When Drew Fleischer `97 was at school at Country Day, he was known for his love of TV. Years later, nothing has changed, except now he is making TV, not just watching it. Fleischer has been a post-production supervisor on The Bachelor franchise since 2002. For him, it is living the dream.
"I've always wanted to work in TV; it's something that has always fascinated me. I never just watched TV as a couch potato, I promise," says Fleischer. "I would analyze it just like anybody would analyze any text. I remember being in Mrs. Pat Dunn's English class and analyzing novels, and then I would go home and do the same thing with TV. Some friends would make fun of me because I would always know the television schedule. They would quiz me and say, ‘what's coming up on tv next Thursday?’ and I'd know the schedule to a T.”
In 2002, Fleischer moved to Los Angeles as reality TV was getting big. A friend had a job on The Bachelor and asked Fleischer to cover for him one day.
"My friend said it was this show where this guy's dating a bunch of women simultaneously. And I was like, 'well, that sounds bizarre, but sure, I guess people will watch it’," says Fleischer. "Long story short, the production team kept offering me work, and I just kept rolling along. Then they decided to change it up and have a female lead. I was like, 'nobody's going to watch that. The guys will not compete over a woman like the girls do.' Boy, was I wrong. That became just as popular. It was lightning in a bottle."
Being in post-production, Fleischer does not travel with the cast or see any footage play out in real time. Instead, he is responsible for putting the footage together to tell the story. Though he does not usually get to travel with the cast, he likes the storytelling role.
"I love taking all this footage, all the tape and notes and reports of what's going on, and telling a story with it," says Fleischer. "Yes, we package it to be entertaining. I absolutely will say that we edit it. I think it was Alfred Hitchcock who said, 'movies are real life with the boring parts cut out.' But these are people's real lives, and some people have found great success in participating in this little experiment. It's a privilege to tell these people's stories."
Post-production can be tricky with so much footage and logistics. Fleischer says it is like a scripted TV show writing room, but instead of crafting something from nothing, they are crafting a story from multiple days of footage.
"It's all about finding bits of a story that are already happening. Sure it's hard, and there's criticism, but I feel the stories we tell are changing lives," says Fleischer. "We've had weddings and children from this show; to see that type of success is incredible. It's crazy to think I watched literally hours of two people talking, fighting, and getting to know each other, and now they're having babies. But success isn't just about people who have found love on the show. People have gone on to become celebrities or to find their careers in the limelight. Then you have the people who didn't find love on their season but maybe found it with someone from a different season. It’s neat to see that we're changing lives; that is what keeps me going."
The love of telling success stories has kept him working on The Bachelor for 20 years, which is uncommon in TV and film. He attributes some of his success to the virtues instilled at Country Day.
"I got a little lucky, sure, but for me it was about learning about the entertainment world, television, its history, the trends, and then working hard. I had the drive because I loved TV and learned how to turn my passion into something I could work at through my teachers at Country Day. Mrs. Dunn taught me to think critically about books, and I use those skills now to think critically about the stories we tell on screen. The virtues taught at Country Day helped me stand out and be more noticeable. It's an extremely valuable part of my education that I'm grateful for."