Michael Fishman, after going through the highs and lows of being a successful actor, recently gave birth to an idea of his own production company. He nurtured the idea until it finally became the production house he could be proud of. And while the world only sometimes sees the glamour of being a famous Hollywood star, Fishman had to maneuver the dark waters to finally rise and be known as he is today beyond just what you see on your TV screens.
1) How successful is he today?
When asked about success, Michael immediately brought up his chance of working as an actor. He believes that his best work is still ahead of him, so he knows that his greater success is still to be achieved, even though he has been on hit shows like The Conners / Roseanne, a show that is beloved by so many.
Professionally, he started in 1988 on Roseanne. The show was an instant success, being number one in ratings within a few episodes and maintaining that for many years. After almost a decade there, he built his fame as an actor, tackling difficult topics on and off screen. But what was really incredible about him was that he utilized his fame to become active in humanitarian causes. He considers himself highly privileged as each role has offered him opportunities to empower others.
The last few years he expanded his reach into production. Through Mclusive Media he has been able to build productions that are as diverse as the world we live in, and thus caters to all. Michael and his team are able to generate groundbreaking television, film, unscripted, and interactive media, all the while showing people the importance of inclusion.
He also helped start-up two charities; WeComend is designed to do social outreach. It specializes in mentoring people to obtain work in production from underprivileged or underrepresented backgrounds. He was able to loop in his family into his charity work as well through Altruistic Acres; Altruistic Acres was founded with his youngest daughter to help fight climate change through community action. Its goal is environmental cleanup, revitalization, and ecological safe spaces.
As an Actor, Writer, Director, Producer, He has worked in almost every aspect of the entertainment industry and continues to be successful in everything he touches.
2) What is so unique about his acting methods?
Detailed, heartfelt emotion, authenticity, kind. As an actor Michael is one of the best collaborators in the business.While most people are just putting up a facade, Michael is still showing up with the same enthusiasm as he did the first time when he was a child actor. He tells us that every morning he wakes up grateful to have work, excited to show up on set and comes prepared. He understands the technical aspects, but most importantly when the lights are on, time is critical, and the camera zooms in; You can see him transform into his character, you can see him become the character.
While speaking to him, you can just tell that he prides himself in his professionalism. It may sound simple, but even just showing up on time is a hard task for many actors and he never fails to do so. He shows up early and stays till late if that is what is needed. What you get from him is more than what you pay for because he is someone who loves acting, who celebrates each day on set. He is the guy smiling after twelve hours, still driven after fifteen, who the moment the scene begins can live the seriousness of the moment. “Cut”, back to happy, what are the notes, what are the other choices, what needs to be adjusted, how can he make it better? Then let’s do it again, only differently, and every time he hears “action” his whole world lights up and he wants to bring the same light into the lights of the people watching him and working with him.
3) Any tragedies (either professionally or personally) that he has encountered in his life?
Like many others, Michael has had his own share of grief and tragedy. Everyone faces their own demons in their life, the only difference is what you do when you come face to face with them. Michael is a positive person who sees everything as an opportunity to learn from and uses those lessons to change his life for the better.
The best thing that he has learned in his life is to not compare his grief to what others experience. If you’re drowning, you’re drowning, it doesn’t matter how much water there is.
He is very open about these experiences because according to him, often people hide their grief and pain, which denies others the power of learning through someone else’s experience. He believes pain, trauma, tragedy, can all be motivators. His scars became his strength as he shared stories, to lift others, to do charitable work, to fill a gap in society, he never wanted anyone else to have to go through anything alone if he could help it.
4) What are his hopes for his career and body of work going forward?
As an actor he has demonstrated an ease with comedy and dramatic moments. He is looking for the right roles to really highlight his growth and development through the years. He really appreciates the advantage that he has that people are aware of his career, they just haven’t witnessed his full range or seen him fully unleashed. He is looking for a few projects to really utilize his strength, warmth, physicality, and athleticism. He is sure that he can work in any genre and the right projects are just around the corner.
As a writer, director and producer his goal is to create 20 television shows, and 20 films in the next 40 years. That is his baseline dream. Depending on the right partnerships it could easily be more. He finds inspiration for projects in his daily life. The number of outlets now is exhilarating, and he is full of great stories waiting to be told. He can not wait for the world to see what he has in store for them and he is sure that they’ll be just as excited to see that as he is.
5) Any quote or “words of wisdom” that he lives by?
His mantra now came from interviewing a producer on his podcast, Fish’s Call Sheet; “Strong, Calm, Kind. I believe we choose the adjectives the world describes us with through our actions. I will be Strong, Calm, Kind, Relentless, Creative, Uplifting, and Inclusive for the rest of my life.” Those are the words that he wants his actions to show each and every day.
6) How is he making the world a better place today?
He believes that making a positive impact on the world begins with using his voice to empower and uplift others. The very public nature of his job allows him to reach, interact with others and therefore uplift others. As mentioned before, he co-founded two charities; WeComend, which is designed for social outreach, and to create access, inclusion, and expand representation in the entertainment industry. Altruistic Acres, is a chance to give back to the environment, and leave healthy ecological spaces for all species.
From coaching youth sports, to running charities, as well as being on the board of a few others, humanitarianism begins close to home. The reverberations though can stretch around the world. He does weekly audience engagement through social media to better connect with people; They tackle the hardest topics that impact people’s mental health and their lives. His life is about building communities on set and off through effective communication and to collaborate with kindness. He is determined that if you come with an open heart, and the strength to uplift, you can change a lot of lives, and they change your life too. There is nothing more empowering than to empower others
Article by Born Realist