I first spotted Miles Fisher in his epic, epic parody of The Talking Heads’ This Must Be The Place, which spoofs Patrick Bateman’s demise in the film American Psycho. I must’ve played the YouTube a thousand times for my friends, and it still hasn’t gotten old. The Texas bred, D.C. raised, Harvard educated and now L.A. based Miles Fisher is a truly accomplished musician and digital media entrepreneur.
While in school, he was an officer of the renowned Harvard Krokodiloes, performing to large audiences in over 30 countries on six continents. He’s even given a solo performance in the U.S. Supreme Court at the request of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Fisher has appeared in numerous hit television series, including CW’s “Gossip Girl” and the critically acclaimed series “Mad Men,” as well as in a recurring role on A&E’s “The Cleaner.” In addition to his starring role in Final Destination 5, his feature film credits include “Superhero Movie” and “Gods and Generals,” and an upcoming part in Clint Eastwood’s “J. Edgar.” He also curates one of the most stunning visual blogs I’ve ever seen: LeslieMILES.
When James Miles Fisher reached out to me on Facebook about his upcoming music video, I must admit I was a little star struck. His latest video is a viral promotion for his upcoming role in Final Destination 5, but with full creative control and his own original song, Fisher takes any of the lame bits of a ‘promotional’ out of this video. For anyone out there who doesn’t remember Saved by the Bell, Fisher has done a bangup job at filling the shoes of teenage heartthrob Zack Morris and capturing several of the most famous and loved scenes from the high school hit TV show. Catch the video premiere after the jump. First, a brilliant interview…
CBM: Who in the creative industry are your biggest inspirations?
Miles Fisher: Warren Beatty – With the exception of, perhaps, Orson Wells, Beatty is the most creatively ambitious of the great movie stars. He has been at the pinacle of producing, directing, writing, and acting, and has done so largely on his own terms. His career is the ultimate of what I’d like to one day emulate. Mickey Drexler, the current CEO of J. Crew has done a monumental job throughout his varied career in pioneering movements in retail and fashion. I’m amazed by his ability to spot “cool” and then implement his own version of it top-down through large corporate structures. And last, Jack Dorsey, because he strikes me as one of the more brilliant guys in Silicon Valley while still seeming very calm and thoughtful. Here’s someone who understands the importance of great usability and design.
CBM: Why would you need a record label today when you’ve got YouTube?
MF: It’s an understatement to say that the traditional music consumer’s behavior is changing. As the next generation of disposable income enters the marketplace, the idea of “owning” content continues to rapidly shift. I represent a generation that demands content. That is, of all the quality content out there (from that owned by both large corporate entities like film studios to independent creators like home “youtubers”), I demand quick and easy access to it. I believe, however, that the next generation of consumers will feel entitled to this content. That is, if you can’t give me what I want, when and where I want it, then I deem you entirely irrelevant. I will use social media to build a rally cry against you, and I will cut you out of my media diet completely.
I’m excited by this change in the psychology of purchase of media. As the cloud computing era unfolds where infinitely all content will be available immediately across all platforms, what does it mean to “own” content? “Just let me watch/hear it,” thinks the average 8th grader. And remember, that 8th grader has been brought up in public school computer labs shooting digital video, recording music, editing this rich media together, and most importantly, sharing the finished product with some 87% or everyone that’s relevant in their lives – all 112 of them on social networks.
So you have kids that are being trained to be multi-hyphenates. What I believe as an actor and musician, is that while it’s very difficult to get people to spend money on your product, the real currency that you want them to spend initially is their time. Only with time can they consume enough of your product to become a fan. This is why you’re seeing more actors getting discovered off YouTube and more musicians getting discovered from their free online mix-tapes. The artist thinks they’re good enough to be worth your time. Here, we’ll prove it: check us out for free. Technology has allowed for the lowest barrier for consumers to discover your project. Before it was “come see my play at 9:00p on Saturday.” Now it’s “click this link.” Once you’ve built a fan-base, then you can begin to commoditized. It’s a freemium model for entertainers.
CBM: Is there appeal to an up-and-coming artist to sign with a record label today?
MF: Absolutely. They still have a hold on global promotions, radio, and TV. But then, I’m also an actor, so I’ll lean more on studios behind the movies and TV shows to handle that role. Still, labels add value by hiring songwriters, renting studio space, and covering significant costs such as the production of a high quality music video. Since I feel that I can make original and high production-value music videos on my own, and since I can record radio-quality music on my own (I write and record music with my partner Robert Scwartzman of the band ROONEY at his home studio), I’d look for a more entrepreneurial approach with a label. I’d want them to serve more in the same capacity as savvy VC firm would: supply me with the most talented HTML5 programmers, connect me with other artists signed to your label that we may collaborate in various mediums, help me maximize my talent’s potential by letting me build and grow verticals in mixed media, not just in the making and selling of music, etc. In the meantime, I’ll continue to try a create and distribute content that is worth people’s time.
Check out his brand new video here:
Pretty killer video, yeah? I’m just a little bummed that he didn’t include a Time out! (Fisher says they had to cut it due to time constraints.)