On May 18, a joint masterclass in storytelling and photography was held at the US Army Garrison in Vicenza, Italy, hosted by New York Film Academy (NYFA) and United States Army Garrison (USAG). The students were from the garrison as well as from the local community and included filmmakers, writers, and photographers.
Storytelling was taught by Diana Santi, NYFA Program Director – Florence, Italy, while photography was taught by NYFA Chair of Photography David Mager.
Diana Santi is an award-winning director and producer of short films and commercials and has worked as 1st AD on many large-budget Italian commercials. She also founded Purple Reel Productions and directed the short film Florence in Love with the support of the Tuscan Film Commission and the City of Florence. She is currently Program Director of NYFA’s Florence location, where students learn filmmaking with the historical city as their breathtaking backdrop.
David Mager is an award-winning photographer with over 20 years of experience in the publishing, editorial, and advertising industries. Clients have included Disney, DK, Scholastic, Der Speigel, McGraw Hill, Penguin, Time Out NY, Parents Magazine, Paper, Flair, American Baby, and Park Place Magazine, to name a few. He is the current Chair of Photography for both the New York and South Beach, Miami campuses at New York Film Academy.
Together, the masterclass lasted four hours. Santi and Mager talked about the elements needed in storytelling for both moving image, screenwriting, and still imagery. Through examples for all genres, students were able to connect and gain insight into the necessary steps to successfully tell their stories.
The storytelling portion of the joint masterclass was entitled “The Secret Ingredients of Successful Stories” and asked the important questions: What is a story? Why do people tell stories? What are the elements that make a story successful? “I was honored to teach at the US Army Garrison in Vicenza and I hope that our workshop about visual storytelling can inspire new amazing stories,” says Santi.
The photography portion of the joint masterclass was called “Taking Creative Control of Your Camera: Demystifying the Elements of Exposure.” It focused on understanding how the camera works as well as how to use the elements of exposure to create visual decisions that transform snapshots into thoughtful, intentional images. “We had a great group of interested and engaged students,” describes Mager. “There were good conversations and some beautiful images made.”
Both workshops used a combination of lectures and hands-on activities. The event organizer at the Garrison, Jodi K. Giesbrecht, CYS Instructional Programs Specialist, USAG Italy – Vicenza Military Community, was thrilled with the joint masterclass and “would love to plan for more exciting and creative events provided by [NYFA].”