Making his dreams a reality

Published 10:40 am Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Mickey Fisher speaks to Ironton High School


His message was simple: Before he was an actor, a filmmaker or a big-time Hollywood screenwriter, Mickey Fisher was an Ironton Fighting Tiger.

The season finale of the Fisher-created and Steven Spielberg-produced television show “Extant” starring Academy Award-winner Halle Berry aired this past Wednesday and Fisher came to Ironton to watch the show with his family.

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While in Ironton he took the time to address the students at Ironton High School about his path in life.

“I was a student at West Ironton School and got tapped to be the lead in the school play,” he said. “It was after that I realized (being in the play) is something I was really good at.”

When not acting in plays at school or the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland, Fisher said he could be found at Midtown Cinemas in Ashland watching movies.

“One of my first memories as a human being was watching “Star Wars” at Midtown,” he said. “What I saw in that theater played the biggest part in what I wanted to do with my life.”

First came “E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial,” then came “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Both movies were produced by Spielberg and, Fisher said, are two of the reasons Spielberg became one of his heroes.

“There’s a scene at the beginning of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” where Indiana Jones is running away from a boulder; it’s a very famous scene,” Fisher said. “Me and my dad got to the theater late and we missed that scene. My dad asked if we could stay for the next showing just to watch that part and the guy at the theater said we could. But, we didn’t stay for the scene, we watched the entire movie again.”

His speech was rife with anecdotes from his time as a student at Ironton and Fisher repeatedly expressed how much of an influence Ironton has in his writing, such as it did for his films “The King of Iron Town” and “Summer Nuts.”

After moving to California from New York in 2011, Fisher said he gave himself three years to be successful in Hollywood.

“I watched all my favorite TV shows and broke down the scenes,” he said. “After that I wrote a pilot; the type of show I would want to watch.”

The script was for “Extant” and he said he entered it into a contest to get recognition and possibly an agent. He was notified on a Wednesday he got second-place in the contest. The following Saturday he got a call from an agent who told him, “I think I can change your life with this script.”

The day before his 40th birthday he found out Spielberg’s production company, Amblin Entertainment, was on board and the show had been sold to CBS.

“I got hundreds of calls and text messages when the news hit the next day,” he said.

Shortly thereafter is when he heard Berry, a Cleveland native, was interested in the show’s lead role.

“The first day of filming she gave baskets of cookies to everyone on the set,” he said. “There was a note in mine that said, ‘Here’s to two kids from Ohio making their dreams come true.’”

It hasn’t been decided whether “Extant” will be picked up for a second season, but Fisher said he’s fine with it either way. He will soon begin writing movies for a Los Angeles studio.

“It took me 20 years to realize my dream,” he told the students. “These things can and have happened to people from Ironton. If there’s something you want to do, you can do it. Dreams are possibilities.”

Fisher is a 1991 graduate of Ironton High School and played saxophone in the Million Dollar Marching Band.