Posts Tagged ‘cartooning’

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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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.

 

 

Cartooning for Adults at The Second City!

July 14, 2017

Bring your story ideas to life in cartoons. We’ll explore the creative process, cartoon drawing fundamentals, character development, and more! In-class writing and drawing exercises help you discover new possibilities in developing and expressing your ideas and point of view. These exercises help you generate the ideas for your own original, personal story. No experience necessary. If you can make a stick figure, you can get started!

Participants will receive a copy of Steven’s book The Wonderful, Happy, Cartoony World of Steve & Bluey.

Creating Cartoon Stories meets for one three-hour session. Sign up today!

About the instructor: Steven Fischer is a two-time Emmy® nominated writer/producer/digital cinematographer of fiction, non-fiction, and animated stories. His credits include the films Freedom Dance (2007) featuring Mariska Hargitay and Old School New School (2010) with Brian Cox. His commissioned work includes Martin Scorsese’s NEH Jefferson Lecture, Keep the Promise with Margaret Cho and Tavis Smiley, among various films for Maryland Public Television/PBS, Romanian Television Network, TV Asia, Nextel, DuPont, Nalco/Ecolabs, Department of Defense, AmeriCorps, Hollywood Stars II, and National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. Fischer is a Fulbright recipient and speaks internationally on storytelling.

Steven Fischer: A talented and award winning documentary film-maker

February 28, 2017

From Snaptwig, January 29, 2013

Steven Fischer, the talented writer, director, and producer, was raised in Maryland and abroad. Fischer has directed dozens professional documentaries, films, shorts, and television projects independently as well as for clients such as PBS, Nextel, and AmeriCorps. As a young child he had an intense love for cartoons, which stayed with him into his teens. Around the age of seventeen years old, Fischer began creating cartoons for the local paper in the town where he lived. This opened doors for him, and he began to freelance creating cartoons and illustrations for other writers. In his late teens, he began pitching children’s book ideas and comic strip book ideas to publishers. After many rejections, he decided to take measures into his own hands, and self publish his first children’s book, There’s a Blue Dog Under My Bed.

Fischer learned to not only publish his own book, but also marketing and distribution. The struggles and lessons he learned he credits with his outlook and drive to continue to develop as an artist, musician and film maker. He attended the London Cartoon Centre in London, England in order to further develop as an artist and cartoonist. He cultivated many inspiring friendships and mentors there, and counts Steve Melendez and his father Bill Melendez as his long time mentors and friends. After returning to the U.S., Fischer found himself drawn to the medium of film through freelance work for AmeriCorps and other clients. He completed his first documentary in 1996, and realized another passion, documentary film making.

“I went with it because it was coming to me, and it doesn’t really matter to me what I’m producing. If it’s a documentary, if it’s fiction, if it’s a radio drama, if it’s television, if it’s cinema; the only thing I’ve ever been interested in is telling a good story, and … I believe every story has its own medium that it is most effectively told through; some stories work better as a song, others are more effective as a theater play, others are more effective for cinema. I enjoy all of the mediums. My role in all of this is to tell a very good story, a compelling story with meaningful characters, a story that has something to say. ”, explains Fischer.

Fischer’s contagious enthusiasm continued to fuel his creativity, and many awards followed. In 2000, he was nominated for his first Emmy for Silence of Falling Leaves, a Polish language tribute to Polish POWs murdered in the Katyn Forest Massacre. Written and Directed by Steven Fischer; Cinematography by John Chester; Read by Bozena Jedrzejczak, and produced for TCI Communications.

In 2007, Fischer earned a second Emmy nomination for Now and Forever Yours: Letters to an Old Soldier. The film dramatizes the little known and scandalous story of a Union officer’s love affair with a Southern belle in Fairfax, Virginia, during the American Civil War. Fischer directed the movie for NVCC-TV and photographed it under his oft-used pseudonym Gordon O. Douglass. His cinematography was nominated for an Emmy Award. It stars Katie Tschida and Winston Shearin with music by Damion Wolfe.

In 2008, Fischer, along with his animation partner Craig Herron, won the CINE Masters Series Award for Freedom Dance. In the animated film, Fischer directed the very talented Mariska Hargitay. Ms. Hargitay narrated the film. The producers explain the film, “Freedom Dance documents four months in the lives of artist Edward Hilbert and his wife, Judy, four months as refugees defiantly leaving Communist Hungary during the violent 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Along the way, Edward kept a journal in cartoon form detailing a trip defined by adventure. Our movie, attempts to re-tell the Hilberts’ eventful escape by inter-cutting original character-driven animation with recorded interviews and photographs”

Fischer attended the CINE awards ceremony in Washington D.C. This award proved to be serendipitous for his next project, Old School, New School, in the creation of new professional relationships and what would prove to be long-time personal friendships.

Continuing with the positive momentum which has garnered Fischer eight Telly Awards as of this writing, Fischer made the decision to pursue his documentary Old School, New School. The fascinating project collects recorded conversations with world class artists including noted actor Brian Cox, Grammy-winning pianist McCoy Tyner, and legendary cinematographer William Fraker on the nature of creativity. The documentary is currently used as an inspirational teaching tool for artists in every medium around the U.S.

Try Your Hand at Cartooning in Sugar Grove!

February 27, 2017

Join us for cartooning at Waubonsee Community College, Sugar Grove, Illinois.

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

Sign up here!

cartoon8_steven_fischer_cartoons_filmmaker

When?
Saturday, March 25, 2017 9:00 AM – Saturday, March 25, 2017 12:00 PM CT
Where?
Sugar Grove Campus – Collins Hall, Room 204
Contact Information
Community Education
communityed@waubonsee.edu
(630) 466-2360
Other Information
Tickets are $19 plus a small convenience fee

Experience runs from 9 a.m to 12:00 p.m. at the Sugar Grove Campus – Collins Hall, Room 204.

Must be at least 16 years old to attend this event. Only 20 spots available

Cartoons at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts

February 24, 2017

Attention Annapolis! Learn the art of cartooning through two individual workshops or buy both workshops as a package.  Click here and sign up today!

Steven Fischer, a two-time Emmy® nominated filmmaker and cartoonist, takes us through his personal journey in cartoons that led to an award-winning career in the arts working on projects with such creative luminaries as Martin Scorsese, Brian Cox, Mariska Hargitay, and animation legend Bill Melendez. Fischer explores the philosophy and psychology of character creation, inspiration, creativity, and storytelling in ways that help aspiring storytellers effectively bring their characters and stories to life. Students may register for the Lecture/Q & A and Workshop separately or for both with the Cartooning Series Package.

Love Your Characters to Life: Lecture and Q & A
Wednesday, March 29 | 7-8 pm
Saturday, April 1 | 9:30 am-12:30 pm

Cartoon Class at Second City, begins April 5!

February 22, 2017

Many thanks to The Second City, Chicago, for offering Introduction to Cartoon Storytelling — 4 weeks of intense cartooning starting April 5. Get those pencils ready and sign up here.

Details:

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!3 hours, 4 weeks starting April 5, 2017.

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_second-city-workshop_chicago_april-20_2016_photos-by-alicia-haywood_4

Cartoonist and animation filmmaker Steven Fischer presents Cartoon Storytelling at The Second City in Chicago. Photo by Alicia Haywood.

The Return of Cartoons and Creativity at Waubonsee Community College!

August 31, 2016

Try Your Hand at Cartooning With an Emmy Nominated Filmmaker

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

Saturday, September 10, 2016
9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Waubonsee Community College, Sugar Grove Campus 
$19

Sign up here!!

The-Wonderful-Happy-Cartoony-World-of-Steve-and-Bluey-cover-by-Steven-Fischer

Copies of Fischer’s book, The Wonderful, Happy, Cartoony World of Steve & Bluey, will be for sale at the workshop.

 

Cartoon Storytelling comes back to Second City!

May 23, 2016

I am proud to announce that Second City, famed school of comedy, home to John Candy, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and many more comedy legends, is offering my Cartoon Storytelling class starting this July.

Sign up, sharpen your pencils, and join the fun!

Details:

Bring your story ideas to life in cartoon format, no experience necessary. Explore narrative, character development and format. In-class writing and drawing exercises help you discover new possibilities in expressing your ideas and point of view. You’ll try your hand at several formats (comic book, comic strip, single panel) as you build your own original personal story in cartoon form. If you can make a stick figure, you can get started!

Tuesday nights,  JULY 5 – AUGUST 9, 2016 ….. 7pm – 10pm

About the instructor: Steven Fischer is a two-time Emmy® nominated writer/producer/digital cinematographer of fiction, non-fiction, and animated stories. His credits include the films Freedom Dance (2007) featuring Mariska Hargitay and Old School New School (2010) with Brian Cox. His commissioned work includes Martin Scorsese’s NEH Jefferson Lecture, Keep the Promise with Margaret Cho and Tavis Smiley, and Bill Cosby Live at The Kennedy Center among various films for Maryland Public Television/PBS, Romanian Television Network, TV Asia, Nextel, DuPont, Nalco/Ecolabs, Department of Defense, AmeriCorps, Hollywood Stars II, and National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.

Fischer is a Fulbright recipient and speaks internationally on storytelling.

Sign up: http://www.secondcity.com/classes/chicago/cartooning-a-2d-guide-to-3d-characters-copy/