caa
Posts

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Welcomes Top CAA Agent Chris Andrews

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    On Tuesday, December 3, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) had the pleasure to host Chris Andrews, top talent agent at the industry-leading Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Tova Laiter, Director of the NYFA Q&A Series, moderated the event.

    Chris Andrews

    Andrews is based in Los Angeles and represents many of the Hollywood’s leading actors, including Daniel Craig, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Saoirse Ronan, Nicole Kidman, Jon Hamm, Ben Kingsley, Ian McKellen, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emily Blunt, and Edgar Ramirez, among others. He has been instrumental in the development and advancement of his clients’ careers around the globe.

    Laiter opened the Q&A by asking Andrews how he became an agent and started with CAA. Andrews discussed his history in the industry, from working in the mailroom (“you meet everybody—agents and clients”) to his current work as one of the company’s top agents. Through his story and the entire session, Andrews emphasized the importance of hard work and ambition. 

    One student asked Andrews for advice on how to get an agent when first starting out in their craft. Andrews replied,  “Work brings work … if you can get one job it’ll lead to something else. Anybody you meet – write their name down, get their phone number, get their email address, remember that … keep it handy so that you have it. Don’t be like ‘Oh, I think I met her’… You should know who you’ve met along the way … you never know who you’re going to meet.”

    Chris Andrews

    Andrews left the students with some inspirational words. “Time is precious. It goes by really, really fast … Take it in … If you love film, if you love acting, if you love producing, if you love writing—read great writers, watch great directors, watch great actors. You will learn something, because it’ll teach you where the bar is higher … You have to live in that hope, still, of dreaming of ‘I can be better’ … that’s what propels me.”

    New York Film Academy thanks CAA agent Chris Andrews for taking the time to share his experience and expertise with our students.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    December 6, 2019 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 1148

  • ‘Inside Man’ Screenwriter Russell Gewirtz Talks Inside Hollywood

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    This Tuesday, the New York Film Academy in Union Square New York City welcomed Hollywood screenwriter Russell Gewirtz. Gewirtz is best known as the screenwriter of the Universal Studios hit film Inside Man, starring Denzel Washington, Jodi Foster and Clive Owen, and directed by Spike Lee. He also wrote the Lionsgate film Righteous Kill, starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.

    gewirtz

    Producing co-chair Nick Yellen with screenwriter Russell Gewirtz

    Moderated by Producing co-chair Nick Yellen, Gewirtz discussed his life as a screenwriter and his unorthodox way of breaking into the business. Originally, Gewirtz was working for his father’s clothing business in New York, but had a movie idea gelling in his head for so long that he “couldn’t take it anymore.” After reading a few screenplays of his favorite films, Gewirtz spent a year fleshing out his idea into a properly formatted screenplay. Once he had the draft ready to go, he was able to get it to the top 5 agencies at the time. Three of the agencies passed. However, CAA saw promise in the story and decided to work on selling his screenplay. After flying out to Los Angeles for a few meetings, Gewirtz discovered that his screenplay had been passed on by all of the major studios — except Universal. They bought it and eventually turned it into the smash hit we know as Inside Man.

    His story is proof that talent and a great idea could lead to anything. However, he admits how fortunate he was at the time, which he hadn’t realized until later in his career. “Eighty percent of what I wrote made it to the screen,” said Gewirtz. “You have to be very lucky for that to happen. I was lucky.”

    russell gewirtz

    Gewirtz seemed to recognize and appreciate the success he’s garnished thus far in his career, but understands that the business never gets any easier. With tent-pole and comic book features hogging studios’ slates, it’s very difficult to get a film like Inside Man made again. In fact, he already wrote the sequel to the film, but it has yet to see a green light.

    In the end, Gewirtz left our students with a piece of advice that seems to have worked with so many screenwriters who have made it in the industry: “At the end of the day, you have to write what you love.”

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    May 6, 2015 • Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 6914

  • Renowned Manager/Producer Ben Press Speaks at NYFA Los Angeles

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Ben Press

    Students were thrilled to hear renowned manager and producer Ben Press speak this past Monday at New York Film Academy Los Angeles’s School for Acting. Ben’s radiant energy spread through the packed room as he entertained and enlightened students with stories from the Hollywood agency world and solid career advice to those starting out in the industry. Manager/Producer Ben Press started as assistant to legendary ICM agent Ed Limato and his roster of stars: Richard Gere, Denzel Washington, Mel Gibson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Anthony Hopkins, Steve Martin, Nicolas Cage, Dennis Quaid, Ellen Barkin, Edward Norton and Marlon Brando among others. As Paradigm Talent Department Co-Head, Ben packaged America’s Next Top Model, produced/hosted by Tyra Banks and negotiated the $1.5 million talent holding deal for William Baldwin (one of the industry’s most lucrative). Ben now manages clients Elle Macpherson, Rick Yune, Jennifer Esposito, as well as Taylor Swift’s future feature film acting career.

    Ben press never thought he’d work in entertainment. Off a whim and recommendation from a college friend, he landed an interview at ICM, one of the industry’s top agencies. The tradition in Hollywood agencies is to always start from the bottom. After nailing his interview with ICM, Ben did just that; his first job was literally working in the mailroom and pushing a cart. Being accepted into the agent trainee program at top agencies such as ICM, CAA and UTA, however, is a highly sought after position as mailroom workers are likely to be promoted within the company. Whereas the traditional route is to slowly climb the agency ladder, Ben took a different approach. Legendary ICM agent Ed Limato was who Ben wanted to work for and he didn’t want to wait in line to get that job. Ben convinced Mr. Limato’s current assistant to allow him to come into the office early and help him organize and plan for the day. This way Ben would know the ins and out of Ed Limato’s office and be prepared when his opportunity came. The way Ben Press’s opportunity did come is a twist of fate so far-fetched it’s hard to believe even within the context of Hollywood’s crazy world. Because of his determined nature, Ben had already made a name for himself at ICM in the short time he was there and landed an interview for the job of Ed Limato’s assistant when his former assistant was leaving. Ben was wary of his chances of getting the job, because he seemed to be the candidate with the least amount of experience. Soon after his interview, Ben came across a female agent trainee who had collapsed in the mailroom and wasn’t breathing. Luckily he had just learned CPR and immediately began performing it on her as he ordered the other trainee’s to call 911. Ben ended up saving the woman’s life. When Ed Limato got wind of the fact that Ben Press had saved someone’s life in the office he said, “I want THAT guy working for me!”

    Continue Reading

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    March 14, 2014 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 7853

  • Understanding the Craft of Acting

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Grant Turnbull with Liam Neeson

    Since Grant Turnbull graduated from New York Film Academy’s Acting for Film in 2011, he’s been booking steady work. Hailing from a small town outside of Belfast, Ireland, Grant took the risk to move to New York City, where he felt was the place to fulfill his acting aspirations. While most of his acting peers stayed local, Grant went for it all. It is that drive and ambition that has sustained his early career. “I have always been a deep person with a love for the performing arts, but the New York Film Academy taught me about ‘depth.’ Depth in my performance, depth in myself, and the ability to see depth in other people. Respect: respect for my fellow actors, respect for people’s stories, where they came from, what their hardships where. Understanding: understanding people’s troubles and always trying to help. This was something I was always good at, but now I could use it in my acting.”

    With his maturity and formal education, Grant was ready for the competitive world of acting. After shooting a commercial for Royal Caribbean Cruises, Grant landed commercial spots for major brands like Just for Men, Gold Bond, Alfani Suits, ESPN, Major League Baseball, and an NFL catalogue advertisement. He is currently working with the Bella Agency where he is constantly on call for auditions. For the second year in a row, Grant starred in Shakespeare in the Parking Lot’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. The play, held in the Lower East Side, performed in front of record crowds of 300 people per night. Grant is currently gearing up for an independent feature film, 19th Hole, which will be shooting this September in Connecticut.

    Grant’s strongest recommendation to current students is to put everything they have into the program. Be prepared for every class and never ever be late! “I made sure I put everything I had into the school and, in return, three of my teachers cast me in two plays and a feature film. I acquired an agent from a faculty recommendation, and was able to audition for The Good Wife, Boardwalk Empire, The Big C, and Gossip Girl. After that, I landed parts on White Collar, Smash and The Good Wife. My first day at NYFA an instructor told me, ‘Grant you may be in school, but your career has already started.’ He was right.”

     

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    August 14, 2012 • Acting, International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 6192