Marc Weinberg: the man, the myth, the legend

March 13, 2020

Professor Marc Weinberg has been teaching at Brandeis since 2005 and has taught various classes in film production. He currently teaches ENG 79A (Screenwriting Workshop: Beginning Screenplay), ENG 139B (Screenwriting Workshop: Intermediate Screenplay) and ENG 149A (Screenwriting Workshop: Writing for Television). He previously taught FILM 100A (Introduction to the Moving Image). One of Weinberg’s most memorable experiences at Brandeis was one summer in which he and twelve of his students created a short film. First, each of the students wrote a script for the film and one script was ultimately chosen. Then the students shot and edited the film and created a complete movie.

As a professor, Weinberg enjoys large classes due to the fact that he really enjoys making students laugh and the more students there are in class, the more laughter will be present. He plays games with his students in class in order to make them laugh. For example, Weinberg explains that the number of excuses people have given for why they can’t turn in work or can’t come to class is uncanny. Over the years he has tallied up the excuses and created a “Family Feud” game for his students to play. On the first day of class, he divides the class into teams and the students guess the various excuses that people give for not coming to class or not turning in work. One of the examples he gives is people saying that they overslept, however, the earliest class he teaches is at 2 p.m. Other people have told him that they emailed him the work but he didn’t get it. 

In addition to this “Family Feud” game, he creates many other games to try to get people to think about film. One example is the “Complete the Story” game. Weinberg gives the students a feature film and gives them parts of the plot, but does not reveal the whole story. As a result, the students are forced to figure out where the story goes and, as a result, what the director is trying to accomplish. 

Outside of being a professor, Weinberg has worked in the entertainment industry as a writer. He explains that at one point in his career while he was living in L.A. he and his wife were hired by A&E to write the script for a movie about the magician Harry Houdini. As they were writing the script, Weinberg and his wife had access to all of Houdini’s personal files in which he explained how he performed his magic acts as an escape artist. Weinberg describes how it was really cool to be able to see into the mind of a magician. Weinberg explains that he really enjoys working with his wife due to the fact that they work well together and help each other when they are experiencing writer’s block. He highlights how “that’s one of the greatest joys of working in the entertainment industry” in an interview with The Brandeis Hoot.

While working in the entertainment industry, one lesson Weinberg learned was the fact that the entertainment industry is a business. Weinberg explains that superhero movies, for example, are made because they make a lot of money and studios need the money in order to survive. The entertainment industry requires a give and take relationship. It requires collaboration due to the fact that films are very expensive to make. Individuals have to be willing to be team players. 

Weinberg has had many students work in the entertainment industry after taking a class with him. Weinberg also teaches at Emerson College and Boston University. He explains that many students enroll as film students and believe that they are ready to make a movie when, in reality, they have so much to learn. He describes how it’s a thrill to see how many of his students have gone into the entertainment industry. He advises many students to do an internship in California to see if they enjoy working in this industry. 

Many of Weinberg’s former students have gone on to work at world-renowned studios and receive various accolades. Josh Gondelman ’07 won multiple Emmys while working with John Oliver. Gondelman is also a successful stand-up comedian and is one of the head writers on “Desus and Mero.” Joey Hartstone ’05 has written two feature films with Rob Reiner, the director of “The Princess Bride.” Many of Weinberg’s students have become producers, worked at networks or worked on casting TV shows. Weinberg highlights how watching people find their passion is “a real joy” and “it’s a real pleasure teaching at Brandeis” due to the fact that students here are “inquisitive, passionate and open minded.”

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