2007 FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards - Interview - Jeremy Fischer

Filmmakers International Screenwriting Awards

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Jeremy Fischer
12th Place Winner
Jeremy Fischer
of Richmond, VA

Jeremy Fischer was born in Montreal, Canada to a British mother and German Jewish father. His family moved to the United States when he was young, and he grew up in Virginia with his four sisters, while spending summers in Walnut Creek, California and London, England.

Jeremy has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and English and a post-bac in filmmaking from NYU. Since leaving New York in 2000, Jeremy has worked as a technical writer in the IT field and a Production Assistant on local films in the Washington, D.C. area. But Jeremy’s true passion is screenwriting and filmmaking. He spends his nights, weekends, and lunch hours writing film scripts and plotting the next move in his film career.

Jeremy and his wife currently live in Richmond, Virginia, but they are prepared to move wherever his career takes them. It is Jeremy’s goal in life to write, direct, and produce new and unique (and commercially successful) independent films.


I knew I wanted to be a screenwriter........

when I took Filmmaking 101 while in graduate school. I was bored with my major, so I took a bunch of undergraduate courses for fun, including filmmaking. The class changed my life. I dropped out of graduate school and began writing scripts. I later went on to study film at NYU.

I know I've succeeded........ 

when I've done something that has had a positive impact on the world and the more positive the impact, the more I will have succeeded.


My inspiration to write CHILDREN OF TOMORROW.......

came from a number of experiences. When I was in the 11th grade, I was unhappy in high school, so I dropped out of high school and talked my way into college at age 17. A few months later, I was living in the dorms and starting my freshman years and I completely came to life. I also realized that with a little effort, you can change your situation and completely turn your life around. Another inspiration came from my wife, Ilka, who hopped on a plane and came to the United States from Eastern Germany when she was 20. My mom did the same thing, when she left England by herself. My main character, DASHA, does the same thing.




FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Jeremy Fischer: The first time I took it seriously was the summer after I graduated college. I found an old paperback of Papillon, by Henri Charriere, and I read it in about two days. I figured that if an uneducated, former penal colony escapee could write a brilliant novel, so could I (silly me). I bought a bunch of spiral notebooks and started writing. I've never stopped.

FilmMakers Magazine: What did you do to prepare yourself to write your first script?

Jeremy Fischer: I wrote my first script back in the 90s, soon after my Papillon experiment. I had read a comment by Ray Bradbury that said no writer is worth reading until he has a million words under his belt. So I put my version of Papillon aside, and I started keeping a journal. I also wrote tons of stuff on my computer (dreams, novellas, etc). After a couple of years I had about a million words of crap. But the crap started getting better and better. Working as a magazine editor and technical writer helped more than anything.

FilmMakers Magazine: Is this your first script and how long did it take you to complete?

Jeremy Fischer: This is third script, actually. My first one took several years to write, and it was typical self-indulgent first try stuff. My second script I wrote in about a year, and it was decent until about act three. This script, CHILDREN OF TOMORROW, took me about a year to write, and I think it has a spark of something (I hope anyway but I'm flexible to change it).

FilmMakers Magazine: Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?

Jeremy Fischer:
Yes .anywhere and everywhere. Ideally, I like to shut myself away, and close the blinds, and turn on some music, and light some incense, etc but if you're serious about breaking into Hollywood, you need to be like an Olympic Athlete who runs 10 miles on his lunch break. I actually had to stop writing before work, because it puts me in a place outside of space-time reality. I would look at the clock, and it would be 7:45, and I would look back again, and it would be 9, and I'd be late for work.

FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests are important for aspiring screenwriters and why?

Jeremy Fischer: I really hope so, yes. I just want a chance to show the world that I can write something new and different, and hopeful my efforts will catch someone's attention.

FilmMakers Magazine: What influenced you to enter the FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards?

Jeremy Fischer: My wife. She is my manager and overseer and personal slave-driver, and I love this about her. She doesn't cut me any slack. Being with her is like being married to my own personal motivational speaker. She believes in me, more than I do myself sometimes.

FilmMakers Magazine: What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?

Jeremy Fischer: I would read all the movies you love to watch. I love intelligent and metaphysical movies, like Donnie Darko, but I read all of my favorites, even the corny ones. I used to buy them off the streets in New York, when I lived there, until I discovered that you can download them free online.

FilmMakers Magazine: Beside screenwriting what are you passionate about and why?

Jeremy Fischer: Wow. I have a ton of interests. I am really into metaphysics, ever since I read The Seth books back in the 1990s. I am also into meditation, spirituality, and the so-called paranormal. I truly believe that there is so much that we don't know, whether it's alien life or human potential; and I'm interested in the possibility of stumbling across some unknown talent or knowledge that might help humanity in some way. I also interested in normal things, too, like cooking and gardening.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Jeremy Fischer: I think Wes Anderson is an absolute genius. This guy can make anything funny, because he has comic timing down to a science. I don't love all of Wes Anderson's movies, but I love his screenplays.

FilmMakers Magazine: Name the director you would love to work with and why?

Jeremy Fischer: I would love to work with Richard Kelly, because we're from the same town, and we have similar interests and we could maybe start a mini-Hollywood here in Richmond, Virginia.

FilmMakers Magazine: Name the actor you would love to work with and why?

Jeremy Fischer: This sounds predictable, but I think Johnny Depp is the James Dean of our time. The guy can play anything and just melt into the role, whether it's Edward Scissorhands, or the Irish vagabond in Chocolat, or Gilbert Grape. He's like a spiritual channeler. Another person I'd love to work with is the Russian actress Oksana Akinshina. I was blown away by her performance in LILYA 4-EVER (she was also in the Bourne Supremacy), and I actually pasted her picture above my desk, while I wrote my script, so I could see her in the role of Dasha, walking around New York City. I even spoke with her manager in Moscow, while I was writing, to see if she might consider the role, and she seemed interested.

FilmMakers Magazine: Any tips and things learned along the way to pass on to others?

Jeremy Fischer: Yes. If this is truly something you have to do, because you were born to do it (wanting to do it is not enough, in my opinion) never ever give up! Also, don't be afraid to edit your script or take advice from people who know screenwriting and remember that filmmaking is a business, and you have to please your business partners. If you don't like this business aspect (or collaboration), then write novels.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Jeremy Fischer: This film, I hope and I am endlessly flexible and ready for it. If I need to move to Detroit, or go on a speaking tour, or direct the film myself on a shoestring budget, I'm ready and willing to take it to the next level.
Where will you be in five years from now?

FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from now?

Jeremy Fischer: Hopefully, I will be writing, directing, and producing great films that have a positive impact on the world.

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