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New York Film Academy in Beijing, China

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Students work hands-on with a digital camera Students film in the streets of Beijing A student films a scene at NYFA Beijing Students film a scene at NYFA Beijing

Overview of New York Film Academy Beijing

All courses are taught in English. Chinese-speaking film instructors will be present during classes to help students who have language difficulties.

The launch of the Beijing workshops are a response to a growing number of international students who want to live and learn in China, where the entertainment industry is growing exponentially.


Students will make their films using the Canon 5D Mark III. This camera allows students to achieve a true cinema look. The camera is a favorite of independent filmmaking, commercials, and television, including the international hit series, House, shows on BBC, CBS Hawaii Five-O, and Saturday Night Live's new title sequence and segments. Each student writes, directs, shoots, and edits three projects shot on HD and edits on digital editing stations. Each student works in key crew positions on at least six more films directed by classmates.

The program is not for everyone. It requires a total commitment to a challenging curriculum of making films. It is an intensive hands-on program, with hours that often extend beyond a traditional class day. Students should be prepared to eat, drink, and breathe filmmaking.


Beijing is an exciting and bustling city with a history of culture and power that extends back thousands of years. Visitors to Beijing will be inspired by the Forbidden City and Summer Palace, which were homes of the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Beijing Attractions Near Beijing, the Great Wall of China can be visited, one of the world's wonders and also other attractions such as Temple of Heaven, Ming Tombs, Hutongs, Tianamen Square, Beijing Opera, and Panda House among many great places to visit. Modern Beijing is a city with a vibrant night-life and world-class restaurants. It is the center of a burgeoning entertainment industry where hundreds of films and television shows are produced.


The program is structured around the production of three short HD films of increasing complexity. Classes and hands-on workshops are held throughout the week and weekends are reserved for additional classes or shooting. Evenings are spent on writing, location, scouting, casting, and editing. The fourth week is devoted to shooting and editing the final film, culminating in the final screening. As in all of our filmmaking workshops, each student writes, directs, shoots, and edits a series of short film projects of his or her own. Classes in directing, writing, editing, cinematography, and production cover the creative and technical demands of telling a story with moving images. Each week all the students’ films are screened and critiqued in class with the instructor.


All courses are taught in English. However, international students should take the opportunity to learn some conversational Mandarin Chinese during the program. This will enrich their understanding and enjoyment of Beijing.

Director of New York Film Academy, Jerry Sherlock visited Jackie Chan, Director Brett Ratner, Chris Tucker on the set of Rush Hour.


Director's Craft
Students are taught the language of filmmaking and the director’s craft as applied to the HD digital format. Aspects of mise-en-scène, visual storytelling, continuity-style coverage, directing actors, and writing visually will be emphasized.

Hands-On Digital Camera and Lighting
Using Canon 5D Mark III, these classes help students master the digital medium including shutter speed, focus, focal length, dynamic range, latitude, color saturation, gels, and filters. In the first week, students shoot and screen tests for pulling focus, exposure, lens perspective, latitude, dynamic range, contrast, and utilizing Technicolor Cinema-style look.

Digital Editing
Students learn to "log and capture" their HD footage into the digital editing system. Creating a timeline, inserting footage, special digital effects, and building a digital soundtrack are among the subjects that are covered. Editing instructors are on hand to consult with students on creative and technical aspects of their individual projects throughout the editing process.

Sound Recording
Students learn to get high quality sound for their final projects with boom microphones and accessories.


Project One - Continuity
Each student writes, directs, and edits a film of 1 to 3 minutes.

Students explore film grammar while using the digital camera. Students are taught to plan and shoot "coverage" of a dramatic or documentary subject. Students learn how different camera angles, camera movements, focal lengths, lighting, and blocking actors combine to bring the scene together seamlessly in the editing room.

Project Two - Music/Montage Film
Each student writes, directs, and edits a film of 2 to 4 minutes.

The Great Wall The second project introduces students to the relationship between sound and film, as well as to narrative tools like montage and jump cuts. In this project, students are encouraged to explore a more personal form of visual storytelling. Students choose a short continuous selection of music. In the editing room, they cut their images to work in concert with, or in counterpoint to, the music. Students should experiment with rhythm and pacing.

Project Three - Final Film
Each student writes, directs, and edits a film of 3 to 5 minutes.

This final film is more ambitious in scope than the previous exercises. It builds upon the foundation of skills and knowledge gained in the first two projects. Each student has a full shooting day. The final days of the program are spent in post-production. Students may use limited dialogue, sound effects, music, voiceover, and ambient sound to help tell their stories. Films may be of any genre, and can be narrative, documentary, or experimental.


Each student completes the program with three short films and graduates in a final celebration screening for friends, family, and invited industry guests.


The Four-Week Acting for Film Workshop allows students to participate in a short training program that demands full immersion into learning the craft. Students who find the training beneficial are encouraged to join the second half of the Eight-Week Workshop, intensifying their studies and gaining more experience in front of the camera. Many of our Four-Week students have gone on to enroll in our popular One-Year Acting for Film Program. In select locations a special Three-Week session is also available.


The Four-Week Workshop provides students with a thorough foundation of acting skills with a specific focus on acting for film. Many students find the one-month length fits conveniently into their yearly schedules. The workshop is a full-time program. Students must be prepared to make a serious commitment to its completion.

Classes emphasize the basic elements of the craft of acting using Stanislavsky's System, scene study, and monologue work as starting points. In conjunction with these classes, students participate in courses aimed specifically at training the actor for the technical requirements of acting on a film set.


Acting For Film
The basic tenets of acting translate from stage to screen, but there are skills and knowledge that are specific to the craft of acting for the camera. While the Film Academy explores with students the necessary acting techniques and elements that must be practiced and understood to give a good performance in general, each student is introduced to acting for the camera in the very first week of the program. Students learn the basics of film acting: calibrating performances based upon shot size and angle, hitting marks, emotional and physical continuity, and strength and imagination in acting choices. The class covers how actors must maintain a consistent emotional through-line from scene to scene, even while shooting out of sequence. Other topics addressed include imaginary eye lines, the actor's business in the film world, and understanding the responsibilities and challenges of the crew on set. Exercises on video help students develop techniques for rehearsing, reading, auditioning, and creating a meaningful performance before the camera.

NYFA students shooting with Canon 5D Mark II on location Audition Technique
This class prepares actors for handling the often nerve-wracking experience of the audition. These classes focus on such topics as feeling comfortable at cold readings, preparing a resume, choosing a head-shot photographer, and developing a career strategy. While theater actors also seek to deliver realistic and moving performances, the demands of film on absolute authenticity are so great that most theater actors find it necessary to hone their craft specifically for the demands of modern filmmaking to deliver good performances in this medium. The New York Film Academy seeks to give acting students a thorough foundation in traditional acting techniques, yet allow them to have a true understanding of the differences between acting on the stage and performing for the camera.

Film Craft
This class introduces acting students to the language and grammar of filmmaking. This includes an understanding of shot language, eye lines, screen direction, camera movement, and lighting. Film Craft aims to help the actor communicate more effectively with directors and increase their understanding of the film medium.

Voice and Movement
In this class, students are taught a repertoire of exercises that increase mental and physical awareness, improve body alignment, and stimulate natural, reflexive breathing. Students study how to open channels in the body that control the vibrations, resonance, and range of the human voice.

The class directs the actor's attention towards the body as an instrument of expression. Students train in uncovering and developing natural movement, and learn how to overcome inhibitions.

Scene Study
This class seeks to build a foundation in acting technique with immediate application to scripted material. It starts at a most basic level, usually with silent scenes or short dialogue scenes, before longer dramatic or comedic scenes are explored. All scenes are studied from the vantage point of what specifically makes a successful film performance versus the attributes of a successful stage performance. Working on scenes from published plays and screenplays give actors the opportunity to apply their skills to well-structured stories with authentic dialogue. Actors will become adept at breaking the scene down into beats, defining and pursuing objectives, understanding the character's arc, thinking character thoughts, playing actions, and working hard to overcome obstacles.

In Monologues, students learn the skills necessary to hone and focus their acting skills when they cannot rely on a scene partner to carry them through. Students work on monologues from theatre and film sources that help them learn how to command attention with their acting.

This course covers comic character development, sitcom material, sketch comedy, scripted, and improvised material taught through monologues, exercises, improvisations, and theatre games. Students learn to distinguish different styles of comedy to create characters for sitcoms as well as sketch comedy and develop audition techniques for comedic film roles. Students screen comedic material for the purposes of analysis.

A representative of the New York Film Academy will meet with applicants in Beijing to discuss the program, explain the curriculum, and answer any questions. Students who apply to the program will be contacted about this visit and other local opportunities to learn more about the program.

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