Mentor Profile: Steve Fisch
Evered House Press
JAN. 7, 2021
Steve Fisch understands what it means to serve. During the Vietnam War, Fisch decided to enlist into the Navy right out of high school. During his time on active duty and in the reserves, he was a part of Combat Camera Group Pacific. These Navy filmmakers were the descendants of the “John Ford and Frank Capra Units" from World War II. Ford and Capra were among the most famous Hollywood directors during the World War II era. Steve first met Evered House co-founder Charles Evered when Evered was writing a screenplay for Steven Spielberg’s company Dreamworks called “Carrier”—a big budget thriller set aboard a navy aircraft carrier. Steve gave Evered and his producers from Dreamworks a tour of a carrier in San Diego, and brought up the idea of Evered serving in the reserves. While “Carrier” has yet to be made, the meeting led to Evered joining the Direct Commission Program and serve in the Navy Reserve for eight years. Fisch has served his country for more than 36 years, retiring as a Captain, and was awarded the Legion of Merit.
EVERED HOUSE: Can you tell us a little bit about why you were attracted to be part of the Evered House mission?
STEVE FISCH: The House is a unique place for artists. You’re able to have a space where you can focus without distractions. That’s very valuable, as you have the chance to change your mindset, clear the cobwebs out, and try new things that you might not have thought about, all because you are in a whole different environment. There’s no one around to distract you. Let the creative juices flow.”
EH: What advice do you have for residents of the house?
SF: When you come to the house be open, be honest, and be welcoming because you never know what’s going to happen while you’re there. You never know what new insights into yourself will arise from your creations, from your art, from inside yourself. And take advantage of your time there… Don’t waste a minute. And when I say don’t waste a minute, you don’t have to be in constant motion. You can easily spend a couple hours a day on the porch, in the shade, staring out into the hi-desert, taking it all in. That’s not wasting time. That’s stimulating creativity.
EH: Do you think there’s a divide between the armed services and the creative arts community? And if so, how have you helped to bridge that divide during you career in both Hollywood and the navy?
SF: Art and the military have always walked together hand-in-hand. During World War I, there artists who were commissioned military officers. In World War II and Vietnam, there were Combat Artists as well as still and motion picture photographers. Today, each of the military branches has a liaison office to Hollywood. Each works closely with writers, producers and documentary filmmakers to help them create the most accurate portrayal of the military in their stories. While I was fortunate to work for major studios like Fox and Viacom, as a reservist I also worked out of the Navy’s Los Angeles Information Office to assist in providing support to the Hollywood community. One of the projects I helped to create was the Hollywood to the Navy program, where we introduced film and television professionals to the rank of file sailor on-board Navy ships, like an aircraft carrier, destroyer and/or submarine. It was on one of these tours that Charles Evered and I first met.
EH: In what ways can people support the house?
SF: Obviously one way is to make a tax-deductible contribution! But just as important is to spread the word about the House and its mission of helping military and first responder artists to further develop their work, to try something new, and to take a chance in a safe supportive environment. “Like” the house on social media. “Share” and forward our monthly newsletters. Once COVID is behind us, when things are once again safe, visit the house. Participate in events honoring our artists. Come for a tour of the grounds. The tiniest of acts on your part, might just lead to the next person being chosen as an Artist in Residence. You never know the impact you can have. Collectively we make this work.
EH: What is your role as an Evered House advisor?
SF: I am one of several who have made themselves available to House residents. Each of us, in our own way, serves as a mentor, advisor, guide, or just someone to kick things around with. It’s a way for us to share knowledge, and experiences. As a veteran myself, it takes about 5 minutes or less to connect with a fellow veteran. Why? It’s because of our common experience that we’re able to get there so quickly.
EH: Thank you, Steve, for taking the time to sit down with us and for your support of the Evered House mission!
SF: My pleasure!