Posts Tagged ‘james ragan’

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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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.

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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

OSNS on WGN Radio

March 8, 2012

Old School New School director Steven Fischer and OSNS subject James Ragan appeared on WGN Sunday, March 4, 2012 on The Sunday Papers with Rick Kogan. The three talk about creativity, poetry, Irish soda bread, and touring with Bob Dylan. Listen here!

Old School New School makes MovieMaker Magazine!

January 19, 2012

MovieMaker Magazine, the nation’s leading magazine on the art and business of making movies, releases a story about the making of Old School New School with Brian Cox. Click here to read!

The Entertainment Corner Reviews OSNS

December 5, 2011

The Entertainment Corner reviewed Old School New School.

Click here to read.