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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Welcomes Veteran Game Developer Tony Barnes

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    On Thursday, October 24, New York Film Academy played host to veteran game developer Antonio “Tony” Barnes.

    Tony Barnes
    Barnes came to speak at NYFA as part of the school’s Masters of Game Design program. The Masters of Game Design is a speaker series in which distinguished members of the gaming industry visit for an informal chat with NYFA Game Design instructor Scott Rogers about their careers in gaming.

    The event was attended by over 45 students and industry professionals who have been invited by the school. Barnes and Rogers talked about Barnes’ 30-year career, starting with his early days of making his own games, followed by his work at Crystal Dynamics, EA, The Collective, THQ, Double Helix, and other AAA companies. He has worked on hit games, including Medal of Honor (2010) and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005). 

    Barnes gave students advice on how to pitch games and how to be an effective creative director. Additionally, he discussed his recent IGDA BIG Lifetime Achievement award. Audience attendees were then invited to ask Barnes questions. 

    Tony Barnes
    New York Film Academy thanks veteran game developer Tony Barnes for taking the time to share his experience and expertise with our students! 

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    December 13, 2019 • Game Design, Guest Speakers • Views: 94

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Celebrates 2020 Golden Globe Nominations

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    Nominations for the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards were announced this morning, with several going to projects that New York Film Academy (NYFA) alumni, faculty, and guest speakers have worked on, including HBO’s Barry, starring NYFA alum Bill Hader.

    Barry Bill Hader

    NYFA alum Bill Hader (right) in HBO’s ‘Barry’

    The awards are selected by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). This year’s nominations were announced early on December 9 by Tim Allen, Dakota Fanning, and Susan Kelechi Watson, who were joined by Golden Globe ambassadors Dylan and Paris Brosnan, HFPA President Lorenzo Soria, and Barry Adelman of Dick Clark Productions.

    Netflix dominated the list with 17 total nominations, with several going to the Martin Scorsese epic The Irishman, including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for co-stars Joe Pesci and previous NYFA guest speaker Al Pacino. 

    Marriage Story and Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood also earned several nominations each. NYFA guest speaker Nathan Kelly served as unit production manager on Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, which earned nods for Best Motion Picture – Comedy, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and acting nominations for stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story was nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Original Score, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actress, and Best Actor, with the latter going to star and previous NYFA guest speaker Adam Driver.

    The NYFA community worked on other films nominated this year, including three nominees for  Best Motion Picture – Animated. NYFA Game Design alum Guillermo Quesada helped develop the VR technology used to film Jon Favreau’s remake of The Lion King. NYFA 3D Animation & Visual Effects instructor Kelley Williams, who has worked as a character TD, rigger, and modeler, did animation work on the Disney sequel Frozen II. NYFA guest speaker Tony Hale starred as the breakout new character Forky in the Pixar hit Toy Story 4.

    tony hale
    The Golden Globes cover television in addition to theatrical film releases; this year, TV productions Chernobyl, The Crown, and Unbelievable led the crop of nominations. HBO’s Barry, co-created by NYFA Filmmaking alum and previous guest speaker Bill Hader, picked up multiple nods, including Best TV Series – Musical or Comedy, Best Supporting Actor for NYFA guest speaker Henry Winkler, and Best Actor for Hader, who earned a nomination for the same role last year as well (as well as two Primetime Emmys.)

    New York Film Academy is delighted to see the NYFA community represented once again at the Golden Globes and congratulates all of the 2020 Golden Globe nominees. The 77th annual Golden Globe Awards will air live on NBC from 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. ET on January 5.

    Here is a full list of this year’s Golden Globe nominees:

    Best Picture, Drama
    1917
    The Irishman
    Joker
    Marriage Story
    The Two Popes

    Best Actor, Drama
    Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari
    Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
    Adam Driver, Marriage Story
    Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
    Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

    Best Actress, Drama
    Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
    Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
    Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
    Charlize Theron, Bombshell
    Renée Zellweger, Judy

    Best Picture, Musical or Comedy
    Dolemite Is My Name
    Jojo Rabbit
    Knives Out
    Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
    Rocketman

    Best Actor, Musical or Comedy
    Daniel Craig, Knives Out
    Roman Griffin Davis, Jojo Rabbit
    Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
    Taron Egerton, Rocketman
    Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name

    Best Actress, Musical or Comedy
    Ana De Armas, Knives Out
    Awkwafina, The Farewell
    Cate Blanchett, Where’d You Go, Bernadette
    Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart
    Emma Thompson, Late Night

    Best Supporting Actor
    Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
    Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
    Al Pacino, The Irishman
    Joe Pesci, The Irishman
    Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    Best Supporting Actress
    Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
    Annette Bening, The Report
    Laura Dern, Marriage Story
    Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers
    Margot Robbie, Bombshell

    Best Director
    Bong Joon-ho, Parasite
    Sam Mendes, 1917
    Todd Phillips, Joker
    Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
    Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    Best Screenplay
    Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
    Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won, Parasite
    Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes
    Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
    Steven Zaillian, The Irishman

    Best Original Score
    Alexandre Desplat, Little Women
    Hildur Guđnadóttir, Joker
    Randy Newman, Marriage Story
    Thomas Newman, 1917
    Daniel Pemberton, Motherless Brooklyn

    Best Original Song
    “Beautiful Ghosts,” Cats
    “I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” Rocketman
    “Into the Unknown,” Frozen II
    “Spirit,” The Lion King
    “Stand Up,” Harriet

    Best Foreign Language Film
    The Farewell, U.S.A.
    Les Misérables, France
    Pain and Glory, Spain
    Parasite, South Korea
    Portrait of a Lady on Fire, France

    Best Animated Film
    Frozen II
    How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
    The Lion King
    Missing Link
    Toy Story 4

    Best TV Drama
    Big Little Lies (HBO)
    The Crown (Netflix)
    Killing Eve (BBC America)
    The Morning Show (Apple TV+)
    Succession (HBO)

    Best Actor, TV Drama
    Brian Cox, Succession
    Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
    Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
    Tobias Menzies, The Crown
    Billy Porter, Pose

    Best Actress, TV Drama
    Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show
    Olivia Colman, The Crown
    Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
    Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
    Reese Witherspoon, The Morning Show

    Best TV Musical or Comedy
    Barry (HBO)
    Fleabag (Amazon)
    The Kominksy Method (Netflix)
    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
    The Politician (Netflix)

    Best Actor, TV Musical or Comedy
    Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
    Bill Hader, Barry
    Ben Platt, The Politician
    Paul Rudd, Living With Yourself
    Ramy Youssef, Ramy

    Best Actress, TV Musical or Comedy
    Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
    Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Kirsten Dunst, On Becoming a God in Central Florida
    Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
    Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag

    Best TV Miniseries/Movie
    Catch-22 (Hulu)
    Chernobyl (HBO)
    Fosse/Verdon (FX)
    The Loudest Voice (Showtime)
    Unbelievable (Netflix)

    Best Actor, TV Miniseries/Movie
    Christopher Abbott, Catch-22
    Sacha Baron Cohen, The Spy
    Russell Crowe, The Loudest Voice
    Jared Harris, Chernobyl
    Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon

    Best Actress, TV Miniseries/Movie
    Kaitlyn Dever, Unbelievable
    Joey King, The Act
    Helen Mirren, Catherine the Great
    Merritt Wever, Unbelievable
    Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon

    Best Supporting Actor, TV
    Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
    Kieran Culkin, Succession
    Andrew Scott, Fleabag
    Stellan Skarsgård, Chernobyl
    Henry Winkler, Barry

    Best Supporting Actress, TV
    Patricia Arquette, The Act
    Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown
    Toni Collette, Unbelievable
    Meryl Streep, Big Little Lies
    Emily Watson, Chernobyl

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  • Q&A with Veteran Game Designer and NYFA Instructor Andrew Ashcraft

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    On Thursday, September 26, New York Film Academy hosted veteran and award-winning game designer and NYFA instructor Andrew Ashcraft.

    Ashcraft came to speak at NYFA as part of the school’s Masters of Game Design series, a speaker series in which distinguished members of the gaming industry visit for an informal chat with NYFA instructor Scott Rogers about their career in gaming. The series has included industry luminaries like Insomniac Games president Ted Price and veteran writer and game designer John Zuur Platten.

    The event was attended by over 50 students and industry professionals who has been invited by the school. Ashcraft and Rogers talked about Ashcraft’s 23-year career, starting with his early years at UCLA, before moving on to his transition into the gaming industry and his vast experience creating games for Sony Santa Monica, Disney Mobile, THQ, and Activision. Ashcraft’s career as an independent designer of board games and LARPs was also discussed. Audience attendees were then invited to ask Ashcraft a series of questions. 

    Andy Ashcraft

    In addition to working for major game development companies, Ashcraft teaches for the NYFA Game Design school at our Los Angeles campus, where students are given the chance to make multiple games, work with a variety of different professionals, and build their portfolio to help them find a game design career after college.

    New York Film Academy thanks instructor and veteran game designer Andrew Ashcraft for taking the time to speak with our students and sharing his expertise. 

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    October 18, 2019 • Faculty Highlights, Game Design, Guest Speakers • Views: 655

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Game Design Alum Drew Fletcher Works on ‘Avatar’ Game

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    Drew Fletcher, graduate of the MFA in Game Design program at New York Film Academy (NYFA) is working on the video game adaptation for the massive blockbuster Avatar franchise. The game is being produced by FoxNext.

    The game, being developed for mobile, is called Avatar: Pandora Rising, and is based on the 2009 film Avatar, the 2009 Best Picture nominee that held the all-time box office record for nearly a decade. Two sequels have already been filmed with director James Cameron, with subsequent sequels already in pre-production. 

    Fletcher, who earned his MFA in Game Design from NYFA’s Los Angeles campus after enrolling in 2015, is working on the game as a QA Tester. His responsibilities include playing the game to seek and log any functional or gameplay bugs. His work on Avatar: Pandora Rising is specializing as the QA pro for combat play; the combat system being developed is similar to Clash Royale.

    Fletcher, who knows the ins and outs of the game even outside its combat play, describes Avatar: Pandora Rising as a “4x game. The objective of our game is to gain resources, build up your army/commanders, build up your alliance and rule Pandora. Similar games to ours in different parts are Rise of Civilization and Clash Royale.”Drew Fletcher

    He enthusiastically adds, “For more information download the game early next year!”

    In addition to Avatar, Fletcher is working on a personal project, saying it is “a mix of color theory and Paper Mario.” While pursing his career in game design, he’s also working on the side researching voiceover acting. 

    Giving advice to current and future NYFA students, Fletcher says, “NYFA gave you the tools to succeed, but the road to your dreams will be long—but worth the fight!”

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Game Design alum Drew Fletcher on his cool job and looks forward to seeing his future work as a game designer! 

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    October 3, 2019 • Game Design, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 547

  • New York Film Academy Game Design (NYFA) Welcomes Disney Imagineer Jonathan Ackley

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    On August 15, 2019, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted Disney Imagineer Jonathan Ackley.


    Ackley spoke at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus as part of the school’s Masters of Game Design series. The Masters of Game Design speaker series hosts distinguished members of the gaming industry visit for an informal chat with NYFA Game Design instructor Scott Rogers and NYFA students about their careers in gaming.

    The event was attended by over 50 students and industry professionals who had been invited to the school. Rogers spoke with Ackley about his 27-year career, including his transition from the video game industry into creating experiences for theme parks.

    Also discussed was Ackley’s work on LucasArts adventure games, Lego Mindstorms, and Disney Parks and Resort projects including Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure, and the Disney Play app. After the hour-long conversation, audience attendees were then invited to ask Ackley questions in an insightful Q&A session.

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) thanks Disney Imagineer Jonathan Ackley for speaking with students as part of our Masters of Game Design series!

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    September 10, 2019 • Game Design • Views: 328

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Game Design Welcomes Veteran Writer & Game Designer John Zuur Platten 

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    On July 18, 2019, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted veteran writer and game designer John Zuur Platten. 

    Zuur Platten came to speak at NYFA as part of the school’s Masters of Game Design program, a speaker series in which distinguished members of the gaming industry visit for an informal chat with NYFA Game Design instructor Scott Rogers and NYFA students about their careers in gaming.

    John Zuur Platten

    The event was attended by over 50 students and industry professionals who have been invited to the school. Zuur Platten and Rogers talked about Zuur Platten’s 26-year career, including his transition from the movie VFX industry into gaming.

    Also discussed was Zuur Platten’s work on the Fear Effect and Ghostbusters video games, the mobile game Ingress, the mega-hit Pokemon Go, and his latest work on Jurassic World Evolution. After the hour-long conversation, students and audience attendees were then invited to ask Zuur Platten questions.

    New York Film Academy thanks veteran writer and game designer John Zuur Platten for taking the time to share his expertise with our students!

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    August 7, 2019 • Game Design, Guest Speakers • Views: 252

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Game Design Alum Guillermo Quesada Helps Develop The Lion King VR Set

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    Magnopus, the visual development company that employs New York Film Academy (NYFA) Game Design alum Guillermo Quesada, helped create Disney’s new remake of The Lion King in an innovative, groundbreaking way—with VR.

    Guillermo QuesadaThe company pioneered a virtual reality system that allowed director Jon Favreau (Iron Man), director of photography Caleb Deschanel (The Passion of the Christ), and The Lion King crew to shoot a film that used extensive computer imagery in a physical three dimensional space. By mimicking what it would be like to shoot on a live action soundstage, The Lion King crew used the VR tools developed by Magnopus to place themselves in a virtual landscape of the African savannah and visualize how their animal characters would interact in the space.

    According to the io9 piece that went into extensive detail about the process, 90 percent of The Lion King was created in a nondescript warehouse on a backroad in Los Angeles. Monitors and VR kits, mostly HTC Vive headsets, were placed around a large open space—with the virtual savannah existing only in code.

    NYFA alum Guillermo Quesada, originally from Spain, joined the company’s large team of bright, young, VR and AR developers after graduating from the NYFA MFA in Game Design program at our Burbank-based campus. While studying at NYFA, he was taught the art and craft of game design and storytelling at the professional level, acquiring the skills of game prototyping, playtesting, iteration, presentation, collaboration, and how to develop software using industry standards—including workflow, multiple platforms, and coding.

    “At NYFA Guillermo was pushing boundaries and innovating,” recounts Matt Galuppo, NYFA Associate Chair of Games and Animation. “He was the first student to produce a full VR game and make it part of his game showcase. He went on to use the skills he learned developing that game to develop tools for the film industry.”

    After months of post-production, Disney’s latest remake was released in theaters on July 19 and boasted an all-star cast that included Donald Glover, Beyoncé, James Earl Jones, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, and John Oliver, among several others. The film was a commercial juggernaut, becoming Disney’s fourth film of 2019 to gross over $1 billion in less than a month.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA MFA in Game Design alum Guillermo Quesada and the entire Magnopus team on giving Disney’s filmmakers the tools to bring The Lion King back to life!

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    August 6, 2019 • Game Design, Student & Alumni Spotlights, Virtual Reality • Views: 469

  • New York Film Academy Game Design (NYFA) Welcomes Insomniac Games President Ted Price

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    On Thursday, June 20, 2019, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted veteran game developer and president of Insomniac games, Ted Price.

    Price came to speak at NYFA as part of the school’s Masters of Game Design series. The Masters of Game Design is a speaker series in which distinguished members of the gaming industry visit for an informal chat with NYFA Game Design instructor Scott Rogers and NYFA students about their career in gaming.

    The event was attended by over 60 students and industry professionals who have been invited by the school. Price and Rogers talked about Price’s 23-year career, including his transition into the gaming industry after college. 

    Also discussed was Insomniac’s vast and successful catalog of games, including the Spyro the Dragon series, the Ratchet and Clank series, the Resistance series and 2018’s PS4 mega-hit Marvel’s Spider-Man. Audience attendees were then invited to ask Price questions.

    The entire event will be available for viewing on NYFA’s Twitch channel.

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    July 11, 2019 • Game Design, Guest Speakers • Views: 740

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA Game Design Alum Crafts Breathtaking World of ‘CyberNeon’

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA Game Design alum Junliang Zhang has created CyberNeon, an incredibly impressive and visually striking 3D environment that evokes the classic hallmarks of cyberpunk art.

    Cyberpunk has its roots in the musical subculture of punk rock, early computer hacker culture, 80s Japanese culture, and American crime novels and movies; particularly film noir. In 1984, author William Gibson wrote Neuromancer, a novel about high-tech and low-life. The book took the science fiction community by storm and popularized the genre called cyberpunk.

    The genre’s visual style has greatly influenced movies like 1982’s Blade Runner, 1985’s Brazil, and 1988’s Akira. Video games such as Shadowrun, the Metal Gear series, Deus Ex, and the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 are all clearly inspired by cyberpunk’s tropes and visuals.

    With these games and movies serving as inspiration, NYFA BFA Game Design alum Junliang Zhang has perfectly captured the spirit of cyberpunk in CyberNeon, the 3D environment he spent over a year creating. Zhang hails from Shanghai, China, and enrolled in NYFA’s BFA Game Design program in Fall 2014 at our Burbank-based campus.

    Zhang’s Chinese heritage replaces many of the traditional Japanese motifs found in the genre, and giving the world an identity all its own. William Gibson once said that “Japan IS cyberpunk” while Zhang’s work proudly proclaims “China IS cyberpunk.” 

    Junliang Zhang CyberNeon
    Using the Unreal engine, Zhang built a world of perpetual night and neon that could easily be inhabited by cyberpunk notables Rick Deckard or Kanada. Flying cars zoom over through canyons of skyscrapers that are festooned with advertisements for all manner of products. Futuristic displays literally dance, twirl, and flash—making the dark urban landscape come alive with motion and movement. 

    Technology is everywhere; even the darkened alleys have computer screens that flash data faster than the human eye can comprehend. The camera lingers for a few moments on a tricked-out street rod that announces “I See You” on its digital license plate. This “electric city” feels alive and as if it is constantly watching you.

    New York Film Academy congratulates BFA Game Design alum Junliang Zhang on the amazing work he’s done on CyberNeon and looks forward to what the talented game developer has in store next!

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    June 17, 2019 • Game Design, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 843

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) VR Game Design Alum Pilar Aranda Bada Featured in Play NYC’s Graffiti Games Showcase

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) VR Game Design alum Pilar Aranda Bada debuted a new VR game at Play NYC, New York’s first and largest game convention. Aranda Bada was one of a select few developers invited to create new pieces for Graffiti Games, an installation at the event that invited first-generation immigrants to creatively express their culture and experiences through their work.

    Together with teammate Saúl Peña Gamero under the name Alpaca Games, Aranda Bada created one of the installation’s “standout” entries. The game, The Llama Express, invites players to ride a train through the fictional country of Esperú while feeding fluffy llamas along the way with traditional Hispanic food like sausages and beets. The VR game features a soundtrack of traditional Spanish music, and received praise for being an “endearing” way of honoring the creators’ cultural roots.  

    The installation was brought to life in six opera boxes in Manhattan Center’s historic Hammerstein Ballroom, where they were enjoyed by as many as 10,000 participants. In addition to the showcase in New York, the games were displayed on the event’s Twitch stream for fans around the world.

    Born in Valencia, Spain, Aranda Bada is a Mixed Reality developer at Planeta.cc, a product studio focused on sound and media. In 2016, she graduated from NYFA’s pioneering VR Game Design program, which focuses on concept development, VR design, and production of interactive VR experiences, games and 360-degree films. She holds a B.S. in Industrial Design, an M.A. in Graphic Design, and an M.M. in Communications. She specializes in immersive games and experiences in both virtual and augmented reality environments.

    After the success of the game at the installation, the teammates both expressed interest in continuing to develop The Llama Express for market, though any possible release of the game would likely be far off.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Pilar Aranda Bada on her success, and looks forward to seeing her future projects!

     

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    October 10, 2018 • Game Design, Virtual Reality • Views: 276