October 21, 2016

The New York Film Academy Los Angeles held an exclusive fifth anniversary screening of the hit comedy, “Bridesmaids,” with special guest, director Paul Feig.

The comedy director has established himself as one of the top comedy directors in Hollywood, having directed such films and television series as “Spy,” “Ghostbusters” (2016), “The Heat,” “The Office,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Freaks and Geeks,” and “Arrested Development.”

NYFA’s Director of Industry Lecture Series and Hollywood producer Tova Laiter moderated the evening’s Q&A.

The opening topic of conversation began with Feig’s relationship with Judd Apatow, as they’ve worked on a number of projects together. “I’ve known Judd since he was 17,” said Feig. “If he produced something, I’d act in it.”

Back in 2007, Apatow called Feig in for a table read of an untitled female comedy about a wedding, which obviously went on to become “Bridesmaids.”

“I remember thinking, ‘my gosh this is such a great vehicle for a bunch of funny women,’” Feig recalled. “Now, of course, this was the early days and the script needed a lot of work, so I gave a bunch of notes. I called Judd [several months later] and asked him what happened. He said it was dead so that was the end of that.”

Three years later, Feig received a call from his agent saying they were trying to revive the “bride movie.” Feig immediately thought of SNL’s Kristen Wiig, who he had cast in her first film role in “Unaccompanied Minors” a few years prior.

Feig implemented a standup comedy trick — write a bunch of jokes and then test them on audiences. The jokes with the best laughs stay in the film; everything else is left on the cutting room floor. “I like doing action stuff. How can I make it physical and suspenseful so you’re scared and screaming at the same time? To get that kind of reaction out of the audience is a good time,” Feig concluded.

Feig’s most recent film, “Ghostbusters” is now available on BluRay and VOD. His upcoming film “Song of Back and Neck” will be released in 2017.

These guests are not faculty and do not teach at NYFA, but they have appeared to share their stories and experience with our students. As guest speakers are scheduled based on their availability, NYFA cannot guarantee whether a guest speaker will visit during a student’s attendance or who that guest speaker may be. This guest speaker forum is not part of any NYFA curriculum and attendance at guest speaker events is purely voluntary. Students should be aware that guest speaker events do not represent a job opportunity nor are they intended to provide industry connections.