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  • Star of “Laverne & Shirley” Actress Cindy Williams Makes NYFA Laugh

    New York Film Academy students came together in our Los Angeles campus theater to watch a compilation of scenes featuring actress Cindy Williams and then participate in a Q&A with the cultural icon. Moderating the Q&A were producer Tova Laiter and NYFA LA’s acting department chair Lynda Goodfriend, who co-starred on Happy Days with Williams as Lori Beth Cunningham, Ron Howard’s girlfriend then wife on the TV sitcom.

    After college, Williams began her professional career by doing theater, waiting tables and landing important film roles early in her career including Ron Howard’s high school sweetheart in George Lucas’ American Graffiti (1973) and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation (1974). In 1975, Williams was cast as a fun-loving brewery worker, Shirley Feeney, in an episode of Happy Days, alongside Penny Marshall, who played her best friend and roommate Laverne De Fazio. The characters proved so popular that a spin-off featuring the characters, Laverne & Shirley was created and aired from 1976 until 1982. In 1990, Williams returned to series TV on CBS sitcom Normal Life and family sitcom Getting By (1993–94). She has guest starred on several television shows including, including two episodes of 8 Simple Rules, performed onstage including the national tours of Grease, and was originator/ a co-producer on the Steve Martin comedy film Father of the Bride and its sequel. Most recently, Cindy has authored the book “Shirley, I Jest!: A Storied Life,” an autobiographical recount of her funny and heartfelt journey from blue collar roots to unexpected stardom.

    cindy williams

    Lynda Goodfriend, Tova Laiter and Cindy Williams

    Cindy reminisced on her career, describing first how she fell in love first with the American theater in acting school. She had the incredible experience of working with legendary directors Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas early in her career. Williams went into great details describing the extremely different styles of each director but how they are geniuses in their own right–Francis Ford Coppola LOVES actors and eager to ask for their opinion and praise them while George Lucas is shy and laconic, rarely saying more to an actor than “Terrific,” after a take. Williams’ career path was unorthodox as she initially landed major film roles before transitioning into television. In the past, an actor was branded in either film or television and transitioning was rare. She even recalled being turned down for a particular film role by a director who recognized her from the Laverne and Shirley and dismissed her upon entering the room. Today, it is much more flexible as actors want to follow the good material.

    As she applied for a director’s lab instead of acting, the program director put her in touch with an upcoming talent agent, Gary Marshall, who at the time was running a talent agency with Fred Roos, a casting director who went on to produce Francis Coppola films and cast her and client Harrison Ford in Lucas and Coppola movies. Then, Gary Marshall became the creator of many hit TV sitcoms including Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley. This was the twist of fate that would change Cindy’s life forever. Cindy told the audience, “This is how things in life happen, and don’t let anyone ever tell you any different. One day something will just plop right down in front of you.”

    Cindy Williams

    Cindy Williams speaks to a theater full of NYFA students

    Williams gave extensive insight into the traditional TV sitcom multi-camera process from her experience on Laverne & Shirley. The cast, director, writers and producers would arrive to set on Monday to do a table read of the script and perhaps block a scene or two. On Tuesday, they were given a new script based on notes the writers made during the table read and they would rough out the blocking of all the scenes on stage. On Wednesday, they were given another script with changes from the previous day’s notes, and the actors would begin setting the blocking in stone by laying marks for themselves. On Thursday, the cast and crew received yet another script and the cameramen were included this time to learn the blocking and lay marks for camera. On Friday, yes one final version of the script arrived, and the actors would perform the episode with cameras rolling in front of a live studio audience. Cindy loved this form of TV because its process is so closely linked to acting in plays, particularly the fact that she feeds off the live audience’s reaction.

    Cindy Williams was so entertaining and funny as she recounted her amazing career. In fact, she had the audience in stitches most of the time. Not only is she an incredible actress but a top-notch storyteller. Her new autobiographical book “Shirley, I Jest!: A Storied Life” is sure to be a fun ride.

    We sincerely thank Cindy Williams for visiting the New York Film Academy and wish her luck on whatever exciting step she takes next on her adventure.

    July 31, 2015 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 135

  • Russian Student Shoots Video Spot for Nike

    Recently, one of our Russian filmmaking students, Sergei Frante, was asked to shoot a video spot for Nike in Moscow (seen above).

    “To be honest, this was one of the coolest projects I’ve ever worked on,” said Frante. “Once again, I realized how important the vibe is on set. With the right vibe, we can really produce magic.”

    Frante says getting to know the inside scoop on how Hollywood operates has been extremely helpful during his time at the New York Film Academy. “When you know how things should be done from directors’ and producers’ points of view, you can really accomplish a lot on set and be more dedicated to the creative aspects of the project.”

    Frante is currently developing a television series with his friend and collaborator Alexander Babaev. The two are hoping to launch the series in Los Angeles by the end of 2015.

    “As for my filmmaking career, I want to get on the level that Tarkovsky and Kubrick were on. I’m a big fan of old movies— without digital technology— when filmmaking was truly magical. I want to touch the hearts of the people, make them think and inspire them. Filmmaking is a form of art and has its own instruments to let the director speak, so I just want to keep on talking.”

    July 7, 2015 • Acting, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights, Study Abroad • Views: 647

  • NYFA Los Angeles Hosts 3-Week Workshop for NYFA Australian Acting Students

    australia acting students

    NYFA Australia acting students attending the Groundlings Comedy Improv show

    On Monday the 8th of June, four students from the New York Film Academy’s Gold Coast location, three students from NYFA Sydney, and acting instructor Hunter McMahon departed Australia and headed to the New York Film Academy campus in Los Angeles, California. The acting students participated in an intensive three week program which encompassed classes such as; Meisner technique, Voice and Movement, Combat, Comedy, Psychology of Performance, Audition technique and Production Workshops, which were shot on the backlot of Universal Studios.

    The students’ first week of training began on Tuesday the 9th of June with three classes a day, plus plenty of work to keep them busy outside of school hours. The first shoot on the Universal backlot took place on the “Western Set,” with scenes authored by the students. “It was a unique experience, and one that I will cherish for the rest of my life,” said NYFA Sydney Acting Instructor, Hunter McMahon.

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    On Saturday afternoon, the acting students attended the Los Angeles Film Festival for a screening of Be Here Now: The Andy Whitfield Story. “It was one of the most powerful documentaries I have ever seen. When the lights came up we were all visibly moved and glad that we had shared the experience together,” said McMahon.

    On Sunday the group took some time out with a large portion of the day spent lounging at the pool of the Oakwood Apartments and enjoying the famous Los Angeles sun—after all, it is currently wintertime back in Australia.

    During the second week, the intensity of the program increased as the teachers began to demand more of the students, and as we’re accustomed to at NYFA, the students picked up the challenge.

    Friday night saw the students shuttled from NYFA to attend The Groundlings Theatre Show. “The show was hilarious, the students had a ball, and some were even lucky enough to meet the performers afterwards and have their picture taken with them,” recalled McMahon.

    Over the course of the rest of the weekend, the students spent time shopping, and exploring Disneyland. Any spare time leftover, students worked on the course material for the final week.

    The last week was spent filming the scenes, monologues and learning as much as possible about the industry in Los Angeles. During the week, students were shuttled to The Matrix theatre to watch The Australian Theatre Company’s rehearsed play reading of Ruben Guthrie. “The show was fantastic and a great networking opportunity… the play has been recently been adapted into a feature film, which opened the Sydney Film Festival this year,” said McMahon.

    matrix theatre

    On the Friday night of their final week, the students’ work was showcased in the screening room of NYFA LA’s Riverside Building. “It was a fitting end to the three-week course and we were overawed by the experience,” said McMahon.

    Monday the 29th of June marked the conclusion of the three-week excursion.

    “From this experience, my Australian acting students have grown remarkably, and will certainly cherish these memories dearly. The teachers we’ve had have been fantastic, experienced and very knowledgeable. We have made industry connections that will benefit both parties in the years to come. I’m grateful that I have been able to share this experience with the students, and the NYFA staff in LA. I have learned so much in my time here, and I can’t wait to share it all upon my return to Sydney. This journey has been invaluable, and I would like to share my gratitude and warm thanks to the New York Film Academy, its teachers and the students who journeyed with me to Los Angeles,” concluded McMahon.

    As for the students who took part in this incredible three-week Los Angeles trip, this is what they had to say:

    “I have been deeply touched by the passion, dedication and immense desire every teacher has had to share their experience and, install in our hearts, deep respect for our craft and the industry. I am now more committed to the ingenuity, creativity, skill and professionalism that has gone before me.”

    Sharde Anne (Gold Coast Graduate)

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    NYFA Australian actors attend the Australian Theatre Company’s Evening of “Stage to Screen” at the Matrix Theatre in Hollywood

    “This has been an incredible experience. I’m so grateful I was given this opportunity to explore the LA industry that I one day intend to be a part of. We were taken to The Groundlings, which was phenomenal and hilarious. We were also taken to see the Australian Theatre Company’s reading of ‘Ruben Guthrie’ at the Matrix theatre. We filmed on the Universal backlot twice. I have learned and grown so much in the past three weeks. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of it!”

    Tiahni Wilton (Gold Coast Graduate)

    “The wisdom and experience of the industry that was shared with us from the lecturers at NYFA was invaluable; and now I’m going home to Australia more confident with my craft. Thank you to all the lecturers from NYFA across Australia and LA. You all inspire me daily.”

    Krystal Shuttleworth (Gold Coast Graduate)

    “I look forward to the future in acting. I feel my passion gets stronger as I keep learning. It’s been an amazing experience!”

    Tareesha Argus (Gold Coast Graduate)

    “Coming to Los Angeles has been a fantastic and an uplifting experience for me. I’m eternally grateful for all that I have learned at my time at NYFA.”

    Abel Kollie (Sydney Graduate)

    “We have had incredible classes and teachers, who are all so passionate about the craft. I’ve learned so much about acting and the exciting business over here. The classes have been intense, and definitely worthwhile. Experiencing the American audition process and running it with a real agent was an invaluable experience. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone.”

    Kiara Williams (Sydney Graduate)

    “The experience and knowledge I’ve gained from doing this program is without a doubt the best decision and opportunity that was given to me by NYFA. I’ve learned so much more than I could have imagined about the LA market, auditioning and character work in the past 3 weeks. Though the days were long, I wouldn’t change any of it. The teachers were fantastic; they were so knowledgeable and passionate about the industry. I am eternally grateful to NYFA Sydney for this experience and can’t wait to start my career.”

    Ismael Nunez Moreno (Sydney Graduate)

  • Director Mel Rodriguez and Actor Micah Hauptman Screen ‘In Stereo’

    Actor Micah Hauptman with Director Mel Rodriguez

    Actor Micah Hauptman with Director Mel Rodriguez at NYFA Union Square

    This past Monday, June 23rd, the New York Film Academy in Union Square played host to an early screening of the upcoming New York indie, In Stereo, which was directed by first time director Mel Rodriguez and stars Micah Hauptman. Both Rodriguez and Hauptman joined us after the screening for an intimate conversation with NYFA Instructor Randall Dottin about the production of their film, as well as their triumphs and struggles in this competitive industry.

    The film initially started out as a short film, which writer / director Rodriguez said, “came out of frustration and necessity.” It was at a festival screening in Austin where producers were hooked and made the feature version of his short a reality.

    Shot entirely in New York City, the entire feature was filmed over only fifteen days! In addition to our gracious guest, Micah Hauptman, In Stereo stars Beau Garrett, Aimee Mullins, Mario Cantone, Maggie Geha, and Melissa Bolona. The story surrounds David (Micah Hauptman) and Brenda (Beau Garrett), who are perfect for each other, and everyone knows it…except David and Brenda. After their painful break-up, they each endure an individual purgatory (for David, a self-destructive artistic endeavor, and a relationship with an immature beauty who has taken to sleeping with his best friend – for Brenda, a failing acting career, an eviction notice, and a boyfriend who just doesn’t do it for her for Brenda) until chance brings them together on the streets of New York at the worst possible time. David invites Brenda to the opening of his first photography exhibit and it sets the stage for a night of drinking, flirting and truth-telling, leading to an untraditional and risky proposal of how they can be together… without getting back together.

    in stereo

    A sharply observed, un-romantic comedy by writer/director/editor Mel Rodriguez, In Stereo is a stylish and striking first feature. With an innovative structure and bold performances, it offers an unflinching look at the complexity of modern relationships.

    Both Rodriguez and Hauptman humbly recalled their roots in the industry, Hauptman admitting he’d been working as an actor for twelve years until he really considered himself having a career. In fact, it was a student film that really propelled his career to the next level. “Always be focusing on the work,” he advised.

    As for Rodriguez, his directing career really blossomed from his work as an editor, in which he says, “Editing is film school. Editors tend to make the best directors.” While he had established himself as a premier editor in film and television, his true passion was to be a director. With the upcoming release of In Stereo, Rodriguez has made that dream a reality. Now, he intends to move further into larger projects — an action, thriller set on the Mexican border is what he hopes to shoot next.

    In the meantime, be sure to check out this very realistic New York City relationship film, which opens in theaters starting July 3rd, 2015!

    June 24, 2015 • Acting, Digital Editing, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 908

  • Matthew Jennison on Starting His Screenwriting Career from a ‘Wonder Woman’ Spec

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    Matthew Jennison

    This past semester, screenwriter Matthew Jennison visited with our Business of Screenwriting students to regale his improbable story about how he literally sold his first project to Warner Bros.—without any representation whatsoever—before going on to become a rising film and TV writer.

    Jennison, who is six-foot-six, had at first considered being an actor when he originally moved to Los Angeles from Albuquerque. He recalled, “They told me I was too tall, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.” Jennison always loved storytelling, and soon he discovered that he wanted to explore different sides, including the writing side. So, he partnered up with actor/writer Brent Strickland, who he met in an acting class. They read some scripts and a few books, and they started writing projects together.

    The problem was they had no representation and didn’t really know how to get people to read them. They wanted to write something that would garner them some attention, maybe even based off something people knew… “Wonder Woman seemed like the perfect property and character to write a spec script about. Many people had tried to crack a Wonder Woman movie, but it had lingered in development, and it’d been a very long time since the TV series. She was powerful and alluring. We thought we’d give it a shot…”

    They figured if done right, it was a good way to get noticed, a good sample, by building a story around a character people knew. So they wrote their ‘Wonder Woman’ script, an ambitious take set against the backdrop of WWII. “At the time, doing a period comic book was a pretty novel idea and was one we were really excited by.”

    When it was done, Jennison got his friend Kristian Harloff (now of ‘Schmoes Know’ fame, then an assistant at Silver Pictures) to give it a read. “I knew Kristian from my time interning at Village Roadshow Pictures, and since he worked at the production company who was producing the real Wonder Woman movie, I figured, who better?”

    Harloff liked the script and it trickled up the chain fast, as everyone at Silver Pictures grew more and more excited about it. Then, the studio Warner Bros. got their hands on it, and they liked it too. “It was one of those Tuesday-to-Friday stories we rarely hear about anymore, where people read it at the start of the week and you have a deal by the close of the week. “It was crazy,” Jennison recalled.

    wonder woman

    With a studio deal under his belt, reps came calling and Jennison and Strickland signed with ICM and Underground Management. They began what’s known as ‘the water-bottle” tour, “This is where you meet a lot of people—execs and producers—in a short amount of time. Lots and lots of general meetings.”

    Universal was interested in adapting the graphic novel Villians from Viper Comics into a feature, and they hired the writing duo to adapt it with Sean Bailey’s Ideology producing. “What was great about this project, is we got to have some fun with a group of bad guys with super-powers and tell a story through the lens of someone who wants to learn the fine art of super-crime.”

    Jennison offered a variety of advice for the screenwriting students with adapting pre-existing properties. “The source material is never just what they want. They want your own unique spin on it. They want you to take it somewhere they haven’t thought of… But you as a writer also need to find your own emotional connection to the material, if you strip the fantasy and sci-fi away, what’s the story about for you on a primal human level?”

    Jennison warned that it can be a difficult business, especially when company politics that you have no control of play a role. “Companies merge or an executive leaves and projects linger. Outside forces are constantly altering the landscape of your projects, which is why you have to keep writing, keep coming up with new ideas.”

    Jennison also advised that writers get a day job in the business when they get out of school. One of Jennison’s first jobs was working for the comedy troupe Broken Lizard as an assistant to actor Kevin Heffernan on the movie Beerfest. “It was a great experience working on set and working for an actor. I learned a lot.”

    Jennison shared a few more nuggets, “Play ball. That’s an expression to remember as a writer. Always try and make it work and be collaborative,” Jennison advised. “It’s not for me.” That’s another expression you’ll hear a lot. It’s the soft pass and may be unfortunately all you get sometimes.”

    Joining a writer’s group and working with a writing partner who keeps you to deadlines were two other strategies Jennison suggested when starting out. Jennison now writes his projects himself but got his professional start with a partner.

    “And always remember ‘that was then’ with executives notes,” Jennison closed, “In other words, their opinions can change. What they thought a few months ago or even a week ago, may not be how they feel now. But you need to be flexible and adapt to their changes. And always be searching for where the notes are really coming from. Not the solutions, but the problems”.

    Matthew Jennison currently lives in Los Angeles and works as a Film and TV writer. He is currently developing a variety of TV and film projects around town and repped by Matt Bass at Chemical Imbalance.

    June 23, 2015 • Acting, Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 823

  • Actor Stephen Lang Visits NYFA for Q&A After Screening of “Beyond Glory”

    Stephen Lang

    Actor Stephen Lang

    On Thursday, June 18th students, many of whom were veterans, gathered in the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles Theater and were treated to a special early preview of the documentary, Beyond Glory, followed by a Q&A with actor Stephen Lang. In early May, Lang screened the film to NYFA students at the New York City campus where he joined Colonel Jack Jacobs, Chair of NYFA’s Veterans Advancement Program, and himself a Medal of Honor recipient.

    Beyond Glory is a blending of footage from Lang’s one-man show, cutting across multiple performance venues and incorporating original material shot for the film. In it, the seasoned actor interprets interviews with a number of Metal of Honor Recipients. The result is a moving journey through the experiences of those who have survived some of war’s harshest of circumstances.

    “Beyond Glory allows the voices of servicemen to be heard without the filter of the conventions of drama or the prerogatives of deadline-driven journalism. Its sobriety, simplicity and lack of histrionics are the show’s signal strengths.” — Charles Isherwood, The New York Times

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    The discussion with Stephen Lang and Larry Brand was moderated by NYFA LA’s Veteran Outreach Coordinator, NYFA AFA Acting alumnus, and Navy Veteran Eric Brown.

    As a stage actor of great recognition, Stephen Lang has shaped a formidable career on and off the various stages of the United States and abroad. Though he is arguably most well-known for his acclaimed performance in James Cameron’s Avatar (2009), Lang began his career in theater. Broadway roles include his Tony-nominated performance as Lou in The Speed of Darkness, Happy in the Dustin Hoffman revival of Death of a Salesman, Colonel Jessep in A Few Good Men, and Mike Tallman alongside Quentin Tarantino and Marisa Tomei in Wait Until Dark. The film’s director, Larry Brand, was also on stage to answer questions. NYFA LA’s Veteran Outreach Coordinator, NYFA AFA Acting alumnus, and Navy Veteran Eric Brown moderated the discussion.

    The 100-seat theater was overflowing with attendees when Stephen Lang and Larry Brand took the stage to an uproar of applause. It was obvious that Lang was greatly appreciative of the warm reception. He talked with zeal about his experience performing for military and civilian crowds domestically and overseas for almost ten years now. He discussed the differences between performing with a cast of actors versus working in a solo show and jokingly said: “The good part of doing a solo show is I don’t have to rely on the other actor … but then again, the cast parties aren’t as fun!”

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    Stephen Lang, with director Larry Brand, discusses the acting techniques he utilized in “Beyond Glory.”

    There were many acting students in attendance who were curious about techniques Stephen Lang utilized in the film. Lang admitted that he spent most of his time shaping the performances in an audition room at the Actors Studio, which he affectionately calls his “home” in New York. Stephen never relies on one technique, but rather tries something different for each project. Sometimes he’ll find that an approach consistently serves him. The more experience he’s gained, the more basic his approach to acting has become.

    During the discussion, the similarities between an actor and a soldier were discussed. Both play a “role.” A soldier’s role includes his or her branch, job, rank, etc. while realizing elements of honor, integrity, and service. Through theater there is the opportunity for healing from the traumas of war, in which the soldier learns to tell his or her story instead of repressing the memory. This seems to be much of the idea behind Beyond Glory—humanizing the hero and helping us to imagine their incredible tales of selfishness and valor.

    “As a former US Marine, I thought both Stephen and Larry brought so much truth to the reality of each Medal of Honor Recipient’s experiences,” said Tyler Williams, a NYFA BFA acting student and a veteran. “The Medal of Honor is the pinnacle of one’s military career or existence while at the same time a pebble or ripple in the pond that is their life.”

    The New York Film Academy sincerely thanks Stephen Lang and Larry Brand for visiting the College and sharing their experience of creating this tremendous film and piece of American History with NYFA students.

    stephen lang

    Stephen Lang poses in a picture with NYFA veterans.

    To learn more about Beyond Glory, please CLICK HERE.

    June 23, 2015 • Acting, Community Highlights, Guest Speakers • Views: 882

  • NYFA Hosts Special Event for Wounded Warriors

    wwp at nyfaAs a nationally accredited and degree granting college, the New York Film Academy has been privileged over the last few years to enroll hundreds of veteran students at our campuses in both New York City and Los Angeles. To further give back to our veteran and military community, the New York Film Academy in Battery Park held an event exclusive for veterans from the Wounded Warrior Project.

    The mission of Wounded Warrior Project is to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured servicemembers, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs.

    The daylong event began with a speech from Colonel Jack Jacobs, NYFA’s Chair of the NYFA Veterans Advancement Program. Jacobs has served as a platoon leader in the 82nd Airborne Division, executive officer of an infantry battalion in the 7th Infantry Division, and commanded the 4th Battalion 10th Infantry in Panama. A member of the faculty of the US Military Academy, Colonel Jacobs taught international relations and comparative politics for three years, and he was a member of the faculty of the National War College in Washington, DC. He was in Vietnam twice, both times as an advisor to Vietnamese infantry battalions, and he is among the most highly decorated soldiers from that era, having earned three Bronze Stars, two Silver Stars and the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest combat decoration.

    Jacobs spoke in depth about the importance of veterans in Media and Film, and joined the Warriors for lunch after his inspirational speech. After that, the Warriors were given two truly hands-on workshops in both filmmaking and acting for film.

    “It was an honor and privilege doing this event for the Wounded Warrior Project,” said Director of Performing Arts Enrollment, Roger Del Pozo. “They did a fantastic job in the workshop, and they were very inspiring — it was an amazing experience.”

    wounded warriors

    An award-winning Top Military Friendly School, the New York Film Academy is dedicated to helping veterans achieve their educational and career goals. Many of NYFA programs are approved for the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the New York Film Academy proudly participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

    For more information about NYFA’s Veterans Benefits, Resources and Alumni, please visit https://www.nyfa.edu/veterans/

    June 16, 2015 • Acting, Community Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 1075

  • Jamaican Novelist Roger Williams Sets Sights on Film

    roger williamsAlready with a successful novel under his belt, American-based Jamaican novelist, Roger Williams, came to the New York Film Academy to expand his creative writing abilities in the field of screenwriting. Williams’ book, Turn Back Blow, made him the first Jamaican author to advocate animal rights and bring awareness to animal cruelty. The novel was inspired by a real-life event where a dog was being used as bait to lure a crocodile in a Jamaican community. Since releasing the book, its become a part of the catalogue at Yale, Princeton and England’s Oxford University.

    Now, with his sights set on the film world, Williams is working on two screenplays that he began developing at NYFA. His first full-length screenplay is an action/drama called Murder For Sale, which he intends to shop to Jamaican producers.

    “The experience with NYFA was great,” said Williams. “I learned so much — things that I wouldn’t have learned from a book about screenplays. The knowledge from NYFA will be very valuable when it’s time for me to adapt my book into a screenplay.”

    In addition to his writing, Williams took an acting course at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles. While there he wrote and acted in a short film called Redemption Irony. From there, he took his hand at directing while at a course at NYFA New York. His short was entitled Shutdown, and was well received, especially by women.

    “I never dreamed of working behind the camera, and working on Shutdown was a tremendous experience. The short has been receiving great feedback from women on Facebook and YouTube, because they can all relate to what is taking place in the scene.”

    On the whole, Williams hopes to not only entertain his audience with his work, but to educate them in the same way he did with his novel, Turn Back Blow. We look forward to seeing his adaptation, as well as his original material in the near future.

    June 11, 2015 • Acting, Screenwriting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 752

  • New York Film Academy Musical Theatre Program Shines in ‘Chess’

    CHESS
    One of the many enticing aspects of being a student in New York Film Academy’s Musical Theatre School is the opportunity to perform in a MainStage musical production in New York City! Thus far, the program has put on two spectacular shows, including Spring Awakening and The Wedding Singer.

    Last month, Musical Theatre students, alumni and faculty put together another fantastic performance in the MainStage musical, Chess, which was held at the American Theatre of Actors. The show included 27 performers and 6 orchestra members.

    chess nyfa

    Chess is a pop opera that had its original broadway production in 1988, which included two NYFA Instructors, Rosemary Loar and Wysandria Woolsey. There was also a famous London concert of the show in 2009, starring Idina Menzel, Josh Groban and Adam Pascal.

    Though the production is not very often produced and includes some extremely difficult music, NYFA faculty members were not disappointed with the amazing singers and actors. Under the direction of Chad Larabee, choreography by Chad Austin and music direction by Joshua Zecher-Ross, the cast and crew put together NYFA’s third successful musical, and will now be preparing for a fourth.

    chess performance at nyfa

    “I am extremely proud of the hard work of our students and creative team,” said NYFA’s Creative Director of Musical Theatre, Kristy Cates. “Chess is a really difficult show and our singer/actors nailed every moment. As a producer, it was so exciting for me to watch our audience members — many of whom know nothing about the musical theatre program at NYFA — leave the theatre inspired and very impressed by the quality of the work. The Musical Theatre Department at NYFA is making an amazing name for itself, and that’s such an awesome thing to be a part of!”

    Our next MainStage show will also be at the American Theatre of Actors, November 20-22nd.

    Cast (in no specific order):
    Kylan Ross
    Emma McGlinchey
    Christopher Viljoen
    Malie Thekiso
    Paul Moore
    Rodrigo Carter
    Bruno Uribe
    Thomas Walsh
    Anthony Lalonde
    Felipe Carrasco
    Cullen Shirtz
    Will Van Moss
    CorBen Wright
    Charles Engelsgjerd (NYFA Alumnus)
    Jonina Bjort
    Melissa Gonzalez
    Kia Laitakari
    Myms Rouelle
    Akhia Andersson
    Emily Caroo
    Beatriz Cavalieri
    Stephanie Sequeira
    Katie Wright
    Kodi Lynn Milburn
    Alli Ryan Motley
    Yasmin Schancer
    Jessi Shannon

    Directed by Chad Larabee
    Music Director, Joshua Zecker-Ross
    Choreography by Chad Austin

    June 4, 2015 • Acting • Views: 1202

  • NYFA Australia Acting Chair and Alumnus Appear in ‘San Andreas’

    san andreas premiere

    One-Year Acting Grad, Nick Allen-Ducat and NYFA Australia, Gold Coast Chair of Acting, Brad McMurray                                                              picture by David Clark; Gold Coast Bulletin

    It’s no coincidence that the New York Film Academy Australia’s Gold Coast campus is situated on the backlot of Village Roadshow Studios adjacent to Warner Bros Movie World in Queensland, Australia.

    Similar to our Los Angeles campus, NYFA Gold Coast students have access to the movie studios, giving them a truly hands-on, real-world experience.

    Given the unparalleled access to the filmmaking community in Queensland, it came as no surprise to find two of our very own in front of the camera for the upcoming blockbuster film San Andreas, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Paul Giamatti. NYFA Australia, Gold Coast Chair of Acting, Brad McMurray and One-Year Acting Grad, Nick Allen-Ducat had roles in the film, and walked the red carpet at the Queensland premiere, which took place at the Roxy Theatre.

    roxy

    pic by David Clark; Gold Coast Bulletin

    “Being on the backlot leaves it wide open to massive possibilities as many of our current and former students had on set experience as extras on San Andreas and Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken,” said McMurray. “Having international blockbusters shooting on NYFA’s doorstep creates an industry pulse that is felt by all of the students at NYFA. This creates a hunger that will drive them into this vibrant exciting industry. In securing a role on something as big as San Andreas, it enables me to get in the room face to face with the students and share this valuable experience with them. The class experience then becomes a session of artistic osmosis where the students beliefs and expectations are ramped up ready for the industry.”

    In addition to Brad and Nick’s roles in the film, NYFA Australia filmmaking students were able to intern on the production of the film.

    Having filmed on the Coast, The Rock, who was in attendance at the premiere, had this to say about his experience: “I had the best time — amazing time — shooting the film on the Gold Coast.”

    Look for Brad, Nick, and The Rock in San Andreas, which opens in theaters today!