• NYFA Instructor Joe Burke Stars in Romantic Dramedy “Dependent’s Day”

    With gender equality being ever more present in today’s modern relationships, the upcoming film, “Dependent’s Day,” tackles this theme after the leading woman claims her boyfriend as a dependent on her tax returns. Directed by Michael David Lynch, the romantic dramedy stars New York Film Academy Los Angeles Directing instructor Joe Burke, along with actress Benita Robledo. Outside of his teaching, Burke has appeared on the critically acclaimed Showtime series “Ray Donovan,” as well as the popular Disney show “Dog With A Blog.”

    depedents day

    We decided to have a little chat with the actor, filmmaker, and NYFA instructor, to find out more about his upcoming film, which recently received a glowing review in the LA Times.

    Congrats on the film! How did this role come about for you?

    The role of Cam in “Dependent’s Day” came about through a mutual friend. Writer/Director Mike Lynch was preparing to make a new short film and was looking for a lead actor who would be perfect for his project; and our mutual friend Josh Staman (also in the movie) recommended me to Mike. At the time, Mike knew me more as a filmmaker, not as an actor, but still invited me in for a table read after Josh’s recommendation. So I met with Mike, and actor Benita Robledo, and we did a table read of the short film Mike had written. We ended up improvising on top of the short film script and exploring the material a bit (which was a lot of fun). After one thing led to another, Mike quickly decided this idea was not meant to be a short film, but something bigger.

    After exploring the idea of making a web series, we landed on going out and making a feature film two months later. I personally knew Mike Lynch before “Dependent’s Day,” and was actually an extra in his student thesis film yeas ago. But I think that’s a great story, and one I always share with my students, because you never know who you might meet in film school and later collaborate with down the road. And to go from being an extra in one project to the lead in the next (10 years later), just shows how much you need to trust the process and stick with it.

    Dependent’s Day Trailer from Michael Lynch on Vimeo.
    Can you tell us a little bit about your character and his role in “Dependent’s Day”?

    I play the role of Cam in “Dependent’s Day.” He’s our hero character that we follow through the film (as flawed at times as he may seem). But he’s a dreamer. And a guy going after his dreams in Hollywood. Something I can certainly relate to…we all can. And he struggles on finding the balance of how to both go after his dream while stepping up his game in his relationship with his girlfriend, Alice (played by Benita Robledo), who is the breadwinner of the relationship. Cam is a very sweet character with a big heart, and though he doesn’t always make the best decisions at times, he is certainly trying to do his best in life and figure it out. It’s a really hilarious and heartfelt role, and I had a blast playing it.


    behind the scenes of “Dependent’s Day”


    You seem to have such a camaraderie with Benita in front of the camera? What’s the secret?

    Working with Benita Robledo was great. We hit it off early on at the table read and found a great rhythm for these two characters. I think the key to developing a great chemistry with your co-stars is to really allow yourself to dive deep into the world of the character. To really feel like you’re in the characters shoes and to be grounded in all your decisions. Even for a comedy like “Dependent’s Day,” we always wanted to play it ‘real and honest.’ And another big key factor is to truly listen. The art of ‘listening’ as an actor is super important. It keeps you on your toes and allows you to react naturally in the moment to what’s going on. I always say keep it authentic. Mike, Benita, and I had a really fun time bringing these characters to life.

    Do you consider yourself primarily a filmmaker or actor? Or both?

    I definitely consider myself both a filmmaker and an actor. I have been doing both since I was a young kid. I did focus a bit more on filmmaking in college, but I truly enjoy both so much that I wouldn’t be able to do just one. And on “Dependent’s Day,” I was still in a position to bring my filmmaker side to the project, collaborating closely with director Mike Lynch. I am co-producer on the film, and also had fun helping develop the story and edit the movie.

    HOUSE SITTING from Joe Burke on Vimeo.
    I write and direct a lot of my own films as well, and most recently I wrote/directed a new short film titled “House Sitting,” which I also starred in. So working behind the lens and in front of it at the same time was really an exciting challenge and something I look forward to doing a lot more of — as well as looking forward to more awesome opportunities to play great characters and collaborate with other talented filmmakers on their projects.

    Do you believe it’s important for young filmmakers to understand and perhaps get some hands-on experience as an actor?

    I think it’s so important for a young filmmaker to understand the process of acting. I think the more you understand acting, and have some experience being an actor, the better director you will be. Also, having directing experience will make you a stronger actor. It all goes hand-in-hand. But I think getting strong performances is the most important part of making a movie… and in order to really achieve that, you have to have a really strong grasp and understanding on what the process of acting is all about. You have to really know how to communicate well with your actors. I would encourage every young filmmaker to take a couple of acting classes and learn that side of it. It’s very valuable and will make you a much better director.

    So when can we see it?

    We put a lot of time and energy into making “Dependent’s Day” and we can’t wait for everyone to see it as soon as it releases on VOD October 18th.

    October 13, 2016 • Acting, Faculty Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 934

  • NYFA Student Stars in Iceland’s Oscar Nom for Best Foreign Film

    “Sparrows,” an Icelandic film that stars current New York Film Academy student Atli Oskar Fjalarsson, has been chosen by the Icelandic Film & TV Academy as Iceland’s submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The film recently screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, as well as the San Sebastian Film Festival.


    The dramatic film is a very delicate, anthropic coming of age story about a 16 year-old boy who is forced to move away from his mother in the comforts of the city, to a tiny secluded fishing village in the middle of nowhere. There he must live with his father and try to fit into a rugged society of skewed social norms.

    Ari is an innocent choir boy from the city. His life is turned upside down when he’s forced to leave his home and move to his father that he barely knows, in a place that he left behind a long time ago. It’s hard for him to find footing in this new environment where no one seems to understand or relate to him. Through a series of events, Ari is forced to grow up fast and make decisions that will shape his character forever.

    “Rúnar Rúnarsson, the director, is an old friend of mine,” said Fjalarsson. “We did a short together when I was 14 years-old called “Two Birds” that went on to become a critically acclaimed festival gem, and to this date is one of the most awarded shorts ever made.”
    A few years later, Fjalarsson reconnected with the director and the two began chatting about upcoming projects. It was at that time that Rúnarsson mentioned his film, “Sparrows,” which he was in the middle of casting for. At the time, Rúnarsson was having trouble filling some of the teenage roles.

    “A few months later I did a commercial with Rúnar’s wife, where I shaved my beard clean and cut my hair,” recalled Fjalarsson. “Then the idea first came to light. He called me in for a meeting and took some pictures. He sent the pictures to his producers in Denmark and that was it. I got the part.”
    Fjalarsson hopes the film will take people on a journey and show them a glimpse of a world that is unknown to them while still remaining completely relatable.
    In addition to “Sparrows,”Fjalarsson is currently signed on for two features that are in development; one of them is French and the other one is American.

    September 27, 2016 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1932

  • “Meet the Parents” Screening with Jon Abrahams

    New York Film Academy was proud to welcome actor, producer, and now, director Jon Abrahams to their Los Angeles campus. Students from both the high school and teen summer program were in attendance. The comedy classic, Meet the Parents, was screened after which Tova Laiter, producer of The Scarlet Letter and Varsity Blue, and Christopher Cass, Associate Chair for Acting for Film Studies, conducted an interview with Abrahams.

    jon abrahams

    Abrahams began his career when he was still in high school. He was discovered in Washington Square Park when filmmakers, Harmony Korine and Larry Clark, were casting their film Kids. Abrahams wasn’t their first choice. He was selected to play Steven after the first actor cast was arrested. Upon release, parents and school systems alike were outraged by the films’ perceived message, but Kids would later become a cult classic and the standard by which all gritty coming-of-age stories would be judged.

    From there Abrahams went on to star in films such as House of Wax, Scary Movie, Meet the Parents, Mourning Glory, and Hitchcock. He’s also had a long established career in television. Some of his roles include Jerry on Masters of the House, Zach Fischer on Boston Public, and guest appearances on Boston Legal, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, The Astronaut Wives Club, and The Mentalist.


    When asked about his preparation Abrahams described going to acting class like going to the gym. This work ethic was cultivated when he was still in high school. At his performing arts school, he would spend time after classes doing improvisational work with a teacher. The result, he was able to, “…better flex his (acting) muscle.”

    He’s a fierce student having not only studied with The Groundlings but also with famed acting coach Margie Haber.

    Abrahams revealed he’s recently taken a turn at directing. After being named the guardian of both his cousin’s children and his best friend’s children, Abrahams began thinking, “What if, god forbid, something should happen to both my cousin and best friend on the same day and I’m suddenly the guardian to three kids?” Abrahams, having grown up in Tribeca, still had some unresolved issues about 9/11 that he wanted to explore. His writing partner thought perhaps the two ideas could be combined to tell a story. They were able to secure an investor for their human-interest piece, a rare feat. They’ve just begun the festival application process and are hoping to sell the film later in the year.


    Next, it was time for the students to ask questions. Makayla, a student in the high school summer program asked, “What tips do you have for high school and college students wanting to get a start in the industry?”

    “My tip is do anything and everything that comes your way. I’ve always had a kind of blue-collar approach to acting. I like to work. I like to punch in and out.” He continues, “And no job is too small, for me. I love movies. I grew up watching movies all the time. I always will remember the guy who had one line in the movie, if they were really great. So, you know, don’t have an ego about it. Also, don’t hold it all so precious. Do something. Be bad at it. You’re going to do something else. You’re going to grow. No one is expecting you to be a high school actor be the most wonderful actor ever…”

    “Work really hard, but to come into it and be a perfectionist in the first gig, is silly. Look at it as you’re going to be working for your whole life. Do anything and everything. Student films, commercials, whatever. Work extra so you know how a set works. And then, stick around. I think Clint Eastwood said, ‘Don’t go to lunch. Stay around the crew during lunch. Figure out what they’re doing. Know what lens they’re using. Knowing these things is great. Just learn. Just be there to learn. The best schooling you can get is working.’”


    Later another student inquired about how to get back up after one has performed poorly. Abrahams responded, “I once had someone refer to making a movie as boxing match. If you lost the second round you can come back tomorrow shoot and do another scene. That’s round three. You could win round three. You could win round four.”

    New York Film Academy would like to thank Jon Abrahams for his time. You can learn about Abrahams’ forthcoming film by clicking here.

    September 21, 2016 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 2215

  • MFA Acting Alumna Wins Best Leading Actress at United International Film Festival

    JuliaMFA Acting for Film alumna Sabrina Percario wrote and starred in the short film, “Julia,” which has performed quite well at several film festivals. Thus far the film has screened at United International Film Festival, where Percario won Best Leading Actress; Los Angeles Cine Fest, where the film was nominated for Best Short Film and Best Original Song (also composed by Percario); Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards, where the film won Jury Mention for Best Short Film; and the Glendale International Film Festival, where the film is in the running for Best Student Film.

    “Julia” is about a grieving woman, Sarah, who cannot dare to leave home and study abroad until her mom visits and encourages her to follow her life’s passion. From there, Sarah has to choose between her grief and her dreams.

    “I wanted to do a tribute to my mom, Olga ‘Julia’ Gomes Percario,” said Percario. “She always believed in me and doing this movie was my way to say how grateful I am for everything she taught me in life.”


    Sabrina Percario wins Best Actress at United International Film Festival

    Percario’s mother passed two years ago and her film provides her point of view of how she dealt with the tragedy.

    “Once I accepted that she was dead, I understood more about life and how she wanted me to pursue and live my dreams,” says Percario. “For me it was really hard to leave my family and move to another country and be in Los Angeles…alone. What I wanted to say with this movie was: it is important to grieve and to accept death, but once you do that you are free to live your life and to follow your dreams.”

    The film also provided Percario with a platform to improve her writing skills while also creating a character that best suits her acting abilities.

    “NYFA taught me different acting techniques and assisted me during the development of my thesis,” said Percario. “During my MFA at NYFA, I learned how to be present in the moment — to connect with the other actor and react in a genuine way, instead of anticipating the reaction.”

    Percario is currently working on her first feature film, which is inspired by “Julia.” The temporary title is: “Julia – My American-Brazilian Jewish Mother.” Percario and her team plan to start filming in the beginning of 2017.

    September 15, 2016 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1460

  • Filmmaking and Acting Workshops Held in Beijing and Shanghai

    This summer, the New York Film Academy held Filmmaking & Acting workshops in both Beijing and Shanghai, China. The workshops have drawn a growing number of international students who want to live and learn in China, where the entertainment industry is growing exponentially.

    Students were able to learn the various aspects of the filmmaking process, including writing, directing, acting, editing, and lighting a set.


    “The instructors were quite helpful and always ready to help you with your specific project,” said Enna, a student who grew up in British Guiana. “It was great to have industry standard equipment to work with and bring our projects to life.”

    china workshop

    “I will definitely choose New York Film Academy,” added another student, Steven. “I think it’s very hands on, very practical; it will help me get started.”

    Many of the students had the same sentiment as the event was a tremendous success, with many attendees committed to pursuing their education further at the Academy.

    September 8, 2016 • Acting, Community Highlights, Filmmaking, Study Abroad • Views: 2098

  • NYFA Alumnus Directs Hillbilly-Horror “Tuftland”

    Roope Olenius, who graduated with his BFA in Acting for Film from the Los Angeles campus in 2013, is currently working on his directorial debut Kyrsyä – Tuftland, in Finland.


    Kyrsyä-elokuvan kuvaukset.

    Honoring films like The Wicker Man and Rosemary’s Baby, the Finnish film discusses current topics such as women’s rights, man’s relationship with nature and young people’s difficulty to find their way into the work life. The story revolves around a young textile student, who takes on a summer job at a secluded and totally self-sufficient town. The cast consists of upcoming actors like Veera W. Vilo, Saara Elina, Ari Savonen and Enni Ojutkangas who have become known as the faces of the new wave of Finnish genre movie with films like Bunny the Killer Thing and Backwood Madness.

    “In addition to the fact that the story discusses extremely important topics, it does it with a very raw and objective voice, which for me was very fascinating from the get-go,” said Olenius. “It was important for me to tell this exact story at this point of my life because it really allowed me to throw my questions into the film and at the same time transform myself into a better person. Even though the story is fictitious (and in ways goes over the top), it points out some mindsets and behavior patterns that currently take place in Western countries and especially in Finland, which for me was a way to connect with the story. The possibility to make a film that has the potential to challenge the audience to think about their own values and opinions in life, is, for me, the whole point of filmmaking.”


    Kyrsyä-elokuvan kuvaukset.

    Olenius, who has consistently worked as an actor in his home country after graduation, is also producing the film and responsible for the adapted screenplay, which is is based on an original play of the same name by Neea Viitamäki. Kyrsyä – Tuftland is currently in production and set to premiere in 2017.

    “My training at NYFA has helped me enormously in terms of understanding all aspects of filmmaking and how they play together in a film production,” said Olenius. “Even though I studied acting, thanks to the versatile program I attended, I already had a good understanding of filmmaking after graduation and, therefore, the potential to pursue the making of this film after working only few years in the industry. Studying acting for film in Los Angeles has given me resourceful tools to get cinematic and true performances out of the wonderful cast of this film, which I believe will really make this film extraordinary.”


    September 5, 2016 • Acting, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3254

  • MFA Acting Alumna Featured in Video with “The Rock”

    ionna meliCan you smell what “The Rock” is cooking? Well, if you can’t, check out the new teaser video created by Studio71, which announces his new YouTube Channel. The video stars MFA Acting for Film alumna Ioanna Meli, and has now received over 1.5 million views.

    After submitting herself to a breakdown for the part, Meli received a call from one of the producers saying they watched her demo reel and wanted to know if she was interested in accepting the part. After a thorough explanation of the role from both the producers and the director, Meli was sold.

    “It’s the first time that I’ve been involved in a project that has reached hundreds of thousands of people within a few hours — and now over 1.5 million views,” said Meli. “I was surprised how fast the news spread across the world; articles started popping up right away, the video was being shared on social media by Dwayne Johnson and his fans, and I was getting messages from friends asking if ‘it was really me in that video The Rock shared on Instagram’! It was very exciting, and slightly overwhelming, I’m not going to lie.”

    The YouTube channel, which launched July 18, will feature Johnson’s own videos, a scripted action series, as well as highlight projects from his production company, Seven Bucks Productions.

    Meli also directed the film “A Little Part of You,” which received Best Short Film as well as Best Actress in a short film at New York City International Film Festival, Best Student Short at California International, and was well received in Madrid and Ioanna’s hometown of Athens, Greece.

    September 1, 2016 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1764

  • Acting Chair Lynda Goodfriend Speaks at NYFA Australia Campuses

    Recently, the staff and students of the New York Film Academy Australia — Gold Coast & Sydney campuses — were treated to a Q&A session with the Chair of Acting in Los Angeles, Lynda Goodfriend.

    lynda goodfriend

    Goodfriend spoke honestly and openly about her early beginnings in the performing arts, her early years as a dancer on Broadway, and her success on the iconic American television sit-com “Happy Days,” as well as various film appearances through the years that followed as a teacher and manager.

    During this invaluable session, Goodfriend was able to share her enthusiasm for the craft of acting, and express the hard work and perseverance that is required to be successful in the field.

    “Work harder than everybody else,” she said. “Don’t burn bridges, and never, ever quit.

    lynda goodfriend

    She also broke down some more technical and specific advice, such as:

    • You have to do as much work as you can in your home country; then bring that experience with you. This shows that someone has given you a chance and you have experience to show for it.
    • Never pick your own headshot. Never let your mother pick your headshot. Having a good headshot is part of acting.
    • Without a good headshot, agents won’t look at your resume. Once they do look at your resume, though, they will need a demo reel to show the casting director.
    • It is important to have a demo reel to showcase your work. It should be about 2 minutes. If they can’t see your talent in 30 seconds, they will not watch anything else.
    • The industry has changed drastically. You need to make your own material — create webisodes and put them on YouTube — get yourself out there.

    Goodfriend later took the time to share her experiences as a lecturer and Chair of Acting at the Los Angeles campus, providing valuable insight into the types of degree and long-term programs for students to further study in the U.S., and elaborated on the application process.

    For more information on our Acting for Film programs, please visit

    August 31, 2016 • Acting, Entertainment Australia, Faculty Highlights • Views: 3022

  • Seth Rogen Screens “Sausage Party” at New York Film Academy

    Actor, writer, producer, and director Seth Rogen dropped by the New York Film Academy Los Angeles campus on Wednesday, August 17th to show his new R-animated movie Sausage Party and talk about his long acting career. Hollywood Producer, NYFA Director of Industry Lecture Series, Tova Laiter, hosted the evening.

    seth rogen at nyfa

    photo by Kristine Tomaro

    The auditorium crescendoed into a roar when Rogen took the stage. And he didn’t disappoint, making the students laugh all throughout. Laiter began the conversation with Rogen’s beginnings: Rogen began his stand-up career at just thirteen. He had the usual plan: become a stand-up comedian, land a sitcom, and then make movies for forever. The goal was always to make movies.

    From his stand up, Rogen was able to land an agent. He auditioned for, and landed a role in, Judd Apatow’s Freaks and Geeks when he was just sixteen. Then he began writing and acting on Undeclared. Next, he was hired on The Ali G Show, for which he was nominated for an Emmy. After conquering film in The 40-Year-Old Virgin he continued for two pictures with Judd Apatow: Knocked Up and Funny People.

    He then began working with his childhood friend and partner, Evan Goldberg. Their work includes This is the End, Superbad, Pineapple Express, and The Interview. He’s lent his voice to Horton Hears a Who!, Monsters vs. Aliens, Paul, and Kung Fu Panda. He’s recently turned his attention back to TV with AMC’s Preacher.

    tova and rogen

    photo by Kristine Tomaro

    Asked how the idea for the uniquely clever and funny Sausage Party came about he quoted two inspirations

    “Honestly,” Rogen said, Home Alone is one of the movies that made me want to make movies. Seeing a kid just beat the shit out of adults- it was like an action movie for kids and I remember thinking I want to make movies like that.”

    The second source: ‘When the Pixar movies started to come out I was just blown away by them. They weren’t just visually unlike anything I’d ever seen but the storytelling and the humor… It was completely a group of people working on another level. We were like, ‘Well, we’ll never be that good., so maybe we’ll do our own bastard version of that and we’ll get to take a sip from the well of glory for just a second.’”

    But an R-rated animated comedy was not an easy pitch, even with Rogen’s popularity and success. “Getting it made was the hardest part. It took us literally years, and years, and years of going to meetings and being told ‘no’ by independent financing companies and by major studios. Then finally brave Megan Ellison agreed to do it.”

    “So, that part was difficult. But we’d never made an animated movie. It was very different than anything we’ve ever done.”

    Also, “the releasing of the movie is always the most stressful time because it’s the part that one generally has the least control over. You never know how much they spent. You know how much the movie cost to make. You have a million conversations about that. But there’s literally never a conversation where a number is said in regards to the marketing budget. “But, in the end, the journey was worth it, if it helps the next person down the line, “I think there’s a distinct possibility that if someone was on the fence about making an R-rated animated movie maybe this might nudge them to the other side of it. We hope to make more R-rated animated movies and I really hope that, if anything, this inspires other people to take this and make something better”

    Laiter wanted to know what made Canadian comedians so consistently successful. “I’ve worked with British comedians before and they’re hilarious” Rogen Said, “but they don’t quite understand American culture to the degree they need to, to really infiltrate it. But Canadians grow up with American culture, but it’s not our culture. So, we probably more objective about it and a little more inclined to make fun of it”.

    Rogen has a reputation for working with his friends. “When you’re working, it’s really hard to do something that feels good a lot of the time. So when I’m on set I feel so much better if Jonah or Franco or Craig or Danny are there because they are just incredible at their jobs. Of the hundreds of things I have to worry about in my job as the director, producer, writer, that is not one of them. It’s just a stress relief. On top of that, we just like each other.”

    One student asked Rogen about how he handled criticism. “Honestly, that’s gotten harder as I’ve gotten older. When I was younger I was really aggressive and confident. Over the years, as I’ve read thousands of articles just saying what an idiot I am… I look back and honestly marvel at how little I thought about whether or not other people thought I was funny. It was all, ‘I think I’m good at this and I think I can do something different in movies, so I’m just going to write them’. The more I didn’t succeed, the more I’d get angry and I’d just try even harder… You just have to make sure it’s a good idea. Surrounded yourself with people who will be honest with you and give you good constructive criticism. Just never stop.”

    seth rogen in nyfa jacket

    photo by Kristine Tomaro

    Another student wanted to know if Rogen had advice for actors who were older and hadn’t hit yet. Rogen responded, “Ian McKellan became famous when he was like 80. There’re so many actors that just keep going and don’t quit. And there’re actors who don’t become famous until they’re in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and in the meantime they keep working in smaller roles. And if you’re only an actor and (you) can’t write or create material for yourself, then… become friends with a writer. They’re always looking for actors. Become friends with a director. They always need actors. Just link up with someone who has a job you can’t do.”

    “What is the most important ingredient in comedy?” a student asked.

    Rogen said, “Superbad is about two friends who don’t know how to tell one another they’re going to miss each other. That sweet center allowed us to have period blood on his leg and other crazy shit that would otherwise be appalling. So for us, we talk a lot about balance- emotion with crudeness, intelligence with stupidity, unpredictability with plausibility and sensibility. I think balance is the most important part of comedy, also between what genres you’re trying to mix- finding the exact mix of horror and comedy, of emotion and comedy. That’s what makes a movie unpredictable.”

    And as parting words Rogen emphasized the ‘unpredictability’ of great movies and asked the students to surprise him with the kind of breakthrough movies that make him ask: ‘How the hell did they do that?’

    That brought the house up to standing ovation.

    New York Film Academy would like to thank Seth Rogen for his time. Sausage Party is now in theaters.

    August 22, 2016 • Acting, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Producing, Screenwriting • Views: 3034

  • NYFA Attends Fox 2016 Television Critics Association

    Twice yearly the Television Critics Association gathers to cover the upcoming Fall and Winter programming from major television networks. This year, the New York Film Academy attended the Fox 2016 TCA tour. Fox is putting a more diverse network in its sights this Monday at the Beverly Hilton. The new line-up goes way beyond racial diversity. Fox is expanding the idea of animation on television, the roles women might play in major league sports, and who can play traditional roles.


    With Fox’s new show, Pitch, starring Kylie Bunbury as Ginny Baker the first female pitcher to play on a major league baseball team. Creator and Executive Producer, Dan Fogelman, believes it’ll only be a matter of time before we see a woman in one of the four major sports currently played in America. Fox also brought us the first Black President in the early two thousands with their show 24. Tony Bill, Executive Producer, said the show was pitched ten years ago and predicted the future we live in now, where it’s just a matter of time before a woman plays in the majors.

    The show isn’t just about baseball. What drew many of the creators to the project is the character of Bill Baker, played beautifully by Michael Beach, who is the show’s “sports dad.” Think about Serena and Venus Williams’ father or Tiger Woods’ father. Who are the men behind the child? What do they sacrifice and what drives them? For Bill Baker, it’s the fact that his father wasn’t there to help him get to the majors. He topped at the minors. Baker swore that he would be there for his son. He has a daughter.

    This is where the story begins, a father making sure his daughter has everything she needs to be the very best. So, the show wouldn’t be too bogged down in men, Ginny is given a publicist, Amelia Slater, played by Ali Larter. Both women have to navigate male dominated industries as women at the top of their game.

    Son of Zorn

    Son of Zorn will join The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers, and Family Guy on Fox’s Sunday night lineup. The show is a family sitcom about a divorced dad trying to reconnect with his estranged son after ten years. One caveat: Zorn, played by a subdued Jason Sudeikis, is an animated barbarian. Yes, you read that right. In the live action world, he is the only animated being. Instead of slaying dragons, he’s trying to land a steady job. His son, a shy kid, and his ex-wife, re-married to Tim Meadows, aren’t too interested in having him back around. Zany antics are sure to ensue in this very weird and bizarrely brave new show.

    Rocky Horror Picture Show

    Fox is also pushing the envelope with The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Televised musicals have been prime time gold for network television companies trying to find their way in a streaming dominant world. Rocky Horror is taking a very definite step away from the original by embracing the camp cult culture that has surrounded the film since its original release in 1975.

    Costumes are adorned with bright sparkles and lots of feathers; the album is brighter with a stronger emphasis on rock music. One reporter asked point-blank why have a transgendered woman play a transsexual? Lou Adler, Executive Producer, said that Dr. Frankenfurter is an alien. Both Cox and Curry played the role as a person from another world. That’s what they wanted to focus on.

    Victoria Justice said of the opportunity to play Janet Weiss, “Another generation will be singing Time Warp…I get to sing Touch Me. This is so exciting.” Executives clearly have the Rocky Horror fans, and the soon to be fans, in mind when crafting this film. They employed the fan club president to make sure the film stayed authentic.

    They also added a crowd to the film. This is a weird kind of experimental twist on Mystery Science Theater 3000. It allows fans that love to participate in the action a chance to do so in their home. It also introduces new fans to crazy traditions of the fandom.

    Live social media interaction and the buzz around theater trained Lavern Cox, who has a five-octave range and will be playing the lead, nearly guarantee a high viewer turn out. Whether it’ll be a hit or not is something for which we’ll have to wait to see.

    The Exorcist

    Next on Fox’s plate is the television remake of The Exorcist. Creator and Executive Producer, Jeremy Slater, said he knew right off the bat he couldn’t write each season about a newly possessed family. No one tunes in for jumps and gore. The story has to come first. Evil has larger ambitions. They’re not just after one girl.

    There will be Easter Eggs for fans of the original series, and Slater insists that this is a continuation, not a remake. In his version, there are two priests, Father Tomas Ortega, Alfonso Herrera, and Father Marcus Keane, Ben Daniels, who are fighting to save the daughter of the Rance family. The matriarch of that family is Angela, played by Geena Davis. Davis said The Exorcist (1973) is the best horror film ever made.

    Gotham and Lucifer

    The Gotham and Lucifer panels went up at the same time. Immediately there was some concern about why Clara Foley had been replaced with Maggie Geha as the shows’ Ivy Pepper. Producers, Ken Woodruff and John Stephens, said the show is about growth and it was time for Ivy to grow from a timid fifteen-year-old to a sixteen-year-old who might be more willing to hurt people. (I could write about reactions here, but they’re mixed and I don’t know if we want to upset any potential future guests.)

    Lucifer will continue its exploration of adult children trying to work through familial issues, this time by introducing Lucifer’s mom into the mix. Some in the crowd voiced skepticism when they learned the actress playing the role, Tricia Helfer, was only a few years older than Lucifer actor, Tom Ellis. Show Producers insisted that Helfer was the best actress for the job, not to mention the supernatural aspects of the show allow for the suspension of disbelief.

    Finally, the time came to showcase the number one show on basic cable, Empire. Taraji P. Henson was there, along with Executive Producers Ilene Chaiken and Sanna Hamri. Season three’s focal point will remain on the Lyons, however, this time Cookie is determined to leave Luscious.

    Taye Diggs will enter the series as a potential love interest for Cookie. To which Henson responded, “…he wished.” Mariah Carey, who has already finished filming her role, will play Kitty a, “mega-superstar who comes to Empire to collaborate with Jamal Lyon (Jussie Smollett) on an explosive new song.” Carey also has a story with lead character Jamal, played by Jussie Smollett, where she helps him acknowledge some personal difficulties.

    With its Fall 2016 line-up Fox continues its push for more diverse content. A mix of strong new content, listening to fan reaction, and a dedication to reinvigorating long-standing projects, Fox has set itself apart from other networks who’ve decided to stand close to their traditional programming; a gamble that’s already netted Fox big viewership rewards.

    August 17, 2016 • Acting, Community Highlights, Entertainment News, Filmmaking • Views: 1656