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  • From Navy SEAL to 12 Strong With New York Film Academy Alum Kenny Sheard

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    Few people have the grit and the determination to become a Navy SEAL, but New York Film Academy alum Kenny Sheard has shown that no matter what he sets his mind to, he brings in the full force of his incredible work ethic, talent, and stamina. After honorably serving in the Navy for 12 years and attaining a place with the world famous, elite Navy SEALS, Sheard has managed to forge an entirely new and challenging path for himself in the civilian world as an actor and stunt performer in some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters and series.

    Sheard booked his first stunt job in the Transformers franchise while still actively serving in the reserves, and from there, came to NYFA to master new skills in Filmmaking. Since then, his creative career has skyrocketed, with stunt credits in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Fear of the Walking Dead, Logan, and the upcoming Avatar 2, among many many more. His acting credits continue to build up as well, with his most recent appearance alongside Chris Hemsworth in 12 Strong, now available to stream on Amazon.

    NYFA alum Kenny Sheard via IMDB

    Through it all, Sheard has worked hard to keep learning, stay humble, and encourage fellow veterans as they transition to civilian life. Here, he shares his best advice and some of his story with the NYFA Blog. Check out what he has to say:

    NYFA: First, can you tell us a bit about your journey and what brought you to NYFA?

    KS: I’m originally from Miami, FL, and attended College in Newburg, NY, for a few years, but didn’t finish. I moved home, joined the military in May of 2001, and served on active duty until May 2013. In 2010, while assigned to a training command, I was given an opportunity to use my saved up leave (vacation time) to play a minor stunt/acting role on Transformers 3. That experience and a multitude of things that followed are what ultimately lead me to the Filmmaking course at NYFA.

    NYFA: Why filmmaking? What inspires you most about film? What stories are you most passionate to tell?

    KS: Films have entertained and inspired me as far back as I can recall. I enjoy reading; however, films have had a more substantial impact on me. In my experience, I’m able to feel and perceive the world through this visual medium in ways that I might not ever have had the chance to, like through a mother’s loving eyes or a tormented serial killer. Personally, I prefer fiction over reality-based stories. That said, some of the most influential films I’ve seen have also been “based on true story” movies. The stories I’m passionate to tell lean on the darker and grittier side.

    NYFA: Do you have any favorite NYFA moments from your time studying with us?

    KS: I don’t have any favorite standout moments, but I got a ton out of the experience. The teachers were knowledgeable and went above and beyond.

    NYFA: As a veteran, what is your best advice to fellow veterans and active service members interested in transitioning into the visual and performing arts?

    KS: My advice would be to stay focused on your goals/dreams, be true to who you are always, and destroy the ego. Use the discipline, structure, and attention to detail you’ve acquired from your time of service and apply it to your new creative ventures in life.

    Have a work hard, hustle attitude, with a positive and open mind. Don’t ever hang your choice to serve over anyone’s head, ever.

    Sounds like a cheesy poster, but hey, get after it!

    NFYA: You launched your career in the Transformers franchise while still serving in the reserves. What was that experience like?

    KS: Being a part of Transformers was awesome. I met Michael Bay and Harry Humphries through a friend, Echy.

    I can’t say enough great things about Bay and being exposed to a film set like that. I enjoyed every moment, and it came at a time when I had no idea what to do next in life. If I tried to put words to the whole experience and what it’s meant to me, it would degrade it.

    NYFA: You’ve worked in some incredibly successful, major films — from John Wick to 13 Hours and Transformers: Age of Extinction. What is your best advice to our students to prepare for the transition from school to a large-scale blockbuster set?

    KS: That’s a tough one. I think some people get it, and some don’t. I can’t imagine anything I write here might shatter any glass for readers. See my advice to veterans; it applies to all.

    NYFA: Acting and stunts — how does your preparation process change depending on your work?

    KS: These are two very different worlds, which I’m on the bottom of the barrel in both. When it comes to acting, I’m just playing myself. Other than knowing my lines, which have yet to be extensive, there’s not a ton of prep for me.

    Stunts, on the other hand, require a ton of prep. I think I need to point out here that I’m relatively green in the stunt world. The pool of talent I’ve had the honor of working with in the stunt world is insane, and I’m far from being considered anyone of a high caliber. My tactical background has helped me out tremendously, but I’m still learning a ton every project I’m on.

    NYFA: What is your favorite part of working in stunts? Have there been any surprises and challenges along the way, and how do you overcome them?

    KS: My favorite part of working in the stunt community has been the people. Every project I’m on, I’m always impressed with the talent and comradery. I can’t say that I’ve ever been surprised, but it’s always challenging and fun.

    NYFA: Can you tell us a bit about 12 Strong? What was that filming experience like?

    KS: 12 Strong was an outstanding experience. From meeting the guys whom the story was about, to working with all the talented actors and stunt team, it was awesome. I wouldn’t know where to start, the director and producers were solid to work for as well.

    It’s a hard thing telling a true story, and I think Nicolai Fuglsig did an exceptional job. The men who the story is about were very pleased with it, and you can’t ask for anything better than that. I was deeply honored to play Bill Bennett, a medic who later lost his life overseas in Iraq in 2003.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Kenny Sheard for taking the time to share his story with the NYFA community. 12 Strong is available to stream on Amazon.

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  • New York Film Academy’s Peter Allen Stone Leads Introductory Acting Workshop for Veterans

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    There are many actors that have served in the military prior to discovering their talents on a film set or theatres’ stage. Gene Hackman, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, and even Mr. T are just a small sampling of those who wore the uniform before hitting it big in Hollywood.

    Veterans aspiring to the screen were invited from across the tri-state area for a very special introductory workshop to Acting for Film at the New York Film Academy last weekend.

    Under the energetic tutelage of NYFA Acting for Film Chair Peter Allen Stone, attendees found the acting exercises to be engaging and enjoyable as they worked through dialogue designed to help students better understand acting in front of the camera.

    Dozens of service members, many of whom are producers, writers, and directors in their own respect, were excited to offer their first lines in front of a rolling camera.

    “Acting is fun!” radiated Peter Allen Stone at the conclusion of the class. “Thank you all for your work today — it’s really great when there is a lot of energy and people are passionate about learning these techniques.”

    After the class, New York Film Academy’s Division of Veteran Services’ staff was on hand to offer assistance about Department of Veteran Affairs-related benefits.

    A participant checks his mark and waits for “Action!” as Chair of NYFA Acting for Film Program Peter Stone sets the scene.

    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) has been privileged to enroll more than 1,500 veteran students and military dependents at our campuses in New York City, NY, Los Angeles, CA, and South Beach, FL., since 2009. The Los Angeles and South Beach campuses also participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which allows eligible veterans and dependents in many cases the opportunity to go to school tuition and fee free. The honorable Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient and on-air military strategist for NBC/MSNBC, is the Chair of the NYFA Veterans Advancement Program.

    Join us on Facebook or go to www.NYFA.edu/veterans for more information.

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  • New York Film Academy Alum Writes For Military Blog We Are The Mighty

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    Orientation with Jack Jacobs

    NYFA Veteran Students with Col. Jack Jacobs (NYFA Chair of Veteran Advancement Program)

    Everybody knows by now that the Internet is filled with countless blogs, from globally famous media companies to ones covering even the tiniest of niches. But there’s at least one blog that’s doing great work serving an often overlooked yet large and vitally important demographic—the United States military community.

    The blog, We Are The Mighty, is for veterans, servicemen and women, and their families, and covers everything from military news to pop culture, with both thoughtfully penned articles and silly, amusing listicles. Overall, WATM’s mission statement is “Celebrating military service with stories that inspire,” but in doing so, it’s also provided a way for the community to congregate, communicate, and share their ideas and views through its site and social media.

    NYFA BFA Filmmaking and MFA Screenwriting Alum Tim Kirkpatrick

    Tim Kirkpatrick is one of the writers for We Are The Mighty, and has already built an impressive portfolio of articles. Kirkpatrick is a Navy veteran, having entered as a Hospital Corpsman in 2007. In the fall of 2010, he was deployed to Afghanistan with the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines.

    After coming back stateside, Kirkpatrick enrolled at the New York Film Academy and earned his AFA degree in filmmaking from our Los Angeles campus. Honing his skills even further, Kirkpatrick followed his filmmaking education with NYFA’s 8-Week Screenwriting workshop.

    Putting those writing skills to good use, Kirkpatrick has written multiple blog pieces for We Are The Mighty, including “6 of the Funniest Comedic Military Sketches Ranked” and “5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Navy Medal of Honor.”

    One of his most recent pieces is about the New York Film Academy itself, highlighting the Academy’s relationship to the Military and veteran community. As Kirkpatrick mentions in his article, “At any given time, NYFA caters to over 200 veterans in the student body and the school takes pride in putting a camera in their hands on the first day of class,” while also adding that NYFA has enrolled over 1500 veterans and dependents of veterans in total.

    The Military and veteran community is an important part of the NYFA family. Kirkpatrick mentions in his article the Academy’s V.S.A., or Veteran Student Association, where vets from different branches of the armed forces come together over their shared love of film and the visual arts.

    Kirkpatrick also shouts out the venerable Colonel Jack Jacobs, who in addition to being a Medal of Honor recipient and on-air military strategist for NBC/MSNBC, is the Chair of the NYFA Veterans Advancement Program.

    The Military and the film industry are a more natural pairing than some may suspect. Kirkpatrick writes, “As in the Military, the film industry uses a precise chain of command for its operational purposes, so vets feel right at home on set — hierarchy and order (and yes, even paperwork) have been branded into their solid work ethic.”

    You can check out Tim Kirkpatrick and the other writers at We Are The Mighty here.

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    January 26, 2018 • Community Highlights, Veterans • Views: 1467

  • New York Film Academy Student Veteran Awarded for Community Engagement

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) was delighted to pass along some holiday cheer in the form of the T.  Douglas MacPherson Scholarship, which was graciously gifted from the New Jersey Association of Veteran Service Providers (NJAVSP), and awarded to a NYFA veteran student in recognition for outstanding service to the veteran community.     

    The recipient — professional actor, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, and current NYFA Producing student Caleb Wells — was all smiles as he accepted the token of gratitude from NYFA’s President Michael Young and Senior Executive Vice President David Klein.

    @PaulaRey

    “Our student veterans are a well of talent waiting to be discovered,” remarked New York Film Academy’s Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Jim Miller. “Caleb exemplifies a committed student of the arts in both words and deeds.”

    In addition to working his way through NYFA’s intensive Producing Conservatory at NYFA’s New York City campus, Caleb volunteered his time as a speaker and panelist in a recent event in collaboration with the NYC Mayor’s Department of Veteran Services: NYC’s Public Artist in Residence-Bryan Doerries’ Theater of War.

    The performance was hosted at the New York Film Academy Theater in October, to a packed house. Caleb spoke candidly about challenges and perceptions he encountered after returning home from the experience of combat and war. During a recent NYFA-hosted Hire Heroes USA professional development workshop for veterans in film and television, Caleb brought his experiences as an actor, director, and producer to service members aspiring to enter the industry.

    Caleb has teamed up with fellow military veterans to start Tomahawk Pictures, a production company formed through the values of shared military culture.

    New York Film Academy is honored to count Caleb among its diverse array of students and is proud to serve military veterans and service members in their pursuit of a world-class education in filmmaking — and related disciplines — through its Veterans Advancement Program, Chaired by Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient.

     

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  • Veterans Day: NYFA Honors Veterans and Colonel Jack Jacobs

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    This week, our nation celebrates the men and women who have served our country in the US Military by paying special tribute to by honoring them on Veterans Day. Over the last seven years, nearly 1,500 military service members, veteran students, and military dependents, have selected the New York Film Academy (NYFA) to be the choice for their higher education.

    “Jerry Sherlock, who was a veteran of the US Air Force, founded the New York Film Academy 25 years ago and was always committed to making NYFA a welcoming learning environment for veterans who wanted to tell their own stories through the visual and performing arts,” stated Michael Young, NYFA’s President. “As a role model and leader to our veterans, we are honored to have, Colonel Jack Jacobs, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, as the Chair of the NYFA Veterans Advancement Program,” said President Young.

    NYFA in the Veteran's Parade

    NYFA in the Veteran’s Parade


    Colonel Jack Jacobs is an Army Veteran who received the Nation’s highest military honor for his heroism in Vietnam, the Medal of Honor. Colonel Jacobs, a media personality who can be seen regularly on MSNBC and NBC, and often on shows including Morning Joe, Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert and Rachel Maddow, is one of only 73 living Medal of Honor recipients.

    Colonel Jack Jacobs at NYFA


    Colonel Jacobs interacts with NYFA’s veteran students on a regular basis providing them with encouragement, advice, and opportunities while they are enrolled at NYFA, and also when they return to the school for the many activities that the NYFA Division of Veteran Services arranges for veteran students and alums.

    While Colonel Jacobs may best be known by the public for his television work, his greatest passion is supporting the military community by serving on the board of numerous veteran non-profit organizations, and speaking at many veteran events. Recently Colonel Jacob’s gave the keynote at the 21st annual Military Ball, attended by over 700 military leaders, which was hosted by the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation. In his speech, Colonel Jacobs noted, “There’s nothing like military service that gives young people authority and responsibility at an early age.” He continued,” People who serve time in a uniform can do anything… offering a job to veterans is not charity. These are ‘the’ best people.”

    The New York Film Academy Salutes the service of all US military Veterans This Veterans Day.

    Orientation with Jack Jacobs

    Orientation with Jack Jacobs

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    November 11, 2017 • Community Highlights, Veterans • Views: 739

  • NYFA Hosts “Theater of War” Performance in Partnership with NYC Department of Veteran Services

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    “A great man must live in honor or die an honorable death” were the weighty words spoken by actor Zach Grenier (“The Good Wife,” “Fight Club”), as he voiced the character of Ajax, the mighty Greek warrior. Grenier’s Ajax then turns to his wife, Tecmessa, played by the multiple Tony and Academy Award nominee Amy Ryan, describing the indignities and horrors he has suffered since returning home from the Trojan War.

    Inside the dimly lit walls of New York Film Academy’s (NYFA) campus theater on October 25, the student veterans and their supporters, over a hundred in attendance, were deeply moved by the performances by Mr. Grenier, Ms. Ryan, and NYC Council Member Jumaane Williams.

    Justin Ford, a U.S. Army Combat Veteran, NYC-based filmmaker, and NYFA Alumni, offered, “I never met anyone who sees [“Theater of War”] and isn’t moved — it’s an amazing emotional experience.”

    Like the fabled wars of antiquity, veterans returning home from modern conflict face challenges and obstacles with themselves, their colleagues, and their loved ones stemming from violence. Moral injury is at the center of the discussion that director of “Theater of War” Bryan Doerries hopes to start by utilizing ancient Greek plays to foster constructive community discussion.

    Chair of NYFA’s Veterans Advancement Program Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient and one of the most decorated soldiers of the Vietnam War, gave an opening welcome to the audience before a panel discussion about the challenges and obstacles that come from the invisible wounds of war and combat followed the night’s performance.  

    “Knowing this issue is at least 2,500 years old, it seems silly that we aren’t rock stars at helping our veterans return home from war and give them the help, support, and an environment that facilitates healing,” said USMC combat veteran, infantry officer, and NYFA student, Caleb Wells, who participated in the night’s discussion as a panelist offering his own unique viewpoint on assimilating back into civilian culture after the experience of war.

    Theater has been recognized since the days of ancient city-states as a powerful medium for audiences to experience the release of negative emotions, or catharsis, through performance. Retired Brig. Gen. Commissioner Loree Sutton, MD of New York City’s Department of Veteran Services, has supported the dialogue through the City’s Public Artist in Residency Program, believing that an open dialogue is key to reducing stigma and encouraging sufferers of PTSD and moral injury to seek assistance.  

    “New York Film Academy, being an avid supporter of the veteran community and veterans in the arts, was eager to host the ‘Theater of War’ performance,” stated NYFA’s VP for Strategic Initiative Jim Miller. “The evening was important to us because we not only provided this powerful performance to veteran students, but our non-veteran students were able to better understand their classmates who have experienced war, and the scars that combat leaves on their emotions. NYFA is grateful to Commissioner Sutton and Mr. Doerries for this very special opportunity.”

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    November 6, 2017 • Academic Programs, Acting, Community Highlights, Film School, Filmmaking, Veterans • Views: 905

  • Hire Heroes USA and NYFA Collaborate to Support Veterans Employment

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    On October 21, New York Film Academy (NYFA) held a special day-long professional development workshop with Hire Heroes USA, an event open to New York City’s diverse array of veterans seeking careers in film, television, and broadcast journalism. This training session follows a very successful NYFA Hire Heroes USA event that was held at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus.

    Hire Heroes USA is a highly successful nonprofit organization that provides free career coaching and job sourcing to transitioning U.S. military members, veterans and military spouses. To date, Hire Heroes USA has found more than 20,000 jobs for veterans.

    Together with NYFA, the organization tailored the day’s instruction and training uniquely for the media and entertainment industries. The training also included a panel of industry professionals with a plethora of experience in major motion picture production, start-up production company management, entertainment law, pitching and network building.

    Veteran participants with Colonel Jack Jacobs at the NYFA NYC Hire Heroes USA training.

    “The men and women who make up the United States Armed Forces are some of the world’s most highly trained professionals. But when service members transition out of the military one of the most common questions they ask me is, ‘Which of my skills from service are transferable to a civilian career?’” stated NYFA Veterans Services Coordinator Chris Paparis, one of the workshop’s principle organizers. He continued, “In many cases, veterans discount how much their service in the military has already prepared them for careers in the entertainment industry.”

    NYFA’s Chair of Veteran Services Colonel Jack Jacobs (Ret.)  provided insight into his own career in television as the on-air military strategist at NBC/MSNBC, which he began after a successful venture in the finance industry. Colonel Jacobs is an advocate for all veterans seeking to break into the film and television industry. He readily advises students on their career paths, and even has NYFA veteran students visit the NBC Studios in NYC for a behind-the-scenes experience.

    Attendees worked through a busy lunch hour, which included the opportunity to have professional headshots taken by NYFA staff photographers to accompany the LinkedIn skill-building portion of the seminar.

    Gileon Clarke, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and graduate of NYFA 1-Year Acting Conservatory, noted that the class “focused on modern concepts … we learned how to use LinkedIn to build our personal brand, and [how] these new ideas can really help build one’s network and overall impact in the job market.”

    NYFA greatly appreciates the partnership with Hire Heroes USA, and especially wants to thank Elena Comperatore, Jamie Rimphanli, and Molly Giles, who provided the accompanying lectures to the event and provided the skills training.  

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    November 2, 2017 • Academic Programs, Community Highlights, Veterans • Views: 1157

  • NYFA Los Angeles Welcomes Producer David Gale to Q&A Series

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    This October, David Gale came to the Los Angeles campus of the New York Film Academy. Director of Q&A Series Tova Laiter hosted the evening alongside Veteran Coordinator Steven Padilla.

    Gale began his illustrious career in entertainment as a lawyer, but wanted to make movies. Without any experience, he had to settle for working at ICM as an Entertainment Lawyer.

    For 10 years he held this position until his firm began working with Ridley Scott’s production company. The two liked working together, and Scott offered Gale a job. It was not glamorous work, but Gale kept his nose to the grindstone and, just when he thought it wouldn’t work out, a friend phoned to tell him that Gale Anne Hurd, the producer of “The Terminator” and more recently “The Walking Dead,” was looking for someone to run her company.

    “I did that job for the next four years,” Mr. Gale said. “That’s where I really learned to produce movies. Gale is a tough one, but she’s fair and a wonderful person. If you did the work she really respected you.”

    Yet Gale still wasn’t doing the kind of work he truly wanted to be doing. Then, in 1995, MTV called. They were looking for someone to run their new feature film division. The first film on the docket was “Beavis and Butt-Head Do America.”

    Gale remembered, “I loved it so I stayed there, running MTV Films, for 11 years.” His work included such cult classic hits as “Election,” “Varsity Blues” (with Tova Laiter), “Jackass: The Movie,” and “Pootie Tang.”

    Laiter wanted to know, what was the philosophy behind MTV Films’ and Gale’s success?

    Gale’s response: “When you have a great brand and you’re trying to make movies, or anything really, you can depend on that brand to help you understand and define what it is you want to make.”

    Gale did this by keeping the budget low and by hiring great independent voices. “Murderball,” Tupac documentaries, and indie voices helped define a youth-centered brand for the early 2000’s. When he had the idea to buy a manuscript called “Twilight and the studio passed, “Everyone thought I was crazy,” Gale said. He then decided it was time to move on.

    His boss gave him a new division as head of digital at MTV. In 2006, this move put Gale at the forefront of the next wave of media entertainment. Facebook and YouTube were brand new players on the scene. The rules for digital marketing, development, and content had not yet been created.

    While MTV ultimately elected not to go full blast into the digital world, they gave Gale the freedom to experiment and learn.

    After 18 years at MTV, Gale was looking for something new, only this time he wasn’t sure what the next step would be. So he quit. A few days later, someone sent him a video that led to the creation of We Are The Mighty, a digital media company focused on engaging the United States military community.

    “Somebody sent me a music video of a band I’d never heard of,” Gale recalled. “What was cool about it was it was all veterans in the band, and they had 150 million views on YouTube.”

    A couple of days later Gale received a documentary about five severely disabled veterans who were doing standup, called “Comedy Warriors.” He had a thought: “The military is a big giant audience and no one is serving it.”

    His second thought was, “Whatever I’m doing next I want to be positive in some way. Could I combine my skill set of 30 years and put that to work with a company that could make a difference?”

    Over the next year, Gale invested all of his time and energy into learning about the military and the lives of those who serve. What he learned is that one-third of Americans are directly or indirectly related to the military. Gale found that there were some entertainment companies with a military focus, “But without military personnel behind the camera it’s not going to be authentic. The entertainment industry says we have a lot of jobs for veterans — you can work in the mailroom or as an electrician. But we’re missing the creativity.”

    “There’s a lot of leadership skills not being put to use,” Gale commented. “The level of maturity, the ability to make decisions and adjust is so much higher than a 30-year-old who has been getting copy and delivering scripts for the past 10 years.”

    So Gale co-founded and is now CEO of We Are The Mighty. This organization hires veterans to create content and then helps pitch and launch the content on different platforms. There’s an internship program that turns young creators into professional filmmakers. He’s also partnered with Medal of Honor recipient and Chair of NYFA’s Veterans Advancement Program Colonel Jack Jacobs to shoot a documentary about the first 10 weeks of basic training.

    NYFA student and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Drew Demboske asked, “What was the biggest obstacle you faced when starting your company, besides funding?” Gale suggested: just creating something. Once you’ve begun, you tweak, observe changes in viewer consumption, and keep up with those changes that happen every day.  

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. David Gale for taking the time to speak with our students. Check out We Are The Mighty online by clicking here.

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  • NYFA Student Veteran Organization Welcomes New Veteran Students

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    Recently, the New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) Student Veteran Organization (SVO) of the NYFA Los Angeles Campus organized a new student welcome event at the local Burbank VFW Ship. The morning began with a breakfast for a Burbank scout troop that was organized by a NYFA alumnus who is also a veteran.

    Veteran students from all branches of service and disciplines met to network and to develop the camaraderie that many service members felt while in the military. The NYFA Student Veteran Organization facilitates these events to build on the vet-to-vet interaction that helps many of our returning warriors as they transition out of the military.

    NYFA welcomes new Veteran students

    Those who attended were able to connect with fellow NYFA veterans and military dependents. “The Burbank VFW is a great resource for our student veterans as they have welcomed all of our veterans with open arms and serve as liaisons to the local community, said Vincent Cugno, NYFA BFA Acting student who also serves as the SVO President.”

    The SVO used this opportunity to host its first meeting of the fall 2017 semester and to introduce the new incoming class of NYFA veteran students and also to discuss ideas as to how to engage the veteran community and to organize events to support their fellow veterans. The SVO plans on creating a Veteran Production team within the College in conjunction with the VFW.

    The New York Film Academy student population is incredibly diverse just as is the US military. NYFA’s enrollment is more than 50% international students who come from many different countries, backgrounds, and all have unique life experiences. The SVO intends to bring NYFA veteran students together with their classmates from around the world to tell stories in collaboration.

    The SVO is collaborating with the NYFA Service Learning Department and the City of Burbank – Thank A Soldier event on 21 October.

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    October 17, 2017 • Acting, Veterans • Views: 817

  • NYFA and Veterans in Media And Entertainment Co-Sponsor Casting Society of America Panel Discussion for Military Veterans

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    The Division of Veterans Services at the New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) joined Veterans in Media And Entertainment (VME) to welcome the Casting Society of America (CSA) to the College’s campus in Burbank, CA for a panel discussion specifically tailored for military veterans. The stellar group of industry professionals shared all-important information about the ‘business’ side of the acting vocation.

    CSA and VMA at NYFA LA

    From left to right, Jack Kennedy (VME), Jon Levy, Jason Kennedy, April Webster, Paul Dinh-McCrillis, Tricia Wood, and Russell Boast

    The event was held under the auspices of CSA’s “Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion”. CSA’s Diversity Initiative has the mission of providing knowledge and opportunities to many different populations including veterans who are pursuing careers in the entertainment industry.

    The panel featured legendary casting directors including April Webster (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Star Trek,” “Criminal Minds”), Jon Levy (“ER,” “Shameless,” “The Brave”), Tricia Wood (“La La Land”), Jason Kennedy (“NCIS”) and Paul Dinh-McCrillis (“Get Big”). Russell Boast, Vice President at CSA and Jack Kennedy, Director of Programs at VME moderated the event.

    The attendees were treated to an inspiring two-hour discussion that provided an in-depth look at how casting directors approach the process of audition and selecting actors for roles in film, television, and commercials. The esteemed panel of casting directors also spoke about how veterans’ military and life experiences can help during the casting process and when the actor is on the film set. Veterans are often highly disciplined and very capable of working in a team environment.

    “NYFA was proud to host this event on our campus and to collaborate, once again, with the membership of Veterans In Media And Entertainment, and now with CSA in support of the veteran community in our area”, stated Michael Kunselman, Veterans Coordinator at NYFA’s Division of Veteran Services.

    “The panel discussion with the CSA was an excellent learning experience and extremely informative for me as a new actor. I appreciated the opportunity to have been given the chance to hear from some of our leading casting directors from the industry. They all had useful information to share and some of the main points that resonated with me were to trust myself, learn to be my authentic self and the importance of knowing and connecting with the material,” said Douglas Prideaux, US Army, BFA Acting student at the New York Film Academy.

    NYFA has been honored to support over 1300 veterans who have studied at the College since 2011. This collaboration is just another step in supporting this newest generation of veterans who are pursuing their aspirations to be successful in the entertainment industry post-military service.

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    October 12, 2017 • Veterans • Views: 1143