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  • AMC Announces Mad Men Fan Cut Contest to Recreate the First Episode

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    Don Draper delivers his Lucky Strikes pitchAre you a Mad Men fan who is beyond consolation over the end of your beloved series? Do you also happen to be an aspiring filmmaker or film school student?

    AMC has announced a new project in honor of the show’s upcoming final episodes in which fans are invited to recreate a scene from the series’ very first episode, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” which has long been considered an all-time fan favorite.

    Fans interested in staking their claim on a particular scene—perhaps Don Draper’s famous Lucky Strikes pitch?—can do so by heading over to AMC’s website and choosing from over 150 scenes to recreate in any style they see fit and then upload the results to YouTube. So if you’ve always thought Mad Men would be better if Sterling-Cooper was populated by cowboys or that the show should have taken place on Mars instead of New York City, now is your chance. Once all of the scenes have been reserved and shot, AMC will then edit all of the scene together for one master fan cut of the first episode.

    NYFA students looking to further hone their directing chops are particularly encouraged to check out this opportunity to have their work seen by thousands of filmmakers and Mad Men fans the world over. Click here to learn more about the project.

    AMC Fan Cut contest image

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    February 11, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 4267

  • Military Veteran Student Lands Associate Producer Job at Imaginary Forces

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    Paquita Hughes, who completed the One-Year Filmmaking and Photography programs at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, was recently hired at Imaginary Forces, a creative studio and production company that focuses on major film and TV productions.

    “I was one of 15 veterans selected to interview for 8 companies through the AICP (Association of Independent & Commercial Producers),” said Hughes. “We each had five minutes to pass our resume to the company representatives and give our 30 second commercial. I was the only veteran hired ON THE SPOT, in less than five minutes, as an Associate Producer for the company Imaginary Forces.”

    Founded in 1996, Imaginary Forces is a creative studio and full service production company specializing in creating and developing content for commercial advertising, digital and interactive platforms, feature films and film marketing, television, architectural spaces and global brands.

    Their body of award winning work includes the EMMY winning main titles for Mad Men, as well as the celebrated opening sequences for Boardwalk Empire, The Pacific and Nurse Jackie.

    The production company has created hundreds of main titles and content for films like Transformers, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, 500 Days Of Summer, Terminator Salvation, Seven, and Minority Report.

    In the commercial world, Imaginary Forces has directed and produced spots for Pepsi, Microsoft, Scion, Chrysler and Google through agencies like ATTIK, JWT, TBWA\Chiat\Day, and The Richards Group. They have also created brand identity for networks such as USA Network, Lifetime, Discovery and Hallmark Channel, and experience design for MoMA, Lincoln Center, The Oscars and Victoria’s Secret.

    Imaginary Forces is comprised of over 70 artists and creative professionals: directors, designers, writers, animators, editors, and producers. Their studios are located in both Los Angeles and New York City.

    Not only that, Paquita’s short film about sexual assault in the military (all female crew) titled Breaking The Silence, which she directed for the 48hr Film Contest last year, was selected for the GI Film Festival in Washington, DC!

    Big congrats to Paquita on her recent successes!

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    April 3, 2014 • Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5682

  • Mad Men’s Harry Hamlin Teaches NYFA Students the Power of ‘No’

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    Harry Hamlin

    Harry Hamlin at NYFA LA

    One of the shows that put AMC on the map was Mad Men. The 1960’s period piece captures the life of a prestigious ad agency and its mysteriously talented leading man, Don Draper. Coming aboard the popular drama this past season as ‘Jim Cutler,’ was venerable actor, Harry Hamlin. Last week, Harry was a special guest to an audience of New York Film Academy students. Many acting students were thrilled to greet Hamlin after a screening of an extremely entertaining episode of Mad Men, starring the actor. Hamlin was originally up for a bit part as a swinger who attempts to seduce Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm) and his wife. He didn’t get the role, but Harry didn’t exactly want to play a swinger anyway. Three months later, they offered him a part that was supposed to be only one day of work, but ended up being a reoccurring character on the show this past season.

    Harry originally took up acting through a series of rather bizarre circumstances. Originally, he set out to study architecture, but he was late for registration and enrolled in acting school (imagining that he would enroll in classes at the architecture school next quarter). One of the requirements for the acting school was that he audition for a play. He ended up landing his first role, and was cast afterwards in every play that performed at Berkley. Needless to say, architecture school was no longer on the forefront of his mind.

    Harry went on to finish his bachelor’s degree at Yale. At the time, Yale did not allow an exclusive degree in acting, so he had to double major in psychology.

    hamlin2After Yale, he was offered a scholarship to ACT (the American Conservatory Theater) in San Francisco. His parents were so against him attending the program that Harry’s father had removed the timing mechanism from his car so that it wouldn’t run. That didn’t stop him. Harry intentionally bounced a check to fly to ACT and register.

    He received an MFA at ACT. He applied for a Fulbright scholarship and got it. A casting director at Warner Bros., who saw him preform in a play in San Francisco called Equus, asked him to come into the studio for a meeting. Harry had no desire to do film; he considered himself a theater actor. He reluctantly agreed to see her and she immediately offered him a part in a television mini-series. Harry turned down the role, because he wanted to continue studying with his Fulbright scholarship. The studio was amazed that Harry turned down his first job offer, much less the starring role in a big television series! That stirred everyone up and only increased interest in him. The studio kept offering him bigger parts and more money, and he kept saying NO. “The power of ‘no’ caused Warner Bros. to stand up and say, ‘who is this guy?’” said Hamlin. “They ended up offering me a huge three picture deal – the same deal that Clint Eastwood had been given – it was called the ‘Clint Deal.’”

    On the day Hamlin was supposed to sign the contract, he told Robert Shapiro, the president of Warner Bros. at the time, that he wanted it to be written into his contract that he would have some say in the movies that he does. They wouldn’t give him that degree of freedom, so he didn’t sign the contract. Warner Bros. was stunned. Harry knew it was the right decision for him at the time, because he knew the movies that they had in mind for him and he didn’t like them.

    At the very same time Warner Bros. was talking to Harry about signing this contract, MGM wanted him to do Clash of the Titans, which he ended up doing. Obviously he wouldn’t have been able to star in it if he had taken the Warner Bros. deal.

    Afterwards, 20th Century Fox approached him to star in Making Love, which was the very first studio picture involving a gay love story. Harry took the role because he loved the script and felt it would have a great social impact. While it was a great artistic decision, it was a terrible career move. After playing a gay character, nobody wanted to cast him. Harry didn’t work for the next two years.

    Finally, 20th Century Fox came to Harry with the pilot script for L.A. Law. The script sat on Harry’s coffee table for a month, because he didn’t think he was interested in TV. His friend convinced him to read it, because it was the “hottest script in town.” Harry read the pilot, and to this day it is the best thing he has read. He worked on the show for the next five years.

    On the whole, it was refreshing to hear how an actor can stay true to his artistic integrity and still find a path to success in an extremely cutthroat business. The New York Film Academy truly enjoyed Hamlin’s story and advice, and wish to thank him for joining us!

    Hamlin and Tova

    Producer Tova Laiter with Harry Hamlin

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    October 22, 2013 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 6602

  • Screenwriter Chris Galletta Screens The Kings of Summer

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    Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 11.58.03 AM

    NYFA Instructor Ben Cohen with Chris Galletta

    On Tuesday evening, the New York Film Academy was treated to a special screening of the Sundance Grand Jury Nominated feature, The Kings of Summer. The film stars Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman, Mad Men’s Alison Brie, and Will & Grace’s Megan Mullally. The story revolves around three teens, who decide to escape their dull parents for the summer and build their own home in the middle of the woods. Despite their lack of experience in the wilderness, the boys do their best to “live off the land.”

    kosJoining us afterward was screenwriter, Chris Galletta, who answered questions from our moderator, Ben Cohen, and students. Surprisingly, Chris mentioned how this was his first screenplay and even he was surprised just how well the ball began to roll. The script gained Chris representation, was sold, was made, made it to Sundance, and will be released theatrically on May 31 by CBS Films. Clearly a testament to his talents, but self-admittedly some luck came into play. It was soon after Nick Offerman offered to play the father role that the film really became a reality. “I’m a huge fan of Nick’s,” said Galletta. “I love him on Parks and Recreation and couldn’t have asked for anyone better.”

    Like most screenwriters, Chris admits he is highly critical of his work. He says he was rewriting drafts of his script all the way up until the movie began shooting. “I wanted to keep it funny throughout. I didn’t want it to lose its humor in the third act, like a lot of other comedies I’ve seen where it just wraps up the plot.” Some sound advice. Know your genre and maintain its tone from beginning to end.

    Chris is currently working on a new comedy adventure, which is still being scripted.

    Be sure to check out The Kings of Summer when it is released in theaters on May 31st. 

     

     

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    May 8, 2013 • Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 6979