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  • Oscar Winning Actor J.K. Simmons Visits NYFA

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    jk simmons

    Academy-Award Winning Actor J.K. Simmons

    New York Film Academy students gathered in a theater at Warner Bros. Studios this past week for a special screening of Whiplash followed by a Q&A with this year’s Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons. Jonathan Kimble (“J. K.” Simmons) is known for his roles as Dr. Emil Skoda on the NBC series Law & Order (and other Law & Order franchise series), neo-Nazi Vernon Schillinger on the HBO prison drama series Oz, Assistant Police Chief Will Pope on the TNT series The Closer, J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, and the voices of Cave Johnson in the 2011 puzzle game Portal 2 and Tenzin in The Legend of Korra. Simmons’s performance as music instructor Terence Fletcher in Whiplash (2014) received universal acclaim and earned him more than 30 accolades, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Golden Globe and BAFTA Award. Producer Tova Laiter moderated the discussion.

    To anyone who’s seen Whiplash, the memory of J.K. Simmons’ role as Fletcher, the music conservatory instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a promising young drummer’s potential, is burned into their memory. Soon after the credits finished rolling, and the man who had just captured the students’ attention so intensely on screen appeared in the flesh and took the stage, the whole theater immediately erupted into cheers and applause during a standing ovation. It was interesting to see how much of a contrast the terrifyingly sadistic Fletcher was to the real man behind the role. J.K. was upbeat, jovial, and having the students laughing in stitches with his endless stream of quips. He was as appreciative to be there as the student’s were to see him and even though the line of students waiting to ask questions stretched to the back of the theater and nearly out the door, J.K. stayed until every last question was answered.

    J.K. talked about the incredibly fateful circumstances surrounding the Whiplash feature. Director Damien Chazelle wrote the part of the student drummer Andrew for Miles Teller not knowing at all the the actor had been a drummer since the age of 15. What’s more, when Damien first approached J.K. about playing the part of music instructor Fletcher, he assured him that there would be a music technical advisor on set and that they could use a body double for difficult orchestral scenes. As it turned out, however, Mr. Simmons studied music in college. “I thought I was going to be Leonard Bernstein when I grew up, but I took a few left turns…” J.K. jokingly said. “It was just all meant to be.”

    Elaborating more on the making of the film that changed his life forever, Mr. Simmons explained that when he first met Damien Chazelle the director was only 26 years old. However, despite Damien’s lack of experience, the two immediately clicked as J.K. saw the genius within the young director. Within 10 minutes of working together on the Whiplash short film, Simmon’s and Chazella knew they would be working together on the feature version. Simmon’s also had a comfortable, creatively exciting relationship with actor Miles Teller on set. Even though the tension between them was high on screen, the two would joke around together between takes on set. This was also due to the relaxed environment Damien created on set which allowed for experimentation from the actors. An interesting fact about the young music students from the various college bands in the film was that, aside from a few, they were composed of real student musicians, not actors. And during the filming the bands were actually creating real music!

    jk at nyfa

    While reminiscing on the long road that took him to where he is now J.K. said, “When I look back it almost seems like I had a plan. But I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, and doing what I really enjoy doing… When I was scrapping by and making ends meet, I didn’t have a wife and kids and any responsibilities… In my case, the level of success, acclaim, attention I’ve gotten more and more of in the last decade or so, if that had happened when I was 25 years old I would not have been prepared creatively, personally in any way.”

     

     

     

     

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    March 23, 2015 • Acting, Guest Speakers, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 8506

  • Iconic Actor Al Pacino Speaks at New York Film Academy

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    Al Pacino New York Film Academy

    New York Film Academy students received the rare opportunity to participate in an intimate Q&A with one of the greatest actors in film history Al Pacino this past Thursday, December 4th at the Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles, CA. The discussion took place after a special advanced screening of Pacino’s new film The Humbling. In this, funny, observant, erotic comedy, Pacino plays an aging actor who feels he is losing his craft and after a breakdown becomes involved with a much younger woman but soon finds that it’s difficult to keep pace with her and makes the ultimate performance. The film was highly received by the students for its content and Mr. Pacino’s amazing performance in it. Producer Tova Laiter moderated the Q&A.

    Oscar, Emmy, and Tony winning Al Pacino took the stage to an uproar of applause and a standing ovation from students. The legendary actor, who’s entertained and inspired us with iconic performances in The Godfather, Scarface, Dog Day Afternoon, Scent of a Woman, Glengarry Glen Ross, and Heat, to name just a few, was tremendously gracious for the warm reception. Pacino was all smiles and full of life, emanating that vivacious energy we’ve come to love him for.

    In a profound statement about the actor’s process, and artistic process in general, Pacino stated, “I love the line that Michelangelo said in a poem when he was doing the Sistine Chapel, he said, ‘Lord, free me of myself that I may please you.’ Meaning, get to that place in us where we’re not censoring ourselves or trying to do it good or right but rather connect with whatever it is we’re trying to say in our work. Become. Become it, absorb it and let it come out and let the unconscious free. And I strive for that. And I rarely, rarely get it. If I do it’s for a moment or two… Sometimes I’m given a role… Then I have to look at the empty canvas and I say, ‘Wow, I don’t know anything about acting. I don’t know anything about anything. What am I gonna do?’ And you start. And the hope is that instead of figuring it out, you find it.”

    But it wasn’t all serious talk. Pacino revealed the origins of his “Hoo-ah!” line in Scent of a Woman in an amusing story: “That came because I was learning to assemble and disassemble a .45 in forty-five seconds. And that ain’t easy. And I worked literally weeks on that, months, just with this Lieutenant Col. who would say to me every once in a while when I did it well, he would just say to me (pointing) ‘Hoo-ha!’ And I finally said to him, ‘What is that?’ And he said, ‘Well, you see that’s the way I talk to the troops. If they get in line and their suits are straight and their metals are straight, I just go up and I say ‘Hoo-ha!’ And that got into the movie. That wasn’t written.”

    In closing, to the question of what the most important thing acting has taught him, Pacino answered, “It taught me to love people more. I feel more a part of the world. And that we’re all actors. Only some of us can really do it. Some of us have the ability to do it…and the desire to do it. And it taught me that desire can sometimes trump talent. Think about that. So that you may not have as much talent as you think you have, but if you have the desire, your talent will find you.”

    When the Q&A ended, Al Pacino thanked and waved goodbye to students as they all stood and cheered once again. It was a wildly entertaining and inspiring night that was a special gift to NYFA. In a cosmic coincidence, Pacino’s daughter Julie Pacino, an alumna of NYFA, showed her movie to NYFA students at our Union Square square campus the same day!

    We thank Al Pacino for sharing his time with us and look forward to the success of The Humbling (which Mr. Pacino also produced), directed by Barry Levinson. The film opens in theaters in limited release for a week on December 5th and wide release January 23rd, 2015.

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    December 8, 2014 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 12105

  • A History Lesson from Emmy Award-Winner Robert Wuhl

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    robert wuhl

    Emmy Award-winning writer, producer, comedian and actor Robert Wuhl (Arliss, Bull Durham, Batman) came to New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles Campus and educated the students in the way he knows best: with comedy.

    On Friday October 10th, Mr. Wuhl came to NYFA and presented his unique, insightful and hilarious take on History to a group of screenwriting students and faculty. Held in NYFA’s new state-of-the-art theater, Mr. Wuhl’s workshop presented history through the perspective of storytelling becoming fact and how sometimes the best story wins. This concept of story and history being tied together was inspiring for the students. Mr. Wuhl brought history to life by telling stories that often revisited “Historical Fact” with the stories behind the “Fact.” Mixing story with audiovisuals and a juxtaposition with contemporary popular culture, Mr. Wuhl filled the New York Film Academy Theater with laughter.

    wuhl at nyfa

    Following the often outrageous one-hour workshop, Mr. Wuhl opened the floor to a Q&A by the screenwriting students. He discussed his process from research through presentation. At one point when discussing his research process he joked a certain research site was “90% correct 10% of the time.” He talked about where ideas come from and how to build stories from ideas. One student asked Mr. Wuhl if he had any stories about Nunzio DeFilippis (Chair Of Screenwriting) and Christina Weir (Screenwriting Instructor), who worked on the writing staff of Arliss and were instrumental in bringing Mr. Wuhl to NYFA. Again he joked, admitting that he probably shouldn’t share them with the students.

    As a thank you for the student’s time and laughter Mr. Wuhl and his producing team brought pizza for the students and while the students ate, Nunzio, Christina and Mr. Wuhl reminisced about their time on Arliss.

    Robert Wuhl’s visit to NYFA gave the students a fresh look at history, but also allowed them to see how comedy works from an actor/writer/director with decades of experience in the industry. Hopefully, it will not be his last visit to the campus.

    wuhl at nyfa la

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    December 3, 2014 • Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 6147

  • NYFA Screens ‘The Monuments Men’ with Writer / Producer Grant Heslov

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    Grant Heslov NYFA

    Tova Laiter with Grant Heslov at a full house

    Grant Heslov, Academy Award winning Writer/ Producer (Argo) and George Clooney’s partner at Smokehouse, was the guest tonight at the New York Film Academy for a sneak preview of the upcoming SONY Pictures release The Monuments Men! Over 220 eager students participated in the Q&A, which was moderated by Producer Tova Laiter.

    One of the first questions on Tova’s mind was how the film came about. Grant, a very funny and charming speaker, told the students that, “I was traveling, forgot my book at the hotel, so I went to the airport bookstore. I really loved it. It was a story I’d never heard before and George (Clooney) and I decided to make it. You never know what you’re going to find in an airport!”

    When asked by Tova how he and Clooney met Grant described his college days. “It was the summer of my freshman year, when I was about 19. I took an acting class and George was in it. We’ve been friends ever since.”

    grant heslovGrant earned a BFA in Theater and Acting at USC and was an actor for 20 years. He feels that his education in acting has been a great base for much of the work he does in terms of writing and character, being on sets, and observing how it’s all done.

    A student asked Grant about the writing process and specifically about handling a writing block in the middle of a project. Grant admitted that writing is challenging. “The middle is always hard. I’m lucky that I write with a partner. You have to turn off your editor mind and just write whatever.”

    Steven, a student, asked Grant what drives him, especially now that he is an accomplished actor, writer and producer. “The desire to tell good stories is the drive.”

    Grant plays a doctor in The Monuments Men, although this was not planned. He told the story of a British actor whose wife went into labor and pulled out of the project at the last minute. George Clooney suggested Grant jump in and play the doctor. “I still have my SAG card,” he joked.

    Student, Marielle asked Grant about the responsibility involved in telling real stories, which he has done plenty of in recent film projects (Good Night and Good Luck, Argo, and now The Monuments Men). Grant explained, “We aren’t making docs or docu-dramas, but you try to stay true. In Good Night and Good Luck, for example, we had access to the newscasters as they were still around. In Argo, we stuck pretty close to the story except for the end. In this film, there were hundreds of Monuments Men. Then you are trying to piece it all together, and we changed the names so we can get into the flaws of the characters more.”

    Asked what were his biggest assets and obstacles in becoming a filmmaker, he joked that in both cases it was, “being an actor.”

    A student asked Grant what was his relationship with art and history as a storyteller. “I love art and I love history. I am interested in World War II –as it was a defining moment in history. I’m Jewish, and there is a connection.”

    Clearly Grant and George have a good system in place working together. He shared with the audience that all of their films have been produced and completed under budget. The Monuments Men finished $5 million under budget and they wrote it in 3-4 months.

    Finally, Grant told another comedic story about having a hard time naming their production company, Smokehouse Productions. He said that his and George’s office was directly across the street from the restaurant in Burbank, and that they used to go there to drink at the bar (It is also across the street from one of the NYFA buildings in Burbank). One day, George called him and suggested they name their production company after the restaurant.

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    February 3, 2014 • Guest Speakers • Views: 4951

  • ‘The Devil’s Advocate’ Screening with Taylor Hackford

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    Taylor Hackford

    Taylor Hackford at NYFA LA

    Last Wednesday, at the Warner Bros theater in LA, New York Film Academy students were treated to a screening of the classic Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves film, The Devil’s Advocate. Following the screening, director Taylor Hackford dropped by to talk about the film and his career on a whole. Taylor, who directed such films as An Officer and a Gentleman and Dolores Claiborne, says he developed an interest in film during his time in the peace corps in Bolivia. He saw many films there and shot his own on super 8 film. After coming back from the peace corps, he went to law school for two weeks, but then quit because he decided he really wanted to work in the film industry.

    His first job was in the mailroom at the Los Angeles TV station KCET. He began writing copy, editing, shooting and reporting for their news program. Working as a journalist really helped Taylor develop as a director–learning how to tell people’s stories and make them feel comfortable enough to open up. He also learned how to “deliver on a deadline” with the high turnover rate in news. He eventually started making documentaries for the news station and became passionate about the stories he was telling.

    taylorTaylor also has a love for music and it’s no surprise that his films are known for their great soundtracks. In An Officer and a Gentleman, Taylor knew that music was important to the working class people the movie was about. Taylor went to great lengths to find the right music and especially in convincing the producers to spend the money on the soundtrack. His persistence didn’t stop there. In order to convince the studio to shoot the opening of An Officer and a Gentleman in the Philippines (which sets up Richard Gere’s backstory), he agreed that any expenditures that went over budget for the additional shooting would be taken out of his own salary. Paramount never realized what an amazing movie they had, until it sold so well and became such a success. “Nothing is ever predictable,” Taylor told the students. “All you can do is keep your vision. That is all you have.”

    While shooting The Idol Maker, Taylor was not as experienced as a director. He came onto set with a very detailed plan as to how he wanted to shoot everything. However, his cinematographer and 1st AD had different opinions, and since they were much more experienced than him, Taylor ended up using their ideas. When he saw the dailies two days later, Taylor realized he had made a big mistake–the drama wasn’t there and the shots didn’t mean anything. After that, Taylor remained firm in following his own vision. There was a reason he was hired to direct the movie. “You have to make decisions. If you must, ‘get on with it’ and you can’t ‘take your time.’ Time is money with filmmaking. Preparation is key–you can work through most of your potential mistakes if you think it out ahead of time.”

    Taylor now directs a scene without providing blocking instructions to his actors and tells them to “do the scene.” The actors typically find a few great moments that Taylor will incorporate into the scene. This way the actor feels like he is using their ideas and he’s able to include some spontaneous moments that he hadn’t thought of. Directors have to learn how to work with an actor until they can catch them in an authentic moment. Taylor used the example of working with Keanu Reeves who is not, at first, as spontaneous as Al Pacino. He would have to do eight takes with Keanu before he would break out of his preconceived notions of how to perform. This is a tactic that he had to employ as a director, which worked for this particular scenario.

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    September 23, 2013 • Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 7654

  • A Standing Ovation for Jonah Hill at NYFA

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    Jonah Hill with Tova Laiter

    Jonah Hill with Tova Laiter

    Jonah Hill has come a long way from his brief comedic appearance in the The 40 Year Old Virgin, to his Oscar nomination in Moneyball. His comedic presence and timing puts him at the top of his class, and yet his transition into more dramatic roles has been something to marvel. This week, the New York Film Academy was thrilled when Mr. Hill came in to speak with students and alumni. As a testament to his comedic timing, Jonah started the evening shouting,”I’m here! I’m here already!” as Eric Conner, the Dean of Students, introduced the actor who had already been sitting in the back of the room.

    Jonah was in high spirits throughout the night, quickly acknowledging his true passion in life – making movies. He feels it’s what he’s been put on this Earth to do, and he encouraged the crowd to aggressively pursue filmmaking if they feel the same. “This business is so weird,” said Jonah. “If this isn’t the only thing you want to do in life, then leave the room and don’t do it. But if this is the only thing you want to do in life and can’t imagine doing anything else, then don’t worry about how much time it’s taking. It will happen in whatever incarnation it’s supposed to happen. But you have to just ‘make stuff’ constantly and don’t worry about ‘making it.'”

    At a young age, Jonah wanted to direct, but says he was really bad in giving directions to actors. So, he took acting classes to find out how an actor would want to be given direction. As a result, he fell in love with acting as well. He studied Meisner in school, but admits he now uses a variety of techniques that vary from film to film. He also likes to improv, as long as it’s about the character and not to be funny. Jonah recalled his improved scenes with Martin Scorsese in The Wolf of Wall Street. “It’s so cool that new stuff can happen, that no one knew about ever, and that makes the reactions real – because they’re hearing it for the first time.”

    In regards to the challenges he faces as an actor, Jonah said, “I think the most challenging part of being an actor comes from the days where something really bad is happening in your personal life. Let’s say some death or breakup or friendship thing – some personal thing that’s going on outside of work – and you have to show up that day and act and give your performance like none of that is happening.”

    His journey through Hollywood grew as he managed to maintain friendly working relations with so many talented artists, namely Judd Apatow, Jason Segel, and Seth Rogen. “You find the people who you’re creatively in tune with.”

    Like most people, Jonah recognized how some would have assumed he, being the comedy guy, would be an odd casting choice as the second dramatic lead next to Brad Pitt in Moneyball. Typically, once you’ve successfully done one thing in Hollywood, most people will push you to do the same thing over and over. But, for Jonah, it’s important to make all kinds of movie. “I think I’m a product of two things: The Simpsons and Goodfellas.” The Simpsons encouraged his taste in comedy and Goodfellas, the other side of things.

    While admitting he was nervous talking about himself, Jonah was very appreciative of being able to speak in front of our students and his positive rapport was undeniable after closing on a standing ovation. He’s currently writing a movie that he plans on directing next year. His new movie, The Wolf of Wall Street, will be out in theaters on November 15.

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    August 21, 2013 • Guest Speakers • Views: 8353

  • Advice From a Hollywood Talent Manager

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    susan zachary

    Talent Manager Susan Zachary was our guest last night, arriving to a packed crowd of students in the Welles screening room at New York Film Academy Los Angeles. The moderator was Producer Tova Laiter, who just so happened to bring Susan to NYFA.

    Susan started out working at a number of different jobs, including public relations, advertising for film, and working within the studios. From there, she produced several films. Then, about 11 years ago, she founded her own management company, where she definitely seems to have found her niche.

    As a manager, Susan deals with the clients, talent, producers and goes through the breakdowns, which is a key element in the Hollywood casting process. “The management business is secure and predictable, compared to the life of an independent film producer.” said Susan. “It’s all about selling! Whether it’s a network or studio – when pushing talent – you’re always essentially in sales.

    So what makes a great manager? “An honest, communicative and persistent one. We always hear NO – a lot of reasons why an actor does not potentially work – so it all comes back to selling.

    In regards to what exactly managers look for in a client, Susan said, “We are very selective. You should ideally have a body of work, a reel, a resume, and be SAG eligible.” When asked by a student if there were any exceptions to this, as far as taking on new talent, she told the students that managers go to “The Leagues” (acting school showcases) every year, and on rare occasion 1-2 people will get signed.

    She was realistic about the hardships of getting picked up by a manager without lots of experience, but also stressed how perseverance is key and encouraged the students to love, practice, and hone the craft of acting. Most importantly, find ways to make yourself stand out.

    zacharysHere are some great tips she provided for our students:

    • Join casting director workshops
    • Make a reel
    • If you don’t have content for a reel, create it!
    • Do the ‘work’ – take acting classes!
    • Don’t sit around and wait
    • Treat acting like a job
    • Get recommended by someone
    • Show ingenuity
    • Make yourself marketable for the manager and be creative about it

    Susan also stressed the importance of making and maintaining good relationships in the business. In the literary world, it’s important to be cooperative (take notes and directions when asked to change scripts) and the same goes for actors as well. While actors can get away with more undesirable behavior if they have pure talent, it is rare these days because of the state of the economy. Her final words of advice, “Auditioning is a job! You must treat it like one.

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    August 15, 2013 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 13395

  • Martin Landau Discusses His 60 Years in the Business

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    martinlaundau

    On August 1, the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles welcomed Academy Award winning actor Martin Landau for a screening of Ed Wood (1994), followed by a Q&A between Mr. Landau and NYFA students.

    Mr. Landau, 85, has worked on stage and screen for 60 years, appearing in films such as North by Northwest (1959), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), and Tucker: A Man and his Dream (1988). His television credits include the classic 1960s show Mission Impossible and more recently, several episodes of Entourage.

    Mr. Landau explained to students that he left his early career as a cartoonist to join 2,000 other applicants who auditioned for the Actor’s Studio in New York, ending up as one of only two students selected for admission (the other was Steve McQueen). Offering a history of the Actor’s Studio, Mr. Landau also described his instrumental role in creating Actor’s Studio West in Los Angeles, where he still serves as Artistic Director.

    laundauWith such a rich history in the entertainment industry, Mr. Landau told stories of working with Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen, and Tim Burton. He spoke candidly about the actor’s job, and explained that actors must always be observant of what is around them, making their daily lives a preparation for various roles. He demonstrated his own lifetime of observation by precisely impersonating Hitchcock, or by speaking with the Irish and Italian accents of his childhood friends. He said that only bad actors pretend to laugh or cry, and that instead, it’s the actor’s job to prepare and focus on the details and emotions of each character in each moment.

    To that end, Mr. Landau encouraged students to enjoy the filmmaking process as it’s happening. He even showed that he still subscribes to this idea – when asked by a student which of his films was his favorite, Mr. Landau quipped, “Whichever film I’m working on now.” Wrapping up, he told students to reach for the stars: tired of seeing “robots…and more robots” in today’s movies, Mr. Landau convinced the young filmmakers in attendance that it was up to them to once again make movies about real people.

    The NYFA students and staff in attendance were awed by the talent and humor of Mr. Landau, and appreciated his time and important advice.

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    August 6, 2013 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 7012

  • A Word From Musical Theatre Chair Mark Olsen

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    Screen Shot 2013-06-12 at 11.27.56 AM

    The following is a post from New York Film Academy‘s Chair of the Musical Theatre Conservatory Program, Mark Olsen. Mark is a professional actor, author, and director – currently working as a movement consultant on two Broadway shows. His students are working on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in major films, television shows, and in regional theatres, both here and abroad.

    First, it is important to recognize that the previous Chair, VP Boyle, worked diligently and with great verve over the past four and a half years to bring this program to a level that is attracting such extraordinary young talent. I am honored to be given the task to not only serve that original mission, and greatly energized to take the program boldly forward. With the great faculty we have and the amazing students from all over the world, we are poised to do great things.

    I find it very interesting and appropriate that as I assumed this new position, numerous students of mine were joining other former students and fulfilling their dreams of performing on the Broadway stage. (And in Tony nominated productions no less!) In addition, one student just got the lead in the national tour of Evita and another just informed me yesterday that she was cast in the upcoming musical, Soul Doctor. Add to that the fact that a few months ago I was brought on to do some movement consulting for Cicely Tyson, who is starring on Broadway in Trip to Bountiful, and it certainly seems like this is my special Broadway season.

    However, what I really need to share with you is the incredibly big news: We have moved into our glorious new building in Battery Park! We are inhabiting the fifth floor for now, while the fourth floor finished its last stages of construction. The studios are extraordinary, the dance rooms exquisite, the views of the Hudson bay – breathtaking.

    Mark at NYFA doorwayOf course, I could not have made this transition and taken on the sudden task of this new position if it weren’t for the hard work and quick study of the new Musical Theatre coordinator, Megan Nilon. Together we have kept the ship steady and have navigated the various storms to land us safely and happily into our elegant new facility.

    Kevin Duda, who is in Book of Mormon, just recently directed the Movie Musical for the second year class who graduated last Friday. It was a rousing success. After final edits, it will be submitted to festivals thither and yon and the amazingly good looking cast will have that credential, great footage and photos for their professional reels.

    All in all it has been a terrific ride so far. We are experiencing a lull for a few weeks, with only one class in residence, but we all thrill with anticipation because July promises to be quite a mash up of Musical Theatre activity. When that hits, the summer season will kick off in earnest. All hands on deck, dedicated to giving the very best training to these students, these wonderful young singers, dancers, actors.

    Let’s make some good magic!

    -Mark Olsen

    If you’d like to learn more about NYFA’s Musical Theatre Conservatory Program, click HERE!

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    June 12, 2013 • Musical Theatre • Views: 5396

  • Oscar-Winning Cinematographer and Veteran Actor Visit NYFA Students

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    Oscar-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler speaks to students

    Oscar-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler speaks to students

    Haskell Wexler recently visited students at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus. The 91-year-old cinematographer was named as one of the ten most influential cinematographers by the International Cinematographers Guild. In the course of his career, he lensed such seminal films as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, In the Heat of the Night, American Graffiti, and The Thomas Crown Affair. He has been nominated for a total of 5 Oscars, and has won two.

    Wexler watched clips of cinematography students’ films, and gave them valuable feedback. “It was an amazing experience to have him share his thoughts and experience with us,” said Diego Gilly, an MFA Cinematography student. “I feel deeply honored to have had the opportunity to share some of our work with him, and hear what he had to say.”

    Robert Forster sized select

    Actor Robert Forster leads a master class for actors

    Oscar-nominated actor Robert Forster, who starred in 1969’s Medium Cool, written and directed by Haskell Wexler, also recently paid a visit to New York Film Academy. In addition to his numerous television roles, Forster is known for his roles in Mulholland Drive, Me, Myself, & Irene, The Descendants, and his Oscar-nominated role in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown.

    Forster led a master class for acting students, telling stories from his life and career, answering questions, and giving advice. “The camera looks real deep into you,” he said. “It knows whether you’re lying or not. If you want your audience to admire you, you have to be someone they can admire. You have to have the qualities that make a person worth admiring. Then it’s easy to deliver that on screen.”

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    February 25, 2013 • Academic Programs, Acting, Cinematography, Guest Speakers • Views: 5710