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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Alum Alberto Frezza Lands Lead Role on ‘Station 19’

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    ABC has cast Alberto Frezza, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum, in a lead role in Station 19, a spinoff of Grey’s Anatomy. Frezza plays Seattle police officer Ryan Tanner, who has a close relationship with the show’s lead, played by Jaina Lee Ortiz.

    Before landing the role, Frezza previously made several appearances in short films and television, including Criminal Minds on CBS. Firefighting-action dramaStation 19 is the latest show from Shonda Rhimes, creator of popular medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. It takes place in the same city and cinematic universe.

    Frezza recently spoke with NYFA about the casting process for the series. “It took almost a month with four audition/callbacks, one test audition, and a chemistry read with Jaina Lee Ortiz. By far the longest audition process I have gone through for a role.”

    Born in Milan, Italy, Frezza was raised in Ethiopia. As a child, he hoped to become a soccer player, but after seeing River Phoenix’s 1986 film Stand By Me, he decided to become an actor.

    Eventually, Frezza moved to the United States and enrolled in the Acting for Film program at New York Film Academy, where Frezza trained intensively in screen acting and modern on-camera acting techniques through a hands-on, practical curriculum.

    In addition to acting, Frezza also enjoys diving and photography. He applies both hobbies to another passion: environmentalism. Frezza cites his upbringing in Ethiopia’s Lake Langano area for his interest in the conservation of animals.

    His Instagram account documents the exotic animals he comes across in his travels, and who he strives to protect through environmental endeavors. As his star power grows, Frezza’s passion for the environment reaches more and more followers. The New York Film Academy congratulates Acting for Film alum Alberto Frezza on his new role in the Shondaland television drama Station 19, which airs on the ABC network.

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    April 12, 2019 • Academic Programs, Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 307

  • NYFA Australia Gold Coast Grad Stars in ABC’s “Newton’s Law”

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailMakwaya Masudi, a graduate of the Acting for Film program at the New York Film Academy, Gold Coast, has landed the opportunity of a lifetime as a series regular on the new ABC program “Newton’s Law” starring iconic Australian actor Claudia Karvan (“The Heartbreak Kid,” “Paperback Hero,” “Daybreakers”).

    Masudi, a Kenyan native who came to Australia as a refugee, plays Zareb Mulumba – an office cleaner turned legal client to Karvan’s character Josephine Newton. The stellar cast also includes Toby Schmitz (“McLeod’s Daughters,” “Home and Away,” “The Pacific”), Georgina Naidu (“Offspring,” “Winners and Losers”) and Miranda Tapsell (“The Sapphires,” “Love Child”).

    Of his student experience at the New York Film Academy, Makwaya says, “NYFA trained me on how to work under a huge amount of pressure like calm water. It also gave me so much experience and helped me find out what type of actor I am.” He also believes that “getting to study in a production set-like environment” helped him prepare for the real world of television and entertainment.

    Acting opportunities are now in abundance for Masudi as he sets his sights on the American market. Check out Makwaya as Zareb Mulumba on “Newton’s Law” Thursday nights on ABC.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

  • NYFA Grad Alfonso Ribeiro From ‘Fresh Prince’ to Host AFV

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    afv

    photo courtesy of ABC

    Who can forget the lovable Carlton from the popular 90’s television series, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air? What most of you may not know is actor Alfonso Ribeiro took a filmmaking workshop at the New York Film Academy in 1999 to provide him with additional insight into the creative process that surrounds him on set.

    Since coming off the hit show, Ribeiro has acted and appeared in a number of television series, including his most recent stint on Dancing with the Stars. Now, Ribeiro will replace Tom Bergeron as the host of the long running show, America’s Funniest Home Videos. Like the series showrunners, we think Ribeiro will be a terrific fit.

    “There’s got to be a sincerity and a connection with the audience,” executive producer Vin Di Bona told Variety. “You’ve got to be someone who cares about kids. That connection you make with the audience is of the utmost importance to me. That’s something you just don’t get by reading copy. In our auditions, it just became very, very apparent that Alfonso is a genuinely nice man.”

    Ranked as one of primetime TV’s most family-friendly shows, AFV wrapped its 25th anniversary season this past Sunday.

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    May 20, 2015 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5040

  • NYFA Broadcast Journalism Grad Hired by ABC-TV Affiliate Station in Texas

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    NYFA Testimonial from Dr. Nicole Cross on Vimeo.
    Dr. Nicole Cross came to the New York Film Academy with the goal of setting in motion a total career change. A successful psychologist, she set her sights on a career in Broadcast Journalism. Now, thanks to the skills she learned at NYFA, she is on her way. Earlier this month she was hired by KAVU-TV in Victoria, Texas.

    Nicole is a General Assignment Reporter, as well as a substitute Anchor, on the popular Newscenter 25 broadcast. Among her duties is hosting Victoria Weekend, a feature highlighting events taking place in the Victoria area.

    Congratulations, Nicole! You were an outstanding student, and are now an inspiration to all of the Broadcast Journalism students at NYFA.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    September 19, 2014 • Broadcast Journalism, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5927

  • Your ‘InstaShort’ Could Be on Good Morning America!

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    In honor of the upcoming Oscars, New York Film Academy students, alumni and faculty are invited to participate in an exciting Instagram video-making opportunity for a chance to have their InstaShort aired on ABC’s Good Morning America.

    good morning americaInterested students, alumni and faculty are asked to make an “InstaShort”: A 15-second Instagram short film remaking a movie that’s been nominated at this year’s 86th Academy Awards. Participants are required to upload their finished film to their Instagram account with the hashtag #GMAInstaShorts, the film title, NYFA members involved, and tag @NewYorkFilmAcademy.

    ABC will be airing selected shorts and combine all submissions into one video that will be shared across all of our social media channels with a blog post of credits (school, students involved, parts they played, etc.).

    For your chance to have your video aired on ABC’s Good Morning America next week, simply post your “InstaShort” on your own Instagram account AND send your video clips to marketing@nyfa.edu by Tuesday, February 25th.

    If you have any questions, please email marketing@nyfa.edu.

    We look forward to seeing your entry!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    February 20, 2014 • Acting, Contests, Filmmaking • Views: 3763

  • NYFA MFA Screenwriting Alum Sells Thesis Pilot Script to ABC

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailIn their second year of study, students in New York Film Academy’s MFA Screenwriting program choose to write either a feature film or a television pilot for their thesis project. While every student hopes to launch their career with a great writing sample, recent graduate Angela Ruhinda (Jan 2011 Screenwriting) took it one step further. Last week, Angela’s thesis pilot, Iman & Andy, sold to ABC with Whoopi Goldberg and Ben Silverman attached as producers.

    Angela Ruhinda

    Angela Ruhinda

    The sitcom is about an interracial couple who are forced to team up on a relationship advice vlog, with their whole office and millions of viewers following their relationship.

    NYFA Associate Screenwriting Chair, Adam Moore caught up with Angela, who is back home in her native Tanzania at the moment, to ask her about the experience.

    Where did the idea for ‘Iman & Andy’ come from?

    Iman & Andy was an idea I came up with during my second and final year at NYFA. I chose the TV option for my thesis because I’ve always wanted to create my own sitcom. I love romantic comedies but it’s not very often that you see a really good one on television anymore. I wanted a really fun couple that people could relate to. I was a big fan of the show ‘Dharma & Greg’ and love the Yin and Yang dynamic of their relationship. I wanted to update the concept by making them inter-racial and involving social media. The main statement I want to make is that online dating in the social media age is awkward, crazy and stressful no matter what color you are. 

    How did the script get from your thesis workshop to Electus?

    I entered the Storyboard TV screenwriting contest in October 2012 and became a finalist by January 2013. I lost the competition by just a few votes but Amanda Krentzman, one of the judges on the panel who happens to work at Electus Productions, loved my script so much she contacted me after the contest was over and expressed interest in selling it to a major network. 

    Did the script change from your thesis draft to the one that eventually sold?

    I sat down with Electus…and I just talked to them about season arcs and characters. They already understood the concept. Pitch workshop [part of Business of Screenwriting 3, a second-year screenwriting course taught by Adam Moore] did help me with my nerves in the room. I was able to speak clearly about my ideas and charm the crap out of them. Electus gave me a few notes on characters and one or two scenes before we decided to send out the script to networks. Thankfully, I only did two re-writes and ABC liked the concept and script enough to buy it as soon as they read it. 

    What’s one piece of advice you’d give to current students?

    Don’t knock screenwriting competitions! They can change your life and kickstart your career!

    How excited are you right now?

    They haven’t created a word yet that describes how I’m feeling!

    Well, there is a word for how we at NYFA are feeling – PROUD. Speaking about their former student, Thesis Advisor Jerry Shandy and Thesis Instructor Eric Nelson had this to say:

    We’re proud of Angela because she worked really hard on this pilot in the Thesis Workshop class. With her workshop mates’ support, she continued to develop her idea, writing and rewriting until it was singing. That’s what we strive to do in screenwriting workshop classes here at NYFA: take a good idea and refine it until it’s a piece of material the writer is proud to take out into the world.

    Congratulations, Angela!

    -Adam MooreFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    December 5, 2013 • #WomenOfNYFA, Diversity, Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 6063

  • How David Marshall Grant’s Persistence Led to His Success

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailThis Monday, the New York Film Academy hosted a screening of ABC’s Brothers and Sisters with executive producer/show-runner David Marshall Grant. The event was moderated by Producer, Tova Laiter.

    In addition to Grant’s success in television as Executive Producer/show-runner of NBC’s Smash and ABC’s Brothers & Sisters, he is an accomplished actor and playwright. His first play, Snakebit, was nominated for both a Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award. His second play, Current Events, was produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club in 2000. His most recent play, Pen, opened in 2006 at Playwrights Horizons. As an actor, Grant is best known for playing opposite Richard Gere in Broadway’s Bent and for his Tony-nominated performance in Angels in America. His acting credits include film and television work in such projects as The Devil Wears Prada, The Stepford Wives, The Rock, Air America, And the Band Played On, Citizen Cohn, thirtysomething, Eli Stone, and Party Down.

    david grantAfter attending the Yale School of Drama, David went to the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference in Connecticut where he did a workshop of Bent. He was very lucky to experience immediate success right out of school when the production, which was bound for Broadway, asked him to star opposite Richard Gere. “So much of life is what fate brings you, and so much of life is what you bring when fate shows up,” said Grant.

    It was during his time at the playwright’s conference that David became fascinated with story and by the idea that the way an actor’s mind thought could actually help you as a writer. This kept gnawing at him until one summer he began to write a play. He wrote 23 pages the first day, assuming he could have the production up and running in no time. However, he ended up working on the play for five years and it was never produced despite his efforts.

    When his acting career stalled after Bent, David started taking writing more seriously. His second play was entitled, Snakebit. It was twelve years before this film was produced on a very small scale at Grove Street Theater in New York. There was an audience of 53 people. One of these people was Peter Marks of The New York Times. Marks wrote a great review of the play, and the next day everyone was calling David. It seemed there was a renewed interest in him.

    At the time, David was auditioning for episodic television and not getting the parts, so he decided to “open the door that wasn’t locked” and become a writer. Although, even that became an immense struggle for David. Five or six years later, John Robin Bates called David and asked him if he wanted to be a story editor on Brothers and Sisters, and he hasn’t stopped working since then.

    David always tries to impress on his students that, “Failure is the norm,” and this industry is a long game. “You’ve got to keep your eye on the prize, and if it doesn’t happen today, it might not happen for the next five years. But that doesn’t mean you give up.”

    David was also one of the first brave actors to play gay characters, like he did in Bent, when other actors (straight or gay) wouldn’t. This was also at a point when David hadn’t been out with the public. In thirtysomething, David took the opportunity to play a gay character, even though he was convinced it would ruin his career. He brought up the point that there hasn’t been a major movie actor that has come out yet. You can’t be Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise and be known as gay.

    QUESTION: Can you give advice to actors who want to transition into producing?

    DAVID: An actor’s job should always be to figure out how he or she can support the STORY—understand what your place in the story is. You are a part of the larger thing—and that thing is everything—STORY.

    QUESTION: What are some of the roles of a show-runner?

    DAVID: Your first job is to come up with a story every week. You follow the story. Also, it’s about navigating personalities—the demands of the studio and the actors on the script. That’s what the show-runner does. In the process of pushing that story up the hill, he deals with every human being that touches that story.

    David’s story was inspirational in regards to the success one can achieve in this industry through endurance and never giving up. He made the point to say that you must consciously inspire yourself. “It really works by failing every single day, until the world sees,” he concluded.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    October 11, 2013 • Acting, Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Musical Theatre, Screenwriting • Views: 9812

  • So How Do You Get a TV Series Off the Ground?

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    One of the most crucial steps into the film and television industry for any writer is finding and landing the right agent. It’s one of the first obstacles for any film student, especially after graduation. So, the New York Film Academy was excited to hold an informative Q&A with the Senior VP of Gersh Agency, Jack Dytman. His long list of clients include TV series show-runners, executive producers, story editors, staff writers and feature writers in all aspects of the business. His clients have worked on network and cable television series such as Breaking Bad, Dexter, Sons of Anarchy, Walking Dead, Desperate Housewives, Castle, Criminal Minds, Hawaii 5-0, Smash, Lie To Me, Frasier, Without A Trace, Law and Order: SVU, X-Files, Alias, Hill Street Blues, Suddenly Susan, Murphy Brown, Boston Legal, Barney Miller, Law and Order, Chicago Hope, NYPD Blue, Married with Children, Carnivale, and more. Numerous clients have been nominated for Emmy Awards, ten clients have received Writers Guild Award nominations, and four have won. In the last five years his clients have received nine Producers Guild Award nominations.

    Given his background, Jack provided much insight into the world of the business. He spoke about the current popularity of television, noting, “I have a long line of feature writers trying to get into television, but TV is different…you need to be able to lay the pipeline for 100-150 episodes. It’s not just three acts and an ending!” He also stated that the people that you may need to pitch to are “smart and have heard everything, so the work needs to be unique.”

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    Tova Laiter with Jack Dytman

    One of our students asked Jack the popular question, “How do you get your foot in the door at a network show?” He suggested that, “If you want to get in the door, be a writer’s assistant. If you can’t do that, do something else – sweep if you have to!” Typically it can take up to ten years to develop a writing career for networks, but there are exceptions. One exception he mentioned was the creator of Burn Notice, who had never written for a show. So while it’s rare, it can happen. “You should find your niche and focus on that genre. Understand the networks and cable  – what are they branding? Understanding the difference between ABC, CBS and SHOWTIME is important.”

    While Jack admits it was difficult to predict what shows would become hits, he knew Magnum PI was going to be. However, other shows such as Pushing Daisies simply didn’t catch, even with the top people on board. Then there was Seinfeld, which took about three years to turn into a good show. Go figure.

    Jack also walked our audience through the Development process for TV shows, which was quite telling.

    1. Writer goes to agent with AN IDEA.
    2. If agent says “it’s great” they go to a studio or network.
    3. If it moves forward, they will create or develop a creative team together.
    4. The team will, among other things, BRAND the show. An incredibly important part of network television (each studio and network have branding branches.)
    5. If all goes well, the pilot is picked up once written.
    6. The pilot WILL receive notes, accept them and work with them!
    7. Hopefully pilot gets made, then shown, then repeated.
    8. This process repeats itself annually.

    If you don’t like receiving notes, you’re in the wrong business. Jack stressed the importance of being able to take notes and establishing a relationship with producers and executives. The old cliche about the industry being, “Half about ability and half about like-ability,” is true. “A lot of it is about relationships – you have to network constantly.” He closed with these words of advice, “Have someone refer you when trying to get your work out there.”Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    August 1, 2013 • Guest Speakers • Views: 5203

  • Acting Grad on a Roll: True Blood, Grey’s & Californication

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailSince landing the Lifetime film William & Kate, New York Film Academy Acting Conservatory graduate, Camilla Luddington, has been on a major roll. She starred in an entire season of Showtime’s Californication as Lizzie, joined the cast of Grey’s Anatomy as Dr. Jo Wilson, and has been on six episodes of HBO’s True Blood. Not only that, Camilla has been tapped to play Lara Croft in the newest incarnation of the Tomb Raider video game franchise.

    “I was in the first ever one year acting class at the New York Film Academy in 2003 and I am so thankful for the experience,” said Camilla.

    Camilla initially lost out on a role in ABC’s pilot, Gilded Lilys. However, while she was promoting Tomb Raider at Comic Con San Diego, she heard ABC was looking for a new doctor on Grey’s. “I was asked to come read for it with six other girls, and then heard maybe two days later the role was mine. I think meeting Shonda Rhymes [at ABC] during that pilot season helped though. I think as an actor sometimes you focus on the immediate (aka not getting that role) but you never know what opportunities can come back around, or how one role can actually lead to the casting of another. As was the case for Grey’s Anatomy.”

    [UPDATE]

    Check out our most recent interview with Camilla Luddington where she talks about her role on Grey’s Anatomy, what it was like to play Lara Croft in Tomb Raider and her upcoming film The Pact II.

     

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