• Fort Bliss Screening with Michelle Monaghan and Gbenga Akinnagbe

    Fort Bliss Screening

    One of the most common approaches for actors to take on their character in a given scene is to ask themselves the five W’s: Who, what, when, where, and why. Such was the advice from our recent guest and star of Fort Bliss, Michelle Monaghan. Michelle, who recently starred in HBO’s True Detective, played the leading lady whose character returns home from an extended tour in Afghanistan and struggles to rebuild her relationship with her young son. “I couldn’t believe what an amazing role this was,” Michelle told to a full house of New York Film Academy students. “The script was near perfect and completely original.”

    Our other guest, actor Gbenga Akinnagbe, known for playing Chris in the HBO hit The Wire, wholeheartedly agreed with Michelle in terms of the material’s originality. To them, one of the most important aspects of the film was its ability to inform the audience of the difficulties soldiers face when returning home from combat. The two of them went to the actual Fort Bliss to sink their teeth into the environment and ultimately film at the location. The film’s authenticity really shined on the screen.

    Gbenga and Michelle were gracious guests, answering insightful questions from students and our moderator, Acting for Film Chair, Glynis Rigsby. Of all of the advice that was given, one that stood in particular from Michelle was in regards to the actor’s audition process, “If I can at least make a connection with the casting director, that’s a plus.” She added, “Don’t be so hard on yourself. Remember, they want you to get that job. After all, they invited you.”

    As for Gbenga, his wisdom was to not wrap yourself up into the business too much. “Do and value things outside this business.” His advice came after his years of experience, noting how stressed actors can become when their entire life becomes ‘the industry’. Indeed something to think about when embarking on such a strenuous and competitive field.

    You can watch the Q&A in its entirety in the video below.


    September 19, 2014 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 1486

  • Acting Grad Releases Book on Creativity, Neuroscience and Virtuality

    Creative Synapse

    One year after his book presentation at Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, New York Film Academy Acting for Film graduate, Dr. Ariel Orama Lopez, published his new theoretical framework in an English Collection Edition: CRËATIVE SYNAPSE: CRËATE.YOUR.UNIVERSE© (English Ed., 2014). It is the first theoretical framework that explains the behavior of the human being by integrating the following variables: creativity, the recent findings in neuroscience, and the new influence of the virtual universe. The English version of the book includes new applications and exercises for the development of creativity from different perspectives, directed to actors, filmmakers, artists in general, parents, students, academics and scientists. The book made him an honoree of various recognitions, among them the dedicatory for his approach, engagement and investigation in creativity. This honor was received on behalf of the Universidad Politécnica de Puerto Rico and Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico (5to Premio del Presidente) for his approaches in the arts, coaching and psychology.

    During his time at NYFA Los AngelesActing for the Film school, Ariel performed in fourteen short-films. Now, he is a collegiate actor of the Colegio de Actores of Puerto Rico, a certified Executive Coach (specialized in Crëative Life Coaching) from TISOC, Barcelona, Spain and a licensed clinical psychologist. He was selected as a finalist of Taller TELEMUNDO: Actores, in Miami, directed by Oscar nominated Mexican actress, Adriana Barraza.

    Ariel hopes that someday his book will be used as a reference by NYFA‘s acting and filmmaking students.

    September 2, 2014 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1336

  • Acting Alumni Spotlight: Mia Ella Jordan Stars in ‘Basketball Girlfriend’

    Mia Ella Jordan

    Within two months of graduating from New York Film Academy’s One-Year Acting for Film Conservatory, Mia Ella Jordan was cast in the feature film, Basketball Girlfriend, which is now available to rent on RedBox. She was also in Jez Dior’s music video, Who Drank My Whiskey, which, at one point in time earlier this year, was the #1 song trending on Twitter. Aside from those two projects, she was the lead actress in the short, I-589, which premiered at the LA Indie Film Festival.

    Hailing from Santiago de Chile, Mia had originally auditioned with Basketball Girlfriend director Jean-Claude La Marre for another project and, some time later, he called her in to audition for the role of Jenny and cast her that day. This is fairly common in the industry, so don’t get too discouraged when you don’t land the initial audition. Maintain strong relationships with directors and casting directors.

    Mia had been working in theatre for quite a while and while she loved it, her heart was in film. After attending an international school fair in Santiago, she was drawn to NYFA. Mia felt the Acting for Film courses were the perfect compliment to her previous acting training in theatre.

    “The Meisner technique has been the most useful to me in terms of auditioning and being on-set,” said Mia. “I’ve heard from a lot of actors and even some agents that Meisner doesn’t help in auditions, but to me listening is everything because it sustains my being in the present and so it instills me in my truth.”

    Mia eventually hopes to reach a point in her career where she can choose specific roles that truly resonate with her. As an actress, she believes she has a wonderful responsibility with the audience and wants to honor it by creating and being a part of projects that truly inspire and make a difference.

    Recently, Mia finished acting in another music video for Jez Dior’s single, Clean Me Up. She’s also finishing up filming a short film, I Forgot You Were Here, where she plays a blind woman in a troubled relationship. “I love it because it’s not moral and I believe art never should be,” she says.

    Check out Mia Ella Jordan in Jez Dior’s Who Drank My Whiskey.

    August 13, 2014 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1124

  • Good Samaritans Jump into Action in Los Angeles

    New York Film Academy students are often told to find compelling film stories in the news, but it’s rare when our students become the news. Two days ago, while walking down a Hollywood street, two 4th semester NYFA AFA Acting students, Mario Lozano and Kelly Auble, heard screaming coming from a nearby hotel. A mother and her two children were drowning in the hotel pool. A third and fourth child stood by the pool, screaming. Without hesitation, both NYFA students went into action.

    “I believe Kelly jumped into the pool and helped pull out the bodies and administered CPR,” said NYFA Instructor, Brian Beery. “Mario stood by and protected the kids and the father, who later returned to the hotel.”

    It’s wonderful hearing about how heroic our students can be! You can see Mario and Kelly in this KTLA video news clip below.

    August 8, 2014 • Acting, Community Highlights, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 804

  • Desperate Housewives’ Zane Huett Speaks at NYFA Los Angeles

    zane huett

    New York Film Academy Los Angeles students recently had the pleasure of speaking with actor Zane Huett from the hit T.V. series, Desperate Housewives. Huett played (Golden Globe Winner & Academy Award Nominated Actress) Felicity Huffman’s son “Parker Scavo” as a series regular for five years. We talked to a packed room of NYFA students comprised of teen camp acting and filmmaking students. The audience was first treated to a highlight reel of Zane Huett, showing clips from Desperate Housewives to his most current feature films such as Dear Lemon Lima, starring alongside Academy Award-Winning actress Melissa Leo, to his most current web series project, Blooob. Our young students were enlightened with Zane’s experience, having stared in the business at a young age of 4 years old. It’s hard to imagine being on a hit show at such an early age! We also discussed certain tips and advice he received while working alongside award-winning actresses such as Melissa Leo and Felicity Huffman.

    Throughout the Q & A, students were able to ask Zane Huett questions from tips to getting an agent to any pitfalls or highlights of childhood stardom. In addition to his acting, Huett plays bass and sings in his new band, The Boulevards.

    After the Q & A session, he was delighted to spend time, take photos and sign autographs with some of the NYFA students who were also fans of his work.

    August 5, 2014 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 972

  • Associate Chair Adam Moore’s ‘The Pinkertons’ Attaches Angus Macfadyen

    angus macfadyen

    Angus Macfadyen in Braveheart

    Some great news coming out of of New York Film Academy Los Angeles campus as Associate Chair of Screenwriting, Adam Moore’s series The Pinkertons, which he co-created with Kevin Abrams and wrote the pilot for, has just attached Turn co-star Angus Macfadyen to play one of the leading roles. The show is currently in pre-production in Canada and set to premiere this fall in first-run syndication in the U.S. The series has been cleared in more than 85% of the country by Rohrs Media Group on station groups including Tribune, Weigel, Hearst, LIN, Meredith, Cox and the CW PLUS.

    The 22-episode action-adventure detective series draws on the real cases of Pinkerton Detective Agency. The series follows founder Allan Pinkerton (Macfadyen), his son, William, and America’s first female detective, Kate Warne, as they solve crimes throughout the 1860s “Wild West”. Interestingly enough, Pinkerton is known for revolutionizing detective work through his development of surveillance, undercover work and the mug shot).

    Moore and Abrams also serve as executive producers and writers, alongside Canadian showrunners and executive producers Larry Lalonde and Phil Bedard (Murdoch Mysteries). Amuse Group USA – a subsidiary of a Japanese entertainment company Amuse Inc. – is also co-financing the project. Zodiak Rights, the international distribution arm of Zodiak Media, will handle international distribution.

    Congrats to Adam Moore for bringing his vision to the screen and we’re all looking forward to watching The Pinkertons this fall!

    July 25, 2014 • Acting, Community Highlights, Screenwriting • Views: 938

  • Nasser Bin Hamad International Youth Creativity Award

    Nasser Bin HamadThe Cultural Office at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain in Washington DC would like to inform our international New York Film Academy students and alumni about the Nasser Bin Hamad International Youth Creativity Award in six areas: Science, Architecture, Graphic Design, Art, Photography and Filmmaking.

    The aim of the award is to attract and develop young talent while reducing the obstacles that face many of today’s youth may face by giving them an opportunity to express themselves, their talents and their creativity.  Moreover, to strengthen the relationship and ties between the youth of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the youth from all around the world, to enable and promote the exchange of experience between youth all over the world and spread the spirit of the competitiveness to create a positive worldwide competition among the participants.

    The Prize is intended for all nationalities between the ages 14 – 30 years old with the awards reaching​up to $11,000.00 USD for each category. The participation is categorized into three age groups for each of the six areas mentioned above.

    The Deadline for Submission is September 1st, 2014. For more details on how to participate and submit your applications please check the official website for the Award:

    NBH Award

    July 22, 2014 • Acting • Views: 830

  • Acting Grad & Instructor Team Up For One-Woman Show

    emma mcwilliams

    We’re so proud to announce the upcoming production of mislabeledilEMMA: No, I Don’t Have Downs Syndrome, which will make its premiere at the 18th annual New York International Fringe Festival. The show not only features a one woman show written and performed by New York Film Academy AFA Acting graduate, Emma McWilliams, but was also developed and is directed by NYFA Associate Chair of Acting/Departmental Programming, Anne Moore. Moore’s theater credits include the Off-Broadway two woman show, Sit N’ Spin, at the world renowned Atlantic Theater. She also co-founded the critically acclaimed sketch comedy group, The Flying Queens and starred in, Anne Moore and more and more at Catch a Rising Star. Her TV/Film credits include Vegas, Grey’s Anatomy, Good Intentions, and more. She has also won an award for her documentary short film, Czech Daze.

    Her newest production, mislabeledilEMMA: No, I Don’t Have Downs Syndrome with Emma McWilliams is an autobiographical account of a quirky girl’s search for identity amidst the confusion of being told she’s “disabled.” She captivates all–transforming into over 20 different unique characters that help share her heartwarming story as she tries to understand her syndrome she was born with spontaneously: Nail Patella Syndrome.

    anne mooreNail Patella Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that occurs in 1 and 50,000 people. The most obvious symptoms are poorly developed fingernails and kneecaps. Other symptoms include: dysfunctional elbows, stiff joints, kidney failure, and glaucoma. Emma is the first in her family to have the syndrome, and her story deals with the issues of discrimination, gender equality, racism, religion, “fitting in”, and finding your identity. In the end, after many laughs and tears, you’ll learn what changed everything, as Emma learns that labels don’t matter.

    First and foremost, Emma wants the world to know that, “NO, SHE DOES NOT HAVE DOWN SYNDROME.” While attending NYFA, Emma’s knack for comedy and standup compiled with her unique look was clearly noticed, and she was encouraged by her former teacher (Moore) to create a one woman show—thus where the project began. Emma is said to be an upbeat quirky girl who will definitely spice up your life. She is a muffin with rainbow sprinkles, a cross between Amanda Plummer and Joan Cusack. She has a wide range that always keeps her having fun; “crazy asylum girl” on Teen Wolf and “the modest girl” on Ant Farm.

    Emma’s motto: “To inspire, impact, and entertain the human spirit—one stage, one theater, one seat at a time.”

    Please come out and support Emma and Anne in this wonderful show, which runs from August 8th-24th at Fringe NYC. For tickets or more information, CLICK HERE.

    July 21, 2014 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 694

  • MFA Actress Cast in Off-Broadway Play ‘I’m Sorry’

    Charlotte MakalaThis past June, the Afrikan Women’s Repertory Company put on The Spring into Summer Festival, which consisted of seven plays over the span of one weekend at the Producers Club in New York City. Of the seven plays from playwright and director Vivian Bonnie Wright, the premiere play was I’m Sorry, a too familiar tale of gun violence. The play is a heartbreaking urban tale where four talented and smart teens head off to prom and only three come back.

    Playing the role of Christine, a talkative teen with a tender spirit, was New York Film Academy MFA Acting alumnus, Charlotte Makala. Charlotte first became involved with the production simply by applying on Backstage and auditioning for a spot in the cast. Most of the cast had already been selected apart from two roles. At the audition, Charlotte felt an immediate rapport with Miss Bonnie Wright and it was no surprise when later that day she was informed that she would play the role of Christine. The play would be her first outside of NYFA.

    “New York Film Academy’s MFA program was and still is integral to my profession because the training helped me understand the technical aspects of what it is I was doing,” says Makala. “It’s one thing to do what you are told but another to know what you are doing. Whenever stage directions were called, I knew what I was doing. Prior to NYFA, I had limited knowledge as to what and why things were – in terms of acting. NYFA’s program helped me get in touch with my creativity for the craft, which I thought I had lost (because it had been two years since I last acted professionally before I joined the program).”

    Charlotte stresses the importance of patience in a field that requires countless hours of waiting and auditions. “There is a lot of waiting; waiting for your next audition, waiting for a call back, waiting on set and waiting back stage. So, what’s the key to maintaining your cool in an arduous field with many ups and downs? Have fun! “I’m sure some actors are rolling their eyes right now, but this little “note-to-self” is key in my auditioning process.”

    Charlotte’s goal as a professional is and has always been to entertain and to tell stories — stories that matter and stories that capture the essence of what is to be human. As for now, Charlotte says she’s simply living one audition at a time. With her experience, persistence and patience, we’re sure Charlotte has a bright future ahead of her!

    July 18, 2014 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 877

  • Exploring the Universe at Mt. Wilson Observatory

    mt. wilson

    New York Film Academy‘s BFA Acting and Filmmaking students had the rare opportunity to visit the 60-inch reflective telescope at Mt. Wilson Observatory in Los Angeles. This historic telescope, which was once the largest telescope in the world, was the center of the development of astronomy in the early 1900’s. Among many other achievements, Mt. Wilson is home to the discovery of the Sun’s position within the Milky Way Galaxy and the discovery of the expanding Universe. Amongst telescopes that are solely dedicated towards public viewing of Astronomical objects, Mt. Wilson’s 60-inch reflective remains the largest in the world, and has been an invaluable tool to professional astronomers such as Dr. Edwin Hubble (after which the Hubble Space Telescope is named).

    mt. wilson telescopeThe trip was organized as part of the students’ astronomy class with NYFA‘s Director of STEAM Education Initiatives Rajiv Uttamchandani. Reflecting upon the experience, Mr. Uttamchandani states, “It’s one thing to study astronomy within a classroom, occasionally glancing at pictures in a textbook. Typically, this is what’s done at most schools. However, at the New York Film Academy we continually emphasize education based on actual experience, whether it be within the realms of filmmaking or the sciences. To be able to see some of the most majestic objects of the universe through your own eyes – there’s nothing like it!”

    As the New York Film Academy continues to pursue prestigious STEAM collaborations and projects, the positive impacts are immediately felt amongst the students – “I was blown away. It was an amazing and magical experience for me that I will always remember. I feel lucky to have had that opportunity and thank you very much to NYFA for organizing this!”

    Some of the highlights of the observation were:

    • Individual craters on the Moon
    • Saturn
    • Mars
    • The Whirlpool Galaxy
    • Dumbbell Nebula
    • Carb’s Eye Nebula

    July 14, 2014 • Acting, Community Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 945