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  • 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: 1081

  • 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: 2678

  • 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.

    disneymoanaunnamed

    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.

    _DSC0732-300dpi

    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: 4450

  • 27-Hour Marvel Marathon Coming to Theaters

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    marvel marathon

    You’ve got a problem. You’ve been seeing the posters and the teasers and the trailers for the upcoming superhero sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron but you can’t quite remember all the backstories of all the characters and where everybody is at this point. How can you truly enjoy Iron Man and Hulk beating each other up or Captain America and Black Widow’s charming banter if you can’t remember what they were doing in the previous Avengers films?

    Well, don’t worry, Marvel’s got you covered. They’re offering a marathon of all ten MCU films in theaters, all leading up to a theatrical screening of the eleventh film—Avengers: Age of Ultron. Marvel helped you out last time, remember? When the first Avengers was released, it followed a marathon of the first five MCU films—Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger. In the three years since, the studio has added another four films, so with Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: Winter Soldier, and Guardians of the Galaxy, that adds up to a staggering 27-hour theatrical experience.

    Regal Cinemas and AMC are offering this package in limited cities beginning April 29th. It includes an exclusive Avengers medallion to prove to your boss that you only took off work to see over a day’s worth of comic book heroes. So get ready, it’ll be great practice for that 54-hour marathon in 2019 when Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 debuts.

    Only one Hulk movie, though.

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    March 9, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 4505

  • Spider-Man Joins The Marvel Cinematic Universe

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    spidermanmovie

    Spidey-senses are tingling everywhere: In some of the biggest news in comic-book movie history, Marvel announced this week that their signature character, Spider-Man, will appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe currently inhabited by the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Pratt and Paul Rudd. The film rights to Spider-Man are owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, famously disallowing a crossover between the web-slinger and the Avengers, whose film rights are still owned by Disney and Marvel.

    Sony will allow Spider-Man to appear in Marvel (i.e. Disney’s) films for a cut of the profits, though the rest of the deal is still up in speculation. Most assume Peter Parker will first appear in the second Captain America sequel, Civil War, out next summer, where he will join Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and new-to-screens superhero Black Panther.

    In league with Sony’s Amy Pascal and Marvel producer Kevin Feige, Sony will also produce a new Spider-Man stand-alone film, probably as soon as 2017, pushing back most Marvel films set to release after that six months each. What this means for Sony’s current Amazing Spider-Man series is unclear, though there is a good chance Andrew Garfield will not continue the role in the new series, and that the character will be facing its second reboot in five years.

    While there are rumors 20th Century Fox properties the X-Men and Fantastic Four will cross-over, there hasn’t been any talk about bringing those under the MCU umbrella as of yet. And, of course, there’s still no word on a new Hulk film.

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    February 10, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 4361

  • Women and Film Roundup: Disney Announces Latina Princess; Soloway and DuVernay Get New Shows

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    Disney princess Elena of Avalor

    Elena of Avalor

    A big day of news for women in Hollywood as two female directors who had massive 2014’s land new shows while Disney announced the roll-out of their first-ever Latina princess.

    Starting with Disney, they recently announced that they will be introducing a Latina “princess” into their world of female protagonists with the creation of Elena of Avalor. However, unlike her fellow minority princesses such as Mulan, Pocahantas, and Tiana from The Princess and the Frog, right now Princess Elena will stay confined to the small screen as she will first appear on the immensely popular series Sofia the First before receiving her own show on the Disney Junior channel.

    With Latinos still drastically underrepresented on both film and television—while they make up 16% of the US population, they only account for less than 5% of speaking characters on screen— this is certainly a step in a better direction.

    Jill Soloway

    Jill Soloway

    Meanwhile, Transparent creator Jill Soloway, who recently won a Golden Globe for the show, is reported to be developing a new feminist-themed buddy comedy starring Ashley Skidmore and Lyle Friedman as two women who seek to save womankind after being struck by lightning. Both Skidmore and Friedman will also write for and executive produce the show.

    In the case of Selma director Ava DuVernay, who also just announced plans to direct a film about Hurricane Katrina, she is also now writing, directing, and executive producing an original series for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network. The show is based on Natalie Baszile’s novel Queen Sugar about a woman who uproots her teen daughter from their posh L.A. community to an 800-acre sugar cane farm in Louisiana. Production on the show is slated to begin later this year.

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    February 3, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 3062

  • ‘Jetsons’ Movie is a Go

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    JetsonsJane! Green-light this crazy thing! That’s right, everyone’s favorite animated space family is coming to the big screen—again—Warner Brothers announced this week. They last hit theaters with a feature-length movie in 1990, after two rebooted seasons in the mid 1980s. The original two seasons of the hit Hanna-Barbera show about George, Jane, Judy, Elroy, Rosie and Astro first aired in 1962, after the smash success of 1960’s The Flintstones. A working-class family in the Stone Age resonated with mid-century Americans, so on the heels of President Kennedy’s moon initiative, it only made sense to write a Space Age comedy next.

    Warner Brothers previously tried to bring a live-action version of The Jetsons in 2012, but the project never gained traction. The new project is said to be animated, though the company has yet to specify whether it will be hand-drawn or computer animated. Given that even traditionally hand-drawn properties as Peanuts are getting the CG treatment, it’s a good bet to say The Jetsons will also follow suit.

    Matt Lieberman, a Disney upstart who has been making huge waves with his high-concept spec scripts, has been drafted to write the feature-length screenplay for the cosmic family. Lieberman previously scripted Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief and is currently writing the anticipated reboot of 80s hit Short Circuit. The Jetsons will probably not make it to screens until at least 2017.

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    January 27, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 3157

  • Hollywood Horror Writer & NYFA Instructor Talks Screenwriting

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    Dan KayOn November 25th, 2014, screenwriter and New York Film Academy writing instructor Dan Kay swung by our Business of Screenwriting class to regale his story of how he went from a kid growing up in Larchmont, NY to a rising Hollywood screenwriter, whose movie Pay the Ghost, starring Nicholas Cage, is currently in post-production.

    Kay grew up on the east coast and was always a lover of independent cinema. “Movies like Clerks, The Brothers McMullin, solid independent productions, these were the movies I looked up to and wanted to initially make,” Kay recalled. Kay studied English at the University of Pennsylvania, and upon graduation got his first movie into production, which he also directed, the indie Way Off Broadway about five recent college graduates who take a crash course in life as they explore the dynamic conflict in friendships, sex, love, and betrayal. Kay credits the movie getting made to indie producer Richard Perello, whose Cataland Films which financed the film has since gone on to produce all of the comedy troop’s Broken Lizard’s productions (Super Troopers, Beerfest, etc.).

    “Traveling with the movie, as it played the festival circuit, is still one of the most memorable times of my career,” Kay remembered. Way Off Broadway played in over 30 film festivals and won the Grand Jury and Audience Award Prizes at the Westchester, Stony Brook, and Waterfront Film Festivals. Small Planet Pictures picked up theatrical distribution and the IFC Channel picked up its TV rights.

    Kay spent his first few post-college years in New York, working production and post-production jobs at night so he could write during the day, something he adamantly recommended to our writing students. “In my opinion, you want to allow yourselves the maximum amount of time to write and crank out new material, so it’s best to get a job that allows you to have that precious block of time.” Still, it wasn’t long before Kay realized he needed to move out to Los Angeles. “The independent scene was changing and wasn’t as thriving in New York as it had been. There were fewer jobs…” Kay headed out west, where he soon found representation.

    Kay’s first writing assignment may surprise some, as it’s outside of the spectrum of what he’s now known for working on (mainly thriller, action, and horror movies). It was Disney’s Tinkerbell 2, a straight-to-DVD animated children’s title. “Even though it was outside the realm of what I would normally do, I had to find a way to get excited about it, and put myself into it, something you always need to with your writing,” Kay explained. Kay was working hard on the script and Disney was planning a whole slew of sequels, which Kay had already mapped out, but when there was a regime change at Disney Animation, they scrapped the whole endeavor, including all of Kay’s work, a lesson Kay didn’t soon forget — “Some things are beyond your control, especially Hollywood company politics, and as a writer, you have better get used to that and not take it personally. And keep writing.”

    Next up for Kay was his horror/thriller Timber Falls, his first foray into the thriller genre he’s now becoming increasingly known for, about a weekend of camping in the mountains that becomes an excursion into hell for a young couple, because of the grotesque plot hatched by the deranged locals. Kay spoke pretty frankly about the evolution of this project, “Basically the director (Tony Giglio) who came on rewrote my script. On the poster is a man with a hatchet blade threatening a scared, bloody woman – yeah, neither of those characters were in my initial screenplay,” Kay remarked, getting a few laughs. “It was in the era when ‘torture porn’ was increasingly popular due to movies like Saw and Hostel, so they transformed it into one of those,” Kay shrugged. He explained this is pretty common. “At some point, a director is going to make changes to your story – it’s inevitable. Sometimes they’re drastic alterations as was definitely the case here.”

    pay the ghost

    Nicholas Cage on set of “Pay the Ghost”

    However, since Timber Falls, Kay has had increasing levels of success in the thriller genre. In 2007, Kay set up Details at Paramount Vantage with then rising (now-uber) horror producer Jason Blum, which tells the story of a daughter who disappears after uncovering a demonic force that only she can see, and the father who stops at nothing to bring her back. And it was actually back in 2010 that Kay initially set up Pay the Ghost, originally with financier SKE (Sidney Kimmel) and director Dennis Iliadis (Last House on the Left). The script tells the story of loving couple, whose young son is mysteriously abducted Halloween night, who one year later begin to sense his presence in frightening ways.

    Despite all the elements in place, however, this incarnation of Pay the Ghost never came to be and it was only when the script went into turn-around and financier Voltage Pictures and Nic Cage came aboard that it regained momentum, which happens sometimes, Kay explained. In the interim, Kay kept writing and has a host of other projects in development as well, including the tech-thriller I.T. with Pierce Brosnan attached to star and John Moore (A Good Day to Die Hard) attached to direct. Kay has also ventured into TV, something he recommended to NYFA’s students, setting up his supernatural thriller pilot Diabolic with eOne. “There’s been a seismic shift in the film and television landscape, and it definitely behooves young writers to try their hands at both,” Kay advised.

    Kay closed out with a wise piece of advice on how he comes up with his ideas. “You have to remember that a good idea can really come from anywhere. And in the idea phase, it’s a fragile thing, so don’t stymie yourself early on. Let the idea grow, as you really never know what it might become…”

    Kay is repped by APA and New Wave Entertainment. Pay the Ghost is currently in post-production and slated for next later this year. Kay lives in Los Angeles and teaches writing at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles.

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    January 5, 2015 • Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 4794

  • NYFA LA Announces New 3D Animation Chairs

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    3D Animation

    The New York Film Academy is pleased to announce that Juniko Moody and Mark Sawicki are now Co-Chairs of the 3D Animation Department at the Los Angeles Campus.

    Juniko Moody was a production 3D lighting/compositor for Disney Feature Animation and Sony Imageworks. She was also a 2D compositor for Kodak Cinesite and Warner Digital. Juniko transitioned into teaching through corporate 2D and 3D digital training for Dreamworks Feature Animation and other training facilities. Juniko holds a BA from USC Cinema and an MA from CSULA in Industrial Technology with an emphasis in instruction and has taught 3D animation, digital modeling, lighting, adult instructional presentations/course writng and was involved in curriculum design at CSULA, UCLA Extension, College of the Canyons, Westwood College and DeVry University.

    Mark Sawicki is a veteran visual effects cameraman with a large body of work including The Terminator, X-Men and The Dark Knight Rises. He has taught for NYFA and UCLA Extension for several years and is a contributing faculty member of the Stan Winston School of Character Arts. Mark is the author of “Animating with Stop Motion Pro” and “Filming the Fantastic” first and second edition, both published by Focal Press.

    In addition to co-chairing the 3-D Animation Department, Juniko and Mark will continue to teach animation and visual effects classes in various departments. Juniko and Mark are located at 100 East Tujunga Avenue (Brick Building).

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    January 22, 2014 • 3D Animation • Views: 3719