Producer Art Kirsch is a natural crisis manager. He describes his main job skill as, 'cat herder.' It's a great image of a producer at work. After a long career as a computer-graphics executive and a history of supporting non-profits and the arts, Art knows how to get things done! And boy, is he doing a lot...
Always a film buff, Art loves to share his appreciation of the medium with others. In 2003 he produced the historic 20th Anniversary salute and screening of the now-classic, A Christmas Story, at the Big Newport Theater. For that special occasion he brought together all the child stars (Peter Billingsley, et al), star Darren McGavin, director Bob Clark and several of the original crew. All participated in a Q&A thrilling the audience of 1,100. The OC premiere of El Crimen Perfecto, an award winning film by Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia, was also produced by the self-described cat herder. One of Art's favorite events was producing the screening of a re-mastered version of Jason and the Argonauts, with stop-motion pioneer Ray Harryhausen in attendance.
"I was attracted to MCAI," Art told us," because I saw a group of fellow professionals who were actively serving the media community and the world at large." Serving is an important concept for Art Kirsch. The producer has been an ardent supporter of the entertainment arts-and media education- in Orange County for many years.
One of Art Kirsch's most ambitious projects combined the two. Art was the prime mover behind a two-year effort to develop a proposal to convert the 68 acre parcel of land at the old Tustin Helicopter base into a professional "Teaching Studio." His dream would have added 6-8 commercial sound stages to OC and created dozens of paid and unpaid internships for students from the film and video programs at local colleges. Unfortunately, the powers in charge went with a more commercial bidder. And, of course, despite the passing years, nothing has been done.
Art continues his commitment to the industry with membership in MCAI and by serving on the board of the Media Alliance of Orange County. He continues his search for more funding to flesh out one of his pet creations, OCShowbiz. His goal for the organization is to serve as a meeting place for amateurs and professional alike to collaborate on entertainment arts projects for both profit and non-profit projects.
And with our getter-done cat-herder in charge, it's not just a pipe dream. The first offshoot of that effort is the formation of an OCShowbiz group called Day Job Productions. " DJP is sort of like 'sandlot filmmaking,'" Art told us. "The idea is everyone brings their own equipment-or whatever they can contribute- and together make a film or stage an event. The basic rules are no whining and show up on time." The first DJP production, Remembrance, is in post now and expected to be ready to premier in late 2009. You can view a trailer at http://ocshowbiz.com/DJP/trailer.html You'll be doubly impressed to know what you're watching is the combined effort of some 75+ unpaid volunteers. Now THAT's herding cats!