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  • NYFA Los Angeles Holds Social Media Networking Night

    _DSC7452Chair of Industry Outreach and Professional Development Barbara Weintraub held a Social Media Networking Night at NYFA Los Angeles in late July. Over 220 students from the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus attended the event held in the Riverside Building.

    The lobby was filled with film companies like Film Independent and New Filmmakers LA. They were there to share opportunities for students, membership experiences, and career paths.

    A color-coded system helped students get in touch with other students. Small dots on name tags indicated whether the attending was an actor, filmmaker, photographer, or game designer.  

    “There are so many students that I hadn’t met,” said acting student An Phan. “I’m at the Barham building most of the time while the photography and filmmaking students are at Riverside. I never get to interact with them. I saw a lot of portfolios and I was blown away by how talented everyone was. It was great interaction. I had a lot of fun.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to wish all the students applying for professional memberships and those students teaming up to work on a project success on their next venture.

  • NYFA Welcomes Sherry Lansing and Stephen Galloway as Guest Speakers

    NYFA students at the Los Angeles campus were invited to an exclusive Q & A event featuring former Paramount Pictures chairman Sherry Lansing and Hollywood Reporter writer Stephen Galloway, who penned Sherry Lansing’s recent biography, “Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker.” Director of Q and A series Tova Laiter hosted the evening.

    Lansing started her career as a script reader and worked her way up the ladder until she became president at 20th Century Fox in 1980. Lansing was the first woman in history to hold the position.

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    Next, Lansing took on producing for such hits as “Fatal Attraction” (1987) and “Indecent Proposal” (1993). Later, Lansing became the chairman and CEO at Paramount where, for 12 years, she oversaw production and marketing on 200 movies — including blockbusters such as “Braveheart,” “Forrest Gump,” “Saving Private Ryan,” and “Titanic.”

    Lansing had a lot of advice for up-and-coming film creators. One large piece of advice was, “Returning every phone call is just good business. You never know were ideas come from.”

    ‘The executive’s job is to just find good talent,” she told students. “Every film that does poorly is my failure. Every film that does well is not my success.”

    Lansing left the entertainment industry at 60 to pursue an entirely new career in the non-profit industry, and created the Sherry Lansing Foundation, which focuses on cancer research and education. She sits on nine major profit and non-profit boards.

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    Galloway centered the book on Lansing’s journey from an insecure young girl to her incredible ability to make a space for herself where previously there had been no women, saying, “There was no Churchill before Winston Churchill. There was no Sherry Lansing before Lansing.”  

    One of the questions asked was, “What advice do you have for screenwriters and working with a budget? We are always instructed to write from our imagination, but I’ve heard other people say you should write for the budget. What do you think?”

    Lansing responded, “You should always write from the heart. Our job in the studio is to keep the eye on the budget.”

    Lansing advised that striking a harmonious balance is in the best interest of the writer, particularly when working with a studio: They have bought the script and will eventually do with it as they please. If the writer wants to stay on the project they should find a way to work with the studio.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Sherry Lansing and Stephen Galloway for taking the time to speak with our students.  

  • NYFA Summer Camp Students Enjoy Special Screening of “Top Gun”

    _A4A1610On Saturday, July 1, teens and tweens participating in the New York Film Academy Summer Camp in Los Angeles took a break from the hard work of filmmaking to see a summer blockbuster classic. “Top Gun” was screening in the field at the Autry Museum.  

    Usually, the students are hard at work developing their film projects. Most days, they are learning the difference between camera lens sizes, rehearsing a new acting technique, experimenting with the latest 3D technology, revising a script or shooting on a professional backlot. On this night, however, their hard work was rewarded with a special screening.

     

    _A4A1611This screening was unique because it was surrounded by some of the top food trucks in Los Angeles. For many of the students, this was the first time they had seen a movie under the stars. The combination of live music and multicultural food trucks made the night an event.

    The head of Summer Camps, Ale Salinas said, “This is a unique and fun experience.
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    The New York Film Academy is proud of the great strides out Summer Camp students are making and hope their night off was a fun one.  

     

  • NYFA Gold Coast Celebrates the 4th of July

    NU4A0357In keeping with the New York Film Academy’s international community spirit, around 70 students and staff from New York Film Academy Gold Coast celebrated the American holiday 4th of July, at the Southport Campus.

    Acting and filmmaking students from all intakes came together with the 1-week teen campers to celebrate this all-American themed event.

    The celebrations also fell on orientation day for the July 2017 actors, filmmakers and screenwriters, who joined the festivities, as they were welcomed to NYFA Australia.

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    Students and staff partied to all of the great American songs while indulging in hot dogs, snow cones and an array of red, white and blue candy. Students also had fun posing at the American-themed photo booth and tested their knowledge on a 4th of July Quiz.

    And, to connect the American celebrations to a universal love for film, the movie “Independence Day” was screened at the on-campus theatre for students to enjoy.

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    Campus Manager DJ Stonier said of the event: “The students and staff all in attendance had a blast and it was wonderful to see everyone enjoying each others company. It’s important to celebrate significant events that bring staff and students together that are also equally important across our campuses globally. At NYFA Australia our philosophy is to create a sense of belonging, community and celebration, both within and outside of the academic realm.”

    January 2017 Diploma Acting student Evelyn Dolan said, “Wow, it was so amazing to be part of this celebration for all of the students and the Academy. I can’t wait until next year’s.”

  • June Graduation for NYFA Teens and Kids Summer Camps

    On Friday, June 27, the first New York Film Academy teen and kids summer camp programs came to an end. As students waited for their graduation ceremony to start, they took selfies while their parents banded together.

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    As the lights dimmed, the acting students presented their one to two minute monologues. Their head shots were projected before the video began. Filmed against a white background “audition style,” each actor chose a unique piece to perform.

    Then, the student’s short films were screened. Their backdrop was the Universal backlot, the same place “Hairspray” was filmed. Students were given a challenge to make a movie without dialogue. They wrote, directed, filmed, and edited their own productions from start to finish.

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    Their instructors and councilors were in attendance and issued certificates of completion. In their farewells they offered words of encouragement. Camera Instructor Bart Mastronardi offered the wise words of Helen Keller: “Life is either an incredible journey or it’s nothing at all.”

    “In five days you’ve done an amazing job. This is one of the best one-week programs. You’re all so ambitious. Parents and grandparents keep pushing these kids. They really appreciate it. Even if they don’t always show it,” said NYFA Instructor Martin Thompson.

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    After they collected their certificates each student was given a copy of their work to use for reels or to share with friends and family. The graduates and their families finished the night with cupcakes and dancing by the pool.

    Head of programs Ale Salinas described the programs objectively in her farewell, stating, “Some of you may have learned that this isn’t what you want to do at all, that’s valid, too. But I’m being honest when I say we’re going to miss you.”  6B2A0062

    The New York Film Academy would like to congratulate all of the students in finishing their first film. We look forward to the seeing second film real soon.

  • 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.

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    Hire Heroes visits the New York Film Academy

     

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

     

    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.

    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.

    “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 LA Welcomes Writer & Producer Neal Baer as Guest Speaker

    On Wednesday, June 21, Neal Baer came to the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus to talk about his illustrious career in television. Baer has the distinction of being a key figure in two groundbreaking series. He was a writer and producer on both “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” and “ER.”  Director of the Q and A series, Tova Laiter, hosted the evening.

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    Students filled the Riverside Theater to hear Baer speak about the history of the television industry. Many of the students were surprised to learn that “ER” once enjoyed an incredible share of the market. “There’s no drama airing today that comes close to having 40 million viewers. Not even ‘Game of Thrones.’”  

    Of course, a huge portion of the show’s success was the wildly talented and relatively unknown cast, including George Clooney. Baer recalled the excited fan reaction to seeing Clooney in a tuxedo. So mad was the fury, that Baer made sure to include a scene with him in a tuxedo in “Hell or High Water.” The episode went on to be the show’s highest-rated and even earned Clooney an Emmy nomination.

    “I’ve had a very different career than my friends. I’ve only ever been on four shows,” Baer said after being asked about his incredible trajectory. “I started in 1994. That’s twenty-three years. I don’t know anybody else who has done four shows straight through.”

    Whether it was talent, luck, or a combination of both that kept Baer on top, he always made sure to use the best of the time he had. “I loved SVU because every week I got to explore. You had to get into the story through a murder or assault but then I could do a show about teen access to abortion. They let us do amazing things with guns, homeschooling, HIV deniers, euthanasia, everything I was interested in was put into the show.” 

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    That inspiration translated into his hiring practices as a showrunner. Baer was fond of calling obscure actors from childhood favorites to come on the show. Carol Burnett chastised him when he called to ask her on the show: “You used to watch me with your parents on weeknights, didn’t you?” Once, Debbie Reynolds even shared a saucy story about Ava Gardner with Baer.

    “How could you not want to bring these people on your show,” Baer said. “I’ve been very blessed to work with incredible people.”

    One student asked if Baer had any advice for students looking to break into the industry. Baer responded, “They’ve made it very difficult to be a director. I think what you have to do if you want to work, as a director, is shadow. You attach to a director and you just become their shadow. You’ll go to casting meetings, location scouts, anything the director does, you’ll be there.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Baer for taking the time to speak with our students.

  • NYFA Alumnus Anthony James Faure Releases “Kids With Guns”

    Anthony James Faure worked in the film industry for five years before coming to the New York Film Academy. When he started the 1-Year Filmmaking Program he was also starting the post-production process on his latest film, “Kids with Guns.”

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    Using Paris, France, as a backdrop, he shot the feature film over the summer of 2014. The story follows Arno and Mo, two unimportant drug dealers who happen upon a bag filled with MDMA. They decide to sell the trendy drug to the Parisian Golden Youth. Soon they’re forced to navigate the dangerous territory between the real owner of the bag and an overzealous cop that swore to stop him.

    The French thriller was produced with a budget of just €30,000, or around $35,000 in U.S. dollars. He earned the majority of the money via crowd-funding sites, personal savings, and a few grants. Then entire cast and crew worked on a volunteer basis.

    Faure attributes much of that success to his friend and producing partner Antony Renault. Faure said of the experience, “We were trying to get a short film produced in France for a long time. During that time, we wrote ‘Kids with Guns.’ Once the script was done we thought we should just shoot it. It’s that spontaneity that makes the essence of our film: we wanted to shoot now.”

    Faure’s scrappy nature had earned him great footage, but turning it into a film would be an entirely different process. “NYFA helped me in my rewriting process during postproduction. Indeed, after the course I took at NYFA, my understanding of film had evolved, and I managed to use that new knowledge in the editing.”

    The visual effects artist, postproduction manager, and sound mixer for “Kids with Guns” were all students Faure met at NYFA. He enjoyed his experience at NYFA so much he’ll be returning next semester: “I will never stop learning. I have a few feature film ideas and treatments I’ve been working on for a while, going back to NYFA in the screenwriting course will hopefully give me that little push I need to execute them.”

    TEASER KIDS WITH GUNS from Les Films de l’Ours on Vimeo.

    Faure’s next project is a superhero story. “Super Zeroes” is the story of superheroes forced into retirement by a world tired of the destruction their crime fighting causes. They retire to Trinidad-and-Tobago but a crime committed on the island will force them to work together, even if their powers are a bit rusty. NYFA alumni Jolene Mendes and Chloe Na will work with Faure as producers, Sashank Sana is the director of photography, Carolina Lara will do production design, and Daniel Techy is editing.

    The New York Film Academy would like to congratulate Faure’s success. To learn more about Faure click here.

  • Robin Wright Directs NYFA Alumna’s “The Dark of Night,” Which Premiered at Cannes

    Beginning her career in Los Angeles as a literary agent assistant at the William Morris Agency in 1982, Denise Meyers always felt the drive to pursue screenwriting as her main career in life.

    “I thought that since I’d watched hundreds of movies growing up, I understood what went in to a good screenplay,” said Meyers in an interview with the Black List. “I wasn’t a terrible writer, but I wasn’t a great writer either.”

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    still from “The Dark of Night”

    After 12 years of exhausting her contacts with her material and getting nowhere fast, Meyers moved onto a different career as a gourd artist, but, at the end of the day, her heart wasn’t in it as much as screenwriting.

    “I set a goal for myself to learn how to write screenplays the way they are supposed to be written, with no expectation that I would ever get any farther in the film business than I had ever been before,” said Meyers. “I wanted to master the art form, in the same way I taught myself how to work with gourds.”

    Meyers took advantage of an 8-Week Screenwriting scholarship at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles, where she hoped to truly master the craft.

    “I won an eight-week screenwriting scholarship to NYFA a few years ago, and the experience was invaluable,” she said. “I use everything I learned at NYFA in every script I have written since then, and it has helped elevate my career beyond what it was before.”

    Since attending NYFA, Meyers has won a number of screenwriting competitions, including a spot on the Athena List (with a script she wrote at NYFA), the Atlanta Film Festival, Table Read My Screenplay Austin, and several others.

    From there, she wrote a short screenplay called “The Dark of Night,” which won the grand prize at Table Read My Screenplay Austin in 2015.
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    “Denise Carlson, an instructor at NYFA, told me about a short script writing contest she had plans to participate in called the NYC Midnight Short Screenwriting Contest,” Meyers recalls. “Twelve hundred people from across the globe signed up to participate, so there were groups of 40 people each who were given a genre, a character and a setting. My group received the following prompts; suspense, a diner, and an unemployed man or woman. We had eight days to write 12 pages, then, if we survived each heat, we were given a new genre, character and setting. I came up with the idea almost immediately, though God knows where it came from. The story is set in 1930. A woman on her way to Chicago for a job interview seeks refuge in the diner where she encounters a waitress, a drifter, and a cop, each with dark and dangerous secret.”

    Meyers gave the script to Robin Wright’s assistant and, before she knew it, she was getting a call from Wright who wanted to direct the film, along with some of her cast members from “House of Cards.” In fact, 80 crew members from “House of Cards” signed on to work on the film including the director of photography, Dave Dunlap, and costume designer, Jessica Wenger. Boris Maldin, the producer of “House of Cards,” loaned his cameras and equipment.

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    Robin Wright with Denise Meyers

    After that, Leslie Bibb, Sam Rockwell, Callie Thorne and Michael Godere signed on to act in the film for scale.

    Meyer’s “The Dark of Night” recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. The black and white film noir is about a woman seeking refuge from a storm who takes matters into her own hands when she encounters a drifter and a waitress at an isolated diner where everyone has a secret and nothing is what it seems.

    Meyers says she just finished a one-hour pilot episode based on “The Dark of Night” that she is developing with TV producer Michelle Rubenstein. She also completed a new feature about Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney that she hopes to get in front of Brad Pitt, and is currently working on a World War II drama about a battle in the Pacific that only a handful of people know about. Finally, she’s working on a web series based on her experiences as an award-winning screenwriter who still fixes toilets for a living.

    June 1, 2017 • Screenwriting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 694

  • NYFA Screenwriting Degree Graduates Celebrate with an Industry Pitch Fest

    Graduating MFA, AFA and BFA New York Film Academy Screenwriting students recently attended their culminating Industry Pitch Fest Event, held at the penthouse ballroom of the Andaz Hotel up on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood.

    The event was live-Snapchatted by Spring 16 MFA screenwriting student Lindsey Hall. NYFA can be followed on SnapChat at NYFilmAcademy.

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    A catered event and mingling opportunity for the students, executives, and faculty alike, this capstone evening celebrated the New York Film Academy’s graduating Screenwriting students, offering them a professional outlet to jumpstart their careers by pitching their film and TV thesis projects to industry executives.

    These writing students spent their final semester in their Business of Screenwriting classes working with Business of Screenwriting Instructors David O’Leary, Ashley Bank, and Doc Pedrolie, in conjunction with Faculty Chair Nunzio DeFilippis and Associate Chair Adam Finer, preparing and fine-tuning their pitches.

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    They shined on this pinnacle evening, leaving with new professional contacts and a wave of interest in the scripts they’d worked so hard on all year.

    Considered by the school to be their first night as professional screenwriters, this group of bright students brought their A-game, as they pitched agents, managers, studio, and TV and film production company execs in a relaxed, round-table environment.

    Organized and hosted by David O’Leary, the event featured representatives from 25 Hollywood companies, including —

    AAO Entertainment, Blumhouse, Blumhouse Tilt, Canny Lads Productions, Dino De Laurentiis, Elevate Entertainment, Imagination 9, Ineffable Pictures, International Film Trust, Intrigue Entertainment, Left Field Pictures, Link Entertainment, Macro Management, Madhouse Entertainment, Manifest Talent, NBC Universal Digital, Nightshade Entertainment, No Bull Script, Okay Goodnight, Orchard Farm Productions, Primary Wave Entertainment, Quadrant Pictures, STX Entertainment, This is Just a Test Productions, and Universal Pictures International.

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    NYFA wishes to thank all of its participants, particularly our industry guests, without whom this evening could not have been possible. Also, we’d like to extend a big congratulations to all of our MFA, AFA, and BFA graduates!

    May 23, 2017 • Community Highlights, Screenwriting • Views: 1694