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Tone Hoeft: 'A funny young man'

Tone Hoeft was a member of the marching band and choir at Rosemount High School He also appeared in some musicals, worked on the school paper and was on the speech team.

When Tone Hoeft was a student at Rosemount High School, he and his friends would run around town making movies. They'd film stories about spies, movies with titles like Stealth Blood Prophet.

They were, he admits, really, really bad.

"It was just, what's funny, what can we make work. The storylines were just, this spy is chasing after this spy," said Hoeft, who graduated from RHS in 2005. "We'd all come up with these ideas and shoot them and put them together. Then we'd have premiers for our friends."

At the time, it was all just for fun. Hoeft thought he wanted to go into the ministry. He went to North Central University and got a degree in youth development with a minor in ancient Greek.

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At the time, it was all just for fun. Hoeft thought he wanted to go into the ministry. He went to North Central University and got a degree in youth development with a minor in ancient Greek.

But then Hoeft, who had continued writing scripts for fun when he was in college, decided the ministry wasn't the right path for him. He got a master's degree in communication from Eastern Washington University, and then he took a chance. He moved to Los Angeles to find a summer internship. That position led to a full-time job and that job has led to opportunities that Hoeft sometimes finds a little hard to believe. Jobs like serving as head writer for Hallmark Channel's Hero Dog Awards.

That job allowed him to work directly with people like Kristin Chenowith, who Hoeft had long admired, and Betty White, who pretty much everyone admires.

"Writing it was crazy, because there's so many more steps to the process than you would ever think," he said. "You have to jump through six rounds of approval before it goes to Betty's people.

"It's always this collaborative process. It's amazing with Betty. She's still witty and funny. She's 90 years old and she's really cool."

If Hoeft was looking for a sign he was doing the right thing with his life, he might have gotten it when White gave him a kiss on the cheek and told him he was a "funny young man." On his website he calls it the best kiss of his life.

Hoeft's career hasn't all been about hero dogs. He's written sketches that have appeared on ESPN's Sports Nation and as web content to accompany the sports network's ESPY awards. He just finished work on a short documentary on Texas High School football for ESPN and the Longhorn Network. And the production company he works for, MRB Productions, recently had a film accepted to the Sundance Film Festival. Hoeft served as script supervisor on that film, making sure everybody was working on the latest script.

The type of work he does varies widely from one project to the next, and Hoeft likes that kind of variety.

"You get to wear a lot of different hats," he said. "It allows me to try a lot of different voices for a lot of different projects."

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He's still making movies with his friends, too. Hoeft has written and directed a handful of short films. One is about a man who goes to make a cake with his attractive neighbor, only to discover she has a shrine filled with pictures of him. Another is a mockumentary about craft coffee.

The quality has come up a level or two since his days at RHS. There's no Stealth Blood Prophet here.

Ultimately, Hoeft would like to work in scripted TV comedy. But for now he's happy with what he's doing.

"It's weird, because for where I landed, I kept working and ended up where I am now," Hoeft said. "I look around at the people I'm working with and I'm really young for what I'm doing.... It's kind of overwhelming when I step back.