By Ben Tinsley
Dallas native Zach Prengler, a 21-year-old film student at Savannah College of Art and Design, has made tremendous inroads into the movie business in his quest to eventually become a movie producer.
The college junior’s experience is reflected on his growing IMDb thread — which shows, for instance, that Prengler worked this past summer, as a set production assistant on Jurassic World.
Additionally, Prengler was a production assistant for The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water in fall 2014.
In 2012, Prengler shot Code Red, a short comedy of his own creation produced under school supervision.
The aspiring filmmaker currently is an assistant to Barry Bernardi and Kevin Grady on The Do Over, one of the special Adam Sandler and David Spade comedies being produced for Netflix.
Incidentally, when Prengler was a Lucasfilm production assistant on the crew of Jurassic World last summer, he was in charge of the 400 walkie-talkie communication devices that allowed each department to communicate with one another.
Prengler, whose occasional nickname on set was “Pringles,” also supervised the picture sound lock-ups designed to ensure no one talked or walked through any shots as the camera rolled.
Additionally, he was tasked with being one of the “hands on” individuals ready to perform any task needed at a moment’s notice during filming.
Prengler said one of the fun parts about working in film is meeting actors and movie star types — in his case, Chris Pratt and Judy Greer.
“Chris Pratt … was fun to have around and joke with on set,” Prengler said. “Judy Greer was great.”
Prengler’s film journey started in high school when he decided to transfer from Yavneh Academy of Dallas.
“I was writing films and decided to take it to the next step and actually make a film so I went to Richardson High School and then film school in Savannah, Georgia,” he said. Richardson High is known for its communications magnet.
Although Prengler kept busy last summer, he said he did not foresee anyone wishing to point a camera in his direction.
However, that is exactly what happened. One day about midway through the summer, he was brought to makeup and wardrobe for just that purpose.
Prengler was unexpectedly cast as a Samsung employee showing kids the classic “Mr. DNA” from the first movie in a scene that runs five to 10 minutes into the movie.
“I’m not sure why they grabbed me — if something happened to the guy who was originally supposed to be in the scene or what,” he said.
From his perspective the casting was totally random. However, like Prengler does every time he has a chance, he managed to squeeze his family into the shot as extras.
“So my mom and dad were also in this reaction shot,” Prengler said. “They placed them right behind me.”
Prengler’s mother, Tami, said the opportunities to get on camera as presented by her son are always very interesting.
“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “We’re very proud of him and it’s fun to watch him work.”
Craig Prengler, Zach’s father, said getting on camera is fast becoming a family tradition — with brothers Grant, 19, and Kyle, 15, often participating.
“In the SpongeBob movie, Tammy and Kyle and I did a scene with Antonio Banderas,” his father explained. “ … We are so proud of all Zach has done and all the connections he has made.”
A huge fan of the Jurassic series, Zach Prengler believes deep down that he has always been around to play a part in it in some capacity — even before he was born.
“As far as the legend goes, I was in my mother’s belly — kicking during tree scenes,” he said.