Archive for February, 2009


February 27, 2009

Spreading the word about the June 20 OSNS screening in Los Angeles. Wendy Revel, Executive Director at CINE has agreed to help; Melanie Jones at Kodak has offered incredible support; and so many friends have pledged support. University of Maryland Baltimore County has offered to send notices/invites to alumni in Southern California. And law gal Diane Davison and I worked out a plan of attack tonight over crab cakes (we’re in Maryland, how can we not). She came up with some great ideas and will be making contact with some pretty high profile subjects in all aspects of support for the movie.

More to come… exhausted but fulfilled…


Say “Cheese!”

February 26, 2009

I am in a little European-style caffe in the historic district of Annapolis. The atmosphere is intimate, even romantic. The lights are low, music is soft and the tables are small and close together. I am sipping a glass of wine and savoring the seared tuna, the chef’s specialty. A late night supper. It hits the spot; I’ve been going since 5 am, working on a promotional video for ADG Creative. The wind up clock on the far wall chimes 8 o’clock.

The photographer Wendy Hickok and I are going over plans for new Old School, New School photos. (It’s time to start prepping for promotion!) Both of our lap tops were up and open, the screens filled with references and samples of the kind of look we’re going for. We’ve settled on an academic location and a classic lighting scheme, because that best represents the essence of the Old School, New School documentary.

William Fraker Says Yes!

February 25, 2009

If he’s in town the day of the screening, William Fraker will attend and speak at the Los Angeles screening of OSNS. I am elated and grateful! Turning the screening into a happening with featured guests from the Old School, New School documentary continuing the dialogue with the audience would make for a very fulfilling evening, I think.

The screening will be held June 20 in Hollywood (location TBD).

Later this week Diane the Attorney and I are to meet about strategy and attack in efforts to invite high profile supporters to the OSNS screening.

TED Conference

February 24, 2009

Research for Old School, New School includes potential on-camera subjects, market, material, and support. A visit to one site today touched on everyone of them!

My friend and gifted musician Paul Harrison sent a link to The TED Conference is an annual event that celebrates the thing OSNS stands for: using the power of speech to provoke positive change. I searched around the site and as I watched some of the video recordings of the speakers, became real excited! Many of them passionately touched on the themes of my movie: finding your own voice, taking risks, and defining success.

So, sensing a match between us, I called the TED office, introduced myself and had a spontaneous conversation with a youthful yet professional-sounding lady. She seemed intrigued by my documentary and, although not entirely sure how TED could help, offered to forward any introductory emails to potential subjects seen on the TED site.

I selected a few and immediately sent them to the lady with an extra email thanking her for her generosity. Time will tell if this crazy whim pays off…

Kimberley Browning and Hollywood Shorts Film Fest

February 23, 2009

Starting to see the fruits from the labor of my last trip to Los Angeles. Kimberley Browning, the brains behind the successful Hollywood Shorts Film Festival has offered to host a work-in-progress screening of Old School, New School. Such an honor!

We’d met through a mutual friend, and during a break from an edit session last year, I called and introduced myself and Old School, New School to Kimberley. I told her about the project and how it was an educational documentary intended to help young artists reach their full creative potential. A mutual friend thought there was a connection between us. (Kimberley embodies similar philosophies on art and culture and education.) She was intrigued. We kept in touch and last November met in Los Angeles over a lengthy Greek lunch in Hollywood to formally talk about how we could work together. Now she has offered this screening which is not only generous and amazing, but a touching gesture of trust and faith in my movie.

Much to do to get ready for the spring screening. More to come…

Kirstie Simson Shoot in New York

February 14, 2009

Had the Kirstie Simson shoot today. Kirstie is a legendary British improv dancer. The New York Times recently called her a force of nature!

Shot in the apartment of a friend of hers in midtown, another dancer named Jenni Hong. It was a windy, cold day. Had breakfast with my friend, actor Ron Bopst, at a little diner on Amsterdam then a quick stop for heart-shaped boxes of chocolates for Kirstie and Jenni, after all it is Valentine’s Day.  We all had dinner the night before at an Indian restaurant, a meal covered in teriyaki, curry, and laughter.

Chris Cassidy, the New York-based cameraman who was part of the Manny Azenburg shoot,  and long-time friend/collaborator Phil Rosensteel shot today’s conversation. Having scouted the location last week, I had a good idea of which set up would give us the best light. We set up in front of three large windows facing North, making use of that wonderfully soft north light the old masters used. We had gorgeous views of the city and beyond. Breathtaking!

Jenni said that Al Pacino had an office a few floors above her. Listening to her talk about the elevator rides they’ve shared was fascinating!

Videographers Chris Cassidy (far left) and Phil Rosensteel (far right) with Steven Fischer and Kirstie Simson. New York City.

Videographers Chris Cassidy (far left) and Phil Rosensteel (far right) with Steven Fischer and Kirstie Simson. New York City.

“So often the creative process seems to include working very hard on something that never pans out and is finally abandoned only to discover something better.” That was the quote with which I opened our recorded conversation. It is from Eleanor Coppola. (I’ve been reading with much gusto a galley of her new book Notes on a Life. Her observation, interpretation, and description is a real education and inspiration. And I have always admired Francis Ford Coppola, he is a cinematic artist in the truest sense.)

There were three moments in my hour-and-fifteen conversation with Kirstie that really became intense, and I’m anxious to see the footage.

When we’d finished and packed Chris headed home to be with his wife, Phil, Kirstie and I headed to a diner on W. 57th where Jenni met us for a leisurely lunch with TCM host Robert Osborne. (Sort of. He was two tables over.)

A Kodak Moment

February 8, 2009

Lunch with my friend Melanie Jones, a rep for Kodak NYC and responsible for the introduction to CCS PR and, in turn, William Fraker and John Bailey! It was an unseasonably warm, spring-like day in Galesville, Maryland, a little water town along West River with narrow streets lined with white picket fences and old oak trees.

Along the main street there is an old general’s store, weather worn and decorated with nostalgic confectionary ads. As old-time soft drink refrigerator stands on the front porch along with a swing for two. There’s an old time gas pump on the dirt-spread parking area. I wonder if it’s dry?

Such small towns hold for me a sense of peace and ease, though life for a working waterman is anything but easy. Admiring the clapboard buildings, the cape cods, and the Victorian homes with turrets and wrap around porches, I can’t help but think of this as the perfect setting for childhood’s lazy summer days. 

Melanie and I dine at a window table in Pirate’s Cove, such an alluring name that sparks the imagination! Maybe it’s sentimentalized, but the combination of pirates and a 19th century hamlet on the banks of a river surrounded by secluded coves and lus hwoodland evokes a lot of fanciful adventure.

Melanie crunches on salad as I peck away at large flakes of flounder. Her family requires a lot of her attention now and Melanie is having to travel back and forth between New York and Maryland every weekend. Finally, after months of trying to coordinate one another’s schedules, we are able to meet for a meal.

We talk about the state of the industry, the latest Vision stock from Kodak, a screening Melanie’s coordinating, various life experiences, and Old School,  New School.  Not only has Melanie been a huge help in finding me top name on-camera subjects, she has proven a generous resource for my proposals.  She is a blessing and a good friend.

Scouting in New York

February 7, 2009

In New York today scouting locations for the upcoming shoot with Kirstie Simson, a improvisation dancer and a performer the New York Times once called “a force of nature”. Also meeting with another potential on-camera subject for Old School, New School. 

Lunch in Little Italy was delicious as always. Caffe Sorento. Great Chicken Marsala. 

Of all the little Italys in the US, the one bordering Chinatown in New York captivates my imagination the most. The tenements, the narrow streets, the vegetable stands, the wrought iron, the awnings. The people. Hardworking immigrants recreating a little piece from another world. (Alright, so maybe that’s every ethnic neighborhood in New York.) But this place still has the best Chicken Marsala.


Mulberry Street, Little Italy NYC circa 1901. (source: Library of Congress)

Mulberry Street, Little Italy NYC circa 1901. (source: Library of Congress)