*This blog was published when Jesse won his fourth consecutive Emmy, last year. It has been updated to include his fifth win.
Five-time Emmy Award-winning editor Jesse Averna, SVA Film ’08, has his dream job — playing with monsters at Sesame Street. Here, he has some advice for students heading to film school.
For the Love of Monsters
A message to the incoming Freshmen:
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about inspiration. The films that inspired me to want to be a part of the film/tv process. I love working with someone on a project and finding out that his or her personal canon of inspirational films is completely different from my own. We’ve each had our own unique journey through cinema, and yet it led us to the same point.
What inspired me — what gave me the itch to make films and tv — are the monsters and creatures. It’s the time travelers and the star trekkers. It’s the mogwai, the rancor, the Skeksis, the orcs, and Kuato. Just the thought of something made by Phil Tippett, or Richard Taylor gives me that inspirational feeling. When I think about truly great cinema, I think of that feeling. Jurassic Park, Tim Burton’s Batman, Ghostbusters, Goonies, The Never Ending Story, Little Shop of Horrors, Labyrinth, A New Hope, Army of Darkness. Even today, when given the choice between, say, The Master or Pacific Rim, I’ll choose giant robots beating on giant monsters every time.
Now, I am fortunate enough to get to play with monsters everyday at Sesame Street. That’s what’s great about this business; it is as diverse as the films that inspire us to be a part of it.
As you head to film school in the fall, think about those films that led you here. Really define what it is that gets you excited about cinema. Don’t be intimidated by that student who keeps quoting Goddard or teacher who calls Hitchcock, by his first name as if he knows him personally. Don’t resist the films that others will introduce you to, but be proud of the body of films that inspired you to come here. All of these films are masterpieces in their own right. It’s the critics and Academy’s job to judge. I’ll be too busy watching the new Hobbit trailer frame by frame.
So, what are your favorite films?