christopher nolan
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  • Creative Power Couple Piper Perabo and Stephen Kay Speak at NYFA

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    This week, the New York Film Academy at Battery Park welcomed creative power couple, Piper Perabo and Stephen Kay. Their conversation with Short-term Filmmaking Chair Jonathan Whittaker was as authentic and inspirational as it gets. The only heated discrepancy amongst them was that Perabo is a Dallas Cowboys fan and Kay and Whittaker are Philadelphia Eagles fans. But all relationships require work, and work is indeed what the two of them have been doing in all aspects of the entertainment business for well over a decade now.

    stephen kay piper perabo

    Stephen Kay and Piper Perabo and NYFA

    Currently starring in Lost Girls on Broadway, the Golden Globe nominated actress Perabo is one of the most talented and versatile actresses working today. Her first big break came in the Jerry Bruckheimer produced film Coyote Ugly, where she played the leading role of Violet Sanford. In 2007, she was seen in Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige with Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, in Because I Said So with Diane Keaton and Lauren Graham and in First Snow, a film directed by Mark Fergus, costarring Guy Pearce and Adam Scott. In May 2009, she made her stage debut in Neil Labute’s controversial play Reasons to Be Pretty directed by Terry Kinney. The list of credits goes on and on.

    One of Perabo’s biggest pet peeves is when an actor breaks character and stops acting before the director yells cut. She stresses to all actors, “Never stop until somebody says cut! Just keep going.”

    As for her husband Stephen Kay—who directed Get Carter, as well as episodes of the TV series Sons of Anarchy, The Shield, Friday Night Lights and many others—his start came about with his film The Last Time I Committed Suicide. As luck would have it, Kay was discussing his idea while playing hockey with Keanu Reeves. Reeves, who was playing goalie at the time, overheard the idea and immediately wanted to get involved. Through Reeves’ support and attachment to the project, Kay was able to get funding and springboard what would become a successful career in the business.

    piper and kay

    NYFA Short-term Filmmaking Chair Jonathan Whittaker with Stephen Kay and Piper Perabo

    Most recently, Kay has been the executive producer and director of ABC’s Quantico, USA’s Covert Affairs and The Lizzie Borden Chronicles, for Lifetime Television. Along with his wife, he is currently working on The Flight, a television drama about conflict journalists, for Fremantle Television, Corona Pictures, and Capa Drama.

    One of the many notable pieces of advice Kay had for our acting students was, “Every time you walk in the door to an audition, the person on the other side of the table wants you to be the right person.” Don’t go in the room thinking that they’re against you succeeding—be confident! Even if you’re not right for that specific part, if they like you, you may get the call for a project months later that’ll be your big break.

    We wish the talented and warmhearted couple the best of luck with all of their upcoming projects, and sincerely thank them for candidness and refreshing take on an arduous business.

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    December 3, 2015 • Acting, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 9966

  • 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: 3535

  • Matthew Modine Guest Lectures at First Acting for Directors Class

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    Matthew Modine

    Matthew Modine

    Acclaimed, veteran actor, Matthew Modine paid a visit to the New York Film Academy’s first Acting for Directors class in Los Angeles, where he was able to elaborate on being an actor as well as a director. Modine, known for his role as “Joker” in Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece Full Metal Jacket, has directed a number of short films and is currently in pre-production on a feature called The Rocking Horseman. In addition to Kubrick, he has also worked with Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Demme, and countless others.

    “He was very approachable and casual, and discussed the importance of being prepared before going on set and how an actor has to do his work beforehand,” said NYFA LA Acting Instructor, Paz Leon. “He also told us that when he worked with Christopher Nolan, he noticed that he never looks at the monitor and always stays close to the actors. This made the actors feel safe and protected by him. So he advised the students to try that instead of being so close to the monitor.”

    Students were thrilled with the experience, one student said, “It was really great to meet an actor of his stature, yet see how down to earth he is.” While another added, “It was obvious from his energy that he’s passionate not only about acting, but also directing. I was really inspired.”

    The New York Film Academy is grateful for having such a prominent actor like Matthew Modine come in to provide insight and encouragement to our students. Once again, we’d like to thank Matthew for his time at NYFA!

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    June 12, 2014 • Acting, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 5097

  • Producer Chris Brigham and His Road to "Inception"

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    Chris Brigham NYFAChris Brigham isn’t your typical “Hollywood” producer, which comes as a surprise, considering he produced global blockbusters such as Inception, The Aviator, and Analyze This. He doesn’t even live in Hollywood.“New York is a great place for a producer right now, especially with the tax breaks. There are more shows here now, which means more jobs.” Aspiring filmmakers looking to develop stories, however, should still consider Los Angeles. Everyone’s path will be different. It’s up to each individual to recognize which is one’s true calling.“Not everyone will have the chops for this business.”

    As the guest speaker for our Q&A on Thursday, Chris shared with us his journey from a P.A. in New York to the Hollywood powerhouse he is today. Hustling his way to the top, there was much to be learned in terms of film production. Most importantly, he learned quite a bit about dealing with people, which is something he credits to the Teamsters.The motto? “Money talks. Bullshit walks.” New York is a ‘show me’ city where you have to back up what you’re saying. Chris realized his ability in handling people and their problems was a valuable skill in the industry. Soon he began finding steady work as a line producer.

    So what is a line producer? “It’s a critical job. You are the eyes and the ears managing the movie. Being a line producer demands entrepreneurial skills.”Highlighting some of the details of his job, one learns it’s not your typical 9 to 5. Being a freelance line producer requires a lot of travel, networking, and wisdom to find the right project. “It’s better to work on quality projects but it’s a lot of hard work.”

    His recommendation for filmmaking success? “Get your foot in the door. Make phone calls and start out as a P.A. on set.” Eventually you’ll build a reputation and, who knows, you may end up waking up one day with a call from Christopher Nolan’s team to work on Inception. Luck may play a part, however, this game is a foot-race and the last person standing is the one who makes it in this business. Whether it’s writing, directing, acting or producing, there are thousands of people trying to do the same thing you want to do. The key is not losing sight of your dreams.

    What about maintaining a family and some sort of normalcy? Chris recounted some of his struggles balancing career and family. He recalled a shoot in Montreal where he drove six hours to see his wife and kids on the weekends. Character is indispensable. It seems kindness, too, can pay off in a business with a bad reputation for its conceited personalities.

    Twitter was abuzz for Brigham’s appearance. Irrefutably, the most submitted question of the night was “Is film school worth it?” In response, Chris cited his very first film class in college learning about Fellini and Kurosawa. It sparked his passion for the craft. He encouraged our students to collaborate, build bonds, and sustain a network. In this industry, it’s crucial to meet the right people. Create a foundation for yourself. Film school is what you make of it.

    After the Q&A, Chris handled individual students with personal questions, ranging from “Can I meet Christopher Nolan?” to “How do I get my screenplay funded?” Chris stayed for a good 45 minutes afterwards, patiently handling questions and proving to us how integrity can go a long way.

    Chris Brigham Q&A at NYFA

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    March 5, 2012 • Producing • Views: 6370