Hollywood screenwriter Bob Fisher paid a visit to Cal State Long Beach’s Hall of Science on Friday to discuss his views on comedy and his rise to success with films like “Wedding Crashers” and “We’re the Millers.”
Sara Simon, assistant officer to the University Honors Program Student Association (UHPSA) and the event’s organizer, said she wanted Fisher to speak about his success story to inspire the student audience.
“I think a lot of his messages are universal,” Simon said. “If you work hard and believe in something, you can make it happen.”
Audience members laughed at Fisher’s insight on the film industry during the presentation as he cracked jokes and showed clips from his movie.
At the event, Fisher, a well-known screenwriter with 20 years of experience, spoke to students about his college years and how he considered attending law school after graduation.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do with myself, so I took time off and became a bartender,” Fisher said. “But I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone.”
While working as a bartender, Fisher said he read an article about television writers and how well they were paid. This, he said, lead him to begin writing his own scripts for practice.
Eventually, Fisher got a call from an agent who found one of his scripts and called him asking for more. Fisher earned his first industry job in 1995 as a screenwriter for “The Bonnie Hunt Show.”
His latest movie, “We’re The Millers,” took 12 years to make and generated more than $100 million at the box office, according to Reuters.
Fisher said that film writers, who are constantly battling their egos, go through a number of emotional stages throughout their work.
“At first you think everything you write is perfect, then you reach the stage where you think, ‘Dang, I suck, or I’m mediocre,’ but then the next day, you think, ‘I’m pretty good,’” he said.
Later in the event, Fisher gave aspiring screenwriters in the audience advice on how to perfect the art of screenwriting.
“Choose your favorite show and just start writing fake scripts as if you were writing for the show to practice,” Fisher said. “I watch two movies a night and take notes on them, and when I am working on a script, I surround myself with inspiration for that script.”
Fisher, who prefers to write scripts for comedies, said that in order to make good comedy, the writer should create an expectation and then break it.
“Embarrassment is the source of humor,” Fisher said. “Comedy acknowledges people’s messed-up-ness.”