guest speaker series
Posts

  • Award-Winning Actor Alec Baldwin Holds Live Q&A on Acting Technique for NYFA Students

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    On Tuesday, July 21, 2020, New York Film Academy (NYFA) had the honor of hosting a live video Q&A with award-winning and celebrated actor Alec Baldwin to discuss the acting craft with NYFA students and alumni. Tova Laiter, Director of the NYFA Q&A Series, moderated the event.

    Alec Baldwin has received a Tony nomination for his performance in A Streetcar Named Desire, a supporting actor nomination at the Oscars for The Cooler (2004), and he has won three Emmy awards, three Golden Globes and seven consecutive Screen Actors Guild Awards for ‘Best Actor in a Comedy Series’ for his role as Jack Donaghy on NBC-TV’s 30 Rock.

    Tina Fey (Left) and Alec Baldwin (Right) pose with their SAG Awards for ‘30 Rock’

    Baldwin’s filmography also includes the critically acclaimed film The Hunt for Red October, for which NYFA’s Founder, Jerry Sherlock, was Executive Producer, as well as Glengarry Glen Ross, It’s Complicated, The Departed, Pearl Harbor, Blue Jasmine, Still Alice, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, and many more.

    More recently, Baldwin has gained critical acclaim and popularity surrounding his portrayal of President Donald Trump for Saturday Night Live, joining the cast regularly for ongoing appearances as the 45th President.

    Tova Laiter (Left) and Alec Baldwin (Right) for The NYFA Q&A Series

    Laiter began the Q&A by asking Baldwin about his successful career and finding his place in Hollywood. “In the beginning, you have a boyish gratitude [on set], similar to being a guest in someone’s house,” he began, “everyone on the set knows more than you, but that changes later on when you are on a film and someone says something to you and you go ‘no, I think it’s this,’ as you begin to understand what will make a scene work.”

    The conversation then switched to Baldwin’s successful career as not only a dramatic actor, but a comedic performer, where Laiter brought up Baldwin’s hilarious and well-timed character Jack Donaghy on NBC’s critically acclaimed TV series 30 Rock. “The show, to me, is one of the ultimate examples of me being the beneficiary of very good writing,” he shares. “The writing was the best I had ever seen in terms of comedy and it was natural to me.”

    Baldwin on set for Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Departed’

    One student asked Baldwin about how he chooses the right script as an actor. Baldwin responded: “I try to decide ‘is this movie a movie I want to make or I want to see?’ Then, I look at my character. I’ve played parts where my character wasn’t the biggest role or well-served in terms of page count, but there was an opportunity to me where I could see that character having an impact on that film.” When it comes to looking at a script, Baldwin explains that it’s about the quality of storytelling and the impact of your character that matters.

    Another student asked Baldwin about what it can be like for an actor when giving a performance in a film versus acting in television series.

    Baldwin as President Donald Trump for ‘Saturday Night Live’

    “Moviemaking is intense because you have to narrow everything down to what is worthwhile and what works,” he shares. “Television allows for more time to spread your character arc or story along. There is more complexity involved because there is more time. If not in this episode then in the next…”

    To the question of whether one should try everything or stick to the one that already works, Baldwin recommended that when you are just starting out and you are young, to try everything to become the actor you can be and want to be, Baldwin reminded students that it isn’t just about finding an agent, “making it,” or getting everything “right” after studying acting: “Join a rep company. Do as many shows as you can. Do as many roles as you can off the beaten path so you can make your mistakes under the radar before you get typecast.”

    Steve Martin (Left) and Alec Baldwin (Right) host the 82nd Academy Awards

    Baldwin also provided profound advice to students when auditioning for a role. “Remember they asked you there.” He explains that it can be easy to go into an audition with a “people pleasing attitude,” but “they want what you have; they invited you to come to audition and they need you. You are a professional and they are looking for someone to play a part, and you give everything you’ve got in the audition. Once you walk into the room and realize no one is doing anybody any favors, it’s business, and you’re a part of that business, then everything is going to change for you.”

    Baldwin closed the conversation by thanking Laiter for the conversation and the students for their time, and expressed that he hoped his words were helpful to those looking at a career in acting.

    New York Film Academy would like to thank the talented Alec Baldwin for sharing his time and acting experience with NYFA students and alumni.

    To listen to the full conversation, click the video below or check it out on our YouTube channel here.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    July 27, 2020 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 164

  • New York Film Academy Welcomes Acclaimed ‘American Beauty’ Actress Mena Suvari for The NYFA Q&A Series

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    On Tuesday, July 14, 2020, New York Film Academy (NYFA) had the pleasure to hold a live video Q&A with critically acclaimed actress MENA SUVARI to discuss her acting career with NYFA students and alumni. Tova Laiter, Director of the NYFA Q&A Series, moderated the event.

    Mena Suvari is an award winning actress known for her roles in hits such as American Pie (1999) and the five-time Oscar-awarded American Beauty (1999). Directed by Sam Mendes, her genuine and moving performance as the character Angeles Hayes in American Beauty earned her a ‘Best Supporting Actress’ nod by BAFTA and a SAG Award for ‘Best Ensemble Cast.’ Suvari also won a Movieline Award for ‘Breakthrough Performance’ for her role.

    Following the success of American Pie, she reunited with Jason Biggs in Amy Heckerling’s romantic comedy Loser (2000) and continued to show her acting range in projects like Jonas Åkerlund’s cult-classic Spun (2002), Rob Reiner’s Rumor Has It (2005), Tony Scott’s Domino (2005), and Factory Girl (2006), amongst others.

    Tova Laiter (Left) and Mena Suvari (Right) during live Q&A

    Laiter opened the conversation by discussing Suvari’s career in the entertainment industry, which began with Suvari booking modeling and commercial jobs, which then turned into guest star roles on television. After booking her first film, Nowhere (1997), other indie film gigs soon opened up for the actress, eventually leading her to her biggest break yet, a lead role in the cult-classic, blockbuster film American Pie.

    Suvari recalls the audition for high school chorus student Heather being very relaxed and not as intense as her audition for American Beauty. After shooting American Pie, Suvari remembers going into film Sam Mendes’ heavily awarded film American Beauty, playing a more dramatic role as Angela Hayes, known for her iconic, risqué rose petal scenes throughout the film.

    “I honestly remember thinking, at the time, ‘I’m so happy to have a job’ not necessarily the big names around me and they [American Pie and American Beauty] saved me at the time during a very personally challenging moment in my life.”

    Kevin Spacey (Left) and Mena Suvari (Right) in ‘American Beauty’

    Suvari, who has experienced shooting some intimate scenes across her filmography, also touched on what it can be like for actors on set when filming a very sensual or more explicit scene.

    “It can definitely be awkward sometimes,” she laughs, “I have worked in all types of scenarios, but when you are shooting intimate scenes you want to keep the crew as small as possible and make everything feel very considerate.” For American Beauty, Suvari recalls everything being handled very professionally and carefully and remembers that Mendes was “very supportive” throughout the process.

    Mena Suvari in ‘American Pie’ (1999)

    A student then asked Suvari how she personally gets into approaching a role when reading a script. “It depends on the project,” she shared. “I am currently working on a project now, for example, where there is a tight family dynamic and I am trying to understand where the characters are coming from and their motivations.”

    Ultimately, Suvari explains, approaching a script is really about collaboration, as well. “I want to approach the writer, the director, and whoever I can to understand the genesis of the story and what it means to them, and ask as many questions as I can.”

    Mena Suvari (Left) and Alicia Silverstone (Right) in ‘American Woman’

    Suvari closed the conversation, by sharing some advice with NYFA students that has always stuck with her throughout her career while she was shooting Orpheus in 2007. “It was something that you think would be so simple, but the director [Bruce Beresford] just said ‘listen, listen listen,’ which can be tricky if you think about it, because you already know the script and what will happen because you are familiar with everything, but you need to be as present as possible in the moment.”

    Laiter then thanked Suvari for joining the conversation and giving students some excellent insight for their future productions in front of the camera or for those directing actors, while Suvari exclaimed she was so happy to be part of the conversation and to speak with the students.

    New York Film Academy would like to thank actress Mena Suvari for sharing her time and her experiences working on set from being a young actress to a seasoned performer. NYFA encourages everyone to check out Suvari’s upcoming film Grace and Grit, set to release later in 2020.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    July 15, 2020 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 127

  • Q&A with CreativeFuture’s Ruth Vitale, Cesar Fishman, and Brett Williams

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    On Tuesday, April 23, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted a panel and Q&A with Ruth Vitale, CEO of CreativeFuture; Cesar Fishman, Senior Vice President, Communications; and Brett Williams, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs. Tova Laiter, Director of the NYFA Q&A Series, moderated the event.

    Vitale served as president of Paramount Classics and Fine Line Features and, collectively, her films have won three Academy Awards and two Golden Globes. As CEO of CreativeFuture, Vitale—with the assistance of her colleagues, Cesar Fishman and Brett Williams—works to ensure the protection of the intellectual property of filmmakers and workers in the entertainment industry as a whole.

    CreativeFuture

    Laiter opened up the Q&A by asking Vitale about her start in the industry. “I ended up in the entertainment business by accident,” said Vitale, adding, “I became director of acquisitions at The Movie Channel and I knew nothing about movies.” Vitale shared that, though her initial role in the entertainment industry focused on sales, she ultimately got the chance to distribute independent films, a job she loved. “You could bring a new voice into the world … I get to share an amazing film with you, the audience.”

    Vitale was introduced to CreativeFuture in 2013; “The job was about advocating on behalf of artists’ rights and saying ‘Copyright is important; we need strong copyright protections and it matters,’” said Vitale. She shared the statistic that, “in 2018, there were 126 billion visits to pirate sites.”

    CreativeFuture

    Vitale also shared a way in which CreativeFuture combats piracy. “Around the world there’s something called site-blocking where, if a site is proven in a court of law … to have more pirated content on it than legitimate content, [then] the judge has the right to send a notice to the internet service providers that they have to block it in that country.”

    CreativeFuture teams up with schools across America to educate students of all ages about protecting creative property and they have found that the younger students are, the more likely they are to adopt lessons about fighting piracy in their everyday lives.

    CreativeFuture

    CreativeFuture also combats piracy with videos in which cast and crew members thank the audiences that are about to watch their films in theaters. This may seem like a small gesture but Vitale shared research by Disney that shows these videos caused a 20% decrease in piracy and a 20% increase in sales.

    Many of the student filmmakers in the audience were interested to know how they could safely share their films online; Vitale said that the best thing to do is to purchase secure links with unique passwords that will expire within a few days of being received.

    CreativeFuture

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank CreativeFuture’s Ruth Vitale, Cesar Fishman, and Brett Williams for advocating for artists and sharing their insights and advice about copyright protections in the entertainment industry.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    April 25, 2019 • Guest Speakers • Views: 1596

  • Film and TV Star Michael Chiklis Speaks at New York Film Academy (NYFA)

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Emmy-winning actor Michael Chiklis joined the students of New York Film Academy (NYFA) for a discussion about techniques, reinvention, and the impact of image in the film industry. The event kicked off with a screening of the pilot of hit show The Shield, followed by a Q&A with the students.

    Tova Laiter, NYFA Director of the Q&A Series, opened the talk with a comparison of two of Chiklis’ best-known projects: gritty crime drama The Shield, and Best Picture winner The French Connection. Both of the projects feature depictions of antihero cops, handheld cinematography, and a raw energy.

     

    Such roles typify his career–Chiklis is perhaps best known for playing police officers, including LAPD detective Vic Mackey on The Shield, Commissioner Tony Scali on ABC police drama The Commish, and former police captain Nathaniel Barnes in Gotham. But it almost didn’t happen. In order to get his breakthrough role, he had to completely reinvent his image.

     

    Chiklis had been typecast as a nice guy, a far cry from the hard-hitting cop roles he wanted to land. His wife told him, “You might be a wonderful actor but what you’re showing the community right now is a roly-poly affable guy.” He shaved his head, and began hitting the gym six days a week. By the time he auditioned for the role, he looked very different, and got the part immediately. His takeaway? “It’s not up to the studios or others to reinvent you. It’s up to you to do so.”

    His time spent in roles like Detective Mackey has also given him a unique perspective on what makes a character appealing to viewers. “I knew that in order to hold onto an audience… he has to be compelling to watch but that there was going to have to be a lot about this guy that you actually like.”

     

    Chiklis has portrayed The Thing in the Fantastic Four film series, and Jim Powell on the ABC science fiction comedy-drama No Ordinary Family. Additionally, he co-starred as Vincent Savino on the CBS crime drama, Vegas. In 2014, Chiklis joined the cast of American Horror Story for its fourth season, American Horror Story: Freak Show.

     

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank TV & Film star Michael Chiklis for sharing his insights into acting and the entertainment industry with our students!

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    March 8, 2019 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 830

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Q&A with ‘Dear White People’’s Chuck Hayward

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    On Wednesday, February 13, as part of celebrating Black History Month, New York Film Academy (NYFA) and the NYFA African Black American Film Society hosted a screening of two episodes of Netflix’s Dear White People, followed by a Q&A with writer and producer Chuck Hayward.

    One of the episodes was directed by Academy award nominee Barry Jenkins (Moonlight, If Beale Street Could Talk), which was a real treat for the filmmaking students. It was moderated by NYFA Director of the Q&A Series, Tova Laiter, and co-moderated by NYFA directing student, Nicole “Soul” Creary.

    Chuck Hayward

    Hayward landed his first staff writing gig on the NBC series Bent. His feature film script, Potluck, won the WGA’s 2012 Feature Access Project. He then sold an untitled baseball project to Nickelodeon, after which he wrote for the Nick at Nite sitcom Wendell & Vinnie. In 2014,  Hayward became a staff writer on the new NBC series One Big Happy, followed by Fox series Cooper Barrett’s Guide To Surviving Life

    In 2016, he had two movies produced—Fat Camp and Step Sisters—and sold the Untitled Urban Pitch Perfect Project to The Firm and PepsiCo. Hayward is currently a writer and co-producer on the Netflix series, Dear White People, and a producer on Marvel’s upcoming untitled Scarlet Witch and Vision series.

    Many students in the audience were curious about how Hayward started his career as a writer. “For me, personally, it was the contacts I already had,” said Hayward. “It was reaching out to all of them saying, ‘Can we meet for an informal meeting? Here’s what I’m interested in doing… can you introduce me to anybody else who might be able to help me in that?’… And then it’s just all about following up…You don’t want them to forget about you, although not bug them too often… A lot of times, offering to work for people for free on a project is a good way to show, like, ‘Hey… I’m not looking for anything from you financially; I’m just kind of looking for you to help me get my foot in the door and I’m looking for a chance to show what I’m capable of.”

    Other students wanted to know about Hayward’s writing process. “I’m a big pre-writer so I’ll sit down, I’ll write my character sketches, I’ll write my outline; I’ll do as much as possible before I open up Final Draft because I don’t want to look at a blank page and freak out,” Hayward said. “It’s also knowing if your idea is better suited to television or film.”

    Chuck Hayward

    One of the students asked how Hayward and the other writers on Dear White People navigate the complexity of the topics discussed on the show. He replied, “Most of the blowback that we’ve gotten about Dear White People happened before the show came out because people were like, ‘Dear White People? How dare you … address us as a group!’ And we were like, ‘Oh that happens to us all the time, oddly, so it’s not that big of a deal’ … But I think once people started to see the show and see what it was about and see that we weren’t just ‘coming for’ white people and taking out … aggression on them; we weren’t blaming them for stuff; it was just like, ‘Hey, here’s some of the shit you do that bothers us; like, maybe don’t do that anymore; it’s super easy!’ And we also take as many stabs at, you know, black folks and the things that we do that are problematic or that are not beneficial to us all as a group.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank writer and producer Chuck Hayward for sharing his entertainment industry and writing advice with our students!

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    February 15, 2019 • Guest Speakers, Producing, Screenwriting • Views: 1685

  • Emmy-Nominated Actor Timothy Olyphant Shares Techniques with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Students

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Emmy-nominated film and television star Timothy Olyphant joined students from New York Film Academy (NYFA) at its Los Angeles campus to speak about his career and the industry. Known for his roles in blockbusters like Live Free or Die Hard and in television shows like The Mindy Project and The Office, Olyphant currently stars on Netflix show The Santa Clarita Diet. The Q&A session was moderated by Anne Moore, Associate Chair for NYFA’s Acting for Film department.

    Olyphant began the talk by discussing the benefits of different acting techniques. He spent his early career studying the Meisner acting technique in New York, which aims to push actors to be present in the moment rather than “in their heads.” His strategy for “playing the scene” in Meisner’s style is to memorizes the lines so thoroughly that he’s not worrying about remembering them when it’s time to shoot the scene. He also studies the actor opposite him, paying attention to their technique and learning from them to build his knowledge for future roles.

    The actor then shared his view on the differences between acting for comedic roles, such as his time on Santa Clarita Diet, and dramatic roles, like Deadwood and Justified. “I don’t think of it as comedy versus drama; I see really very little difference between the two,” he said.

    Unlike some other actors, Olyphant also stated that he does not try to infer backstory for a character, but rather builds the character’s motivations exclusively from the actions in the scene as it is written. These actions, he stated, give a lot of insight into how the character thinks and operates. “I’m not even interested [in] what he was like when he was seven years old or 15 years old or 18 years old,” said Olyphant. “You’re just playing the scene; you’re just literally playing what’s in front of you.”

    In addition, Olyphant discussed the experience of working with different directing styles, such as with Quentin Tarantino on his most recent film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He shared that it was a very unique experience because despite working in an industry with a reputation for breeding self-importance, Tarantino did not allow anyone to have mobile phones on set. Instead, he wanted the cast and crew to be mentally present and focus strictly on the art of filmmaking, which deeply impressed Olyphant.

    “He’s doing it in a way that you just didn’t know was possible,” he told the audience. “He’s conducting his business and his work and his set like no other set you’ve ever been on… he’s worked really hard to be able to do it his way and it’s just beautiful.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank film and television star Timothy Olyphant for sharing his acting techniques and industry advice with our students!

     

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    February 15, 2019 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 969

  • Q&A with NYFA Instructor and ‘Project Blue Book’ Creator David O’Leary

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    On Tuesday, January 15, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted a screening of the pilot episode of Project Blue Book, a new original series from HISTORY (formerly The History Channel) that adapts the real-life US Air Force investigations of UFOs in the 1950s. The screening was followed by a Q&A with creator and former NYFA screenwriting and producing instructor, David O’Leary, moderated by NYFA Producing instructor, Ashley Bank.

    O’Leary is a former development executive who has worked for Bellevue Productions, Valhalla Entertainment, Kopelson Entertainment, Rogue Pictures, Warner Bros., and Industry Entertainment. He is also a producer on two features set for release this year, Parallel for Bron Studios and Eli for Netflix. Additionally, O’Leary is adapting a sci-fi book series for A+E Studios.

    Project Blue Book David O'Leary

    Bank opened up the Q&A by asking about how O’Leary became a writer. He shared that he started his career as an intern at New Line Cinema and decided he was interested in development, so he moved to Los Angeles where he worked with a friend at Village Roadshow Pictures. From there, O’Leary worked his way up from the mailroom to assistant jobs and became a development executive, himself, at the age of 28. He realized, however, that his true dream was to be a screenwriter. “I pivoted and I’m a big believer in pivoting,” said O’Leary.

    O’Leary shared that even though he knew he was passionate about becoming a professional writer, that wasn’t enough. “Honestly, I had to get good at being a writer; I was not a very good writer when I made that choice.” He continued, “I think the way that you get better at being a writer is you have to keep writing, but you can’t keep writing in a vacuum; you have to keep showing your work to people and you have to keep getting feedback… you need people you trust to tell you ‘Here’s what works, here’s what doesn’t, and here’s why.’”

    O’Leary added that working as a screenwriting instructor at NYFA required him to be extra knowledgeable about professional screenwriting. “It really forced me to practice what I was preaching,” he said. O’Leary then shared that something that helped him stay positive while he worked toward becoming a successful professional screenwriter was “celebrating small victories” because trying to be successful in the entertainment industry is a long and arduous process and one needs to have stamina to make it all the way to their end goal.

    Project Blue Book David O'Leary

    O’Leary made it clear to the audience that hard work is important but sometimes luck also plays a role in success; with Project Blue Book, “It was sort of the right idea at the right time at a network that was looking to grow and move into scripted series.” The simplest way that O’Leary could sum up the show to pitch it to producers was “X-Files meets Mad Men,” which was a concept that had not really been explored before.

    One of the members of the audience inquired about navigating a narrative based on real events. “Every week we look at a real-life case… so it has that kind of ‘based on true events’ cache,” said O’Leary. “[Lead character] Hynek was a real-life guy; we ended up recruiting both [of] his sons as consultants on the project… I really want the show to be entertaining, but I also want to educate people on this phenomenon.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank former instructor David O’Leary for sharing his experiences and advice for writers as well as details about the development and production of Project Blue Book.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    February 12, 2019 • Faculty Highlights, Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 1721

  • Producer Howard Rosenman Delivers Lively Q&A to New York Film Academy Students

    FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailThe New York Film Academy (NYFA) New York recently had the honor of hosting legendary producer Howard Rosenman for a Q&A. NYFA Chair of Producing Neal Weisman moderated the evening.

    Producing Chair Neal Weisman & Producer Howard Rosenman

    Producing Chair Neal Weisman & Producer Howard Rosenman

    New York Film Academy’s Producing and Screenwriting departments teamed up to bring in the acclaimed film producer on May 16th. The longtime Hollywood mainstay is known for  “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Father of the Bride,” “Family Man,” and the recent Academy Award-winning “Call Me By Your Name.”

    NYC Producing Chair Neal Weisman led a back-and-forth discussion which took place in the 1st Floor Theatre on New York’s campus. A longtime Hollywood icon, this was actually a homecoming of sorts for the Brownsville, Brooklyn-born, Far Rockaway, Queens-raised Rosenman. He attended Brooklyn College in Flatbush in 1965. For decades since, he has been a staple on the Hollywood scene.

    The LGBTQI icon discussed the difficulties of being gay in Hollywood and how he has championed gay characters and themes in film throughout his lengthy career. Discussing how he landed his first acting gig on the Oscar-winning “Milk,” Rosenman joked, “Gus [Van Sandt] said to Francine Maisler, the casting director, ‘get me someone that looks like Howard Rosenman, that talks like Howard Rosenman, that acts like Howard Rosenman, and has Howard Rosenman’s vibe.’ And she said, ‘let’s get Howard Rosenman!'”

    Producer Howard Rosenman at NYFA

    Producer Howard Rosenman at NYFA

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Howard Rosenman for sharing his extensive knowledge with students.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    June 23, 2018 • Guest Speakers, Producing, Screenwriting • Views: 1405

  • The New York Film Academy Welcomes Echo Lake Entertainment Talent Manager Iris Grossman

    FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailThe New York Film Academy (NYFA) had the honor of hosting esteemed talent manager Iris Grossman. Grossman works at Echo Lake Entertainment, a management and production company that represents veterans such as Mandy Patinkin and Patti LuPone as well as young artists such as Dakota and Elle Fanning. NYFA Director of the Q&A Series Tova Laiter hosted the evening.

    Laiter began by asking Grossman about her start in the industry, and Iris described working early on at ICM as an assistant to agent Daniel Petrie Jr., who soon departed the company to write Beverly Hills Cop. Following that, she worked for agent Michael Black, who nurtured her and helped launch her career as an agent, where she developed her love of working with actors. 

    Years later, she took the job of senior vice president of talent and casting at Turner Network Television (TNT), where she had the joy of casting of stars such as Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin, Tommy Lee Jones, and Diane Keaton, at a time when actors did not do cable in the same way as today. She also discovered emerging talent: “I had the most incredible job. Every day I would get calls asking if I would like to meet with actors like Clive Owen, or Jude Law, who were unknowns at the time. It was pretty incredible.”

    Laiter followed up by asking Grossman about transitioning from being an agent into casting, and she responded, “I called casting ‘being an agent with a larger client list.’” When she would read a script at the agency, she would have to think about who at the agency would be right for the part, but in casting, she now had the world opened up to her.

    When asked about what it takes to have a keen eye for talent, Grossman answered that part of it is learned, and part of it is instinctual.

    “When you watch a movie, and you believe what you see, you know the person is talented,” she said.

    In regards to the teaching element, she remarked that you have to know about the history of the industry, and understand what made certain people stars, and then translate that into the moment.

    Her advice for actors upon graduation was to stay proactive, do theater, and create their own web content. “While I don’t cast people just based on their Instagram followers but their talent, if you have a video with a million views, people will start knocking on your door.”

    A student asked Grossman about what changes she saw with women in the industry, behind the camera, from the start of her career to now. Iris responded, “There are things that have changed, and things that haven’t changed.” She went on to say how women have always been producers in the industry, but how there aren’t enough women directors. She also noted that in television some of the top writers and showrunners now are women. “When I started out there were maybe five women agents. Now I see there are so many women agents and executives and managers. I think it’s changed, but it still has far to come.”

    When asked about what happens in her first meeting with an actor, she said she wanted to learn about them as people: “I already know they are talented from their reel.” She wants to make sure they get along, because it’s all about the relationship and making sure they have the same goals.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Grossman for taking the time to speak to our students and share her wealth of knowledge and experience.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    May 1, 2018 • Academic Programs, Acting, Film School, Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 1761

  • Hayley Atwell visits New York Film Academy for Q&A

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Hayley Atwell, star of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, recently visited New York Film Academy (NYFA) to speak about her career and experiences as part of the ongoing Guest Speaker Series.

    Known around the world as Peggy Carter, Captain America’s love interest and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Atwell is a Golden Globe and two-time Olivier Award nominee. She has appeared in multiple Marvel films, from Captain America: The First Avenger to Avengers: Endgame, as well as the franchise’s two shows, Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

    But Atwell shared that her career hadn’t always been easy. In her talk, moderated by NYFA New York Acting for Film Department Chair Peter Allen Stone, she stated that her very first acting job ended up on the cutting room floor. She remained undeterred, and eventually scored roles in period dramas like Mansfield Park and The Duchess. Following her huge success with Marvel, she scored the lead in ABC’s legal thriller Conviction, and stars in the Starz mini-series Howards End. She has also appeared in several live-action Disney films, including Cinderella and Christopher Robin.

    In addition to her success in film and television, Atwell has also received numerous accolades for her stage roles, including The Pride and View from the Bridge. Most recently, she returned to the London stage in Dry Powder, a sharp and witty comedy about the people shaping the economy.

    Despite her success, Atwell remains very down-to-earth. She offered a number of specific tips and insights on the nature of the acting industry, particularly on the challenges of fleshing out a fully formed character from a smaller role.

    “[You should have] a clear understanding of what you’re doing but be willing to have it steered in a completely opposite direction if the director tells you otherwise,” Atwell said. “Do not be afraid to ask questions.”

    Atwell also stated that she believed no director should ever give a line reading regardless of the size of the part, meaning that actors had the privilege and responsibility of embodying their character choices with enough understanding and conviction to bring originality to a role while remaining collaborative.

    The New York Film Academy thanks Hayley Atwell for sharing her time and expertise with our students.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    April 20, 2018 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 1081