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New York Film Academy Associate of Fine Arts

Associate of Fine Arts (AFA) in Acting for Film

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Overview of our AFA in Acting for Film

The Academy makes the accelerated 16-month schedule possible by creating an extended academic year allowing students to complete three full-length semesters in each calendar year.


New York Film Academy's Acting AFA degree programs are offered only at our Los Angeles Campus.


Qualified students have the option of completing course work at the New York Film Academy in New York City in a one-year non-degree program and then applying their course work to be accepted for advanced standing in the AFA Acting for Film degree program.

The New York Film Academy Associate of Fine Art degree programs are stand-alone degree programs intended to prepare students for foundational skills, technique training, and the art of bringing it all together onscreen. They are designed to give students the opportunity to focus almost exclusively on the subject in a studio-based curriculum without standard distribution requirements.

This two-year acting degree program is designed for individuals with a high school diploma or equivalent who desire to achieve a higher degree but want to focus exclusively on acting, with a concentration on acting for film. Classes include Scene Study, Acting for Film, Voice and Movement, Improvisation, Voice-Over, Shakespeare, Scripted TV, Business of Acting, and Audition Technique. A complete list of classes can be found here. In addition to the course work, students perform in numerous projects, both on camera and on stage.

AFA IN ACTING DEGREE PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Based on an academic school year, the curriculum of the Associate of Fine Arts in Acting for Film program is divided into four semesters. The first semester concentrates on building a foundation in the acting craft, and the second semester works on applying it to screen acting.

First semester students participate in a broad array of class work that introduces them to and trains them in the leading acting techniques. First semester courses include: Acting for Film, Movement, Scene Study, and Voice. These courses build towards a fully realized performance in a staged production, arming students with the techniques and confidence they need to create believable performances for the camera in the second semester and beyond.

The second semester of the acting AFA program features courses that build on the work done in the first semester. In addition to attending classes, second semester students apply what they have learned to a series of on camera exercises designed to develop their screen acting ability. At the end of the semester, each student performs in a digitally taped production which is edited and becomes a part of his or her acting reel. The students also perform in a showcase in front of an invited audience, their instructors, and their classmates.

The third and fourth semesters of the program are designed to help the student create a final portfolio that will serve as the student's "passport" into the professional world of acting. All work during these last two semesters is held to a higher standard and evaluated at a professional level.

While the first year concentrates on exposing the student to acting "basics," second year coursework is geared toward a higher echelon of understanding in terms of craft and discipline. The second year is more specialized, and the individual students, now aware of their strengths as performers, have more freedom to exploit those strengths through the projects they chose. As a result, work becomes refined and sharpened.

Students spend additional hours each week beyond class time on film shoots and rehearsals. Students should be aware that, given the different nature of various projects, these hours vary from student to student.

AFA ACTING DEGREE PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

The educational objectives in the Associate of Fine Art in Acting for Film degree program are to teach students the art and craft of acting for film and television, and to instruct students through a strict regimen consisting of lectures, seminars, and total immersion workshops to excel in the creative art of film acting.

ACTING AFA: EXPECTED LEARNING OUTCOMES

Skills learned as a result of successful completion of this program include:
  • The ability to work independently and collaboratively in a high-pressure creative environment.
  • In-depth knowledge of and experience in the art and craft of acting for film and television.
  • Experience with multiple modern and classical approaches to performance, script interpretation, and character formation.
  • Understanding of avenues for exposure using new media.
  • Ability to act confidently in front of the camera as demonstrated in several film projects in collaboration with NYFA filmmaking students.

ACTING AFA: GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

Students must study and perform scenes that demonstrate that they have gained a working knowledge of the following skills:
  • Scene Study.
  • Voice.
  • Movement.
  • Audition Techniques.
  • Improvisation.
Students must successfully complete every course of study with a "Satisfactory" grade or better. To graduate and receive an AFA degree, students must also adhere to the Academy's Attendance Policy and Code of Conduct. Additionally, students must fulfill all financial obligations to The New York Film Academy.

Satisfactory completion of 64 semester credit units is required for graduation from the New York Film Academy's Associate of Fine Arts in Acting for Film program. The Associate of Fine Art in Acting for Film is an accelerated full-time study program and does not provide for multiple tracks of study. All courses are mandatory. This is a highly specialized program, and there are no majors or minors. The program may not be completed in less than four semesters. Classes are taught in either a lecture, seminar or laboratory format. Students are also scheduled for hours of practicum. For the designation of instruction hours, lab and practicum are treated as "studio hours" as is customary in visual arts studies.



Course Description

Semester One
Technique & Scene Study I (Play)
Acting for Film I
Voice & Speech I
Movement I
Filmcraft
Introduction to Film
Semester Two
Technique & Scene Study II
Acting for Film II
Voice & Speech II
Movement II
Screenwriters & Playwrights
Semester Three
Technique & Scene Study III
Acting for Film III: Scripted TV
Voiceover
Improvisation
Shakespeare
Semester Four
Technique & Scene Study IV
Acting for Film IV
Business of Acting/Audition Technique
History of Acting
Electives
Sketch Comedy
Contemporary Dance
Stunt Workshop
Singing for Actors
Advanced Stage Projects
Entertainment Law

SEMESTER ONE

Technique & Scene Study I (Plays)

Acting Technique & Scene Study I provides students with the preparatory building blocks, which lay a solid foundation from which to go deeper into the craft. They will learn of the rich Acting Technique traditions that have shaped the craft today. Students will learn about their responsibility to the writer, script, and fellow students as they analyze their emotional and physical instrument and begin to practice technique exercises which will give them insight into the primary function of the Actor; that of making clear, readable choices for a character in a given imaginary circumstance. Students will practice relaxation, concentration and specificity exercises as well as learn how to prepare emotionally for a performance. Students learn to analyze scripts and break them down into units or “beats.” They develop a solid grounding in establishing a character based on their own experiences and imagination. In the course, they will begin to understand the differences between techniques and personal process. The focus of Technique & Scene Study I is process not product. Students will work on exercises, monologues and short scenes from plays applying the techniques they have studied.
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Acting for Film I

This course introduces the beginning Acting for Film student the skills necessary for creating a fully realized performance. The primary emphasis of the class is the practice of the subtlety and nuance of film acting including learning to adjust the performance for specific shot size, finding the arc of the character and learning to maintain the integrity of the script while shooting out of sequence. Film set terminology and etiquette is also addressed. Students collaborate in a supervised Production Workshop with film students, which is a full immersion production approach to Acting for Film instruction.
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Voice & Speech I

In this course students will begin to develop a free and healthy voice and an awareness of vocal tendencies and adverse conditioning. Various techniques will be taught, including and not limited to, Fitzmaurice Voicework, Knight-Thompson Speechwork, Linklater, Lessac, and Skinner. Through exploration of phonetic sounds and optimal vowel formation a deeper, more precise and nuanced experience of sounds will be felt. Students will experience a more visceral and more direct connection to their voice unimpeded by habitual tension. An ability to connect images while letting the image resonate through the voice with supported breath will be emphasized through working with text.
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Movement I

In this course students will explore their ability to engage the body in a full and courageously unedited manner as a tool for performance. A focus of this course is to cultivate tools with which the students can externalize their internal life in an authentic manner on impulse and through movement. Various training methods will be taught, including but not limited to Viewpoints, the Suzuki Method, Dance, Yoga, Laban Analysis, Contact Improvisation, Grotowski, and Chekhov Technique. Through immersion in these various techniques this course will provide the foundation of movement analysis and the application of movement exercises to develop the physical life of a character.
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Filmcraft

Filmcraft provides the Acting for Film student a full-immersion experience into the world of film production. Students gain basic working knowledge of directing, cinematography, writing, producing, and editing, inhabiting crew positions, allowing for real-time experience on a short in-class shoot, supervised by the instructor.
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Introduction to Film

This seminar teaches students to identify the techniques used by cinematic innovators in the history of filmmaking. Through screenings and discussions, students will grow to understand how filmmakers approached the great challenge of telling stories with moving images from silent films to about 1960. The course explores ways that the crafts of directing (particularly shot construction), cinematography, acting and editing developed over that period. Students are then challenged to identify which techniques they are learning in their own ongoing film projects, and when these were developed within that historical continuum.
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SEMESTER TWO

Technique & Scene Study II

Acting Technique & Scene Study II continues the exploration of relaxation, sensory awareness, and creative choice-making and individual performance elements in exercises designed to enhance the students’ ability to synthesize their own practical techniques for performance on screen or stage. This course will increase the Actor’s awareness of their instrument. They will also develop their ability to focus their attention and create detailed and vibrant imaginative worlds. The student will learn the value of observation and replication in character work, and have an increased awareness of real and imagined stimuli to create points of concentration to ground their performances in the given circumstances of their acting work. Students will learn to extract given circumstances from the text, to create strong objectives and to use active verbs to create vibrant performances. Emotional preparation will be more deeply explored and students will further understand the concept of a personal process. Exercises may be taped for in-class critique and evaluation. They will perform in a taped live presentation for an audience at the end of the semester.
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Acting for Film II

This course teaches intermediate Acting for Film skills necessary for creating a fully realized performance. Students will prepare a script and digitally tape a variety of scenes during class. Students edit their own exercises and scenes to better understand how the mechanics of a performance effect the final edit. Edited exercises and scenes will be screened for critique in class. Students will also do pre-production prep in class as well as rehearse final scenes for shoot. Students will be intensively involved in production as well as acting throughout the shoot days. They will edit their own scenes for a final screening.
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Voice & Speech II

Building upon the foundations established in Voice & Speech I students explore the application of learned vocal techniques to text in order to expand vocal variety and organic connection to the character and story. There will be a focused refinement of vocal production and a deeper connection to images and text. Various techniques will be taught, including and not limited to, Fitzmaurice Voicework, Knight-Thompson Speechwork, Linklater, Lessac, and Skinner. The students will explore text work by focusing on the enhancement of the variety of vocal choices, along with intelligibility and breath support that is connected to image and character.
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Movement II

Expanding upon the techniques and skills learned in Movement I, students will continue their exploration to refine their ability to express character and emotion through the body. Continuing the use of multiple approaches to movement and its analysis, which includes and is not limited to, Viewpoints, Composition work, Contact Improvisation, Dance, Yoga, Laban Movement Analysis, Grotowski, Chekhov Technique, Movement II will refine and expand students’ proficiency of their physical instrument. This course will focus on applying physicalization to character through improvised and scripted performance.
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Screenwriters & Playwrights

Students study contemporary playwrights and screenwriters, examining style as it relates to current forms and genres. Text analysis and plot structure and treated as fundamental tools of critical analysis. Students learn how to interpret given elements of writing, such as mood and subtext, to enhance performance. Written work is an integral part of this course.
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SEMESTER THREE

Technique & Scene Study III

Students learn how to assess the needs of the scene through application of text analysis, inhabiting given circumstances, development and pursuit of strong objectives. They will also incorporate of voice and movement training and technique through moment-to-moment communication with scene partner, as well as breaking text into beats and making strong choices. Performance will be taped in a live presentation at the end of the semester.
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Acting for Film III: Scripted TV

This course introduces the concepts and skills that students need for today’s television shows. The instructor will work with the class to determine casting needs. A full or partial comedy script, and a full or partial dramatic episodic script will be chosen to accommodate the class. Students assist with crew positions when not acting. The aim of this course is to have the actor experience the acting and production techniques used in today’s television shoots. The final product is not the focus here; emphasis is on students gaining practical experience of on-camera acting so that they will be prepared for the pacing, tone and adjustments necessary for today’s TV actor. They will shoot a both full and partial sitcom and a full or partial dramatic episode, teaching them the techniques of a traditional multi-camera set, as well as single camera shooting.
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Voiceover

Students will learn the highly specialized skill of voiceover acting. They will discover what kind of voiceover work they are most suited for and learn how to use their voice in different ways. They will also get information about job opportunities available in this field and have an opportunity to create their own voiceover material during a final recording session in one of NYFA’s professional studios.
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Improvisation

Improvisation encourages students to skillfully nurture their instincts and freely release their creative impulses through a variety of individual and group exercises.
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Shakespeare

This is an Actor’s course for performing Shakespeare. As a realistic/film Actor, the student will learn to evaluate what the language is doing and the action that is implied. Students will develop the fundamental concepts of scansion, meter, text analysis and scene study as it pertains to the demands of performing heightened language. Performing Shakespeare will guide them to further development of the vocal and physical dexterity demanded by the text. The course will culminate in either a taped and/or live performance of Shakespeare’s works via sonnets, monologues, soliloquies, and/or scenes from his various plays.
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SEMESTER FOUR

Technique & Scene Study IV

In preparation for the their final showcase, students will work on selected scenes and further assess the needs of the scene through application of text analysis, inhabiting given circumstances, development, and pursuit of strong objectives. They will also incorporate of voice and movement training and technique through moment-to-moment communication with scene partner, as well as breaking text into beats and making strong choices. Performance will be taped in a live showcase presentation for Industry and invited guests at the end of the semester.
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Acting for Film IV

This course teaches the intermediate Acting for Film student skills necessary for creating a fully realized performance. The primary emphasis of the class is to rehearse and shoot a variety of more complex material. Students will prepare a year-end shoot to be shot by an on-staff DP and Director. Students will both produce and act in the shoot.
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Business of Acting/Audition Technique

This course teaches advanced Business of Acting skills to students on the verge of graduating with an AFA in Acting for Film. Students will create a business plan which includes research on headshot photographers, writing resumes, researching and targeting appropriate agencies and managers, understanding basic contracts and industry standards as well as honing auditioning skills for today’s industry. They will put together a Professional Portfolio, which will include their headshot, Résumé, and demo reel. In addition, this course will develop the actor’s cold reading and auditioning skills through weekly drills of mock, on-camera audition situations. Work will be viewed and critiqued weekly with the aim of preparing students to enter today’s highly competitive industry.
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History of Acting

The course traces the evolution of the history, and various theories of acting. Starting with the Greeks and Romans, the course examines ideas of acting from Shakespeare's time to the present day. The course also considers contribution and theories of key figures such as Diderot, Stanislavski, Meyerhold, Brecht, Artaud, and Grotowski, and concludes with an examination of the history of acting styles and techniques for film and new media.
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ELECTIVES

Sketch Comedy

This workshop is designed for actors with comedy improvisation experience who are interested in writing and performing sketch comedy. Each class will involve instruction on the variety of ways sketch comedy is created, using improvisational comedy to bolster the writing process, and brainstorming to help each student discover their unique comic voice. Students will perform in a semester-end Sketch show to be taped and performed in front of a live audience.
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Contemporary Dance

This course will provide an opportunity for students to experience a variety of dance styles and choreography inside and outside the parameters of western contemporary dance. Students pursue weekly research and movement based activities that explore a range of choreographic themes.
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Stunt Workshop

This course is designed to develop the specialty skills and techniques of stunt work with specific emphasis on film combat. The students will focus on the awareness and development of body mechanics as a tool for the actor through emphasis on stage fighting, circus skills, stage stunt work, as well as complex on-camera combat techniques and choreography. This course also includes an instructional component where the students choreograph their own staged fight scenes.
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Singing for Actors

This course offers actors the opportunity to experience the techniques and joy of singing in order to feel comfortable and competent in an audition or on set. This is a voice workshop, not a performance workshop. The skills practiced are intended to create expressive freedom in a musical environment.
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Advanced Stage Projects

This course is an individualized project-based curriculum culminating in a taped live performance for an audience. The scope of learning includes creating and developing a theatrical performance. The course is an exciting open-ended acting based course. The student will synergize all of the methodologies and skill-sets developed in their other acting courses. The productions may explore certain playwrights and the demands of those particular texts. Or it may include ensemble work and/or devised theatre, or even one-person show development.
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Entertainment Law

This course is an overview of basic entertainment law and how it affects actors, the business of acting and basic content creation. Acting students will study legal issues that affect actors and content creators in television, film, recordings, live performances and other aspects of the entertainment industry.
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