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  • A Talk with Producer Darryl Marshak at New York Film Academy LA

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    Legendary Producer and Talent Manager Darryl Marshak gave a rousing Q and A during the New York Film Academy’s Guest Lecture Series, run by Tova Laiter, at the Los Angeles campus. Students packed the theater to hear advice, stories, and anecdotes from the man who has represented such actors as Leonardo DiCaprio, Ernie Hudson, Phil Hartman, and Ray Liotta among many.

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    The Chair of the Acting for Film Department, Lynda Goodfriend, hosted the evening. Marshak brought memorabilia from his life’s journeys, including a hundred dollar bill signed by Leonardo DiCaprio and a dozen GoPros he handed out to students to film the event.

    Marshak was asked about his early years as an agent and he had this to say before the Internet, you had your feet and you had dimes. You could use the pay phones on the back lot to do business throughout the day. You had to know not just the casting agents, but their assistants, too. Casting directors are like Elephants. They never forget. “

    As for producing now: “It’s really hard to do this without a trust fund, guys. I was shooting on 16 mm and spending all the money I earned for the week on making the next film.”

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    When asked about transitioning from an agent to manager Marshak said: “It was harder to be a manager because I wanted to run it like an agency.” As a manager, Marshak helped both Hilary Swank, who was living in her car, get their start in the business.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Marshak for taking the time to speak with our students. You can learn more about the illustrious career of Marshak here.

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    March 2, 2017 • Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 4290

  • A Discussion with Hollywood Manager Nicholas Bogner at NYFA LA

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    On November 9, 2016, Hollywood Manager, Nicholas Bogner, gave a spirited Q and A at the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus. Bogner represents such giants as Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) and Ed Westwick (Gossip Girl). Actors aren’t the only profession Bogner represents. He also counts writers and directors amongst his clientele. Students from every degree program packed the auditorium to hear the head of the literary branch of Affirmative Entertainment give them the inside scoop.

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    What makes Bogner unique is that he’s worked in almost every aspect of Hollywood. He’s written and sold television pilots, he was an agent, and he’s produced films. It’s this diversity in his career that he attributes to his success. He understands what it takes to sell a script, both from a buyer and seller’s position. That empathy and belief in his clients are often what help make the sale. “You can’t be half in,” Bogner stated, “When people start to say no, you can’t back out.”

    This is the key difference between a manager and an agent. An agent will take a script to five places and if they all say no, they’ll ask for re-writes. “I’ll take a script to fifty different places,” Bogner said. “You only need one yes.”

    One insightful student asked Bogner what traits he considers red flags when looking to sign writers. Bogner responded, “It’s not just about being great on the page, it’s how good you are in the room.” Filmmaking is more than just an art; it’s also a business. Writers have to impress, placate, and convince executives their project is worth the investment. If a writer consistently fails in pitching the project, they won’t have much of a career at all.

    Another student asked about the number of scripts a writer should have prepared. According to Bogner, specs are not necessary anymore. “People finally realized (a spec) was just writing another person’s characters.” What is important is to have two strong scripts.

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    Do not send nine log lines and ask a manager what they would to read. Time was a factor very much stressed by Bogner. Managers are busy. There are a lot of people trying to get their face seen and their work read. “We’re looking for talent. Yes, it’s daunting, but I’m always looking for that new voice,” Bogner promised. But, managers don’t have time to read lengthy email explaining why they should read an individual’s script or watch their reel.

    Instead, Bogner encourages short sweet emails. Lead with the best, most completed work. “Think about what you’re saying, do a little research, and make it quick,” said Bogner. Other effective tools to have when seeking representation are a solid recommendation from someone working within the industry and a short film that’s on the festival circuit.

    One last piece of advice, from Bogner, to all creatives is, “I try to avoid following a trend because if you’re aware of a trend, you’re probably at the end of it.” He also suggests not worrying about social media following. “The (work) will bring the followers.”

    New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Bogner for taking the time to come speak with our students.

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    November 17, 2016 • Community Highlights, Guest Speakers • Views: 6212

  • Joanne Horowitz, Talent Manager to Scott Eastwood, Speaks at NYFA

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    Students gathered in the Welles Screening Room at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles campus to participate in a Q&A with renowned talent manager Joanne Horowitz, up and comer Scott Eastwood. The discussion was moderated by producer Tova Laiter and NYFA acting instructor Melissa Sullivan.

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    Talent Manager, Joanne Horowitz

    The room was packed with NYFA actors eager to hear some tricks of the talent trade from one of the industry’s top managers (she was just honored as Manager of the Year by her peers), and Joanne was eager to share her wealth of knowledge with the students. One of the most resonating bits of advice for aspiring actors was to relish the audition process. Forget thinking of auditions as simply a means to an end, but rather take joy in it as an opportunity to act. Success will eventually only come to the actor who loves acting—not focusing on landing the role. Joanne also stressed the importance of keeping your spirits high in between auditions and during inevitable dry spells of work. She said having another passion in life, whether it be photography, playing an instrument, supporting a cause, etc., is essential. Acting is a difficult career path; be easy on yourself, and take a break from it if you have to.

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    Melissa Sullivan, Tova Laiter and Joanne Horowitz

    Joanne spoke at length about her time representing Scott Eastwood, and her unlikely foray into management. Earlier in her career, Joanne worked at Studio 54 and was VP of publicity and marketing for Universal film studio doing PR for Alec Baldwin, Christopher Reeve and briefly Robert Downey Jr.

    Joanne has concentrated her energy on fostering young, up-and-coming talent Scott Eastwood, whom she met while he was living in Hawaii, years before he decided to act. She stayed in contact with Scott and when he eventually moved to LA, Joanne put him in acting classes, insisting that nobody talk about his association with his famous father. Now Scott has made his way onto the A-list roster, having landed roles in movies like Fury and The Longest Ride. Some of Joanne’s other budding stars include Gavin Stenhouse (Allegiance) and Claudia Lee (Hart of Dixie, Kick-Ass 2).

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    In addition to managing, Joanne’s other passion is animals. A tireless advocate and organizer for animal rights, Joanne specifically focuses her efforts on protecting African elephants and rhinos from poaching. She received a standing ovation from like minded animal lovers.

    We sincerely thank Joanne Horowitz for visiting NYFA and we wish her the best of luck in all of her management and animal rights endeavors!

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    August 26, 2015 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 9726

  • Renowned Manager/Producer Ben Press Speaks at NYFA Los Angeles

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    Ben Press

    Students were thrilled to hear renowned manager and producer Ben Press speak this past Monday at New York Film Academy Los Angeles’s School for Acting. Ben’s radiant energy spread through the packed room as he entertained and enlightened students with stories from the Hollywood agency world and solid career advice to those starting out in the industry. Manager/Producer Ben Press started as assistant to legendary ICM agent Ed Limato and his roster of stars: Richard Gere, Denzel Washington, Mel Gibson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Anthony Hopkins, Steve Martin, Nicolas Cage, Dennis Quaid, Ellen Barkin, Edward Norton and Marlon Brando among others. As Paradigm Talent Department Co-Head, Ben packaged America’s Next Top Model, produced/hosted by Tyra Banks and negotiated the $1.5 million talent holding deal for William Baldwin (one of the industry’s most lucrative). Ben now manages clients Elle Macpherson, Rick Yune, Jennifer Esposito, as well as Taylor Swift’s future feature film acting career.

    Ben press never thought he’d work in entertainment. Off a whim and recommendation from a college friend, he landed an interview at ICM, one of the industry’s top agencies. The tradition in Hollywood agencies is to always start from the bottom. After nailing his interview with ICM, Ben did just that; his first job was literally working in the mailroom and pushing a cart. Being accepted into the agent trainee program at top agencies such as ICM, CAA and UTA, however, is a highly sought after position as mailroom workers are likely to be promoted within the company. Whereas the traditional route is to slowly climb the agency ladder, Ben took a different approach. Legendary ICM agent Ed Limato was who Ben wanted to work for and he didn’t want to wait in line to get that job. Ben convinced Mr. Limato’s current assistant to allow him to come into the office early and help him organize and plan for the day. This way Ben would know the ins and out of Ed Limato’s office and be prepared when his opportunity came. The way Ben Press’s opportunity did come is a twist of fate so far-fetched it’s hard to believe even within the context of Hollywood’s crazy world. Because of his determined nature, Ben had already made a name for himself at ICM in the short time he was there and landed an interview for the job of Ed Limato’s assistant when his former assistant was leaving. Ben was wary of his chances of getting the job, because he seemed to be the candidate with the least amount of experience. Soon after his interview, Ben came across a female agent trainee who had collapsed in the mailroom and wasn’t breathing. Luckily he had just learned CPR and immediately began performing it on her as he ordered the other trainee’s to call 911. Ben ended up saving the woman’s life. When Ed Limato got wind of the fact that Ben Press had saved someone’s life in the office he said, “I want THAT guy working for me!”

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    March 14, 2014 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 7381

  • Advice From a Hollywood Talent Manager

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    susan zachary

    Talent Manager Susan Zachary was our guest last night, arriving to a packed crowd of students in the Welles screening room at New York Film Academy Los Angeles. The moderator was Producer Tova Laiter, who just so happened to bring Susan to NYFA.

    Susan started out working at a number of different jobs, including public relations, advertising for film, and working within the studios. From there, she produced several films. Then, about 11 years ago, she founded her own management company, where she definitely seems to have found her niche.

    As a manager, Susan deals with the clients, talent, producers and goes through the breakdowns, which is a key element in the Hollywood casting process. “The management business is secure and predictable, compared to the life of an independent film producer.” said Susan. “It’s all about selling! Whether it’s a network or studio – when pushing talent – you’re always essentially in sales.

    So what makes a great manager? “An honest, communicative and persistent one. We always hear NO – a lot of reasons why an actor does not potentially work – so it all comes back to selling.

    In regards to what exactly managers look for in a client, Susan said, “We are very selective. You should ideally have a body of work, a reel, a resume, and be SAG eligible.” When asked by a student if there were any exceptions to this, as far as taking on new talent, she told the students that managers go to “The Leagues” (acting school showcases) every year, and on rare occasion 1-2 people will get signed.

    She was realistic about the hardships of getting picked up by a manager without lots of experience, but also stressed how perseverance is key and encouraged the students to love, practice, and hone the craft of acting. Most importantly, find ways to make yourself stand out.

    zacharysHere are some great tips she provided for our students:

    • Join casting director workshops
    • Make a reel
    • If you don’t have content for a reel, create it!
    • Do the ‘work’ – take acting classes!
    • Don’t sit around and wait
    • Treat acting like a job
    • Get recommended by someone
    • Show ingenuity
    • Make yourself marketable for the manager and be creative about it

    Susan also stressed the importance of making and maintaining good relationships in the business. In the literary world, it’s important to be cooperative (take notes and directions when asked to change scripts) and the same goes for actors as well. While actors can get away with more undesirable behavior if they have pure talent, it is rare these days because of the state of the economy. Her final words of advice, “Auditioning is a job! You must treat it like one.

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    August 15, 2013 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 13718