Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Discover Norris Mini Courses at Northwestern University!

March 8, 2017

Here’s an excerpt from an article by Aine Dougherty, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University

Northwestern offers lots of interesting classes for its students, but if your class schedule is full and you’re still itching to learn, look no further than Mini Courses at Norris University Center. Open to all undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and community members, Mini Courses give participants the chance to learn new skills in just a few short weeks.

Courses cover a wide variety of topics, from cooking to dancing to drinking, so no matter what your interests are, you’ll be able to find a Mini Course that suits your needs. Or, you’ll get the chance to discover a new passion. Some of the most popular courses include Ceramics, Cherokee, Latin Ballroom Dance, and Wine Appreciation (for those over 21). The Spring 2017 program will offer these choices as well as many others, including Baking, Belly Dancing, Public Speaking, and Mixology.

Acting & Character Creation with Steven Fischer

Aspiring Brad Pitts and Angelina Jolies need look no further than Steven Fischer’s Acting and Character Creation class, where they can learn from an two-time Emmy-nominated instructor who has 25 years of work experience as a director, writer, animator, and actor in live-action and animated films. Fischer, a Mini Courses instructor since 2012, says that a typical session of his acting class involves “a lot of acting exercises and improv games” that help students generate performance ideas they can then use outside of class. Fischer affirms that his course is a safe place to create because there are no right or wrong ideas, and he says that participants can make the most out of their experience “simply by being open to something new.”

Film director-producer Steven Fischer works with actors at Northwestern University.

According to Fischer, all of the Mini Courses participants are “the best of the best … They are all ready to work; they are ready to share and give of themselves; they are open. They’re just terrific people.” Don’t you want to be one of them? Sign up today!

Early registration is open now and lasts until March 29 – sign up during that time to save $8. Regular registration lasts until April 16, and courses begin during the third week of April, meeting on weekday evenings for around six weeks. Find more information on the Mini Courses web page, and sign up for the class of your choice at www.nbo.northwestern.edu

 

Cartoon Classes Galore!

March 3, 2017

Learn the art of cartoon storytelling at The Second City, that famed Chicago comedy Alma Mater of Bill Murray, John Candy, Gilda Radner, Chris Farley, Harold Ramis and so many other brilliant, comedic minds.

Each course explores story breakdown, character development, page layout, the creative process, 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 these courses!

Sign up for:

Steven Fischer’s Intro to Cartoon Storytelling (for adults!)

Wednesdays, April 5-26, 2017 — 3-hour sessions starting at 7pm

 

The Wonderful, Happy, Cartoony Workshop (for ages 14-18)

Workshop: Saturday, April 15, 2017 (2-hours)

Four-session Class version:  Saturday, April 22-23 and 29-30, 2017 (2-hour sessions)

"Steve & Bluey" by Steven Fischer. Copyright 2015 Steven Fischer.

“Steve & Bluey” by Steven Fischer. Copyright 2015 Steven Fischer.

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!

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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

Two Fascinating Voices

February 8, 2017

The Chicago Creative Coalition has long been an important haven for creative people in all disciplines, from graphic arts to photography, design, animation and beyond. This article from their Summer 2014 magazine highlights an example of the varied educational programming they offer members.

A big thank you to TJ Hine, George Berlin, Stephen Starr, and C3 members for including me numerous times in their quest to enrich and inspire each other.

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Film director-producer and cartoonist Steven Fischer talks creativity at Chicago Creative Coalition, 2014.

Old School New School on Film Monthly

February 8, 2017

Old School New School review at filmmonthly.com

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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.

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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

Old School New School review on Snaptwig

February 8, 2017

A blast from the past — Snaptwig review of Old School New School, a study on creativity. Quite thorough. If anyone knows the author, please let me know!

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

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

Old School, New School: The inspiring documentary by film-maker Steven Fischer

Steven Fischer’s recent documentary, Old School, New School is a triumphant view of how artists fuel their creativity and drive to bring their creative inspirations to fruition, and the challenges involved. The film brings to the light what inspirations professionals have, and provides vindication for current creative professionals in that their thinking is universal. The documentary provides a resounding echo of all of the shared thoughts of artists from around the world which creates a sense of community. The film accomplishes this through bringing together experts in all genres of art and entertainment in interviews about their perception of inspiration, drive to succeed in the arts, and the challenges involved.

The interviews in the film include Emmy winning actor Brian Cox, Tony award winning producer, Emanuel Azenberg, Oscar nominated cinematographer William Fraker, Grammy winning jazz pianist McCoy Tyner, accomplished actor Tomas Arana, renowned cinematographer John Bailey, accomplished actor Ben Jones, acclaimed theater director and actor Sam McCready, distinguished poet James Ragan, and award winning improvisational dancer Kirstie Simson.

Steven Fischer, the director, writer, and producer of Old School, New School, credits the many conversations with friends and colleagues over the years, as well as the 1974 documentary, “Place de la Republique” by Louis Malle for the inspiration to make the documentary. Fischer explains the inspiration, “I was so interested in that concept, that idea of a movie that is driven by a running conversation. I’d like to try that, to make a movie that’s just one running conversation. That’s a challenge for me. You combine that with at the same time doing these experiments, recording these conversations about creativity, about the arts. It all gets mixed together, and evolves into what became Old School New School.”

Finding the people willing to be interviewed for the documentary was another challenge to overcome for Fischer. True to form, he never gave up and followed every opportunity to find the wonderful artists who appear in the film and readily give their insight, and advice for artists in every medium on creativity, the creative process, and drive to follow through with one’s dreams.

One such opportunity came while premiering his animated documentary, Freedom Dance with Mariska Hargitay, which was shown at a festival in Washington D.C. in 2008. Fischer met a woman from Kodak of New York, and her interest in his idea for Old School, New School so inspired her that she introduced Fischer to Lisa Muldowney from a Los Angeles PR firm. This introduction led to assistance in finding artists and film makers willing to participate in the project.

Of the challenging experience of finding the willing professionals Fischer explains his drive and inspiration, “I have no idea how these things happen, but I think part of it has to do with the bravery and courage to go after something, and to get the wheels in motion, and to start producing your project. By going through the motion, and by generating activity, I think then somehow activity begets more activity, and things start to happen…, but there’s such serendipity in that, and that I would never dare to guess how that happens, but I wish that there was a way to provoke it. I think I’ve found that for me there are three aspects to this. One is to know what you want. Two is to have a plan. And three is to trust your instincts. I find repeatedly, when I follow that, for me, things seem to – well, I guess quote unquote, luck seems to happen, and obviously it’s not luck. (Of finding the professionals to be interviewed) It is the result of a lot of effort, and being prepared, and just being tenacious.”

Tenacious would be an understatement of a description for this experienced producer and director. Persistent, inspiring, and driven are better adjectives to describe Steven Fischer; all of which are necessary to be successful the entertainment industry. Journalist, Tracy Saville, comments on Fischer in her April 16, 2012 article about Old School, New School, “His search for the essential truths, driven only by a passion to advance his own knowledge and understanding is why old school ideas like what it takes to be powerfully creative in today’s world stand the test of time.” (www.thepossibilityplace.com, 2012)

Fischer’s long time friend and lawyer, Diane Davison, assisted him in finding the talented professionals to be interviewed and became a producer for the film. Davison commends Fischer, “He (Fischer) is an amazingly multi-faceted artist in every sense of the word: art, animation, music, film. I don’t know if he dances too, but that would definitely not surprise me! Add talent, vision, tenacity and business acumen to that and you have someone who has successfully created Art with a capital “A” since of a young age.”

James Ragan, who was interviewed for the film, relays his impressions of working with Fischer on the film, “His ease in interviewing in front of the camera made the entire documentary a conversation rather than an academic thesis. It’s clear by the responses he received from each person interviewed that he’s genuinely interested in their careers and is a master at drawing out the anecdote that best defines his subject and their personalities.”

Chris Cassidy, one of the cinematographers who worked on the film, shares his involvement, “I think the documentary Old School, New School is really important. People want to know about ‘the process’ of where creativity comes from. Hearing from all these fantastic people makes the film an important and educational lesson. The project was very exciting to work on. Each subject had different things to say, and different approaches. Not only was it an exciting job, but I learned a lot too. That doesn’t always happen on a shoot.”

Fischer’s longtime friend, camera operator, and collaborator, Gregg Landry says,”Old School, New School is, I think, the perfect reflection of where Steven is with his artistry today. He has achieved a high level of achievement in the creative world but humbly seeks more insight, more knowledge, more wisdom. Old School, New School educates the audience in a very dynamic way.”

Fischer’s long time friend, colleague, and mentor Steven Melendez explains his involvement with the project, “I have known Steven since he was in high school in London, and we have become firm friends. Old School, New School is a very interesting film for me. Steven spent a number of years quizzing me about how I go about making a film,… One thing I think that Steven learned from making the film, is that one has to trust oneself, and believe in what you are trying to say, and then develop the skills to excite others to come on board your ship”.

The theme of this incredible documentary seems to resonate through all those involved and all those who view it, ‘Believe in yourself and what you have to say, seek out opportunities to perfect your craft and perform your craft, and define success for yourself.’ The documentary is currently used as an inspirational teaching tool at universities across the U.S., and can also be viewed on www.snagfilms.com

3 Essential Habits to Increase Creativity

January 24, 2017

Many thanks to Diane Bobis and Peter Hansen at Winnetka Living for inviting me to pen this article on creativity.

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Thanks also to Tom Rosenak at DiamondMind Enterprises for making it all happen!

And watch some creativity VIDEO links here:

Defeat Writer’s Block

You Are Creative!

 

TV Asia

September 23, 2016

One of the perks about shooting for TV Asia is that tea breaks come with the best Masala tea!

Producer Nalini Raja and Director, filmmaker Steven Fischer shooting for TV Asia in Chicago, Illinois in 2016

Tea break with producer Nalini Raja Patel and director Steven Fischer, shooting on location for TV Asia in Elmhurst, Illinois.

 

Click here for a home brew recipe.

A big shout out to Producer and National Correspondent Nalini Raja Patel for being so great to work with! Thanks for 8-years of adventure. Here’s to many more!

Producer Nalini Raja Patel and director Steven Fischer on location for TV Asia in Elmhurst, Illinois.

And now it’s off to India for the edit!

Second City Cartoon Workshop!

September 19, 2016

Many thanks to Tom Rosenak for these photos from my 2D Guide to Creating 3D Characters workshop at The Second City! And thanks so much to all in attendance. Your enthusiasm, openness to new ideas, and all-around-greatness made the day a real pleasure. (And thanks to Andy Eninger and Sheena Laird at Second City for the chance to collaborate on another adventure.)

Cartoonist and filmmaker Steven Fischer presents character creation workshop at Second City, Chicago. Sept. 17, 2016. Photo by Tom Rosenak.

Cartoonist and filmmaker Steven Fischer presents character creation workshop at Second City, Chicago. Sept. 17, 2016. Photo by Tom Rosenak.

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Cartoonist and filmmaker Steven Fischer presents character creation workshop at Second City, Chicago. Sept. 17, 2016. Photo by Tom Rosenak.