My name is Jonathan Hess. I like to write and tell stories—generally in the form of screenplays, though sometimes I just like to write jokes—and to perform wacky things on live stages.
I've studied at NYU Tisch where I earned a degree in Film and TV Production, at the BBC in London, where I also interned in their Comedy Department, and I take classes in improv and sketch comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York.
45 seconds of immortality that took 6 gallons of chocolate syrup 7 days to film, transformed the horror film to a new level. Psycho (1960)
After I saw this movie, and more specifically this scene, I knew I wanted to direct movies. My goals and tastes have changed a lot since then, but my appreciation for this masterpiece is profoundly constant in my life and in my thoughts as a filmmaker.
In case I don’t get to write my planned longer blog post later (I’m out of the country with limited wifi and will be on a plane later) I just wanted to say thanks to all of my amazing friends and role models, and to my family, for making 2012 the best, most positive and eye opening year I’ve had in recent memory.
I am now deeply entrenched—balls deep—in my dreams and career ambitions, knowing exactly what I want to be doing in life, with at least a loose idea of how to get there. And you know what? I think I can—I really do.
And I couldn’t have done it without you guys. Hard work is definitely the biggest personal part of the journey, but the support you’ve all given me through words of encouragement, coming to see shows, or welcoming me into the amazing UCB and TCGS communities that I’ve joined this year is what has kept me going.
Ok, turns out this post is plenty long. I’m going to write a new one ASAP that just names names, I think, but for now, if you’re reading this know that you have my sincere and eternal gratitude and that I wish you the happiest new year ever.
"Traffic Control Division"
My final project for Sight and Sound: Studio at NYU Tisch School of the Arts
I was just on the phone with my dad, talking to him about a recent compliment I’d gotten from my editing professor. It gave me a moment of reflection on what I now deem a really great semester.
This semester has been an incredible confidence booster for me—something that I’ve really needed.
Through all of the encouragement, advice, and notes that I’ve gotten from my writing professor and from my classmates, I am slowly becoming more confident and more comfortable in my own skin as a screenwriter—this is totally new for me.
The same holds true for me, as an editor. I’ve always been fairly confident in my skills as a film editor but this semester has allowed me to branch off as a more marketable editor. I have begun to take on a LOT more independent projects, with the possibility of one or more features, and that feels really good! The best part is that a lot of these projects have sought ME out and not vice versa! So, not only do I believe in myself as an editor, but others do as well!
As a director, I’ve always been confident that because it’s what I want to do for a living, I can use that passion and determination to communicate my artistic vision to a cast and crew. However, just because I feel that way doesn’t mean that everything I make will be good. Believe it or not, Sight and Sound: Studio has made me feel more confident as a director (and as a comedy writer…sort of). I know that what I made in that class is good and that it is funny and knowing that I directed it, that I translated my artistic and comedic visions from my head (and from the head of my writing partner) to the page and then to a cast and crew is so exciting. I can happily say that I am now a much more confident director.
Comedy! This has nothing to do with NYU but since January, I’ve been taking improv classes at the UCB Theatre. I’m almost finished with my 201 class and I absolutely love it. Seriously, improv (and comedy as a whole) is a drug and I am a proud addict. I’ve always liked to think of myself as funny but until 2012, I’ve spent a lot of time second guessing myself. I’ve still got way more to learn in the ways of becoming a comedian but I can say that, if nothing else, I am much more confident in my abilities to make people laugh and to improvise a series of scenes.
None of these things are meant with any tone of arrogance. I know that there’s way more for me to learn as a writer, editor, director and improviser (one day comedian, I hope). I still need to work on honing my comedic AND dramatic voices, I need to get more experience cutting more high-profile/feature length material, I need to get out there and just make more movies, and I need to keep practicing and keep LEARNING comedy if I’m ever going to make my comedic dreams come true!
I need to keep practicing and learning about all of these things if I’m ever going to make any of my dreams come true. That said, I’m feeling really good and really confident about my progress this year. I’m glad I had that reflection.
Sorry, I know that was long…if you read all the way, thank you and congratulations.