EXCLUSIVE: Some of Hollywood’s Harvard veterans are helping out scribes from their top tier alma mater find their voices and perhaps become Tinseltown’s future.
Harvardwood today announced the winners of its Writers Competition winners and Most Staffable TV List (see the full list below)
The 18-year old program aims to connect talented scribes from the venerable Ivy League college with studios, networks and agencies. To that end, this year sees industry leaders working as one-on-one mentors with the aspiring and varied writers, who also receive cash prizes. “Harvardwood has strived to support new voices in the industry, and we are proud to see those efforts reflected in our competition winners,” program President Allison Kiessling told Deadline Thursday, noting that many of this year’s winners come from underrepresented communities.
Among the 2021 mentors are Harvard alum 20th Century Fox TV boss Carolyn Cassidy, Sherman’s Showcase’s Diallo Riddle, and Veep and White House Plumbers EP David Mandel. Other mentors are Michael Colton (writer-producer, Home Economics, Close Enough), Nancy Cotton (EVP Scripted, EPIX), Adam Fratto (VP Scripted, History Channel), Mynette Louie (producer, I Carry You With Me, Swallow) Colleen McGuinness (writer-producer, Stargirl, Ramy) Jordan Reddout (writer-producer, Mixed-ish, Will and Grace), Jeff Schaffer (writer-producer, Dave, Curb Your Enthusiasm) Thania St. John (writer-producer, Project Blue Book) and Patric Verrone (writer-producer, Disenchanted, Futurama)
The idea is the mentors will not only help the Harvard graduating winning writers with their work, but also offer guidance on agency representation and access to production companies. In the past, this approach has resulted in pilot sales to the likes of Netflix, Syfy, ABC, Sony, the CW, Disney+, Jim Henson Company, Showtime, and TV Land, as well as blind script deals at ABC Studios and Warner Bros.
Also, the already elite Harvardwood winners, voted on by panels of industry pros, have been staffed on a wide-ranging number of shows such as Netflix’s Bridgerton Showtime’s Billions, OWN’s Queen Sugar, ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder, AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead and the CW’s Jane the Virgin, to name but a few in past years. So, as we all know in H’wood, having a good connect is a good way to see a door or two open.
“Harvardwood thanks our outstanding mentors and panel of industry judges for their time and effort in helping develop new voices and diverse perspectives in film and television,” noted Harvardwood founder Mia Riverton Alpert. “We are thrilled by the high quality of work that continues to emerge from this program.”
Check out the full list of winners here, you’ll likely see their names again:
“CHERRY HILL BLUES” – Shay Ball
“THE BURDEN OF JAMIE MILNER” – Ty Turley
Winners (tied for first place):
– “GAS N’ SHOP” by Rupak Ginn and Amar Shah
– “SHROOMS” by Min-Woo Park
“BOONE” by Katherine Hart
HARVARDWOOD’S MOST STAFFABLE WRITER:
“LOST CAUSE’ by Jared Lopez