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  • NYFA Welcomes Hire Heroes USA

    On June 24, The New York Film Academy College of Visual and Performing Arts (NYFA) Veteran Services Department was fortunate to collaborate with Hire Heroes USA (HHUSA) to host a daylong exclusive employment workshop for NYFA’s veteran students. The NYFA military students also benefited from one-on-one time with the Transition Specialists from HHUSA.

    Hire Heroes USA is a nonprofit that provides free, expert career coaching and job sourcing to hundreds of transitioning U.S. military members, assisting veterans and spouses with finding employment.

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    Resume and job application cover letter coaching.

    The first half of the eight-hour workshop was a practicum related to resume theory, networking techniques, and how to affectively prepare for an interview. Representatives from Hire Heroes USA, Jamie Rimphanli and Walter Serrano, coached veteran students on how to properly format their resumes and discussed, in-depth, the importance of networking and how to prepare for a job interview.

    For the second half of the workshop, industry professionals from Disney Studios, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Legendary Entertainment, and Plan A Locations joined the workshop for a moderated Q&A panel discussion. Panelists discussed how they began their careers in the entertainment industry and how they’ve navigated their careers for success.

    Highlights from the day included an exercise that had all of the participants do a speed networking session. Also, HHUSA brought a photographer who took professional head shots for the veteran students’ LinkedIn pages.

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    NYFA veteran students and panelists mixed to give their job skill pitches.

    “We felt that this training and these types of vet student-centric activities are increasingly important because they help prepare our students to meet with HR/Talent Acquisition teams from the major studios,” explained NYFA Director of Veterans Services Department John Powers.  

    Retired Army veteran and MFA cinematography student Bryan Hudson stated, “The Hire Heroes USA workshop was a fantastic forum to introduce veterans with industry insiders and provide the opportunity to learn from them. The event was beneficial to everyone involved about learning the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of the interview process and how to break into the entertainment industry. One thing that I learned from the workshop is to establish relationships that will be beneficial to both parties. Thank you to the NYFA Veterans Department for putting on this marvelous event, and I hope that this will be the first of many events with Hire Heroes USA.”

    The NYFA Veteran Services Department is extremely grateful to Hire Heroes USA for partnering with us to bring this wonderful opportunity to NYFA veteran students.

  • NYFA Gold Coast Campus Hosts Casting Director Ben Parkinson & Actor Joey Vieira

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    Ben Parkinson (left) and Joey Vieira (right) speak to NYFA students at the NYFA Gold Coast campus.

    Ben Parkinson (C.S.A), casting director on “Jungle” with Daniel Radcliffe, “The Shallows” featuring Blake Lively, and Australian feature “Don’t Tell,” along with actor and casting assistant Joey Vieira, offered their insight into the world of entertainment to eager acting for film students of the New York Film Academy Gold Coast during a Q&A session on Friday, May 19.

    Mr. Parkinson has been casting for over 17 years with major experience in various facets of the industry. He has worked in New York, Los Angeles and Australia-wide on major motion pictures, indie films, local and international television commercials, and music video clips. Ben’s unique eye for casting and his compassion for each project has made him one of Australia’s most highly accomplished casting directors.

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    Mr. Vieira, a California native with over 20 years experience in acting, relocated to Australian in 2014. His career has include roles on Channel 7’s mini-series “Hoges,” “Illusion V,” “Texas Rising,” “The Simpsons,” “The Shield” and “Kitchen Confidential,” as well as feature films “San Andreas” and “Jungle.”

    Hosting a comprehensive presentation to students, Parkinson and Vieira provided invaluable insider knowledge of the industry.

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    NYFA Australia acting for film student Ethann S. says of the session: “I had fun, had a laugh and learnt some interesting things … The boys helped with my question regarding contracts with a possible agent and negotiating … I definitely felt like I got something out of today. And hopefully the next time I see them it’s in the audition room.”

    Fellow student Danni-Elle C. added her thanks “for the opportunity … it was super informative.” 

    The New York Film Academy Australia would like to thank Ben Parkinson and Joey Vieira for taking the time to speak with our students. 

    June 26, 2017 • Academic Programs, Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 108

  • Spring 2017 Highlights from NYFA Los Angeles’ Acting for Film Department

    It’s been a busy semester at for the Acting for Film Department at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles. In addition to our fabulous curriculum, we also hosted industry guests speakers, produced student directed plays, a 10-minute play festival, and presented our second successful alumni industry showcase.

    Industry Guest Speakers

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    Next up was veteran Casting Director Tineka Becker, former Manager of Feature Casting at Paramount Pictures. She told tales from the trenches of working with Tom Ford and Robert Zemekis, and on such projects as “Twilight: New Moon” and “X-Men: Apocalypse.”

    Finally, Image Consultant and Branding Specialist Tom Burke was a huge hit with students as he helped them recognize what type they are most likely to be hired to play, and how to best promote themselves in a crowded market.

    The upcoming guest list includes managers, agents and an expert on creating internet content (her music videos have gone viral with millions of views). Stay tuned!

    Student Directed Plays

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    It was an exciting semester of student directed plays. The students were ambitious with their self-generated projects. The plays included the dark drama, “Mujeres De Arena,” by Humberto Robles (directed by Guillermo Orozoo). This courageous play explores sex trafficking and the exploitation of women.

    “All this Intimacy,” by Rajiv Jospeh (directed be Roberto Jadue) explores the protagonist’s inability to have intimate relationships with various women, ultimately causing him isolation and despair.

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    The very complex play “Arcadia,” by Tom Stoppard (directed Daniel Pareja) is a play concerning the relationship between past and present, chaos and order, certainty and uncertainty.

    “A Wrinkle in Time,” by Madeleine L’Engle (directed by Timothy Herrera), is a science fantasy about time travel, finding home, and ultimately that one cannot live without love.

    Congratulations to all the students involved this semester!

    Alumni Industry Showcase

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    After an exciting round of auditions, 15 alumni students were selected to participate in our second industry showcase directed by Associate Chair Anne Moore. The actors were showcased in both film and live performance. The turnout was terrific, and many of our actors had opportunities to meet with top agents and managers, as well as casting directors from ABC, NBC, CBS, Warner Brothers, and Sony Pictures.

    Our alumni chosen this round were Jordan Knapp, Gonzalo Martin, Jolie Chi, Christopher Akens, Martta Rebekka, Reinaldo Garcia, Demyra Ravyne Payne, John R. Twohy, Victoria Schneider, Christopher Allyn Rybka, Nathan Rosado, Brieyonna Monet, Aditya Joshi, Camila Mejia Duque, and Matt JJ Miller.

    The Graveyard Plays

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    Our second playwriting festival was a huge success. The idea for the 10-minute festival originated in David Robinette’s Playwriting Studio Class. He saw it as a great opportunity for our actors to develop their voices as writers. This semester’s location was set in a graveyard. Given the opportunity they had to choose directors, cast the play, and get the plays on their feet for a live performance.

    The playwrights chosen were Sam LaFrance, Miranda Guzman, Zane Hudson, and Luis Alfredo Gonzalez. The event was stage managed by our wonderful student Simmie Sangian, Morgan Aiken, and set design was done by Daniela Gerdes.

    May 2017 Graduation

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    It was a beautiful day at Harmony Gold. Lynda Goodfriend gave a touching farewell to our students. Joshua Bitton, our guest speaker, brought lots of laughter and great industry advice to our spring graduates. We want to wish our students great success in their future endeavors. All that hard work paid off. Congratulations, Class of May 2017!

    June 22, 2017 • Acting, Community Highlights • Views: 1850

  • A Q&A With “The Road” Cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe

    On Tuesday, June 13, the New York Film Academy welcomed Javier Aguirresarobe to the Riverside Theater. His son, cinematographer Jon Aguirresarobe (“Hunter Gatherer”), was there to translate.

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    Aguirresarobe is a world-renowned director of photography known for his work on such great films like “The Others,” “Vicky Christina Barcelona,” “Blue Jasmine,” “Goya’s Ghosts,” and “The Promise.” So, why did he pick “The Road,” a film from 2005, to show the students?

    Aguirresarobe shared that the book behind “The Road” was very special for him. He felt that telling this story was the perfect way to begin working in the United States. “The director (John Hillcoat) had already seen my movies at that time. So he thought I was the right one to do this movie, which he considered very special because it was the world after an apocalypse.”

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    “I asked the producer why they had picked me for the job,” Aguirresarobe said. “I could understand the director being interested, but what did the producers want me?” The producers responded that they wanted to do a more European-style movie.

    The director and cinematographer agreed that they wanted a more “realistic vibe” than a typical American film. One way they tried to achieve that look was by removing the sun. “The lack of the sun in the movie is one of the most challenging aspects of the film,” shared Aguirresarobe. But the aesthetic helped create a sense of complete and utter doom that quickly enwraps the crowd.

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    At first, Aguirresarobe was extremely troubled by this obstacle. “I was worried because I knew what kind of movie I wanted to do, but I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do it.”

    He studied American films that were shot in Mexico. A lot of them had day for night shots, and Aguirresarobe played around with this to figure out the algorithm. He discovered that, back in the day, filmmakers would burn big piles of gasoline in order to create thick black clouds that could block out the sun. This is no longer a legal option, but Aguirresarobe did pitch it to the director as a joke.

    Aguirresarobe described himself as lucky to have pulled off the look. The time of year became a large factor in the shoot. The lack of greenery helped sell the idea of a dead Earth. “I wanted to respect the spirit of the book.”

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    Aguirresarobe also felt the lead actors helped cement the book’s spirit onto celluloid. “One of the best things in the movie is Viggo Mortensen. He went at the move with full energy. You can see all of that intensity on the screen.”

    Aguirresarobe joked with students that he would share a few tips and tricks, but in the age of digital, they might seem historic. This did not deter anyone in the audience. One student asked, “Can you talk about how you did that marvelous close-up on Robert Duvall in that speech and the eyes … Was that done in camera or in post-production?”

    Not missing a beat Aguirresarobe confirmed that the shot was done in camera. “Everything is done in camera. Duvall did have contact lenses to make it seem like he was blind.” Flame bars were used to get the look in the eyes. He said he learned a lot on those nights.

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    He began experimenting with real fire and the bars to create a better look. “Using the fire as a key light creates a horrible image. It creates a very intense red. The shadow gets very rough,” he said.  So he would mix the natural and the artificial to create a natural look.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank both Jon and Javier Aguirresarobe for taking the time to speak with our students about their craft. Javier Aguirresarobe’s next film is Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok.”

    June 19, 2017 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 268

  • NYFA Hour with Acting for Film Chair Lynda Goodfriend

    New York Film Academy Hour on Popcorn Talk recently featured New York Film Academy Los Angeles Chair of Acting for Film Lynda Goodfriend, who shared her experience working on the iconic American Television Show “Happy Days,” as well as making the shift from actress to talent manager, and what inspired her to teach.

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    One of the best stories Goodfriend shared was how she helped Robin Williams get his start in the industry. Williams and Goodfriend were in an improv class together. “He was either great or he was terrible,” Goodfriend said of watching an early and unpolished Williams leave it all on the stage. His talent was apparent but he never stayed on script, a large faux pas in television, where the writer is king.

    Goodfriend saw an opportunity to help the struggling actor when “Happy Days” was having trouble casting a new frazzled alien character, Mork. “We were shooting the scene on Friday. It was Wednesday and we still hadn’t cast the role.” She told the producers about Williams and his wild and hysterical performances.

    “He came in for the audition. He didn’t stay on book but what he brought to the performance was even better than what was on the page. He was booked immediately.” The role led to a spin-off series that launched Williams into superstardom, and the rest is history.

    To watch the NYFA Hour tune into Popcorn Talk on YouTube every Thursday at 4:00 PM PT. You can catch up on previous episodes with amazing guests like film critic Peter Rainer, who discussed the legacy of Marlon Brando.

    May 24, 2017 • Acting, Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights • Views: 1475

  • Industry Trend Series with NYFA Alumna Caitlin Cooke: Casting Associate at Donna Grossman Casting

    This week, Acting for Film Chair Glynis Rigsby welcomed back her former student Caitlin Cooke for an Industry Trends Series discussion. Aside from her acting career, Cooke is a Casting Associate at Donna Grossman Casting, a full service boutique casting company based in Manhattan. Donna Grossman Casting cast commercials, print, beauty, editorial, TV, film, theater, web series, live events and special projects.

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    photo by Alejandra Arias

    Cooke began the talk by saying, “This school to me, it kind of makes me emotional,” said Cooke. “It brought me a lot of friends and a lot of opportunities and I met a lot of people in the industry. Everything I learned here was helpful. I learned a lot of the business side. Also the access to the equipment I had here is insane. Access to the industry here was way better than other places. And the advice that Glynis [Rigsby] and other instructors offer is invaluable.”

    Facing the competitive field of actors after graduating, Cooke landed notable TV series and feature films such as Emmy-winning NBC series, “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” and the star-studded comedy blockbuster, “Grown Ups 2.” Most recently, she had the chance to guest star in an episode of “Tough Love,” a web series created by her friend Steven Bell. To further her and her friends career, she created an original series, “Rules of Cool,” which she was able to sell.

    “Creating your own work is very important,” she said. “When you get out of school you’re not sure what to do next. We decided to take control and create our own opportunities.”

    Cooke provided invaluable insight into the casting process, breaking down the process and providing tips and suggestions to improve NYFA Acting for Film students’ auditions.

    “Auditions are like a first date,” said Cooke. “Act natural, but if it doesn’t work out there’s always someone else. Always take a chance and always listen to what they have to say. Always be appropriate for what the role is. Look appropriate for what you’re doing.”

    NYFA would like to thank Ms Cooke for taking the time to speak to our students, and we wish her the best of luck on her blossoming career!

    May 18, 2017 • Acting, Guest Speakers, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1348

  • NYFA Launches New Mumbai, India Location

    With the every-growing popularity and tremendous interest in cinema in India, the New York Film Academy is thrilled to announce its newest Mumbai location, which welcomed its first group of filmmaking and acting students.

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    NYFA Kitty Koo with film and acting students at NYFA Mumbai

    Located in the heart of the world’s largest film industry and the home of Bollywood, NYFA Mumbai offers both an 8-Week Filmmaking Workshop and a 4-Week Acting for Film Workshop. The workshops are held at the Urmi Estate (95 Ganpatrao Kadam Marg, Lower Parel [West] Mumbai, Maharashtra 400 013, India).

    “The New York Film Academy turns 25 years old this year, and we’re thrilled to add this beautiful new location in Mumbai to the global NYFA family,” said Kitty Koo, NYFA Vice President – Mumbai, India. “There is no place better than Mumbai, India — the land of Bollywood.”

    Similar to its core curriculum, the Mumbai Filmmaking Workshop focus on learning in a hands-on film environment, where students will have the opportunity to make a fully-realized final film. The Acting for Film Workshop provides students with a strong foundation of acting skills with a specific focus on the basic elements of the craft of acting using Stanislavski’s System, scene study, and monologue work as starting points. Students also participate in courses aimed specifically at training the actor for the technical requirements of acting on a film set.

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    NYFA Acting for Film Associate Chair Peter Stone with Acting for Film students at NYFA Mumbai

    “We’re proud to bring our innovative film and acting for film programs to Mumbai, India, an epicenter for world cinema,” added NYFA President Michael Young. “We look forward to teaching a whole new generation of Indian filmmakers and actors.”

    As those who have taken a workshop with NYFA know, the workload is intensive, meaning students must be prepared to live and breathe the program during their enrollment.

    “Taking that experience from NYFA, I was able to act as a major supporting role in ‘Baahubali’,” said NYFA alumnus Rakesh Varre, who plays Setu Patti in “Baahubali: The Conclusion.” The film has become the highest grossest Indian film in history, and has even been impressive in the North American market.

    For those interested in studying in Mumbai, please visit www.nyfa.edu/mumbai for more information.

    May 15, 2017 • Acting, Filmmaking, Study Abroad • Views: 2072

  • NYFA LA Introduces Best of Fest Series Featuring Festival Programmers and Filmmakers

    On Thursday, May 4 Head of the Festivals Department at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles, Myriam Frankel introduced the first edition of a new guest lecture series, Best of Fest, featuring Festival Programmers and Filmmakers. The panels covered the myths and realities of film festivals, from the most effective submission strategies, to the best ways to optimize networking events, and take advantage of the festival circuit to advance your filmmaking career.

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    The first panel included: Larry Laboe (PGA), Executive Director of NewFilmmakers Los Angeles, NYFA alumnus Kevin Resnick along with his filmmaking partner Rebecca Norris who showcased their short film “On Becoming a Man” made at NYFA, and festival award-winning writer/director Tamar Halpern.

    “Before you can start submitting to festivals you need to make sure you’re comfortable talking about your film,” Laboe told the students. “Research and a well thought out strategy are the keys to success. If you apply to ten film festivals you’re spending around a thousand dollars. You want to play it safe.”

    Another piece of advice Laboe shared with NYFA is not to get mad if a film is not accepted. “A lot of times it’s not about the quality of your film. Sometimes the festival has too many comedies, or they want more LGBTQ filmmakers or more filmmakers of color. Tribeca has a wall of shame for people who’ve sent ugly notes in response to rejection letters. Don’t be one of those people.”

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    Never be afraid to be the squeaky wheel Halpern stressed. “Let them know your actress just got cast in something. Let them know that you have a name working on your project. There’s a fine line between being a squeaky wheel and being a pain, but you can certainly use this information to promote your work.”

    Stony Brook Film Festival accepted Halpern’s first film and she strongly encouraged NYFA students to send their films there as well. It’s only twenty dollars to apply. They flew Halpern and her lead actress out, provided accommodation, and were very nurturing throughout the process.

    Veterans in Film and Television helped Resnick get his film in front of Disney executives. He encouraged students to get their money in line for festivals upfront. For “On Becoming Man” and his feature “Cloudy With a Chance of Sunshine,” he split his budget in half. Half went to pre-production, production, and post. The other half was for film festivals.

    Here’s a quick tip for filmmakers at their first festival: pass around a clipboard during the Q & A to collect the emails of those in the audience. Having met the filmmaker in person and being personally invested in the film, the audience will most likely help build a strong fan base.

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    Another suggestion was to shop the film around to different regions. The Midwest has been incredibly kind to Resnick and Norris. There, the film festival is a huge annual event for the town. “It’s a really rewarding thing when people just love movies and they tell you they like your movie there’s no feeling like it.”

    Additional quick tips included: Know who’s attending the festival. Don’t be afraid to ask the coordinators. Be clear and timely when communicating with organizers. Don’t make them hound you for information. Try to meet as many people as you can. Hustle to promote your screening. Know the journalists who’ve covered the film festival in the past and reach out to them.

    At the end of the event, Frankel was elated with the turnout and the richness of the discussion, “It was practical and insightful and I felt it was very valuable,” Frankel said. “I hope students walk away with a more tangible and realistic outlook on festivals.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Resnick, Norris, Laboe, and Halpern for taking the time to speak with our students. Keep checking the NYFA calendar for more upcoming events, Q & A series, and networking opportunities at the New York Film Academy.

    May 11, 2017 • Acting • Views: 1470

  • NYFA Acting for Film Alumnus Lands National Commercial for Kellogg’s Eggo

    gonzalo mGrowing up in Argentina, Gonzalo Maiztegui has been acting since drama club days in school. In fact, he recalls the moment he came to the realization that acting was going to be his lifelong passion and career. From there he says he fell in love with the New York Film Academy, where he attended the AFA Acting for Film program at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles.

    After graduating, Maiztegui booked his first National Commercial for Kellogg’s Eggo in the famous “Leggo my Eggo” campaign.

    “I auditioned for the part, like any other actor, but truthfully many things I learned at NYFA helped me a lot in that audition,” said Maiztegui. “I was simply myself, and not fake, and then I made strong decisions like my teachers taught me to. Later on the day of the shoot, on set, the owner of the spot came up to me and told me he had made the decision of picking me, and he chose me because I was myself and he liked that and the strong choices I made.”

    Maiztegui recently finished shooting a project for BuzzFeed, which will actually be the first Web-series for Snapchat. He also booked an Apple Commercial for their most recent App, “Clips.”

    Maiztegui is currently repped by Debra Manners.

    May 10, 2017 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1990

  • New York Film Academy Hosts 2017 Writers Guild Foundation Veterans Writing Retreat

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    Opening remarks by Katie Buckland, Executive Director of the Writers Guild Foundation”

    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) was privileged to host the 2017 Writers Guild Foundation (WGF)Veterans Writing Retreat’ at the College’s campus in Burbank, CA on April 29 and 30. NYFA’s media content team and an all-veteran student crew filmed the event, which provided the vet students studying Filmmaking, Documentary, and Producing at NYFA with the valuable hands-on experience of working a large-scale production event.

    Now in its seventh year, the Veterans Writing Project pairs military veterans who are interested in writing for film and television with mentors who are members of the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW). More than 75 veterans from all branches of the military and across the country— including 12 NYFA students and alumni — participated in the retreat.

    The mentors included seasoned film and TV writers such as Peter Casey (“Frasier”), David Isaacs (“Frasier”), Ken Levine (“M*A*S*H*”), and Ashley Edward Miller (“X-Men: First Class”). The two-day retreat consisted of workshops on developing story, structure, characters and culminated with a presentation on the elements of screenwriting from noted film writer Billy Ray (“Captain Phillips,” “The Hunger Games”).

    The Writers Guild Foundation (WGF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit is associated with the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and supports programs that positively impact and empower unique groups and communities of creative individuals who want to enter the entertainment industry as writers.

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    Veterans take part in a session about developing story, structure, and characters

    “The Writers Guild Foundation retreat for Veterans was an informative and extremely positive experience for me. The mentors were all fantastic and forthcoming. The staff made us feel welcomed and comfortable. I am grateful I had the opportunity and would recommend it to any other aspiring veteran writers,” said Adam Teitelbaum, US Navy, MFA Screenwriting student (BFA Screenwriting alumnus)

    The Veterans Advancement Program team at NYFA, which facilitated the production team tasked with filming the event, considered that aspect of the WGF event a huge success. Ed Gomez, MFA Documentary student exclaimed, “I had one of the greatest experiences and opportunities this past weekend at the New York Film Academy. As a Marine Corps Veteran and current NYFA Documentary student, I had the privilege of being part of the film crew responsible for filming the Writers Guild Foundation Veteran Writing Project. Not only did the experiences while taping this event reinforce what is being in taught in class, but more importantly I had the honor and prestige of meeting and hearing from some of greatest minds in the film industry. I hope to continue to be part of this experience next year.”

    May 9, 2017 • Acting, Veterans • Views: 1255