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  • Fairytales Come True for BFA Filmmaking Student

    Cinder Pumpkin

    They say fairytales can come true. Well, for Fi Dieter, fairytales are opening major doors for a bright future in the entertainment industry. The New York Film Academy BFA Filmmaking student, of Prince of Arabia Entertainment and Stedica Film, won the prestigious Award of Excellence from The Best Shorts Film Competition, Best Student Film at the 2015 California Women’s Film Festival, Best Student Drama at the 2014 International Family Film Festival at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, and has been an Official Selection in more than 10 festivals including the prestigious LA Shots Fest, the Playhouse West Film Festival, and the Women’s Director’s International Film Festival in New Dehli, India! The award was given for Dieter’s exciting fairytale adaptation drama short Cinder Pumpkin, which was her Intermediate Thesis Project at NYFA Los Angeles.

    Cinder Pumpkin features an exceptional storyline about a bright, socially-awkward girl named Cinder Ellen James (played by Jacquelynn Camden), who believes the only thing she needs for the gorgeous, unreachable Max (played by Travis Daniel Brown) to fall in love with her is one chance. With the help of her loyal friend Tom (played by Billy McCartney), Cinder is determined to take that chance herself. She trades glasses for a pair of high heels and experiences, for the first time, a world of teenage fantasies that makes her rediscover her value as a woman.

    “This award [Award of Excellence] honors not only the great amount of hard work put into our production, but also the growing voice of female directors,” says Dieter. “Cinder Pumpkin is about staying true to who you are even when the odds are against you, a fundamental lesson for all women who fight for gender equality.”

    Dieter is an award-winning Austrian filmmaker, actress and editor. Fi began acting in theater and commercials from an early age, always on a quest to find truth and depth in all she does.

    “Through my work, I intend to raise the voice of female filmmakers,” says Dieter. “I believe that little specific ‘somethings’ allow for a story to become universal and have the power to touch people. I aim to go beyond what is expected of young women to achieve in filmmaking. There isn’t a feeling I enjoy more than the satisfaction I get from proving there is more to me than what meets the eye.”

    Fi is currently in development on a three-part feature, based on a new take on the origins of Merlin the wizard, entitled Extraordinaire. It is a fantasy comedy with two endearing, magical characters whose major flaw is their inability to work together in times when their unity might make or break a kingdom. Extraordinaire Part One will be her thesis film.

    January 21, 2015 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1358

  • NYFA Veteran Student Hired as Military Consultant for Shia LaBeouf

    nick jones shia labeouf

    Nick Jones, Jr., Gary Oldman and Shia LaBeouf

    You never know when or from whom your next opportunity will manifest. In such an arduous and competitive industry like filmmaking, it’s best to take advantage of every relationship and be aware of the potential of each encounter. One of our BFA Filmmaking students Nick Jones, Jr., a veteran who was able to fund his education through the G.I. Bill, has provided us with a prime example of this.

    While at the premiere of Mandela, Jones sparked a conversation with a woman sitting next to him in the theater, who happened to the wife of director Dito Montiel. While Dito and his wife were very friendly to Nick, he debated whether or not to bring the conversation to the next step — reaching out for professional guidance. “They disappeared in the crowd. I waited,” remembered Jones. “Then, something forced me to get up and chase him down in the lobby. He was super nice and we stayed in contact since. He helped me with my year one project. Giving me feedback on my writing and helping me find an editor through his post-production team.

    Nick Jones, Jr.

    Jones on the set of “Man Down”

    Fast forward a bit, Montiel gets tapped to direct Man Down, starring Shia LaBeouf, Gary Oldman and Kate Mara. Since LaBeouf was playing a former U.S. Marine, he immediately wanted to know who he could turn to for accurate technical and character advice to provide for an authentic film. Montiel remembered Jones and his work, and the fact that Jones had served in the Marines — a perfect match for the job.

    Now Jones is working as a military consultant on Man Down. While on the job, Jones noticed, “Whenever you have a script that is written by someone without military experience, there are a lot of assumptions and liberties taken on that front. But it’s normal because usually you have a consultant onboard to correct and fill in the blanks — kind of like the glue that brings it all together.”

    Being a rookie in such a valuable and respected position, Jones was understandably nervous. “Shia studied me like a book. It wasn’t just a question and answer relationship. We spent everyday with each other. He picked up on my verbiage, posture, life experiences, etc. Every night I would send him an email about the Marine Corps. Just random knowledge or current events. The most important thing was getting him in the mindset of a real Marine. How we think, how we feel about things, our reaction to current events, and the importance of brotherhood. You’re a product of your environment, and what I tried to do was create an environment that immersed him in the Corps. He trained with real Marines. He learned from real Marines. He became friends with real Marines. And I think that experience helped create a real persona for his character. The more real life experiences he could pull from, the better.”

    Jones suggested that veteran students looking to consult on films should maintain their relationships within the military. He also recalled some valuable advice from his Warrant Officer, “You don’t have to know the answer to everything, you just have to know where to find it.”

    While Nick had a bit of luck on his side in landing this coveted job, he is the one who made it happen with hard work and initiative.

    Jones with director Dito Montiel and Shia LaBeouf

    Jones with director Dito Montiel and Shia LaBeouf

    January 20, 2015 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1225

  • Broadcast Journalism Student Reports on De Blasio’s Press Conference

    Nour IdrissIt is the start of a new term, and what better way to kick-off the semester than to talk about one of the all-star Broadcast Journalism students at the New York Film Academy, Nour Idriss.

    Nour is from Syria, and after being stranded in New York by the ongoing civil war in her homeland, she set out to “reinvent” herself as a broadcast journalist. Not only does she shoot, report, write, edit and produce, but she got access to one of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s press conferences. The event, making the release of New York City’s only Ebola patient, drew national and even international reporters. Nour was the only student journalist there.

    Set-up in-between camera crews from NBC and CBS, and shooting by herself, Nour documented the press conference like a pro. And she did this after only 8-weeks of study! Imagine what she will accomplish as a 1-year Broadcast Journalism student…

    January 16, 2015 • Broadcast Journalism • Views: 673

  • Director Rupert Wyatt Screens ‘The Gambler’ at NYFA LA

    Rupert Wyatt

    On Wednesday January 14th, New York Film Academy Los Angeles students came to Warner Bros. studios for a screening of The Gambler, in theaters now, and participated in a Q&A with director Rupert Wyatt. The discussion was moderated by producer Tova Laiter.

    Rupert Wyatt began his career developing features for Miramax and working in British television. After creating several short films, Rupert Wyatt made his feature writing and directing debut with The Escapist, a prison escape drama starring the remarkable Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes and Homeland’s Damian Lewis. The Village Voice – always one of the toughest critics to please – called it “a taut thriller that ends on a note of unexpected grace.” If that wasn’t enough for a debut, Mr. Wyatt even managed to get Coldplay to pen the movie’s title track. His next feature film – Rise of the Planet Apes – showed that a franchise can reach its creative peak in its seventh installment. Featuring the best motion capture performance to date by Andy Serkis, Rise showed that a blockbuster effects-driven movie can challenge and move its audience while creating empathy for the most unlikely of characters. Caesar might be a CG Chimpanzee, but he’s completely three dimensional and human. In Rise, Mr. Wyatt re-launched a 45-year-old franchise and brought CG character animation to a new creative high. Mr. Wyatt next directed the stirring pilot of the Civil War Drama TURN before turning his eye towards the battlegrounds of LA’s underground gambling scene in The Gambler. Working with a script from Academy Award winning writer William Monahan, Mr. Wyatt brings the same nuance and visual control to this character driven drama that he’s demonstrated in all his work.
    the gambler screening
    Rupert is the perfect example of how perseverance and hard work can pay off in Hollywood. He had the dream of being a director all of his life but it wasn’t until he reached the age of thirty-five that he got received his first opportunity to direct a feature film he had been toiling to make for many years. That film – The Escapist – was accepted into the Sundance Film Festival and his life was changed forever. This is why Mr. Wyatt encouraged students to stick with the project you are passionate about even when it seems impossible. The biggest mistake can be continuously changing course with projects that are shiny and new but getting nowhere in the process. Whatever film you end up making will most likely take years to get made anyway, so you might as well stick with it.

    Mr. Wyatt’s greatest advice to actors was to be flexible. Sometimes actors will expect the director to say exactly the right thing and shut down if he or she falls short of this. However, this type of attitude is the enemy of creativity. It could be that the crazy bit of direction you give an actor to mix things up in take four falls flat, however, it could also be what unexpectedly brings the scene to life. So take chances, play, and let go of your ego.

    When asked if there is particular genre Mr. Wyatt prefers he said that it was really story that is important to him. In this way he manages create something fresh by subverting genre altogether. While producers may feel they need to sell a movie as one that falls neatly in a specific category, once the audience is in the theater Rupert gives them something they’ve never experienced before. He’s not afraid to try new things which is what makes him such an exciting force in Hollywood.

    rupert wyatt gambler

    We sincerely thank Rupert Wyatt for his enthusiasm in answering students’ questions and wish him the best of luck with his next directorial endeavor.

    Written by Eric Conner and Robert Cosnahan

    January 16, 2015 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 517

  • ‘The Shorts Show’ Creator Finds a Knack for Poster Art

    hooligans

    After graduating from New York Film Academy’s Two-Year Acting for Film course, Corey Scott Rutledge created a comedy sketch group with his friends and fellow NYFA graduates Nick Snow, Brooks Russell, Luis Alarcon, Dirk Otis, Grant Lancaster and Dave Steffey.

    The Shorts Show, which has amassed 76 videos and well over 1 million views since its creation, has hilariously parodied everything from Game of Thrones to Matthew McConaughey being…well Matthew McConaughey. Given not only the quantity of content but the quality of their videos, it’s only a matter of time until these guys land a show on a network like Comedy Central.

    “Attending NYFA was very important to what I have been able to do,” says The Shorts Show creator Corey Rutledge. “Not only meeting those who I currently work with now on the show but also networking into so many different projects while there has landed me projects both acting and design wise post graduation.”

    In addition to Corey’s ability to parody trends in pop-culture, he’s a very talented graphic designer. Before his acting studies at NYFA, Corey earned his computer graphics degree back home in Michigan. His graphic design skills have recently become a major factor in his life, once again. With so many of his peers looking for concept art for their short films, he became the go-to guy for stellar movie posters like The Hooligans one in this post. As time went on, he thought it was common sense to start offering his services to filmmakers outside of his network. Now, he’d be killing two birds with one stone, working on both of his passions at once with poster art.

    He’s quickly built a portfolio and a reputation for delivering some really cool posters for students and independent filmmakers. If you’re looking to get your short or indie feature to stand out amongst the crowd with a solid poster, check out Corey’s work on his website or shoot him an email about his services at theshortsshow@gmail.com.

    January 16, 2015 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 725

  • Literary Manager Mike Klein Joins Business of Screenwriting Class

    Mike KleinLast month, literary manager/producer Michael Klein of Dobré Films sat down with NYFA’s Business of Screenwriting class, charming them with his story of how this River Edge, New Jersey-native wound up becoming a rising literary manager and film producer in Hollywood. Turns out, it all began in Miami, Florida.

    Klein attended the University of Miami and got his Bachelor of Science in the Motion Picture Business. He started off as a production intern on the soap opera, Ocean Ave., a Swedish-American soap filmed in Miami for Dolphin Entertainment, which was filmed both in English and Swedish simultaneously about Miami cops on the case of a prostitute-murdering serial killer. “It was Megan Fox’s claim to fame,” Klein said with a smirk. “I think the Pussy Cat Dolls’ Jessica Sutta also got her start on the show. We had a lot of models on as well.” Not bad for a first job.

    Klein bounced around Miami for a while as a PA and got to work on some pretty impressive movies filming there, including Bad Boys II. “My job was crowd control, making sure people on the streets stayed out of the shots.” Klein explained it was pretty cool. “You know that epic shot where Will Smith is shooting out the window as the car is spinning around out of control in Bad Boys 2? I got to see them shoot that. Turns out the whole thing was done on a massive turn table.” Klein explained the lessons he learnt early on about cultivating relationships. Part of the reason Klein got these jobs, he explained, was because he had worked with them before. “Crews bounce around from shoot to shoot, like a family.”

    However, after a few years, Klein realized it was time to move on from PA’ing. He wasn’t sure if he should head to New York or Los Angeles, but he knew he much preferred the west coast weather and that most of the business was out there. While yearning to get into the creative end of developing stories and working with clients on new material, Klein also knew that a solid pathway into that world was to work in an agency mailroom. So Klein took a job at the now defunct Broder Webb agency (which was acquired by ICM in 2006), a small boutique literary firm. He became an assistant and served as the liaison between clients and their agents.

    Bad Boys II“What I learnt very quickly is that assistants have real power,” Klein explained. “They are the first line of defense at agencies and field calls from all over the world.” Klein also remarked about the ‘class phenomena’ with assistantships. “All your fellow assistants at your company and the places around town you interact with, become your class. You come up together; you grew up together. I can’t tell you how many assistants I knew then are now real power players today. So treat assistants well. It sounds cliché, but today’s assistants really are tomorrow’s studio heads.”

    After working at Broder, Klein knew he didn’t want to be an agent, but that representation and management sounded very interesting to him. Plus, management was a path towards producing, Klein’s other professional goal. So he took a job at BenderSpink, which in 2006 was the powerhouse management company in the spec world, with multiple high six-figure spec sales in any given year. “It was a different time then,” Klein recalls, “specs not only sold often, but for big money.”

    While at BenderSpink, Klein began hip-pocketing a few clients — that is, unofficially representing a few clients of his own, while still assistant. One of these clients was the writer Tim Tori, a genre scribe on the rise. Klein developed and packaged his script Prowl and ended up producing it alongside AfterDark Films. The film was later shot in Bulgaria and starred Josh Bowman from the hit-series Revenge.

    Soon after, Klein went off to form his own production and literary management company, Dobre Films in 2009. He partnered with his close filmmaker friend and collaborator Christopher D’Elia and they have been working together ever since. Klein works with a variety of different writers. While his client Tim Tori went onto write the Joel-Silver produced Dragon Eyes. Klein then found writing team Julie Sagalowsky & Alex Diaz and sold their tween series What’s Up Warthogs to Disney XD, where it aired for two seasons and sold internationally to multiple territories.

    In 2012, Klein discovered the writing team of Richard Tanne & Travis Baker. Klein helped develop their epic Caesar script, The Roman, which Mark Wahlberg is now producing. In 2013, Klein introduced Rich & Travis to Mythology Entertainment, where they’re currently developing a TV series alongside Academy Award Winner Mark Andrews (Brave). In addition, Travis wrote and directed the indie-horror Mischief Night, which was released through Lionsgate in May 2014. Richard also wrote the romantic drama Southside With You, which is going into production in 2015 and is being produced by Stephanie Allain (Hustle & Flow). Most recently, Klein introduced the team to Radar Pictures, who ended up acquiring their crime thriller spec, Midnight.

    The Philly Kid

    In the summer of 2014, Klein signed writer, James Breen. In the short time Klein has worked with Breen, he helped Breen get signed to The Gersh Agency, and he was hired by Blumhouse Pictures to write a thriller for Gwyneth Paltrow to star.

    Klein offered a variety of advice for NYFA’s writing students. “There’s no shortcut to being a good writer other than reading scripts… There’s also something I call ‘relationship currency’. I can’t tell you how valuable good relationships are out here; it’s almost everything. Start making them now — at your internships, and out there in town. It’s essential.”

    Klein went onto talk about what he looks for in scripts. “A unique voice, commercial appeal, specificity, and subtext — that’s super important.” But the other thing Klein looks at is the person themselves: “Can they take criticism? Are they good in a room? Do they take their time with their craft or do they rush it? Are they too married to their first draft and unable to change? All of this is just as important. Writers need to be flexible collaborators,” Klein explained. What turns Klein off to new clients? “When every character sounds the same, and when I can put the script down after 30 pages, then you have a real problem.” Klein closed out with some expert advice for all of the students — “Passion drives projects. What speaks to you? You need to find that voice deep inside and hang onto it tight.”

    In addition to managing, Klein successfully balances a full slate of feature films. After producing Prowl, Klein co-produced The Philly Kid, executive produced by Joel Silver. Currently, Klein’s in pre-production with Millennium Films on the action/thriller Point of Violence, as well as the cerebral horror, Spell with Radar Pictures. Klein’s also developing the art-house drama, This Is Your Death, alongside Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito. Klein lives in Los Angeles, CA and teaches Pitching classes at NYFA. He can be reached through his company website – www.dobrefilms.com.

    January 15, 2015 • Guest Speakers, Producing, Screenwriting • Views: 497

  • NYFA’s Paul Warner to Direct OUTMusic Awards

    outmusic awards

    As a school that wholeheartedly embraces diversity, the New York Film Academy is honored to have of two of its faculty members, Paul Warner and Sean Robinson, as an integral part of both the 9th Annual OUTMusic Awards and the documentary For Which We Stand. Esteemed Filmmaking Instructor Paul Warner, an award-winning film and stage director, will direct the awards, which are hosted by Lea DeLaria of Orange is the New Black and recording artist Ari Gold.

    Held at The Town Hall Theater in Manhattan on January 19, 2015, the Awards will be the centerpiece of For Which WE Stand (One Queer Music Nation In The Visible) directed by award-winning Director Sean Robinson, and produced by Warner. The film spotlights the rise of LGBT music, culture & entertainment and it’s influence in mainstream culture. The January 19th OUTMusic Awards gala is the last event of the three-day city wide celebration, which also includes a Pre-OMA Benefit Concert for the Brooklyn Community Pride Center on Friday, and the OUTMusic Awards VIP Women’s Event presented by Curve Magazine and Lexus at Marquee NY on Saturday.

    Paul Warner

    Paul Warner directing Liev Schreiber with Alison Pill and David Michalek Photo Credit Mark Kornbluth

    The 9th Annual OUTMusic Awards is the biggest night in LGBT music & entertainment and celebrates the year’s best recordings, artists and industry contributions with a message of inclusion and equality.

    Tony Award Winner Billy Porter (actor, director and star of Kinky Boots) will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Award-winning Deborah Cox will receive the Pillar Award. R&B recording artist Monifah Carter, who is nominated for two OUTMusic Awards, will be on hand to accept the Vanguard Award. Carter stars on TV One’s reality show R&B Divas Atlanta that featured the first African-American celebrity same-sex wedding to air on national television.

    Porter, Carter and Cox join a lineup of legendary honorees and nominees including celebrated artist and activist Holly Near, award-winning country rock band Antigone Rising, Grammy nominated duo Tegan & Sara and Producer of the documentary How Do I Look Wolfgang Busch.

    “I am honored to both direct the 9th Annual OUTmusic Awards and produce For Which WE Stand as I feel strongly that the LGBTQ Academy of Recording Arts’ mission is essential to the LGBTQ equality movement,” says Warner. “While experiencing considerable gains, there has also been an escalation of bullying and continued discrimination, so the pursuit of equality is far from over. Of equal importance, I am excited to collaborate with music and media artists from all disciplines whose passion for and undying dedication to their craft will shape our future cultural and political landscape.”

    The film will feature live performances from the OUTmusic Awards with behind the scenes footage, interviews with pioneers, recording artists, activists, industry executives and various creative industry professionals.

    “I am equally honored to have Sean Robinson and Paul Warner on board,” says Diedra Meredith, Chairwoman/CEO of LARA. “This film and the live production of the OUTmusic Awards is integral to the Academy’s mission to document and archive our movement and history. Our goal is to create more opportunities for LGBTQ recording artists and ensure that Queer Music Culture will continue to be included as an integral platform in music and media history.”

    The LGBT Academy of Recording Arts (LARA) was founded in 1990 to promote the advancement and appreciation of underrepresented LGBT music, culture & heritage. LARA seeks to create opportunities to support the development of young aspiring LGBT artists, increase the visibility of the LGBT music & entertainment platform, as well as honor, document and archive the contributions of underrepresented out & proud LGBT music artists into music history.

    To learn more or purchase ticket to the OUTMusic Awards, please visit www.outmusicawards.com and LARA at www.thelara.org.

    January 15, 2015 • Acting, Documentary Filmmaking • Views: 510

  • The Polls Are In: Movies Cost Too Much

    A movie ticket booth

    A new survey released by PricewaterhouseCoopers this week revealed that more than half of those polled don’t go to the movies more often because of rising ticket prices. As usual, the average cost of a movie ticket is at all time high, its nationwide mean coming in at $8.08 per stub (which, to New Yorkers, is still a bargain basement price.)

    Does this factor into the decreasing audience for movie theaters and lower box-office revenue? It’s more than likely, as high ticket prices were the biggest reason given by respondents. PWC asked consumers why they don’t go to the movies more often and offered 18 potential reasons for rejecting the multiplex. Respondents were allowed to choose three—the ten most cited reasons were then published.

    The clear winner was “Ticket prices are too high,” with 53% of respondents listing that as a cause. The second most popular reason speaks to the creative dearth of Hollywood’s excessive reboots and remakes: “Movies are not as interesting as they once were.” Advances in technology and the cultural shift to streaming and DVR gave rise to the third most popular reason: “Prefer movies ‘on my own schedule.’”

    It’s not all economic and technological reasons however—#10 on the poll just proves the universal conceit that sometimes, people are just jerks: Ten percent of respondents complained that “Too many people use photos and tablets in theaters.” This means, however, that the other 90 percent are the inconsiderate majority, checking Instagram and playing Candy Crush in the middle of the movie they just paid too much to see.

    Here’s the top ten reasons and percentage of respondents who chose them:

    1. Ticket prices are too high – 53%
    2. Movies are not as interesting as they once were – 41%
    3. Prefer movies “on my own schedule” – 30%
    4. Prefer to spend money on other activities – 29%
    5. Can see movies at home shortly after theatrical release – 24%
    6. Prefer going out to dinner – 19%
    7. Don’t have as much disposable income as a year ago – 18%
    8. Decline in overall theater experience – 16%
    9. Online content is equally entertaining – 13%
    10. Too many people using phones and tablets in theaters – 10%

    What keeps you from going to the movies more often? Let us know in the comments!

    January 14, 2015 • Acting, Entertainment News • Views: 716

  • Animation Writer Eugene Son Draws Up Helpful Advice for NYFA Students

    Eugene Son

    Eugene Son

    Animation and comic book writer Eugene Son recently joined New York Film Academy’s Business of Screenwriting class, entertaining students with his story of how this Southern California native came to write the voices for some of the biggest and most popular Marvel animation cartoon characters on television.

    Son began his journey with a BA in Literature Writing from the University of California at San Diego. He flirted with working in the dotcom world, but his entry into a pilot competition sponsored by animation studio Klasky Csupo put him on the map and got him hooked. It was a short pilot called Don’t Drink the Water about children who find a mysterious stream of water that when they drink it makes them super-intelligent. It got Son some attention, “a few nibbles,” as he said, and hip-pocketed at a management company. Son then explained this amorphous term to the students, “hip-pocketing is when you’re not officially on the books, so they can drop you at any time, but they are unofficially representing you.”

    Son’s first big break came when his manager called him up with a job lead. “He called me up and was like, ‘hey, do you like Ninja Turtles?’, and I was like ‘heck yeah, I like Ninja Turtles!’,” Son exclaimed. After writing for TMNT in 2004, Son went onto write for shows like A.T.O.M., Duel Masters, and Cartoon Network’s Ben 10. “I can’t draw at all, but as an animated writer, you have to think visually and always ask yourself — is what I’m writing actually draw-able.”

    “Animation shows today operate a lot like traditional TV shows did in the 1970’s,” Son explained, “in that they keep their writing staffs small and hire a lot of freelance writers — something live-action narrative shows rarely do anymore.” This allowed Son to bounce around a lot and work for a bunch of different shows, penning episodes and developing his craft. “I love exploring different worlds, so while freelancing can be a bit unpredictable, it allows for a writer to play with a lot of different characters.”

    “You have to sink or swim,” Son explained of some of the time pressures faced with writing animation. “They need the script, and you can’t hesitate and wait until it’s completely perfect.” Son advised students interested in animation to develop a portfolio, with, at minimum, two spec episodes of popular existing shows and at least one original pilot. Son explained, it’s also important to be aware of the shows you spec and watch all the episodes, so you know where the storyline is currently and what’s already been done.

    Son went on to talk about another nebulous Hollywood term, “the general,” as in the general meetings. “It’s sort of like a blind date, and you know pretty soon whether you’ll be left out to dry or hearing wedding bells.” On advising writers on how to behave in a general, “honestly, just be yourself.” Son went on to explain how the old model of cartoons is changing. “Saturday morning cartoons don’t exist anymore, as kids don’t consume media that way now. It’s all streamed and recorded, so cartoons can air at anytime.”

    In more recent years, Son has gone on to write on a variety of shows for Marvel, including The Super Hero Squad, Iron Man Armored Adventures, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., and Ultimate Spider-Man. Son noted that working on Hulk was particularly interesting because it pushed the limits of what animation could do and tried a whole new spin while still using these familiar characters. The story is told from the perspective of an online reality show who’s goal is to foster public acceptance of the Hulk as a hero and not a monster. The “show” is filmed by robotic flying cameras that accompany the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. everywhere they go, resulting in humorous vignettes and visual gags throughout each episode.

    Son also spoke about working in comic books. “One of the biggest differences is you have to think even more visually and in less time. In comics, two or three lines fill a page, so you constantly have to ask yourself: what’s interesting, what’s essential, how can I encapsulate the essence of a moment, which in an animated TV show, might be a whole sequence?”

    With a few animation enthusiasts in the class, Son geeked out on various shows much to their enjoyment, from those running on Adult Swim to Ben 10: Alien Force, which was a grittier X-FILES-esque spin on the series. Son also explained how streaming services like Netflix will probably soon allow for more niche shows that can find audiences online. However, he also remarked on the challenges of monetizing these new subscription-based models. Son described where he feels he likes to live as an animated writer, demographically, “I really like that age when kids are just starting to ween off cartoons and get into videogames,” Son explained, preferring that sacred coming-of-age bracket.

    Closing out, Son offered NYFA’s aspiring writers wishing to get into animation some astute advice: “Watch it all. You really need to know the landscape of what’s out there.” As for the indie animation scene, Son remarked it’s tough if you’re not your own animator. As for comic books, Son advised, “partner up with a talented, hungry comic book artist who’s essentially you, someone who can really draw and who will work hard. It’s not a bad idea to look internationally for comic book artists, guys coming out of Europe and Asia who want American exposure.”

    Eugene Son lives in Los Angeles and is repped by The Gotham Group. More info can be found about him and his impressive body of work at eugeneson.com

    January 14, 2015 • 3D Animation, Guest Speakers • Views: 643

  • NYFA Grad Finalist for Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” Grand Prize

    Doritos Angler

    Do not underestimate the power of the craving for Doritos. At least the New York Film Academy isn’t. Of the ten finalists in the Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” contest, which provides the winner with the opportunity to have his or her commercial air during the Super Bowl and win one million dollars, the New York Film Academy has two representatives!

    In addition to Nick Sivakumaran and Dave Horowitz’s finalist The Lemonade Stand, we’ve come across former New York Film Academy Los Angeles alumnus James Bedford’s comical commercial Doritos Angler.

    “I’m really delighted to have made it into the finals, considering how strong the competition is,” says Bedford. “And it’s also great to be the first person from the UK to make it into the finals.”

    You can vote for Bedford’s commercial on multiple platforms everyday from now until January 28th! Visit: https://crashthesuperbowl.doritos.com/finalists#/6517 and vote now!

    Bedford is currently working as a freelance director working across tv, brand films and commercials. If James wins the grand prize, he plans to use the money to film a feature film — no fish involved.

    January 13, 2015 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1300