filmmaking school
Posts

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Elizabeth McLeish Is “Always Nice”

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Elizabeth McLeish is a graduate of the filmmaking school offered at New York Film Academy Australia on the Gold Coast. After completing her studies earlier this year, she’s hit the ground running and has already founded her own company, McLeish Film & Media.

    McLeish Film & Media bills itself as a videography and content creation service, specializing in wedding & event videography and available in Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Mount Tamborine, and Byron Bay.

    Filmmaking has been a calling for McLeish for some time. Quoted on her website, she says, “I knew from an early age that filmmaking was going to be a life long passion. What started with a hobby of photography grew into a love for all things film.”

    McLeish followed through on that dream by attending New York Film Academy (NYFA). She continues, “After studying at the New York Film Academy, Australia in 2017, I grew as a filmmaker with my graduate film picking up multiple awards at festivals, both nationally and internationally.”

    McLeish credits NYFA for giving her “hands on experience with industry recognized cameras and equipment and having lecturers with extensive experience in the film industry.” During her time as a student at NYFA, McLeish most enjoyed “having the chance to meet creative, likeminded people and working together on each other’s film projects.” 

    Her motto – “be nice, always!”

    McLeish is putting that education and her multiple festival awards to good use. In addition to founding McLeish Film & Media, she is also working on her debut feature documentary, titled Kell’s Ride For a Cure. The film is to be shot in New Zealand later this year and explores the topic of early onset dementia as experienced by motorcycle enthusiast Greg Kelly. Australian media icon Ita Buttrose was also interviewed by McLeish and her team as part of the feature. 

    Should there ever be a film shot about her own life, McLeish says it would be “an adventure/comedy, starring Keira Knightley and the title would be Daydreamer.” McLeish plans to continue working on her documentary and running her videography business which, she says, “has been very successful, so I look forward to seeing where it takes me.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Elizabeth McLeish on her success and commends her positive attitude and incredible drive!

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    September 5, 2018 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 721

  • Greenlight Women and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screen “The Girls in the Band”

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    On August 22, 2018, the New York Film Academy and GreenLight Women hosted a screening of the film The Girls in the Band, followed by a Q&A with director and producer Judy Chaikin, and moderated by GreenLight Women chair Marion Rosenberg.GreenLight Women: The Girls in the Band

    Chaikin started in front of the camera but found that she was more interested in the exciting challenges behind the camera and set her sights on directing. Since then, she has worked consistently in film, television, and theater, winning several awards including two Cine Golden Eagles, a Billboard Best New Music Video Director nomination, nine Best Film Festival awards, and an Emmy nomination for the PBS documentary Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist.

    Her current film, the feature length documentary The Girls in the Band, is about the unknown history of women jazz instrumentalists from the early 1900s to the present day. The film took top prizes at five film festivals including the prestigious Palm Springs Film Festival.

    Rosenberg opened up the Q&A by asking Chaikin about why she chose the topic of women in jazz: “I came from a family of musicians; my mother was a songwriter, my brothers are … both professional musicians, my sister and I both were trained musically … she played flute, I played piano and trumpet and so music has been a very integral part of my life.”

    GreenLight Women: The Girls in the BandChaikin shared that when she was 13 years old, she was in her junior high dance band as a trumpet player and experienced gender discrimination like the musicians in her documentary. She added, “I absolutely adored it, but the boys … didn’t want a girl in their band, and I was discouraged … so I gave it up.”  Chaikin later regretted this so much that she jumped at the chance to produce a documentary about other women who experienced the same thing.

    Rosenberg asked Chaikin how she typically decides on the subject matter of her projects. Chaikin replied, “When you make a documentary, you gotta know going in that you’re committing yourself to a real long process. It’s gonna be years of your life, and if there isn’t something that’s in the documentary that is so personal to you — that has such meaning for you — it’s gonna be really hard to stay with it.” She continued, “It’s [also] very important to me to know that the subject matter I’m covering has deep roots in our society.”

    The New York Film Academy thanks Judy Chaikin for discussing her compelling documentary and for sharing her advice for film school students.

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    August 30, 2018 • Documentary Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 1559

  • Women in Comics: New York Film Academy (NYFA) and Final Draft Host “Write On” Podcast

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    On August 20, 2018, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) partnered with Final Draft to host a live taping of Final Draft’s podcast, Write On, focused on women in comics. The panelists were Shannon Watters, Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith, and NYFA screenwriting school instructor Christina Weir. The event was moderated by Pete D’Alessandro."Write On: Women in Comics"

    Shannon Watters is the senior editor at BOOM! Studios and co-creator and co-writer of the award-winning comic book series, Lumberjanes. Kirsten Smith is a writer and producer (Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You, She’s the Man, Ella Enchanted, The House Bunny and The Ugly Truth) and Christina Weir is a writer (New X-Men, Skinwalker, Three Strikes, Maria’s Wedding, Bad Medicine, Play Ball, Dragon Age: Deception).

    The panelists were first asked what makes comics unique as an artistic medium. Smith said that, in her opinion, comics are special and intimate because they are “a work of art.” Weir added that, in the comic medium, it is essential to keep things moving; even if the scene is just a conversation, it’s important to keep it visually interesting to the reader. Watters shared that she likes using “the page turn” as a tool to surprise and entertain readers of comics in book form.

    The production of a comic is similar to the production of a play or TV show or film because, to be successful, the comic has to tell a story and, in order to tell a story well, there must be trust and communication between all parties involved. Watters described the relationship between a comic writer and artist as symbiotic and “like a marriage.”

    "Write On: Women in Comics"Weir added that comics are “great learning tools for screenwriting” because they “force [the writer] to get to what’s important… You only have so much space to get your point across.”

    The panelists were asked what they believe the future of the comic industry looks like. Watters said that she believes that in the next couple decades, there will be more and more women, people of color, and LGBTQ comic writers and artists. Weir added, “We are in an age now where kids are encouraged to read comics… Comics are cool!”

    Lastly, Watters’ advice for aspiring comic writers and artists is to “Get your stuff out there!” She encouraged students to share their work on the web and to meet other creative people to network, collaborate, and grow.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Shannon Watters, Kirsten Smith, and Christina Weir for sharing their experiences and advice for young writers.

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    August 28, 2018 • Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 1672

  • Chinese Consulate Visits New York Film Academy (NYFA)

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Representatives from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles visited New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus on Thursday, August 22nd, 2018. The representatives included Mr. Zhizhe Zhuang, Vice President of Chinese Consulate General; Mr. Jin Gu, Cultural Consul of Chinese Consulate General; Mrs. Jin Wang, Cultural Consul of Chinese Consulate General; and Mrs. Haiying Cai, Education Consul of Chinese Consulate General. 

    These representatives sat down with administration faculty from the New York Film Academy (NYFA) to discuss cultural and education affairs between the US and China, as well as potential future partnerships between NYFA and the Chinese Consulate. Faculty and members from the senior administration from the New York Film Academy included Mr. Jean Sherlock, CEO and owner; Mr. Dan Mackler, Director of the Los Angeles campus; Mr. Sonny Calderon, Dean of the College (Los Angeles); and Joy Zhu, Executive Vice President for the Asia Region. Mr. Bo Jiang, a longtime friend of NYFA and President of the Shanghai Film and Art School, was also in attendance at the meeting.

    Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles Visits New York Film Academy

    Representatives from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles with NYFA Senior Administration

    Both parties introduced their respective schools and organizations, and shared common goals for cultural and education exchange. The common theme through the meeting was that art has no boundaries. The meeting was widely successful, as both parties discovered that there are many commonalities between the two. Mrs. Haiying Cai, Education Consul, had many great questions regarding Chinese students, and the representatives from the Consulate were both impressed and excited by the work that NYFA is doing and has achieved with our Chinese student population. Furthermore, they graciously offered their assistance in any matters that they may provide support on. Talks of future cultural events were also a highlight, and both parties look forward to these future opportunities to work together. 

    After the meeting, the Consulate representatives were taken on a tour of the campus. They had the opportunity to explore the main building on Riverside Drive, as well as the classrooms and studios in Burbank Studios. After the tour, the two parties congregated for dinner, which proved to be both enjoyable and enlightening. During dinner, both parties further explored the cultural and education relations between the East and West as well as future opportunities to work together. The atmosphere was relaxed and pleasant, and the evening was a great success for all involved!

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    August 28, 2018 • Community Highlights, International Diversity • Views: 1100

  • Silicon Valley’s John Altschuler Speaks With New York Film Academy (NYFA)

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    On August 15, 2018, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted a screening of HBO’s Silicon Valley followed by a Q&A with creator and showrunner John Altschuler. NYFA Director of the Q&A Series, Tova Laiter, moderated the event.

    As a student at University of North Carolina, Altschuler created the first comedy sketch show on the university student TV. He and his co-writer, looking to capitalize on their venture, sent written material in three boxes to three owners/editors of the National Lampoon magazine, adding a dollar to each to get their attention. It worked! He became a writer for the most iconic humor magazine of its time, until he moved to Hollywood.John Altschuler

    After moving to Los Angeles however, he realized that his previous work was not going to magically open doors in the industry, so he worked odd jobs until he started getting gigs as a production assistant. He was careful not to pitch himself, instead concentrating on the job at hand. He told students, “Whatever job you get, just do that well… make their lives easier and they will look out for you; they will want to help you because you made their day that much easier.”

    His first writing job, on HBO’s The High Life, led to his becoming an executive producer and showrunner on FOX’s King of the Hill for 12 years and the relaunch of Beavis and Butt-head for MTV. He then co-created Silicon Valley for HBO, and Lopez for TV Land, starring George Lopez. He’s also produced Mike Judge’s film, Extract (2009) starring Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis and Ben Affleck, and co-wrote Blades of Glory (2007) starring Will Ferrell and Jon Heder.

    A student asked Altschuler about his inspiration for Silicon Valley. He replied, “I was reading a biography of Steve Jobs and there was a quote in there where Bill Gates was ridiculing Steve Jobs: ‘The guy can’t even write code!’ Altschuler thought: “The guy created the biggest brand in the world and there’s somebody up in Silicon Valley sniping at him; I was like, “This is hilarious!'”

    To the question of whether the creators knew Silicon Valley culture or only did research when they wrote the pilot, the answer was, “Both.” Altschuler had family members who were engineers, but they also did further research:

    “We went up to Silicon Valley… and it was so funny, because… everybody kept talking about how they were making the world a better place… The sanctimony was so thick that I thought, ‘well this is something to make fun of.’ It’s… fun to take on the big guys and try to deflate them.”

    John AltschulerLaiter noted that sometimes it’s easier to make fun of something when you’re outside of it, and Altschuler concurred.

    One student asked about Altschuler’s tips for pitching a show or movie to a producer. Altschuler advised, “[When] you go in, have your story and try to start off with a topic sentence or a personal story… try to make it a conversation, not a laundry list of ‘first this happened and then that happened.'”

    Altschuler imparted to the students that no matter what, they have to like what they’re making or no one will want to consume it. And when they write, and a scene doesn’t work, don’t hesitate to let it go. “If it’s really great, it will get its way in back later.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank John Altschuler for sharing his industry expertise and advice for our film school students!

     

     

     

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    August 17, 2018 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 2362

  • J.K. Simmons Finds a Navy SEALS Role More His Tempo

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    jk simmons

    Fresh off his Oscar win for his incredible performance in Whiplash, J.K. Simmons is filling his dance card with an upcoming slate of high-profile movies. He’s already signed on for Skull Island, the epic sequel to Peter Jackson’s King Kong starring The Avengers’ Tom Hiddleston and Birdman’s Michael Keaton, set for release in 2017.

    This week, Simmons added another role, that of a Navy SEAL commanding officer giving his troops a hard time—a part he was seemingly born to play. The film is The Lake, a thriller about the aforementioned SEALs searching for sunken treasure in Serbia.

    The Lake is being co-written and produced by prolific French filmmaker Luc Besson, director of La Femme Nikita, León, The Fifth Element and Lucy and creator of The Transporter and Taken series. Steven Quale, director of Final Destination 5 and Into the Storm and a long-time collaborator of James Cameron, will be helming The Lake. Quale is a fitting choice, considering his work with Cameron on other water-based adventures The Abyss and the 3D IMAX documentary Aliens of the Deep.

    Simmons recently spoke with New York Film Academy students about his well-lauded roles in Spider-Man, Portal 2, The Legend of Korra, The Closer, and, of course, Whiplash. There’s no doubt he will bring his trademark talent and passion to The Lake.

     

     

     

     

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    March 25, 2015 • Acting, Entertainment News, Guest Speakers • Views: 3703

  • This Dress Is Showing Everyone the Power of Color

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    the dress

    By now, the only excuse for not knowing about #TheDress would be if your Internet’s been out for the past twelve hours. While some viral memes are said to be breaking the Internet, this one is breaking people’s brains—a grainy photo of a dress is splitting the world into those who see it as white and gold and those who see it as blue and black.

    Rumor is that the dress is, in fact, blue and black, but those in the white-and-gold camp believe this is some sort of truth-masking conspiracy, like the lone gunman and the moon landing. Wired has even published a scientific account explaining what’s going on here—it involves the cones and rods in our eyes that receive color and translate images in the visual cortex for the brain. Because of this, sometimes our brains can be tricked, which isn’t exactly news—who hasn’t been dumbfounded by optical illusions like this?

    But besides taking attention away from llama drama, #TheDress controversy has another big benefit—it’s showing everyone just how powerful and important the use of color can be in an image. The students in New York Film Academy’s filmmaking school and cinematography school programs know this all too well—one of the first things they learn is how to properly white balance their digital cameras. White balancing calibrates a camera to read white light as pure white, allowing the rest of the spectrum to fall properly into place. An improperly white balanced image may leave whites looking blue (or gold.) Filmmakers may intentionally warp the colors of their image. Blues can create a downbeat tone, much like minor keys in music. Orange and Reds are considered warm and can be used for the opposite effect in filmmaking.

    It’s not just filmmakers who benefit from playing with the science of color. Our students in New York Film Academy’s graphic design school programs learn how to change the way we perceive images with Photoshop and other software—tools that can break down an image into its very makeup of reds, blues and greens. Right now, they’re the ones everybody is looking to for a final, definite answer to #TheDress question. Of course, we’re all going to listen to our guts—and our eyes—no matter what they tell us.

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    February 27, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 3436

  • District 9 Director Tweets His Way to New Alien Film

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    blomkampalien

    It was announced this week that Neill Blomkamp, writer and director of District 9 and the Matt Damon dystopian sci-fi Elysium, will be helming a new Alien film. While another sci-fi sequel isn’t exactly surprising, what is surprising is how Blomkamp got the job.

    In January, the South African filmmaker tweeted some concept art for an Alien film he had conceived. The art, which included freaky renderings of Alien star Sigourney Weaver in a xenomorph-type suit, was supposedly done on spec by Blomkamp—basically, he did it for fun, and to show people what he could do with the series. Fox had not approached him and they were not pre-production artwork.

    The drawings quickly made the rounds around the Internet, gaining praise from series fans. Even Sigourney Weaver chimed in last week, telling MTV that she would be game to participate if such a film came to pass. That seemed to be the straw that broke the studio’s back as 20th Century Fox announced soon after that Blomkamp will make the movie. It’s expected Weaver’s involvement will be announced sometime soon.

    This film will be a separate entity and not affect the in-the-works sequel to Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s spinoff-prequel-reboot to the franchise he personally got off the ground back in 1979.

    Sigourney Weaver can next be seen in Blomkamp’s upcoming robot film, Chappie. Want to direct an Alien film in the future? Check out New York Film Academy’s filmmaking school programs here.

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    February 19, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 3493