Hooray for Harvardwood

first_imgA night for OscarsHollywood’s Harvard involvement reached a peak at the Academy Awards, with 2003 alumna Portman taking home the best-actress award for her role in “Black Swan,” in which she played a ballerina who loses her grip on reality after winning a coveted role in “Swan Lake.” The film netted another Harvard graduate, 1991 alumnus Darren Aronofsky, a nomination for best director. As the birthplace of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, the University itself was the backdrop for best-picture nominee “The Social Network,” which won Oscars for best editing, music, and writing of an adapted screenplay.Harvard understands the draw of the arts for some students. Gail Gilmore, assistant director of the Office of Career Services (OCS), described Hollywood as something of a black box that for years put OCS in a bind, limiting the advice and support the office could give to graduating seniors interested in careers there. But that has changed in recent years, with the advent of an active industry alumni network called  — what else — Harvardwood.In recent years, the University has re-emphasized the importance of the arts to a well-rounded education. The 2008 Task Force on the Arts recommended increasing support for that area, including instruction in arts practice, in the context of gaining a liberal arts education.“It’s not job training. It’s not film school,” said Robb Moss, nonfiction filmmaker and the Rudolf Arnheim Lecturer on Filmmaking. “It’s film-making, art-making, within a liberal arts background.”Robert Kraft, the head of Fox Music and a 1976 Harvard grad whose scores have graced such films as “The Little Mermaid” and “The Mambo Kings,” describes his career start as marked by serendipity impossible to replicate. “I can tell you 10 stories about what happened to me, but I can’t tell you how I came to be at that nightclub at 1:30 in the morning, sitting next to a producer,” Kraft said. “How did I get in this chair? I don’t know.”Elsewhere, graduates of Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have found a home at Pixar Animation Studios, which held an information session on campus last month.Harvard writers, particularly in comedy, have tickled the nation’s funny bone for decades, penning and producing such programs as “The Tonight Show,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Simpsons,” “Seinfeld,” and “The Daily Show.”“They’re absolutely great. To my mind, they have a lot to do with creating the tone of comedy in America … that swings between ironic-brainy and daffy-stupid,” Lithgow said.“I live out in Los Angeles. You can’t spit without hitting a Harvard comedy writer.”“You don’t even need strong lungs,” agreed 1991 graduate Jeff Schaffer, a Harvard Lampoon veteran and a writer and producer for “Seinfeld,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and the Sacha Baron Cohen film “Bruno.”Though achieving Hollywood success can be difficult, the rewards can be great, said Schaffer. “The good news is it’s really fun; you sit around all day making people laugh.” Actor John Lithgow, a 1967 Harvard College graduate, has this advice for students wanting to follow his path: Don’t do it.Success in the entertainment industry is a gambler’s bet, and he said pursuing a career like his “goes against anybody’s better judgment.”The College’s focus on a liberal arts curriculum doesn’t directly point students toward Hollywood. But that hasn’t stopped some students from pointing themselves there and making full use of their broad-based undergraduate educations, as reflected in Sunday’s (Feb. 27) Academy Awards. The era before networkingOlder alumni will tell you that the Harvard name didn’t help when they were starting out. Lithgow, a former Harvard overseer, struggled mightily to find work after graduating more than 40 years ago and kept his Cambridge roots to himself. Kraft, who struggled in the music business after he graduated 35 years ago, said his pedigree never came up because it wasn’t relevant.“Saying you went to Harvard as a songwriter … would sort of be like trying out for the New York Knicks and saying you went to Harvard. So what? You can either shoot or you can’t,” said Kraft, a director of the Harvard Alumni Association.Hollywood remains a place so magnetic that, unlike many industries, its appearance at college job fairs is a rarity.“Hollywood is inundated by talent. It doesn’t have to go looking for it,” said 1999 graduate Mia Riverton, an actress and producer who has appeared in such television shows as “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “The Mentalist.” “I basically tell all young people, ‘Do not become an actor,’ ” Lithgow said. “But I also tell them, ‘If you’re going to be an actor, you’re going to ignore what I say anyway.’ ”Generations of graduating Harvard seniors have ignored the career minefields ahead in the arts and made the uncertain trek to Hollywood, New York, and other industry hot spots. Once there, they’ve hewn their own routes to success, applying the determination and talent shown on campus in Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club productions, during the Hasty Pudding’s annual burlesque, in the satiric writings of the Harvard Lampoon and, increasingly, in classes on filmmaking, screenwriting, playwriting, and other performing arts.“My most basic advice is to enjoy yourself while at Harvard. It’s an extraordinary opportunity to get a wonderful education and try your wings as a young artist,” said Lithgow, who helped to create Harvard’s annual Arts First celebration. “It’s the most protected and creative time I ever had.”Even a short list of performers with Harvard roots reads like a who’s who of making people laugh, cry, and want more. Among those in front of the camera are Lithgow, Tommy Lee Jones, Conan O’Brien, and Natalie Portman.Behind the camera are directors and producers for such popular films as “Black Swan,” “The Wrestler,” “Glory,” “The Last Samurai,” “Blood Diamond,” “Jarhead,” and “Memoirs of a Geisha.”In addition, Harvard’s position as a top educational institution and a touchstone of American culture has made the University itself something of a film star, from dramas such as “The Social Network,” “The Paper Chase,” and “Love Story” to more lighthearted fare such as “Legally Blonde” and “Stealing Harvard.” On television, the paranormal tales in the show “Fringe” revolve around a hidden Harvard lab. Key characters in film and television often bear Harvard pedigrees, such as Tom Hanks’ role as Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor of  “symbology,” in the film “The Da Vinci Code.”“It’s such a center of intellect, curiosity, science,” said director Lorenzo DeStefano, who is making a movie starring John Hurt that is based on the scholarship of Daniel Aaron, Harvard’s Thomas Professor of English and American Literature Emeritus, who edited and published the 17 million-word diaries of American poet Arthur Inman. Though Hollywood remains as gruff as ever, finding a friendly face there is a bit easier for graduates now, thanks to Riverton and the Internet age. After graduating, Riverton found herself beating her head against that familiar wall, networking like crazy to make connections, and perusing old alumni listings for access. She ultimately connected with alumni Stacy Cohen ’89 and Adam Fratto ’90. The three agreed that finding Harvard alumni shouldn’t be so difficult, so they founded a nonprofit called Harvardwood.Now Harvardwood maintains a comprehensive website containing everything from contact information to proposed scripts to a calendar of networking events for alumni and students interested in the industry. Alumni have come flocking, 5,000 so far. Harvardwood’s growth, Riverton said, suggests the large number of alums in the industry.“They’re everywhere. There have to be 10,000 people working in the arts, media, and entertainment,” Riverton said. “The Thursday night NBC comedy block is 80 percent [written by] Harvard Lampoon comedy writers.”Harvardwood also seeks to help interested students through its Harvardwood 101 program. The program, conducted in collaboration with OCS, offers tours, panel discussions, and office visits with alumni in Hollywood over winter break. Interested students also can extend the experience through internships.Senior Madeleine Bennett said her three-week internship at Management 360 turned out better than she could have expected. After bringing scripts to actor Tobey Maguire, best known for his film role as Spiderman, she wound up reading the female parts with him. Her interests have shifted more toward writing, but Bennett said she’s still attracted to the industry. With graduation looming, however, she can’t help comparing herself with her roommates, secure in consulting jobs.“They’ve known what they are doing [after graduation] since last year,” Bennett said. “I still have no idea what I want to do.”Sanyee Yuan, a junior and Harvardwood’s student liaison, said her Harvardwood 101 trip opened her eyes to the industry’s quirkiness. Still, she loves acting, so she has thrown herself into it, auditioning for roles around Boston and working on a talk show on Harvard Undergraduate Television (HUTV). If nothing else, Yuan is getting a head start on developing a thick skin.“I’m really starting to embrace rejection,” Yuan said.Grounding in student groupsSome student organizations have long had strong alumni ties. Schaffer’s work at the Lampoon earned him a sleeping spot on alumni couches after he graduated, and led him to lend his own couch to those following him. Even today, he keeps an eye on the Lampoon’s new graduates.“The Lampoon is great. It makes you write comedy,” Schaffer said. “You’re around a lot of funny people, and comedy is very collaborative.”On campus, student-run organizations dominate the entertainment scene.  Some of the best known are the Lampoon; the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club, which oversees 20 theater productions a year; the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, which puts on its high-profile Man and Woman of the Year roasts and annual burlesques; and Harvard Undergraduate Television, an online channel featuring student-created shows such as the soap opera “Ivory Tower,” which premiered in 1994.Jack Megan, director of the Office for the Arts at Harvard and a member of the University Committee on the Arts, said the on-campus scene is vibrant. Theater, filmmaking, video production, and associated writing and acting are practiced with independence and creativity.“There’s a tremendous amount of freedom here for students who are talented and motivated,” Megan said. “There’s a ton here, and part of what makes it special is that the students truly own it.”That was true even during Lithgow’s time in the 1960s, and, on reflection, he said many participants preferred it that way, embracing the freedom to explore rather than learning how something’s supposed to be done from someone more experienced.“I really didn’t want anyone’s supervision,” he said. “I loved the independent spirit of the place.”He first became interested in acting through a Gilbert and Sullivan production put on by the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club (HRDC). Isabel Carey, a junior and the group’s president, hopes to follow a similar route. Carey, who has been singing and acting since age 5, wants a career in theater. HRDC gives her experience handling common casting and provides budgetary support for productions across campus, from the Loeb Theater to the converted pool space in the Adams House basement.The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) provides a professional focal point for the Harvard theater scene. In addition to its productions at the Loeb, A.R.T. affiliates teach classes and workshops and advise the HRDC.For those drawn to the small screen, HUTV is the latest evolution of what started out as Harvard-Radcliffe Television in 1992. It webcasts news, episodes of “Ivory Tower,” and comedy shows like “Respectably French!” HUTV President Kelly O’Grady, a sophomore interested in the business side of the field, said this year the group is trying something different, producing a 30-minute showpiece over winter break that it expects to air late this month.Of course, not every student who participates in the arts is seeking a career in them. Hasty Pudding Theatricals President Michael Barron is a senior who has been involved with the group since his freshman year, and says the experience has defined his time at Harvard.But he has other career plans involving environmentally sustainable agriculture. In that sense, he shares something with hundreds of students across campus, as well as with Pudding alums through history, such as the business secretary for three productions in the 1880s who ultimately opted for a career in politics over the stage: Teddy Roosevelt.Beyond the student-run clubs, the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies does teach filmmaking, although lecturer Moss cautions that the goal is not to provide Hollywood job training.Students interested in filmmaking often have little time to participate in extracurricular activities, Moss said, because the program is so demanding. The students learn to work the equipment and then head into the community to film stories. Instructors refrain from asking students to do research and write a story first.Harvard’s “students come pre-loaded with the ability to do research,” Moss said. “That’s not the world; that’s what people say about the world. This [approach] gets to the visual nature of film. It’s a way to get kids out of their head and into their eyes.”The filmmaking program doesn’t have a track for students interested in screenwriting, but the English Department’s creative writing workshops can fit that bill. Screenwriter Danny Rubin, who wrote the Bill Murray comedy “Groundhog Day,” teaches introductory and advanced screenwriting.Rubin, the Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in English, echoes Moss in saying his job isn’t to create a pipeline to Hollywood. Still, he does have students who are interested in show business. He encourages them, and tries to convey the positives of screenwriting even as he discusses the difficulties of making it in the field. After all, Rubin once wrote an essay comparing Hollywood’s treatment of its suitors to the love-abuse-apology cycle experienced by substance abusers’ loved ones.“I don’t pull my punches when I describe it,” Rubin said. “They know what the score is.”last_img read more

Christopher Krebs Hasn’t Been Fired, Yet

first_img– Advertisement – Mr. Krebs’s team worked with states to scan and patch systems for vulnerabilities, lock up voter registration databases and voter rolls, change default passwords, turn on two-factor authentication, and print out paper backups, all to build up “resilience” in case of attack. He was protecting, he said, “the crown jewels of election administration.”When the pandemic upended everything, Mr. Krebs’s team shifted focus to securing vote-by-mail systems, despite the president’s campaign again them. That was when Mr. Krebs’s agency got in the White House’s cross hairs.- Advertisement – In interviews, Mr. Krebs countered Mr. Trump by saying mail-in voting would make the election more secure by creating a paper trail, critical for audits to establish that every legal ballot was correctly counted.It also made state registration databases more critical: an attack that froze or sabotaged voter-registration data — by switching addresses, marking registered voters as unregistered or deleting voters entirely — risked mass digital disenfranchisement. Mr. Krebs made it his personal mission to see to it that every last registration database was sealed up.When Mr. Trump called mail-in voting a “fraud” in his televised debate with Mr. Biden, now the president-elect, in September, Mr. Krebs contradicted the president at every turn, again without mentioning his name.- Advertisement –center_img “We’ve got a lot of confidence that the ballot’s as secure as it’s ever been,” Mr. Krebs told any reporter who asked.On Election Day, Mr. Krebs and senior officials held briefings with reporters every few hours to apprise them of any threats. Chad Wolf, the secretary of homeland security, a Trump loyalist and Mr. Krebs’s boss, even appeared at one to praise Mr. Krebs’s work. Despite small hiccups, Mr. Krebs reassured journalists that there was no major foreign interference or signs of systemic fraud.“It’s just another Tuesday on the internet,” he said.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Oba of Lagos, others set for Kings College 100 years Inter House Sports

first_imgRelatedPosts King’s College solicits FG support infrastructure for renewal Finalists emerge for GTBank Master’s Cup Kings’ College holds leadership session for graduating students The Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akinolu, and others are set to witness the 100 years Inter House Sports of Kings College on Saturday this week. Others to grace the occasion include the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Sommy  S.T. Echono; Chairman, Sports Connect Consultancy Limited, Dr. Kweku Adedayo Tandoh; Director, Basic and Secondary, Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja and Chairman, School Based Management Committee, Alhaji Jani Ibrahim. The Director and Principal of Kings College, Lagos, Andrew Agada, who confirmed the development, said: “Sports is important for the proper education of the youth and future leaders of the nation, which Kings College stands for. “It inculcates the virtues of team spirit, emphasises acceptance of rules and ensuring fairness for all. “It keeps them fully occupied outside the classrooms and so they are less available for cultism and other negative activities, which may impair their progress. “It is also an avenue for students to relax after series of academic (brain) work. “As the saying goes: all work and no play makes jack a dull boy.”Preparation Agada said: “Staff and students have been on their toes in the last four months in spite   of the tight schedules occasioned by National competitions, which have just been concluded. “Staff at different committee levels and even parents took it upon themselves with courage and determination to put the event of the 100th edition of the Inter House sports   together. “We have extended invitation to some eminent Nigerians and even the old Boys of the College. Importance Agada said: “Students in school learn to live together irrespective of tribe, religion, and diverse culture. “Sport remains a unifying factor. “Sports also give the youths training in leadership and National Unity. “A nation whose youths are regularly occupied think less of cultism and other vices, which may impede national/personal progress.Achievements Agada said: “History had it that 1920 was a major milestone in the history of sports in King’s College. “The  years between 1920 and 1970 can be described as a Golden Era of Sports in King’s College. “Students broke records in the school and the Country. “The college was also instrumental to the establishment of Athletics Association in Nigeria in 1944. “There were competitions in all four major sports, that is Athletics, Cricket, Football and Hokey. “However, the inter house Athletics competition was one of the biggest sporting events   in the College Sporting Calendar. “From this event, so many talents were discovered, nurtured and made to represent  Nigeria, among whom was late Alhaji A.K. Amu, who in his lifetime occupied various important positions in the field of sports. “For example, he was one time Director of Sports in the Old Bendel State and member of Top Management at the National Institute for Sports in Lagos State. “Alhaji Femi Okunnu (SAN), another Old Boy, represented the country in various athletics events.”Problems Agada said: “The major problem is the lack of funds to provide equipment and upgrade the existing facilities to meet up with the ever increasing population of the college. “Inadequate human and material resources. “Lack of space is another challenge coupled with loaded curriculum. “There is therefore need for government and other stakeholders like corporate bodies, captains of industries to come to the aid of many yet to be identified talented youths of Nigeria that are in our college.Tags: Adedayo TandohJani Ibrahimkings collegeRilwan AkinoluSommy Echonolast_img read more

Belichick: Playing multiple QBs an option this season

first_imgLast Updated: 20th August, 2020 08:58 IST Belichick: Playing Multiple QBs An Option This Season Bill Belichick said he’s open to using a two-quarterback system this season, another example of how radically different the New England Patriots could look after Tom Brady’s departure WATCH US LIVE Associated Press Television News COMMENT Bill Belichick said he’s open to using a two-quarterback system this season, another example of how radically different the New England Patriots could look after Tom Brady’s departure.Belichick was asked about platooning his quarterbacks before Wednesday’s practice. The longtime coach acknowledged he was considering the possibility, and the Patriots later used all three of their QBs during a single scrimmage series.“I always say I’ll do what I think is best for the team, what gives us the best chance to win,” Belichick said about the prospect of rotating quarterbacks. “Whatever that is, I would certainly consider that.”The three quarterbacks competing to be Brady’s successor — Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer — have different, and perhaps complementary, skill sets.At 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds, Newton possesses size, athleticism and running ability along with an arm that accounted for 35 touchdown passes during his 2015 MVP season.Hoyer has the most experience in the Patriots’ offense. He’s back for this third stint in New England after twice serving as Brady’s backup.Stidham has youth and potential, having beaten out Hoyer as a rookie last season to be Brady’s No. 2. His quick grasp of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ system is exciting to the coaching staff.Playing to Brady’s strengths, the Patriots lined up with one running back, one tight end and three receivers — known as the 11 personnel grouping — more than 50% of the time last season.Belichick said using multiple quarterbacks could lend itself to different formations.“If it’s run an unbalanced line or double-unbalanced line or 23 personnel (two RBs, three tight ends) or whatever it is,” he said. “If it helps us win, then I would consider anything.”Assuming he’s fully recovered from offseason foot surgery, Newton’s mobility is something McDaniels said would be a new tool for him.“It’s certainly not something I’m accustomed to using a great deal but you use whatever the strengths of your players that are on the field allow you to use, to try to move the ball and score points,” he said.McDaniels likened it to the different body types and skills of the Patriots’ receivers and tight ends over the years, from bigger targets like Randy Moss and Rob Gronkowski to smaller ones such as Wes Welker and Danny Amendola.“Regardless of what the position is, I think you try to use their strengths to allow them to make good plays,” McDaniels said.While rotating QBs might seem like a difficult adjustment for the rest of the offense, running back James White said it’s in keeping with how New England has approached things during his six seasons.“I think coach McDaniels does a great job of being creative and dialing up new things to the strength of the players that he has,” White said. “It doesn’t matter what year it is, we always add new things to the offense and try to help us do our best out there and try to perform the best each and every week.“Sometimes it can be for a certain opponent or for a certain player on our offense. … He’s a creative mind and each year we’re going to add new things that’s going to help us succeed.”Image credits: AP FOLLOW UScenter_img First Published: 20th August, 2020 08:58 IST SUBSCRIBE TO US LIVE TV Written Bylast_img read more