Celebrating the end of a busy summer camp season, the New York Film Academy was privileged to share an incredible opportunity with our New York City campers to attend Dominique Morisseau’s original play, “PIPELINE,” at the Lincoln Center Theater (LCT). Morisseau is an accomplished writer whose credits include theatre hits like “Ain’t Too Proud,” “Detroit ’67,” “Blood at the Root,” “Sunset Baby” and TV’s “Shameless.” To add to the excitement, “PIPELINE” also stars NYFA Instructor Jaime Lincoln Smith, whose credits include Broadway’s “Holler if Ya Hear Me” and the TV shows “Blue Bloods” and “Elementary.”
“PIPELINE” was an especially timely and thought-provoking piece to share with NYFA’s teen students, as it portrays a mother’s hopes for her son clashing with an educational system rigged against him.
Sarah Kinsey (Youth Enrollment), Kenzie Ross (Director of Youth Programs), Jaime Lincoln Smith (played Dun in “PIPELINE” / Acting For Film Instructor at NYFA), Tyler Buckner (NYFA Liberation Diploma HS Program), Jaime Cartagena (NYFA Liberation Diploma HS Program). Bottom left: Krystal Flores (NYFA Liberation Diploma HS Program). Bottom right: Lily Buchanan (NYFA Kids Acting For Film Summer Camp Student).
To facilitate the event, Morisseau coordinated with NYFA Director of Youth Programs Kenzie Ross to arrange a special performance for a student based-audience, organized by LCT with teenagers attending from different schools and organizations all over the greater New York City area. Dominique Morisseau and Kenzie Ross had previously worked together on her play, “Blood at the Root,” and discovered their mutual passion for bringing young people to the arts.
To facilitate the special showing of “PIPELINE,” Morisseau collected personal donations during previews to sponsor student tickets later in the run, and people volunteered happily. From NYFA, three students from the Liberation Diploma Outreach Program and one student from NYFA Kids Summer Camps were able to attend, together with NYFA Youth Enrollment Admissions Specialist Sarah Kinsey and Director of Youth Programs Kenzie Ross.
“It was truly moving to be a part of an audience of young people as their voices were heard and they watched themselves be represented on stage in an authentic way,” shared Kenzie Ross. “This conversation between parent and student, particularly between young black men and their mothers, is an incredibly raw and significant one due to the climate of our education system today. To hear and feel a mother’s heartache as she watches her son float in and out of her ability to keep him safe is beautifully mirrored by seeing her son, a young black teen, grapple with his own heartache and frustration as he struggles with his own place in society and concepts of reality.”
From left to right: Tyler Buckner, Lily Buchanan, Krystal Flores and Jaime Cartagena
After the performance, students were treated to an exclusive talkback with the artists, covering many topics including like the school to prison pipeline in our country; the craft of acting; the experience of being a person of color in the entertainment industry; and how the many different perspectives from different characters in the script lend to the complexity of this issue.
NYFA camp students then had a chance after the talkback to meet with NYFA Instructor Jaime Lincoln Smith at a restaurant nearby to say congratulations and chat in more detail about his experience with the play.
NYFA Australia instructor Timothy Maddocks has taken the philosophy of learning by doing a step farther: teaching by example, continuing to not only remain active in his industry, expanding his impressive list of producing credits with a new feature and festival award wins. “Blue World Order,” which Maddocks produced, is causing a stir on the festival circuit, screening at the prestigious Madrid International Film Festival and sweeping awards elsewhere including:
Winner, Best Narrative Feature; Film Invasion Los Angeles
Winner, Audience Choice; Canberra International Film Festival
Winner Best Feature; Mindfield Los Angeles
Official Selection: Sci-Fi London, Madrid International (Nominated for Best Film), Burbank International, Phoenix Comic Con
“Blue World Order” also co-stars fellow NYFA instructor Stephen Hunter, perhaps best known for his turn as Bombur in “The Hobbit” films. NYFA had a chance to catch up with Mr. Maddocks to hear some of his insights on producing high quality films for the festival circuits, and how his students can continue learning by doing out in the industry.
NYFA: First, can you tell us a little bit about your journey and what brought you to NYFA?
TM: My road to producing and teaching has been a long one. It started with working shooting sports and community TV, then studying a diploma of film and television at TAFE. After my studies I used sports cameras to shoot several short films with friends where we all honed our skills. Some of the films were OK, but many of them were just lessons for us. After about 10 shorts we got together and shot a low budget feature film called “Sum of Existence” that we eventually sold to the National Nine Network. I thought that having made something we would be able to get funding more easily, but in the end it still took a number of years.
One night, while showing one of the last of the short films at an event, I was approached by another director who had a film screening there, Marc Furmie, and we went for funding on a short and got it.
“Death’s Requiem” was the first film to have a decent budget — twice what we had for “Sum of Existence,” and it opened doors to many other places. Through networking I met people who funded our first full budget feature, “Terminus.”
Along the way, one of the people I had met was Hunter McMahon and after he saw “Terminus” he invited me to come and speak to the students at NYFA as a one-off. The students asked a lot of questions, and as it happened, NYFA was looking for a teacher for production — so I joined the school.
NYFA: Do you have a favorite NYFA moment from your time as an instructor with us?
TM: My favourite moment at NYFA came when I was working on my third feature, “Out of the Shadows,” and some students came on a field trip to assist with shooting pick-ups. I know the students got a lot out of that day and it felt good to give them real hands-on experience, because NYFA is all about the experience of making things, rather than just classroom learning.
NYFA: As a producer, what do you look for in a project?
TM: The script is the guide. Firstly, you have to be able to read it from cover to cover without wanting to put it down. Then, you think about genre, market, and how you can get it made. As I’ve grown, so have my tastes, and while I have been known for producing horror and thrillers, “Blue World Order” was a sci-fi and a great story to start with.
NYFA: What inspired your film “Blue World Order,” which you produced?
TM: “Blue World Order” was written by Ché Baker, and he is also a published author as Scott Baker. I read both his script and novel ,and saw the enormous potential in the world that he had created because, like all of the best sci-fi, it is only a small stretch from the world we live in — and that is what makes it easy to relate to. Ché had met me back in the sports days and reached out to get my opinion of the script. I gave him notes and he could see how they helped with the story. From then on, we started talking about how to make the film.
NYFA: Can you tell us a bit about your experience producing the film? Were there any surprises along the way?
TM: Producing the film was a great experience. We had the challenges that most face: limited time, budget, and resources, however Ché had really made a great start in that he had many of the people of Canberra on his side and they welcomed us with open arms. Ché had also worked on several films in crew roles and had made some good connections in both cast and crew. I had also worked with some great people. We set up the schedule so that the first couple of days on set had Bruce Spence starring as Whippet — a very dark character. Bruce brought him to life and that really sparked our crew.
Many of the crew were Canberra locals with little or no on-set experience. In the middle of the shoot we had Jack Thompson come and that gave everyone a fresh injection. And partly because I was still closing the deal with the Department of Immigration, and also his agent, but the last few days were with Billy Zane. Ché had met Billy in the U.S. when he was working as an on-set driver and the two had hit it off. Billy came along and helped us finish the main block of shooting. As is often the case, there were pick-ups done later, but at the end of five weeks we had the makings of a film.
NYFA: “Blue World Order” has swept quite a few film festival awards. What advice would you offer to students interested in producing quality films and competing at renowned festivals?
TM: “Blue World Order” has picked up several awards, and so did “Death’s Requiem, The New Life,” and it is always the same reason: Because when we get an opportunity to make a film it is our job to pour everything into it.
No one gives you the opportunity. You earn it. Ché knew that and he poured everything he had into “Blue World Order,” and his passion was infectious. Our crew were drawn from film students to other people who just wanted to give it a go. A few of us had worked together before, like Production Designer Merryn Schofield who had been in the art department on “Terminus,” but being the designer was a big break for her and she had a great group of locals who are inseparable friends today.
The thing anyone who has made a film knows, is that making it is only half the battle — getting it out there is the next part. You have to send it to festivals, research which ones are appropriate, and push, push, push. That’s the only way that industry buyers are going to notice your film, and from there, the real audience can discover it.
NYFA: The film co-stars fellow NYFA Instructor Stephen Hunter. Can you tell us how that collaboration came about?
TM: During his time on “The Hobbit” movies where he worked with Andrew Lesnie as his on-set colourist, Ché had made friends with Stephen Hunter, who played Bombur. Stephen read an early draft and gave Ché feedback and really brought the humour to the script. All of the best films are collaborations: Everyone brings something to the table, and the best directors and producers are the ones who know how to bring those ideas to the fore and make the film better each time. Stephen was full of ideas and willing to get in there and give things a go. It was a great opportunity for him to step into a role that had a lot more going on for his character too.
NYFA: Would you say your time at NYFA was at all useful in preparing you for your work on “Blue World Order”?
TM: My time at NYFA was helpful in that every time I do anything I look for the learning experience in it. As someone who had come from sports and worked into film, I hadn’t really sat down and broken down the elements of what I do as a producer until I had to teach students.
Teaching other people gives you structure, and structure is important when managing a large project like a feature film. As a teacher I always love the enthusiasm students bring, and the attitude is one of “just do it” and I encourage that, but then impart on students some of the lessons that I have learned along the way.
You can spend just as much time and money making a terrible film as making a good one — the difference is in the planning.
NYFA: Can you tell us about any upcoming projects you’re working on, or what’s next for “Blue World Order”?
TM: Since “Blue World Order” spent a long time in post-production because of the special effects involved in sci-fi, I was able to get on and make “Out of the Shadows” while Ché, as director/producer saw “Blue World Order” home. “Out of the Shadows” is also making its way into the world.
I’ve also started working on IMAX documentaries and helped Jen Peedom on “Mountain,” which is releasing soon.
“Blue World Order” is going through the screenings for the AACTA awards and has screened in Melbourne on Sept. 12, Sydney on the Sept. 16, and Brisbane on Sept. 19. Any AACTA members can head along and see the film and vote for it there.
Then later in the year there are more screenings open to the public in Australia. It is being sold by Arclight worldwide and so we’ll have to see where they get traction for the release. If you’re a student who is curious, then sign up for updates here.
NYFA: Is there anything I missed that you’d like to speak on?
TM: I’d really just like to reinforce how important it is to be passionate about your career in film, as no one else is going to care as much as you. Every time you get an opportunity to work on a film in whatever role it is, if you give it your all, people will notice. Several cast and crew that I have worked with on small films have come on to larger ones, and usually in greater roles. I do it myself where I have helped people out and then found myself with work. NYFA students often have that passion and some of my students are already building careers for themselves. I really enjoy working with people who seize the opportunities and then go on to create more.
The New York Film Academy would like to thank Timothy Maddocks for taking the time to share his experience producing “Blue World Order” with our community.
Congratulations to the Spring 2017 1-Year Broadcast Journalism students, who graduated last Friday! A distinctive, and talented, group if there ever was one. They came to NYFA from (starting on the left) the Philippines; Guatemala; Alaska; Spain; France; New Jersey; Queens, New York (via Nigeria), Queens and Croatia.
Emilie Olsson is now working with Bonnier News in Stockholm, Sweden. When I asked her about the company, she wrote: “They also own Expressen and TV4. So I am a videoreporter at a magazine, web TV channel. Doing health, travel, food, cars and lifestyle.”
Bruna Beloch spent the past weekend covering the massive Rock in Rio music festival. And by the smile on her face, I think she had a good time. It also seems to be something of a family tradition, as her grandmother covered an international song contest for Correio da Manhã (I think it’s a newspaper) 60 years ago…
Last week, Kecia Gayle was out covering New York Fashion Week, which included attending the Laquan Smith Spring 2018 Collection Fashion Show. (That’s Kecia in the middle.)
Finally, on a personal note, a big “thank you” to the Zhejiang University of Media and Communications, for the opportunity to participate in the dedication of their new film production center in historic Wuzhen, China last week. It was a fascinating day…
Graduating New York Film Academy MFA and BFA screenwriting students recently attended their culminating Industry Pitch Fest Event, held at the penthouse ballroom of the Andaz Hotel on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, surrounded by astounding views of Los Angeles.
The catered event provided mingling and networking opportunities for the students, executives, and faculty alike. It was a capstone evening celebrated the New York Film Academy’s graduating screenwriting students, offering them an outlet to jumpstart their careers by pitching their film and TV thesis projects to entertainment industry professionals.
These writing students spent their final semester in their Business of Screenwriting classes working with instructors Adam Finer, Doc Pedrolie, and David O’Leary, in conjunction with Faculty Chair Nunzio DeFilippis and other members of the Screenwriting Department, preparing and fine-tuning their pitches.
The students’ hard work and dedication shined as they pitched their thesis projects, which they had developed for nearly a year. Students left with new contacts, excitement about the scripts they’d worked so hard to create, and a sense of what it’s like to meet with industry professionals.
Considered by the school as the graduating students’ first night as professional screenwriters, the evening showed that this group of talented and creative students’ hard work has paid off, as they pitched agents, managers, studios, and digital, TV and film production company execs in a relaxed, round-table environment.
Organized and hosted by Adam Finer, the event featured representatives from Hollywood companies, including Blumhouse, ICM, Left Field Pictures, Madhouse Entertainment, Manifest Talent, Quadrant Pictures, Skydance, Studio71, This is Just a Test Productions, and Weed Road Pictures.
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!
In early September 2017, the New York Film Academy Gold Coast campus held the January 2017 Acting for Film end of year screenings at Event Cinemas in Pacific Fair.
As a part of the New York Film Academy Australia’s commitment to hands-on education, the event was a glamorous and festive occasion that allowed the students to share their hard work in class projects with an invited audience of friends and family along with teachers and classmates.
The opportunity to celebrate their school accomplishments and experience a formal screening was not to be missed.
“It has been a pleasure seeing the students of January 2017 grow and develop into wonderful actors, which was portrayed through their screening tonight,” said NYFA Australia Acting Chair Stuart Lumsden. “On behalf of all the staff and lecturers at the New York Film Academy, Gold Coast, we would like to give our sincerest congratulations for all you have achieved throughout the year.”
This September, New York Film Academy alumnus Jason Liles was the second guest for the Alumni Screenings taking place the first Thursday of every month. After a screening of Liles’ latest work, Netflix’s “Death Note,” there was a Q and A. The creature actor is playing the indomitable Ryuk, who was voiced by Willem Dafoe.
This is Liles’ first major motion picture and his enthusiasm for the craft of acting was tangible. He even stayed late, past the school closing, to speak with students about how to break into the industry.
Chair of Alumni Affairs Gabriela Egito and Chair of Animation Craig Caton hosted the evening. They kicked off with the question on everyone’s mind, “What was it like in the Ryuk costume?”
The outfit is skin tight leather, covered in sharp quills, and topped with bold purple hair. The costume came with a lot of restrictions. For one thing, common set etiquette requires crew yell, “Points!” when walking around with tripods, c-stands, or any object that could potentially impale another person. A common joke when Liles arrived on set was to yell, “Quills!”
According to Liles, the quills were the heaviest part of the costume, but not the most challenging part. “Death Note” was filmed over the summer in Toronto. This was not exactly ideal weather in which to be covered head to toe in tight black leather.
One student asked, “How do you, as an actor, take care of your health when you’re in the suit?” Liles gave a lot of credit to the makeup and wardrobe team, who he lovingly called “Team Ryuk.” At one point, a cooling suit was implemented: a system of tubes that run underneath the costume. The idea is that ice-cold water can be shot through the tubes to cool the performer down without taking off the costume.
Keeping on the costume is vital to the filmmaking process. When they first began filming it took about an hour and a half to turn Liles into the god-spirit Ryuk. Before the end of production, Team Ryuk was able to get the costume and makeup done in about 30 minutes, according to Liles. Unfortunately, the cooling suit only worked once for five minutes.
So, Liles was forced to manage his body temperature. The crew was helpful, setting up a cooling tent which was an air-conditioned reprieve from the summer heat. Cold packs were occasionally inserted into the suit between takes to help bring his body temperature down, which could reach over a hundred degrees. But it was staying hydrated that was the most important part.
Getting the right amount of water was tricky. Since taking on and putting on the suit was a complicated affair, Liles had to strike a balance between staying hydrated enough not to die, but not so hydrated that he has to use the restroom every 15 minutes.
But the suit wasn’t the only thing the NYFA community wanted to know about. Many were curious about how an actor can project through big costumes and pounds of makeup. Liles said in order to prepare for Ryuk, he watched the anime series and read the manga created by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. But this was just the jumping off point.
David Bowie and Prince were both wanted to perform the role of Ryuk before they passed, and director Adam Wingard wanted to use these musical geniuses as inspiration for the characters movements.
The audition was a simultaneously grueling and joyous process. See, the audition was a movement audition. The single camera was mounted with a wide-angle lens. The script described movements such as popping in and out of the scene in poofs of smoke. “At first I thought, this is impossible,” Liles said.
But he persevered, experimenting with different animal movements and eventually landing on a snake. He used his height to control the space. Sometimes he’d be crouching or slithering across the floor and then he’d stand up, his lanky body creating this skeleton-like creature. Liles even wore an all black leotard, employing his brief training as a mime, hoping the dark clothing would help him look more like liquid.
The casting director was so impressed she told him immediately that he had done a great job and that she hoped he would be cast. Even so, he wasn’t sure he’d land the role. He recalled he had been close to being cast as the titular “Krampus” a few years earlier.
“I was always so close,” he said, but his agent assured him he earned the part. “He told me the only way I wasn’t going to get the part is if I turned it down.”
Liles had quite a lot of wisdom to dispense. He encouraged students to, “…be the CEO of your life. I stopped waiting for somebody to do something.” He told stories of making international calls to Australia to figure out who was casting “Alien V. Predator” because he wanted to be a xenomorph, and walking into casting agents office in Canada and asking for a part.
“I never thought I would do this,” he shared. But Liles wouldn’t let fear stop him from pursuing his goal. “Just try stuff,” he encouraged the students. “There’s only so much prep you can do. When you get on set everything is going to be changing.”
The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Liles for taking the time to speak with our students. Watch Liles in the movie “Death Note” on Netflix, and performing with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in “Rampage” as his best friend, an albino gorilla named George.
For the first time in New York’s Lower East Side, the world has a chance to experience Jump Into VR Fest, a premier film festival striving to bring cutting edge VR/VX (virtal reality/extended reality) developments to light through showcases, performances, parties, workshops, product launches, demos, and panels — and the New York Film Academy is proud to congratulate two alumni and one faculty member who will be showcasing their work amongst the thought leaders and industry changes who are shaking the world through VR.
NYFA 8-Week Narrative VR Workshop alumni Na “Melody” Liu and Ana Paula Loureiro Kler will both screen films made as a part of their NYFA studies at the inaugural festival (“Praying From Afar” and “The Drummer”), while NYFA VR instructor Martina Casas will also present an original film (“Hope after Devastation”).
We had a chance to connect with NYFA alumna Ana as she prepares to screen “The Drummer.” Read on to hear her thoughts on the exponential speed of technology, what surprised her most at NYFA, and why she’s excited about Jump Into VR Fest.
NYFA: First, can you tell us a little bit about your background and what brought you to NYFA? What drew you to VR?
AS: I am a 36 year-old journalist, digital media content creator and now VR Filmmaker. In Brazil, where I was born, grew up and built my career, I have 12 years of background in television. In the last five years I’ve been creating website and social media content to the largest mass media group of Latin America (Globosat/Grupo Globo). I also had work experience as a reporter, producer, editor, director and screenwriter during the six years that I was an employee of the main public television in Brazil (TV Brasil). After I studied journalism, I attended a film school. After that I started to work in personal projects, such as a music video of the Brazilian singer Iara Renno (2014) and a short documentary about Burning Man (2011), both as a director. As an editor, I worked in a short film named “Tradução” (2008).
The exponential speed of technology has been transforming all the fields and leaving behind professionals who don’t update their careers. Journalism and cinema changed after the internet and keep changing once new technologies affect the communication between people. Since I became a journalist and filmmaker I’ve been learning how to use different tools to do my work. That’s why I decided to attend the VR program at NYFA. Now, I am totally focusing on 360/VR.
NYFA: Can you share any detail on how your film “The Drummer,” which is screening at Jump Into VR Fest, was made as a part of your NYFA studies?
AS: The film which was selected for the Fest was a class exercise. They asked us to go to Union Square and find a story to shoot in 360. I was the director of my team. I had two colleagues in my group: Andrew O’Leary, doing the production sound, and Carolina Sang operating the camera.
We saw this good drummer with disability and he said yes when I asked him if I could make an interview with him. (By the way, he said many students have done the same before but he never saw anything. I think I should email him!)
Basically, “The Drummer” is a short documentary about this street artist named Jesus. He talks about his life, why he is there, his thoughts, etc. He is always in Union Square. People pass by but have no idea about what he is going through. As a journalist and filmmaker, my goal was to go there, talk to him and transform all the information into entertainment, informing but also offering a nice way to hear from him.
NYFA: What kind of equipment did you use?
AS: The Samsung Gear 360, zoom recorder and ambisonic mic.
NYFA: What surprised you the most about your narrative VR course at NYFA? Would you recommend it to others?
AS: Definitely,the course was better than I expected! Surprised me how intense it was (many hours of class and projects). Also, the number of professionals from the market they brought to talk to us and how we had easy access to the equipment.
The experience was really great. Location, teachers and coordinators were really nice. I wouldn’t imagine that in eight weeks I could learn and produce so many things.
I was looking for something to change my life and my career. I think it was the perfect choice. I highly recommend.
NYFA: Can you tell us about your experience with Jump Into VR Fest experience so far?
AS: I am really excited about the Festival! It is a great opportunity to have a VR film that I directed and edited showcase here in New York.
Besides “The Drummer” I made two more films. “Undone.” my final project, is more hybrid. It is an adaptation of an art performance about Muslim women. The VR experience is to be surrounded by six muslim women and hear their stories. I believe in the power of virtual reality, known as the empathy machine, to change people’s minds.
My third VR film I made for an exhibition in a Art Gallery in Lower East Side. The idea was to give to people the experience to see the creative process of an artist: you see the painting in the gallery, you take the VR headset and when you put it on you are in his studio in upstate New York in the middle of the woods, hearing and seeing a stream, and you see the artist painting and talking about his work. The opening was great. People loved it.
“The Drummer” was also selected to be showcased at FoST Festival along with Ana’s final NYFA project, “Undone.” The New York Film Academy would like to thank Ana for taking the time to share about her experience with Jump Into VR Fest with the NYFA community.
A new Netflix original short documentary entitled “Heroin(e)” premieres today, Sept. 12, and a New York Film Academy instructor was instrumental in its production. Kristen Nutile, who teaches filmmaking and editing at NYFA, served as editor during the making of the film.
“Heroin(e)” focuses on three women in Huntington, West Virginia, attempting to reverse the devastating, years-long cycle of the opiate epidemic. The film was directed by Peabody-awarding winning documentary filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon who is a native of West Virginia. Her unique, local viewpoint allowed for a more empathetic and passionate portrayal of the issue as opposed to the many outside news outlets that have attempted to cover the epidemic.
“When I was approached by Elaine, I was very moved by this particular problem and that is why I took on the project,” said the NYFA documentary instructor. The fact that three heroines played the lead roles in the harrowing story was also appealing to Nutile, who stated, “I loved how she was following three women trying to make a difference. I love that it was female-centric.”
The film focuses on Fire Chief Jan Rader, Cabell County drug court Judge Patricia Keller, and Necia Freeman of Brown Bag Ministry, all of whom have taken it upon themselves to attempt to slow the devastating effects of opioid use on West Virginia.
Nutile is an award-winning, New York-based veteran documentary editor and filmmaker. She has worked on “The Bullish Farmer,” “Deep Run,” “Unfinished Spaces” and edited a wide range of other films, documentary and otherwise. She founded Soft Spoken Films in 2001.
Check out the trailer for the film below and watch in its entirety on Netflix. You can also learn more on the website.
Last week as August gave way to September, the New York Film Academy Gold Coast campus celebrated the January 2017 Diploma of Filmmaking Final Screenings. The two-day event held an opening reception for students, friends and family, and concluded with students’ digital dialogue screening at the Event Cinemas in Pacific Fair.
The final screenings serve as an opportunity for students, friends, family, and faculty to share the experience of watching the films created throughout the duration of the course, celebrate the students’ achievement, and come together to prepare for the transition into the industry.
NYFA Gold Coast Campus Manager DJ Stonier commented, “I was amazed by the outstanding quality of the films and the range of genres presented. These films are definitely festival circuit ready and I look forward to hearing about the journey these students will have as NYFA-AU graduates.”
Congratulations to all of our filmmaking graduates.
How can you effectively convey the scope, and the human tragedies, associated with a natural disaster like Hurricane Harvey? Last week, in the middle of all of its traditional coverage, the digital edition of The New York Times had one of the most effective, and frightening, infographics I have ever seen.
Even as coverage of the impact of Hurricane Harvey continues, news organizations have a responsibility to look beyond today’s headlines. The Nieman Lab at Harvard has posted a fascinating study of ways to cover ongoing climate change with urgency and creativity. Audiences think they have “heard it all before.” Journalists have to convince them that they haven’t. That takes skill and “smarts.”
One of the mainstays of the news business are “follow-up” stories. You might remember an item I wrote awhile back about the new partnership between NBC News and Snapchat. The goal is to reach audiences that traditional NBC News programming don’t. Axios reports that the early results are impressive, as the daily news program NBC distributes via Snapchat — which does not look, or sound, like anything else NBC does — seems to be a resounding success.
Friday was graduation day for the 8-week Summer Session students. They leave having created some impressive stories, as well as developed and deepened a wide range of production skills. One graduate had a job interview before she graduated. That says a lot about how hard our students work.
Instructor Zack Baddorf continues his “sabbatical” in central Africa. Currently he in Kaga Bandorio, which he describes as “a town held by rebels way out in the bush in the Central African Republic.” Zack is shooting video for the International Rescue Committee, which is fantastic organization. He is documenting health, child soldier reintegration and women’s socioeconomic activities in a place where it is brutally hot, and not enough power for a fan let alone an air conditioner.
Which is a good excuse to go whitewater rafting on the Nile…
The Weekly Update is briefly going on hiatus, as I am going to China where I am wrapping up my on-camera work for a cultural documentary series, shooting material for another documentary project, as well as representing NYFA. (In fact, as you read this, I am likely on the very long plane ride from New York.) The Weekly Update will be back on September 18.