Community Highlights

  • NYFA Hosts “Life in Television” Panel with Final Draft

    Recently, the New York Film Academy’s Screenwriting Department, in cooperation with Final Draft, hosted the second in a series of “Life In” panels. This second panel arranged for NYFA’s Final Draft Fellowship (a 12 week Writing Fellowship for the finalists in Final Draft’s Big Break Contest), focused on “Life in Television” and saw the panelists explore television’s past and its ever-evolving future.

    The Television panelists, consisting of former and current NYFA Instructors, included:

    • Rachel Vine, animation writer, (RAINBOW BRITE)
    • Justin Sternberg, half-hour and sketch comedy writer, (THE PAUL REISER SHOW, LOVEBITES)
    • John Marsh, half-hour comedy and animation writer, (THE PROUD FAMILY, FATHERHOOD, ARTHUR)
    • John Carr, reality TV writer, (THE BACHELOR, THE HILLS, VANDERPUMP RULES)
    • Christina Weir, half-hour comedy and animation writer, (ARLISS, KIM POSSIBLE)
    • George McGrath, half-hour comedy writer (TRACY TAKES ON, PEE-WEE’S PLAYHOUSE)
    • Dan Kay, one-hour drama writer, (THE DIABOLIC, NOCTURNAL)
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    NYFA’s Associate Chair of the Screenwriting Department, Adam Finer

    Adam Finer, NYFA’s Associate Chair of the Screenwriting Department, moderated and had several pieces of insightful advice from his years as a manager. He guided the panelists in an animated discussion of their path into the writer’s room and how they found their brand as a writer. John Marsh said,“Whether it’s being a PA on the show, being an assistant to an executive producer, figure out exactly what you want to do and try to gear yourself towards that. …Once you’re in there, use those relationships to help you.” Rachel Vine added, “I think there’s this myth that the industry is unapproachable, but I find that people want to help people. …Don’t be afraid to ask.”

    The panelists also explored the differences in network and audience targets, pitching, and how the world of television is evolving to the point that there are shows and networks niche enough for all tastes. John Carr said, “With the proliferation of networks it’s increasingly niche driven. …When you’re talking about your voice, you’re really talking about what network are you on? What is the micro-niche they’re reaching out to? Those are the questions you can ask yourself as a writer.”

    Dan Kay discussed the need to be savvy about the Business as well as the Craft, “Being a professional writer is not just writing. Although…you have to be writing all the time. But you also have to have a business brain. And you have to spend a lot of your time figuring out how to network and following up on your network and broadening your network. Part of being a writer is doing the business.” Adam talked about the challenges new writers face and the need to not give up,“It’s incredibly tough when you’re getting out of school to survive. To make a living doing what you love. And sometimes you take the jobs that sustain you while you pursue your career. But, you have to be tenacious. You have to keep going.”

    At the end of the discussion the audience, made up of Final Draft fellows, NYFA students, and alumni, was invited to ask questions, which ranged from how to find an agent or manager, to pitching, to specific questions about the writing work of each panelist.

    The ultimate bit of wisdom given to the attendees was to always be writing, to always be creating, and to write stories that speak to you and that you are passionate about. Christina Weir said, “…the focus is always on the story – how to tell a good story in the medium you’re doing it.” Christina’s comments were echoed by Justin Sternberg who said,“Tell your stories. Just keep writing and write you. Just be you.” George McGrath added, “What excites you? What do you want to see on TV? That’s what you should write. Whether that’s a sitcom, hour drama, kids show or animation, or a variety show you have to be excited to have that sense of ‘this is magic, this thing they handed me’ because it’s coming from a place that’s you.”

    The Panel was the second in a series being offered by NYFA, and in cooperation with Final Draft, and was followed by a “Life In Features” Panel.

    August 4, 2015 • Community Highlights, Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 1260

  • NYFA Students Participate in LA Mayor Garcetti’s Veterans Initiative


    Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti with NYFA veteran students

    Veteran students from the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus were front and center at the 10,000 Strong Veterans Career Summit & Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America VetTogether held in Los Angeles on July 14. LA Mayor Eric Garcetti led the event.

    This event was held in celebration of Mayor Garcetti’s one-year anniversary of the launch of 10,000 Strong Hiring Initiative. The Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs created the initiative to connect veterans with employers seeking to hire former service members. The goal is to have employers support the veteran population by hiring 10,000 veterans by the year 2017. The summit aimed to connect veterans with the various career and business resources available.

    The New York Film Academy was privileged to partner with “We Are Mighty,” a Veteran NGO, on the initiative; and NYFA veteran students filmed the event.

    garcettiThe NYFA veterans in attendance were delighted to have the opportunity to connect with the many participants from the entertainment industry to discuss employment opportunities. The VetTogether was beneficial to the New York Film Academy Veterans Affairs Office by providing the opportunity to network and develop partnerships with many veterans’ organizations.

    The New York Film Academy received a Certificate of Appreciation from Mayor Garcetti on behalf of the city of Los Angeles and its residents for offering our media services.

    July 22, 2015 • Community Highlights • Views: 1375

  • NYFA Run Club Participates in Night Nation Run

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    Sometimes there’s nothing more rewarding than a good run. It clears your mind, relieves stress, and occasionally sparks a creative idea for that film or script you’re working on. This past weekend, the New York Film Academy Run Club participated in its third event, the Night Nation Run, which is the world’s 1st running music festival. The entire event incorporates a 5k run with multiple DJ stages and a main-stage after party concert. This personally rewarding event also benefits the charity Stand Up To Cancer — a groundbreaking initiative created to accelerate innovative cancer research that will get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now.

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    NYFA Run Club

    “I started the NYFA Run Club to promote enhanced physical as well as social health amongst the students, and create a sense of camaraderie and community to supplement their academic experience,” said NYFA Health & Wellness Instructor, Aly Covington. “My vision is to show that NYFA not only creates, but NYFA moves, because students who are motivated by fitness and wellness tend to perform better academically and have enhanced creativity and concentration.

    Miss Covington also reinforces the notion that the Run Club has a positive impact in the students’ overall well-being by improving stress, time management and problem solving.

    “Success goes beyond the classroom, and with NYFA’s support and encouragement, these students have an opportunity to build healthy habits that will last a lifetime.”

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    The NYFA Run Club has previously participated in the Sunset Strip 5k as well as the Color Run at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Participants include an international student body consisting of members from China, France, Sweden, Belgium, Poland, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Mexico and the United States.

    “One of the things I am most proud of is the global diversity of our group,” added Covington. “We are bringing students together to interact in a way that is encouraging them to make connections across their cultural differences; and it has created a great sense of community, which is very special.”

    nyfa run club

    July 14, 2015 • Community Highlights, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 983

  • Broadcast Journalism Students On Hand For US Women’s Soccer Team Parade

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    NYFA student, Starla Sampaco

    One of the biggest stories in New York City last week was a special parade honoring the members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, following their victory at the World Cup. The parade was also an opportunity for our New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism students to develop their journalism skills. The Summer Session students began class on Monday, and by Friday they were shooting footage of an actual news event. It’s an example of the “hands-on” nature of coursework at NYFA

    Members of the class come from England, Brazil, India, Russia and Scotland, as well as Washington state, Ohio and New York. One of them is Starla Sampaco, a university student majoring in journalism, who came to NYFA to deepen her broadcast journalism skill set. The class also includes several practicing journalists.

    For more information about our Broadcast Journalism school, please visit

    July 13, 2015 • Broadcast Journalism, Community Highlights • Views: 871

  • NYFA Explores LA Neighborhoods in New Doc-Series

    The New York Film Academy has gathered an award-winning team of industry professionals to produce a mini-documentary series about the neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Three very different people tell us their story and the story of their community. Each episode, told with cinematic flair and shot with the new Sony FS7 camera, will guide the audience on a journey to discover the authenticity and soul of each neighborhood.

    Today we shot footage of the Korean musician, SeonJoo Lee. She arrived from South Korea several years ago to attend a language school in Westwood; but three years ago began to feel homesick and moved to Koreatown, a home away from home.

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    We shot at Chapman Plaza and the City Center, both on 6th Street. We had two cameras filming in order to get the coverage we needed.

    “I’m a big fan of the new Sony FS7; it was so portable and user-friendly.” The handgrip and arm design provided DP Travis Hoffman with much support to keep the handheld camerawork steady. And he easily switched frame rates from 24fps to 48fps to 60fps.

    “The FS7 worked great on so many levels and I couldn’t be more pleased with this perfect hybrid between a great run and gun build and studio-designed camera that Sony has produced. What was great with the FS7 is we didn’t have to sacrifice image quality for speed. For this I credit the camera’s non-modular design and extendable handle with built-in record speed button, adjustable zoom, and other user-customizable functions. I was also a big fan of the EVF/flip up monitor. It had some great customizable controls and easy quick buttons to see peaking, contrast adjustment, and other user functions. The built-in ND’s up to 6 stops were very user friendly and helped me control my image quickly and efficiently. It was perfect for the times we were handheld run and gun, grabbing the life of the city but also when it came time for interviews and controlled b-roll with lighting and dolly. I was also extremely impressed with Sony’s 4k Super 35mm Single-Chip Exmor CMOS sensor. First off, the new “Slog 3” gamma space was beautiful. I usually rated the camera from 1000-2000 (depending on situation), and was amazed with the 13-14 stops I was pulling out of the image. Not only was the highlight gradation superb but the shadows felt rich and natural and I had no problem capturing noise-free night exteriors with all natural light.” – Cinematographer, Travis Hoffman

    Nick Sony

    The camera was also a perfect choice for Nick Sivakumaran, the project’s director.

    “I was able to view the footage whenever I wanted and the thumbnail menu was extremely easy to use. We also shot in some darker alleys of K-town and I was very pleased with the low light performance of this camera. And the 28-135mm zoom lens gave us so many options when framing our shots and truly helped us make our day.” – Director, Nick Sivakumaran

    Sony NYFA

    The speed, portability, and image quality were also a boon to the project’s producer, Ana Menendez.

    “We are extremely excited to be working with the new Sony FS7 camera. It is very production friendly. The footage looks incredible and it is perfect for the concept and vision of this project.” – Producer, Ana Menendez

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    July 8, 2015 • Community Highlights, Documentary Filmmaking, Filmmaking • Views: 740

  • NYFA Los Angeles Hosts 3-Week Workshop for NYFA Australian Acting Students

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    NYFA Australia acting students attending the Groundlings Comedy Improv show

    On Monday the 8th of June, four students from the New York Film Academy’s Gold Coast location, three students from NYFA Sydney, and acting instructor Hunter McMahon departed Australia and headed to the New York Film Academy campus in Los Angeles, California. The acting students participated in an intensive three week program which encompassed classes such as; Meisner technique, Voice and Movement, Combat, Comedy, Psychology of Performance, Audition technique and Production Workshops, which were shot on the backlot of Universal Studios.

    The students’ first week of training began on Tuesday the 9th of June with three classes a day, plus plenty of work to keep them busy outside of school hours. The first shoot on the Universal backlot took place on the “Western Set,” with scenes authored by the students. “It was a unique experience, and one that I will cherish for the rest of my life,” said NYFA Sydney Acting Instructor, Hunter McMahon.


    On Saturday afternoon, the acting students attended the Los Angeles Film Festival for a screening of Be Here Now: The Andy Whitfield Story. “It was one of the most powerful documentaries I have ever seen. When the lights came up we were all visibly moved and glad that we had shared the experience together,” said McMahon.

    On Sunday the group took some time out with a large portion of the day spent lounging at the pool of the Oakwood Apartments and enjoying the famous Los Angeles sun—after all, it is currently wintertime back in Australia.

    During the second week, the intensity of the program increased as the teachers began to demand more of the students, and as we’re accustomed to at NYFA, the students picked up the challenge.

    Friday night saw the students shuttled from NYFA to attend The Groundlings Theatre Show. “The show was hilarious, the students had a ball, and some were even lucky enough to meet the performers afterwards and have their picture taken with them,” recalled McMahon.

    Over the course of the rest of the weekend, the students spent time shopping, and exploring Disneyland. Any spare time leftover, students worked on the course material for the final week.

    The last week was spent filming the scenes, monologues and learning as much as possible about the industry in Los Angeles. During the week, students were shuttled to The Matrix theatre to watch The Australian Theatre Company’s rehearsed play reading of Ruben Guthrie. “The show was fantastic and a great networking opportunity… the play has been recently been adapted into a feature film, which opened the Sydney Film Festival this year,” said McMahon.

    matrix theatre

    On the Friday night of their final week, the students’ work was showcased in the screening room of NYFA LA’s Riverside Building. “It was a fitting end to the three-week course and we were overawed by the experience,” said McMahon.

    Monday the 29th of June marked the conclusion of the three-week excursion.

    “From this experience, my Australian acting students have grown remarkably, and will certainly cherish these memories dearly. The teachers we’ve had have been fantastic, experienced and very knowledgeable. We have made industry connections that will benefit both parties in the years to come. I’m grateful that I have been able to share this experience with the students, and the NYFA staff in LA. I have learned so much in my time here, and I can’t wait to share it all upon my return to Sydney. This journey has been invaluable, and I would like to share my gratitude and warm thanks to the New York Film Academy, its teachers and the students who journeyed with me to Los Angeles,” concluded McMahon.

    As for the students who took part in this incredible three-week Los Angeles trip, this is what they had to say:

    “I have been deeply touched by the passion, dedication and immense desire every teacher has had to share their experience and, install in our hearts, deep respect for our craft and the industry. I am now more committed to the ingenuity, creativity, skill and professionalism that has gone before me.”

    Sharde Anne (Gold Coast Graduate)

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    NYFA Australian actors attend the Australian Theatre Company’s Evening of “Stage to Screen” at the Matrix Theatre in Hollywood

    “This has been an incredible experience. I’m so grateful I was given this opportunity to explore the LA industry that I one day intend to be a part of. We were taken to The Groundlings, which was phenomenal and hilarious. We were also taken to see the Australian Theatre Company’s reading of ‘Ruben Guthrie’ at the Matrix theatre. We filmed on the Universal backlot twice. I have learned and grown so much in the past three weeks. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of it!”

    Tiahni Wilton (Gold Coast Graduate)

    “The wisdom and experience of the industry that was shared with us from the lecturers at NYFA was invaluable; and now I’m going home to Australia more confident with my craft. Thank you to all the lecturers from NYFA across Australia and LA. You all inspire me daily.”

    Krystal Shuttleworth (Gold Coast Graduate)

    “I look forward to the future in acting. I feel my passion gets stronger as I keep learning. It’s been an amazing experience!”

    Tareesha Argus (Gold Coast Graduate)

    “Coming to Los Angeles has been a fantastic and an uplifting experience for me. I’m eternally grateful for all that I have learned at my time at NYFA.”

    Abel Kollie (Sydney Graduate)

    “We have had incredible classes and teachers, who are all so passionate about the craft. I’ve learned so much about acting and the exciting business over here. The classes have been intense, and definitely worthwhile. Experiencing the American audition process and running it with a real agent was an invaluable experience. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone.”

    Kiara Williams (Sydney Graduate)

    “The experience and knowledge I’ve gained from doing this program is without a doubt the best decision and opportunity that was given to me by NYFA. I’ve learned so much more than I could have imagined about the LA market, auditioning and character work in the past 3 weeks. Though the days were long, I wouldn’t change any of it. The teachers were fantastic; they were so knowledgeable and passionate about the industry. I am eternally grateful to NYFA Sydney for this experience and can’t wait to start my career.”

    Ismael Nunez Moreno (Sydney Graduate)

  • Instructor Zack Stoff Works as Research Consultant to Benicio Del Toro

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    Perhaps one of the most notorious drug lords of our time, Pablo Escobar has been an appealing character often explored in film and television over the years. In writer/director Andrea Di Stefano’s recent film, Escobar: Paradise Lost, the filmmaker sets up a young couple who fall in love in Colombia and, after discovering the young woman’s uncle is Pablo Escobar, are faced with a dramatic, life-altering turn.

    One of our Editing Instructors in Los Angeles, Zack Stoff, was a research consultant to Oscar-winning actor Benicio Del Toro, who happened to play Escobar. “I became involved in research for Benicio through my editing background,” said New York Film Academy Instructor, Zack Stoff. “It gave me the ability to scan through and edit material from many different sources.”

    Also starring in the film is lead actor Josh Hutcherson, who Stoff worked with as Assistant Editor on Benicio’s directorial short film Seven Days in Havana. “This was their [Del Toro and Hutcherson] first time acting together and they have a great chemistry,” said Stoff. “Benicio’s portrayal of Escobar is really captivating.”

    Stoff offered some great advice to students looking to break into the industry as a research consultant or anything else for that matter. “Be ready to walk through whatever door opens for them. This business is run by need and opportunity. One person’s need is another person’s opportunity. Hold onto your skills and ambitions and know they will eventually pay off, but be patient and just do good work. Good things will happen if you prove yourself to be dependable.”

    Escobar: Paradise Lost is now playing in theaters.

    July 6, 2015 • Community Highlights, Digital Editing • Views: 917

  • #NYFASummer Photo Contest


    With New York Film Academy Summer Camp Programs officially happening all around the world, we thought it was time again to see what you’re all up to. And what’s the best way to stay in touch with friends around the world? Social Media!

    All you have to do is tag your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter photos with #NYFASummer and we can see how much fun your learning experience is. Whether you’re in New York City, Los Angeles, Harvard, Florida, Europe or wherever, you’re all #NYFASummer students at heart!

    The best photos showing your support of #NYFASummer will be posted on NYFA’s Social Media platforms and awarded a leather NYFA bag, shirts and caps. You could be hanging out on campus, on set, or in a group selfie with your new NYFA friends! The more creative, the better! After all, we’re an art school.

    We will be sharing some of the contenders throughout the summer—from now until September 1st, 2015. The top winners will be announced soon after to receive their NYFA swag!

    Start snapping and tagging #NYFASummer!

    July 2, 2015 • Academic Programs, Community Highlights, Contests • Views: 2272

  • NYFA Awards Scholarships to “Be Your Dream” Performers

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    Acting Scholarship Winner Prosper Mangena (right) with Blake Babbitt and Anaïs

    As an on-going effort to reach talented individuals not only in the Unites States but also abroad, the New York Film Academy has partnered with the “Be Your Dream” project in South Africa to offer two full tuition scholarships to teen musical theatre and acting students.

    Founded by artist and Ambassador of Lifeline, Anaïs, the “Be Your Dream” project is an initiative to spread awareness throughout South Africa, regarding LifeLine and their free services and counseling that is provided for those in need.

    After auditioning forty selected individuals from the program, our admissions team was forced with the difficult decision of awarding two of the many deserving artists with these talent-based scholarships.


    Musical Theatre Scholarship Winner, Kayla de Araujo

    Today, with Anaïs on hand at NYFA Battery Park, NYFA showcased our most recent student scholarship winners:

    • Prosper Mangena, Awarded 4-Week Acting for Film Teen Scholarship
    • Kayla de Araujo, Awarded 4-Week Musical Theatre Teen Scholarship

    “I had the honor of awarding Prosper Mangena and Kayla de Araujo full talent-based scholarships to attend our 4-Week Teen Summer Acting for Film and Musical Theatre programs,” said Director of Performing Arts Admissions, Blake Babbitt. “I see such incredible talent come from South Africa, and it’s a pleasure to be able to join with the ‘Be Your Dream’ project to offer Kayla and Prosper this unique and life changing opportunity.”

    We’re delighted to have these two gifted young performers currently enrolled at NYFA, and look forward to seeing next year’s talent!

    June 30, 2015 • Community Highlights, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1628

  • MFA Cinematographers Film Underwater

    Our MFA Cinematography students literally dive head first into the world of underwater filmmaking. Shot with a Canon 5D in Hyrdoflex housing, students were able to capture the cinematic magic below the surface of the water.

    The MFA program is an accelerated, four semester graduate program that is extremely hands-on. Those interested in becoming Directors of Photography in the professional world are immersed in this intensive course under the tutelage of professional cinematographers. This unique setting helps develop both the creative vision and technical proficiency necessary for a career as a cinematographer.

    Upon graduation, students will be proficient with many of the state-of-the-art camera systems that are used on today’s biggest sets, including 16mm, 35mm, HD and Red digital cinema cameras. In addition, students can expect to be able to confidently supervise the creation of sophisticated lighting schemes on set.

    For more information about the New York Film Academy’s MFA Cinematography Program, please visit