In This Podcast Episode
Rob McNealy interviews entertainment entrepreneur and lawyer, Harvey Harrison of Burning Shorts, on interactive digital entertainment media and viral video.
Harvey Harrison’s Bio
Harvey Harrison, a native of Los Angeles, grew up with dual citizenship in Venice Beach and Silverlake/Rampart, two “colorful” areas of the city. After graduation from Yale with a degree in philosophy and a JD degree from Stanford Law School, Harvey practiced entertainment law under the masterful training of Dixon Q. Dern at Dern, Mason, and Floum. Among clients with whom Harvey worked was Chuck Jones.
He began his work as a literary and packaging agent at the Sy Fischer Company/Agency which represented companies like Hanna Barbera as well as individual writer-producer-director talent like Garry Marshall.
During this time and by 1982, Harvey experienced the “digital epiphany”, and represented game designers and companies. He has been a pioneer in the effort to advance the digital arts since that early start until the present. Profiled in Newsweek, MSNBC/Wall Street Journal Online, San Francisco Chronicle, and the Los Angeles Times for this effort, Harvey was praised by Newsweek for his “boyish enthusiasm” and “his strategy to win the hearts and minds” of prospective clients.
In the mid 80s, Harvey served as President of the world acclaimed Japanese based animation company TMS Entertainment, with the mission to produce for the US market. When he started, TMS had not yet directly supplied programming to any US outlet. When he concluded at TMS approximately two years later, TMS had produced or was committed to produce 194 half hour animated episodes either directly or subcontract for US clients such as CBS, Disney, and Universal.
After nearly a thousand television series episodes and several movies at Sy Fischer Co and TMS, Harvey joined the “studio side” as Vice President, Business Affairs, for Tri-Star Television and, then, following the merger, in that capacity at Columbia Pictures Television.
Harvey returned to agenting for a number of joyful and productive years with the elite Jim Preminger Agency. While all Harvey’s agency work has been in live action motion pictures and television as well as animated and digital media, his increasing involvement with the latter inspired him to found Catalyst Agency, Inc., in 1996, which he runs currently.
During this period, Harvey continued the earlier practice of representing companies as well as individual talents. Company clients include/included Rhythm & Hues (interactive and art divisions), Cyan (Myst, Riven), and Dangerously Adorable Productions (Fear of Girls online comedy series). Individual client include Everett Peck creator/producer of Duckman, the enduring television series favorite, and creator/executive producer of Squirrel Boy the series recently launched by Cartoon Network as well as Alexandra Dreyfus, star of online hit series Lonelygirl-15.
Harvey’s work as a pioneer in digital media extends beyond entertainment. In response to their need, Harvey advised the department of psychiatry and the related Neuropsychiatric Institute (now the Jane & Terry SEMEL INSTITUTE for Neuroscience & Human Behavior) at UCLA regarding distribution of its educational content in digital media. As a result of this consultancy, the department invited Harvey to join the faculty; he serves as lecturer in the department of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at UCLA (appointed 2000-2008).
Beyond the media and while Harvey does not practice entertainment law, he donated pro bono services as a volunteer attorney in the juvenile division of the Office of the Public Defender, Ventura County, focusing on school placement issues, or, as he describes his efforts, “from Juvenile to School Hall”. This service has led to his teaching at the Juvenile Facility in Oxnard, California.
Harvey is married to Jeanne Harrison, a businessperson, and they have two children: David, a graduate of USC who currently works for MTV Networks, and Rebecca, a student at Agoura High School.