With graduation coming up on May 27th, 2016 for New York Film Academy One Year Producing Conservatory student John ‘Six’ Reilly, the timing of his recent acceptance into the Producers Guild of America Student Membership Program couldn’t have been any better. The two-year program gives highly-motivated students currently enrolled in a producing-focused degree or certificate program the unique opportunity to become part of their own PGA community by attending regular meetings, creating and supporting events, networking with peers, receiving invitations to PGA events and screenings, and sharing and advancing their knowledge of film, television, and new media.
Reilly is currently producing programs for Brooklyn public access television and developing a spin-off of Black Ink Crew, as well as other projects in film and television. He is also a member of Veterans in Film and Television, The Independent Filmmakers Project and The National Academy for Television Arts and Sciences.
Reilly began working in the entertainment business in music production and promotion with the VH1 hit reality series Black Ink Crew. His work creating story arcs with the show runners prompted him to attend New York Film Academy to further his career in television and film.
With the exciting news of his acceptance into the PGA, we thought we’d catch up to learn more about John Reilly and what’s in store for the upcoming graduate.
Can you tell us a little bit about your military service?
My military service was from 2002 to 2006, when I was medically discharged. I am currently a disabled veteran. I was in the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, an experimental urban combat unit. I was a Fire Team Leader in an Infantry platoon.
How would you describe your overall experience at NYFA?
My time at NYFA made me smarter than I initially believed I was. I walked in very knowledgeable about the film industry but what I thought I knew was nothing compared to what I learned. My ability to translate my ideas into content has increased tenfold. I no longer have to figure out how to get things done. I know now, and that’s the difference.
I came to NYFA because I realized that the people I worked with would only teach me enough to work for them. Now I’m their equal—if not smarter.
Congrats on becoming a member of the PGA Student Program. How did that come about?
I wouldn’t have had an opportunity to become a PGA member if not for NYFA. I wouldn’t have had the ability to impress their board had I not absorbed all the information put out in the producer program. The producer program at NYFA is one of the most comprehensive programs in existence. I speak to other students from other schools and I often hear, “I wish they taught us that at [school’s name].” I walked into NYFA knowing what I wanted and needed. I’m leaving with all I’ve asked for plus more. Though very challenging, if you meet the challenges put before you, there is no way you can’t succeed in a career as a producer. My biggest dilemma at this moment is do I leave NYFA and work for myself, or take one of the many offers on the table.
Would you recommend our current producing students become members of the PGA Student Program?
I suggest every student in the producer program apply for the PGA student mentorship program. It’s a natural progression from NYFA. There is nothing they can throw at you that you won’t be prepared for. The program starts this Fall, so one can ask “How do you know that?” I know what I’ve been trained to do and unless the craft of producing does some weird 180 degree turn on me tomorrow I know I’m prepared for whatever this program requires of me. This is an opportunity to be great, and if you work hard at NYFA the glory is yours.
If you had everything go your way: Where do you see yourself career-wise in five years?
In five years my goal is to be able to be an artist. Producing is administrative but I see it as artistic as well. God is a producer. God produced the heavens and Earth and all things on it. Working for a ginormous company like Disney, producing Marvel movies, is a dream come true, but for me I want to be able to create art that is appreciated and lucrative at the same time. Whether that is TV, film, music videos, commercials or new media, I want to be able to get the ideas in my head manifested into reality. I want people to indulge in my creations—and I would like to be able to afford one of those penthouses on the Brooklyn skyline while doing it.
Best of luck with that! Any final thoughts?
Lastly, I would like to thank all of my instructors at NYFA because their contributions to my education and success are invaluable. I would like to give an extra thank you to Richard D’Angelo for his countless hours of instruction and care; Nick Yellen for pushing me, raising the bar every time I have to perform and prepping me for the PGA program; and last, but definitely not least, Neal Weisman—not only for putting our producing program together, but for taking a big chance on me.
Prior to coming to NYFA I had some hang-ups with the military funding my education. I needed a few days past the course start date to work it out. Neal Weisman, without knowing anything about me, took a chance and vouched for me to start class while we worked out the details. He had no reason to trust I would be worth putting his name on the line but for some reason he did it. If he didn’t I would have missed this PGA opportunity. I really owe him a lot. In this world people don’t have faith in others, typically. He did what producers do and took a risk and I’m happy to have provided a good ROI (Return on Investment).