In this issue:
Message from Justin
- Announcing the 2022 Harvardwood Heroes
- NYT Obituary of Beloved Board Member John Bowman
- Assistant to President of Production (Temple Hill) - LA
- Exclusive Q&A With Gregg Hurwitz AB '95 (novelist, screenwriter)
- Industry Successes
- New Members' Welcome
- Alumni Profile: Jeff Yang AB '89 (writer, journalist)
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
Hope you're relaxed and enjoying the year so far.
We're coming off of a busy January, which featured our Harvardwood 101 program, in which we exposed 40+ current Harvard students to 20+ companies via our week-long intensive Boot Camp (all on Zoom), as well as our J-Termships (mostly virtual, short-term internships). It is a privilege to continue to help educate students on working in entertainment spaces, and to jump-start careers!
We're also extremely excited to announce our 2022 Harvardwood Heroes Winners: Linda Chin MPH '84, Kody Christiansen DCE '23, & Jayne Amelia Larson ART '92. You can find out more about them here and below!
We are soon to release more information about summer opportunities, so watch out for communications in our Weekly emails about the Harvard Summer Internship Program (HSIP)!
This year, you will see a slew of additional programming, increased writing modules, our new and expanding staff and board, and so much more. To that end, we ask that you please consider making a donation of any amount. Thank you so much!
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.
Justin & The Harvardwood Team
Announcing the 2022 Harvardwood Heroes
Launched in 2013, the Harvardwood Heroes grant program aims to spotlight and support Harvard students, alumni, faculty, and staff who have made an exceptional contribution to the community. After reviewing numerous outstanding community service proposals, we are delighted to present to you the following 2022 Harvardwood Heroes!
Linda Chin Workman, MPH '84
Linda Chin Workman currently serves as the Interim Executive Artistic Director of Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston.
Most recently, Chin served as the Founder, Cultural Producer and Advisor for Veritas Storytellers/88 Stories Fund in Cambridge. Its mission is to catalyze, create, and support inclusive storytelling in theater, film, music, and dance. Previously Chin served as Arts and Culture Fellow/Consultant for the Cambridge Community Foundation; Assistant Director, Faculty of Arts and Sciences Office of Career Services at Harvard University; Interim ED, Executive Director, Producing Artistic Director at Wheelock Family Theatre in Boston; Executive Director/President of Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence in Boston; and Community Science Liaison for Cambridge Public Schools.
The grant will support Linda's work adapting the children's picture book The Ugly Vegetables (by award-winning Asian American author/illustrator Grace Lin) into a musical/storybook theater version for children in pre-K through 5th grade.
Kody Christiansen, DCE '23
Kody Christiansen is a full-time undergraduate student at Harvard DCE and was recently named as one of the overnight supervisors for the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter. Kody has experienced homelessness but persevered to receive an honors Associate of Arts degree from New York University before he transferred to Harvard in the fall of 2020.
The grant will support the student-run Harvard Square Homeless Shelter and Kody's work with the street outreach team that hands out vital supplies and advocates for resources as they try to aid the transition into supportive housing.
Jayne Amelia Larson, ART'92
Jayne Amelia Larson is an actor, voice-over artist, writer, creative content producer and communications coach based in Los Angeles with credits in television, film and theatre; and author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Driving the Saudis.
The grant will support Jayne's work as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for foster youth in Los Angeles County and her BONUS BABIES podcast that features the compelling true-life stories of youth with a lived foster care experience and the people who care for them through the unique 360 lens of a CASA.
NYT Obituary of Beloved Board Member John Bowman
Above: John F. Bowman speaking at Harvardwood's “Harvard in Hollywood” symposium in 2006
With heavy and reverent hearts, we share the New York Times obituary of John Bowman a Harvardwood board member, beloved community member, and talented comedy writer and producer.
Read the article here.
Assistant to President of Production (Temple Hill) - LA
Job Description: Temple Hill Entertainment (EMERGENCY, HAPPIEST SEASON, FIRST MAN, TWILIGHT, THE HATE U GIVE, DAVE, LOVE VICTOR) is seeking an assistant to the President of Production, Isaac Klausner. This high-volume desk includes typical duties such as rolling calls, scheduling, tracking material, etc. The ideal candidate has at least one year's agency or management company experience and must be a voracious reader who excels at writing coverage. This will start as a remote position with the potential of transitioning to in-person in the coming months – looking for someone to start ASAP.
Exclusive Q&A With Gregg Hurwitz AB '95 (novelist, screenwriter)
Gregg Hurwitz is the New York Times, #1 internationally bestselling author of 23 thrillers, including the Orphan X series, and two award-winning thriller novels for teens. His novels have won numerous literary awards, graced top ten lists, and have been published in 33 languages. Gregg currently serves as the Co-President of International Thriller Writers (ITW).
Gregg has written screenplays for or sold spec scripts to many of the major studios (including Sweet Girl and The Book of Henry), and written, developed, and produced television for various networks. He is also a New York Times bestselling comic book writer, having penned stories for AWA (Knighted), Marvel (Wolverine, Punisher) and DC (Batman, Penguin). He has published poetry, numerous academic articles on Shakespeare, taught fiction writing in the USC English Department, and guest lectured for UCLA, and for Harvard in the United States and internationally. In the course of researching his thrillers, he has sneaked onto demolition ranges with Navy SEALs, swum with sharks in the Galápagos, and gone undercover into mind-control cults.
Additionally, Gregg is actively working against polarization in politics and culture. To that end, he's produced several hundred commercials which got over a hundred million views on digital and TV platforms, and won multiple American Advertising Awards (Addys) for creative digital political commercials. His editorial pieces have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The Bulwark, and others.
Q. When we profiled you in 2016, you had just released your first novel in the Orphan X series. Your 7th, Dark Horse, is being released in a couple of weeks. How has your protagonist Evan Smoak changed over time, and how have you?
A. Evan develops in tandem with me. Whatever I’m contending with in my personal life or in the socio-political landscape (in my pro bono political work) he seems to find his way into, albeit in more violent fashion. The further I get in my career, the more my writing and my own life become aligned, where I’m dealing with reflections of the same issues and trying to answer the same unanswerable questions in fiction and in reality.
Q. Is the series still in development?
A. No. I’m pulling Orphan X back for now and waiting for a piece of talent I admire to come with a creative approach that makes sense. I’ve decided I don’t want to actively try to sell it – I want to find a connection with someone who already knows the series and has a notion of how to bring it to life.
Q. You have written compellingly about how thrillers can serve up a positive archetype of masculinity that is based on the hero myth, something that is hardwired into our culture. Why are these stories important?
A. In many regards, crime fiction has replaced the social novel. Thriller and mystery writers can reach an incredibly broad audience to challenge notions of power and identity, place and character, social inequality and injustice. And our protagonists exist to shape chaos into order, no matter how painful that process may be.
Check out this article on joke-telling Artificial Intelligence—featuring Joe Toplyn (SB ‘75/MBA ‘79). (TIME)
Keanu Reeves in Talks to Join Martin Scorsese's Devil in the White City TV Adaptation for Hulu, with executive producer Sam Shaw (AB '99). (Collider)
Phat Tuesdays Docuseries From Guy Torry & Reginald Hudlin (AB ‘83) Gets Prime Video Series Greenlight, Premiere Date. (Deadline)
Archive 81 Trailer: Mamoudou Athie & Dina Shihabi Uncover Sinister Secrets In Netflix’s Podcast-Inspired Horror Series, with executive producer Michael Narducci (AB ‘97). (Deadline)
Nicholas Britell (AB ‘03) Is Top Nominee at 2022 Society of Composers & Lyricists Awards. (Billboard)
18 HBO and HBO Max Original Series to Be Excited About in 2022, including one from David Mandel (AB ‘92). (IndieWire)
BET HER Presents Becoming: Michelle Obama In Conversation - Watch the former first lady and open up to actress Yara Shahidi (AB ‘22) for a heart-to-heart conversation. (BET)
Nanny becomes the first horror movie to win the Sundance Film Festival's US dramatic Grand Jury Prize! Sumalee Montano AB '93 is Executive Producer. Many congrats!
Children Of Blood And Bone, written by Tomi Adeyemi AB '15, has an adaptation coming from Paramount, produced by Marty Bowen (AB '81). (Slashfilm)
Listen to Adam Grant (AB ‘03) and Corey Keyes discuss the pandemic-fueled feeling called 'languishing'. (NPR)
Steve Zahn (MFA ‘90) and Amy Brenneman (AB ‘86) shows both make it on the list HBO Max's 7 most dysfunctional TV families. (Collider)
Feeling burned out lately? Listen to Michel Martin (AB ‘80) talk with Jonathan Malesic about the changing nature of how we work. (NPR)
Lifetime’s Vanished: Searching for My Sister a twin challenge for Tatyana Ali (AB ‘02). (Boston Herald)
Marilyn Monroe was “Never a Victim”: watch Mira Sorvino (AB ‘89) and others reflect on Monroe’s life and career in a new CNN docuseries Reframed: Marilyn Monroe. (Vanity Fair)
Cristin Pescosolido (AB ‘91) is a Visual Effects Supervisor on Sundance film Master, directed by Mariama Diallo. (Sundance)
Julia Belanova (AB ‘18) booked a recurring role on MAYANS M.C. (FX/Hulu)
Gregg Hurwitz (AB ‘95) is hosting a launch event for his book "Dark Horse" on Tuesday, February 8. (Diesel Bookstore)
New Members' Welcome
Harvardwood warmly welcomes all members who joined the organization last month:
- Warren Sata, GSE, LA
- Claire Yoo, College, BOS/Campus
- Isabella Madrigal, College, LA
- Sara Hallowell, FOH, BOS/Campus
- Ana Breznik, College, BOS/Campus
- James Garavito, College, BOS/Campus
- Susan Smith, Ext., BOS/Campus
- Charlise B. Whiteside, FOH, Other U.S.
- Robert Cornett, Div., NY
- Takenoshin Yaza, College, BOS/Campus
- Danu Mudannayake, College, NY
- Mireya Sánchez-Maes, College, BOS/Campus
- Mia Taylor, College, BOS/Campus
- Eve Jones, College, BOS/Campus
- Clara Nevins, College, LA
- James Brady, College, BOS/Campus
- Debby Das, College, BOS/Campus
- Conner Huey, College, BOS/Campus
- Timothy Schneider, GSBA, LA
- Julia Kennish, College, London, UK
- Sage Lattman, College, NY
- Caroline McInnis, LA
- Claire Orrange, College, BOS/Campus
- Gareth Anderson, College, Toronto
- Parma Zahid, HMS, NY
- Yeokyeong (YK) Kim, College, BOS/Campus
- Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg, College, LA
*FOH = Friend of Harvardwood
Alumni Profile: Jeff Yang AB '89 (writer, journalist)
by Sophie Kim
JEFF YANG launched one of the first Asian American national magazines, A. Magazine, in the late 1990s, and is now a frequent contributor to CNN, Quartz, Slate, the New York Times and National Public Radio. He has written/edited three books—Jackie Chan’s New York Times bestselling memoir I Am Jackie Chan, Once Upon a Time in China, and Eastern Standard Time—and three graphic novels, Secret Identities, Shattered and New Frontiers. His elder son, Hudson Yang, starred as Eddie Huang in ABC's groundbreaking sitcom Fresh Off the Boat. Yang was born in New York and lives in Los Angeles. He holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Harvard University and was a Harvard National Scholar with coursework in Asian languages, literature, and civilizations, media studies, and economics.
Yang was born in Brooklyn, and raised in the white, conservative community of Staten Island. As a child, he struggled with his Asian American identity, and often wanted to “become invisible and erase [his] identity.” However, at Harvard, Yang was able to embrace his heritage and connect with other Asian Americans. While Yang initially believed he might go into medicine or law, he soon realized that he wanted to be a writer. Yang joined the Harvard Lampoon and, with a group of other Asian American students, relaunched East Wind, a Harvard student publication about East Asian American politics, identity, and culture. East Wind evolved into A. Magazine, an East Asian American focused magazine that, until it ceased publication in 2002, was the largest publication for English-speaking East Asian Americans in the United States.
After graduation, Yang decided to pursue a career in journalism, with a focus on Asian American identity and issues. Early in his career, he grappled with the idea of being pigeonholed as someone who only wrote about these issues. When he would reach out to interview artists and other personalities for A. Magazine, they would often downplay their Asian identities, saying things like “I'm not an Asian American writer. I'm a writer who happens to be Asian American.” This mentality frustrated Yang, who said that these statements felt like “direct assertions that being Asian American was a liability.” Yang purposefully chose to focus on Asian American identity in his reporting, and went on to become a columnist for publications such as Alternate Weekly and the San Francisco Chronicle.
Yang spoke about the importance of collaborating with other Asian Americans on projects such as Angry Asian Man (an Internet blog founded in 2001 with blogger Phil Yu), multiple graphic novels, and his newest book, RISE: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now, which comes out in March 2022. “I think that collaboration, intrinsically, is how creativity happens. We are stronger when we come together,” Yang said.
Yang also spoke about how increased anti-Asian hate during the COVID-19 pandemic made him fear for the future of Asian American representation in entertainment and media. “We [Asian Americans] realized that everything that we thought we'd built on, from Fresh Off the Boat to Crazy Rich Asians, to the rise of the Gold Open, was in danger of going away. And we knew how long it took to build all that, and the kind of sweat and sacrifice that it took from predecessors of ours to get us here,” Yang said.
Yang’s desire to document this history was the driving force behind his newest book, RISE: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now. The book, co-authored with film director Philip Wang and Phil Yu, comes out in March 2022. Yang emphasized that representing a diversity of Asian American voices in the book was important to him, as well as providing guidance to future generations. “We just said, we need to document this for future generations in case it all has to be rebuilt, in case we have to do it all over again, because we could be all torn down in an instant. That's the early lesson we thought we were getting from this pandemic,” Yang said.
Yang believes there is still progress to be made, especially in terms of uplifting multiracial perspectives and other identities that are underrepresented within the Asian American community. Yang also said that he felt encouraged by the growing numbers of Asian Americans who are involved in politics, and urged more Asian Americans to speak up and become more politically active in their communities.
Despite the setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic, Yang remains hopeful for the future of Asian American representation. “I feel like we are resilient and stronger than we had feared and bigger than we'd hoped. I'm really looking forward to what happens next for all of us,” Yang said.
Lastly, Yang advised Asian American students to believe in themselves, pursue their goals, and collaborate with others. “Just know that there are people who are out there who are more willing to support and give you a chance than ever before,” Yang said.
RISE: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now is available for pre-order.
Sophie Kim is an award-winning performance poet, playwright, filmmaker, lyricist/librettist, and author of the poetry collection, SING THE BIRDS HOME (2019, Penmanship Books). Kim served as the 2018-2019 Los Angeles County Youth Poet Laureate. Kim co-wrote THE FORTUNATES, an original musical that premiered virtually at Harvard College in spring 2021. Kim is currently working on a queer, heretical musical comedy about Judas Iscariot. Find Kim at thesophiekim.com.
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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.