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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Community Earns Several Nominations for 72nd Annual Primetime Emmys

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) was once again represented in this year’s nominations for the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards, announced Tuesday, July 28 at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

    NYFA alum and ‘Insecure’ creator Issa Rae (Right) and Jay Ellis (Left) in Season 4 of ‘Insecure’

    NYFA Filmmaking alum Issa Rae was nominated for her second ‘Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series’ Emmy for her performance in the HBO series Insecure, also created and executive produced by Rae. In total, Insecure received eight nominations including its first-ever Emmy nomination for ‘Outstanding Comedy Series’ and a nomination for Yvonne Orji for ‘Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.’

    Fan favorite series Stranger Things continued to capture viewers, receiving eight nominations including ‘Outstanding Drama Series.’ NYFA Filmmaking alum Eric Demeusy previously earned an Emmy in 2017 for creating the now iconic title sequence for the show. The series also previously starred NYFA Board Member and Master Class Instructor Matthew Modine as Dr. Martin Brenner and featured NYFA Acting for Film alum Matty Cardarople.

    NYFA guest speaker and ‘The Mandalorian’ creator Jon Favreau

    Competing with Stranger Things for ‘Outstanding Drama Series’ is the Disney+ Star Wars spin-off series The Mandalorian. Created by NYFA guest speaker Jon Favreau, the series received a whopping 17 nominations total for the newcomer streaming platform. The popular space western also features Rocky star, Carl Weathers, who previously spoke at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus for Industry Lab panel discussion. Disney+ also picked up a nomination for ‘Outstanding Short Form Animated Program’ with Forky Asks a Question, featuring the voice of actor and NYFA guest speaker Tony Hale.

    Documentary film poster for Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’

    Easily one of the most talked-about documentaries of the year was Netflix documentary series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem And Madness, which received four nominations in the Emmy documentary categories including ‘Outstanding Documentary Or Nonfiction Series.’ Creating the cohesive and gripping storyline for the documentary was NYFA Documentary Filmmaking alum Pedro Álvarez Gales, who served as co-editor for the popular Netflix series.

    NYFA Acting for Film alum Ragga Ragnars in ‘Vikings’

    Also nominated this year was History Channel’s Vikings for ‘Outstanding Visual Effects in a Supporting Role,’ which stars Acting for Film alum Ragga Ragnars. Better Call Saul screenwriter and NYFA guest speaker, Gordon Smith, was also nominated for his writing for the series episode “Bagman.”

    This year, Netflix beat out HBO’s previous record for the most Emmy nominations to date with 160 nominations, with HBO trailing behind at 107 nominations total this year, though HBO continued its success with dystopian series Watchmen leading with the most Emmy nominations for any show this year in 26 categories. The newly established mobile-only streaming platform Quibi led the short form Emmy nominations this year with 10 nominations across the five short form categories, making it the most of any platform.

    (UPDATE 7/30/20) The Television Academy has officially announced that the 72nd Annual Primetime Emmys will be held completely online, with host Jimmy Kimmel, the Emmy producers, and a prominent team of technicians working closely with each of the nominees to ensure the ceremony will still be streamed at the highest caliber possible for TV’s biggest night.

    The Television Academy also noted that nominees can follow the dress code “Come as you are, but make an Effort!,” noting that many of the nominees span across the globe in different time zones, with many tuning in at extremely late hours with the ceremony still being held at its normal Pacific Standard Time. An excerpt from the letter addressed to the nominees can be found below:

    “If you want to be in formal wear, we’d love that, but equally if you’re in the UK and it’s 3am, perhaps you want to be in designer pajamas and record from your bed! We want to work with you to style your moments, but want you to guide us on your levels of comfort – where you want to be, who you want to be with, what you want to wear etc.

    In the forthcoming days, Jen Proctor, our Talent Producer and her extraordinary team at Cultivated Entertainment will be reaching out to you to start talking through the details.”

    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate all the nominees for the 72nd Annual Primetime Emmys and looks forward to the ABC broadcast of the virtual ceremony on September 20, 2020, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

     

    Here is a list of some of this year’s Emmy Award nominees:

    OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

    Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek – Winner
    Anthony Anderson, Black-ish

    Don Cheadle, Black Monday
    Ted Danson, The Good Place
    Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
    Ramy Youssef, Ramy

    OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

    Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek – Winner
    Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish
    Christina Applegate, Dead To Me
    Linda Cardellini, Dead To Me
    Issa Rae, Insecure
    Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

    OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES

    Schitt’s Creek – Winner
    Curb Your Enthusiasm

    Dead To Me
    Insecure
    The Good Place
    The Kominsky Method
    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

    What We Do In The Shadows

    OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR FOR A COMEDY SERIES 

    Schitt’s Creek, Andrew Cividina & Daniel Levy – Winner
    Modern Family, Gail Mancuso
    Ramy, Ramy Youssef
    The Great, Matt Shakman
    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amy Sherman-Palladino
    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Daniel Palladino
    Will & Grace, James Burrows

    OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES

    Succession – Winner
    Better Call Saul

    The Crown
    The Handmaid’s Tale
    The Mandalorian
    Stranger Things
    Killing Eve
    Ozark

    OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

    Mark Ruffalo, I Know This Much Is True – Winner
    Hugh Jackman, Bad Education

    Jeremy Pope, Hollywood
    Paul Mescal, Normal People
    Jeremy Irons, Watchmen

    OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

    Regina King, Watchmen – Winner
    Kerry Washington, Little Fires Everywhere   

    Cate Blanchett, Mrs. America  
    Octavia Spencer, Self Made: Inspired By The Life Of Madam C.J. Walker 
    Shira Haas, Unorthodox 

    OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

    Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Watchmen – Winner
    Dylan McDermott, Hollywood
    Jim Parsons, Hollywood 

    Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend 
    Jovan Adepo, Watchmen 
    Louis Gossett Jr., Watchmen

    OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

    Uzo Adub, Mrs. America – Winner
    Holland Taylor, Hollywood

    Margo Martindale, Mrs. America
    Tracey Ullman, Mrs. America
    Toni Collette, Unbelievable
    Jean Smart, Watchmen

    OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

    Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek – Winner
    Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
    William Jackson Harper, The Good Place 
    Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
    Sterling K. Brown, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maise
    Mahershala Ali, Ramy
    Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live

    OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

    Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek – Winner
    Betty Gilpin, GLOW

    D’Arcy Carden, The Good Place
    Yvonne Orji, Insecure
    Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
    Cecily Strong, Saturday Night Live

    OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

    Jeremy Strong, Succession – Winner
    Steve Carell, The Morning Show

    Jason Bateman, Ozark 
    Billy Porter, Pose
    Brian Cox, Succession
    Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

    OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

    Zendaya, Euphoria – Winner
    Olivia Colman, The Crown

    Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
    Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
    Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show
    Laura Linney, Ozark

    OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

    Billy Crudup, The Morning Show  – Winner
    Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul 

    Bradley Whitford The Handmaid’s Tale
    Mark Duplass, The Morning Show
    Nicholas Braun, Succession
    Kieran Culkin, Succession 
    Matthew Macfadyen, Succession
    Jeffrey Wright, Westworld

    OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

    Julia Garner, Ozark – Winner
    Laura Dern, Big Little Lies

    Meryl Streep, Big Little Lies
    Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown
    Samira Wiley, The Handmaid’s Tale
    Fiona Shaw, Killing Ev
    Sarah Snook, Succession
    Thandie Newton, Westworld

    OUTSTANDING SHORT FORM NONFICTION OR REALITY SERIES

    National Geographic Presents Cosmos: Creating Possible Worlds – Winner
    Between The Scenes – The Daily Show

    Full Frontal With Samantha Bee Presents: Pandemic Video Diaries 
    Pose: Identity, Family, Community
    RuPaul’s Drag Race Out Of The Closet

    OUTSTANDING VARIETY TALK SERIES

    Last Week Tonight With John Oliver – Winner
    The Daily Show With Trevor Noah

    Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
    Jimmy Kimmel Live!
    The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

    OUTSTANDING VARIETY SKETCH SERIES

    Saturday Night Live – Winner
    A Black Lady Sketch Show

    Drunk History

    OUTSTANDING TELEVISION MOVIE

    Bad Education – Winner
    American Son

    Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings: These Old Bones
    El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
    Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend

    OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES

    Watchmen – Winner
    Little Fires Everywhere

    Mrs. America
    Unbelievable
    Unorthodox

    OUTSTANDING DOCUMENTARY OR NONFICTION SERIES

    The Last Dance – Winner
    American Masters
    Hillary
    McMillion$ 
    Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem And Madness 

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  • NYFA Instructor & Alum, Arnold Song, Builds Demo for Houdini Hive Worldwide Presentation

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    On Monday, May 18, 2020, SideFX will host their annual Houdini Hive Worldwide presentation that explores the various techniques used by top studios and artists to meet a wide variety of studio production needs. NYFA instructor & alum, Arnold Song, who works at SideFX, is part of the team testing and building the demos for the presentation.

    Houdini, the premiere procedural animation software by SideFX, is a universally adopted software across animation studio giants like Dreamworks, Disney, and Pixar. (In fact, it is one of the few “off the shelf” pieces of software that Pixar uses).

    NYFA instructor and alum Arnold Song

    NYFA had the opportunity to speak to Song about his work for the presentation, the future of Animation and VFX, and any advice he has for students interested in pursuing a path in this industry.

    When asked about his presentation for the event, Song commented that it will be centered on how things can be done in a new system in Houdini (USD Workflow), called Solaris. USD stands for Universal Scene Description and it allows 3D data to be interchanged among different suites of digital creation applications. The Solaris presentation, Song says, will allow animators and VFX artists to learn “how to bring in USD assets, how to select different models from the one asset set, how you can add effects on the USD asset, and, finally, how to use the new render engine, Karma, to render it.”

    Houdini (USD) Workflow

    “For me, everything is new,” says Song. “I didn’t know anything about USD at the beginning, and Solaris is still under development. Putting two completely new things together, and creating a good result [with his team] is the most fun part.”

    Rendered image using Houdini software

    When asked what advice Song has for students who want to get into effects animation, Song shared this response:

    “Effects animation is unlike other departments like modeling, animation, and lighting. Making an effect is slow. You change some values, and you wait anywhere from ten minutes to a few hours,” he begins. “There is no correct way to make something, which means there could be 100+ ways to make a similar effect. This increases the opportunity to make a totally unique effect but, at the same time, it is really hard to get to know how exactly things should work. So, be patient and just keep practicing.”

    USD could become a replacement for the now standard python language. To see Houdini accepting it so enthusiastically means that it is here to stay and will most likely become the standard of the future. It seems that SideFX, and NYFA alum and instructor Arnold Song, are signaling that USD will become the programming language of the future for Animation and VFX.

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) would like to congratulate NYFA alum and instructor Arnold song on his upcoming presentation for Houdini Hive Worldwide and would like to thank him for sharing more about his work on Polaris and his advice to future students.

    For more information on the 3D & VFX Animation School at NYFA, check out our website here. 

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    May 15, 2020 • 3D Animation, Alumni Events, Faculty Highlights • Views: 995

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Producing and Filmmaking Instructor Denise Carlson Produces ITS A DOG’S LIFE on Disney+

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    Not all heroes wear capes, but they do have fur. It’s a Dog’s Life, an upcoming Disney+ docu series explores the incredible role that many dogs play to make the lives of others better. New York Film Academy (NYFA) producing and filmmaking instructor Denise Carlson is one of the producers on the series that will be available on the Disney streaming platform May 15, 2020. 

    It’s a Dog’s Life is hosted by voiceover legend Bill Farmer, known for his iconic role as Disney’s Goofy, as he crosses the country to meet different dogs doing incredible jobs or extraordinary activities and explores the special bond between dogs and humans. 

    Title card for ‘It’s A Dog’s Life’

    Carlson, who had previous experience with Disney while working at Disney Channel, was a clear fit for this project given her past production experience and her enthusiasm for animal foster care and animal rescue. “Seriously, there is nothing about working with the dogs that I did not love,” Carlson tells NYFA. “But my favorite part of this project is actually the people involved. We have an amazing group of people who came together to put this show together.”

    Each episode of It’s a Dog’s Life explores a new dog that goes well beyond just fetching the stick in the backyard; dogs like Monte, the latest celebrity dog who starred in the recent live action adaptation of Lady and the Tramp. “It [the show] fits right into the Disney brand, in general, especially since there have been so many dogs in Disney shows and movies,” says Carlson. “It also crosses cultural boundaries- I mean, who doesn’t like dogs?”

    Carlson with Monte, dog turned actor featured in ‘Lady in the Tramp’

    With so many different stories featured on the show, Carlson says the one that sticks out the most is the episode dedicated to SuperCorgi Jojo, the surfing corgi. “It is incredibly touching. Jojo started surfing as therapy after a bad injury,” she says. “Jojo is the happiest little dog and you can tell he loves what he does.”

    Carlson with SuperCorgi Jojo, the surfing corgi

    New York Film Academy congratulates filmmaking and producing instructor Denise Carlson on her new series It’s A Dog’s Life and encourages everyone to celebrate man’s best friend and all the wonderful things dogs do for us by watching It’s A Dog’s Life when it comes out on May 15, 2020 on Disney+.

    Watch the trailer for It’s A Dog’s Life below:

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    May 13, 2020 • Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights • Views: 1211

  • New York Film Academy Game Design (NYFA) Welcomes Disney Imagineer Jonathan Ackley

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    On August 15, 2019, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted Disney Imagineer Jonathan Ackley.


    Ackley spoke at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus as part of the school’s Masters of Game Design series. The Masters of Game Design speaker series hosts distinguished members of the gaming industry visit for an informal chat with NYFA Game Design instructor Scott Rogers and NYFA students about their careers in gaming.

    The event was attended by over 50 students and industry professionals who had been invited to the school. Rogers spoke with Ackley about his 27-year career, including his transition from the video game industry into creating experiences for theme parks.

    Also discussed was Ackley’s work on LucasArts adventure games, Lego Mindstorms, and Disney Parks and Resort projects including Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure, and the Disney Play app. After the hour-long conversation, audience attendees were then invited to ask Ackley questions in an insightful Q&A session.

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) thanks Disney Imagineer Jonathan Ackley for speaking with students as part of our Masters of Game Design series!

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    September 10, 2019 • Game Design • Views: 1146

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Game Design Alum Guillermo Quesada Helps Develop The Lion King VR Set

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    Magnopus, the visual development company that employs New York Film Academy (NYFA) Game Design alum Guillermo Quesada, helped create Disney’s new remake of The Lion King in an innovative, groundbreaking way—with VR.

    Guillermo QuesadaThe company pioneered a virtual reality system that allowed director Jon Favreau (Iron Man), director of photography Caleb Deschanel (The Passion of the Christ), and The Lion King crew to shoot a film that used extensive computer imagery in a physical three dimensional space. By mimicking what it would be like to shoot on a live action soundstage, The Lion King crew used the VR tools developed by Magnopus to place themselves in a virtual landscape of the African savannah and visualize how their animal characters would interact in the space.

    According to the io9 piece that went into extensive detail about the process, 90 percent of The Lion King was created in a nondescript warehouse on a backroad in Los Angeles. Monitors and VR kits, mostly HTC Vive headsets, were placed around a large open space—with the virtual savannah existing only in code.

    NYFA alum Guillermo Quesada, originally from Spain, joined the company’s large team of bright, young, VR and AR developers after graduating from the NYFA MFA in Game Design program at our Burbank-based campus. While studying at NYFA, he was taught the art and craft of game design and storytelling at the professional level, acquiring the skills of game prototyping, playtesting, iteration, presentation, collaboration, and how to develop software using industry standards—including workflow, multiple platforms, and coding.

    “At NYFA Guillermo was pushing boundaries and innovating,” recounts Matt Galuppo, NYFA Associate Chair of Games and Animation. “He was the first student to produce a full VR game and make it part of his game showcase. He went on to use the skills he learned developing that game to develop tools for the film industry.”

    After months of post-production, Disney’s latest remake was released in theaters on July 19 and boasted an all-star cast that included Donald Glover, Beyoncé, James Earl Jones, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, and John Oliver, among several others. The film was a commercial juggernaut, becoming Disney’s fourth film of 2019 to gross over $1 billion in less than a month.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA MFA in Game Design alum Guillermo Quesada and the entire Magnopus team on giving Disney’s filmmakers the tools to bring The Lion King back to life!

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    August 6, 2019 • Game Design, Student & Alumni Spotlights, Virtual Reality • Views: 1086

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Musical Theatre Alum Pierre Marais Tours Nation with ‘Aladdin’

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    South African actor and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Musical Theatre alum Pierre Marais has been cast in the national tour of the hit Disney Broadway musical Aladdin. Marais is the understudy for the titular role, the loveable street rat that first hit the screens in the House of Mouse’s 1992 animated classic.

    The Cape Town-born actor graduated from NYFA’s Two-Year Musical Theatre Conservatory in 2012, and has been working steadily in theatre ever since. He has starred in Rock of Ages, directed by Tony nominee Kristin Hanggi, as well as West Side Story and Saturday Night Fever in Connecticut. Critics also praised his 2018 performance in the national tour of A Chorus Line, saying “Pierre Marais plays Paul with a bittersweet wistfulness; his acting commands one of the most powerful scenes in a show famous for its music and dance.

    Marais credits his parents, both trapeze artists who met in the circus, with instilling him with a love of performing. “They were both huge inspirations for me growing up,” he said in an interview with HuffPost. “I spent a lot of time watching them train and training beside them. Learning trampoline, sword fighting, tumbling and how to hit the same mark every time were all reasons why I was able to start with stunts at a young age.”

    He began doing stunt work at age 16 with Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House, and racked up a number of film credits in South Africa like The Wake of Death 2 alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme and The Scorpion King: Rise of a Warrior. Yet despite his success, he knew that if he wanted to have a long-term career, he needed to come to America. “I knew that to sustain that kind of career, I would eventually have to move to the USA, where there is just simply more work.”

    He credits his time at NYFA with helping him meet the right people to succeed in New York’s vibrant theatre world, saying “This honestly came as a result of living and studying in New York City….Most of the connections I made at college were in the theatre world.”

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Pierre Marais on his continued success and looks forward to seeing his future roles!

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    January 30, 2019 • Acting, Musical Theatre • Views: 1487

  • A Woman’s Place is in the Industry: A Women’s History Month Discussion at New York Film Academy Los Angeles

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    On International Women’s Day, March 8, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles campus welcomed 10 outstanding panelists for a dynamic and informative discussion entitled, A Woman’s Place is in the Industry

    The event was organized by NYFA Los Angeles Acting for Film Chair Lynda Goodfriend, and co-moderated by Head of MFA Feature Production Lydia Cedrone and Dean of Academic Advising Mike Civille.

    Panelists discussed the industry’s current climate, and offered their advice to students embarking on their careers. In a lively discussion, they shared both personal and professional reflections on their respective careers. 

    Each guest expressed her support of the New York Film Academy’s efforts to offer such a progressive and meaningful forum for women. 

    The evening ended with a lively Q&A with the audience. Several students asked pertinent questions about the direction the industry is heading, and learned from the panelists how the industry culture and women’s roles are changing — and how women can share an equal position in the industry.

    One student asked, “What is the most important thing that needs to change for women in the Entertainment Industry?”

    Actress Barbara Bain’s answer was to the point. “We need to pay women the same as men for the same work.”

    Dea Lawrence added, “We also need more women in positions of power … in the boardrooms, that’s where the decisions really get made.”

    The panelists suggested to our students that a greater emphasis on diversity in front of the camera, behind the camera, and in the content that is written and released, would lead to richer creative output without affecting the bottom line.

    The all-female panel included:

    Barbara Bain

    Three-time Emmy award-winning actress Barbara Bain is perhaps most recognized for portraying Cinnamon Carter in the popular Mission Impossible television series. Also well known for her philanthropy work, Barbara is the founder of the Screen Actors Guild “BookPals” Program, which promotes reading to children in schools throughout Los Angeles.

    Kelly Gilmore

    Former Senior Vice President of Global Toys at Warner Bros Consumer Products, Kelly Gilmore is responsible for licensing intellectual properties such as DC Comics, Harry Potter, Scooby Doo and Looney Tunes to major global toy companies, including Mattel, Hasbro, Spin Master and Funko. When Kelly retired in 2016, her team had the biggest financial year of her career, winning a total of nine awards. 

    Ronnie Yeskel

    Casting Director Ronnie Yeskel’s numerous high-profile film and television credits include such iconic films as Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction for director/writer Quentin Tarantino. In television, her credits include Curb Your Enthusiasm for Larry David. 

    Lisa Guerriero

    Camera operator Lisa Guerriero has worked on numerous films and television series as an operator and member of the camera crew. A trailblazer in this predominantly male-driven department, her credits include Suicide Squad, Mission Impossible and Fight Club, as well as the widely popular TV series Mad Men

    Elvi Cano

    Elvi Cano is the executive director at Egeda U.S. Elvi and her team in Los Angeles and Miami provide assistance to Spanish and Latin American filmmakers, and serve as a liaison between the U.S. film industry and those of Spain and Latin America. She is actively involved in the annual Platino Awards of Iberoamerican Cinema in Panama, Spain and Uruguay.  

    Jeanette Collins

    Veteran writer and producer Jeanette Collins began her writing career with partner Mimi Friedman on In Living Color, where they were nominated for an Emmy. Their many credits include A Different World, Suddenly Susan, Will and Grace, two seasons on HBO’s acclaimed Big Love, and Dirt. They are currently developing a mini-series for HBO about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

    Winship Cook

    Film, television and theater producer Winship Cook’s Paramount TV series credits include Down Home and Fired Up. She co-executive produced the Hallmark Channel movie The Family Plan.  Winship’s film credits include 102 Dalmatians starring Glenn Close and K-19: The Widowmaker directed by Kathryn Bigelow. She also developed and produced its off-Broad incarnation RFK, an award-winning show directed by Larry Moss. 

    Dea Lawrence

    As the Chief Marketing Officer for Variety, Dea Lawrence is responsible for driving Variety’s global branding and communications strategy — including overseeing the marketing and production of their 70 annual events and summits, and the Variety Content Studio, which creates storytelling for brands. 

    Valorie Massalas

    Casting director and producer Valorie Massalas’ numerous credits include such blockbuster films as Back to the Future 2 & 3 directed by Robert Zemeckis, Indiana Jones, and Total Recall, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone. 

    Jana Winternitz

    Award-winning producer and actress Jana Winternitz has worked with Legendary, 20th Century Fox, Disney and Focus Features. Jana enjoys generating strong and complex female roles for the screen. 

    We thank each guest for her participation!

     

     

     

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    March 20, 2018 • Acting • Views: 2060

  • A Q&A at NYFA Los Angeles With Disney Head of Animation Amy Lawson Smeed

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    This August, Head of Animation for Walt Disney Studios Amy Lawson Smeed gave a rousing Q and A at the Los Angeles campus of the New York Film Academy, after a screening of her latest work “Moana.” Smeed’s work includes “Treasure Planet,” “Paperman,” “Frozen,” “Tangled,” and “Moana.” The event was moderated by NYFA Chair of Animation Craig Caton.

    Students were excited to hear from one of the few leading women in animation. A recurring theme of the night was how much animation is accomplished by private performances no one ever sees. Smeed described working in an isolated room trying to capture the feelings and actions of a character. “I don’t ever want the character to look like me.”

    The performance is less about being the character and more about finding the truth and nuance in the scene. As an example, Smeed spoke about the scene inTangled” when Rapunzel sings over a dying Flynn Rider. Smeed drew on a personal family loss and her favorite tearjerkers to study how the throat gets tight when a person cries and how their eyes widen and tear.

    Smeed explained to the screenwriters in attendance that as an animator she does not often see a script. The collaborative nature and time intensive work requires a lot of planning up front. The workflow generally begins with a polished script, that is then storyboarded and screened (an animatic) for the entire studio. Everyone then has an opportunity to give notes on what they saw.

    Those notes are considered, a new draft is written, and the new and improved animatic is screened. Scenes that work are then given to the voice actors to record the dialogue. The recording sessions are filmed as a reference for animators. Finally, the recorded dialogue is given to the animators and they go to work making their character walk and talk.

    The reference tapes can be used to help define the character. Dwayne Johnson’s character in “Moana,” Maui, maintained “the people’s eyebrow” made famous during Johnson’s wrestling days. Smeed says the performance aspect is her favorite part of the job. Animating her first Disney kiss in “Tangled Ever After” was a particular highlight.

    Smeed was asked to give the best advice to students getting started in the industry. She said the reel is the animator’s key to getting into the exclusive club of working creators.  She highlighted three key elements to improve a reel. The first is to flip images of characters. If a something seems off about a pose, reverse the image. If it still seems off or if the pose becomes worse, it means something is wrong — perhaps the weight is distributed oddly or an angle of the limbs slightly askew.

    Smeed also shared that incorporating entertainment value is vital to impressing a veteran reviewing your work. “This can be something funny, a line or a gag, or it can be a moment that moves you,” Smeed said. What matters most is that an emotional reaction is elicited out of the viewer.

    Finally, students were encouraged to make sure the animated scenes in their portfolio include texture. Smeed defined texture as the way characters react to objects, tasks, and people when they are not speaking. Giving their hands and face definition is vital to making the character feel like a living being.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Amy Smeed for taking the time to speak to our students. Smeed’s next project is “Wreck-It Ralph 2,” and she noted that she’s excited to be animating the reunion of all the living Disney Princesses.

    Watch the full Q&A here:

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    August 16, 2017 • 3D Animation, Academic Programs, Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 3793

  • Highlights from Disney’s D23 Expo 2017

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    This week, Disney held its bi-annual fan expo, D23, in Anaheim, CA. Marvel, Pixar, Disney Animation, Disney Interactive Studios, and Walt Disney Productions rolled out major announcements this weekend, while fans and industry insiders were treated to sneak-peek teasers, celebrity appearances, exclusive merchandise, incredible cosplay, and more. Here are some highlights.

    Screenshot 2017-07-17 13.31.00

    A New “Star Wars” Park?

    Disney took the opportunity at D23 to reveal new details about its plans for a new themed-land called “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.” The project is shaping up to be one the company’s most immersive fan experiences.

    The Verge quoted Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek as explaining: “We are working on our most experiential concept ever … It combines a luxury resort with immersion in an authentic environment.” Basically, the goal will be for guests to live out their own “Star Wars” adventure throughout the course of their stay, complete with windows that look into outer space and a hotel designed like a spaceship.

    Celebrity Appearances

    Directors, stars, animators, and Disney giants were all present throughout the D23 Expo, and fans able to enjoy exclusive panels, talk-backs, and sneak-peeks presented by their favorite Disney stars. As Nerdist reported, “We saw the cast of ‘Descendants 2,’ ran into Mark Hamill and Stan Lee as Grand Marshalls of the Ultimate Fan Street Party, and saw ‘Black Panther’sChadwick Boseman running to his meet and greet. It was always good to keep an eye on the D23 app for surprise appearances.”

    Live-Action Films

    This year’s D23 Expo saw two jam-packed presentations, for animated and live-action films, respectively. Trailers, teasers, and A-list stars were in attendance to promote upcoming Disney live-action films.

    Slated for 2018 is “A Wrinkle in Time,” and director Ava DuVernay was there with stars Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling to screen the trailer. Audiences were also treated to a talks and teasers for upcoming mega projects, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

    But that wasn’t all in the live-action arena. The expo also promoted upcoming live-action adaptations of Disney classics slated to be directed by industry giants: “The Lion King” (Jon Favreau), “Dumbo” (Tim Burton), and “Aladdin” (Guy Ritchie). You’ll be able to catch Disney’s n live action adventure, “Dumbo,” on March 29, 2019. “Aladdin” has been cast. Earlier this month rumors circulated online that Disney was having trouble casting the film. Will Smith has been tapped to play the Genie. “Power Rangers” break-out star Naomi Scott will play Jasmine, and jumping on the magic carpet as Aladdin is Mena Massoud.

    Animated Films

    In the animation category, Disney screened a short film called “The Speed Test,” and hosted panels and teasers for major upcoming releases including “Toy Story 4,” Pixar’s “Coco,” “The Incredibles 2,” “Frozen 2,” “Wreck it Ralph Breaks the Internet,” and an upcoming feature from Dan Scanlon, yet to be titled.

    Perhaps the biggest news on the floor was the fact that all of the living Disney Princesses would make an appearance in “Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-it Ralph 2.”  The cast includes Auli‘i Cravalho from “Moana,” Kristen Bell from “Frozen,” Kelly MacDonald as “Merida,” Mandy Moore from “Tangled,” Anika Noni Rose from “The Princess and the Frog,” Irene Bedard from “Pocahontas,” Linda Larkin from “Aladdin,” Paige O’Hara from “Beauty and the Beast,” and Jodi Benson from “The Little Mermaid.”

    More details were also released for “The Incredibles 2.” Holly Hunter shared that her character, Mrs. Incredible, will be doing more of the heavy lifting this time around: “Bob’s actually home with the kids this time…”

    “Tangled: The Animated Series” amassed the original cast in the same place for the first time. Mandy Moore and Zachery Levi shared their enthusiasm for the characters. “Disney said they didn’t want to do the show without us,” Levi said.

    Video Games & VR

    The long-awaited third installment of the Kingdom Hearts series revealed a new playable world. Andy’s room from “Toy Story” will be a playable space in “Kingdom Hearts 3,” coming out in 2018.

    Marvel will be releasing a new VR game in 2018 titled “Powers United VR.” The game will allow the player to become their favorite hero, including Hulk, Rocket Raccoon, and Captain Marvel and will be exclusive to the Oculus Rift.

    Free Treats

    It wouldn’t be Disney if magic wasn’t present in every detail. At this year’s D23 Expo, the free swag was cold brew coffee with foam designs of iconic Disney characters — including Darth Vader. Shoppers were treated to exclusive merchandise launches not yet available anywhere else, from limited edition figurines to clothing lines.

    To see NYFA’s behind-the-scenes coverage of live events, follow us on #Snapchat @NYFilmAcademy.

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  • NYFA LA Welcomes Special Guest Eric Goldberg, Disney Animator: “Moana”

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    On Wednesday, Nov. 16, legendary Disney animator Eric Goldberg brought an exclusive preview of Disney’s latest project, “Moana” to New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus. The chair of animation, Mark Sawicki, moderated the event.

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    Goldberg’s career is extensive. He’s worked on classic animated television shows such as “Looney Tunes” and “The Simpsons.” His work at Disney includes supervising the dance sequences in Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog” and serving as supervising animator for the Genie in “Aladdin.” His specialty is 2D animation. For “Moana,” he oversaw the animation of Mini Maui, the mobile tattoo of Dwayne Johnson’s larger-than-life Maui.

    The theater was filled with animation and game design students both eager to hear from someone with over 25 years in the business and excited to catch a sneak peak of “Moana.” Goldberg did not disappoint in either area, treating students to over an hour of behind-the-scenes footage — including messages from the cast and crew, works in progress, and clips from the film.

    Many students wanted to know how 2D animators could survive in a 3D animation world. Goldberg assured students that the fundamentals wouldn’t be disappearing from animation anytime soon. “I always encourage people to look at the principals,” he stated, “They’ve held together for 100 years.” Mock up, character design, and landscaping are still all animation jobs that are originally drawn by hand.  “It’s about creating characters people can identify with. It’s a blend of both sensibilities: theatric and artistic.”

    Walt Disney Animation Studios' artist Jin Kim showcases the look of the title character in the upcoming adventure "Moana." Says director Ron Clements, “Moana is a vibrant, tenacious 16-year-old growing up on an island where voyaging is forbidden. But Moana has been drawn to the ocean since she can remember and is desperate to find out what’s beyond the confines of her island.” Directed by Clements and John Musker and featuring the voice of Native Hawaiian newcomer Auli'i Cravalho in the title role, "Moana" opens nationwide on Nov. 23, 2016. ©2015 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

    ©2015 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

    For those hopefuls trying to get into Disney, Goldberg had some additional advice. “Disney is always looking for talent.” He suggests going to the Disney website and looking at the portfolio requirements. He also suggests a tactic that he called “observe and caricature” to up one’s game. “How can you identify a friend in a crowd from behind and 20 yards away?” Goldberg asked.  “It’s their walk. You know how they carry their weight. How they walk when they’re sad or mad.” Goldberg suggests practicing nailing those walks and gestures in order to improve basic skills.

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    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Goldberg for sharing his wealth of knowledge with humor and humility. NYFA would also like to thank Tova Laiter for bringing this presentation to the school.

    “Moana” will be in theaters near you on Nov. 23, 2016.

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    November 18, 2016 • Guest Speakers • Views: 6127