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  • Is Film School Worth It?

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    If you are pursuing a career in filmmaking one of the most difficult questions to answer is if film school is worth it? Many young filmmakers find difficulty in weighing the time and money spent on film school vs. pursuing a career in filmmaking on their own without school?

    First of all, if you have a camera and desire to make films, congratulations! YOU ARE A FILMMAKER. No need for any form of school or college.

    Filmmaking is an art, a creative process. A painter needs no certificate or training to create, just a brush, paint and canvas. A filmmaker only ever really needs a camera, film, and editing suite to make films; and because of the development of modern technology almost anyone can afford the equipment and learn how to use it fairly quickly. Plus, with the advent of YouTube you can distribute your film to the world in a day. On the other hand, to master the use of the camera, film and editing suite, as well as the distribution and sale of your film you will need a lot of practice and instruction.

    Most painters did not just pick up a brush and start painting masterpieces. They apprenticed professional artists, received some form of formal training and painted for years before they produced their best works. Most filmmakers need the same which you can get from a film school.

    Top film schools provide professional instructors and the opportunity to gain real world experience writing, shooting, directing and editing your own films.

    So ask yourself this, have you already mastered filmmaking or feel you are on your way? If the answer is yes, then the answer to is film school worth it is no. You don’t need film school.  If you are already creating great films, you just need to learn how to produce your films; which there are classes for that as well. Plus, take that $50,000-$100,000 you would have spent on film school and spend it on producing your own film.

    If you have not yet mastered filmmaking and feel that attending a film school would help you grow as a filmmaker while speeding up the process fulfill your goals as a filmmaker, then the answer is yes. Film school is worth it if it brings you closer to making your masterpiece.

    Now the next step is finding the best school for you and enrolling in film school.

    Addition – I posted this on Facebook and had a great comment from a former film school student.

    Its challenging but after finishing my Film, Bachelors I’ve never felt so confident in my life to hold a camera, to write a script and to pursue a career in Filmmaking.

    Film School… its definitely an advantage to acquire knowledge related to the industry, knowing certain techniques, styles and areas within Filmmaking…. it actually improves your creativism and versatility to better achieve your Vision.

    Finding your department is important…. I found FX/makeup department to be my strongest point.
    … if I would’ve chosen to just continue in the industry without been educated, I don’t think I would’ve ever found my place and probably end up disappointed and discouraged. Film school gives you guidance, to bring out that unique quality that describe us as an Artist.
    Tanya Lee

    —-

    Fun Fact: There are 968 film schools!

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    August 21, 2009 • Acting • Views: 1033

  • Film School Graduate Omowale Akintunde Feature Film "Wigger" Exposes Serious Race Problem

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    America may have a black president, but the arrest last week of Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. proves the country still has a serious race problem.

    That is the view of Omowale Akintunde, who has spent the week shooting a feature film about race.

    The movie, which bears the provocative title “Wigger,” tells the story of an aspiring white R&B singer who is struggling to overcome a racist and impoverished family background.

    It stars Anna Maria Horsford — who has appeared on such TV shows as “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “The Bernie Mac Show” and “Grey’s Anatomy” — and David Oakes as R&B singer Brandon.

    Filming began at various locations in north Omaha last week. Some scenes also were shot in the west Omaha home of retired Walnut Hills Elementary School principal Edwardene Taylor Armstrong and her husband, former Omaha Housing Authority director Robert Armstrong.

    The movie is currently scheduled for an April 2010 release.

    Akintunde, who became chairman of the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Black Studies Department last year, said the message of his film is clear.

    “We still have institutional racism in America,” he said during a break Friday. “Look what happened to Gates.”

    Gates, the director of Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, was arrested for disorderly conduct on the porch of his Cambridge, Mass., home after a confrontation with a police officer. Police had responded to a report of a suspected break-in at the home.

    The charge was later dropped, but the arrest nonetheless drew sharp criticism from President Barck Obama, who said the police had “acted stupidly.” On Friday, Obama conceded his words had been ill-chosen, but he stopped short of a public apology. He personally telephoned both Gates and the arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley, and invited them to the White House for a beer.

    Akintunde, a widely published academic who also directed several previous films, is intentionally less conciliatory than Obama. The director, a graduate of the New York Film Academy‘s directing school, wants to stir up debate. And he sees some similarities between Gates’ arrest and his film.

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    July 28, 2009 • Acting • Views: 5065

  • The History of Our Film School

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    The history of film schools began less then 40 years ago. The history of our film school is much more recent and vastly different.

    While film schools started popping up in the 1970’s the New York Film Academy’s President and Founder, Jerry Sherlock, was busy making an impact within the motion picture industry.

    As an independent producer for Hollywood films, stage and television Sherlock developed projects for Disney, Warner Brothers, United Artists, Paramount, E.M.I. and others. Among his many credits are Executive Producer of the major motion picture and Oscar winning film, The Hunt For Red October, the Producer for Lolita, a Broadway production; and Executive Producer of the Television Production, Amal and the Night Visitors, for CBS.

    Not too shabby coming from someone who dropped out of school at age 14, joined a traveling carnival and later joined the United States Air Force.

    Working In Hollywood Has Its Advantages

    While working in Hollywood as a Film Producer, Sherlock was involved in conversations with his fellow Hollywood peers about where to send their sons and daughters to learn filmmaking and acting. This got the self-made businessman thinking.

    After a a little research, he discovered that anyone interested in a career in filmmaking or acting at the time was limited to two choices. 1) learn on their own or 2) enroll in an expensive university to study film for four years to attend lectures and study from books.

    Jerry asked himself why students have to spend thousands of dollars on an advanced degree just to “study” filmmaking when all it really took to learn filmmaking was practice with on latest equipment using the latest teqhniques while receiving hands-on instruction from a proffesional.  Without much delay, Sherlock opened the New York Film Academy in 1992 within Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca Film Center in New York City.

    Pioneering Hands-On Filmmaking Classes

    Two years after graduating it’s first film class, the New York Film Academy had become known throughout the industry for offering “boot camp” style workshops for future filmmakers.

    The curriculum offered at NYFA consisted of intensive hands-on traning from day one. The first day of classes students had a camera in their hand and by the end of the first week they where shooting thier first film.

    The New York Film Academy was unlike any other film school at that time. We pioneered the teaching of hands-on learning with professional film equipment. Many critics thought we were crazy putting equipment in the “untrained” hands of students so soon. But Jerry knew better.

    He knew that the best way to learn filmmaking was to make films; not in a lecture hall or watching film, but actually working on a real set creating with other students.

    Competing With The “Best”

    After attracing the sons and daughters of many of Hollywood’s elite such as Steven Spielberg, Kevin Kline, Susan Surandon, Pierce Brosner and many more – a number of the “top” film colleges and universities started taking notice.

    Many of these schools started offering “hands-on” courses within their program and giving students the opportunity to shoot feature length films.

    Film School Perfected…Almost

    NYFA has since grown into its own building in historic Tammany Hall. Many of the original faculty, including Sherlock himself, are still with the Academy-and they come from some of the country’s most prestigious film programs, including NYU, USC, UCLA, AFI, Stanford and Harvard.

    In 2005, the New York Film Academy became an accredited college and began offering one and two year courses for college credit, plus, a two year Master of Fine Arts program.

    Just like our students, we are always learning and perfecting our craft as teachers of the art and science of filmmaking. Today, we have thousands of successful graduates working in the motion picture industry througought the world. All of whom have enjoyed our intensive, hands-on film courses that have remained the foundation of our curriculum since opening our doors in 1992.

    Even though our film school was NOT found by four naked guys on the Brooklyn bridge, we feel our history is what seperates us from all other film schoools and is an excellent indicator of where we are going.

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    July 21, 2009 • Acting • Views: 6047

  • Film School Student Amleset Muchie Films President Girma Wolde-Giorgis Documentary

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    The 2006 Miss Ethiopia Amleset Muchie currently studying film making at New York Film Academy is making a documentary on the life of President Girma Wolde-Giorgis.

    The one-hour long documentary which is a school project for the actress, model and director would chronicle a day in the life of the president as told by himself, close associates and her own commentary. The documentary would bring an intimate look behind the Jubilee Palace showing as the president attending staff conference, meeting with dignitaries and ceremonial events.

    The 84-year-old president who holds a symbolic office with little power has authorized Amleset to come and document him. Amleset is hoping to start shooting soon and have it ready in months’ time. The doc would be premiered at the New York Film Academy and other festivals.

    Amleset has already written and produced a romantic comedy, Si Le Fikir (About love) and has also starred in another Amharic film “Ye Felegal.”

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    June 25, 2009 • Acting • Views: 4872

  • The 5 Stages of Blocking a Scene

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    Blocking a scene NYFA

    By Peter D. Marshall – When a first time Director steps on a set, blocking a scene can be one of the most frustrating and terrifying parts of their job.

    If a director doesn’t understand the concept of blocking and staging, and they also don’t know how to speak the actor’s language, they could end up wasting valuable shooting time.

    Every film shoot is divided into five parts:

    1. Block – determining where the actors will be on the set and the first camera position

    2. Light – time for the DOP to light the set and position the camera for the first shot

    3. Rehearse – camera rehearsal of the first set-up with the actors and crew

    4. Adjustments – making lighting and other adjustments

    5. Shoot – shooting the first scene (then repeat the process)

    Blocking a scene is simply “working out the details of an actor’s moves in relation to the camera.”

    You can also think of blocking as the choreography of a dance or a ballet: all the elements on the set (actors, extras, vehicles, crew, equipment) should move in perfect harmony with each other.

    Here are 5 important blocking tips:

    1. Having a shot list will help you during the blocking process. The shot list is like a map: it gives you a path to your destination but you don’t always have to follow it

    2. Let the actors show you what they want to do first, then, when you make a suggestion, it is based on something you have already seen

    3. Where the camera is placed is determined primarily by what is important in the scene.

    4. Blocking is like a puzzle: directors need to keep working at it until the whole scene works.

    5. In Television and low budget films, speed is essential, story and block some scenes so that your action takes place in one direction (to avoid turning the camera around for reverses.)

    For a more detailed explanation about blocking a scene, check out Filmmaking Article

    Peter D. Marshall has worked in the Film and Television Industry for over 35 years. He also publishes the free monthly filmmaking ezine “The Director’s Chair. You can check out his website at: Action Cut Print and his film directing blog at Film Directing Tips

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    June 18, 2009 • Acting • Views: 184586

  • Director Jonathan Jakubowicz Takes Venezuela By Storm

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    Former New York Film Academy student Jonathan Jakubowicz, has seen a steady stream of success since graduating from our filmmaking workshop in New York City.

    Jakubowicz says, “The workshop I did with you was an open door for a career beginning in filmmaking that couldn’t have been better. I shot a 35MM documentary (Ships of Hope) on the arrival in Venezuela of two ships filled with Jewish refugees just before WWII. The film has been broadcast on HBO for all of Latin America. It has premiered in thirteen countries and received the many awards”.

    Ships of Hope screened at the Director’s Guild of America’s Angelus Awards, and the Havana Film Festival. The documentary went on to win; Best Documentary at the Premios a la Calidad de CENAC (Venezulelan Oscars). Ships of Hope was purchased by HBO OLE and History Channel Latin America, and was in programming rotation for two years. Jakubowicz has a BA in Communications from the Universidad Central de Venezuela.

    In 2002, Jakubowicz treaded sensitive waters gracefully as he broached the subject of September 11 from a very different angle. _Distance (2002/I)_ is a poignant short film about a woman’s mysterious past unfolding during an unexpected trip to Holland in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. _Distance (2002/I)_ screened at the World Film Festival of Montreal, New York Independent Film Festival and Palm Springs Short Film Festival, amongst others.

    In 2005, he wrote and directed Secuestro express; the frightening story of one young couple’s ordeal as they career through the underbelly of Caracas in the hands of three thugs who’ve made them their latest payday. The thriller became Venezuela’s highest-grossing film, eclipsing such movies as “Titanic” and “The Passion of the Christ.”

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    June 8, 2009 • Acting • Views: 5116

  • The 27 Best Websites For Filmmakers

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    There are thousands of websites out there for filmmakers. Some of them are a waste of your time, others offer awesome services and resources.  So we asked our film school students to share with us their favorite filmmaking websites. Here is our list, in no particular order, of “The Best Wesbsites For Filmmakers”.

    AFCI.org – With over 300 Film Commissions on six continents, there’s almost always an AFCI member office nearby to help you navigate local laws, customs and procedures.

    ArtOfTheGuillotine.com – Online film community for film editors. Connect editors and future editors with ideas and techniques that make films great as well as connect them with each other.

    BigStar.TV – The site offers distribution, networking and a monthly short film contest.

    BlssResearch.com – The service provides a variety of pre-packaged reports on popular topics for movie producers, independent filmmakers, corporate financiers, and other entertainment entities.

    Drop.io – Use drop.io to privately share your files and collaborate, thinks screenplays, film productions and animations,  in real time by web, email, phone, mobile, and more.

    DetonationFilms.com – Detonation Films is dedicated to putting the fun back in filmmaking by establishing a new paradigm between digital media and online entertainment. And also by blowing stuff up.

    DVcreators.net – Training and resources for digital video makers.

    DVXuser.com –  An online community for filmmaking.

    EarthProtect.com – With over 2,000 videos online about things you care about. You can

    start a blog, forum or find you favorite non-profit.

    ExploreTalent.com – Auditions and job listing board.

    FilmmakersAlliance.org – Helping independent filmmakers achieve their goals since 1993.

    FilmSchoolExposed.com – Largest list of film schools, awesome filmmaking forum and a massive community of student filmmakers and independent filmmakers around the world.

    FilmSchoolBuzz.com – Stay on top of the latest film and filmmaking news from the worlds top blogs.

    FiveSprockets.com – Develop and produce a variety of media projects with this online production software.

    FreeSound.orgA collaborative database of Creative Commons licensed sounds.

    HollywoodOmniBook.com – From agents to extras to screenplays for sale, the Hollywood OmniBook is your one stop source for connecting with Hollywood.

    IMDb.com – The “Internet Movide Database” says it all.

    IndieProducer.net – A social networking site for Hollywood filmmakers

    InkTip.com – Find good screenplays and professional writers. Access is free to qualified producers, directors, agents, managers, and name actors.

    JohnAugust.com – Useful information about screenwriting.

    Mandy.com – International TV and film production resources.

    MakingOf.com – Natalie Portman intervies industry professionals on filmmaking.

    MovieMaker.com –  The nation’s leading magazine on the art and business of making movies and the world’s most widely read independent movie magazine.

    MovieMarketingMadness – Movie marketing news, reviews and opinion.

    ProductionHub – The Community search site for film, television, video, live event and digital media production.

    StoryLink.com – One of the largest online communities for writers and filmmakers.

    StudentFilmmakers.com – Searchable community of filmmakers – both new-and-emerging and professional – talents in the film and video industries.

    TakeZer0.com – Everything you need to know before take one.

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    June 4, 2009 • Acting • Views: 2240

  • Enrolling in Acting or Film School is as Easy as 1, 2, 3

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    Hello. As an New York Film Academy (NYFA) admissions counselor I speak to people from allover the world, who want to learn about film-making, acting, broadcast journalism, 3D animation and other programs we offer here at NYFA. NYFA is a very unique school and we are especially dedicated to helping our students in ways that many other schools do not.  I typically suggest prospective students take three simple steps when enrolling in our school.

    1) Choose A Program

    The first step to take is to peruse the website and decide which program you are most interested in taking.  Students often have a desire to learn about many different areas, but usually one interest wins out.  For example, if I am talking to a student who wants to be an actor and a filmmaker, they will usually be able to pick one over the other if I ask them directly “which do you really like more: acting or filmmaking?” Ask yourself this question if you are having trouble deciding, and the answer should become clear.

    It is important to read through the program description carefully online.  New York Film Academy has very thorough summaries of our programs on our website, and most of the necessary information can be found here.  The more you know, the better equipped you will be to ask questions from our staff members.

    2) Choose Length of Program & Program Location

    Once you know the program you are interested in, it is important to consider the program length and school location that will work best for you.  You will receive an excellent education in any of our programs; but the longer the course, the more you will learn.  New York Film Academy offers the same high-quality education and in-depth curriculum at all our campuses, so you can choose the geographical location that attracts you the most – New York City, Los Angeles or Abu Dhabi!  Some students crave the hustle-and-bustle of New York City; some students want the sun-and-surf of California; and some students want an opportunity to go abroad to study in United Arab Emirates.

    3) Apply

    When you know which program you want to take, and where you want to take it, I encourage you to apply to the school and begin to make your plans to start off on your path toward your career in the arts.  Luckily, New York Film Academy has a very devoted staff, who are happy to help!  I suggest that after you have considered what path you want to take, you give us a call to discuss your plans with one of our Admissions Counselors.  We are always happy to answer questions and give guidance to our prospective students.

    You can apply online or download and mail in application.

    I think the most important step of all, however, is to come visit our school to speak with our staff in person and develop a rapport with our faculty.  We have a very approachable atmosphere, and really are happy to meet with interested future filmmakers and actors.  We will be happy to take you for a tour and have you meet with our housing, financial aid, or international representatives.  Give me a call at (212) 674-4300  x136 and I will be glad to welcome you to New York Film Academy!

    Your friendly admissions superstar!

    Brian Koplow

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    May 22, 2009 • Acting • Views: 4736

  • Miss Teen USA Stevi Perry Graduates From Acting School

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    Congratulations to one of New York Film Academy’s newest Acting School graduates Stevi Perry! Winner of Miss Teen USA 2008,  Stevi Perry received a two-year scholarship from the New York Film Academy Acting & Film School. Stevi attending our Acting School located in Soho, New York City where she studied Acting for Film.

    Below is a video of Stevi Perry’s first days at the New York Film Academy Acting School.

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    May 11, 2009 • Acting • Views: 4731

  • Film School Advice From Admission Advisor Tami Alexander

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    As an admissions counselor I am most frequently asked, “What program will make me the best filmmaker and get me into the industry as soon as possible.”

    This is a hard question to answer because the film industry is truly based on talent, hard work, who you know and sometimes luck. As a student of the New York Film Academy you will be amongst the largest network of filmmakers and actors in the industry. You will also have intensive hands-on training in all aspects of the film-making process. How you take advantage of these opportunities, will determine your success during the program and your career after graduation.

    Every filmmaker would love to have these opportunities, but unfortunately film school is expensive, time consuming and very demanding. This is why I advise everyone interested in enrolling into our film courses to determine what they want to learn and take from the program. If you know what you want and set goals, you will most likely find it and achieve it at the New York Film Academy as a student.

    Before you enroll in NYFA or any film school, my advice for prospective film students is to decide what exactly it is that you want from your education as a filmmaker. If you do not know, try enrolling in our one or four-week film workshops to get a better understanding of the filmmaking process.

    I am happy to answer any questions about the New York Film Academy Film School, please contact me today at (212) 674-4300.

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    May 8, 2009 • Acting • Views: 5237