Ron Avni Looks in Many Different Directions
Ron Avni CLASS OF 1998
In the spring of his junior year, Ron Avni '98 decided to take the semester off to see what Hollywood had in store for him. With no real connections or concrete plans, he hopped into a car with his best friend from Yale, and the two drove to Los Angeles together.
"Coming to L.A. was like landing on the moon," Avni says. "People even talk differently... I think principally it's crazy."
Avni says his experience in L.A. provided him with an unparalleled opportunity to learn about various aspects of the film industry and to meet people he otherwise never would have met.
While in L.A., Avni accepted a number of odd jobs, the most exciting of which, he says, was working for Lynda Obst, a bigname Hollywood producer whose credits include The Fisher King and Sleepless in Seattle.
"She's an awesome woman. Working in her office was a great glimpse of the total mayhem of Hollywood," Avni says.
Avni did everything from reading scripts to pawing through head shots while in Hollywood, but the varying demands of these jobs fit well with his unusual life at Harvard. No typical theater person, Avni took a job in consulting for the fall and is busy trying to decide whether to continue studying his academic love and undergraduate major: physics.
Writing and Directing
While in L.A. Avni began writing his first play. Eventually he was able to present one of his works, Taxula Blastula, in front of the Harvard community.
"My writing tends to be wacked out. It's important to me that all the stuff I write and produce is accessible, fun and entertaining, but at the same time it's important to me that it has the edge of being true to life and therefore meaningful to me and...hopefully meaningful to other people," Avni says.
Avni's interest in the entertainment industry began at Brookline High School, a place he says has an amazing theater program. While in high school, Avni was mostly involved with acting.
By the time he got to college, Avni continued to do some acting, but also began to write and direct. After working as a director for Calling it Rape and The Real Inspector Hound, Avni says that directing is one of the aspects of theater that holds a particular appeal for him.
"Directing is a little bit more of what I like to do. I like to come up with a vision and try to recreate it as an experience for the spectator," he says.
Appropriately, Avni says his favorite experience in Hollywood was the work he did with camera crews on movie sets, seeing precisely what it takes to put together a scene, frame by frame.
"It's really counterintuitive, especially how a few seconds are shot at a time and actors have to snap in and out of acting mode...It's very different from stage acting. There's no continuity whatsoever," Avni says.
With all this creative experience under his wing, some might expect that Avni would head straight to L.A. after graduation, but he is still unsure of what he wants to do in the future.
In fact, Avni decided to become a physics major because he enjoyed the subject so much in high school. He worked as part of a particle physics collaboration in college and although he is still considering pursuing physics professionally, for now he has decided to work as a consultant in New York for Oliver Wyman.
"I need to separate myself from physics in order to see if I want to go to grad school--to see if I want to pursue physics and see if the little voice in me says `go do physics,'" Avni says.
Although Avni knows that intertwining his interest in the theater, physics and consulting would be almost impossible and that he will ultimately have to sacrifice some of his interests to pursue one field, he is in no hurry to make that decision.
"I definitely need more time to sit back and explore...see more of what goes on in the world," Avni says.