I love fishing, fireworks and four-wheel-drive trucks.

Besides acting, I also have Ricky Schroder Productions, whose purpose is to tell stories that stand the test of time. And The Fighting Season is one of those. It's a six-hour docuseries documenting what war looks like from various points of view. It's available now on iTunes, Amazon, and DirecTV - tonight's the sixth episode finale.

You can follow me on Twitter, on Facebook, instagram, and Periscope @RickySchroder.

Victoria's helping me out with getting started. AMA.


Thank you for all the questions. Without you, none of what I do would be possible, and I really appreciate it. The Fighting Season is coming on at 9 PM wherever you're at, the finale, and watch history unfold tonight. It's election day in Afghanistan on The Fighting Season, and the Taliban's going to do everything they can to derail the elections. So watch how it turns out.

Thanks for your support everyone.

Comments: 141 • Responses: 42  • Date: 

Pranks_8 karma

You know I thought you did a pretty good job in NYPD blue all those years ago. What made you change course?

RickySchroder6 karma

NYPD BLUE was a highlight of my acting career as an adult, for sure. I'm so grateful I was a part of that. At the same time, i needed a new challenge and something to get me excited again. So after I got done with NYPD BLUE, i got into writing and wrote my first movie BLACK CLOUD, and then produced and directed it. I had a great experience, it was something so new and exciting, being able to influence all parts of a project, not just your character. I think I just needed a new challenge, and writing, directing and producing gave me that.

sexrockandroll8 karma

How was the transition from being a child in show business to being an adult in show business? What was hard about it? Did you have any advantages because you were in the business from a young age?

RickySchroder32 karma

It was brutal.

It was hard as hell.

It was hard, because - can you imagine being Gary Coleman, who was on DIFF'RENT STROKES, who was a friend of mine, being one of the most famous kid actors ever, and then your career going away, and you're trying to make a living as a security guard, and everyone knows you still, it's almost like a mean joke, that position - to have been as famous as Gary, and then to transition into an adult life.

So it's always been a fear of mine, to have been famous and worked and done things that you liked to do your whole life - you don't remember a time before work - and then to not be able to do it is a fear.

And I'm just thankful that I'm still able to contribute, and that people still want to watch what I do.

MrsStitches7 karma

I know this is going back a ways, but Lonesome Dove was (and still is) one of my all-time favorite movies. I used to make it a point to watch it at least once all the way through, including the sequel, every summer. Do you have any particularly memorable behind the scenes anecdotes that you can share about the making of that film?

RickySchroder10 karma

Goodness! LONESOME DOVE was a great time. I had a blast making it. I actually almost stepped on a six-foot rattlesnake, I actually shot it myself, and I had it made into a pair of boots, Tony Llama boots, and they didn't fit me when they were done, so I gave them to my dad!

I learned how to make a Javelina Barbecue - Javelina is a wild pig, so you make a hole in the ground, with hot coals, and dig it up a day later. I never saw a real true argument between an actor and a director before, and Robert Duvall, he's a friend of mine, but he didn't particularly like the director Simon. And I thought Simon was going to quit, but he ended up toughing it out.

GAB1044 karma

Next time go to ML Leddy in San Angelo, Texas. They're way better than Tony Llama.

RickySchroder2 karma

Hahaha! Ok, I appreciate the advice.

Frajer7 karma

What was it like working on Scrubs?

RickySchroder8 karma

Scrubs, fantastic time. Super-creative hardworking people. But I was totally out-classed by the comedians onset, I mean, they were just funny funny people and trying to keep up with them was a challenge.

sincewedidthedo6 karma

Is The Fighting Season focused on just Afghanistan? I'm not sure if I'll be able to watch it (slight PTSD issues from my own war experiences), but it sounds awesome.

RickySchroder13 karma

Sorry you're having those problems. I can relate in a very small way to some of that, I think. But other soldiers that have seen it have gotten some comfort from it. And one of the benefits of The Fighting Season is if you don't want to talk about your deployment or experiences, other soldiers have told me that they show The Fighting Season to their family or wives or friends, and that helps those people around the soldiers understand what it's like without having to sit down and talk.

So maybe if you can't watch it, then perhaps people around you could watch it, and they will have more insight into your challenge or struggle.

sisterhavana5 karma

I was an obsessive reader of the teen fan magazines (Bop, 16, Tiger Beat, etc.) back when you were on the covers of all of them. I've been dying to know what it was really like dealing with the teen media. Was it as buddy-buddy as the articles made it seem? Did you come up with some of the more creative contest ideas (winning an article of your clothing, for example) or did you have to be convinced? And did letters written to you in care of the magazines really reach you?

RickySchroder16 karma

The fan letters really did reach me. My aunt and my cousins managed my fan club when I was a kid, and they would open up and read every letter, and they would get me the ones they thought I needed to see. So all the letters got looked at and read. As far as the ideas for those contests, that was the editors of the magazines would come up with those giveaway contests. I remember once I had a girl who was a Make-A-Wish girl, she was terminal, and her wish was to have dinner with me. And so I was like 15 years old, and this girl - pretty heavy dinner- a dinner with a girl my age who doesn't have long to live, and who's in pain and discomfort. She was very shy, and wouldn't talk at all, and so it was a very challenging experience for a 15 year old, you know? I wasn't quite prepared or equipped to deal with that kind of thing. But that's what happens with those kinds of things. You don't want to say no to somebody's wish, but at the same time, it doesn't always end up as happy and relaxed as you might imagine it would.

DJSmoothStyles4 karma

Hello Ricky! Thanks for doing this AMA!

What was the most memorable moment in Afghanistan while filming The Fighting Season? And how long were you there?

RickySchroder2 karma

I was there 110 days. And most memorable moment was when Captain Ray Adams said that we were going to do a battlefield damage assessment after a B1 bomber dropped bombs on an enemy fighting position - just that was a moment I'd never forget, because you don't normally just walk towards the guy that have been shooting you. It doesn't logically make sense to go towards them. But it was something we did. And it's something I'll never forget.

EZ_does_it3 karma

Hi Rick,

First of all congratulations delivering a rare glimpse of life to the masses.

What was the process like in getting this out there? What was the chicken and the egg? Did you fund this first out of pocket, or did you get funding first, or was this always a commissioned venture with Amazon, DirectTV and Itunes? What was the pitching process like? Was it well received?

RickySchroder3 karma

So I funded the project with my partner, John Paul DeJoria. We were 50/50 partners, John Paul and I. And when I came home from Afghanistan in July 2014, I had 600 hours of footage, and I didn't really know if I was going to be able to pull anything out of it, and I cut a trailer together, and I shopped the trailer to some potential distributors, and I got quite a few "no thank you's," i got a few reactions from people who wanted access to the footage but didn't want me to do the finished editing, and so it was looking a little bleak for the prospects for this project until January of 2015, when I got the trailer to the CEO of DirecTV and within 36 hours we had a handshake deal.

I'd say only risk the money you're willing to lose. Because you have to have passion and a story you REALLY care about, in order to put up with all the hardship. But even then, you might not get distribution or make your money back. So my advice is don't risk money you're not prepared to lose.

relaxingtoday3 karma

Are you excited how Cambrie has become such a role model for girl with her fitwithcambrie?

RickySchroder5 karma

Yeah, Cambrie is an amazing person. She is one of the healthiest physically, mentally and spiritually people I know. And she's such a benefit to so many teen girls that have self-image problems or self-confidence problems. There's nothing that brings me greater joy than seeing my daughter bring them comfort and things. And that's what she does. She brings so much joy to so many girls. She's a special person. And her sister Faith, who's younger, is every bit as kind. And as a parent, that's all you ultimately care about - are your kids kind, good people? It's not about "did they accomplish this, or that, or get straight A's" - it's about are they kind, did they help others, do they think of others. And I'm proud of my girls. They are amazing.

Thank you for telling me that.

There's no better compliment a parent can get than when somebody complements their children. That's your life's work, is your kids. And when someone acknowledges your kid is doing a good thing, it fills you with pride as a parent. So thank you for doing that.

aermotor3 karma

Can you give us a sense of the actual frustration the command was facing when it couldn't deliver the strike on the RPG wielding motorcyclist? The rules of engagement in a scene like this seem absolutely insane.

RickySchroder8 karma

We were all very frustrated that we knew bad guys could be taken off the battlefields, but rules of engagement said you couldn't take them, you couldn't strike them for various reasons. And the command was for sure frustrated. But they follow orders. And they have rules of engagement for a reason. They're very patient, and they'll wait until the time is absolutely right. When I was there, I saw how seriously they take the rules of engagement. When I was there, I saw a terrorist standing outside his house, and there was a missile incoming, and a kid came out and wrapped his arms around the terrorist, and at the last minute, the pilot of the drone was able to change the course of the missile and saved that kid's life.

I have an immense amount of respect for that drone pilot. So the rules of engagement are important, while frustrating.

Tomcat11083 karma

What was it like working with Jon Voight?

RickySchroder3 karma

Jon is still a friend of mine. I was 7 years old. And I still talk to Jon every few months. And I love Jon. Really good man. And he taught me a lot when I was young about acting, and performing, and he helped me - that was my first job, and I didn't really know anything, and he helped me an awful lot.

fred_derry3 karma

How hard was it to be constantly around Erin Grey as a hormonal teenage boy? And she was playing your mother. That must have been difficult.

RickySchroder7 karma

Haha! Erin was one of the most beautiful women in the world. And it was very difficult being around Erin, because she did two things that were very appealing, and that was yoga and she played tennis. So when you're 15, and all you can think about is girls, to have one of the most beautiful women in the world around you in yoga pants all day, and tennis skirts at lunch... it was brutal.

We're still friends, and I still talk to Erin, and I went on the TODAY show with her and the entire cast of the show - we had a little reunion, and she knows I had a crush on her, believe me, it was no secret to anybody.

snowwitch273 karma

Ricky you are one of the best. I have been a fan since Silver Spoons. I love everything you do.Would you ever consider a reunion special? Love u

RickySchroder2 karma

Thank you for saying that.

I don't think a reunion show would be in the best interests of probably anybody involved with Silver Spoons. Alfonso just won Dancing with the Stars, and he's hosting America's Funniest Videos, so he's pretty busy. And Erin Grey books all those Comic-Con trade shows. And so she's got a great career now doing that. And Joel, who played my father, is back in New York writing musicals very content and happy. So all of us, I think, we prefer to leave Silver Spoons as a great memory.

adarkfable3 karma

Saw you on the Joe Rogan experience. I wasn't sure what to expect, but definitely learned some things and found it entertaining. How was your experience on the podcast?

RickySchroder3 karma

Had a good time. I think Joe's a super-smart guy. And he's a friend of mine actually, our wives are friends. And I see Joe around. Great experience, I'd love to do it again.

PEDALphiliac2 karma

Thoughts on It's Your Move? Just curious.

RickySchroder5 karma

Never saw it?

fred_derry1 karma

You never saw a direct spin-off of Silver Spoons? Was it because it starred Jason Bateman, who was just a supporting player in your show?

RickySchroder5 karma

Hahaha! No, Jason was a good friend of mine. I was probably too busy working. To be honest with you, I hardly watched any tv myself. So no, I never saw it.

PEDALphiliac-10 karma

Good enough. Thanks for the reply. I heard on American Dad you were a big dick. Cheers.

RickySchroder8 karma

I wasn't on that show?

StephenFreakinFoster2 karma

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

RickySchroder6 karma

I do love what I do.

And I've only remembered work my whole life, because I started working when I was 5 years old, 2 years before THE CHAMP, so work for me has always been a part of who I am. And I'm happiest when I'm productive, and making something or creating something. I just feel better about myself, and about everything, when I'm creating something.

So I've kind of learned that it's better for me not to have too much idle time. And as I get older, I'm realizing that COULD be called a workaholic - so I'm trying to figure out if I'm completely out of balance or not, as far as work and fun.

It's kinda hard when your work is your fun, though.

And that's where I find myself. Because I really enjoy what I do.

unomachine2 karma

Hey Rick. How were the Menudo kids off-set? Love that episode.

RickySchroder5 karma

Haha! Ricky Martin was one of the Menudo kids. They were very controlled. They were all in their teens, and had handlers that controlled everything that they touched and did and saw. I unfortunately didn't get to hang out with any of them, except during work hours, but it was kind of cool, 10 years ago, I ran into Ricky Martin at his concert, and we had a laugh about Silver Spoons - he was 13 years old when he was on the show!

Jux_2 karma

So was NYPD Blue awesome or what?

RickySchroder4 karma

NYPD BLUE was the finest work that I've ever been involved with as an actor. The writing, the cast I worked with, it was a privilege. And thank you to David Milch and Steven Bochco, because I was 28 and I needed a job, and fought for that job really hard. And a lot of people were unsure when I got cast. And thankfully they believed in me, I got the gig, and I delivered. But that job made all the difference to my career as an adult, because i hadn't had a big gig in a pretty long time before that.

PearlTheCat2 karma

Thanks for doing this Rick. After your experience on the fighting season, what advice would you give other aspiring documentary filmmakers?

RickySchroder3 karma

Choose your subject matter carefully. Because you're gonna live with it for a while, the project is going to consume your thoughts and your time and your energy. So choose your subject matter carefully. I think that to make it through the noise that's involved, and the adversity you're going to have to overcome, you're really going to have to care what you're telling the story about.

PearlTheCat2 karma

Thanks so much for the reply. I eventually would love to make documentaries and this is excellent advice.

Is there anything that you learned on The Fighting Season that you thought you knew, but later realized you were ignorant of?

RickySchroder7 karma

You know, I went to Afghanistan with a completely open mind.

I felt (before I went) that the Afghan people were probably going to be very hostile to me and the US army. I was under the impression that we were unwanted there. And after my time in Afghanistan, I can tell you I was 180 degrees wrong. The Afghan people are SO happy to not have to live underneath the rule of the Taliban, where girls can now go to school, they can have TVS and music, they are so grateful to America for having sacrificed so much there.

So I was shocked when I realized that wow, these people are grateful that we've gone there and done this for them.

That's something you never hear about, but it's the absolute truth.

NorbitGorbit1 karma

which recent tropes (such as animated photographs) of documentaries do you consciously emulate or avoid?

RickySchroder1 karma


Because I haven't watched a documentary in a long time. So I'm not really watching other documentaries right now. I'm just making my own.

Tommysfat1 karma

Are you going back to Afghanistan to shoot more footage for another The Fighting Season type documentary?

RickySchroder1 karma

I'm looking at various options for the future to do more Fighting Season type content.

Afghanistan is transitioning now to an Afghan-led mission - they are taking the reins over for the war now, and they are conducting all the operations and missions. And so Afghanistan - it's unlikely that I'll go back, but I'm looking at Iraq right now, to see what's going on there with the fight against Isis.

Bryskee1 karma

How does it feel to be awesome? And do you fly fish, like baitcasters, and ever fish around Colorado? What type of fish? I like night fishing and shore fishing.... But I dont have a boat... And i like basic spinner reels or baitcasters.

RickySchroder3 karma


That's funny.

I fly-fish. I do all kinds of fishing. I fly-fish, I ocean fish, i use spin rods, I'm heading to Alaska the end of this week to float a river called the Kobuck, 125 mile float. So I love to fish. And fishing Colorado? Not really. I used to fish in lakes on my ranch in Colorado, but I don't own that anymore.

fred_derry1 karma

I remember seeing "The Champ" and being impressed with your performance as a child. What do you remember about that experience?

RickySchroder3 karma

I remember having to cry A LOT. And I remember the director had 2 giant onions he wanted to rub in my eyes, because he was worried I wouldn't be able to cry. And that wasn't a problem. My grandma had just passed away not too soon before that, so all they had to do was ask me questions about her, and I started crying.

speedtwin1 karma

What is your favorite type of fishing and the best fishing experience you have had?

RickySchroder1 karma

Baha, Mexico.

I like to go fish for Dorado and Yellowtail. Just some of the most fantastic fishing I've ever experienced. I'm heading to go fishing in Panama soon, excited about that.

My favorite fishing trip though would have to be North Coast of Australia, fishing for Barramundi. And the exotic location of where we were.

brupaul1 karma

Ricky! Thanks so much taking part in the AMA. After doing The Fighting Season do you see yourself making more documentaries? I'd really love to see more from you in that genre. Thanks again!

RickySchroder2 karma

Yeah, I hope to keep telling stories that people wanna see. And the fight against radical Islam is not gonna end quickly. So I have to balance what's the toll and the risks on me and my family, doing these kinds of projects, versus the benefits. I definitely think I'll do more in that genre, but it takes a lot of time, and it's quite stressful in those environments, because there's a threat of violence anytime, anywhere. So it's very draining. So I do plan to do more, I just need a little break right now.

bobfmbuf1 karma

How did you like working on 24? Was Kiefer Sutherland as difficult to work with as others have said?

RickySchroder3 karma

Kiefer's a good dude, he owned that role, and everybody loved him in it. Kiefer's not the easiest guy to work with though. Loved working on the show. Would be happy to do some more on it! Kiefer just needs to have a little more fun on-set.

uncleleo_hello1 karma

I'm a photographer with a big interest in war and the effects on soldiers but I've always been too chicken shit to join the military.

what options would you say I have for getting into this field? also, the answer is yes I'm fully down if you're hiring an assistant.

RickySchroder2 karma

I think there's lots of opportunity to get into the field, if you just buy a plane ticket and go to a conflict zone and just start shooting pictures. Doing it in bed with the US Military is a different process. You have to be credentialed and work with a legit news agency. But as a self-employed photographer / photojournalist, you can go anywhere in the world you want and just do it. Just be aware - ISIS has a bounty of $150,000 for the capture of any photographer or journalist. So maybe you shouldn't go near them.

And I've never had an assistant. But I'm starting to feel like I might need one.

kimmie10661 karma

Hi Ricky! Thanks for taking our questions. Will there be more episodes of 'Starting Strong'? Really enjoy watching.

RickySchroder1 karma

We're in production of season 3 of STARTING STRONG. 10 new episodes will be coming to a channel / distribution platform sometime this fall. And we've got some great episodes coming up this year. Everything from army watercraft operator, to UAV pilot, to army flight medics. It's a fun show to work on.

YaketyMax1 karma

Hey Ricky, would you be open to joining the 24 spinoff and playing the part of Mike Doyle again? You'd probably have to wear an eyepatch for the role now but would still be awesome to see the character again.

RickySchroder1 karma

Yeah, that'd be a blast, going back. Hopefully Kiefer would let my character have a little more to do.

CoachBryer1 karma

Hey Ricky, thanks for allowing my brother, Col. John G., to be a big roll in The Fighting Season. He's my best friend, and best man and am very proud of him. Have you considered a West Point documentary in the future?

RickySchroder1 karma

Col. Graham is a friend of mine. Very brave guy. And I enjoyed my time with him. His methods were outside the box. The way he thought, and the actions he did were unconventional. West Point's an amazing institution. My son went there for one year as a plebe, and decided the army wasn't for him, but my time there visiting him was a great memory of mine - what an institution. I'd love to work on something about West Point.

Got any ideas? Because I'm all ears.

relaxingtoday1 karma

What more fun being in front of the camera or behide the camera?

RickySchroder1 karma

You know, a great part with really good writing, as an actor there's such a great feeling at the end of the day when you've performed your heart out, saying great words and performing with other great actors. There's no feeling that can replace the feeling of performing in front of people, and the camera. They're very different experiences. At the same time, at the end of the day, you get to walk away from the project when you're an actor, forget about it to some degree, but as a producer / director, you live with the project forever, it never leaves. But you have a lot more influence over all aspects of the production - from music, to wardrobe, to locations - and stylistically, you can influence it in ways that you can't as an actor.

Right now, I'm really enjoying creating things. Taking something from an idea to execution, and it's really exciting to see people respond to what you produce in an audience setting. There's no better feeling, I think, for me than seeing an audience respond to what I made in a good way.

AccordingToSarah1 karma

Hi Ricky, Thanks for doing this AMA. What made you want to produce The Fighting Season? Every episode is so intense and really dangerous. You guys seemed like you were one the front lines, were you ever scared?

RickySchroder2 karma

You know, I wanted to produce The Fighting Season to document how hard ending a war is.

Starting a war is somewhat simple. But ending this war is complicated and hard. So I wanted to document how we left Afghanistan, what we accomplished (or failed to accomplish) in the past 14 years, so when we look back, we can have perhaps a real debate in the future of the nation about the role of nation-building and whether or not it works in faraway lands that may or may not be capable of having our form of governance.

alvb12271 karma

LOVE the documentary. You and your team should be very proud.

Two questions - First, what made you want to do the documentary? Do you have family/friends in the service? Something else? Second, fishing - spin? Fly? Conventional? I'm a close to 20-year fly angler myself. :-)

Anyway - big fan since Silver Spoons. Thanks for offering the chat here!

RickySchroder2 karma

I think I answered earlier that i wanted to document how we left Afghanistan, so that in the future, regardless of what happens there, we know how we left it.

And favorite fishing would definitely have to be deep-sea fishing for Yellowtail. Check out Cedro's Island in Baja.

TimDawgz1 karma

Hi Rick, thanks for doing this AMA! I remember watching The Earthling when it first came out and, not being much younger than you, was scared to death for the situation that your character was in.

Can you tell us what it was like to work with William Holden on that film?

RickySchroder5 karma

Sure! William Holden (for those of you that don't know him) was a movie star from the Golden Era of Hollywood. He's gone now, but he was a gentleman and class act. The ranch house, we were filming at in the middle of Australia / nowhere, was his house to stay at during production for 3 months, and my mom and my sister and I were staying in a 26 foot trailer for 3 months (because we were in the middle of nowhere) and I remember he knocked on the trailer one night and said to my mom "can I come in and talk?" And he said "I feel really badly, there are 3 of you in this trailer, and only one of me in this house, so why don't I take the trailer."

So he gave up his house, and we lived in his house for 3 months. A big star doing that... I'd like to think today, there's guys with character that'd do something like that. But I'm not sure.

He also taught me at the end of the day to hangup your own wardrobe. The wardrobe people aren't there to pick up your socks. So that's something I still do today. Most actors just cast it aside.

So I learned a lot from his examples.

relaxingtoday1 karma

Is the public allowed to visit the schroder farm with a appointment?

RickySchroder2 karma

Hahaha! If you can get past my dogs, go for it.

redditorx135791 karma

Ricky! You're looking great these days! So many child stars of your generation didn't survive the curse. Tell us how you made it?

RickySchroder3 karma

You know, I'm just stubborn. I won't quit. And so I guess the trick is just perseverance. There's a lot more talented guys out there than me. Many, many more. But I think I've been able to still work and be relevant because I persevere and quit just isn't something I've ever done. And so I think that's how I made it.

beernerd1 karma

What kind of fishing do you like to do?

RickySchroder2 karma

I fish at the Channel Islands off the coast of California. And I can fish for yellowtail - we eat a lot of sashimi in the house when we catch that - I like to fish for Halibut, Yellowtail, I try to spear fish with my sons but I have trouble keeping up with them, but I like to also fish in Alaska. I like all sorts of fishing. Anything to do with fishing, I like.

RaveRacerN640 karma

Hey is there any truth to the Illuminati in Hollywood?

RickySchroder3 karma

I'm not into conspiracy theories. Never have been.