7 Questions with Producer: NEAL FISCHER
FFF: How did you get into this industry?
FISCHER: Since I was 10 years old, I’ve had two dreams, first was to live in Japan and the other was to be a story teller of some sort, be it creating comic books and graphic novels, video games, television, feature films, etc. So, after graduating from the University of Iowa, I moved to Japan, where I taught English for the Ministry of Education via a program called JET. While living and working in Japan, I was able to make my first dream come true, for about four years I studied martial arts directly under some of the very best teachers in the world, visited nearly every corner of Japan, lived in a buddhist monastery for a month, learned how to play the Japanese flute and taiko drums, climbed Mount Fuji to the very top, ate Japanese food every day, made some of the best friends I’ve ever had, and was actually living my dream. It also inspired me to make my other dream come true… so while still living in Japan, I studied about filmmaking, screenwriting and producing from books I had my mother send me, and taught myself how to produce and write. I had taken writing classes through the Iowa Writers Workshop program, but screenwriting was a different beast. So I started writing scripts… lots of scripts.
FFF: What do you like best about producing?
FISCHER: In short, I get to tell stories. There are many aspects to producing, and there are many kinds of producers. I actually enjoy all aspects of producing, from discovering a property, developing it, finding the financing, hiring a director, helping cast and rewrite, guiding the project all the way through production, post production, distribution, marketing, and then finally dealing with merchandise and licensing. That said, I am a creative producer at heart, so am happiest when I am working with character, story, setting, world building, concept art, developing the script, show bible, and overall brand. And no surprise, that is what I truly excel as as well. Also, as a writer who knows how to produce, I get to make my own ideas come to life.
FFF: Where do you find inspiration?
FISCHER: Everywhere. Other filmmakers, writers and artist inspire me. Real people who push themselves to their limits, inspire me. Inspiration is all around us, we just need to have our eyes open to it to see it.
FFF: How would you describe your style of work?
FISCHER: Midwestern Zen. It is silly a term I came up that people who know me will say, oh that is Neal. Ying & yang. I am proud of my Iowa heritage, we are friendly and loyal, with a tireless and unyielding work ethic. But I am also a perfectionist that loves balance. For my audience, I want my work to be both entertaining and thought provoking. For those I work with, I want to create a work environment that is both comfortable yet challenging. So I care less about genre or “style” and more about quality and something I can truly be proud of… Proud of the end product, and proud of how it was made. The journey and the destination.
FFF: What are some of your favorite films?
FISCHER: I am not a fan of this question, as I have a list of favorite films that is nearly endless.
FFF:: Do you have a person on your wish list to work with?
FISCHER: Rather than having a wish list of people I’d like to work with, I hope that I get to work with more people that are as awesome and wonderful as the people I’ve had the honor and pleasure of working with so far. My experience in Hollywood so far as been wonderful. There are so many people I’d love to work with, both old and new, but most importantly, I want to work with people who are passionate, professional, dedicated and talented. People who not only share a vision, but are people that I’d like to go out and have lunch or dinner or a drink with for no other reason than they are good people.
FFF: What’s next?
FISCHER: Well, beyond a couple projects I cannot talk about yet, for several years I have been part of a team of producers working with Peter S. Beagle’s THE LAST UNICORN. We have taken the animated feature on an international promotional tour with Peter, will remaster the original film, are in the middle of developing it into a Broadway musical and a live action feature film, and more. I have also partnered up with good friend, John Wick, to develop a few of his role playing games for film and tv. And as a writer who came out to LA with several scripts of my own, I have a couple original projects of my own that I have been focusing on, one is an animated samurai series, another is what I call my “Yakuza Triology” which, in part, is based on my real life experiences while living in Japan.