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  • It’s Clobberin’ Time – Fantastic Four Reboot Debuts First Trailer

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    fantastic four

    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.

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    January 28, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 4632

  • Comic Characters Get Cast

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    Sansa

    It’s a big day for fans of comic book adaptations, or for that matter, fans of Glee, Game of Thrones, or the recent Lifetime biopic of Aaliyah. Bryan Singer used his Twitter account this week to announce the three young stars of his latest X-Men sequel, X-Men Apocalypse. Apocalypse will be following the series reboot in Days of Future Past with a 1980s setting and starring returning cast members Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy.

    However, the series will be recasting its original characters—Cyclops, Storm and Jean Grey. James Marsden, Halle Berry and Famke Janssen are out, and Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, and Sophie Turner are in. Sheridan is best known for his roles in Matthew McConaughey vehicles Mud and Joe, Shipp starred as Aalyiah in the Lifetime biopic and Sophie Turner has been winning over more and more fans as determined survivor Sansa Stark in HBO’s Game of Thrones.

    Don’t worry if you’re more of a DC than a Marvel fan—there’s news for you too. Supergirl, a new CBS series with elements of a police procedural (because it’s CBS, duh) has found its lead—Melissa Benoist. Benoist is best known for Glee, and has found a more serious audience recently with her role in Best Picture nominee Whiplash. Superman’s younger, blonder cousin should be showing up on TV sets this September.

    Finally, if that’s enough news to satiate your comic book appetite, there have been a couple of not-quite-casting stories this week. Marvel is supposedly courting 12 Years a Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor for a “leading role” in their upcoming Avengers installment, Doctor Strange, which already has Oscar nom Benedict Cumberbatch set as the magician superhero. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Jake Gyllenhaal has taken himself out of the running to replace Tom Hardy, who recently dropped out of the leading role of DC’s Suicide Squad. The follow-up to this summer’s Batman V. Superman, Suicide Squad focuses on a team of supervillains who must save the world. While the production is struggling to find a new star, it’s now rumored that Ben Affleck’s Batman will make an appearance with Jared Leto’s Joker at some point in the film.

    And that’s all the comic book movie news there is… for the next twelve minutes.

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    January 23, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 5146

  • Animation Writer Eugene Son Draws Up Helpful Advice for NYFA Students

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    Eugene Son

    Eugene Son

    Animation and comic book writer Eugene Son recently joined New York Film Academy’s Business of Screenwriting class, entertaining students with his story of how this Southern California native came to write the voices for some of the biggest and most popular Marvel animation cartoon characters on television.

    Son began his journey with a BA in Literature Writing from the University of California at San Diego. He flirted with working in the dotcom world, but his entry into a pilot competition sponsored by animation studio Klasky Csupo put him on the map and got him hooked. It was a short pilot called Don’t Drink the Water about children who find a mysterious stream of water that when they drink it makes them super-intelligent. It got Son some attention, “a few nibbles,” as he said, and hip-pocketed at a management company. Son then explained this amorphous term to the students, “hip-pocketing is when you’re not officially on the books, so they can drop you at any time, but they are unofficially representing you.”

    Son’s first big break came when his manager called him up with a job lead. “He called me up and was like, ‘hey, do you like Ninja Turtles?’, and I was like ‘heck yeah, I like Ninja Turtles!’,” Son exclaimed. After writing for TMNT in 2004, Son went onto write for shows like A.T.O.M., Duel Masters, and Cartoon Network’s Ben 10. “I can’t draw at all, but as an animated writer, you have to think visually and always ask yourself — is what I’m writing actually draw-able.”

    “Animation shows today operate a lot like traditional TV shows did in the 1970’s,” Son explained, “in that they keep their writing staffs small and hire a lot of freelance writers — something live-action narrative shows rarely do anymore.” This allowed Son to bounce around a lot and work for a bunch of different shows, penning episodes and developing his craft. “I love exploring different worlds, so while freelancing can be a bit unpredictable, it allows for a writer to play with a lot of different characters.”

    “You have to sink or swim,” Son explained of some of the time pressures faced with writing animation. “They need the script, and you can’t hesitate and wait until it’s completely perfect.” Son advised students interested in animation to develop a portfolio, with, at minimum, two spec episodes of popular existing shows and at least one original pilot. Son explained, it’s also important to be aware of the shows you spec and watch all the episodes, so you know where the storyline is currently and what’s already been done.

    Son went on to talk about another nebulous Hollywood term, “the general,” as in the general meetings. “It’s sort of like a blind date, and you know pretty soon whether you’ll be left out to dry or hearing wedding bells.” On advising writers on how to behave in a general, “honestly, just be yourself.” Son went on to explain how the old model of cartoons is changing. “Saturday morning cartoons don’t exist anymore, as kids don’t consume media that way now. It’s all streamed and recorded, so cartoons can air at anytime.”

    In more recent years, Son has gone on to write on a variety of shows for Marvel, including The Super Hero Squad, Iron Man Armored Adventures, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., and Ultimate Spider-Man. Son noted that working on Hulk was particularly interesting because it pushed the limits of what animation could do and tried a whole new spin while still using these familiar characters. The story is told from the perspective of an online reality show who’s goal is to foster public acceptance of the Hulk as a hero and not a monster. The “show” is filmed by robotic flying cameras that accompany the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. everywhere they go, resulting in humorous vignettes and visual gags throughout each episode.

    Son also spoke about working in comic books. “One of the biggest differences is you have to think even more visually and in less time. In comics, two or three lines fill a page, so you constantly have to ask yourself: what’s interesting, what’s essential, how can I encapsulate the essence of a moment, which in an animated TV show, might be a whole sequence?”

    With a few animation enthusiasts in the class, Son geeked out on various shows much to their enjoyment, from those running on Adult Swim to Ben 10: Alien Force, which was a grittier X-FILES-esque spin on the series. Son also explained how streaming services like Netflix will probably soon allow for more niche shows that can find audiences online. However, he also remarked on the challenges of monetizing these new subscription-based models. Son described where he feels he likes to live as an animated writer, demographically, “I really like that age when kids are just starting to ween off cartoons and get into videogames,” Son explained, preferring that sacred coming-of-age bracket.

    Closing out, Son offered NYFA’s aspiring writers wishing to get into animation some astute advice: “Watch it all. You really need to know the landscape of what’s out there.” As for the indie animation scene, Son remarked it’s tough if you’re not your own animator. As for comic books, Son advised, “partner up with a talented, hungry comic book artist who’s essentially you, someone who can really draw and who will work hard. It’s not a bad idea to look internationally for comic book artists, guys coming out of Europe and Asia who want American exposure.”

    Eugene Son lives in Los Angeles and is repped by The Gotham Group. More info can be found about him and his impressive body of work at eugeneson.com

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    January 14, 2015 • 3D Animation, Guest Speakers • Views: 7095

  • NYFA On the Lot: Paramount Studios

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    IMG_5444

    New York Film Academy Acting for Film students on the Paramount Studios backlot

    New York Film Academy Acting for Film students were recently invited to tour Paramount Studios, and visit the set of NCIS: Los Angeles, the popular television drama starring Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J.

    In the conference room with Erik Whitmyre, Co-Producer for NCIS: Los Angeles

    In the conference room with Erik Whitmyre, Co-Producer for NCIS: Los Angeles

    Paramount Studios, the last major studio in Hollywood proper, moved into its current home in 1927. Paramount built its legacy as the home to legendary actors and directors including Mae West, W.C. Fields, D.W. Griffith, Cecil B. DeMille, the Marx Brothers, and Claudette Colbert. Students entered the historic lot, walking past trailers and crew working on the hit TV show, Glee, before moving onto the Technicolor building. Working on projects for HBO and Marvel, Technicolor has the highest security for any post-production building in the world.

    Inside the conference room, Erik Whitmyre, Co-Producer for NCIS: Los Angeles, spoke to excited students about all aspects of filming and post-production. He spoke about what makes an actor great, the importance of physical continuity (while being able to alter the emotional performance of his/her character), attitude on set, how the voice translates on film, and what makes a great close-up.

    On the set of NCIS: Los Angeles

    On the set of NCIS: Los Angeles

    Students then visited the editing team, where Assistant Editor Eric Wilson showed them the latest episodes they were working on. Whitmyre explained the evolution of technology, the systems that editors had worked on in the past, and what they are working with now. Students also spoke with VFX Supervisor Robert Konuch. Along with Russell Welch and James Olney, the team had overseen the effects on CSI: Miami, and are now working with the NCIS: Los Angeles crew. Robert and the team were busy at work, adding snow to a winter scene shot in the desert. Before leaving the NCIS set, students got to take a visit to the set of NCIS headquarters.

    The students ended their tour at the studio’s Bronson Gate, where Norma Desmond entered the lot in Sunset Blvd. Legend has it that the upper filigree was added to the gate after a throng of adoring female fans swarmed security and climbed the gate, trying to chase silent film star Rudolph Valentino!

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    March 27, 2013 • Academic Programs, Acting • Views: 7478