Posts Tagged ‘john bailey’

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 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

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

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.

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

Rick Kogan, WGN Radio 720, Chicago

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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

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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

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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

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

Terry E., Chicago, IL

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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

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

Wendy, Washington, DC

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

The Digital Dilemma

January 7, 2012

Renowned cinematographer, and Old School New School subject, John Bailey spoke strongly last year on the use of digital technology in the cinema. He references an alarming report published by The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences called The Digital Dilemma.

Some very strong points made as to the dangers and weaknesses of the digital medium’s ability to preserve our cinema heritage.

Click here for video of Mr. Bailey speaking at the CineGear Expo.

The Entertainment Corner Reviews OSNS

December 5, 2011

The Entertainment Corner reviewed Old School New School.

Click here to read.

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.

OSNS on Film Cast Live

June 29, 2009

Film Cast Live posted a review of the OSNS screening in Hollywood, June 20th. The writer’s name is George Leon and he had some great words to share!

Click here to check it out!

Thanks for the kudos, George!

OSNS panel discussion, Los Angeles, CA, June 2009

OSNS panel discussion, Los Angeles, CA, June 2009 (L-R) Brett Paesel, Mark Goffman, Steven Fischer, Steve Melendez, Mike Polcino

Hollywood Screening

May 29, 2009

Did I mention that Kimberley Browning is one of planet Earth’s most beautiful people? She is the heart and soul behind Hollywood Shorts, and many months ago made the generous offer to coordinate and present a work-in-progress screening of Old School, New School, a study on the nature of creativity.

That day is nearly here. Mark your calendars!

Saturday, June 20, 2009
The Hotel Cafe
1623 N. Cahuenga Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
4.30pm – 6.30pm
FREE

This work-in-progress screening is intended for a target audience focus group (art students and those interested in developing their creativity). Confirmed guests for the post screening discussion include 6-time Oscar nominee (and OSNS subject) William Fraker and Michael Polcino, director of The Simpsons and Family Guy animated series. The discussion continues the dialogue from the movie about taking risks, finding your own voice, defining success in the arts, and, in general, how to “make it” in the arts.

More panel guests to be announced. The best way to keep in formed is to join the OSNS Facebook page.

Many thanks to The Hotel Cafe and Kimberley Browning for making this screening a reality.