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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Welcomes Emmy-Award Winning ‘Veep’ and ‘Arrested Development’ Star Tony Hale

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    New York Film Academy held a Q&A on June 26 with film and television star Tony Hale, following a screening of HBO’s Veep—the award-winning comedy series that skewers American politics. The event was moderated by NYFA-LA Acting for Film Associate Chair, Anne Moore, and held at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus.

    Tony Hale

    Tony Hale is best-known for his work as youngest sibling Buster Bluth on the critically-acclaimed Fox sitcom Arrested Development, and as Gary Walsh on HBO’s Veep, which he won twoEmmys for. Recently, Hale starred in Toy Story 4 as Forky, a beloved new character. 

    Hale discussed his start in acting to begin the Q&A. “I was not a kid who was into sports, and so my parents just didn’t know what to do with me,” he told a captivated audience of NYFA students. “And they found this children’s theatre, called Young Actors Theatre … I’m such an advocate for arts in schools just because—even if you don’t make it a career, like I did—certain personalities need that environment to thrive.” Moore and Hale then discussed how they met, at one of Hale’s first productions in New York City.

    Tony Hale

    The actor went on to discuss how he got his start in the business. He acquired his first agent and did a lot of commercial work and theatre before the audition for Arrested Development in 2003. A casting director remembered him from a previous audition and called him in for Buster Bluth. “I don’t know what that’s saying [about me] … he’s just kind of a man-child,” Hale joked about the casting director thinking of him for Buster.

    Moore asked Hale about how he approaches his characters. Hale remembered a film he was working on in the mid-2000s, and he really didn’t like the character. “The character I was playing—I didn’t like the guy, ‘cause he was kind of a player, he was manipulative … And I was just like, ugh, I know people like this … I just didn’t like this character.”

    Tony Hale

    Someone advised him that “Tony, you have to realize that these characteristics are inside of you.” Hale said it was a wake-up call: “It’s so refreshing … the fact is I would be lying if I said I never had moments where I’ve been manipulative … you have to find those places in them that are inside of you.”

    Tony Hale wanted to leave the students with a bit of advice from his most recent film, Pixar hit sequel Toy Story 4: “One thing that Forky said in Toy Story that I love [was] ‘It’s gonna be okay.’ Because it really is. It’s going to be an emotional rollercoaster—like life!—but just coming back to the space of like, it’s alright, it’s going to be okay. It’s going to unfold in time.”

    Tony Hale

    New York Film Academy would like to thank Emmy-winning actor Tony Hale for speaking to our students and sharing his experiences and insight.

    Tony Hale

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    July 9, 2019 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 402

  • Q&A with Emmy Award-winning editor, actor, writer, and director, Steven Sprung

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    On Wednesday, December 5th, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted a Q&A session with Emmy Award-winning editor, actor, writer, and director, Steven Sprung, following an episode of Community which Sprung directed. Sprung is best known for his editing work on Star Trek Beyond, Entourage, and Arrested Development.

    Steven Sprung

    The Q&A began with a student who inquired about Sprung’s time at Syracuse University. Sprung shared that in college, he and his friends were very enthusiastic about filmmaking and worked together to produce numerous short films. During this time, Sprung got the chance to write, direct, edit, and act as these short films had very small production teams and needed many roles filled by very few people. He discovered that he had a special talent for editing and was nominated for an A.C.E. Eddie Award for outstanding achievement in editing while still an undergraduate at Syracuse.

    Another student asked what advice Sprung had for actors trying to perform comedic material. “Do a lot of live productions ‘cause you can get instant feedback on whether people are finding things funny,” answered Sprung, “…and… don’t try to be funny; that’s the biggest killer of all.” Sprung suggested that actors “really get invested in the drama of a scene” because a character’s investment and reactions in the moment heighten the humor.

    One student in the audience asked if Sprung felt that the entertainment industry was progressing in terms of the number of roles available for actors of color and international actors. Sprung said that, in his experience, most mainstream television shows and movies have mostly white and American production teams and actors. However, he added that there are increasing roles for actors of color and international actors because there is “so much content” available to consumers: cable TV, streaming services, web series etc.

    Steven Sprung

    Another student asked Sprung what makes actors stand out in auditions, inspiring casting directors to choose them as opposed to their peers. Sprung discussed how he cast one of the actors in the episode of Community that the students had just watched; he ultimately chose this actor because he “lit up the room” in auditions — Sprung liked his energy and his delivery. He informed students that casting is not an exact science or necessarily predictable; casting is based on a number of factors including industry relationships, whether casting directors are looking for known or unknown actors, personal opinion, etc.

    One student asked Sprung how to become a known actor. Sprung said that he believes that that type of motivation to be unsustainable in the long run. He added, “If your primary motivation is to entertain people, or to engage creatively with others… if you have a vision for your life, then you can do that no matter who’s paying you, no matter who’s validating you, or hiring you or not hiring you.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Emmy Award-winning editor, actor, writer, and director, Steven Sprung for sharing his industry experiences and wisdom with our students!


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    December 11, 2018 • Acting, Digital Editing, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 863

  • Yahoo! TV Debuts Trailer for Community’s Resurrected Season Six

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    This week Yahoo premiered a trailer for the sixth season of the cult comedy sitcom, Community, the absurdist, pop-culture referencing show about a local college starring Joel McHale. Originally part of Must See TV with The Office, Parks & Recreation and 30 Rock, NBC cancelled Community (several times) and its hardcore fans thought they’d never get the “six seasons and a movie” they hoped for every year the show lived on the ratings bubble.

    While many hoped Netflix, Amazon or another network would come to Community’s rescue, few predicted its savior would be Yahoo, which had yet to start its own streaming service. While the show has lost some cast members, including Chevy Chase, Donald Glover, Jonathan Banks and John Oliver, season six will have new characters played by Keith David and Paget Brewster.

    While the show’s surprising resurrection and trailer is great news to its fanbase, it also highlights some major evolutions for the television industry. For one, it is the coming out party for Yahoo! Screen, which is using Community’s beloved cult status as a foothold to break into the increasingly-crowded streaming mediascape, much like Netflix did with Arrested Development in 2013. With its capital and buzzworthy CEO, Yahoo is poised to become a major player.

    For another, it shows that Amazon’s strategy was most likely not a fluke. Yahoo is joining other large companies not originally based in filmmaking and TV in providing original content online. It won’t be long before these corporate names are as synonymous with Emmys and ratings as the broadcast and cable networks.

    Finally, it’s another feather in the cap for vocal fanbases, who are succeeding more and more with bringing back their favorite shows with their passionate outcries. With more and more companies entering the TV game and having a lot more to prove, suddenly these TV viewers are finding themselves with more power than they ever expected. Now that’s community.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    March 4, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 3187

  • Netflix Plans to Launch 20 Original Series a Year

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    Never the type of company to shy away from ambitious projects, Netflix announced this week they plan to launch up to twenty original scripted series a year, in a bid to acquire and attain subscribers. The show has so far had mixed but generally positive reception to their original content, including House of Cards, Bojack Horseman, and Orange is the New Black.

    Netflix has previously announced plans to produce feature-length films for theatrical release and has made a niche for itself in bringing back fan favorite cult shows like Wet Hot American Summer and Arrested Development. Launching twenty new scripted series is stepping up their game to a whole other level, however.

    Currently, cable networks like HBO and FX typically release only a small handful of new shows each year. Twenty is even a high number for the broadcast networks. The announcement was made during a Q&A at NATPE, the National Association of Television Program Executives, by Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, with the aim of reaching as broad as demographic as possible, providing something for everyone.

    It remains to be seen whether the popular netcaster can live up to such a lofty goal. Even if they do pull it off, it’s hard to imagine any network creating consistent quality over such a large number of projects, but Netflix has defied expectations before. One of their next projects to stream will be a new late-night show with Chelsea Handler, who has promised something new and different from her previous effort with E!.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    January 22, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 3786