Since then, he’s worked at KUSA 9NEWS, a major NBC station based in Denver, Colorado. It’s there that Broadway worked as Visual Producer for their heartbreaking yet important continuing coverage of the city’s drug plight. That effort paid off when KUSA’s “Mile High Heroin: Denver’s Struggle with Addiction” earned the team a Heartland Emmy Award.
The Heartland Emmys Awards are an official chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, who famously distribute the Daytime Emmys and Sports Emmys, among several other prestigious ceremonies.
A significant portion of the midwest, including large regions in Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Colorado, is covered by the Heartland Emmys, and the competition each year to win one of the golden statues is always tough.
After his win, Broadway excitedly remarked “None of this would have been possible without NYFA!”
New York Film Academy congratulates the KUSA team and Visual Producer Cody Broadway on their award and applaud their invaluable reporting on Denver’s tragic addiction crisis.
2018 Update: Cody Broadway won two more Heartland Emmy Awards. This year, he took home two awards for Storyteller and Photographer/Editor. Congratulations, Cody!
On Wednesday, November 30, David Madden, President of Entertainment at Fox Broadcasting, held a Q & A for students perusing degrees in Acting, Directing, and Filmmaking. Madden has helped bring shows like “The Americans,” “The Killing,” “Burn Notice,” “The Shield,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Pitch,” and the forthcoming “Star” from Lee Daniels to televisions in living rooms around the country.
Hollywood Producer, NYFA Director of Industry Lecture Series, Tova Laiter hosted the evening alongside NYFA Screenwriting Instructor, David O’Leary, whose script, “Blue Book,” was just purchased by the History Channel and will be produced by Robert Zemeckis’ ImageMovers.
Madden’s role at Fox is multifaceted. Scripted programming, alternative entertainment and casting all fall under his jurisdiction. In the past, he worked for Paramount Pictures based Madden Company where he produced more than twenty films.
“We have 15 hours of primetime programming every week, 52 weeks a year. Pretty much everything is original whether it’s scripted or reality,” Madden explained. “Every single program that goes on the air in prime time, I oversee. I read every script of the scripted programs. I watch every episode of the reality shows. I watch every cut of every show. I’m responsible for the development and I’m responsible for the casting. My job is simply to make the shows.”
When asked about the current state of network television in the age of streaming and premium cable, Madden didn’t feel that broadcast was facing any trouble. While, yes, they compete with these new service providers, economically, broadcast has to reach a wide audience in the millions. Madden doesn’t feel that means sacrificing quality. “Being populist and being good are not mutually exclusive,” he said. Also, historically, Fox has always been more subversive and positioned in between traditional networks and cable.
One student asked, “With the number of TV shows being produced now do you believe the quality of actor being hired is less, in order to fill roles?”
“I sure hope not,” Madden said. With most shows green-lit during pilot season in January, landing the right actor for the right role during this time can be very challenging. The upside is that new actors are afforded more opportunities than ever (as well as writers). “We are always looking for material and new talent, but they have to, legally, come to us via the right channels.”
On Thursday, October 13th, 2016, Golden Globe winner Jacqueline Bisset brought her film The Last Film Festival to New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus. Bisset’s credits as an actress are wide and varied from her premiere role in Roman Polanski’s Cul-De-Sac, Casino Royale, Welcome to New York, Two for the Road, Murder on the Orient Express, and Nip/ Tuck. NYFA’s Director of Industry Lecture Series, Tova Laiter, and Acting for Film Professor, Phil Kaufman, led the Q&A discussion after the screening.
The Last Film Festival was a big hit with the students, who laughed from the first scene on in recognition. Dennis Hopper’s last movie holds a bit of bittersweetness amongst the hilarious nature of the film. Director Linda Yellen’s crafted a film about passion and hope when everything is going wrong for your movie.
Bisset had this to say about working with female directors, “Women directors have to adjust, particularly to the men. That was a big lesson to me. Female directors can’t behave like me. Their voice level, their tone, their gestures all have to be controlled at all times. The minute she gets a bit wobbly, everyone jumps on her and tries to seize control.”
Laiter kicked off the conversation by asking Bisset the age-old question, “How’d you get your first break?” Bisset responded with, “The biggest break was me going, ‘well I might give it a try.’”
Two comments she received in her youth helped define the direction of her career.
“My Latin teacher told me once, ‘You’re such a chatterbox. You might make a good actress.’ Then I went to a dinner party; I was fourteen at the time and Roman Polanski was there. He said to me, ‘You’re quite the introvert. You might make a good actress.’” She tried her best to bring these two separate thoughts together to envision what kind of actress she would become.
After making her decision, she had one fear. “I was very nervous about telling them [her parents] because I knew my father wasn’t going to pay for anything.” So Bisset began to work as a waitress in her spare time after school. She was cast in a Polanski film and did a few other projects before being offered a multiple picture deal with 20th Century Fox. She joined a talent pool and legendary director George Cukor (My Fair Lady and Philadelphia Story).
But, coming to America wasn’t a waltz for Ms. Bisset. She was accustomed to English tradition, which stipulates one give up their chair to an elder and say “yes, sir” and “yes, ma’am.” “People in Hollywood want to be treated with respect, but they don’t want to be treated as if they’re older. It took me a little time to figure it out.”
Bisset went on to answer some questions from students. One asked, what advice Bisset would give to women entering Hollywood, “Don’t do anything that you don’t want to do. I mean anything sexual you don’t want to do. I think a lot of people get caught up in the seedy part of life. How you dress has a tremendous effect on how men treat you. When I hear some of the tales people tell, particularly in books, I’m mortified. You’ve got to be very sure what you want. Never do any of that to get the job. It won’t guarantee the job. Absolutely not.”
Another question asked was, knowing what you know now, what advice would you tell your younger self? “Educate yourself. We are the breath of other people. We have to empathize with the world and people around us. What you have in your eyes will tell a story. You emanate in your energy and passion. It’s about the make-up and the costumes, of course, I think if you educate yourself you become a more interesting person which means you have more to give. Don’t have a silly life. Try to have a deep relationship soon. All of that stuff.”
New York Film Academy would like to thank Ms. Bisset for her time. You can see Bisset in her upcoming films Nine Eleven and Backstabbing for Beginners coming out in 2017.
Twice yearly the Television Critics Association gathers to cover the upcoming Fall and Winter programming from major television networks. This year, the New York Film Academy attended the Fox 2016 TCA tour. Fox is putting a more diverse network in its sights this Monday at the Beverly Hilton. The new line-up goes way beyond racial diversity. Fox is expanding the idea of animation on television, the roles women might play in major league sports, and who can play traditional roles.
With Fox’s new show, Pitch, starring Kylie Bunbury as Ginny Baker the first female pitcher to play on a major league baseball team. Creator and Executive Producer, Dan Fogelman, believes it’ll only be a matter of time before we see a woman in one of the four major sports currently played in America. Fox also brought us the first Black President in the early two thousands with their show 24. Tony Bill, Executive Producer, said the show was pitched ten years ago and predicted the future we live in now, where it’s just a matter of time before a woman plays in the majors.
The show isn’t just about baseball. What drew many of the creators to the project is the character of Bill Baker, played beautifully by Michael Beach, who is the show’s “sports dad.” Think about Serena and Venus Williams’ father or Tiger Woods’ father. Who are the men behind the child? What do they sacrifice and what drives them? For Bill Baker, it’s the fact that his father wasn’t there to help him get to the majors. He topped at the minors. Baker swore that he would be there for his son. He has a daughter.
This is where the story begins, a father making sure his daughter has everything she needs to be the very best. So, the show wouldn’t be too bogged down in men, Ginny is given a publicist, Amelia Slater, played by Ali Larter. Both women have to navigate male dominated industries as women at the top of their game.
Son of Zorn
Son of Zorn will join The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers, and Family Guy on Fox’s Sunday night lineup. The show is a family sitcom about a divorced dad trying to reconnect with his estranged son after ten years. One caveat: Zorn, played by a subdued Jason Sudeikis, is an animated barbarian. Yes, you read that right. In the live action world, he is the only animated being. Instead of slaying dragons, he’s trying to land a steady job. His son, a shy kid, and his ex-wife, re-married to Tim Meadows, aren’t too interested in having him back around. Zany antics are sure to ensue in this very weird and bizarrely brave new show.
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Fox is also pushing the envelope with The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Televised musicals have been prime time gold for network television companies trying to find their way in a streaming dominant world. Rocky Horror is taking a very definite step away from the original by embracing the camp cult culture that has surrounded the film since its original release in 1975.
Costumes are adorned with bright sparkles and lots of feathers; the album is brighter with a stronger emphasis on rock music. One reporter asked point-blank why have a transgendered woman play a transsexual? Lou Adler, Executive Producer, said that Dr. Frankenfurter is an alien. Both Cox and Curry played the role as a person from another world. That’s what they wanted to focus on.
Victoria Justice said of the opportunity to play Janet Weiss, “Another generation will be singing Time Warp…I get to sing Touch Me. This is so exciting.” Executives clearly have the Rocky Horror fans, and the soon to be fans, in mind when crafting this film. They employed the fan club president to make sure the film stayed authentic.
They also added a crowd to the film. This is a weird kind of experimental twist on Mystery Science Theater 3000. It allows fans that love to participate in the action a chance to do so in their home. It also introduces new fans to crazy traditions of the fandom.
Live social media interaction and the buzz around theater trained Lavern Cox, who has a five-octave range and will be playing the lead, nearly guarantee a high viewer turn out. Whether it’ll be a hit or not is something for which we’ll have to wait to see.
Next on Fox’s plate is the television remake of The Exorcist. Creator and Executive Producer, Jeremy Slater, said he knew right off the bat he couldn’t write each season about a newly possessed family. No one tunes in for jumps and gore. The story has to come first. Evil has larger ambitions. They’re not just after one girl.
There will be Easter Eggs for fans of the original series, and Slater insists that this is a continuation, not a remake. In his version, there are two priests, Father Tomas Ortega, Alfonso Herrera, and Father Marcus Keane, Ben Daniels, who are fighting to save the daughter of the Rance family. The matriarch of that family is Angela, played by Geena Davis. Davis said The Exorcist (1973) is the best horror film ever made.
Gotham and Lucifer
The Gotham and Lucifer panels went up at the same time. Immediately there was some concern about why Clara Foley had been replaced with Maggie Geha as the shows’ Ivy Pepper. Producers, Ken Woodruff and John Stephens, said the show is about growth and it was time for Ivy to grow from a timid fifteen-year-old to a sixteen-year-old who might be more willing to hurt people. (I could write about reactions here, but they’re mixed and I don’t know if we want to upset any potential future guests.)
Lucifer will continue its exploration of adult children trying to work through familial issues, this time by introducing Lucifer’s mom into the mix. Some in the crowd voiced skepticism when they learned the actress playing the role, Tricia Helfer, was only a few years older than Lucifer actor, Tom Ellis. Show Producers insisted that Helfer was the best actress for the job, not to mention the supernatural aspects of the show allow for the suspension of disbelief.
Finally, the time came to showcase the number one show on basic cable, Empire. Taraji P. Henson was there, along with Executive Producers Ilene Chaiken and Sanna Hamri. Season three’s focal point will remain on the Lyons, however, this time Cookie is determined to leave Luscious.
Taye Diggs will enter the series as a potential love interest for Cookie. To which Henson responded, “…he wished.” Mariah Carey, who has already finished filming her role, will play Kitty a, “mega-superstar who comes to Empire to collaborate with Jamal Lyon (Jussie Smollett) on an explosive new song.” Carey also has a story with lead character Jamal, played by Jussie Smollett, where she helps him acknowledge some personal difficulties.
With its Fall 2016 line-up Fox continues its push for more diverse content. A mix of strong new content, listening to fan reaction, and a dedication to reinvigorating long-standing projects, Fox has set itself apart from other networks who’ve decided to stand close to their traditional programming; a gamble that’s already netted Fox big viewership rewards.
New York Film Academy students were invited to a theatre on the 20th Century Fox Studios Lot in Beverly Hills for an amazing opportunity—a Q&A with Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of 20th Century Fox Corp., James N. Gianopulos. The event was moderated by producer Tova Laiter.
Often, throughout the event, the subject of international filmmakers and more diversity in the industry came up. When asked if students from abroad who studied here should stay here or return home to start their careers, Mr. Gianopulos said, If you’re [already] here, stay here…there’s so much talent here. It’s no accident that Hollywood is what it is.”
He acknowledged, though, that “very few movies are filmed in Hollywood—it is too expensive,” but overall he still believed that students should remain here if they can, unless they want to return to live in their original country and make movies about their own culture.
A student asked what would make Mr. Gianopulos want to work with an international filmmaker, and he told the student, “it’s not whether they are international or not, it’s whether they are a talented filmmaker with a good story to tell.”
Producer Tova Laiter with 20th Century Fox Chairman & CEO James N. Gianopulos
“Culture is more diverse than ever and the studios are looking to match it both because it is the right thing and also because the movies will appeal more to the the diverse audience around the globe. He brought the example of The Martians in which the cast was very diverse. Ridley Scott chose them because they were best for the role.
Where the industry is lacking is behind the camera. He expressed Fox’s support for “The Ghetto Film School,” which is a program for high schooler filmmakers in disadvantage areas of NYC and LA to learn without cost to them. In terms of gender, four out of the five top positions of the creative divisions at Fox are women (big applause here from NYFA females!).
When asked where a young filmmaker should start in order to get the attention of the bigger studios, Mr. Gianopulos told the student that Fox doesn’t “take unsolicited material,” so the students should “keep making stuff and keep networking relentlessly until [they] get noticed by an agent who can submit for you.” He candidly told students “I worked my a– off in between the lucky breaks.”
When asked what trait that he found most useful, he considered the question for a moment, and then said that “I’ve been trying to put humility to work.” He also said to “have trust in the people you work with.”
After the Q&A, students were treated to a trailer for the film X-Men: Apocalypseon the big screen.
The devil came down to Fox, or at least it will, now that the network has ordered a pilot for Lucifer, an hour-long drama based on a comic book. Lucifer was created by industry kingpin Neil Gaiman, with Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg. The story concerns the devil himself retiring from running Hell and moving to sunny LA where he assists the police in punishing criminals.
With an epic backstory and police procedural structure, it’s a no-brainer that mega producer Jerry Bruckheimer is adapting Lucifer for TV with his company Jerry Bruckheimer Television. Bruckheimer is behind other TV juggernauts like CSI, Without a Trace and Cold Case. He’s also currently producing HBO’s upcoming Cocaine Cowboys with Michael Bay.
TV is becoming as populated by comic book characters as Hollywood movies. Lucifer is published by Vertigo, itself a DC publication. The series will join other DC properties on television like Arrow, Flash and Fox’s own Gotham, as well as CBS’s upcoming Supergirl series, also said to be part-procedural. Marvel has two series on ABC and will be adding several more to Netflix in the near future, starting with Daredevil.
Dream of producing your own comic book TV series one day? Check out New York Film Academy’s producing school programs here.
It’s Flame On for the Fantastic Four reboot as 20th Century Fox has released its first trailer this week. Marvel’s reboot of its original comic book characters comes just a few years since big-budget Fantastic Four, starring Jessica Alba and future-Captain America Chris Evans, and its 2007 sequel, Rise of the Silver Surfer.
It’s assumed Fox hit the reset button so quickly because if they don’t produce a movie quick enough, the rights to the comics revert back to Marvel, who could then incorporate the characters into their ever-expanding cinematic Avengers universe. Yet another movie iteration of the Fantastic Four was created by Roger Corman in the 1990s for the very same reason, and is now regarded as one of the worst films ever.
Marvel has been struggling with the rights of their characters for years as several studios have controlled them before Disney gave the comic book company the capital to stand on its own. Currently, Sony still keeps Spider-Man for themselves, preventing Peter Parker from joining Iron Man and the other Avengers. 20th Century Fox owns the X-Men in addition to the Fantastic Four, so the super-team could conceivably join Hugh Jackman and the cinematic X-Men in future crossover films.
The new, younger Fantastic Four cast includes Kate Mara as the Invisible Woman, Miles Teller as Mr. Fantastic, Michael B. Jordan as The Human Torch, Jamie Bell as The Thing and Toby Kebbell as Doctor Doom. The Avengers 2 and Ant-Man are Marvel’s other blockbusters slated for a summer release, though there could be as many as six Marvel releases in 2016. Still no word on a new Hulk movie yet, though.