Last issue, Common Sense wrote an article about class of 2008 alum Eric Fleischman, who is now a successful film producer in the thick of the Los Angeles film industry. Common Sense follow up with a Q & A.
Common Sense: What was your early inspiration to become a producer and be involved in the movie industry?
Eric Fleischman: When I was five, my parents made the mistake of telling me that if I decided what I wanted to do with the rest of my life at a young age, I would continually be ahead of the curve… and I think it really sunk in. What was supposed to be an illustrious career in archaeology became something totally different two years later when I stumbled upon an unknown movie (to me) called Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom and my young mind was blown. The thought was simply this and it basically stays true to today: if I have these dreams of being an archaeologist, and here is a filmmaker who basically took what I had in my head, and without talking to me, put it on a screen exactly how I saw it… well, I have a lot of dreams! If I go into film, I can live them all. You can tell, very much a seven year old’s epiphany but still, there’s truth to it.
CS: What activities did you participate in Wootton (or elsewhere) that helped prepare you for the track you set yourself on of becoming a producer?
EF: If memory serves correctly, I joined the Film & TV Club freshman year, joined the Morning Announcements junior and senior year (and probably caused Wootton to change its rules because of me having too much fun with them) and then I think it was senior year, if not maybe junior year, when I broke off from the Film & TV Club and created “The League of Independent Filmmakers” at Wootton… which I am SURE no longer exists today… because I wasn’t making the films I wanted to make in the previous club. Realizing now that I am older, this is very much a pattern of mine: join something, learn, realize it’s not exactly what I want, leave and create the thing I think can be better.
CS: Was there anything that ever deterred you from pursuing your dream, and if so how did you overcome it?
EF: Nope! Life is too short. If you have a dream, stick with it.
CS: What does the achievement of being a member of Forbes 30 under 30 mean to you?
EF: It’s wild I’ll tell you that much. I found out the same day the rest of the world did, which is quite the interesting tactic on Forbes’ part. I’ve dreamt of being on the 30U30 List since I knew what Forbes was (so we’re talking really like freshman year of college haha) and even though it wasn’t a constant thought in my head over the last few years, it is the most amazing and humbling form of validation that might exist for young entrepreneurs around the globe.
CS: After your next film, Flower, comes out, what are your plans for the future?
EF: Here’s what I CAN tell you: Flower comes to theaters on March 16, 2018. There are six feature films that are in post-production now (meaning they aren’t finished, but we’re close) that will either premiere at film festivals or be released in theaters also in 2018. And on top of that we’re producing six new feature films and two new television shows next year as well. So it should be fairly busy here in LA but I’m just beginning. Well. Sort of.