Mark Lester: El Modena Alum

Mark Lester has been pretty successful since graduating from El Modena

Lester+laughing+on+set+with+actors+for+commercial.

Photo courtesy of Mark Lester

Lester laughing on set with actors for commercial.

  Mark Lester graduated from El Modena in 2007. Since then, Lester has graduated from UCLA and been busy making it big in LA. He has made many short films, commercials, and even started his own production company with his friends.

  Mark Lester has not forgotten much about his time at El Mo. However, his stand-out memories are of filming comedy sketches at lunch with his friends. As for Homecoming, the highlight of his first and only Homecoming dance was during his senior year, which was getting to dance with a “human girl” (albeit platonically).

  When asked on how El Modena prepared him for life, Lester said he didn’t realize how much El Mo had prepared him till he got to college. He mentioned Mr. Benner, who made him fall in love with history, and Ms. Kim, who taught him the meaninglessness of life and how to write like an adult. Lester also said he loved the diversity of El Mo and that, “It wasn’t the 80’s movie universe of jocks vs. nerds… everyone was a social ambassador and you could move between your weirdo friends, sports friends, musician friends, and science olympiad friends.”

  Lester’s inspiration for his career? Making a 70-minute video for his AP Biology class with his friends sophomore year. He found that he not only loved creating things, but that filmmaking was, “literally the most fun thing in the world.”

  While completing UCLA’s undergraduate film program, Lester started making comedy sketches for MTV and created the short film “Orange Drive.” He spent most of his time shooting and editing videos, as well as watching “as many movies as humanly possible.” After graduating, he bounced around freelance jobs doing animation, cinematography, directing, editing, anything. Then, he created Beautimus, a small production company, with three of his friends. They make everything “as long as it’s funny and a little weird.”

  Today, Lester does a bunch of work for Lego and Warner Bros., like commercials, writing, consultation work, and more. He and his friend successfully pitched an idea for a Lego Movie based on their love of history, which Warner Bros. bought. They’ve been developing the idea ever since, and it could possibly make theatres in 2021, if the Lego movies remain popular.

  To all aspiring filmmakers and directors, he says,”throw yourself into new and interesting experiences. How can you tell stories if nothing has happened to you? If you’re afraid of something, face it. Humiliation and failure is just as useful as happiness and success when it comes to creating captivating films. Also, take advantage of your resources at El Mo and in college. This is your life and your time. Get your hands on whatever you can to do the thing you love.”

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