Since the age of seven, Jack Hackett ’14 wanted to work in film. In Upper School at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, he was always in the film room, channeling his creativity into one project or another.
He did step outside the film room to play varsity golf and to participate in the Model United Nations team. He also was a member of National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society and Cum Laude.
Accepted at his dream school, University of Southern California, Mr. Hackett headed west and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in cinema and media studies in 2018. At USC, he served as editor of The Sack of Troy, the college’s satirical publication, for two years and as president of US Comedians, a student-run comedy program. He turned to broadcast work as a senior producer, writer and correspondent for “The Breakdown,” a news parody show on Trojan Vision, USC’s official campus TV station.
In his junior year, he met Scott Zabielski, a producer and director for Comedy Central’s “The Jim Jefferies Show,” and served as his executive assistant for two years before Jefferies hired him as his own assistant.
No day is the same for Mr. Hackett. One day he is writing a pitch with Jefferies then the next day he might be recording a podcast and then the next he might be on the road for Jefferies’ comedy tour. “There’s no typical day and I’m always on my toes,” he said.
In between, he works on his own projects, including producing short films and music videos and writing. He hopes to write and direct shows in the future.
A highlight came in April 2019 when Mr. Hackett was tasked with serving as the opening act for Jefferies at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles for a 2,000-seat performance. His whole family flew out to see the show. “I crushed it and Jim said he was proud of me,” Mr. Hackett said.
Some disappointments have followed that time. In 2020, Jefferies inked a pilot deal for an NBC sitcom. He and Mr. Hackett were working hard on scripts and jokes but when Covid hit, the pilot was canned.
He is hopeful to find another opportunity to launch a show, given how many streaming channels are available. “The big networks are struggling and my generation isn’t watching them. We’re on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Amazon and everyone is itching for work,” he said.
“You get rejected a lot but if you have something you want to do, just go for it,” he said. “We’re all afraid of failure but I’d rather fail than wonder ‘what if’.”
- Christina Mimms