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  • NYFA Union Square Hosts PGA’s Meet the Networks Panel with ESPN

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    ESPN Films

    Shirley Escott, John Dahl and Dan Silver

    This past Tuesday, the New York Film Academy proudly hosted the Producers Guild of America’s PGA East Documentary & Non-Fiction Committees “Meet the Networks” panel with ESPN Films. The panel, moderated by Chair of the PGA East Documentary & Non-Fiction Committee Shirley Escott, included Dan Silver, Senior Director of Development and John Dahl, Vice President and Executive Producer of ESPN Films.

    The two ESPN executives have been at the forefront of the award-winning 30 for 30 series on ESPN.

    pga east

    Silver is an Emmy Award-winning producer who manages the development of ESPN films and Exit 31’s short film series. He oversees the Peabody and Emmy winning series 30 for 30 Shorts, and the Nine for IX shorts series and is also now supervising the development and production of FiveThityEight.com’s two original short form documentary series, Signals and The Collectors, as well as the recently launched Spike Lee’s Lil’ Joints, and announced Versus (executive Produced by Eva Longoria), and Marvel and ESPN Films 1 of 1 – Genesis” and “1 of 1 – Origins.

    Dahl has overseen production on all documentaries produced by ESPN Films since its launch in 2008, including the Peabody and Sports Emmy award-winning 30 for 30 series. He has produced and supervised documentaries for over 15 years going back to ESPN’s Peabody-winning “SportsCentury” initiative. Prior to the creation of ESPN Films, Dahl created the concept and oversaw production for the Baltimore Colts/New York Giants 50th anniversary documentary, The Greatest Game Ever Played, which was nominated for a Sports Emmy. He oversaw production for ESPN Films on the Peabody-winning two-part/four hour documentary Black Magic and the Spike Lee-directed film Kobe Doin’ Work. From 2002 to 2005, Dahl was Executive Producer for ESPN Classic and the company’s 32-hour programming initiative ESPN25, responsible for overseeing production and personnel for both entities. That work garnered a total of eight Sports Emmy nominations (two winners).

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    Speaking to a full house of producers and filmmakers alike at New York Film Academy’s Union Square theater, the main focus of the evening boiled down to the all important pitch. What stood out as the most prominent piece of advice was for filmmakers to be able to pitch their idea in one sentence. Having your idea delivered in the most concise and compelling manner is the most effective way to bring your show to life.

    Considering the overall success of the evening, we look forward to hosting similar PGA events in the near future!

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    March 4, 2015 • Documentary Filmmaking, Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3943

  • Understanding the Craft of Acting

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    Grant Turnbull with Liam Neeson

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

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

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

     

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    August 14, 2012 • Acting, International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5319

  • New York Film Academy’s Alumni Spotlight: Jason Liles

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    “Before I moved to NYC I was told by many that I was too tall to be an actor,” says New York Film Academy Acting for Film graduate Jason Liles. “However, it seems my height was been the very thing that’s been getting me in the door to this point.”

    The 6’10” actor has booked a number of high-profile jobs since his graduation in May 2010. Jason explains, “The very week after graduating… [I did an] episode of stand-in work for [pro wrestler] The Big Show as he guest starred on an episode of USA’s Royal Pains. That was my first experience on a big film or TV set ever.”

    “About a month later, [I was called] in to audition for a principal role as a tall alien in Men In Black III 3D!” says Jason. “I ended up working as three aliens over several weeks with [7-time Academy Award-winning] special makeup effects artist Rick Baker and his crew. I worked on the film… with nearly the entire main cast. I got all my SAG waivers and made some great connections. It was an incredible experience. I’m very much looking forward to it’s release on May 25.”

    Jason got another lucky break when he got a second callback for a role on a commercial. He recounts, “I was ecstatic… when I found out searching on the internet that it was a PRINCIPAL role in a NATIONAL Allstate commercial… This was my first time ever auditioning in front of the director, and all for a big project like this. MIB’s audition was for a camera. It was so cool to be getting direction from the director himself at the audition and I gave it my all in that room.”

    Jason waited anxiously until he got the news that he booked the role. He explains, “Because of the waivers I got doing Men In Black III, I had to join SAG to do it so I also got my SAG card!!! Meetings with agents were being set up!!! I couldn’t believe it. I was in denial even. I started to think, ‘Okay, it’s a commercial, but it won’t be that big. It can’t be.’ It just seemed too easy and too good to be true.”

    “The shoot went amazing,” he says. “Around 300 extras were cast for the crowd, and about 15 principals including us basketball players. I got to work directly with Dean ‘Mayhem’ Winters and his 11-year stunt double, David Shumbris, all day. It was such a pleasure to work with both of them and I can’t say enough nice things about them. Also getting to work directly with acclaimed commercial director David Gray was really exciting for me. He was nominated for the prestigious DGA Commercial Director of the Year award in 2004 and I believe this was his first Allstate Mayhem commercial.”

    “I had never experienced anything like a 2,000 frames-per-second high-speed camera getting my close-up for a national commercial before,” says Jason. “When we were setting up that shot, I can’t explain the anticipation and excitement for what was about to happen. I was so amped and felt so grateful to be standing on that court surrounded by such talent. After we got my close-up I went over to the monitor and watched it with David. It looked incredible! So epic! I remember standing behind David as he’s pointing at my face on the monitor saying to the assistant director, Peter Jackson, ‘That’s great! That’s perfect right there. Great, let’s move on.’ It was such a compliment for me to come from such a great director like him.“

    The commercial is currently airing on CBS, TBS, TNT, TruTV, Comedy Central, History, Fox, ESPN, and AMC. Jason says, “Another graduate of NYFA, Nick Purdy, said my ‘shocked face is plastered all over Canadian television.’ So evidently it’s showing internationally as well.”

    “I love this business,” Jason says. “Less than a week before shooting the commercial, I knew nothing about it. Persistence is key in anything, and… especially in this industry. I feel so very blessed and so lucky to get this opportunity only a couple years into my career. I can’t thank God enough for the opportunities that have been given to me and can’t wait to see what’s next…. There’s one thing that I’ve come to learn in this business: you never know what’s right around the corner.”

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    April 18, 2012 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5609