Issue 4 | May 2005

  • Message from Membership Director
  • Message from the President – “Mia’s Monthly Message”
  • Member Profile of Dan Abrams ‘90
  • Industry Successes…
  • So You Got The Job, Hey…
  • And the Award Goes to….

A Message from the Membership Director 

“Summer is here when it’s bursting hot, when you can run and play and take your shoes off!”

–Excerpt from a poem by Kibi, age 7

Even at the ripe ol’ age of—ahem—25 (smile), I still run that short rhyme in my head when I feel the rumblings of summer fun in the air.  The anticipation of hot sticky days at the beach, juicy and messy barbeque ribs in between my fingers and hanging out with friends and family just because, always elicit the same ear to ear grin that I had at the age of 7 when I showed my mother the poem I wrote in school that day.  Well, it’s just about that time and Harvardwood has a great summer line up planned.  We will welcome the summer interns shortly with a bang at our next summer mixer.   Our Harvardwood Writers Program will also be getting under way shortly, so stay connected to the ‘wood and don’t forget to have some fun and “take your shoes off!” --Cheers, Kibi

Mia’s Monthly Message…. 

Summer’s just around the corner, along with our third annual Harvardwood Summer Internship Program!  This year we have our largest program yet, with over thirty students doing internships in the arts, media and entertainment at companies in New York, Los Angeles, and Boston.  If you or your company would like to host an event or office visit for the interns, please contact us at: [email protected].  Congrats once again to our alum films at the Tribeca Film Festival – it was a Harvardwood sweep in the New York, New York awards competition!  Many alums turned out to support the filmmakers at our first-ever Harvardwood Tribeca mixer at Butter.  Meanwhile, on the west coast, we got an early start to the summer – kicking it Mexican-style at El Guapo with members and friends, new and old…


Member Profile: DAN ABRAMS '90 

Dan Abrams didn’t want to conduct this interview telephonically.  That was fine by me as I have come to accept that the bargaining power I yield exists in my mind only. That being said, I have generally found email to be a fluffy form of communication.  In email-land, there are no intonations, no screaming pauses, no pensive sighs, no speech expressions (besides the odd YELL!), little spontaneity, and I find it bland and non-descript in a black and white Times New Roman way.  Plus generic hotmail/yahoo/aol addresses such as mine, automatically propel one into the anonymous world of a spam, hate inducing, trash (otherwise known as the s.h.i.t.) mail bin.  So, I admit I hounded Dan Abrams. I emailed him no less than five times trying to extricate the details of his life for this piece.  He always, very politely, replied that it was coming and to get back to him the following week. Sometimes I forgot, and sometimes I did get back to him.

Last month however I got what I wanted from Dan Abrams. And I was pleasantly surprised. It was a neat, organized, interesting summation of his curvy filmmaking career path.  I admit I giggled a couple of times too. Not because it was funny, but because Dan was really honest and logical in the email genre. When answering about adolescent inspiration he mentioned his fantasy of playing for the Yankees! But immediately following, discussed his first impressions of Cheers.  Dan writes: “I remember seeing an ad for the show in TV Guide before it premiered, and thinking, that looks really good.  I'm going to watch that."  He goes on to explain: “I watched the pilot episode and every single episode after that, and was just enthralled by how smart, yet accessible the writing was…how perfectly cast it was, how high quality it was through and through, and remained for years.”  I found him (through his email) very thoughtful, observant and deductive.

Dan started out working on educational and documentary programming.  His first experience came about on a show called “The Low Cholesterol Gourmet” - a detail I loved and still giggle about whenever I read it! However, amongst these great details, I found a sentiment of conscientiousness, and a desire to contribute to “responsible” media. His evolution from Gourmet to his current project, the feature film, “Knots” is tangible and fascinating, not only because his progression is easily traceable, but because his career development from beginning to current, logically advances with the combined influences of his environment, his personality and introspective self checks.  Dan was a psych concentrator raised outside of New York City. Having graduated in 1990, he entered a workforce poised on the digital abyss, and after completing a masters program at NYU in Interactive Telecommunications, he joined a startup web production company. While there, he helped create a Clinton-Gore 1996 campaign website, became a website producer, and progressed to executive producer of the company which grew from 7 to 250 people during his tenure (“I definitely didn’t oversee all 250”).

However it was the power of storytelling and the film biz experiences of his best buddy Chris Salvaterra (also Class of 1990) that steered Dan towards the film Mecca of LA.   I sense an apprehension however (and I feel like a $25 psychic in my assessment) because Dan writes admirably but explicitly of Chris’ experiences navigating through the maze of the “complicated” entertainment industry, and the differing agendas of those who work it.   

After arriving in LA Dan found a rather unique script, “Knots”, which he describes as a relationship comedy. After teaming up with the writers, Greg Lombardo and Neil Turitz, and progressing through the appropriate hiccups, production began, with Dan as the lead producer. Today “Knots” has been sold for television and video around the world. Furthermore Lions Gate is releasing the DVD in June. My best quote from Dan, “Don’t be afraid to be one of the good guys or gals. Use your connections, but use them judiciously and wisely. Above all else, be the ball.”

Here’s to being the ball!

--Reported by Dominique Kalil, ‘00


Warner Brothers has purchased comedy pitch “Las Vegas, Missouri” for Plan B, to produce with Alec Berg ’91 and Jeff Schaffer ‘91.

“The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz”, executive produced by Lisa Henson ’82, recently aired on ABC’s Wonderful World of Disney on May 20th at 8:00 p.m.  There is early awards buzz for Miss Piggy, who plays four distinct roles in the two-hour opus.

Matt Morris’ VUS '03 new book Superheroes and Philosophy can now be found in bookstores nationwide. The book brings together 16 leading philosophers and some of the most creative people in the world of comics, from storywriters to editors to critics, to examine the deeper issues that resonate from the hyperbolic narratives and superhuman actions of this heroic world.  With the recent influx of Superhero blockbuster movies, the book is a valuable resource for those who are reconnecting with the Superheroes they enjoyed in comic books as kids and are now rediscovering in movies.  The book is available at   Matt is also looking for PR help, so if you can help please contact him at [email protected]

James P. Connolly’s ‘88 (stand-up comedian/actor) new CD Pure Polyester” is now playing on Sirius Satellite Radio. You can also hear James P. on XM Satellite Radio and ALL Comedy Radio across the country. “Pure Polyester” is also available online at CD,, MusicNet,, and coming soon to iTunes!

James P. Connolly also returns to IRAQ to entertain the troops with the CODWT (Comics On Duty World Tour) in early June. Check the website for up to the minute details. Also, NEW STREAMING VIDEO of the last IRAQ tour is now available at < >

Chris Moore ’89 is launching a new production entity called Embassy Row, which will develop TV, film and advertising content.  The company has a first-look deal with ABC Entertainment and co-produces “Wife Swap” for the network.  Chris will act as strategic advisor to the company while producing and directing films and TV under the Embassy Row banner.

Karen Gordon invites us all out to see her performance in a ridiculously fun event--an original musical comedy entitled "The Possession of Mrs. Jones," to be featured as a special "Stage to Screen" live event at the Los Angeles Film Festival SATURDAY JUNE 18, 7pm & 10pm.  The show THEN opens for a 4-week run at the Zephyr Theatre in Hollywood (7456 Melrose Avenue, June 23-July 17), with shows Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8pm, Sunday 2 and 7pm.  "Possession" is directed by the fabulous Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, director of "Kissing Jessica Stein" and "Legally Blonde 2."  Tickets are now on sale, and can be purchased at can catch her giggle-producing national Angel Soft toilet paper commercial for the next YEAR on the internet at (look for the bleach moustache)...


Franklin Leonard '00, creative executive at Appian Way Productions, has joined the strategy council of The Hollywood Hill, a new hybrid political organization looking to bind together politically aware and politically interested members of the entertainment industry to mobilize resources to enact social change through community education, a policy generation partnership with the non-partisan DC think tank The New America Foundation (, and a digital production center with which its members can create high impact media.  Find out more about the organization at


Alum feature film RED DOORS won Best Narrative Feature at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival, NY, NY competition.  The film was written and directed by Georgia Lee ’98, produced by Lee, Jane Chen ’96 and Mia Riverton ’99 (who also costars).

Beverley Gordon's (AB '88) 2004 AFI thesis film, WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON wins at the 32nd STUDENT ACADEMY AWARDS.  WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON has been voted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as one of the National winning films in the 32nd Annual Student Academy Award competition - Narrative Category.  Beverley produced the short film, which is also one of three Nominees for an Imagen Award in the category of best short film.  WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON has so far participated in over 25 international film festivals, including The Times bfi London Film Festival, Deauville Festival of American Film, Festival of New Latin-American Cinema (Havana Film Festival), Camerimage: Festival of the Art of Cinematography, and Cleveland International Film Festival. It has won prizes in San Diego Latino Film Festival, Boston Latino Film Festival, Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee and received an Honorable Mention in the 2004 DGA Student Film Awards. WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON screened on Showtime Networks in October 2004 as part of its Latino Filmmakers Showcase and will screen in 2005 on SiTV and Canal+.

Producer Stacy Cohen’s '89 film DUMA, (Warner Bros.), starring Hope Davis, Campbell Scott and Eamonn Walker and directed by Carroll Ballard, recently won the Best Film prize at the Inaugural Giffoni Hollywood Film Festival.  The Giffoni Film Festival has been held in Giffoni, Italy for the past 35 years, and is the world's foremost festival for family and children's films.  The most special part about the festival is the fact that the jurors who vote on the film prizes are children from all over the world.  DUMA has been invited to participate in the Giffoni Film Festival this July, and will be screened in competition there.  DUMA also had two highly successful sold-out screenings at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.  We are awaiting word from Warner Bros. on the release date for the film which will be platformed out of select cities.

RIKERS HIGH, a documentary by Victor Buhler ‘95, won Best Documentary Feature at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival, NY, NY competition.  A special mention was given in the same category to THE AMERICAN RULING CLASS (writer Caton Burwell '99).

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