Actor and film producer Zac Weinstein, 28, might live in Los Angeles now, but he’ll always call Owings Mills home. The Owings Mills High School graduate recently returned to his old stomping grounds, the AMC Theaters in Owings Mills, for a screening of his new film “Crypto,” which he both acted in and produced.
Before moving to L.A. and starting his production company Dynasty Pictures, Weinstein spent some time performing theatre and comedy in New York City, and had his hand in just about any kind of business you can imagine.
Now that he’s settled in L.A., he looks forward to becoming involved in its Jewish community.
How did you get into filmmaking?
I actually first got into business with my stepfather doing facility maintenance work. I learned a lot about business, but I just wasn’t happy so I started to look for other things to get involved in and be excited about. I got involved with a champagne company; got involved with some tech opportunities; tried to get involved in some medical marijuana opportunities — I was all over the place.
I’d acted a little as a kid, and always said one day I would be an actor. I was on vacation and I read a quote that said, “Overworking for something you don’t want is stress; overworking for something you love is passion.”
At what point did producing come along?
A lot of my good friends who had been acting for a long time kept saying, “My manager could be doing this,” or “My agent could be doing this,” and I thought, if I’m going to act I have to produce. I couldn’t really wait, I had to create. All filmmakers go to Sundance Film Festival, so I bought a ticket and went. By the end of the first night I had an itinerary for the whole week and at the end of the week I knew I was doing the right thing with the right people at the time.
I had the chance to make a movie out in L.A. so I got in my car and drove out there, and been there ever since. I started my company Dynasty Pictures almost two years ago.
What’s the benefit of acting and producing?
You can bring more to the table. I’m very confident in my acting, but at the same time I don’t want to be one of those people that is going to auditions for 20 years before I get my big break. I can bring more to the table than only my acting abilities. I have an entrepreneurial brain, I have a business mind, so I use that. If I audition for a role and not only am a fit for the role, but I can also help you get your movie made, why wouldn’t you want that guy on your team?
Tell us about “Crypto.”
We just had our L.A. premiere on April 8; our New York premiere on April 12; and a screening for my friends and family at the AMC in Owings Mills April 16, which was awesome. I auditioned for a role, and I didn’t book it at that point but I got a call back and asked the producers, “What do you need? How can I help?” I just tried to bring value. I found their needs and my partner and I spearheaded it and brought some equity into the picture, and we were able to help in more ways than one. So I got to not only act in the movie, but I got to be one of the executive producers.
Do you prefer stage acting or screen acting?
I love acting in general. Performing is a high. It’s an amazing feeling. I get off stage or I get off camera and I feel like a child, like shaking with excitement. That’s more what I get out of it.
What’s your favorite thing to do back in Baltimore?
Just to see my family. That’s everything. My family is at that point where everyone’s cranking out babies. Between my cousins and my brothers we have seven babies now, and six of them came in the last 11 months. Our family is growing very quickly, and when I’m here I’m surrounded by babies so it’s great.