Antwone Quenton Fisher was born in prison to his teenage mother. He became a ward of the state of Ohio and was placed in a loving home, but it was apparent that the foster mother had become too attached to Antwone, deeming a reunion with his birth mother too difficult for the child. He was then placed in another foster home where he would suffer twelve years of abuse. Fisher survived the cruelties of foster care and the brutalities of homelessness and set on a course of healing after joining the United State Navy where he served his country for eleven years.
Antwone is now an award-winning screenwriter, author, producer and director. The New York Times Best Seller Finding Fish: A Memoir is the inspiring story of his incredible life’s journey. The film “Antwone Fisher”, written by Fisher himself, reflects on his life as a sailor and as a child growing up in Cleveland. His collection of poetry, Who Will Cry for the Little Boy?, reveals the inner truths that took Fisher from a turbulent childhood to the man he is today. His most recent book, A Boy Should Know How to Tie a Tie and Other Lessons for Succeeding in Life, won the 2011 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work. It is an inspiring, practical guide to the basic skills that every boy needs to become a successful man and every man needs to become a respected citizen. Fisher imparts the importance of developing one’s identity and spirituality, and giving back to one’s community.
In Antwone’s moving yet humorous lectures, he shares his conviction of the importance of facing the challenges of life head on. He explains the significance of self-reliance, literacy, and building a life of consequence that improved oneself, the community and society at large. He tells of the necessity, no matter what age, of making good personal choices, no matter how inconvenient the choices may be, and of the importance of reinventing oneself and preparing for every chapter in life. He also expounds on why it is essential to do these things in order to attain a successful and happy life. Antwone details the philosophy he developed over his lifetime and explains how it brought him to the extraordinary success he enjoys today.
Finding Fish: a memoir and the film, Antwone Fisher, recount the inspiring and gripping story of Antwone’s tumultuous youth, his stormy years of self-discovery and his ability come to terms with his past and create a place in the world for himself. Antwone tells his astonishing story and details his path to extraordinary success, sometimes methodical and oftentimes magical, and why he believes he made it. With a youth so challenged it could be mistaken for fiction, Antwone’s life after self-discovery proves equally captivating, poignant and inspiring. Complete with Q& A, he leaves his audience in a simultaneous state of self-evaluation and thought-provoking inspiration.
LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT
An excerpt from Antwone’s U.S. Navy evaluation while serving at Naval Communications Station Eastern Pacific reads, “Petty Officer Fisher possesses a management style and a can-do attitude that gets things done!” In his eleven years of honorable military service in the U.S. Navy, Antwone managed hundreds of sailors, and even marines whenever they were embarked aboard ship and serving in S-3 division. This was always done successfully, even under the most stressful situations, he grew uniquely qualified as a leader. He has benefited from years of military leadership training and hours upon hours of the U.S. Navy’s leadership and management classes. While serving as a Correctional Officer with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, he was responsible for managing some of America’s most notorious. As a film director, he is responsible for managing the film’s production and it’s personnel and ultimately, for delivering the film. Antwone has managed thousands of people over his lifetime and shares his management style, lessons learned and challenges in managing people and personalities through humor and forthrightness.
THE SUBJECT OF MENTAL HEATH
While as a society we accept that our physical and dental health is something we should take care of on a regular basis, we also have mental health and it is something that requires as much attention as our annual physical examinations. Whether it be because of shame or foolish pride or by simply being unaware, many refuse to accept that they have psychological health that should be examined and maintained. Antwone speaks candidly on this subject and offers the idea that every family should have a family general practitioner, dentist, a family mental heath care provider as well.
HOW TO TIE A TIE: AND OTHER LESSONS FOR SUCCEEDING IN LIFE
It wasn’t until Fisher was a navy recruit that he realized this smartly dressed man had never taken the time to teach him how to be well-groomed to reflect on the outside the man he was becoming on the inside. “A boy ought to know how to tie a tie,” he thought angrily, as he struggled to master the navy’s required half-Windsor knot. Filled with inspiring stories, wisdom, and practical know-how, Antwone’s presentation to young people (both male and female) helps them to develop a sense of purpose and worth, and lay a foundation for success.
Antwone lectures on how painting, drawing and other art forms such as dance, music and writing provide a way of self expression vital to the growth of human character and the betterment of the community. Also, he speaks of the importance of the museum, the symphony, botanical and public zoological parks in our culture and also tells of how the arts served as a magic carpet that took him from his extraverted youth to the public man who is now known as an artist in many respects.
GETTING IN AND STAYING IN THE FILM BUSINESS
Wouldn’t it be great if all you needed to gain a long and successful career in Hollywood were talent, a great agent and your ability to write the screenplays that every studio executive wants to buy? Well, you’re going to need that and more. I’ve learned that it’s crucial to have an edge over the other talented screenwriters knocking on Hollywood’s door. You can begin to get that edge by developing your value as a person and a personality in the process of the business. You can achieve this several other ways as well, all of which, for some writers, may require that you step outside of your comfort zone, setting the stage for your career. Perhaps you may need an escort or a letter of introduction from a prominent member of Hollywood’s inner circle. Attaining these is possible, and I suggest methods on how to obtain some of these keys that can unlock Hollywood’s door. I encourage my students not to rely totally on the traditional avenues of gaining a fruitful career as a writer in Hollywood, but to use innovative techniques, the force of their personalities and the power of their distinctive writing style to win a place in the business.
FOSTER CARE AND ADOPTION
Antwone Fisher spent his entire childhood in foster care, and at age seventeen, he was emancipated and left to fend for himself as a homeless teen living on the dangerous streets of Cleveland, Ohio. Though a turbulent journey, Antwone eventually found his place in tHe is uniquely familiar and qualified delivering formal talks on child abuse, child abandonment, teenaged homelessness and the difficult and emotional journey of finding a passage to peace and belonging in the world. Antwone approaches these subjects with uplifting candor.
THE MAKING OF ANTWONE FISHER
From the free screenwriting class in South Central Los Angeles to the star-studded premiere gala at the Motion Picture of Arts and Science building in Beverly Hills, Antwone discusses the intriguing, nine year journey of the making of the film, Antwone Fisher.
Antwone Fisher is an award-winning film and literary writer. However his life did not begin with such promise…
Born Antwone Quenton Fisher in an Ohio prison to a teenaged mother, Antwone became a ward of the state and was placed in foster care immediately. He spent two years in a loving foster home, but when Social Services deemed that the foster mother had become too attached to Antwone – coupled with his father having been murdered two months before his birth and determining a reunion with his birth mother would be too difficult for him – Antwone was placed in another home. Unfortunately, he would suffer twelve years of abuse at the hands of this new foster family.
Unable to locate new placement for him at age 14, Antwone was sent to a reform school for boys in western Pennsylvania where he remained until he graduated high school at age 17. However having graduated as well as being emancipated from foster care, he found himself in the world alone, homeless living on the mean streets of Cleveland Ohio. Antwone survived the cruelties of foster care and the brutalities of teenage homelessness, and set on a course of healing when he joined the United States Navy where he served his country for eleven years, and became fluent in the Japanese language.
After an honorable discharge from military service, he applied and was accepted to the Federal Law Enforcement Academy at Glynco Georgia, and graduated as a Federal Corrections Officer with the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons and after three years of service, he took a job at Sony Pictures Entertainment working as a Security Officer, and the rest, as they say, is history…
Antwone has worked in Hollywood as a writer and producer for 20 years with an impressive fourteen writing projects or assignments with the major studios. Among those projects is the feature classic, ANTWONE FISHER (Fox Searchlight), directed by and starring Oscar winning actor Denzel Washington and written by Antwone based on his own life. Antwone Fisher the film and cast garnered more than a few award nominations and film awards. Antwone individually received the renowned Humanitas Prize, The Screenwriter of the year award from the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO), and the Best Original Screenplay nomination for the film Antwone Fisher, from the Writers Guild of America, west. Antwone was also listed in Variety’s “Fifty People in Hollywood to watch” and Fade in Magazine’s “Top 100 People in Hollywood you need to know”.
Antwone’s first book, Finding Fish a memoir (William Morrow), about his inspiring story became a New York Times best seller. Unable to fully cover all that he wanted in the screenplay (and therefore the film), Antwone decided to write Finding Fish to not only expand on his incredible life’s journey, but to divulge other challenges and triumphs in his life. Finding Fish a memoir has been published in various countries around the world, and has been translated into the Japanese, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish languages.
He followed Finding Fish with his collection of poetry entitled, Who Will Cry for the Little Boy? (William Morrow), that became a National Best Seller. Through his book of poetry Antwone creatively discloses the inner truths of the road from his tumultuous childhood to the man he is now. Today, Who will Cry for the Little Boy? is one of America’s all time best-selling books of poetry. In addition, Antwone’s work of poetry is featured in the revered poet, Nikki Giovanni’s book for children, Hip Hop Speaks to Children.
Antwone’s third book A Boy Should Know How To Tie A Tie and Other Lessons For Succeeding in Life, (Simon & Schuste’s Touchstone Fireside), won the award for Outstanding Literary Work Instructional from the 2011 NAACP Awards and is already in it’s third printing. Now Beijing Shiwenbooks Co., LTD has made an offer to publish A Boy Should Know How To Tie A Tie and Other Lessons for Succeeding in Life, in mainland China. The book will be translated into the Chinese language, printed in simplified characters.
In addition Antwone’s books have generated over 500,000 units in sales worldwide.
On October 5th 2009, with the enthusiastic approval of the Mater Chief Petty Officer of the United States Navy, Force Master Chief of Navy Recruiting Command appoints Antwone Fisher, Honorary Chief Petty Officer, an appointment granted the full honors incumbent to its office. This is an honor Antwone holds with great pride.
Due to the breadth of his life and career, Antwone has received other accolades including: the National Angel in Adoption Award, an award that members of Congress nominates a constituent for their work in the adoption, foster care, and child welfare community. A Doctor of Humane Letters from Cleveland State University. Antwone was conferred the honorary degree for his professional achievements as an author, producer, poet and screenwriter, his loyalty to his community, his personal triumphs and his indomitable spirit of never giving up.
Antwone is now entering the theater world with his new stage project, ANTWONE FISHER: a play. Antwone directed and produced the play in a sold-out special benefit presentation at the acclaimed Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica California. Antwone was honored to have a multi-generational and multi-cultural audience, that also gave the play a standing ovation.
Antwone’s most recent screenwriting project is, “Training Day 2” (Warner Brothers Studios). Antwone made his directing debut with the award winning thirty minute short film, “My Summer Friend”, winner Best Short Film, Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival 2010. Antwone latest directorial project is the documentary film, “This Life of Mine”, which chronicles the life and times of 99 year old legendary Los Angeles business man Leon T. Garr. 2012
Antwone also teaches in UCLA Extension Writers Program, the country’s largest continuing writing program.
About how far he has come, Antwone states, “I think back on a childhood full of longing for belonging, and see my life now as what I have created out of my dreams. An image comes to mind of Mrs. Brown at the orphanage in Cleveland, me sitting at her side, telling her, “You’ll read about me someday.” I was definitely dreaming then. With no evidence of that ever being possible, I clung to that preposterous vision and with the force of those dreams willed it and made it happen. Not because I needed to be famous, but because I needed a world that made me feel uninvited to be wrong, so I imagined myself free, I imagined myself loved, I imagined myself… as somebody.”