serve as a model for Hollywood executives and writers who want to center the stories and experiences of marginalized groups, but may not know where to start. “It’s a really great time in Hollywood right now because finally, Hollywood is wanting authentic voices to tell these stories, and I think oftentimes beforehand it was, oh, we’re going to tell diverse stories but we don’t need to work with the members of that community,” Dávila said. Now, however, he is able to showcase these stories and direct executives to Latinx creators and other creators from marginalized communities.
Dávila discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted Hollywood and Campanario Entertainment. Although the pandemic had been a “big shock to the Hollywood ecosystem,” causing production of Selena: The Series to be shut down for five months, Dávila also said that one positive aspect of the pandemic was that, as a result, Hollywood was more focused on creating healthier and safer work environments on-set. Campanario Entertainment produced two productions during the pandemic.
Lastly, Dávila advised aspiring filmmakers and producers to start creating work, especially with the advantage of easily-accessible technologies such as iPhones, YouTube, and TikTok. Dávila noted that, with these online platforms, creators are now able to bypass the gatekeepers that traditionally governed the film and media industry. “Start making your films now, start making those mistakes now, so that you get better and better. Don’t wait for someone to give you the opportunity, you have to take it yourself,” Dávila said.
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Warren Hsu Leonard is writing the pilot Ronin Island for Netflix / Boom! Studios, and he's writing the pilot The Last Fallen Star for Disney+. He just finished as a Consulting Producer on the Dexter reboot at Showtime, and recently supervised a young writer and served as showrunner on a CW pilot. Before that, Warren was a Co-EP on The Runaways for Hulu / Marvel, and he was a Co-EP on Looking for Alaska for Hulu / Paramount TV. He recently developed the pilot Exhibit A at ABC, and was previously staffed on the Amazon show Goliath, the Starz show Power, and the ABC show How to Get Away with Murder.
He graduated from Harvard Law School, and practiced law for over a decade, including serving as in house counsel for the LA Dodgers before segueing into TV writing.
More info HERE
Join Harvardwood for a conversation with Dionne Harmon, Executive Vice President, Content & Strategy, Jesse Collins Entertainment
Ms. Harmon is an Emmy Nominee for Outstanding Variety Special (Live) for The Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show Starring The Weeknd!
Dionne Harmon began her career at MTV, casting multiple seasons of the hit show Dismissed followed by Becoming and Wanna Come In. She went on to cast music videos for Usher, Diddy, Busta Rhymes, Alicia Keys and more, before shifting her focus to production, working on projects ranging from HGTV’s Designed to Sell to David LaChapelle’s film RIZE. After a brief stint at Jamie Foxx’s production company Foxx-King, Dionne landed at OWN where she was a part of the programming and development team that launched the network. There, she learned the ins and outs of development before leaving & eventually joining Jesse Collins Entertainment in 2012.
More info HERE
Harvardwood, in partnership with DeeperDive.org, is excited to announce an exclusive survey course for full members on Religious Literacy in Writing for Fall 2021.
This five-week training aims to elucidate the following: What is religious literacy? In what ways is religious literacy an important tool for storytelling? What steps can content creators and producers take towards incorporating it into their work?
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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Become a Harvardwood member as we further engage in socially active programming, discourse, and action to help change the entertainment industry
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!
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.