Author archives

  • What’s The Best Film School For You?


    Where should you go to film school? The answer to that question requires a lot of research. There are vast, and important, differences between each film program. Some film schools require you to spend one to two years before you even touch a camera while others may have you working with a camera your first week of classes.   Here are the most important factors to look for when deciding what film school is best for you.

    The Real Price

    Tuition, room and board ranges from $17,000-$55,000 per year for many of the top college credited film schools. The tuition you will pay can be found by browsing the schools website. What you wont find on the website, are the costs of  film, books, shooting insurance, equipment insurance, lab fees, cast and crew and the list goes on. All of this can add up…sometimes more then tuition itself! Add all of this up and you will have the the real price of film school.

    Class Size

    Being able to work one on one with the instructor is important. The larger the class size, the less personal attention you will receive. Look for class sizes under 20 if you want hands-on instruction and the ability to interact with your instructor regularly.

    Location of Study

    It is true that you can learn to make films anywhere in the world but there are only a few cities that can help launch your career in filmmaking. A city with a healthy film industry will allow you to network with filmmakers and actors,  participate in film festivals and provide you with the resources you need to create your film.  The obvious cities are Hollywood, known for big budget films, and New York City,  the independent filmmaking mecca of the world. Austin, Seattle, Abu Dhabi, Vancouver, Paris and London are also great cities.

    Student to Faculty Ratio

    There is a lot that happens outside the classroom you will need help with as a film school student. Housing, financial aid, equipment maintenance, teaching assistants, and academic advisers are all instrumental to your success. A good student to faculty ratio is 20:1 or less.

    Equipment, Facilities & Availability

    Many schools have film equipment and computer/editing labs available for your use, but how often will it be available for use. Is it from 10AM-2PM on Fridays only or is it all weekend. The quality of equipment and facilities you will be using is also very important. Will you have access to the new state of the art RED One AD Camera and the original Arri-S 16mm, or will you be shooting with a off the shelf consumer camera. Are the computer labs running on the latest Adobe Editing Suits with Mac Pro computers or software and hardware from a year ago.

    Amount of Time Spent Using Equipment

    Once you know what equipment you will be using and when you will have access to it you will need to know the amount of time you will be spending working with the equipment both inside and outside the classroom. The longer you spend working on set, the more comfortable and proficient you will become. After graduation, you should be able to walk onto any set and know your way around.

    Student Work

    Probably the most important factor to look for when deciding which film school is best for you is students films. The reels of the schools students is a good indicator of the quality of work you will be able to produce. The quality of work you produce is ultimately up to you, however, you will be depending on the resources, teachings and instruction of the school to help create it. From the editing suite software to the caliber of students you will be working with on your film, this will play a critical role in your finished works. Whatever you do during your time at film school, make sure your reel is top notch when you leave – this is your resume.

    Professional Alumni

    Who in the film industry has attended the school. This will be your network after you graduate. Do you have to go to school where your favorite director or editor graduated from – no. But, it is very important that the schools graduates are actually working in the industry. The larger your professional network is, the more opportunities you will have and the easier it will be to create film.

    Working Instructors

    As the old saying goes, “only take advice from people that are where you want to be”.  The same applies for learning. Professional filmmakers who are successful in their careers make much better instructors/teachers. They are able to discuss their real world experience and apply it to what they are teaching you. Another factor that is important is your instructors education. When applying, ask for the names of who your instructors would be. Go home and Google them to learn more about their past works and accomplishments.

    Closing thoughts…

    Remember that the name of the school you attend really does not matter in your pursuit of becoming a professional filmmaker. Film producers want to see your completed works – make sure you enroll in a school that provides you with the instruction and resources you need to produce your best work.

    The connections you make and the work you create while at school are the most valuable assets you will have after graduation. If you can find the right school that will give you the opportunities to produce high quality work and make the right connections, your dream of becoming a professional filmmaker is not to far away.

    Think New York Film Academy

    When conducting your research we hope you will consider the New York Film Academy. Please give us a call with any question you may have – (212) 674-4300. Our Admissions department is happy to help you make the best decision for your career in filmmaking.


    February 18, 2009 • Acting • Views: 3322

  • Analeigh Tipton, NYFA’s Next Top Model


    Analeigh Tipton gifAnaleigh Tipton rounds out today’s alumna updates, Analeigh placed third overall in cycle 11 of America’s Next Top Model. Tipton attended the New York Film Academy in the summer of 2005 as at 16-years-old, studying in our six-week film camp for high school aged students.

    While attending NYFA’s high school six-week program Tipton began work on a film, which she showed the following summer at the University of Southern California’s summer program. The film that she produced at NYFA was done well enough that the director of the program guaranteed her admission into USC’s undergraduate program.

    Tipton opted instead to pursue her modeling career; when scouts from ANTM contacted her through her MySpace account and asked her to try out for the show. Since appearing on the show she has appeared on The Big Bang Theory and has signed to Abrams Artists Agency.


    February 16, 2009 • Acting • Views: 4307

  • 3D Animation School Teaches ZBrush


    This is a post for the 1 year animation 2nd semester group project, which encompasses many disciplines necessary for an animation and visual effects (vfx) career:

    Today’s class was an introduction to ZBrush.

    ZBrush is a digital sculpting and painting program that allows a far greater intuitive and creative approach to making detailed and photo-realistic characters than has been available with more traditional animation and modeling softwares. Because ZBrush allows the artist to sculpt models containing many millions of polygons (something previously unheard of), the technical and logistical limitations that constrained previous workflows are now a thing of the past. Students and professionals now feel free to express themselves in a more pure and direct manner, similar to the way a sculptor might feel when modeling with clay.

    ZBrush has gained great prominence in the movie and gaming industry as a fast and efficient way of creating complex and believable characters inhabiting their productions. For instance games developer Ubisoft used ZBrush extensively in their production pipeline for both Rainbow Six: Vegas and Assassin’s Creed.

    By Robert Appleton, New York Film Academy 3D Animation Instructor


    February 11, 2009 • Acting • Views: 4582

  • Hugh Jackman is NYFA’s Newest Star


    Hugh Jackman gave four New York Film Academy film school students the opportunity of a lifetime when he agreed to participate in one of their class projects.

    The lucky just grew luckier when TMZ included a blurb of the shoot on their website and also made mention of the film on their daily program.

    “We ran into him two days in a row,” NYFA eight-week film student (who also happened to be the cinematographer) Nic Blair said. “The second day we were doing reshoots and we asked him if he’d be willing to participate. He was hanging out with his son and said sure, they could both do it.”

    We will have the final edited film up as soon as the students finish editing, check back soon!


    February 5, 2009 • Acting • Views: 4296

  • NYFA Screenwriting Graduate Adinia Wirasti


    Adinia Wirasti, a 2008 graduate from the New York Film Academy one year screenwriting program in Los Angeles, is going from staring in movies to writing them.

    Wirasti is a household name in Indonesian film scene. Her success as an actress in Indonesia has earned her…
    – Best Supporting Actress in Indonesian Film Festival 2005 for film Tentang Dia
    – Best Supporting Actress in Bandung Film Festival 2005 for film Tentang Dia
    – Nominee for Best Actress in Indonesian Movie Awards 2008 for film 3 Days to Forever
    – Nominee for Most Favorite Actress in Indonesian Movie Awards 2008 for film 3 Days to Forever
    – Nominee for Most Favorite Couple in Indonesia Movie Awards 2008 for film 3 Days to Forever

    More information on Screenwriting Course


    January 16, 2009 • Acting • Views: 3772

  • Training Film Talent in Abu Dhabi


    By Maysam Ali, Notes Staff Reporter – Students, faculty members and administrative officials from film institutes based in the UAE set up booths during the Dubai International Film Festival as part of a one-day Student Media Trade Fair.

    The New York Film Academy Acting and Film School Abu Dhabi, the Dubai-based School of Audio Engineering, Dubai Women’s College and Murdoch University were among the institutes presenting their courses and services, in addition to information on upcoming workshops for people in the film industry.

    New York Film Academy, Abu Dhabi

    The New York Film Academy offers short, intensive workshops as well as one-year programmes and two-year associate degrees in film-making, acting and finance.

    It currently has a student strength of 80 with branches in Los Angeles, New York and, as of last year, Abu Dhabi.

    Simon Hunter, president of the academy in Abu Dhabi, said students in the region have much to look forward to.

    “We prepare student to create a new industry,” he told Notes. He explained that the norm for film-makers is to start making films with a limited budget, show them at festivals, get selected by new producers and start growing as funding for the film grows.

    “This is a well-known path that students take and can choose to take to grow,” he said.

    “Our focus is to get students to find their own voice and to create films at a cost-effective budget, involve them in festivals and bring production back to this region,” he said.

    “Film festivals are to be commended because they are attracting a great level of interest; they can attract such high-quality talent,” he said.

    Asked if students in the UAE are interested in the field, he said: “I have been inspired by the number of Emirati students in this field. The films they are making are beautiful. They make films about their lives, which is extremely important. They build on the idea of story-telling… . The best stories to tell are the ones that are most personal; they are frightening for the students but they make great stories,” he said.

    Speaking of the future, he said: “I am excited and passionate and would love to see great stories told from the region… . Students are now globally savvy and they have an understanding of the global film industry. They have been exposed to Egyptian, Hollywood and Bollywood films, all of which makes for a great film-maker. Let’s tell a story that’s unique to the Arab region,” he said.

    Student view

    Students manning the various booths spoke to visitors about their training and film-making experience.

    Shane De Almeida, a first-year directing student at the New York Film Academy Film School Abu Dhabi, said he chose directing because of his passion for film-making. “The program at the academy is hands-on and more practical than theoretical.”

    His friend, Rami Deeb, said: “In the three months since my joining, I have been working on film-making, and training on what we will have to do in the future.”

    Gulf News original article

    ‘Find your voice’

    By Maysam Ali, Notes Staff Reporter – Students interested in film-making interacted with experts, learnt about current trends in the industry and got information about film academies and training workshops at the recent Dubai International Film Festival.

    A panel discussion also brought together film-makers who shared their experiences with students. The panel included Maysoon Pachachi, Iraqi film-maker, Nandita Das, Indian actress, James Hindman, actor and director, and Greg Shapiro, producer.

    Filming in Iraq

    Pachachi, along with London-based Iraqi film-maker Qasim Abed, set up the Independent Film and Television College in Baghdad in 2004. She spoke about the difficulties the training centre faces trying to train students amidst a raging war that threatens to wreck homes and tear families apart.

    “Making films in Iraq is a kind of resistance against the war and the current situation,” she said.

    Producer’s role

    James Hindman said that a great producer is a good list-maker who selects the material for a film and knows it well, picks a team, recognises the story, understands the narrative and has a vision and a great camera.

    “A good producer doesn’t care about himself or herself, but rather puts everyone else in the spotlight. He or she makes actors feel special and acts as part of the audience,” he said.

    Acting tips

    Nandita Das highlighted how her lack of ambition to become an actress worked to her advantage as it gave her the freedom and strength to refuse many offers.

    She had several tips for aspiring actors.

    “If you want to be an actor, find your own space and voice and negotiate through that. You will find new ways of expressing yourself, even more when you start watching yourself in the movies,” she said.

    Directing with vision

    Greg Shapiro shared his views on the role of a director. “The film is a director’s medium so when choosing jobs, I look for a director with a vision and I hand the movie to him/her,” he said.

    Echoing the views of the other speakers, Hindman said: “There’s a great role for film education in the region. There is vocational training related to skills and building the infrastructure; academic training provides knowledge on art history, the politics and context in which cinema exists and professional training.”

    Student participation

    The audience included students from many schools and universities such as the English College, Cambridge International School, Dubai Women’s College and Zayed University. They had many questions for the experts.

    Sepehr Olfatmamanesh, a grade 11 student at the Cambridge International School (CIS), said he was eager to hear from the experts about training opportunities. “They can advise us on which schools to go to,” he said.

    Josh Jennings, a grade 12 student from CIS, who aspires to major in film studies or drama, said: “I’m not sure if I want to major in modern drama or film but both would make me happy.”

    CIS students have film studies and information communications technology  (ICT) as part of their academic course. The first part involves study and making short films whereas the latter course focuses on post-production, said Ania Sikora, head of ICT at the school.

    Hysun Ismael, a media student from Middlesex University Dubai, was interested in learning about the professional viewpoint of media representatives. He and fellow student Riaz Naqui agreed that Dubai is a new market for the media but that it has a promising future.

    Amnah Al Hosani, another media student from Middlesex University, said she attended the event primarily because of her interest in the field of broadcasting and public relations.

    “I want to have an idea about what’s happening, to see the movies, learn about different backgrounds and ideas,” she said.


    December 22, 2008 • Acting • Views: 6059