August 2023 | Marc Resteghini AB '99

by Laura Frustaci

Marc Resteghini AB '99 in 2023 established his own production company – Jack Tar Pictures – at Amazon Studios, with an overall deal in television and a first look deal in film. Previously, Marc spent more than eight years helping to build Amazon Studios, most recently serving as the US's Global Head of TV Development, where he led an organization of approximately 50 people and oversaw the development and production of all new US/Global scripted, unscripted and animation television content for Amazon's Prime Video Service.  Prior to assuming this position in February 2021, Marc served in various capacities at Amazon, including Head of Drama television, Head of Current Drama Programming and as a senior executive in the Drama department.  During his tenure as an executive at Amazon, Marc developed and oversaw hundreds of hours of content, including such shows as: THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL, Tom Clancy's JACK RYAN, THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, REACHER, SWARM, DEAD RINGERS, THE TERMINAL LIST, OUTER RANGE, DAISY JONES AND THE SIX, THEM, THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, GOLIATH, PATRIOT, Lizzo’s WATCH OUT FOR THE BIG GRRRLS, THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY, THE LEGEND OF VOX MACHINA, SWARM AND DR. SEUSS BAKING CHALLENGE. Marc’s programming has been the recipient of 25 Emmys, 4 Golden Globes, and countless other nominations and awards. He has worked closely with some of the most significant and innovative talent in entertainment, including Josh Brolin, Donald Glover, Barry Jenkins, John Krasinski, Jonah Nolan, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Plan B Entertainment, Chris Pratt, the Russo Bros., and Billy Bob Thornton. Prior to joining Amazon Studios in 2014, Marc shepherded more than a dozen feature films over the course of 15 years, serving as an executive at 20th Century Fox and as a producer with DreamWorks based Parkes/MacDonald Productions and Warner Bros. Marc graduated Cum Laude from Harvard University with a bachelor's degree in English Literature.

Marc Resteghini AB ‘99 has played the role of both producer and executive for both film and television, most recently as Head of US Series Development at Amazon Studios. After stepping away from the executive ranks, he’s now excited to be delving back into producing with a film and television deal at Amazon. But let’s back up to the very beginning of Marc’s career. Marc became interested in development the way many college students discover their passion: by doing an internship. “I was really interested in entertainment, I watched a lot of TV, but I was not aware of or well-versed in career paths in entertainment,” Marc recalls. “I didn’t understand what went into the filmmaking process. But I found my first internship with the Princeton Review through the Television Academy (The Emmy Organization) and it’s still offered today. They partner with host companies in Hollywood, across a range of categories, including screenwriting, directing and development. I read the blurb of what development was: look for story ideas in magazines, read books for adaptation, work with screenwriters. That sounded really interesting.” 

With a degree in English from Harvard, Marc was poised for success. He enjoyed his internship so much he moved to LA right after graduation and got a second internship through a Harvard connection. Although, as Marc puts it, “There wasn’t corporate recruiting for entertainment at Harvard,” the school still aided his career path in more abstract ways. “As an English major, understanding storytelling and literature and writing and being a good succinct communicator was helpful,” Marc explains. “The interactions with peers and professors were great preparation to work with artists who are really intelligent and have strong opinions. And there’s a curiosity that pervades the Harvard culture that is also really important to success in the entertainment industry. It’s always about thinking around the corner.” 

After his second internship, Marc worked as an assistant for several years, before becoming a creative executive for Denise Di Novi (who, among other things, produced HEATHERS and numerous Tim Burton films, including EDWARD SCISSORHANDS and THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS). Then Marc moved on to 20th Century Fox as an executive, and later he oversaw film development and production for husband-and-wife producing team Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, who helped found DreamWorks Films. After such success in film, Marc found a new challenge in television. He started at Amazon Studios when there were just 30 employees, and helped build it into the entertainment powerhouse it is today. His work at Amazon culminated in overseeing all of U.S. and Global TV development. 

While at Amazon, Marc helped push through Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning show THE MARVELOUS MRS MAISEL, of which he says he is the proudest. “It was a joyful show that also had a really resonant message,” Marc says. Marc is also particularly proud of OUTER RANGE, a science fiction western, which he calls “incredibly innovative and imaginative and unique”, as well as Barry Jenkins’ excellent adaptation of Colson Whitehead AB '91’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD.  

Throughout his career, Marc has gone back and forth with experience acting as both producer and executive. “I’m back now on the producing side, which means I have fewer projects but I’m more hands-on,” Marc notes. “From his time in the industry, Marc has collected some wisdom that he generously shared: “I’m a firm believer that the best entertainment has some element of risk to it, and has to innovate, and yet you have to make sure you’re offsetting those risks. I’ve learned the importance of taking calculated risks.”

But what makes good television, that’s worth taking those risks, in Marc’s eyes? “I look to answer a few questions,” Marc says. “Why this show now? What is it about a show that has some resonance to the current world that we’re living in? And it doesn’t mean the show has to be issue-oriented. It can purely be escapist, because post-pandemic that’s valuable to audiences.” Marc also asks himself why the creator or filmmaker is the right person to tell that particular story, and why at this point in their career is it the right time to tell it.

Of course, there are also certain skills that make Marc so successful in his work. “Communication is really important– with talent, being able to be direct and succinct and clear in expressing your point of view, but being respectful as well,” Marc explains. “Communication internally, when you have people working under you, being able to communicate a vision, express the needs of the company. Problem solving is also really important because as producer and executive, you’re putting out fires constantly. And conflict resolution is really important. Artists and studios can have really strong, and differing, opinions and sometimes you have to reconcile those.” And the final, most important thing? Marc had just two words to conclude: “Creative passion.” 

Having all of those skills will certainly set one up for success in the industry, but Marc had additional words of advice for those seeking to follow a similar career path. “If there is anything else that you see yourself doing, do that instead,” Marc laughs. “You have to really want a career in entertainment because it is daunting and hard. There is no set career path. As I look at classmates and friends and their journeys, there are much more linear career paths. In entertainment, you could do A and B and never get to C. It will depend on luck, relationships, and being at the right place at the right time. There will be a lot of highs and lows, and oftentimes, the success you have or the feeling of achievement is not always in your control.” So, accept controlling what you can and relinquish trying to control what you cannot. And, above all, make sure you really want it. And in classic English degree fashion, Marc imparted this last piece of advice about development in the entertainment industry: “As equally important as watching movies and watching television shows, is reading great literature.”

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