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  • NYFA Screenwriting Alum’s “Breakfast in Bangalore” Brings American Sitcom to India

    “Write what you know” is perhaps the most popular advice for aspiring writers, and NYFA screenwriting alumnus Michael Fontana has taken this lesson to heart in his latest sitcom project in his adopted country of India.

    “Breakfast in Bangalore,” now in post-production in the Indian city of Bangaluru, will occupy a unique space in Indian television as a distinctly American-style sitcom in a land where Bollywood reigns supreme. Yet, the unorthodox format is pitch perfect for telling the series’ story of cultures crossing and clashing — something Fontana knows (and writes) very well.

    As Fontana explained to the The Economic Times, “The premise is that a mixed couple moves to Bengaluru to raise its three kids closer to Indian traditions, only to realize that people caught in the cusp of tradition and cosmopolitanism here can sometimes be more confused about their identity and culture than NRIs [non-resident Indians].”

    How did Fontana come up with the idea for his show? He’s lived it.

    Fontana relocated to Bangaluru with his Indian wife in 2009, and “Breakfast in Bangalore” serves as the vehicle to explore the many interesting questions and themes of identity, confusion, and tradition that he has observed in his own experience as an expat American living and joining a family in India. To add to the dynamic mix of topics humorously approached in the show, the sitcom will include progressive elements such as exploring mixed families, gender fluidity, and more.

    Fontana told The Economic Times, “We have shot the pilot and second episode, which will be aired in my Youtube channel `Laughter Unlimited.’ We are preparing for promotion and honest feedback, hoping the show will gain traction and be picked up by either TV stations like Comedy Central or video-streaming platforms like Netflix or Amazon Prime.”

  • “Blue World Order” Produced by NYFA Australia Instructor Timothy Maddocks

    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.

     

  • NYFA Photography Alumnus Wins Annual Rangefinder Contest

    For aspiring photographers, few moments are as exciting as finding the right venue for their work. In the case of NYFA alumni Rutvik Katuri, finding the right home for his work has happened more than once.
    Katuri’s series”Holi Colors,” which had previously been published on the cover and as an editorial spread in the prestigious “Imirage” magazine while Katuri was still a student at the New York Film Academy, has just gone on to further success and found a home as the first place winner of the Rangefinder Photography Annual Contest.
    Katuri explained his creative process behind “holi Colors” on his blog, explaining that the shoot was inspired by the sacred festival of Holi: “Holi is an Indian festival mainly known as the ‘festival of colors.’ We came up with a concept to show the dominant colors of Holi and to also show its beauty and vibrance.”
    Rangefinder” (Rf) an award-winning magazine, with a global audience of 111,000, and a digital imprint. In all iterations, “Rangefinder” focuses on weddings and portraits, but their prestigious annual contest offers a chance for coveted exposure and cash prizes for aspiring photographers, providing a unique platform to expand their audience and forge new connections within the photography industry. Contest winners also receive the boon of having their work published in both the digital and print versions of “Rangefinder.”
    In addition to cash prizes, Katuri’s winning photos will be featured in the September issue of “Rangefinder,” in ’The Senior Issue’ on page 66-67, as well as being showcased at WPPI conference & Expo as well as in the online gallery. The digital version of the magazine can be seen here.
    Katuri’s same series will be featured in gallery exhibition at WPPI Conference & Expo 2018 that takes place in Las Vegas in the month of Febuary, as well as appearing as an official selection of Photoville 2017.
  • NYFA Los Angeles Students Attend Exclusive Premier of “American Assassin”

    On Tuesday, September 12 New York Film Academy Students were invited to a once-in-a-lifetime event: the world premiere of “American Assassin.”

    The screening was held at the famous TCL Chinese Theater. As the students approached the theater, the red carpet stretched out in front them, including the Hollywood Boulevard handprints and stars. 

    Walking past the long line of paparazzi, journalists, PR representatives and screaming fans, students approached the grand entrance. After the large laminate tickets were shown to doormen, the student took their seats at the front of the theater.

    Director Michael Cuesta and producers Aidan Elliott and Lorenzo di Bonaventura introduced the film. They thanked the the men and women of the U.S. covert services who protect the United States of America. They also congratulated the entire crew for helping them complete this project, which they had been working on for over 10 years.

    Stars Michael Keaton, Dylan O’Brien, Taylor Kitsch, and Shiva Negar were also in attendance. “American Assassin” is O’Brien’s first leading role in an action film, though the former MTV “Teen Wolf” star is also known for “The Maze Runner.” His turn as a grieving fiancé seeking revenge against the terrorist organizations who killed the love of his life will have fans seeing O’Brien in an entirely new light.

    During the screening, the crowd was very vocal about their appreciation of the film. They roared with laughter as Keaton used wit and a sharp tongue to eliminate a bad guy and cheered as the hero made a daring last-minute escape.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank CBS Films and Lionsgate for the incredible tickets. Go see “American Assassin” in theaters on Friday, September 15.  

    September 15, 2017 • Academic Programs, Entertainment News, Film School, Filmmaking, Producing • Views: 368

  • TIFF 2017 Highlights NYFA Alumni Film Work Including “Pahuna,” “Waru,” and “Decoy”

    The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is a seminal event of the film industry’s calendar, and is in full swing this year from Sept. 7-17. Celebrities, filmmakers, producers, critics, and cinephiles travel to Toronto from around the world to screen and celebrate new films from rising names and established stars.

    This year, as part of its mission of “changing the way people see the world through film,” TIFF is screening a number of groundbreaking, buzz-worthy films — and a few were created by and with NYFA alumni.

    Pahuna: The Little Visitors

    Produced by global superstar Prayanka Chopras and her mother Dr. Madhu Chopra through their production company Purple Pebble Pictures, “Pahuna: the Little Visitors” has garnered a lot of attention at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in its Special Event category screening. NYFA filmmaking alumna Pragya Rathor partnered with the film’s first-time director, Paakhi Tyrewala of Bonfire Tales production company, to work on the shoot.

    Described as a “contemporary Indian version of Hansel and Gretel,” the film grants viewers a rare glimpse of Northeast India as it weaves a fable-like story of three children who are forced to flee their Nepalese village and become separated from their parents in the forest, adapting to survive together. Through this rarely seen portrayal of a typically voiceless region of India, the film brings larger issues such as children’s rights, racism and refugee crises to the global stage.

    “Waru”

    NYFA alumna Renae Maihi’s work in feature film “Waru” has made an paradigm-shifting international debut, screening at TIFF in its Discovery section as well as opening for 2017 imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival in October, which according to Screenz is the world’s largest platform for indigenous media.

    According to Stuff, the innovative feature contains eight separate narratives written and directed by nine different Maori women. New Zealand Film Commission told the magazine, “With ‘Waru,’ there has not been a narrative feature film helmed by a Māori woman since Merata Mita’s ‘Mauri’ in 1988. Having a film made by nine wahine Māori screening in Toronto feels like a positive step toward addressing this, with the opportunities the festival can provide for these filmmakers.”

    TIFF programmer Jane Schoettle praised the “Waru,” saying it’s “like nothing anybody has seen before.”

    “Decoy”

    Another exciting NYFA-TIFF connection comes via The Hollywood Reporter’s announcement that NYFA alumnus Allan Ungar will be at TIFF this year, working with 13 Films to shop new feature project “Decoy” to buyers.

    Heavy hitters including actors Andy Garcia, Frank Grillo and Tyler Posey and producers Andrew Gunn, Michael Bien, Henry Less, Sissy Federer, Tom North, Tannaz Anisi and Greg Schenz are already attached to the action projec. Director Allan Ungar wrote “Gridlocked,” which was acquired by Netflix.

  • NYFA Filmmaking Alum Works With Prayanka Chopra, Paakhi Tyrewala on TIFF’s “Pahuna: The Little Visitors”

    Produced by global superstar Prayanka Chopras and her mother Dr. Madhu Chopra through their production company Purple Pebble Pictures, “Pahuna: the Little Visitors” has garnered a lot of attention at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in its Special Event category screening, even winning a mention in Vogue India. NYFA filmmaking alumna Pragya Rathor partnered with the film’s first-time director, Paakhi Tyrewala of Bonfire Tales production company, to work on the shoot.

    Described as a “contemporary Indian version of Hansel and Gretel,” the film grants viewers a rare glimpse of Northeast India as it weaves a fable-like story of three children who are forced to flee their Nepalese village and become separated from their parents in the forest, adapting to survive together. Through this rarely seen portrayal of a typically voiceless region of India, the film brings larger issues such as children’s rights, racism and refugee crises to the global stage.

    The film’s director, Paakhi Tyrewala, told LiveMint, “When I started looking for producers for this film — I must have gone to nine or 10 producers before I came to Priyanka — they all rejected me. Four reasons: first, I was a first-time director. Second, I was a woman director. Third, I wanted to make the film in Sikkim [Province]… and fourth, it was a children’s film. When I came to Dr Madhu Chopra, I was so tired of being told no. So I told her upfront, I have these four problems. She started laughing, and she said, ‘For those reasons, I’ll do your film.’”

    NYFA Filmmaking Alumna Pragya Rathor

    From the red carpet at TIFF, The Indian Express quoted Priyanka Chopra as echoing the theme of overcoming obstacles and raising up unheard voices that has helped to make “Pahuna” a success: “It’s not easy – when you come into entertainment being a woman. You’ve got to pull your socks up for a fight.’”

    Filmed in the remote Indian province of Sakkim using unknown local talent and the local language, the film is a remarkable step in Prayanka Chopras’ venture to bring rarely seen stories and marginalized voices from India to the forefront of cinema. So far, her Purple Pebble Pictures has produced regional films in dialects including Bhojpuri, Marathi and Punjabi, with films planned in Bengali and Konkani.

  • NYFA Faculty and Students Screen Work at Jump Into VR Fest

    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.

  • NYFA Gold Coast Celebrates Jan ’17 Filmmakers End of Year Screenings

    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.

  • NYFA Alumna Meghan Modrovsky is Arya in “Game of Thrones: The Musical”

    NYFA acting alumna Meghan Modrovsky is on her way to Broadway as one of the most popular characters in America: Arya Stark, the littlest assassin on HBO’s “Game of Thrones” is now a rapping, singing assassin in “Game of Thrones: The Rock Musical.”

    Modrovsky was interviewed via email by NYFA Correspondent Joelle Smith to talk about the monumental task of playing Arya and what it’s like to be a part of something with such a large fanbase.

    NYFA: Can you talk a little about the audition process? Did you go in for Arya or were you surprised by the casting decision? 

    Modrovsky: I applied for the part of Arya via Actor’s Access in October of 2016. The audition itself was the same as any other. I had to prepare 16 bars and a scene, but there was one big exception.

    The role of Arya required the actor the rap. While I’m a fan of the genre, I had never rapped for anyone other than my cats. I prepped my song, my sides, and my 60 seconds of rap and went into the audition that day fully expecting to make an *ss out of myself.

    As I was sitting in the waiting area about to implode from anxiety, a wave of calm washed over me and I just started smiling. I’m sitting here about to rap a frickin’ Eminem song so I can hopefully play Arya Stark in a “Game of Thrones” parody musical. As soon as I accepted how ridiculous the whole situation was, I was ready to go. This was a rare audition. I felt really, really good afterward, so I was just elated when they called to offer me the part.

    NYFA: Are you a fan of the book or the show? Who is your favorite character? 

    Modrovsky: At this point in time, I prefer the books to the show. Once the show ran out of George R. R. Martin’s source material and started bending towards fan fiction, the carefully constructed character logic started getting sacrificed for sake of the plot and the show has suffered as a result. Yes, I’m that person.

    My favorite character has always been Cersei. She is vile, vindictive, power-hungry, murderous, and her blowing up the Sept is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen on television. What’s not to love?

    NYFA: Did you base your characterization off of the book, the show, a mixture of both, or just use the script you had? Why?

    Modrovsky: I stuck to the script we were given almost exclusively for Arya’s portrayal. Our show’s plot focuses on season one of “Game of Thrones,” with some well-placed spoilers, and Arya wasn’t a big player in the story yet. We are first and foremost a parody musical, so the writer decided to play with Arya’s arc and make it a running gag. I don’t want to give too much away, but in our show, you see Arya go through hilarious phases and stages of adolescence as she tries to figure out who she is.

    NYFA: What was it like performing at Comic Con? Do you have a favorite memory from this performance? 

    Modrovsky: San Diego Comic Con was an absolute madhouse in the best possible way. We had eight shows over four days and we were all sick and exhausted by the end. The audiences loved it though. My favorite memory happened after our final show.

    We went out into the lobby to take photos with people and after some time, I headed backstage to change out of my sweaty costume. As I rounded the corner to the entrance of the theatre, I heard someone shriek, “Arya!”

    It was a group of audience members from the last performance. They rattled off how much they loved the show, how much they loved what I did with Arya, how much they loved my rap sequence and a slew of other incredibly kind words. We all hugged and they went on their merry way, but man, that was a truly amazing way to end a crazy week. That alone is one of the coolest things that have ever happened to me.

    NYFA:  Is there any fan interaction with the show? What has that been like? 

    Modrovsky: There is! Not so much with famous lines, but during the transition from the opening number to scene one, we normally start singing “Peter Dinklage” to the tune of  “The Game of Thrones” theme song.  It always gets a good laugh. At Comic Con the crowds participated loudly and enthusiastically. They loved booing Joffrey and even started singing the chorus with us for “Things I Do For Love.”

    NYFA: What’s the most exciting part about taking the show to NY? 

    Modrovsky: The most exciting part is being taken to NY as an off-Broadway production. This is not the normal fate of most theatre productions, and we are very fortunate to have this opportunity. I’ve been doing theatre since I was 13 and the notion that in one short month I’ll be playing several doors down from some of the biggest names on Broadway is mind-boggling.

    NYFA: Has the cast and crew watched this season of “Game of Thrones” together?

    Modrovsky: Yes! Several cast members would regularly organize screenings and good portions of the cast would get together to watch. Sadly, I don’t know about any fun reactions. I haven’t been present for any of the viewings for two reasons. One, my fiancé would be very upset if I watched it without him. “Game of Thrones” runs deep in our relationship. Two, I am incapable of shutting the heck up during an episode. I didn’t want to inflict that on my friends.

    NYFA: What’s your favorite song to sing in the musical? 

    Modrovsky: Definitely “Stronger.” “Stronger” is our feminist power ballad where all the women of Westeros including Daenerys, Sansa, Arya, Catelyn, and Cersei come together to say, “Yes, our current circumstances suck, but we possess the strength to rise above and conquer.” The song is about empowerment and overcoming the odds of your situation. We’re a parody show, so this number is particularly special as it’s our one serious moment.

    NYFA: What did you learn at NYFA that helped you with this role? 

    Modrovsky: It wasn’t specifically something that helped me with the role; rather it helped me land the role. I learned to never make the casting director’s choice for them. I was so nervous the morning of the audition that I seriously considered canceling my time slot. I’m so glad the logical side of my brain told the emotional side to shut up.

    It’s not your place as an actor to decide if you’re right for the part. That’s the casting director’s job, and your speculation on the whys and why not’s are irrelevant and a waste of your energy. Focus on being prompt, prepared, likable, and leaving a good impression in the room.

    NYFA: Why do you think fans have flocked to the show? 

    Modrovsky: “Game of Thrones” has a ravenously devoted fanbase. People have flocked to ”Game of Thrones: The Rock Musical” for the same reasons they flocked to ”A Very Potter Musical.” They love these characters and story so much and they want to share their love of it with their fellow nerds.

    You can watch “Game of Thrones: The Rock Musical” at The Jerry Orbach Theater on 50th and Broadway in midtown Manhattan. The show runs from October 13 – 29. Click here for ticket information.

     

  • NYFA Graphic Design Instructor Keith Godard Releases “Book Mates”

    by Keith Godard

    NYFA Graphic Design Instructor Keith Godard’s newest publication “Book Mates” brings a charming story to life.

    The book is a bilingual story in French and English that tells about the friendship between a paper book and a digital book. It’s a unique publication in that the pages can be scanned to view the antics and animations of what a digital book can do as opposed to the page-turning possibilities of a printed work.

    With an iPhone or a tablet, a free app will enable readers to experience the book electronically, as well as reading the text off the flat page.

    My approach to the work aims to delight and thrill children as well as pleasing the adult reader. The concept is a publishing breakthrough that combines static printed images with electronic content that moves.

    Keith Godard is a faculty member in the Graphic Design Program at The New York Film Academy.