October 2006 | Andy Borowitz '80

Borowitz.jpgAndy Borowitz '80 (Writer, Comedian, & Reporter)

By Kim Bendheim '81

Andy Borowitz is a one-man show. You could write a newsletter about him called “Andywood” -- this Harvard grad (’80) produces his own comedy show once a month at Mo Pitkins, writes the award-winning politically satirical “Borowitz Report”, will soon be touring the country with The Moth, acts in films, and writes a “Shouts & Murmurs” column for “The New Yorker”. Oh, and his latest book, “The Republican Playbook”, is now available in bookstores and at Amazon.

Read more
Share

September 2006 | Jane Chen '96

Jane Chen '06 (Producer of RED DOORS, VP of Strategy at AVM)

By Amit Samuel

JaneChen.jpgUnder a blackboard sky, in the light of a chalk white moon, a production caravan travels across three states -- Nutmeg, Empire, and Garden -- in a marathon two-day denouement to a two-year filmmaking odyssey.

Jane Chen's personal journey began a lot earlier. In the halls of Harvard, Jane was like any other second generation immigrant, balancing the import of family and culture with the lure of dreams and ambition. So while Jane concentrated in East Asian Studies, she nurtured her dreams by teaming up with a couple of equally ambitious undergrads: Mia Riverton and Georgia Lee. The self-described "Three Chicks from Harvard" shared an Asian-American heritage, but their background only brought them together; their dream of a future different from the one envisioned by their parents kept them together.

Read more
Share

August 2006 | Ashlin Halfnight '97

Photo courtesy of Ryan Benyi PhotographyAshlin Halfnight '97 (Playwright, Director of Electric Pear Productions)

By Dominique Kalil '00

I’ve been mulling over this for quite a while now, and I still don’t know what angle to take with this former English concentrator from the Class of 1997. What can one do with a former professional hockey player-turned-kindergarten teacher-turned-successful playwright, who happens to be well versed in the obscure (well, obscure to me anyway) Russian literary genius Mikhail Bulkagov? Ashlin Halfnight and I chatted about a lot of random thingsthe metaphorical quality of the Hungarian language (in which Ashlin is conversationally fluent) and its unusual Finno-Ugric origins, for example. I felt very “Harvard”, but not for the reasons one would immediately think. I always tell people that the best thing at Harvard wasn’t the classes I never went to, nor the professors I never saw, not even the striking campus I took for grantedinstead it was the cornucopia of fascinating and budding individuals that seem to blossom all around me. I think I’m now at the age when those very blossoms are starting to flourish in a very public and productive way, and the view is really quite stunning.

Read more
Share

July 2006 | David Frankel '81

David Frankel '81 (Screenwriter, Director, & Executive Producer, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, MARLEY & ME)

By Kim Bendheim '81

David Frankel, an ‘81 Harvard graduate, is now a Miami-based writer-director. His films include Miami Rhapsody and Dear Diary, the latter of which won him the Academy Award for Best Short Film. He directed several episodes of HBO's From the Earth to the Moon, which won the Emmy for best mini-series. He also directed two hours of HBO's Emmy-winning Band of Brothers, wrote an episode of Rome and has directed numerous episodes of Sex and The City and Entourage. His current feature, The Devil Wears Prada, is playing in theaters around the country.

Read more
Share

June 2006 | Ron Weiner '95

Ron Weiner '95 (Writer & Producer, 30 ROCK, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT)

By Kibi Anderson '00

By profession Ron Weiner ’95 is a comedy writer. Having worked on several hit comedy TV shows including NEWSRADIO, FUTURAMA and ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, he has been darn successful, too. However, if you ask him what he is passionate about, you'll get a different answer – “Writing, for sure, but composing music probably more so.” Accordingly, Ron has spent most of his life working on his two loves, and recently found a way to combine them.

Read more
Share

May 2006 | Keir Pearson '89

Keir Pearson '89 (Writer & Producer, HOTEL RWANDA)

By Sean O'Rourke MAT '68

Most writers work for years before they receive their first option and years longer before their first script is made. The first screenplay by Keir Pearson ’89 was made and nominated for an Academy Award.

Pearson grew up and attended high school in Portland, Oregon. At Harvard he rowed on the heavyweight eight that won the NCAA National Championship in 1987 and the Ladies’ Plate at Henley three years later. Concentrating in East Asian studies, he wrote his thesis on Chinese cinema.

Read more
Share

April 2006 | Mike Reiss '81

Mike Reiss '81 (Writer & Director)

By Steven Hanna GSA '01, '08

“The basic thing is,” laughs Mike Reiss '81 by way of introduction, “I hated Harvard. You couldn’t find someone with a lower opinion of that place than me. I hate the place, and I hate the education that I got there, and the one thing I like and that I owe my entire career to is, obviously, the Harvard Lampoon. And you’d think I could at least thank Harvard for the Harvard Lampoon. That would seem natural. Except that Harvard hated the Lampoon, and could not have been more antagonistic to it at the time. I can’t thank the Lampoon enough, but I have really nothing good to say about Harvard. I admire their selection process, and I felt everybody I met there was quite remarkable, but I think they manage to round up many, many brilliant people and then do absolutely nothing with them or for them.”

Read more
Share

March 2006 | Nick Weiss '00

Nick Weiss '00 (Writer & Director)

By Dominique Kalil '00

I have wanted to interview Nick Weiss '00 forever. Not because I knew anything about him, but because his name kept popping up in different conversations all the time. And so, when I got to choose my next subject, I picked him. Fortunately, getting to know him further definitely measured up to my expectations.

Read more
Share

February 2006 | Meredith Bagby

Meredith Bagby (Writer, CNN Reporter, & Creative Director for DreamWorks SKG)

“At all of the schools I went to – Harvard included – the entertainment industry, and especially the movie business, seemed kind of frivolous,” admits DreamWorks creative executive Meredith Bagby with a shrug.  “But ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved the movies.  I used to watch all these old movies with my mom, and at some point, I thought, ‘You know, the weather’s really nice out there, and I’m just gonna try it.’”  

Read more
Share

December 2005 | Amy Retzinger '95

Amy Retzinger '95 (Literary Agent, VERVE)

By Dominique Kalil '00

Something that always strikes me when I write these profiles is the absolute randomness (and I mean lottery winning type odds) with which the people I interview have ended up in the careers and places they have. Very few have deliberately contrived or perfectly cultured careers from the get go. In the end, however, these seemingly accidental careers always manage to match perfectly with the person's personality and professionalism for the task. Maybe this phenomenon is really just the universe keeping the world in order. If a person finally gravitates to that at which they are naturally gifted, then it's only natural they will excel with the same effortless perfection.

Read more
Share