Concentrations By Program
In the first two years of the BFA in Entertainment Media program, students will take Liberal Arts and Sciences and Practical Application courses to introduce them to a variety of artistic disciplines. During the last two years of the program, students will progress to a concentration in Filmmaking, Acting for Film, 3D Animation & VFX, Broadcast Journalism, Cinematography, Documentary Filmmaking, Musical Theatre, Producing, Photography, or Screenwriting. Students may choose their concentration when applying or during the sixth semester. Students will also work with their Academic Advisor to complete any additional audition or admission requirements during the sixth semester.
During the Filmmaking Concentration, students get practical training in filmmaking and learn how to make their own films, engaging in over 800 hours of hands-on instruction and actual production experience. The curriculum integrates intensive study in all the major filmmaking disciplines including cinematography, directing, screenwriting, producing, and editing, and students will write, shoot, direct, and edit eight of their own short digital projects (including a thesis sync-sound project).
Students’ first projects are shot using DSLR cameras and latter projects are shot with the RED Scarlet HD camera. All projects are edited digitally using AVID software. They are also trained in the use of 16mm film and 35mm film, and students have the option of shooting their projects in either of these two film formats. Please note that the cost of shooting film is significantly higher than working in HD digital video. By the end of the program, students will have an enormous amount of production experience and eight short films of their own.
Acting for Film
During the Acting for Film Concentration, students build confidence in the craft of acting and learn new techniques to create believable performances for the camera. Students start their immersion by studying and experimenting with the fundamental principles of acting. Through classical scene study and acting techniques, students develop a foundation of performance skills while simultaneously engaging in a sequence of script analysis and film studies classes. Students also practice a variety of vocal and movement techniques and explore the ins and out of the business of acting.
Students will be required to perform a live monologue presentation, shoot in-class camera scenes for critique and feedback, and participate in a Film Craft shoot. The concentration culminates in multiple additional public presentations of student work and one honors presentation. These may include a live improvisation performance, a Meisner technique open demonstration, a Scene Study showcase performance, and/or a screening of student film productions.
In the Documentary Filmmaking Concentration, students work to master the basics of visual non-fiction storytelling. Throughout the program, students gain practical experience in the underlying skills necessary for documentary production including producing, research, story development, interviewing, writing, cinematography, sound recording and editing. Students will learn the fundamentals of digital video shooting, sound recording and editing, while engaging in a comprehensive study of the history and stylistic range of the documentary genre with a focus on film language, techniques, aesthetics, structure and other elements of cinematic storytelling. Additionally, students practice the art of the pitch, and learn to produce high integrity, commercial non-fiction television programming.
During the course of study, students conceive, produce, direct and digitally edit a nonsynchronous 16mm short “Observational” film of up to 2 minutes, a short “Character” documentary of up to 5 minutes, 4 personal Vlogs (Video Blogs) for release via the internet, and a social issue documentary of up to 10 minute in length. Additionally, students will develop and pitch a documentary television series, collaborate in the production, editing and pitch presentation of a 5-10 minute “”sizzle reel”” of a documentary television series, and complete a thesis documentary of up to 30 minutes, to be presented at NYFA’s Documentary Film Festival.
Through study and hands-on practice, students in the Broadcast Journalism Concentration are trained in the fundamental principles, techniques, and craft of contemporary journalism through a combination of lecture, demonstration, in-class, hands-on production, and project-based work. The first half of the concentration provides a foundation in journalistic skills in this digital age, and students learn to research, produce, shoot, write, report, narrate, and edit news projects suitable for broadcast and the internet. Each student produces a series of pre-recorded news projects, shot both single and multi-camera and edited on Avid Media Composer. In the second half of the concentration, students apply what they have learned to NYFA News, our own biweekly news magazine. Students learn the process of show production and gain studio experience as they rotate positions that include anchor, reporter, writer, producer and director.
Projects include the VO (voice-over) in which students use video and natural sound to help tell a story; the News Package, through which each student introduces a newsworthy idea, initially as a “story pitch,” and then shoots their own footage, conducts interviews, writes, edits and narrates. Students also learn how to do “stand-ups” and develop graphic elements for the story, including (but not limited to) lower-third ID’s and story locators. In the Interview Profile project, students learn to identify good interview subjects, appropriate locations and work on the skills and techniques of asking questions that elicit news, a relevant story and/or important information. The Long-form Story project focuses on the development and production of a report that runs six minutes or longer and is more complex than the standard news package, introducing multiple characters through the use of classic narrative storytelling.
Aspiring musical theatre actors can get a one-of-a-kind opportunity in The Musical Theatre Concentration to develop their skills as performers by studying with faculty who are working professionals on Broadway. Students gaining entry into the Musical Theatre Concentration work directly with instructors who have appeared in numerous Broadway and touring productions, top-rate regional theatre, opera, hit movie musicals, and television shows. Students receive real world training that prepares them to pursue their passion in the arts.
The Musical Theatre Concentration gives students the opportunity to study their craft in the central hub for musical theater—New York City. Students learn and hone their skills in acting, singing, and dancing in world-class facilities that include voice practice rooms, state-of-the-art dancing studios, and professionally equipped recording and shooting studios.
Classes include Acting, Improvisation, Performance Lab, History of Musical Theatre, Voice and Speech, Ballet, Jazz and Theatre Dance, Voice Studio Lab, Song Interpretation, Ensemble, Music Theory, Pop Rock, Comedy, Audition Technique, Musical Theatre Scene Study, Tap, and Ballroom Dance. During the course of study, students will have the opportunity to audition for two “main stage” productions and a New Works Series – an opportunity to work with professional directors, music directors and writers/composers on their new musicals. Other performance opportunities include PCMT’s Broadway in the Battery (open mic night), acting presentations and a graduation showcase for friends and family.
3D Animation & VFX
In the 3D Animation & VFX Concentration, students learn the essential aspects of animation, from storyboard to final movie, and also get the opportunity to delve into visual effects. To create their own original productions, students are required to learn and master the software programs Adobe Photoshop and Adobe After Effects, Maya, Mudbox and ZBrush. Introductory subjects of study include Screenwriting, Storyboard and Character Design, Drawing and Anatomy, Acting for Animation, Lighting, Materials, Textures, Animation, Rendering, Editing, and 3D Modeling and Sculpture.
In the latter portion of the concentration, students will cover more advanced subjects and techniques such as Motion Capture, Green Screen, Compositing, Dynamics, Advanced CG Lighting, Scripting, and Motion Tracking. The primary aspects of VFX are covered and students are instructed in the associated software, including Nuke and Motion Builder.
Students develop a final project that showcases a primary area of interest, be it modeling, animation VFX, or a combination thereof. Adequate time is made available for students to finish final projects and demonstrate a mastery of their particular area of interest. Please note, softwares may change, depending on industry standards at the time of the program delivery.
In the Screenwriting Concentration, students study at the same pace as professional screenwriters, learning in an environment where they receive the support and structure to write and meet creative deadlines. Throughout the program, students write intensively, completing several projects with the assistance of constructive critique from instructors as well as peers. Students will build a comprehensive foundation in the screenwriting craft with topics including WGA format and copyright law, classic screenplay structure, character arcs, theme, conflict, flashbacks, voiceover, subtext, style, tone, visualization, discipline, and genre.
To support the concepts taught during the first half of the concentration, in addition to numerous writing exercises, students are required to write a treatment, outline and first draft of a speculative (“spec”) script for a feature length film. In addition to writing classes and projects, students study film craft, acting, pitching, and cinema studies, as they apply to screenwriting, as well as critical concepts in film history, and theory and practice of acting to understand good dialogue and appropriate behavior.
In the second half of the concentration, students will advance their skills and explore the fundamentals of film directing, engaging in the in-depth study of “the pitch,” and learning the standard conventions of TV writing. During this portion of study, students will choose to either write a revised draft of their “”spec”” or write a new “”spec”” script. Additionally, each student will write, direct and edit a short digital film or scene from a feature script, and will write and perform a pitch for feedback and critique.
The Photography Concentration trains students to be contemporary image-makers capable of working confidently with multimedia platforms. Through the first half of the concentration students will test aperture ranges, shutter speeds, lenses, lighting tools, and filtration options on a wide variety of subjects; explore over and under exposure and RAW processing and the effect on the “look” of an image; complete a photographic and multimedia documentary essay, including a written artist’s statement; and a fine-art body of work on a single cohesive theme.
Throughout the program, students gain proficiency in Adobe Photoshop – the pre-eminent digital darkroom tool – and practice non-destructive image editing, learn the power of RAW processing, how to target and shift colors with precision, plus professional selection and masking techniques. As students examine a wide range of imaging disciplines, they also practice the essential skills to run a successful practice, including research, bidding, self-promotion, marketing, personal presentation, stock photo sales, studio organization, contracts, exhibition, licensing, publishing and artist grants.
In the second half of the Concentration, students build on their basic skill set and are challenged to refine their technical, aesthetic and business skills. Focusing on commercial image-making, students look at established masters as they work intensively with studio lighting and the DSLR on fashion, product, beauty, and architectural assignments. In post-production, students move beyond basic color and tonal correction into sophisticated compositing techniques, dynamic range extensions, advanced retouching and masking techniques. Students will also explore the creative potential of unconventional cameras, and get familiar with the high-definition video capabilities of today’s state-of-the-art DSLR cameras.
To support their classroom experiences, students must complete and present a personal body of work to contemporary exhibition standards as well as a commercial photo project, working with models, an art director, sets, and professional lighting equipment.
Students enrolled in the Cinematography Concentration develop fundamental cinematography skills including basic lighting, composition, color theory, film, digital, and camera movement techniques through hands-on projects. In the first half of the concentration, students practice their skills in the field through the completion of four projects using still photo cameras, 16mm film, and digital high-definition cameras to develop the ability to tell stories visually. Students learn a number of formats including still photography exercises, 16mm film, 35mm film, and high-definition video. Hands-on classes will cover topics in optics, light metering techniques for both incident and spot meters, loading and utilizing film and HD video cameras, lighting, fundamentals of composition, color theory, film chemistry, and camera movement.
In the second half of the concentration, students are introduced to 35mm film and advanced Red digital camera systems, as well as more advanced lighting and grip instruments. Instructor-led productions mentor students on these new systems in the field, with a focus on professionalism and industry-standard set operations. By the conclusion of their concentration studies, students will have photographed additional projects, including a mid-year film, a Point of View project, and the final project. Together, these projects will contribute to a professional cinematography showreel that incorporates their best work.
Throughout their studies, students also crew on classmates’ films in key creative positions including gaffer, key grip, camera assistant, and camera operator.
The Concentration in Producing exposes students to both the creative aspects of producing, as well as the more technical, line producing side. The concentration begins with an introduction to the roles, tasks, and obstacles faced by film and television producers. Students get hands-on experience with the physical and post-production processes, explore storytelling concepts, conventions, structure, and style, and are exposed to the basic principles of entertainment law. To support this introduction, students will create a collaborative short film and reality television project. Each student will break down and schedule a film from scratch and develop and produce a short film of their own, as well as develop a feature-length narrative fiction film or documentary or television project.
In the second half of the concentration, students will engage in more advanced work and gain additional experience writing treatments and pitching to industry professionals. Students will also be required to produce a short film for an NYFA filmmaker. The course of study culminates with each student preparing a Final Pitch of the student’s feature-length film or television series to a professional panel to receive critique and feedback. For the prepared projects, each student must also complete a comprehensive business plan.
Please note: Equipment, curriculum, and projects are subject to change and may vary depending on location. Students should consult the most recently published campus catalog for the most up-to-date curriculum.