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  • NYFA Welcomes Sherry Lansing and Stephen Galloway as Guest Speakers

    NYFA students at the Los Angeles campus were invited to an exclusive Q & A event featuring former Paramount Pictures chairman Sherry Lansing and Hollywood Reporter writer Stephen Galloway, who penned Sherry Lansing’s recent biography, “Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker.” Director of Q and A series Tova Laiter hosted the evening.

    Lansing started her career as a script reader and worked her way up the ladder until she became president at 20th Century Fox in 1980. Lansing was the first woman in history to hold the position.

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    Next, Lansing took on producing for such hits as “Fatal Attraction” (1987) and “Indecent Proposal” (1993). Later, Lansing became the chairman and CEO at Paramount where, for 12 years, she oversaw production and marketing on 200 movies — including blockbusters such as “Braveheart,” “Forrest Gump,” “Saving Private Ryan,” and “Titanic.”

    Lansing had a lot of advice for up-and-coming film creators. One large piece of advice was, “Returning every phone call is just good business. You never know were ideas come from.”

    ‘The executive’s job is to just find good talent,” she told students. “Every film that does poorly is my failure. Every film that does well is not my success.”

    Lansing left the entertainment industry at 60 to pursue an entirely new career in the non-profit industry, and created the Sherry Lansing Foundation, which focuses on cancer research and education. She sits on nine major profit and non-profit boards.

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    Galloway centered the book on Lansing’s journey from an insecure young girl to her incredible ability to make a space for herself where previously there had been no women, saying, “There was no Churchill before Winston Churchill. There was no Sherry Lansing before Lansing.”  

    One of the questions asked was, “What advice do you have for screenwriters and working with a budget? We are always instructed to write from our imagination, but I’ve heard other people say you should write for the budget. What do you think?”

    Lansing responded, “You should always write from the heart. Our job in the studio is to keep the eye on the budget.”

    Lansing advised that striking a harmonious balance is in the best interest of the writer, particularly when working with a studio: They have bought the script and will eventually do with it as they please. If the writer wants to stay on the project they should find a way to work with the studio.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Sherry Lansing and Stephen Galloway for taking the time to speak with our students.  

  • NYFA Los Angeles Welcomes Casting Director Nancy Nayor as Guest Speaker

    On Monday, July 10, New York Film Academy Summer program acting for film and filmmaking students were invited to a Q & A with casting directing extraordinaire, Nancy Nayor after watching “Before I Fall,” which she has cast. Director of the Q & A Series Tova Laiter hosted the evening.

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    Nayor who served for 14 years of head of Universal Feature casting before striking on her own, is best known for her work with directors such as: Steven Spielberg Spike Lee, Ron Howard, Oliver Stone, John Hughes & Sam Raimi’s among many others.

    Her movies include the following: “Act of Valor,” “Ouija,” “Road Trip,” “The Whole Nine Yards,” “The Grudge,” “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” “When a Stranger Calls,” “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl,” “Darkman,” “Casper,” and Wes Craven’s “Scream 4.”

    Nayor gave the students a strong list of do’s and don’t within the casting room. One that surprised many students was: do not shake hands, especially during germ season. Casting directors can meet with over 40 people in a day. They cannot afford to get sick.

    The biggest tip of the night was not to be too nervous and to not over-rehearse before going into an audition so the emotions can shine through. Prepare, yes, but Nayor shared that actors are not necessarily required to be off book, and should not be nervous about every flub. Directors are looking for multiple things, such as how well an actor works with a group or their ability to improvise. But most importantly, they want to know that an actor can be human on camera.

    Laiter asked Nayor about the difference between casting for comedy and drama. Nayor mentioned several differences: “I think it’s different in the sense that there’s a comic timing. People who have it are born with it. You can develop it, but in the end, you’re either born with it or you’re not. In dramatic casting people have to really go for it. Actors really have to commit.”  

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    Nayor also advised dramatic actors to stick to the script more so than comedic actors who may improvise. “When I worked on ‘21 and Over,’ people came into the audition room idolizing these two great writers from ‘The Hang Over.’ But the writers were so tired of their own words. They wanted the actors to improvise… ”

    One student asked, “How do you get discovered?” Nayor responded, “There’s no way you can be undiscovered, technically, because there’s this thing called YouTube. I’m a big believer in self-tapes, whether that’s actors and writers coming together or you writing for yourself. You don’t have to wait for permission to be creative. That project can be a calling card for you.”

    Laiter shared that some of the people who work with Spielberg, whether a composer or cinematographer, had said in NYFA Q&As that he had found them by watching movies on TV late at night, so you never know who is going to see it.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Nancy Nayor for taking the time to speak with our students. Naylor has done casting for 12 films scheduled for release in 2017 including “Delirium” and “Scorched Earth.”

     

    July 12, 2017 • Acting, Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 422

  • NYFA Alumnus Manuel Garcia-Rulfo Screens “Magnificent 7” at Los Angeles Campus


    Screenshot 2017-07-17 13.23.05On Thursday, July 6, New York Film Academy alumnus, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, gave a Q & A at the Los Angeles campus. Garcia-Rulfo is known for his work on the “
    From Dusk Till Dawn” television series, “Cake” starring Jennifer Aniston, and “180 Grados.” 

    The Q&A event with Garcia-Rulfo included a special screening of “Magnificent 7,” and was attended by students currently enrolled at the NYFA college as well as the tweens from the NYFA summer camps. Associate Chair of the Acting Department Miguel Cruz hosted the evening.

    Garcia-Rulfo has achieved an incredible feat by working professionally in the entertainment industry both Mexico and the United States. He said he was able to achieve this by being selective with what acting projects he accepted early in his career.

    As a young actor in Mexico, Garcia-Rulfo was constantly offered roles in the telenovelas. “They offer you everything, in the beginning, to work on these soap operas. And you’re very hungry in the beginning. But I knew what I wanted my career to look like. I said no to a lot of things early in my career.”Screenshot 2017-07-17 13.23.22

    While he may have said no to parts that did not feel authentic, he poured everything into what he did love, including his studies in the 1-Year Acting for Film Program at the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus.

    Of his time at NYFA Garcia-Rulfo said, “New York Film Academy really gave me the chance to work in front of the camera – a lot! Having that experience makes you comfortable to be in front of the camera. Once you get out of here [NYFA] you know everything. I already knew all the aspects of the camera setup and crew when I was on set – having that prior knowledge was one of my favorite things. NYFA gave me a base upon which to build. For that, I am very thankful.”

    Garcia-Rulfo shared a story with the students about his time at NYFA. He and a friend decided that if they were going to work after the graduated they would need representation. They each had a reel and a short film finished. Thinking this would be enough to win over an agent, they decided to rent out the ballroom of a fancy hotel in Beverly Hills. They shipped out fancy baskets filled with chocolate to every representative. “Manuel is a great Mexican actor,” Garcia-Rulfo would tell agents over the phone. They ordered cases of champagne and food. The ballroom was decorated and soon the big day arrived.

    “I don’t think even my mother showed up,” Garcia-Rulfo said.

    The point of the story, according to Garcia-Rulfo, is that craft should always come first.

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    “There’s no formula to this thing we’re doing,” Garcia-Rulfo explained. “If I have any advice to actors it’s this: just buckle up because it’s going to be a bumpy ride. It’s very tough. But, I think we have to enjoy that experience as well. Nurture your craft.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Manuel Garcia-Rulfo for taking the time to speak with our summer camp students and our college students. Garcia-Ruflo will be starring in the remake of “Murder on the Orient Express” alongside Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Penélope Cruz coming out November 10, 2017.

    July 7, 2017 • Acting, Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 623

  • NYFA New York Welcomes “The Magicians” Actress Jade Tailor as Guest Speaker

    Actress Jade Tailor of Syfy’s fantasy series “The Magicians” received a warm welcome to NYFA New York City’s campus as a recent Guest Speaker. NYFA Acting for Film Chair Glynis Rigsby hosted the event, guiding the conversation through many inspiring stories from Tailor’s career. 

    “The big key is knowing your work so well that it doesn’t feel like work anymore,” Tailor told her audience of NYFA acting for film and musical theatre students. “Then you just get to play and enjoy it in the moment.”

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    Tailor is perhaps best known for her starring turn as Kady Orloff-Diaz in “The Magicians,” but NYFA students were inspired to hear the multifaceted artist’s story. The actress pursued her childhood dream despite various obstacles, and continues to nurture a passion for using her work as a platform to benefit others.

    “I’ve always wanted to fight for people who were not privileged, who had a difficult time,” Tailor shared, “And I am blessed to have this platform, and I feel it’s my duty to utilize it in any way I can. I think that’s what the drive is, now that I have some semblance of being in the spotlight: I want to utilize that for good. And I want to do work that inspires me and inspires others.”

    Growing up in Los Angeles with a mother who had worked as an actress in the 1970s and a father who had served in the Israeli Army’s Mossad division, Tailor says her family background gave her a unique perspective and helped her prepare for the realities of the industry, with a deep appreciation for training and craft.

    “In a lot of ways those two aspects [of my parents] were a foundation of me working that hard,” Tailor explained. She learned to overcome nerves as a child in acting classes with actress Dee Wallace, of “E.T. the Extraterrestrial” fame. Upon deciding to pursue acting as an adult, Tailor candidly shared that there were years of “literally counting pennies to pay the rent,” a reality that encouraged many students to hear acknowledged by a working actor.

    “It was definitely a long arduous road,” Tailor said. “But I knew I would get there if I put everything into it.”

    The actress repeatedly emphasized the importance of developing confidence and making the decision to focus on the craft above all. She shared that this shift in mindset helped her enjoy the process and connect with her character during a pivotal audition for the producers of “True Blood,” where she went on to portray lead actor Stephen Moyer’s first victim.

    “I really let go in that room and went, who is this character, what is her intention here? And I connected to the work and who she was, and I got a call a couple of hours later that I got the job.”

    After booking “True Blood,” Tailor shared, “I was like ‘Yes I made it!’ and then I got no work. There are gonna be moments where you get this great gig and then there’s a lull for a long time.”

    She stressed the importance of “having a great team behind you” as an actor, as well as “being conscious of the fact that you are going to have to sustain” through slow seasons as well as busy seasons. Tailor’s hard work was rewarded in 2015 when she booked “Aquarius” with David Duchovny: “I’ve been lucky to work with amazing people,” she said. 

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    It was while working on “Aquarius” that Executive Producer John McNamara approached Tailor about reading for a role in “The Magicians,” which turned out to be a surprising story as well. Tailor originally auditioned for the role of Margot, but producers decided the role of Kady was a better fit, a character very different from the roles Tailor had previously portrayed on television. 

    “I am so lucky to be on this amazing show that I love and that’s really fun with a great cast and crew,” Tailor said of “The Magicians.” Yet even in this busy season, the actress has her vision cast for the long term, and is working to develop projects through her own production company, Eyeris Entertainment.

    Tailor executive-produced “But I Love Him,” a film born through the actresses’ volunteer work as a domestic violence counselor. The piece dramatizes a woman’s experience through the cycle of abuse, and premiered at various festivals. “But I Love Him” is now used by various organizations as an education tool for raising awareness about domestic violence.

    Among the many nuggets of wisdom Tailor shared, she advised students to trust their own uniqueness, bring their own authenticity to each role, and build confidence through hard work. This is advice Tailor puts into practice herself. “The work is so important to me,” shared Tailor, “And I always want to do work that is meaningful and inspires me and inspires others. I think when you’re inspired yourself it’s going to read to other people and then other people are going to be inspired too.”

    When students asked about her acting technique, Jade jokes that she calls herself an “eclectic realist,” pointing to the uniqueness of each human being. “We have different things that will resonate, with some of us more so than others,” she explained. “Some people are more logical beings, some of us are more emotional beings. For me, I’m instinctively more emotional.”

    In imagining what’s next for her, Tailor shared she’d love to return to live performance. She has a passion for theatre, having sung at The Blue Note and performed in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” Of the stage, Jade says, “It’s my background and my heart, and to go back to Broadway at some point would be amazing … but to do good work that inspires people, that’s really the end goal.”

    Season 2 of “The Magicians” is now available on Netflix. The New York Film Academy would like to thank Jade Tailor for her visit in our Guest Speaker Series.

    July 7, 2017 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 930

  • NYFA Hosts Actor Matt Ross in Guest Speaker Series

    The New York Film Academy was proud to welcome director and actor, Matt Ross, to the Los Angeles campus for a screening of his latest film, “Captain Fantastic.”  Director of the Q and A Series Tova Laiter, a producer known for her work on “Glory,” hosted the evening. Student packed the theater to standing room only.

    Matt Ross is a standout character actor in Hollywood. In the film world, he’s known for such hits as “American Psycho,” “The Aviator,” “Good Night, and Good Luck,” and “Twelve Monkeys.” He’s no stranger to television either, having appeared in “Six Feet Under,” “Big Love,” “Magic City,” “Revolution,” “American Horror Story,” and, most recently, on HBO’s “Silicon Valley” as Gavin Belson.  

    Matt Ross 006Ross is also a writer and director. His latest work, “Captain Fantastic” stars Viggo Mortensen as Ben Cash, a man who raises his six children in the wilderness with his wife. The family has shunned all technology, but when Ben’s wife dies, he has to take his children out into the world.

    Laiter asked Ross about navigating the tension between the time one needs to immerse oneself in his/her profession, and the time one needs for parenting.

    “We live in a culture where you have to navigate work and parenting,” Ross said. He felt that it was easier for him to do this than many of the women he’s met that try to do the same thing. Society is ok with him being a father and a working creator. There’s a lot of societal pressure to be the perfect mom first.

    Laiter then turned the conversation to Ross’ beginnings. Ross grew up in rural California to similar circumstances as depicted in the movie, not knowing anyone in the entertainment business, but he applied and was accepted to Juilliard’s acting program. “I made films before I acted. I didn’t think I wanted to act. I just wanted to tell stories and that’s all acting is.”  

    But Ross was not satisfied with acting alone, revealing, “I taught myself to write.”

    His film “28 Hotel Rooms,” which portrays discovering marriage after romance, was inspired by director Mike Leigh, who workshops intensively with his actors. The short film received notice at Sundance and led to him writing and directing “Captain Fantastic,” which won him directing kudos in Cannes and a SAG nomination for Viggo Mortensen.

    Matt Ross 003Students were eager to speak with Ross about his acting career. One student asked, “How does the on-set dynamic and environment change as an actor as you’re working on sets like ‘American Psycho’ with actors like Christian Bale, as opposed to working on ‘Silicone Valley’ with comedians like T.J. Miller and Kumail Nanjiani?”

    “I don’t think there’s any difference,” Ross responded. “I don’t come from comedy,  improvisation or stand-up. But, I think it’s all problem-solving. For comedy, you have the added difficulty of identifying and illuminating what’s humorous, whereas with drama you’re more focused on illuminating the perceived truth. It’s the same goal.”

    One student asked Ross if having so many children on set of “Captain Fantastic” was an exceptional challenge for him as a director.

    Ross replied, “They’re not difficult in the ways that people think they’ll be difficult. The difficulty was that they were having too good a time and so they’re playing around too much. I was worried about losing the light.”

    Ross advised the students, “Everyone has a process. My job is to create an environment in which their process can flourish. Kids need more time to get in character. Charlie was really young. Sometimes I’d have to break things down. Sometimes Viggo would push Charlie. Sometimes I would give him things to try. We’d play until we got it right.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Matt Ross for taking the time to speak with our students. “Captain Fantastic” is now available for download on Amazon.

    July 5, 2017 • Academic Programs, Acting, Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 1430

  • Chair of Cinematography Tony Richmond Screens His Classic “The Man Who Fell to Earth” At NYFA Los Angeles

    On Monday, June 26 New York Film Academy students were treated to a star-studded screening. NYFA’s Chair of Cinematography Tony Richmond screened his classic film “The Man Who Fell to Earth.” The film’s leading lady Candy Clark joined him for the discussion of one of David Bowie’s most popular films.

    Directed by Nicolas Roeg,The Man Who Fell to Earth is about an alien (Bowie) trying to save his planet by siphoning water off of Earth. To do so, he assumes the identity of Thomas Jerome Newton, starts a billion dollar company, and moves in with Mary-Lou (Clark). But the creature could not predict the cruelty of business done here on Earth and soon must face the consequences.

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    Film critic and frequent NYFA collaborator Peter Rainer hosted the Q and A. Rainer kicked off the evening by enquiring about working with the renowned director and frequent collaborator of Richmond, Nicholas Roeg.

    Landing the lead male role for any film can be difficult. Roeg originally had someone else in mind for the role. As Richmond shared, “Nick’s first choice was Michael Crichton. He was very tall. He was going to do it and then pulled out. The whole thing kind of fell apart. Then Nick saw ‘Cracked Actor,’ a documentary on David Bowie on the television. They scheduled a meet-up. Bowie kept him waiting for about six hours, eventually said he would do it, and then we were off and running.”

    Many perceive “The Man Who Fell to Earth to be a science fiction film. According to Rainer, this is not the case: The themes are much more closely related to a family drama. This weird blend of genres along with the magnetism of superstar David Bowie at the helm the film led to the creation of a hit. But, as actress Candy Clark told students, not everyone thought that success would translate.

    “It’s a two hour and twenty-three-minute movie,” Clark began. “Donald Rugoff, head of Cinema 5 at the time, was like Harvey Weinstein. He had a reputation for putting out art house films that exemplified the director’s vision. But with this film, he started seeing dollars. Nick Rogue and Graeme Clifford had spent a year and a half meticulously cutting this film, piece by piece. Rugoff got a hold of it. Despite his reputation, he decided to cut twenty-three minute. He hired a guy who cuts commercials. This film took a year to cut. The new guy did it in a week. He just willy-nilly took out stuff.”

    While touring to promote the film, Clark saw the fist American cut of the film.  She called Nick immediately after, but the damage was done. “Years later I called up Cinema 5. I pitched this big lie that I was getting asked about the film all of the time.” Clark then convinced them to release the original cut of the film, saying she told them, “You don’t have to spend any money. Just take the original poster and add a banner with the word: uncut. I’ll promote it any way you want … As a result, the American cut has dwindled to the wayside. All that is seen now is the director’s cut. It’s now out on Criterion. I never gave up on this film.”

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    During the Q and A, one student asked how Richmond planned so many of the daytime shots to get the light just right.

    Richmond revealed, “I would like to say that I did it. But I was so, so lucky with the sky. Every time we did some vast exterior there would be this incredible sky. The scene with the cottage, for instance, that cloud hung over the cottage all day. It never moved. I went back to Mexico and I was going through this little town and I felt like I’d been there. Now, it’s a huge artist commune.” The location holds artistic magic.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Tony Richmond and Candy Clark for sharing their experiences with our students. We would also like to thank Peter Rainer for hosting the night’s festivities. The 4k restoration of “The Man Who Fell to Earth is now available everywhere Blu-Rays are sold. Rainer’s book “Rainer on Film” is also available for sale on Amazon.

  • NYFA Gold Coast Campus Hosts Casting Director Ben Parkinson & Actor Joey Vieira

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    Ben Parkinson (left) and Joey Vieira (right) speak to NYFA students at the NYFA Gold Coast campus.

    Ben Parkinson (C.S.A), casting director on “Jungle” with Daniel Radcliffe, “The Shallows” featuring Blake Lively, and Australian feature “Don’t Tell,” along with actor and casting assistant Joey Vieira, offered their insight into the world of entertainment to eager acting for film students of the New York Film Academy Gold Coast during a Q&A session on Friday, May 19.

    Mr. Parkinson has been casting for over 17 years with major experience in various facets of the industry. He has worked in New York, Los Angeles and Australia-wide on major motion pictures, indie films, local and international television commercials, and music video clips. Ben’s unique eye for casting and his compassion for each project has made him one of Australia’s most highly accomplished casting directors.

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    Mr. Vieira, a California native with over 20 years experience in acting, relocated to Australian in 2014. His career has include roles on Channel 7’s mini-series “Hoges,” “Illusion V,” “Texas Rising,” “The Simpsons,” “The Shield” and “Kitchen Confidential,” as well as feature films “San Andreas” and “Jungle.”

    Hosting a comprehensive presentation to students, Parkinson and Vieira provided invaluable insider knowledge of the industry.

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    NYFA Australia acting for film student Ethann S. says of the session: “I had fun, had a laugh and learnt some interesting things … The boys helped with my question regarding contracts with a possible agent and negotiating … I definitely felt like I got something out of today. And hopefully the next time I see them it’s in the audition room.”

    Fellow student Danni-Elle C. added her thanks “for the opportunity … it was super informative.” 

    The New York Film Academy Australia would like to thank Ben Parkinson and Joey Vieira for taking the time to speak with our students. 

    June 26, 2017 • Academic Programs, Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 1333

  • NYFA LA Welcomes Writer & Producer Neal Baer as Guest Speaker

    On Wednesday, June 21, Neal Baer came to the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus to talk about his illustrious career in television. Baer has the distinction of being a key figure in two groundbreaking series. He was a writer and producer on both “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” and “ER.”  Director of the Q and A series, Tova Laiter, hosted the evening.

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    Students filled the Riverside Theater to hear Baer speak about the history of the television industry. Many of the students were surprised to learn that “ER” once enjoyed an incredible share of the market. “There’s no drama airing today that comes close to having 40 million viewers. Not even ‘Game of Thrones.’”  

    Of course, a huge portion of the show’s success was the wildly talented and relatively unknown cast, including George Clooney. Baer recalled the excited fan reaction to seeing Clooney in a tuxedo. So mad was the fury, that Baer made sure to include a scene with him in a tuxedo in “Hell or High Water.” The episode went on to be the show’s highest-rated and even earned Clooney an Emmy nomination.

    “I’ve had a very different career than my friends. I’ve only ever been on four shows,” Baer said after being asked about his incredible trajectory. “I started in 1994. That’s twenty-three years. I don’t know anybody else who has done four shows straight through.”

    Whether it was talent, luck, or a combination of both that kept Baer on top, he always made sure to use the best of the time he had. “I loved SVU because every week I got to explore. You had to get into the story through a murder or assault but then I could do a show about teen access to abortion. They let us do amazing things with guns, homeschooling, HIV deniers, euthanasia, everything I was interested in was put into the show.” 

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    That inspiration translated into his hiring practices as a showrunner. Baer was fond of calling obscure actors from childhood favorites to come on the show. Carol Burnett chastised him when he called to ask her on the show: “You used to watch me with your parents on weeknights, didn’t you?” Once, Debbie Reynolds even shared a saucy story about Ava Gardner with Baer.

    “How could you not want to bring these people on your show,” Baer said. “I’ve been very blessed to work with incredible people.”

    One student asked if Baer had any advice for students looking to break into the industry. Baer responded, “They’ve made it very difficult to be a director. I think what you have to do if you want to work, as a director, is shadow. You attach to a director and you just become their shadow. You’ll go to casting meetings, location scouts, anything the director does, you’ll be there.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Baer for taking the time to speak with our students.

  • A Q&A With “The Road” Cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe

    On Tuesday, June 13, the New York Film Academy welcomed Javier Aguirresarobe to the Riverside Theater. His son, cinematographer Jon Aguirresarobe (“Hunter Gatherer”), was there to translate.

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    Aguirresarobe is a world-renowned director of photography known for his work on such great films like “The Others,” “Vicky Christina Barcelona,” “Blue Jasmine,” “Goya’s Ghosts,” and “The Promise.” So, why did he pick “The Road,” a film from 2005, to show the students?

    Aguirresarobe shared that the book behind “The Road” was very special for him. He felt that telling this story was the perfect way to begin working in the United States. “The director (John Hillcoat) had already seen my movies at that time. So he thought I was the right one to do this movie, which he considered very special because it was the world after an apocalypse.”

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    “I asked the producer why they had picked me for the job,” Aguirresarobe said. “I could understand the director being interested, but what did the producers want me?” The producers responded that they wanted to do a more European-style movie.

    The director and cinematographer agreed that they wanted a more “realistic vibe” than a typical American film. One way they tried to achieve that look was by removing the sun. “The lack of the sun in the movie is one of the most challenging aspects of the film,” shared Aguirresarobe. But the aesthetic helped create a sense of complete and utter doom that quickly enwraps the crowd.

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    At first, Aguirresarobe was extremely troubled by this obstacle. “I was worried because I knew what kind of movie I wanted to do, but I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do it.”

    He studied American films that were shot in Mexico. A lot of them had day for night shots, and Aguirresarobe played around with this to figure out the algorithm. He discovered that, back in the day, filmmakers would burn big piles of gasoline in order to create thick black clouds that could block out the sun. This is no longer a legal option, but Aguirresarobe did pitch it to the director as a joke.

    Aguirresarobe described himself as lucky to have pulled off the look. The time of year became a large factor in the shoot. The lack of greenery helped sell the idea of a dead Earth. “I wanted to respect the spirit of the book.”

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    Aguirresarobe also felt the lead actors helped cement the book’s spirit onto celluloid. “One of the best things in the movie is Viggo Mortensen. He went at the move with full energy. You can see all of that intensity on the screen.”

    Aguirresarobe joked with students that he would share a few tips and tricks, but in the age of digital, they might seem historic. This did not deter anyone in the audience. One student asked, “Can you talk about how you did that marvelous close-up on Robert Duvall in that speech and the eyes … Was that done in camera or in post-production?”

    Not missing a beat Aguirresarobe confirmed that the shot was done in camera. “Everything is done in camera. Duvall did have contact lenses to make it seem like he was blind.” Flame bars were used to get the look in the eyes. He said he learned a lot on those nights.

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    He began experimenting with real fire and the bars to create a better look. “Using the fire as a key light creates a horrible image. It creates a very intense red. The shadow gets very rough,” he said.  So he would mix the natural and the artificial to create a natural look.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank both Jon and Javier Aguirresarobe for taking the time to speak with our students about their craft. Javier Aguirresarobe’s next film is Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok.”

    June 19, 2017 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 1730

  • Thomas Ian Nicholas & Brian Metcalf Screen “The Lost Tree” at NYFA LA

    On Monday, March 12, New York Film Academy students at the Los Angeles campus were treated to a screening of “The Lost Tree” followed by a Q&A with writer and director Brian A. Metcalf and producer Thomas Ian Nicholas.

    “The Lost Tree” follows a man who, after surviving a terrible accident, abandons his old life for a secluded cabin in the woods. Soon enough he learns that the area isn’t safe. The suspenseful thriller stars Michael Madsen (“Reservoir Dogs,” “Kill Bill: Vol 1,” and “The Hateful 8”), Lacey Chabert (“Mean Girls,” “The Wild Thornberrys” and “Party of Five”), Scott Grimes (“American Dad,” “ER,” and “Party of 5”), and Thomas Ian Nicholas (“Rookie of the Year” and “American Pie”).

    thomas and brian

    NYFA Instructor Tim Fallon moderated the Q&A. He started off the evening by asking Metcalf and Nicholas about how they started working together. Nicholas answered, “Initially, Brian called me and asked me if I wanted to start working on something.” When Nicholas asked what the movie would be about Metcalf didn’t have a clue: “We’ll figure it out as we go along.”

    “It’s a funny thing,” Metcalf said. “This is not what this [script] was intended to be. We just wanted to work on something together.” Nicholas knew of an incredible cabin in the woods. They decided to make that the center focus of the script and the film blossomed from there.

    “The cabin isn’t anything like we portray it in the film. Now, I’ll never be able to go back there again. So, thanks, Brian,” Nicholas joked. “This gave us the ability to work with what we had. You have to get creative when you work with a tight budget.”

    Metcalf chimed in, “We might have wished to have more actors for certain days or more time to shoot, but, at the end of the day, you have to use what you have.”

    One student asked, “What is the best advice you have ever received?” Metcalf had a simple answer: “The first attempt you will fail. You have to get to work to get to the point where you’re consistently making good art. If you can’t take rejection than this industry isn’t for you.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Metcalf and Mr. Nicholas for taking the time to speak with our students. To learn more about their production company, Red Compass Media, click here.

    June 15, 2017 • Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 1347