Posts Tagged ‘disney’

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)


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.


Steve and Bluey Colorado Tour

June 2, 2015

On Monday, June 22, 2015 the University of Colorado, Denver, hosts the LYNX National Media & Arts Camp. I will attend as a Guest Artist working with animation students and presenting a workshop on creativity and character development, referencing stories from my own experience creating The Wonderful, Happy, Cartoony World of Steve & Bluey.

The tour continues that week with appearances and workshops at Colorado Free University on June 23 and Arapahoe Community College on June 24.

Of course, copies of The Wonderful, Happy, Cartoony World of Steve & Bluey will be on sale, but you can also conveniently order a copy by clicking here!

If you’re in the Denver area and can join the fun, please do!

Steven Fischer speaks about creativity and character creation at LYNX National Arts & Media Camp_University of Colorado_Denver_June 2015_photo by Dave Walter

Steven Fischer speaks about creativity and character creation at LYNX National Arts & Media Camp, University of Colorado, Denver. June 2015. Photo by Dave Walter.


Steven Fischer works with animation students at University of Colorado, Denver, June 2015.

Steven Fischer works with animation students at University of Colorado, Denver. June 2015.

Steven Fischer at Script DC

October 19, 2009

Script DC is a conference for screenwriters and takes place each year, as one would suspect, in Washington, DC. This year I was asked to speak with Lisa Goldman and Kristin Harris on the subject of Writing for Animation. The audience was comprised of both novice and professional writers, all eager to participate and ask questions. We screened some of our respective animation work and answered questions on everything from basic format to breaking into “the biz” and the relationship between the writer and the animator.

I enjoy speaking at events like this because it gives me a chance to contribute and share the lessons I’ve learned along my journey.

Lisa and Kristin are great people and terrific animators. Lisa is the president of Women in Animation, and Kristin runs a successful business called Kristin Harris Design.

Steven Fischer and Lisa Goldman speak about Writing for Animation at Script DC 2009 (photo: Amy Stern).

Steven Fischer and Lisa Goldman speak about Writing for Animation at Script DC 2009 (photo: Amy Stern).