Jon Macht: From Hagerstown to Hollywood
Hagerstown native Jon Macht started his career in newspapers before going to TV, radio and eventually film. (Submitted photo / January 25, 2013)
Wanting to get involved with the school, Macht met Don Schroeder, a Vietnam veteran who had returned to school, and was working on a student film with Tim Kring (who eventually would be behind the NBC TV series "Heroes."). Macht ended up working on the film with the pair.
And when Macht reapplied to USC, and was accepted, he found that Schroeder had weight with the admissions committee. Finally, Macht was on his way by being an official USC student.
"And there I began to really learn to be a screenwriter (with) directing and cinemotography and editing," he said.
Making his way
While at USC, Macht made a movie called "Homecoming."
"It was the only time my mom and dad came out to see me in California for a special screening of my movie," he said.
Because USC has an impressive pedigree of alumni who are known in Hollywood, Macht's storyboards got in front of Howard Kazanjian, producer of "Return of the Jedi."
Macht was asked to meet with him at Universal Studios.
"I wasn't sure if it wasn't my friends playing a gag on me," he said.
There he met Kazanjian, who Macht said told him, "I think you have some talent and should be working for Lucasfilm."
Kazanjian set Macht up with an interview at Lucasfilm, but they didn't have any jobs to offer him at the time. He met people at Industrial Light & Magic, who did many of George Lucas' special effects.
But Macht needed a job and met with Gareth Hughes, executive at Universal Studios.
"He said, 'I'm told you're going to make movies with us one day,'" Macht said. "I said, 'Yeah, but I need a job now. I'll do anything on the lot."
He did get a job — a seating host at the Universal Studios restaurant.
Macht said he looked at it that he received a paycheck with the studio's name on it and made him eligible for jobs on the lot. It was his first official Hollywood job.
Eventually, Macht met David Weitzner, was making a move from Universal Studios to become president at 20th Century Fox. He was the one who got a job for Macht on the advertising floor at Universal. There, Macht's job was setting up test screenings for such movies as "Fletch" and "Brewster's Millions."
Macht admitted he didn't want to be in advertising, but he saw it has an opportunity and was working at the Universal Studio lot.
"I didn't want to be in advertising," he said. "But you get to know people. And when you get to know people, you find your way in."
Special effects and Stallone