Walking into a gated cement house with sound equipment lying all around the house normally would leave one with the feeling of being recorded. However, the Mangini household has an inviting charm despite the museum like build. There is a distinct smell of a primo pasta with winter squash and tomatoes wafting from the kitchen, a smell that you can taste, a smell can make someone who ate at an all you can buffet’s mouth water. Echoes of laughter ring throughout ever corner of the Mangini house as the guys catch up on life events. A truly delightful environment because the Manginis easily make guests feel like a part of the family, and there is no place like home.
With a name like Matthew Mark Mangini you would think he was a 1930’s magician, but that is not the case unless you consider film making to be a kind of magic. Matt stands tall at 6’1 with piercing blue eyes, fair skin, and contrasting dark hair. He is the eldest son of Mark Mangini an Academy Award Winning Sound Editor, Sound Designer, Musician, and Re-recording mixer. Mark Mangini may have unknowingly started a family legacy in the film industry. Matt has grown up immersed in the Hollywood industry, and continues to be not only because of his father, but also for his love of the cinematic arts. The family resemblance is strikingly strong which can be seen even in the smallest forms like their smile, and stance. Matt and Mark’s love for the movies runs deep, and it is spellbinding to witness the two men talk about a movie.
What is your first memory of your father’s job?
“Through the various iterations of the company my father started, the partners decided that rather than hire solely based on resume or knowledge of the craft, they would hire based on talent and fit within the company. When they did their interviewing, they would always walk the prospect past their offices and specifically, past a wall festooned with pictures of a ridiculous looking clown. Most never noticed or mentioned it but If the interviewee spoke up about the picture or commented on how silly or awesome it was, they got put at the top of the hiring list. That was the kind of culture they had and because sound at that time was considered more of a craft or the job of an engineer than that of an artist, they always had a strange mixture of nerds, mad scientists and tech wizards. Almost all of whom had larger than life personalities. If one were inclined to do so, you could write a fascinating book about the early days of Weddington Productions. The other and less interesting answer was the smell of the place. Specifically, that of coffee and magnetic tape. Both of which seemed to be in endless supply.”
What do you remember about the night your dad took home an Oscar?
“Panic, fear, relief, elation and then pride. I threw a small Oscar themed party at his house to watch the show. Everyone had to get dressed up in their best formal attire as if they were going to the Academy Awards themselves. I think I spent a week’s pay on food and drink. It was a lot of fun till it dawned on me: 'Oh shit, he better win this otherwise this party is going to suck!' I had been recalling my feelings when I'd gone to the Oscars back in 1993 when he was nominated for Aladdin and the sheer panic that coursed through me as a 10-year-old when the award come up. Hearing Chadwick Boseman dryly announce Mad Max Fury Road was at a combination of relief and elation. After that I think I spent the next 4 or 5 hours answering my phone as the messages and calls poured in. I didn't get into bed till around 2:30 that night and right as I started to doze off, my phone rings. My dad and his wife had forgotten their house keys and drove the limo from Madonna's place to come pick me up to let them in with mine. We managed to have a fun moment in the back of the limo”
Rumor has it you had a bit part in the movie Hook. Do you have any tales from the set?
“TONS but my favorite was a day when we’re were filming a scene up in Hook's little treasure room behind the ship. The group of extras I was in, Spielberg and a couple of his PAs erupted into singing the theme song from Animaniacs. Everyone knew the lyrics and randomly people from other parts of the set would run over to join in and so you had maybe 6 or 7 kids and 15-20 adults taking a minute of the day to randomly sing this song from a cartoon. It was silly and fun.
You are studying film to go into the industry it took your father decades to gain awarded recognition in. Why have you chosen this path knowing that?
“I'm not after the recognition. Maybe it'll come, maybe it won't but if you're going into the arts for recognition then you should probably do some soul searching because you're probably not going to get it. Even if you do, it’s unlikely to make you happy. That said, I’m moving towards this business because I love entertainment, especially the moving picture. I love stories and story-telling. The art and craft of movie making is a language I speak and want to expand upon. It’s a fun business. A bit scary to approach considering all the pitfalls of Hollywood but I’ve dreamed of being a part of the movies since I was a kid. I just wish I had started doing it sooner!”
If you could give advice to someone going into the cinematic arts, what would it be?
“If you are going to school, make sure your teachers give a shit. If you're not, then at the very least, challenge yourself as often as you can. Make something every day or every week. Make 5 second clips or do a stop motion animation of your Legos walking across the table.”
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
“It would be great if one day we could get to the point where we're doing bigger and bigger budgets and a lot of people want to see our stuff but really, if we can make a decent living, do some good work and then spend the next 20 or 30 years making each other laugh, I'll be happy.”
Is there a movie that you and your father have bonded over? If so what and why? How many times have you watched it together? Could you quote every line?
“Monty Python as a whole. That's our go to. I guess The Holy Grail fits all that criteria but really, all of Monty Python.
You'll hear me almost any day of the week say, 'Everyone a Maserati!' The only person who will laugh will be my dad and I'm OK with that.”"