Posts Tagged ‘storytelling’

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!


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:


Pixar’s 22 Rules for Storytelling

July 14, 2015

These rules from Pixar Story Artist Emma Coats were originally share by Aerogramme Studios. Number 9 on the list – When you’re stuck, make a list of what wouldn’t happen next – is a great one and can apply to writers in all genres.

  1. You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
  2. You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different.
  3. Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
  4. Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
  5. Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
  6. What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
  7. Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
  8. Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
  9. When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
  10. Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
  11. Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
  12. Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
  13. Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
  14. Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
  15. If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
  16. What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
  17. No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.
  18. You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
  19. Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
  20. Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?
  21. You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?
  22. What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.

Character Creation Workshop at Second City!

January 22, 2015

Join Steven Fischer at Second City on Saturday, February 28, 2015, for a cartoon character creation workshop!

Create original characters and personal stories for theater, radio, TV, or literature in this unique storytelling workshop. Participants exercise the creative process to develop original characters and stories through the art of cartooning. Cartoonist and two-time Emmy Award nominated writer/producer Steven Fischer leads participants through writing and drawing exercises that help develop well-rounded characters, locations, stories, and themes. Along the way, explore the philosophy and psychology of inspiration, creativity and storytelling. No drawing experience is necessary.

For details and registration click here!

Glenbard Parent Series, and cartoons at Northwestern University, and Waubonsee Community College

March 18, 2013

Old School New School director Steven Fischer presents a creativity workshop at the Glenbard Parents Series on April 4, 2013 in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Register details here!

Steven is back at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, presenting Introduction to Cartoon Storytelling (fiction storytelling) mini course starting in April. Sign up here!

His non-fiction cartoon storytelling class for adults is currently held at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, Illinois. A child-friendly cartoon storytelling workshop will be held at Waubonsee Community College Saturday, April 6, 2013.