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  • New York Film Academy at WonderCon 2015

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    WonderCon

    For the second year in a row, Adam Finer (Chair of Industry Outreach and Professional Development) and Nunzio DeFilippis (Screenwriting Department Chair) presented a panel on Franchise Development and Transmedia titled “Story Worlds: The Alchemy of Franchise Creation” at WonderCon in Anahiem, California. Joining them on stage this year for a witty, insightful exchange was Christina Weir (one of the co-creators of the Screenwriting Department’s Transmedia Track). The audience was engaged as the trio imparted wisdom about the world of stories and covered the elements that make up a successful franchise. Current New York Film Academy students and alumni joined the fast-paced and informative session, but the majority of the excited questions and panel interactions came from attendees interested in, or already trying, to create their own story worlds and franchises. The panel closed out Friday Night and attendees stayed till the very end to ask questions of Adam, Nunzio, and Christina, to discuss franchises and how to create or pitch their own ideas.

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    Adam, Nunzio, and Christina bantered their way through a variety of famous franchise examples, focusing on where they started and where they’ve gone: Batman started as a comic and has expanded to television shows, movies, and games; My Little Pony was originally a toy and grew into three different television series and movies; Harry Potter started as a novel series and has, thanks to fan contribution, grown into website and theme park interactive experiences. These are only a few of the examples, but Adam, Nunzio, and Christina went on to show that as long as you have an interesting world and dynamic characters to populate it, story worlds – franchises – can come from anywhere.

    In addition to the panel, New York Film Academy had a strong presence in the WonderCon Exhibition Hall with a booth that featured student work and was manned by Faculty, Staff and Student Volunteers. The booth was NYFA’s first at any comic convention, and our diligent staff and student volunteers were on hand all weekend to answer questions and talk with attendees interested in the wide array of educational paths available at the New York Film Academy.

    Written by Jennifer Sterner and Adam Finer

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    April 16, 2015 • Community Highlights, Screenwriting • Views: 3813

  • ‘Gotham’ Shines Light on New Cast

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    rob gorrie

    Rob Gorrie with Ben McKenzie  (photo from @RobGorrie)

    Over the past few episodes, the popular Fox series Gotham, based on DC Comics’ Batman franchise, has shined a light on the Wayne family business and its board members. It was only a matter of time before the series introduced Lucius Fox, a tech genius who, in the comics, has been Wayne’s business manager and the acting CEO of Wayne Enterprises. Fox will be played by Chris Chalk, an actor predominately known for his theater work, but who’s also appeared in HBO’s The Newsroom and Showtime’s Homeland, as well as FX’s Sons of Anarchy and Justified. He also starred in the Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave.

    This comes off the news that actress Jada Pinkett Smith and her character Fish Mooney will be leaving Gotham at the end of its first season. Though, in a recent interview on Live with Kelly and Michael, Smith hints that her character could always reappear down the line.

    The popular Fox series has also introduced the acrobatic circus family The Flying Graysons. John Grayson and Mary Loyd, who at this point in the show have just met, will eventually become the parents of Dick Grayson, who most of us know as the first Robin. What’s most exciting to us about the introduction to the family is that the role of John Grayson is being played by New York Film Academy Admissions Representative Rob Gorrie. Gorrie has appeared in a number of film and television productions, including his season stints on the popular soaps, As the World Turns and One Life to Live.

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    March 10, 2015 • Acting, Entertainment News, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4314

  • Fan Creates Supercut of Batman in the Movies

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    Batman

    Just when Spider-Man thought he could hog up all the press, a fan-made supercut of Batman has managed to go viral this week. The cut focuses only on the many interpretations of Batman in cinema, from his earliest days as a superhero to present day.

    Batman debuted in Detective Comics #1, shortly after Superman first revolutionized comic-book superheroes. His first film adaptation came quickly, in 1943 with the serial Batman, featuring already iconic features like the Bat Cave. Its sequel, Batman and Robin, followed six years later. Batman didn’t return until its famously campy TV adaptation starring Adam West and Burt Ward as the Dynamic Duo, which eventually saw its own cinematic spin-off.

    In 1989, Tim Burton helped usher in the age of the modern multimedia blockbuster with Batman, a darker, edgier gothic take on the hero starring Michael Keaton. It doubled down on all those elements with Batman Returns. During the 90s, Batman also got an animated theatrical release with Mask of the Phantasm. Though hand-drawn, to this day the film still gets heaps of critical praise.

    Joel Schumacher took over the live-action franchise from Tim Burton, directing Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, increasingly campier efforts starring Val Kilmer and George Clooney, respectively. Christopher Nolan ushered in yet another darker reboot with The Dark Knight Trilogy, starring Christian Bale from 2005 to 2012.

    Of course, Bruce Wayne’s Hollywood legacy won’t end there. Ben Affleck will be starring as the Caped Crusader in Batman v. Superman next year while Will Arnett’s scene-stealing Lego Batman is likely to get his own spin-off film. The goth metal loving version of the character also makes a cameo in Jacob T. Swinney’s supercut, which includes original film scores from the Batman films. Even if you’re not a big Batman fan, the video is worth a look just for its decade-spanning look at superhero cinema.

    Still no supercut of Hulk movies though.

    The Evolution of Batman in Cinema from Jacob T. Swinney on Vimeo.

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    February 12, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 3335

  • Do Video Games Have an Impact on How Movies are Made?

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    The tools that are used to make the 3D worlds of video games are largely the same as the tools used to make 3D effects in feature films. So from a production standpoint, the people making both games and movies are overlapping more and more.

    Also, the aesthetics of both games and movies influence one another more than ever. For example, the camera placement in The Fast and Furious movies evoke racing games, and at the same time the cinematics in the racing game Gran Turismo 5 evoke racing movies.

    The movie Sucker Punch looks like a modern video game and utilizes visual techniques from games throughout. This type of stylization was a design choice by the director, Zack Snyder, and his production designer, Rick Carter.

    Another extreme example is the movie Crank. It borrows from the aesthetics of the Grand Theft Auto series throughout including multiple GTA-like sequences utilizing the same 3rd person camera perspective.

    It goes without saying that film aesthetics are used in video games. Game makers want to make their stories as immersive as possible. In recent years, the processing power of PC and consoles (Xbox and PlayStation) allows game makers to use the same sophisticated cinematic techniques as filmmakers. Great examples of cinematic games are:

    • Grand Theft Auto 5
    • Skyrim
    • Batman: Arkham City
    • Bioshock: Infinite
    • Heavy Rain

    The bottom line is: movies and games continue to influence one another and blend into a modern visual aesthetic.

    If you’re interested in learning more about New York Film Academy‘s Game Design Program, click HERE.

    -Chris Swain, Chair of NYFA‘s Game Design Program

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    December 11, 2013 • Game Design • Views: 6278

  • New York Film Academy Presents 70 Years of Batman

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    Looking back over time, we’ve seen the caped crusader in many forms. Rugged, campy, and even nipply. So Ben Zhang at the New York Film Academy created an infographic that sums up the last 70 Years of Batman. One thing’s for sure, the hero has certainly evolved.

    batman infographic by nyfa film school
    Created by New York Film Academy

    Tweet us @NYFA to let us know which Batman is your favorite?

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    July 17, 2012 • Acting, Film School, Infographics • Views: 26041

  • Superheroes are Taking Over Hollywood (and I Feel Fine)

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     Eric Conner is the Chair of the Screenwriting Department for New York Film Academy’s Universal Studios – Los Angeles campus. With an MFA degree from USC School of Cinema and Television and a BA from UPenn, Eric is currently developing two TV pilots, a sci-fi feature, and trying to add to his collection of ironic snapshots with Stormtroopers. Feel free to email him at eric@nyfa.edu

    I often warn my students to avoid becoming “That Guy.” You know “That Guy.” He’s the one in the theater who complains about a director “crossing the 180 line” or using the wrong lens. He’s the one who LOUDLY critiques a movie in terms of “sequences” and “denouement.” Summer’s an especially difficult time for “That Guy” since the multiplexes are filled with Hollywood’s biggest, loudest, and franchise-iest products — though to be fair, there’s a Wes Anderson gem also playing in the theaters, but it’s on a screen smaller than your car. For my $14 (or $28 if you choose the couches and food service of iPic Theaters in Pasadena), I don’t watch a movie with a notebook or penlight. I go to the theaters simply to be transported.

    Sometimes it’s to the dark emotional wilderness of Into the Wild. Other times to see Kevin Bacon singlehandedly ignite the Cold War in X-Men: First Class. Please note: I’m pretty sure the Cuban Missile Crisis did not actually play out that way, especially since my own father was on one of the ships during those tense thirteen days in 1962. But that didn’t make me enjoy the scene any less. This likely goes back to why I work in the arts in the first place. Similar to many of my peers, I grew up on the films of Allen, Scorsese, Coppola, Ashby, Polanski, and Altman, and spent most of my college days working on one play or another. However, I also spent many hours in my native Delaware reading comics, Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, and — please don’t hold it against me or my department — watching professional wrestling! Meaning that I’m equally transfixed by the damaged honesty of The Descendants as when the Hulk mops up the floor with Loki. In fact, my favorite line of dialogue this decade came out of Bruce Banner’s mouth just as he got his green on. (No spoilers here!)

    With The Avengers approaching Titanic-level grosses, we’re likely to see even more superhero films in the future. And I’m here to tell you that’s okay. Some of them will be stinkers (I’m looking at you Ghost Rider), but others will give us the same thrill that George Lucas unleashed in 1977 with one unforgettable opening shot. For every Daredevil, Elektra, or Green Lantern, there’s a Superman or Spiderman 2. I still think  Magneto’s unorthodox escape from his glass prison — featuring a poor guard with “too much iron in his blood” — is as cinematic as cinema can get. Hopefully, the screenwriters who are developing the next mega-budget superhero adaptations remember the wonder they felt as kids, flipping through the pages of The Flash. Or take a cue from Chris Nolan, who’s been treating Batman like part of the Godfather franchise.

    In fact, our writing department in Los Angeles has even begun to address this head-on by adding comic book writing and game design to our curriculum. Both of these mediums have provided some of the greatest modern writing around. As long as there’s money to be made and stories to be told, Hollywood will continue to look for new films from these existing properties. Some films will anger the aforementioned “That Guy.” But other films will sweep him up in their worlds and remind him why he came to film school in the first place. If you want to discuss this with me, I can be found at either the Ahmanson touring production of War Horse or the opening weekend of Dark Knight Rises

    Eric Connor in a tiff with Darth Vader.

    Learn more about NYFA’s screenwriting program. Click here for more info! 
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    June 14, 2012 • Academic Programs, Screenwriting • Views: 5953