Screenwriting
Category

  • NYFA Welcomes Hire Heroes USA

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

    Hire Heroes and New York Film Academy

    Hire Heroes visits the New York Film Academy

     

    6B2A0174

    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.

    Baer Q and A 004

    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.” 

    Baer Q and A 003

    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.”

    Screenshot 2017-06-23 15.06.19

    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.”

    the dark of night

    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.
    the dark of night
    “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.

    the dark of night

    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: 575

  • 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.

    nyfa screenwriting

    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.

    nyfa pitch fest woman

    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.

    nyfa screenwriting la

    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: 1575

  • NYFA Screenwriting Instructors Release New Comic Miniseries “Dragon Age: Knight Errant”

    dragon ageChair of the New York Film Academy Los Angeles Screenwriting Department (and Dean of Faculty) Nunzio DeFilippis and his wife/writing partner Christina Weir, who is also an instructor at NYFA, have a new comic book miniseries which just launched on Wednesday, May 10th!

    “Dragon Age: Knight Errant” is a comic miniseries that ties into the story world of Bioware’s award-winning fantasy game series “Dragon Age.”  Set after the events of the last game, “Dragon Age: Inquisition, Knight Errant” is the tale of a drunken washed up Knight, Ser Aaron Hawthorne, and his elven Squire Vaea. Vaea is more than she appears — a thief who uses Ser Aaron’s travels to roam the world and steal high value artifacts. When a job goes wrong and pulls her into a larger Inquisition operation, she’s in danger of having her Knight (and meal ticket) find out the truth.

    The miniseries launches with Issue 1, on sale in comic shops across the country on May 10th.

    Nunzio and Christina recently appeared on NYFA Games’ Twitch channel to talk about this book, their careers, comics and games. The team discuss their newest miniseries, as well as their writing career which includes numerous comic books, television shows, movies and video games.
    Watch live video from NYFA_Games on www.twitch.tv

    May 11, 2017 • Faculty Highlights, Screenwriting • Views: 1365

  • NYFA Grad’s “The Dawn” to Screen at Kuwait Film Festival

    The DawnKuwaiti filmmaker and New York Film Academy alumnus Yousef Al-Qenaei’s short film, “The Dawn,” was very well received at the ADASA Festival and is due to screen at the Kuwait Film Festival soon, and possibly play in local Kuwaiti movie theaters thereafter.

    His film is about a young boy, Bader, who wants to go fishing with his father. The father, unfortunately, has to cancel the trip due to a work commitment, which leads Bader and his friends on an adventure to find out what it is that the father actually does.

    Al-Qenaei had a chance to talk with us about his film and his experience as a filmmaker in Kuwait.

    What brought you to NYFA, and what led you into filmmaking in the first place?

    I’ve always had a passion for film and theatre. My childhood was spent on stage, and therefore the performing arts were always something I was fond of. After a while, I began writing plays as opposed to acting in them. I found a joy in that. Film was a new medium for me. It involved less dialogue and more to show. It was a challenge I was keen on exploring. NYFA was on the top of my list, and it being in NYC, a hub for creatives, made it all the better.

    What is the current filmmaking scene like in Kuwait?

    Kuwait has always been one of the strongest in the region when it comes to the arts. True, there was a period were things became idle and a lack of interest in the industry was prevalent. But now, the means in which a person is able to broadcast their work are a lot more accessible. Therefore, talent is being recognized and the scene is more inspiring now than ever.

    Did you shoot this film during or after NYFA?

    After my time at NYFA. I actually met with members of the Ministry of Youth Affairs of Kuwait whilst in NYC, at a conference for Kuwaiti students abroad. They asked me to submit a storyline for a short film that I had written, in the hopes that the Ministry may fund it. And they did, which was lovely.

    Would you say your NYFA experience was useful in terms of being able to create this film?

    Most definitely. I did an 8-week screenwriting course at NYFA. Before then, my comprehension of story structure and screenplays in general were terribly primitive. So much so that I had never been able to actually complete a screenplay before the course. The instructors and students also helped me with my biggest challenge whilst writing: making it more about showing the emotion than having the characters speak it.

    Kuwaiti filmmaker and New York Film Academy alumnus Yousef Al-Qenaei

    Kuwaiti filmmaker and New York Film Academy alumnus Yousef Al-Qenaei

    Have you screened this film elsewhere, or will you be in the future?

    This is the first official, public screening for the film. It is due to be screened at a few more soon, and then maybe into our local theaters here in Kuwait.

    What do you hope to achieve with this film?

    The most gratifying thing for me is when people watch films coming out of Kuwait and are proud that these are local productions. There’s definitely a stigma here, that all works of television or film are mainly social dramas that tend to highlight the negatives of society. We generally tend to sway away from the neutral let alone the uplifting. So I want this film to show that we have a diverse selection of work in the region, all representing different ideologies and mindsets. Representation is key.

    Are you currently working on another project that you’d like to tell us about?

    I am. It is in the very early stages at the moment, but it is definitely a project that will be a lot more challenging than a short film, but all the more gratifying and fulfilling. Watch this space. And thank you for your time!

    March 20, 2017 • Filmmaking, Screenwriting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1907

  • Writer / Creator Matthew Arnold Gives NYFA Students Advice on How to Pitch for TV

    The writer and creator of “Siberia,” “Emerald City,” and “Shadow People,” Matthew Arnold, visited the Los Angeles campus of the New York Film Academy on Monday, February 27, 2017. Students from several writing classes attended the event.

    matthew arnold

    Arnold read pitches for each of his most recent projects and gave students advice on how to refine their pitches. “I like to do a little research (before a pitch), so I have something to talk to the executives about….

    But for ‘Siberia,’ I did something different. I went in and said, ‘Have you seen this new thing going around YouTube? There’s this reality show in Russia and people are being killed. They think it’s Chechen rebels.”

    Arnold said this pitch would often get Executives to call in their assistants and request to see the videos. When he revealed that this was not a real occurrence, but the pitch for “Siberia” they were already vested in the project. The end of that pitch was this: “We’re going to do for TV what ‘The Blair Witch Project’ did for film.”

    One student asked, “There’s a long established relationship with the world of ‘Oz’ for most of your audience. How did you create something new and not damage the source material?”

    matthew arnold nyfa

    “I think that’s the big challenge. To be honest, I didn’t have this thought when I first sat down to write it. I was just excited to write. But when we got into production, I realized there was a huge responsibility on me. People have a certain feeling about the ‘Wizard of Oz.’ They have childhood memories and beliefs about the story. It really irks me when someone takes the source material and go left, keeping only the names. What’s the point of that?

    So, I wanted to dig into the source material more and kind of translate it. If you read those books they are very vague. You have to infer that this would be a problem and hence there would be a conflict. That’s where you get the complexity without necessarily tampering with the source material.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Arnold for taking the time to speak with our students. You can watch “Emerald City” Fridays on NBC.

    March 13, 2017 • Guest Speakers, Producing, Screenwriting • Views: 2039

  • NYFA LA Screenwriting Graduates Celebrate with an Industry Pitch Fest

    Graduating MFA 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.

    pitch fest

    The event was live-Snapchatted by May 14 BFA screenwriting student Kyle Del Fierro. NYFA can be followed on SnapChat at NYFilmAcademy.

    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 and Dirk Blackman, in conjunction with Faculty Chair Nunzio DeFilippis and Associate Chair Adam Finer, preparing and fine-tuning their pitches.

    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.

    la pitch fest

    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 production company execs in a relaxed, round-table environment.

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

    AAO Entertainment, ArieScope Productions, Awesomeness TV, Blumhouse, Canny Lads Productions, Closed on Mondays, Chockstone Pictures, Dino De Laurentiis, Elevate Entertainment, Good Fear Film + Management, Imagination 9, International Film Trust, Madhouse Entertainment, Magnet Management, Management 360, No Bull Script, Original Film, Quadrant Pictures, The Rothman Brecher Agency, Safehouse Pictures, Silver Pictures, STX Entertainment, This is Just a Test Productions, Triple Threat Pictures, and Zucker Productions.

    pitch fest nyfa la

    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 and BFA graduates!

    February 2, 2017 • Community Highlights, Screenwriting • Views: 1472

  • Urban Possibilities and New York Film Academy Team Up For Spoken Word Performance and Story Encounter

    New York Film Academy students worked with survivors of homelessness to present a spoken word and musical performance at the NYFA Theater at the Los Angeles campus. Urban Possibilities is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring the homeless and working poor. Urban Possibilities’ alumni performed spoken word pieces about their lives developed during one of UP’s writing workshops. NYFA acting students Fernando Sambora and Roman Arnaize performed a musical interlude for the full house of enthusiastic NYFA students and faculty.

    The next day, NYFA screenwriting, filmmaking, and documentary students participated in a unique daylong workshop facilitated by Urban Possibilities. NYFA students were paired with Urban Possibilities students to interview one another and share their personal stories. After an hour of heart-to-heart conversation, each person was asked to write a profile of the person they’d been speaking to. Touching, surprising and sometimes extraordinary bonds between the pairs were revealed. One NYFA student called it “an unforgettable day of learning and feeling and writing a truly original piece.” Another said, “I loved it. It was enlightening, inspirational, transformational and eye-opening.”

    urban possibilities

    Eyvette Jones Johnson, Founder and CEO of Urban Possibilities said, “When we exchange our stories, bonds are created and biases begin to melt away no matter what our zip codes may be. That’s important in a world often violently divided by race and class — one that our students navigate daily.”

    December 21, 2016 • Community Highlights, Documentary Filmmaking, Filmmaking, Screenwriting • Views: 2991