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  • NYFA Welcomes Producers of Military Docuseries “Ten Weeks” to NYFA’s Q&A-List

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    NYFA had the privilege of hosting a live video Q&A with the co-founder of We Are the Mighty, David Gale, Medal of Honor recipient & Chair of NYFA’s Veteran Advancement Program Col. Jack Jacobs, and We Are The Mighty (WATM) Chief Content Officer and director Chase Millsap. Tova Laiter, Director of the NYFA Q&A-List Series, curated and moderated the event.

    David Gale is an executive and award-winning producer who is currently serving as the Exe.VP of Development and Production at Gunpowder & Sky. Before joining G&S, Gale co-founded and was CEO of WATM, a media brand focused on hiring and telling the stories of our military veterans. Gale oversaw the release of 28 films when he was at MTV Films, including Varsity Blues, Save The Last Dance, The Longest Yard, Election, Hustle and Flow, and the cultural phenomenon Napoleon Dynamite.

    (Clockwise) Tova Laiter, Chase Millsap, David Gale, and Col. Jack Jacobs

    Chase Millsap produced the short film, The Captain’s Story, in collaboration with National Geographic to highlight the struggles faced by America’s wartime allies. His work has been featured in National Geographic, The Huffington Post and he has appeared on Buzzfeed and CNN International. Millsap is the Chief Content Officer at WATM and has helmed digital, social, film, and television projects for Warner Brothers Studios, CBS Studios, Netflix, and Blumhouse Productions.

    Col. Jack Jacobs served in Vietnam twice; both times as an advisor to Vietnamese infantry battalions, earning three Bronze Stars, two Silver Stars, and the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest combat decoration. After Jacobs’ retirement, he was a Managing Director of Bankers Trust and now serves as the Chair of the Veterans Advancement Program at the New York Film Academy. Jacobs also serves as an on-air analyst for NBC News and he is also the co-author of the memoir, If Not Now, When?, which won the Colby Award.

    Rhett Cutrell filming Army trainee Stormy Gideons on the set of “Ten Weeks” (Photo courtesy of We are the Mighty / Quibi)

    Millsap, Gale, and Col. Jacobs discussed the making of their series from Blumhouse TV/We Are The Mighty docuseries Ten Weeks. The series, inspired by Col. Jacobs’ book Basic: Surviving Boot Camp and Basic Training, is a docuseries that follows a cohort of recruits in their journey from untested, young adults to soldiers during basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Though the docuseries Ten Weeks was originally supposed to be released on Quibi, the series will be available to stream on Roku devices in 2021.

    Ten Weeks (named for the length of basic training) would not have been possible without the support of the U.S. Army, which colonel Jack Jacobs brought in to collaborate throughout the process. Millsap explained that it was a documentary, but it had to have a plan in place: it meant knowing the limits of production each day while on set as it was an active training ground with real challenges, safety concerns, and a rigorous approval process for certain shots. But it was all worth it.

    Army Trainees Trinity Carpenter and Stormy Gideons about to receive their banner during “The Anvil” (Photo courtesy of Blumhouse TV / Quibi)

    “Going through boot camp is an experience most people don’t experience or get to see,” shared Jacobs. “It’s the backstory of national defense.” Gale agreed and added the project “is by veterans for veterans so you can’t understate the importance of the series and also give credit to the Army for giving us the opportunity to use this space.”

    While Ten Weeks is by veterans like Millsap and Col. Jacobs, David Gale, who has been in the film business for many years co-founded WATM because he didn’t see many veterans in higher positions throughout the filmmaking industry. “There is so much talent in the military community and when they leave there are few outlets for them to go into in entertainment,” he shared. Col. Jacobs, who spearheads NYFA’s Veterans Advancement Program, added that many across the industry don’t realize how talented are those who serve and what they can accomplish. “[At NYFA], it’s an opportunity to hone what they know and learned in uniform to the arts.”

    Army trainee Stormy Gideons and Drill Sergeant Stewart being filmed by Rhett Cutrell on set for “Ten Weeks” (Photo courtesy of We are the Mighty / Quibi)

    Millsap knows all too well the challenges that one can face when transitioning from the military to the film industry. “I spent over a decade in uniform and I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I leaned into what I was passionate about,” shared Millsap. “In the military, it’s very easy to see what someone’s job is or what they do. As you think about your next step, your creative work is going to be your calling card. You’ve got to spend your time learning the skill set and reading and watching. Study what’s on the screen to figure out how it was made.”

    Millsap and Col. Jacobs, like so many veterans in the entertainment and film industry, are aiming to make military stories exude authenticity and provide more opportunities to veterans looking to break in. Col. Jacobs advised, “No matter what you’re doing, you have to be prepared for some measure of rejection, but you have to keep working at it and it (the project) has to speak to you.”

    (L-R) Army trainee/soldiers Leo Eades, Joshua Oller, Stormy Gideons, Trinity Carpenter, and Riley Barnard on graduation day (Photo courtesy of We are the Mighty / Quibi)

    Laiter thanked the distinguished producers for the series that will open up another world in an authentic and compelling way.

    New York Film Academy would like to thank David Gale, Col. Jack Jacobs, and Chase Millsap for sharing their time and expertise with students and the NYFA community. For more information on veteran opportunities at New York Film Academy, click here.

    To hear the full conversation, click the video below our watch on our YouTube channel here.

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    February 2, 2021 • Acting • Views: 1807

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Update – December 2019

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    While workplace events are starting to give way for holiday events, there is still a lot happening in the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism department.

    We start off with good news from NYFA grad Clyde Gunter, who is starting a 13-month paid internship program next month at ESPN. Clyde will spend time assigned to various departments across the company, learning how this sports media giant works. At the conclusion, he’ll be given an opportunity to join the ESPN staff. Of course, this means moving to Connecticut where the ESPN “mothership” is located in Bristol. Congratulations, Clyde!

    Broadcast Journalism Update December 2019 Clyde Gunter ESPN

    Continuing with sports, alum Gillian Kemerer—after winning a fellowship to study Russian in Moscow—is now producing a new program for the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), which has 24 member clubs in Belarus, China, Finland, Kazakhstan, Latvia, and Russia. After leaving NYFA, Gillian became the American programming chief (as well as lead US anchor/presenter) for Asset TV. But sports were always her first love, and now she’s found a way to combine hockey and TV. (I wonder how you say “slap shot” in Russian?)

    Broadcast Journalism Update December 2019 Gillian Kemerer
    The Fall 2019 1-Year Broadcast Journalism students had a chance to go behind the scenes at NBC News recently. Thanks to Col. Jack Jacobs (USA, ret.), who is a contributor to MSNBC, they got to visit a network control room, go out onto the studio floor where a program was taking place, plus get their pictures taken on the set of NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. By the time our students graduate, they’ve already seen major production facilities.

    Finally, we said goodbye to our Fall 8-Week Broadcast Journalism workshop students. As always, they came to NYFA with a variety of personal goals. They left with a deep skillset, and the knowledge that they are now multimedia journalists.

    New York Film Academy wishes the recent grads the best of luck!

    Broadcast Journalism Update December 2019 8-Week Graduation

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    December 4, 2019 • Broadcast Journalism, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1592

  • Colonel Jack Jacobs Holds Lecture for New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles Veteran-Students

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    On November 15, 2018 New York Film Academy Los Angeles veteran-students gathered in the NYFA Theater, for a special lecture from Medal of Honor Recipient and appointed Chair of NYFA’s Veterans Advancement Program Colonel Jack Jacobs.

    Colonel Jacobs served in the U.S. Military for more than 20 years and his gallantry in Vietnam earned him the Medal of Honor—the nation’s highest combat honor—as well as two Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts. Colonel Jacobs is a military strategist and on-air analyst for NBC and MSNBC News.

    Colonel Jacobs’ mission at NYFA is to support the Academy’s veteran-students’ transition from the military to exciting careers in media and entertainment.

    The evening began with a screening of the documentary about Colonel Jacobs that recounted the events that took place during the Vietnam War and Colonel Jacobs’ dauntless actions that later earned him the Medal of Honor.

    Honorable Col. Jack Jacobs (MoH Recipient) with NYFA veteran-students.

    During the talk, Colonel Jacobs discussed his personal experience in transitioning from the military to civilian life and offered his advice to the veterans in attendance. The Colonel’s personal experiences, his inspiration, and at times his wit, touched several pungent topics. He emphasized his belief that the military is the only place that will give an 18-year-old man or woman a large amount of responsibility and this prepares them – more than most 18-year old who have not served – for nearly any career and circumstance. “An employer who hires a veteran, gains a huge benefit due to the work ethic and skills that they learned and honed while serving our great Country” stated Jacobs. He spoke on how veterans should walk into a job interview confident that with their military background, they know both how to follow and how to lead.

    The evening concluded with Colonel Jacobs taking photos and talking with the NYFA veteran-students as well as other vets in attendance from Veterans in Media & Entertainment (VME), and the Veterans Affairs (VA).

    It was truly a great experience and very inspirational evening for everyone in attendance.

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    December 6, 2018 • Community Highlights, Guest Speakers, Veterans • Views: 2138

  • Episodic Instagram, Austin Veterans, Copenhagen TV2, and More From New York Film Academy’s Broadcast Journalism School

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    Digiday posted a fascinating article last week about storytelling in the digital age. The premise was that “publishers” (the online sort) are treating Instagram stories like episodic television. It’s really a brilliant innovation. The way people process information is changing (or should that be “has changed?”). People react less to words and more to images. So how do you take what would otherwise be disjointed arrays of pixels and give them staying power? You tell a story — and episodic television has been telling stories since the dawn of the TV era. By creating basic storylines, that carry over from “episode” to “episode,” you create anticipation, tension, interest and (most importantly) audiences!
    The same is true in nonfiction video too.
    NYFA grad Melissa Aleman is back in the Weekly Update again, this time with Col. Jack Jacobs, the chair of the NYFA Veterans Advancement Program. Melissa was the videographer at a special veterans event that NYFA held in Austin, Texas. It is wonderful to see how Melissa is using the skills she learned as a Broadcast Journalism student not just to build a career, but to “give back” as well. Meanwhile, Col. Jack Jacoba is the heart and soul of our veterans’ activities here at NYFA.
    So how do you produce news stories in the digital era? Well, you can learn a lot from NYFA grad Celina Liv Danielsen. She works in the news department at TV2, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Look carefully at the picture below — Liv is using three microphones. Two are wireless lavalier mics (see the antennae on the back of the camera?), and one is a mini-shotgun mounted on the front of the camera. Just like she learned to do here at NYFA!
    The skills students learn in the NYFA Broadcast Journalism program can be used in a number of different ways. Recently I heard from graduate Karina Gaudereto. She is working for a company called SEVEN PR, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She wrote:
    This is a PR Agency for techlology startups, and I am a press agent for some companies in this area … There is one TV production called Floresta Produções which is a joint venture with Sony Entertainment. They make one of the most famous reality shows here like Lady Night at Multishow, and also UFC, Shark Tank, and shows like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. They called out our help because they want to expand their productions for branded content and TV premium. It’s been cool but tough!

    Here is a screen grab from one of Karina’s student projects. I know for a fact she misses New York … if not the winter weather.

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  • New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School Visits NBC News

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    So, for graduates of the NYFA 1-Year Broadcast Journalism program, these pictures should bring back some memories!

    This month, the Fall 2017 1-Year students got an exclusive “behind the scenes” look at NBC News. It was all made possible by NBC News military affairs contributor Col. Jack Jacobs, who is also Chair of the NYFA Veteran’s Advancement program.

    While visiting NBC News, the students had the opportunity to meet MSNBC anchor Joy Reid.

    Then, they visited the set of her program “AM Joy,” while the show was in progress.

    Since prime time anchor Lester Holt was off, the NYFA students decided to help out as “substitute anchors” on the set of the “NBC Nightly News.”

    …and made a quick visit to make-up.

    They even had to chance to visit the set of “Saturday Night Live” during rehearsals. (You can hear the band playing here.)

    In fact, they even found out about some of the jokes on that night’s show, 10 hours before air time!

    These tours are available only to students in the NYFA Broadcast Journalism 1-Year Conservatory program. This group seems to have had fun…

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  • NYFA Films Special Veterans Day Message with Col. Jacobs and DVS Commissioner, Brigadier General (ret.) Loree Sutton

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    Members of New York City Department of Veteran Services (DVS), including the DVS Commissioner, Brigadier General (ret.) Loree Sutton, gathered at the New York Film Academy’s (NYFA) state-of-the-art facilities at 17 Battery Park to film a special Veterans Day message to salute, and thank those veterans who have served in our Armed Forces. The message marks the first official Veterans Day message from the City of New York’s newly created Department of Veterans Services.

    col jacobs

    Colonel Jack Jacobs chats with NYFA veteran student, Joshua Flashman, in between takes.

    Commissioner Sutton was joined by Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient and Chair of the New York Film Academy’s Veterans Advancement Program (VAP) to send a message to both New York City veterans and the civilians who support them. They both spoke about how important the NYC community is to veterans, and how the strengths of the City’s nearly 250,000 veterans adds tremendous value to the NYC communities. Both retired servicemembers asked that— on this 2016 Veterans Day— citizens do more than simply thank veterans for their service, but also to let veterans know what a powerful asset they are as they continue to make invaluable contributions to making this the greatest city— in the greatest country— on earth.

    “There’s nobody more creative than veterans,” said Col. Jacobs. “They’re the one’s who bring life experience and creativity to a profession that requires both of those attributes.”

    “To see these students working at the New York Film Academy is really a thrill and an affirmation of the strengths we know our veterans have,” added Brigadier General, Sutton.

    jacobs and sutton

    NYC Department of Veteran Services Commissioner, Loree Sutton Brigadier General (ret.) and Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient and Chair of the NYFA’s Veterans Advancement Program (VAP) during taping of the 2016 Veterans’ Day Message.

    “It means a lot to know we’re appreciated in our community,” said NYFA Acting for Film student and veteran, Labrena Ware.

    “It feels great to have a sense of brotherhood,” added NYFA student and veteran, Pavlos Plakakis, who found his acting calling in the military after being told he had a talent for boosting morale amongst the troops.

    Veterans from nearly all branches of service had the opportunity to meet and speak with Commissioner Sutton and Colonel Jacobs during the filming. Those in attendance reflected about the diversity and spirit of the “Big Apple,” and also symbolized the passing of the torch from one generation of American service members to the next.

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    November 9, 2016 • Acting, Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights, Veterans • Views: 6075

  • Election Week for Broadcast Journalism Students

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    With tomorrow’s election coming up, New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism students are getting more than their share of political news experience in the Big Apple.

    nyfa nbcnews

    We start with a spectacular behind-the-scenes tour of NBC News on Saturday. The tour was made possible by MSNBC contributor Col. Jack Jacobs, Chair of NYFA’s Veterans Advancement Program. A great friend of NYFA, he showed the Fall 2016 1-year students how TV news is produced at a major American television network.

    In fact, the Election Night sets were still in the process of being built.

    jack jacobs

    Students got a chance to sit in “the big chair” that will be occupied by top news anchors/presenters tomorrow night.

    We also had the opportunity to briefly chat with MSNBC anchor Joy Reid before she was off to the production studio for her Saturday morning broadcast.

    nbc news

    This tour is offered exclusively to NYFA 1-year Broadcast Journalism students. It’s one of the things that makes studying journalism at NYFA unique.

    Finally, Tuesday night, election night, the Broadcast Journalism program is sending out three camera crews to cover the conclusion of what many are calling the most important election in decades. One NYFA News team will be at Clinton HQ, one will be at Trump HQ, and one will be in Times Square to get public reaction.

    nbc studios
    We believe this is a great learning opportunity, as the students will be covering a “real-world” story that has both national and international ramifications. The night will be unpredictable, and they will have to make editorial decisions on-the-fly. Equally important, they will only get one chance to capture essential footage.
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    November 7, 2016 • Broadcast Journalism, Community Highlights • Views: 4306