Posts Tagged ‘ben jones’

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.

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Old School New School on Film Monthly

February 8, 2017

Old School New School review at filmmonthly.com

herman-leonard-diane-davison-steven-fischer-at-opening-of-jazz-at-lincoln-center-nyc-oct-2009_photo-by-rick-edwards

Photographer Herman Leonard, attorney Diane Davison, film director Steven Fischer at opening of Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York City, October 2009. Photo by Rick Edwards.

steven_fischer_kathleen_monroe_Baltimore_Maryland

Director Steven Fischer with his cousin, Kathleen Monroe, Baltimore, Maryland.

Old School, New School

by Caress Thirus

We open on a common scene – a slightly flustered journalist making small talk with his interviewee as he prepares to ask his questions. Old School, New School is a documentary that follows Steven Fischer as he explores the different paths people take to develop their creative fingerprint, aka, their “voice”. A lot of people forget that documentaries are still films. Though they are informational, they’re meant for entertainment. There’s a sense of practical humor to this entire film, and key aspects are held from the audience so as to keep their interest. The first two minutes are sure to stir up a swirl of questions that Fisher and its interviewees answer during the film. “What is your voice, and how do you find it?” It’s a common question that anyone in an art-related career has asked themselves, time and time again. Though commonly asked, the answer is never straightforward. For some, the answer is simple; for others, not so much. This documentary compares and contrasts the answers given by different people in different careers, from dancers to cinematographers to musicians. The film is opinionated, but full of good opinions that are supported with logical reasoning. This is a film about voice, after all. How inappropriate would it be not to have an opinion or two? The entire documentary has a very honest feel to it; it’s realistic rather than rigged. Unfortunately, this causes it to drag in areas, but it always seems to pick back up. This movie is definitely in need of a soundtrack (and perhaps a more relevant title). It’s basic; there’s nothing unusual, and with all of the artistic people who were interviewed, it is upsetting to learn that none of their work is showcased in the film. Old School, New School sort of feels as if the filmmaker didn’t want to cut any of his interviews, and he left too many [unnecessary] clips in the film, making it too long. Still, the film feels organized and planned enough for the audience to keep watching. The viewer feels as if he or she is actually in the room with Fisher and the various people he interviews. It’s easy to get pulled into the stories they tell. In the end, the infamous question still stands. How does one go about defining their personal voice? Perhaps musician McCoy Tyner put it most simply when he said, “You found something you liked to do. It’s a matter of developing by doing it.”

Most information is derived from IMDB’s daily news, the Chicago dailies (Tribune and Sun Times), Entertainment Weekly, MSN.com, various sources as listed, and by just paying attention.

Caress Thirus is a student at Roosevelt University and a film enthusiast.

E-mail us at filmmonthly@gmail.com

Arts Advocacy Day

March 24, 2015

Today, Americans for the Arts and the Arts Action Fund celebrate National Arts Advocacy Day! Celebrate by clicking here to tell Congress that you support the arts.

And watch these fine artists in Old School New School talking about success in the arts and creativity! You’ll be supporting the arts and stimulating the brain all at once.

Poster_v04_648_again

Thank you!

Viewers respond to Old School New School

September 9, 2014

We wanted to share some of the latest responses from viewers across the internet who’ve been watching Old School New School, Steven Fischer’s study on creativity with actor Brian Cox, jazz great McCoy Tyner, and cinematography legend William Fraker.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Your continued interest and support is greatly appreciated!

Just finished watching this for the first time (it won’t be the last time I assure you). Thanks for making an important film for all of us involved with creative work…
Joe I., Winnipeg, Canada

Steven, I am watching your documentary and learning so much from it. Thank for sharing this with me.
Larry M., Boston, MA

A fascinating movie about the creative potential we all possess! Enjoy and learn!
Robert M., Australia

Steven, really enjoyed Old School New School. Sharing it with everybody I know!
Rene M., Dallas, TX

Steven, Your film was outstanding, and such a tribute for anyone doubting their own dreams for success, especially in the arts. It is one I will watch more than just once. I felt as though it was made for me… Thanks so much for sharing such an inspiring documentary.
Donna M., Chicago, IL

terrific documentary on creativity with actor Brian Cox – it is amazing!
Geoff T., Los Angeles, CA

Yay Steven!
CINE Awards, Washington, DC

Steven, I enjoyed your film! Your thought provoking look at creativity through various media and live conversation is really raising the bar. CONGRATULATIONS!
Russ M., Baltimore, MD

Great film! Especially for creative types.
Jennifer W., Denver, CO

Creativity and success: This week’s Snag Learning Film of the week is Old School New School
Ed Tweeps @edtweeps

John Cleese on Creativity

September 23, 2012

Click here to watch an insightful, inspiring speech from John Cleese at Video Arts on Creativity. He reminds us of the value space, time, confidence, and humor have in our ability to tap into our full creative potential. Some of the ideas are present in Old School New School.

What People Are Saying About Old School New School

February 23, 2012

Here are some comments from audience members who’ve seen Old School New School. Take a moment to watch the movie, and share your thoughts on the comment section above OSNS at Snag Films.

****

“A striking, provocative, and terribly important documentary.”

Rick Kogan, WGN Radio 720, Chicago

****

Steven, Your film was outstanding, and such a tribute for anyone doubting their own dreams for success, especially in the arts. It is one I will watch more than just once. I felt as though it was made for me… Thanks so much for sharing such an inspiring documentary.

Donna C., Chicago, IL

****

Steven, I enjoyed your film! Your thought provoking look at creativity through various media and live conversation is really raising the bar. CONGRATULATIONS!

Russ M., Baltimore, MD

****

A terrific documentary….with a cast of brilliant minds. Better than a $2500 creativity workshop.

George L., Los Angeles, CA

****

I watch your film Old School New School. It was really helpful. I watch it at least once a day. It fires my creative synapses. I shared it on my facebook with my friends. I has help me in creating my first doc project. We are in the process of writing a grant and we are almost done I am excited. Once again I want to thank you for the film.

Jermaine T., Kansas City, MO

****

I love the personalities in this film, Steven, it was really a great group of people. Sage wisdom for any artist at any level. Very enjoyable!

Dawn Y., Richmond, VA

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Hi Steven Fischer,
I enjoyed your documentary, love Brian Cox and found it to be truthful, heartening for me and the choices I have made as an actress/singer and will post to my fb page, if you like!

Thank you,
Beka, Chicago, IL

****

I’ve just finished watching your inspiring film, Old School New School. It is illuminating and engrossing. Thanks!

Terry E., Chicago, IL

****

Steven: Well done, and thank you for sharing! Your doc is actually a great “tool” for those considering a “life in the arts”, and for those already in pursuit of that life, with some good, honest “inspirational messages”. We enjoyed it, and will pass along to those in our circle, and beyond. Keep at it, we will do same.

Our very best,

Tracey 0., Hearst Corporation

****

Steven–Great film, great interviews–what interesting people and ideas.

Wendy, Washington, DC

****

I just watched your documentary and I really enjoyed it. Very nice work. You’re asking some tough questions and the responses were really fascinating. I was also interested in what the interviewees were NOT saying—but were perhaps implying with their body language, eyes, etc. I think half of what drives a creative person, and indeed, what drives the creative process cannot adequately be expressed in language. Ironically, some of those things can only be expressed or understood after a *proper* exposure to the creation itself (but still cannot be expressed properly with language). The problem is, we are so distracted and numb most of the time, we don’t often get a *proper* exposure to the creation—even when we are right in front of it.

I’ve often thought about the crossroads between the arts, aesthetics and brain-related science… (cognition, etc). I agree with that line from Social Network when the Zuckerburg character says, “just like fashion, Facebook will never be done”; meaning that culture, knowledge, status quo, meaning, etc., is always shifting and in motion (waxing and waning might be a better way to put it). The way we interpret the world we experience is usually drawn upon existing lines or analogy pathways from previous lessons (that is to say symbols that bare meaning). In that way, the value we place on things changes from moment to moment and what is creatively valuable is always in flux.

I think that’s why smart, creative, healthy people place such high importance on trying things, reading, trial-and-error, improving one’s self, and asking a lot of questions…

Ryon B., Salt Lake City, Utah

****

I thought this film was very inspirational. For anyone working or striving to work in the arts i think you’ll really enjoy it. You may find it just as inspirational no matter what career or field you are in.
Nice job Steven,

Paul H., Albany, Oregon

****

Dear Steven,

Hello! I took the leap of faith and moved to Los Angeles a little over 3 months ago … Overall, things are going well.

Success in the arts comes from within and believing in one’s goals, no matter what anybody else says. “Security vs.risk”. Personally, if somebody loves something, they find a way to do it, no matter what. My life revolves around the arts, acting, music, and medicine. My personal juggling skills of the arts and my medical career would have seemed difficult, or at best impossible to others. But I have done it for years.

Thank you for sharing and creating this great documentary. I wish you much continued success in your upcoming projects!

Sincerely,
Lora B., Los Angeles, CA

****

Steven,
Congratulations on your documentary! I just finished watching it. I love this subject and it is very close to my heart … I applaud your tenacity on your latest production. Thanks for sharing.

Sincerely,
Phil C., Falls Church, VA

****

Steven, GREAT film. I wish it had been twice as long. Always fascinating to hear the deep thoughts of creative people. I’m on such a journey myself; one of the breakthroughs for me was to realize that I have to have an honest, true REASON for what I do. I think that, sometimes, when creative efforts, or goals, fall short for people, it can be rooted squarely in the premise of having the wrong motivation. People can find tremendous creative success (or any kind of success) for themselves if they can be really honest about WHY they are doing something and WHAT they want to do. Now that kind honesty isn’t always easy to know, it can be hidden or tucked away. It can be all mangled up in the hypnotic glitter, bells and whistles of fame or noteriety. Or sunk deep in the quagmire of abuse, neglect, ridicule or apapthy.

What is so compelling about your film is that it’s one honest way (of many) to dig those reasons out of hiding.

Thanks again and look forward to more work from you.

Scott R.

****

This is a great film, Steven! I can feel it in my gut when I’m veering away from what my soul wants. This film was an awesome reminders for us creative types who sometimes get bogged down by the “should do’s” in life to keep going, follow your bliss and do what nature intended for you to do. Very nice work. Shared this one!

Jennifer W.

****

I really enjoyed your film and the exploration of questions around creativity and creative fulfillment. As a woman, my wish would have been for you to interview a few more women.

Isabelle R.

****

Interesting topic and approach. I especially connected to and took a lot from Dr. Ragan’s story and message. I keep thinking about how inspirational the entire film is and how I want to show clips to our school’s aspiring artists!

Jamie G., Evanston, IL

****

Wow! Just finished watching it. GREAT interviews!! This is a special piece. Watch it and share it. All of the interviews were amazing! You did a super job of getting carefully thought out and deeply held ideas from all of these tremendously successful and creative people. Thanks so much, Steve!

Les O., Washington, DC

****

This film is terrific. Love the wide range of subjects selected (Brian Cox AND McCoy Tyner?) to speak about creativity and how it is woven into the fabric of our lives—including social class. I think anyone who creates art or seeks to understand those who create it will profit from seeing it, but I’d love to see Old School, New School disseminated widely in schools and other venues that could reach artists early in their careers. It captures the joys and vicissitudes of the creative process in a way that would benefit young artists.

Richard B., Catonsville, MD

****

Wonderful! Steven Fischer’s movie is a must-view. An extraordinary, inspirational distillation of artists’ wisdom and insight, with nothing getting in the way. If you want a daily warm up, this is it!

Howard E., Exeter, UK

****

A very insightful and well made short documentary. Well worth half an hour of anyone’s time, not just those interested in creative arts.

Gareth C., United Kingdom

****

Lots of good insight in this film. One line stood out to me was something Fraker said: “live by the decisions you make, right or wrong…”

Many times when out in the field you are forced to make decisions on the spot, that can be scary, but the truth is, you just have to go for it and trust your instinct at that moment.

Thea M., Los Angeles, CA

****

This documentary is very unique and so true to life! It is real and tells it how it is.
Thanks for a creative and excellent film.

Jani B., Washington, DC

****

Steven is exactly right with his opening comments…if he wanted answers to these important questions, others would too. This film was an insightful exploration of the creative process and spans a variety of disciplines. I think we can all give Steve a congratulations and thanks for allowing us to be the other person in the room for these very personal, comfortable conversations.

Gregg L., Baltimore, MD

****

Steven Fischer takes us on an inward journey in OLD SCHOOL NEW SCHOOL to wrestle with THE fundamental concept of a successful artist: vulnerable truth. You will enjoy hearing the reflections of experience in these interviews that extol the virtues of an honest creative voice. Enjoy the film, it is a worthwhile view for any artist – old or new!

Winston S., Camp Lejeune, NC

****

I just watched “Old School New School” … I appreciate very much the honesty, heart, wisdom and confidence in being vulnerable the project and subjects share about their “success”, process and experiences as artists and humans-being… Thanks for your work and your gift Steven :-)))

Larry C., Corpus Christi, TX

****

Well done, and thank for sharing! Your doc is actually a great “tool” for those considering a “life in the arts”, and for those already in pursuit of that life, with some good “inspirational messages”. I enjoyed it, and will pass it along to those in my circle.

Carl B., New York, NY

****

This Has something for every artist from Dance and poetry to jazz and photography a must see.

Lt. Norsal, Chicago, IL

****

I am so glad you made this documentary, this topic is something that I spend many hours debating and obsessing over in my head. I think the answer, that there is no answer in terms of the right pathway is correct. Finding your voice, to me, is what matters, once that voice is found, the individual can then go about orchestrating there means of satisfying it, and I firmly believe, that if their creative voice is important enough to them, they will find them means of satisfaction, no matter what their situation. Which to me is true success, finding your voice and then satisfying it. Thank-you for making this!

Angela B.

****

I liked it a lot. The interviews are insightful and the whole idea behind this documentary is noteworthy. I have heard a great deal of lectures on “how to be successful” or “what define being successful” but something as specific as being successful in the “art” I rarely heard, and I’m glad it is brought up. Artistic professions are different from business or science because success cannot be measured by quantitative means such as money or data. Being an “artist” really requires being true, especially to one’s self. Great film.

Ze

****

Great! Steven Fischer, you ROCK! So simple, yet so profound! Thanks for this inspiring documentary!

Christina G.

****

Fantastic film—handles questions I have thought about e.g what is success. I see a lot of people buying lotttery tickets every week. It is certain that someone will win the jackpot and call himself/herself successful. But really it was just luck.. yet seeig this many neighbors will emulate and buy even more lottery tickets.

How much of career success is just statistical chance? luck of the draw..we all like to think hard work pays because of our reference group. If we were not at least partially successful, you wouldnt be engaging in high-brow chatter….

Paul

OSNS in Chicago Artist Resource

January 4, 2012

Chicago Artist Resource recently published a first-person article about the making of Old School New School. Click here to read.

The Entertainment Corner Reviews OSNS

December 5, 2011

The Entertainment Corner reviewed Old School New School.

Click here to read.

OSNS on OSNS

June 23, 2011

Steven Fischer, producer of Old School New School the movie, will be appearing on Old School New School the podcast on Thursday, July 7 2011 at 6.30pm PST. More details to come.

Old School New School Released!

June 16, 2011

Old School New School with Brian Cox released today! Please watch the movie, post a comment, and share the link with anyone interested in creative self development. Thank you for all your continued interest and support of our journey into the mystery of creativity.

Watch the movie here.