Archive for the ‘The Series’ Category

“The Best Cartoon Class.” Cartoon Creativity workshop reviews!

November 7, 2017

Hi, folks!

I am a two-time Emmy nominated writer/producer and cartoonist. My work includes character animation (I was mentored by the talented team at Bill Melendez Productions, creators of the classic Peanuts TV specials and films) and live action films (Freedom Dance with Golden Globe winner Mariska Hargitay and Old School New School with Emmy winner Brian Cox).

Years ago I compiled lessons I learned about character development, narrative structure, and storytelling, and began teaching classes in cartoon storytelling. (I also offer private tutor sessions in person and online.) My classes help participants of all ages explore within, using feelings and personal experience to create believable cartoon stories full of life, meaning, personal insight, and heart.

Here’s what participants are saying about some recent cartoon creativity workshops.

Waubonsee Community College, Sept 2017

(Steven) had a great, clear manner of voicing ideas, clearly very experienced, time here was well thought out and planned. Really engaging!

 

I enjoyed both the visual aspect and story aspect of the class, how it combines the two together.

 

Timing was perfect, not too short, not too long. Steven was easy to understand and listen to and FANTASTIC too! Nice was to start a Saturday morning.

 

Great presentation style. Covered areas I didn’t expect relating to cartooning. Would rate this instructor as Fantastic!

 

Loved the mix of theory and practice. Wasn’t expecting the creativity lessons, but they were fantastic. I didn’t really know what to expect, but was hoping to be inspired as a picture book author – and I was! Thank you for a very interesting experience.

 

I loved this course and I would love more…

 

Course was very helpful and inspirational.

****

Second City, Chicago, IL, Sept 17, 2016

I wanted to say that I really enjoyed taking your class and have already told others that they should have taken it as well

 

The exercises were very helpful – as someone who doesn’t come from a creative background I found them readily applicable, and I like the fact that they force me to lay down the groundwork first before getting into detail

Cartoonist Steven Fischer present cartoon storytelling at The Second City Training Center, Chicago.

****

Waubonsee Community College, Sugar Grove, IL, Sept 10, 2016

I have never been to such an awesome workshop about art like this one. It was really neat connecting with the other artists and like-minded people. I always thought that I could not draw but you definitely proved me wrong!

 

I discovered I can draw and I didn’t know it!

 

He gets a 5-star review! Excellent.

 

Great basic understanding of cartoons for beginners.

 

Steven is very inspiring and encouraging, enthusiastic and knowledgeable.

****

Waubonsee Community College, Sugar Grove, IL, March 2016

The best part about the course to me was the connectivity both in the overall arc of the lesson and the individualized attention we were given. [Steven] is very kind.

Well presented. Thought provoking!

 

I was very inspired

 

Different than what I expected, worked on story ideas and characters. It took a deeper dive into the creation of animated stories. Exercises were interesting.

 

Class was too short!

Steven Fischer presents cartoon storytelling!

****

University of Debrecen, Hungary, Fall 2014

I truly enjoyed your classes and feel honored that I have had the opportunity to attend them. -Barney B.

Cartoonist and Fulbright Award recipient Steven Fischer with friend and host Tibor Glant at University of Debrecen, Hungary, 2014.

 

Cartoonist and Fulbright Award recipient Steven Fischer presents Cartoon Storytelling at University of Debrecen, Hungary, 2014.

****

Northwestern University (Introduction to Cartoon Storytelling) 2014

I want to say thanks for teaching the class, I really enjoyed the past five Tuesdays!  -Thomas P.

 

I still do thank you for all the illustration skills you taught me! I’m still practicing and making artworks these days, too. 🙂 Have a great weekend! -Jae Y.

Cartoonist Steven Fischer presents cartoon storytelling!

****

Waubonsee Community College, September 2014

Thanks so much for coming out to Sugar Grove last evening to share your energy and passion for creating!   Thanks again! Thanks again Steven.  You really do have a unique approach to your work! -Kailyne W.

 

I just wanted to say thank you very much for taking the time to teach us some of your techniques for coming up with characters and story-lines. It was very helpful! As a writing TV major I’m always looking for ways to come up with ideas since inspiration can be so fickle sometimes. -Melinda H.

 

Very approachable. Hands-on creative and fun. Very interesting and inspiring.

 

[Steven] really presented ideas and techniques I hadn’t expected from the class.

 

[Steven] made the class very relatable and easy to understand for everyone. This made the class extremely fun and enjoyable.

 

I liked the abstract angle this course took.

 

The course provided me with thought-provoking information.

 

It really inspired a healthy environment for the creative thinking process.

 

Very good presenter/speaker. Very knowledgeable.

 

It was a great blend of information and activity. Very fun time.

 

I would highly recommend the course for anyone who wants to create a unique story.

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Closing Night, Chicago International Children’s Film Festival

November 6, 2017

Jenny Zumarraga, Analia Chavez, Jury Chair Steven Fischer, Amy Stern at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, closing night ceremony, November 5, 2017.

I am Max shoots in California

October 28, 2017

Shooting I am Max in Simi Valley, California. Many thanks to Regen Wilson Joe Wade Simi Valley Historical Society and Erik Goodrich! http://www.documentary.org/film/i-am-max

Director Edward Porembny.

 

Shooting I am Max in Simi Valley, California.

 

Regen Wilson as George Spoor.

Cartoon Illustrations for DiamondMind Enterprises

October 28, 2017

L-R: Tom Rosenak at DiamondMind Enterprises works with cartoonist Steven Fischer on drawings for “Acres of Diamonds”.

 

L-R: Tom Rosenak at DiamondMind Enterprises works with cartoonist Steven Fischer on drawings for “Acres of Diamonds”. October 2017.

Media Process / Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics video shoot

October 28, 2017

L-R: Tyler Wilson (set PA), Hayden Jackson (sound), Steven Fischer (director), Mike Swanson (director of photography) on a shoot for Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and Media Process Group, Chicago.

 

L-R: Steven Fischer (director); Mike Swanson (director of photography, behind camera); Hayden Jackson (sound); Siva Panchamoorthy (talent), video shoot for Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and Media Process Group, Chicago.

Opening Night, Chicago International Children’s Film Fest, October 27!

October 28, 2017

Writer/producer Steven Fischer, Jury Chair, animated shorts category attends the opening of the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, 27 October 2017.

Documentary Short Film Review “Old School, New School”

September 5, 2017

Review by Kirk S. Fernwood

4 Sept 2017

Film director Steven Fischer (left) with the legendary cinematographer William Fraker on location in Hollywood for Old School New School, 2008. (photo Scott Uhlfelder)

WATCH THE FILM HERE

First, the Recap:

It’s the digital age, and anyone and everyone is able to share their talents (or “talents”) with the world at large, opening themselves up to scrutiny, even putting out material of professional quality appearance–even though they aren’t really professional, perhaps, in connecting with an audience via true artistic integrity. So, therefore, what exactly is it that makes for, well, “making it” in the realms of stage and screen? For 2-time Emmy nominated independent filmmaker Steven Fischer, this was the burning question he himself had been struggling with for some time, with no immediate answers to be found.

However, he then embarked on a journey across the United States on a quest to find those elusive truths found within three distinct aspects of what it means to be grounded in the arts: finding your voice, security vs. risk, and the definition of success. As he engaged some of the wide-ranging entertainment industry’s most consummate, revered, and skilled artists in their respected fields of expertise, the notions shared, the personal level of insights presented, and the sometimes deceptively simple wisdom gained very much embodies the very heart of what it means to find exactly what was being sought.

Next, my Mind:

In what this reviewer would deem a perfect amalgamation of what it means to be a part of the independent film community while also delivering a pure, insightful, and fascinating look into the greater entertainment industry machine via some its veteran luminaries, writer/director/co-producer/editor Fischer’s 33-minute documentary short hits a home run on multiple levels. Thanks to the very up close, personalized nature of the interviews here, it makes the viewer one hundred percent experience the world through these artisans’ words as they share their own revelations about what it is to find success while also making it clear that everyone truly needs to find their own path.

Emphasizing concepts like not deviating from being who you are, knowing what risks to take vs. taking none at all or playing it too safe, having a willingness to push yourself, taking constructive criticism, being a person of honesty with yourself and others, realizing there doesn’t have to be suffering for your art to be successful, and asking yourself if you’ve found happiness, fulfillment, or reached your full potential, it very much should resonate deeply with anyone striving to walk that path to what they desire to do, even outside of the industries presented here. It’s an actuality, a personal endeavor, to aim for the goals you have and do it with passion and hard work, all while knowing with confidence what your talent is, developing it by being hand’s on, and accepting no shortcuts. It’s affecting and so real.

The “cast” Fischer provides us for this journey is nothing short of extraordinary. Included are renowned cinematographers like 6-time Oscar nominee William Fraker and John Bailey, 4-time Grammy winner and John Coltrane Quartet jazz legend McCoy Tyner, 134-time Tony nominated/41-time winning stage producer Emanuel Azenberg, 50-year theater teacher and performer Sam McCready, whose former students included names like Branagh, Neeson, and Boyle, poet James Ragan whose work has been translated into 12 European and Asian languages while also having read for 5 heads of state, Carnegie Hall, and the U.N., Kirstie Simson, a worldwide name in new dance instruction, as well as actors Ben Jones, Brian Cox, and Tomas Arana, all of whom stand out for their prolific deeds either on or off screen.

In total, with its completely relatable, down-to-earth vibe, fluid pacing, totally engaging interviews, and wealth of knowledge offered to any and all who have dreams of pursuing careers in the entertainment industry or other paths, “Old School, New School” is a must-see documentary effort that especially resonated with this reviewer and the goals I have been aiming for. It’s motivation, challenge, and steadfast encouragement found here, something we could all use more of in this hectic situation we call life.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!

L-R: Fred Weil, Steven Fischer, Brian Cox, Chris Cassidy shooting Old School New School, New York City, June 2010.

Video Editing and Acting classes by an Emmy nominated filmmaker

August 29, 2017

Digital Video Editing (6 weeks)

Instructor: Steven Fischer

Click here to sign up!

  • Mondays, 6:00-7:30 PM, October 9 – November 13
  • Fee: $101 NU/$111 Public

Learn the basics of video editing from a two-time Emmy-nominated filmmaker! This course introduces students to the role of the editor as storyteller, the history of cinema editing, and the fundamentals of editing in effective communication. This course involves hands-on Premiere Pro work. You’ll be editing a lot!

 

Acting and Character Creation (6 weeks)

Instructor: Steven Fischer

Click here to sign up!

  • Thursdays, 6:00-7:30 PM, October 19 – November 30*
  • Fee: $81 NU/ $91 Public

This interactive course is an introduction to acting, taught by a two-time Emmy nominated filmmaker in film and television! Animation and live-action directors will experience the fundamentals of acting to generate performance ideas they can use to help bring on-screen characters to life. *Please note, this course will not meet on November 23.

Steven Fischer leads actors through improvisation games at Northwestern University’s Acting for Character Creation (Norris Mini Courses).

Steven Fischer leads actors through scene reads at Northwestern University’s Acting for Character Creation (Norris Mini Courses).

Cartoon Storytelling at The Second City, Chicago!

August 24, 2017

Learn the art of cartoon storytelling, effective communication techniques, and develop personal expression. This course explores story breakdown, character development, page layout, and studies from life. Students will create original characters and an original story based on personal experiences. No previous drawing experience required—if you can create a stick figure, you can succeed in this course!

We’ll meet once a week, four weeks, three hour sessions.

Chicago Term 5 2017 (Aug 30 – Sep 20)

Sign up here.

About the instructor: Steven Fischer is a two-time Emmy nominated filmmaker and cartoonist. His credits include the Steve & Bluey cartoon series, the acclaimed animated documentary Freedom Dance (2007) with Mariska Hargitay, and Old School New School (2011) a personal study on creativity with celebrated actor Brian Cox and jazz legend McCoy Tyner among many other internationally acclaimed artists. Steven’s commissioned work includes projects for Maryland Public Television/PBS, TV Asia, Nextel, Bill Melendez Productions, and Screen Arts Animation.

Steven is a Fulbright recipient and sought internationally to speak on creativity.

Steven Fischer presents his Introduction to Cartoon Storytelling class at The Second City. Photo: Alicia Haywood.

Try Your Hand at Cartooning at Waubonsee Community College

August 24, 2017

The Cartoon workshop is back!

Try Your Hand at Cartooning With an Emmy Nominated Filmmaker

Waubonsee Community College,
Sugar Grove Campus
Saturday, Sep 9, 2017

No drawing experience is necessary for this unique creativity workshop with the multi-talented Steven Fischer. Develop your original, personal story through drawing and generate ideas using a range of writing and drawing exercises. Along the way, explore the philosophy and psychology of inspiration, cartoon art, creativity and storytelling.

Sign up here!

Tickets are $29. A copy of Steven’s book The Wonderful, Happy, Cartoony World of Steve & Bluey is included.

 

Steven Fischer is a two-time Emmy nominated writer/producer/director/cartoonist/author and Fulbright recipient whose credits include film and commissioned work for PBS, DuPont, Martin Scorsese, Mariska Hargitay and others.