• New York Film Academy Alum Writes For Military Blog We Are The Mighty

    Orientation with Jack Jacobs

    NYFA Veteran Students with Col. Jack Jacobs (NYFA Chair of Veteran Advancement Program)

    Everybody knows by now that the Internet is filled with countless blogs, from globally famous media companies to ones covering even the tiniest of niches. But there’s at least one blog that’s doing great work serving an often overlooked yet large and vitally important demographic—the United States military community.

    The blog, We Are The Mighty, is for veterans, servicemen and women, and their families, and covers everything from military news to pop culture, with both thoughtfully penned articles and silly, amusing listicles. Overall, WATM’s mission statement is “Celebrating military service with stories that inspire,” but in doing so, it’s also provided a way for the community to congregate, communicate, and share their ideas and views through its site and social media.

    NYFA BFA Filmmaking and MFA Screenwriting Alum Tim Kirkpatrick

    Tim Kirkpatrick is one of the writers for We Are The Mighty, and has already built an impressive portfolio of articles. Kirkpatrick is a Navy veteran, having entered as a Hospital Corpsman in 2007. In the fall of 2010, he was deployed to Afghanistan with the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines.

    After coming back stateside, Kirkpatrick enrolled at the New York Film Academy and earned his AFA degree in filmmaking from our Los Angeles campus. Honing his skills even further, Kirkpatrick followed his filmmaking education with NYFA’s 8-Week Screenwriting workshop.

    Putting those writing skills to good use, Kirkpatrick has written multiple blog pieces for We Are The Mighty, including “6 of the Funniest Comedic Military Sketches Ranked” and “5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Navy Medal of Honor.”

    One of his most recent pieces is about the New York Film Academy itself, highlighting the Academy’s relationship to the Military and veteran community. As Kirkpatrick mentions in his article, “At any given time, NYFA caters to over 200 veterans in the student body and the school takes pride in putting a camera in their hands on the first day of class,” while also adding that NYFA has enrolled over 1500 veterans and dependents of veterans in total.

    The Military and veteran community is an important part of the NYFA family. Kirkpatrick mentions in his article the Academy’s V.S.A., or Veteran Student Association, where vets from different branches of the armed forces come together over their shared love of film and the visual arts.

    Kirkpatrick also shouts out the venerable Colonel Jack Jacobs, who in addition to being a Medal of Honor recipient and on-air military strategist for NBC/MSNBC, is the Chair of the NYFA Veterans Advancement Program.

    The Military and the film industry are a more natural pairing than some may suspect. Kirkpatrick writes, “As in the Military, the film industry uses a precise chain of command for its operational purposes, so vets feel right at home on set — hierarchy and order (and yes, even paperwork) have been branded into their solid work ethic.”

    You can check out Tim Kirkpatrick and the other writers at We Are The Mighty here.


    January 26, 2018 • Community Highlights, Veterans • Views: 4052

  • One-on-One with Photographer Ralph Gibson


    This week at the Los Angeles Campus of the New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA), students in the photography program and beyond, were treated to a day of instructive activities by the internationally renowned photographer, Mr. Ralph Gibson, who is the Chair of NYFA Department of Contemporary Photography.

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    All of the students in the MFA and BFA photography program had one-on-one critiques of their work with the Master, in which they each presented three of their images for discussion. The portfolio reviews continued in the afternoon when all long-term photography students had the great occasion to have their independent photography portfolios reviewed by Mr. Gibson.

    Mr. Gibson believes that if one can adeptly learn to photograph the human form, and architecture, then all other forms of imagery comes easily to the artist. The celebrated photographer imparted more than five decades of wisdom to the students who were raptured by the Master’s iconic sense of the visual identity and his personally connected overview of the many styles of photography and the art of storytelling through still images.

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    NYFA’s military veteran students enjoyed an informal gathering with Mr. Gibson—the Navy man—who first learned his technical darkroom skills in the hull of a ship as a 17-year-old enlistee. He emphasized that veterans with dreams of being visual or performing artists had a mindset that was necessary for the hard work it would take to become a success in their chosen fields.

    In the evening more than 70 guests greatly enjoyed a TEDx Talk style lecture and visual presentation by Mr. Gibson titled, “Finding a Visual Identity in the Digital Age,” in which he provided his perspective of how today’s technology has impacted all visual art mediums, especially photography. He provided a dramatic overview of American photography in the 20th and 21st centuries, which was interwoven with the exploration of his own life and art.

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    Michele Kirk, NYFA LA Chair of Photography, stated, “simply meeting a living legend of photography is an amazing opportunity for a young photographer, yet alone having one’s work critiqued by Ralph—an American leader in the field—is simply priceless!”


    February 24, 2016 • Guest Speakers, Photography • Views: 6230

  • NYFA Conducts Workshops for Military Soldiers


    On January 9, The New York Film Academy Los Angeles campus facilitated a unique day of workshops for more than twenty-five soldiers from the 201st and 222nd Public Affairs detachments.

    With the support of the New York Film Academy’s Foundation, the College was honored to have the opportunity to work with this exemplary group of servicemembers.

    The 201st and 222nd units are both based out of Bell, CA and consist of public affairs officers, combat photographers, combat correspondents and broadcast specialists who are involved in creating, filming, reporting, hosting and editing news and entertainment radio and television program.

    These groups are primarily responsible for participating in and supervising the operation of audio or video news for the American Forces Network (AFN), The Pentagon Channel or Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS). Combat Correspondents, or broadcast journalists in the 222nd prepare scripts and news copy for radio and television programs and participate as hosts, announcers, masters of ceremonies, and actors in radio and television broadcasts. The 222nd has a long, proud history of telling soldiers’ stories as they serve all over the world. Most recently, the 222nd supported the public affairs mission with two yearlong tours of duty in Baghdad, Iraq.

    The classes were taught by NYFA instructors in the College’s Filmmaking Department, who have decades of experience in the industry. Documentary Chair, Barbara Multer-Wellin led the program. The first workshop provided an overview on essential interview techniques and how to formulate intriguing interview questions, which were then used to dialogue with special guests John Henry and Nick Searcy.

    John Henry is the co-founder of Purple Star Veterans and families, a non-profit created to assist struggling transitioning veterans and their families, and Nick Searcy is a renowned actor who has starred on productions such as: Tigerland, Castaway, The Fugitive, and most current ongoing TV series (Justified). The soldiers interviewed the gentlemen utilizing the techniques and interview skills they procured through the workshop.

    After the interview techniques session the participants divided into two groups for instruction on camera and lighting techniques and how to properly light a set for an interview and on the importance of sound and how to achieve the best sound quality for a high quality interview. Lance Fisher (Filmmaking Instructor) instructed one group and the other was taught sound by James Coburn (Filmmaking Instructor).

    At the end of the intense training day, Christopher Cardoza, a Specialist assigned to the 201st Public Affairs Detachment stated, “This experience was without a doubt, one of the most honorable moments of my military career. I was able to practice the proper tools of Networking, Building Relationships, and having a Rolodex of greatness!” In addition to his service at the 201st, Specialist Cardoza is a BFA student at NYFA and assisted the College’s Veterans Service staff in putting this successful event together.

    “One of the greatest hands-on training that our unit has performed, in the time I’ve been with the 201st,” remarked SPC Kris Wright.

    These workshops were tailored for our 201st and 222nd guests, and based on the New York Film Academy’s mission to provide the most hands-on instruction in the world and the participating members from the 201st and 222nd Public Affairs Detachment soldiers were very thankful for the trainings, which provided the opportunity to gain a large amount of knowledge that will be instrumental in the growth of their careers.

    The New York Film Academy, the world’s largest and most prestigious visual and performing arts private institution, is a certified and award-winning Military Friendly School committed to supporting this newest generation of veterans. NYFA is proud to serve military veterans and servicemembers in their pursuit of a world-class education in filmmaking—and related disciplines—through its Veterans Advancement Program Chaired by Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient.

    The 201st posted this article after attending our workshop on January 9th. You will have to be logged in to Facebook in order to view. Please click here to check it out.

    -Michael Kunselman and Eric Brown


    January 15, 2016 • Community Highlights, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4963

  • Joe Lisi and Col. Jack Jacobs Host Acting & Filmmaking Workshop for Military

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    Guest Instructor, retired NY Police captain and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Joe Lisi takes questions from participants after a day of filming.

    In the spirit of the Holiday Season, the New York Film Academy believes giving back to those who served and continue to serve our country in the military is of great importance. That is why NYFA founder, Jerry Sherlock, himself a veteran, was delighted that so many members of our nation’s armed forces have taken the opportunity to study and develop their passion in the visual and performing arts at NYFA’s campuses in New York City, Los Angeles, and South Beach, Florida.

    To further the College’s commitment to supporting our nation’s servicemembers on a broader scale, NYFA and the NYFA Office of Veterans Services developed a new program offering multiple free 1-day Master Classes—taught by media and entertainment industry luminaries—to veterans and active duty military members. This ongoing program will take place at all three NYFA domestic campuses.

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    A participant receives instruction on the Canon 5D camera system from one of NYFA’s classroom instructors.

    On December 12th, 2015, veterans and active duty military members from the Tristate area attended an exclusive 1-day Acting & Filmmaking workshop at the New York Film Academy’s beautiful campus in downtown Manhattan. In addition to the intensive hands-on master classes, the invited guests also had the privilege of an intimate sit-down lunch with the Chair of the Veterans Advancement Program, Medal of Honor recipient and NBC/MSNBC on-air personality, Colonel Jack Jacobs. As a finale for the day of instruction and filming, the students met with the renowned film and television actor—and U.S. Marine veteran— Joe Lisi for a critique of their films and a discussion about the industry and career paths.

    The ambitious goal of teaching participants the basics: framing the “shot,” rehearsing lines, directing actors, and filming—all in one day—was successfully implemented by NYFA faculty, Blanche Baker (Acting), Jonathan Whittaker (Filmmaking) and Bart Mastronardi (Cinematography) who each relied on the proven method of “hands-on,” learning by doing.

    joe lisi

    Masterclass guests pose with Medal of Honor Recipient and NYFA Veteran Advancement Program Chair, Colonel Jack Jacobs.

    Since 1992, the New York Film Academy, an accredited and military friendly school, has been offering the world’s most hands-on, intensive programs in Filmmaking, Acting, Game Design, 3D Animation, Screenwriting, and many more. Our faculty is comprised of industry professionals, many of which are still active creatively in their chosen fields! For assistance beginning your education in the visual and performing arts, please visit or contact our Veterans Admission Team at

    -Jim Miller & Chris Paparis


    January 5, 2016 • Cinematography, Community Highlights, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5582

  • Actor Matthew Modine Hosts NYFA Master Class for Veterans


    The New York Film Academy (NYFA), the world’s largest and most prestigious visual and performing arts private institution, is a certified and award-winning Military Friendly School committed to supporting this newest generation of veterans. NYFA is proud to serve military veterans and servicemembers in their pursuit of a world-class filmmaking education, through our Veterans Advancement Program Chaired by Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient.

    Through the generosity of the New York Film Academy Foundation, on December 19 the College provided a free Master Class Workshop to military servicemembers and veterans at the School’s Los Angeles campus. The event featured veteran actor and director Matthew Modine.


    Matthew Modine with Master Class attendees

    The classes offered an exciting and unique opportunity for more than 50 military servicemembers and veterans to learn essential filmmaking and acting principles taught by members of NYFA’s esteemed faculty and Mr. Modine. Several NYFA veteran students served as technical assistants. Each branch of the military was represented including many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, and the gathering proved to be an excellent environment for the attendees to network.

    Mr. Modine spoke to the group about his 30 years of experience in the industry as an actor and a director. Among his many accomplishments, Modine is known for his portrayal as “Joker” in Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece Full Metal Jacket. Modine’s role in the military film Memphis Belle also earned him critical acclaim. He has directed a number of short films and is currently in pre-production on a feature called The Rocking Horseman.

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    NYFA staff demonstrating to veteran different features of the lighting system

    The acting class, taught by NYFA faculty Christopher Cass, provided an overview of the Industry and what it takes to “make it” as an actor. The class went over basic principals of acting for the camera — shot sizes, set etiquette, listening and emotional choices for the camera. Actors then shot and played-back the scene for review and critique.

    The Filmmaking class, taught by NYFA faculty David Newman, went over the film industry employment opportunities available in the entertainment field. This class also discussed the qualities and skill sets needed to be an effective director. Participants had the chance to act and fulfill key crew roles on set (including directing, camera operator, boom operator). The class then rehearsed and shot a two character scene.

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    Master Class Group Shot with Matthew Modine

    Jon Garza, US Navy veteran who attended the Master Classes was thankful to have the opportunity attend. He stated that, “this event was a great opportunity to network with fellow veterans and learn from industry professionals.”

    Please join our Veterans Facebook group for more information about the 2016 free Master Classes schedule.


    December 23, 2015 • Acting, Community Highlights, Guest Speakers, Veterans • Views: 8549

  • Veteran Student Highlight: Nic Lewis


    Considered a Top Military Friendly School, the New York Film Academy has wholeheartedly welcomed hundreds of military veterans and servicemembers to its long-term and degree programs. Often our veterans are uncertain of what direction to take their careers after service, and this was no different for former NYFA screenwriting student and current filmmaking student in Los Angeles, Nicholas Lewis.

    “My last deployments with the military were with the 5th and 10th special forces,” said Lewis. “They ended up being pretty brutal, as it was during the rise of the insurgency. It took a pretty heavy toll on me physically—since I was a turret gunner—and I got my retirement out of it.”

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    A former US Navy Firefighter and US Army Infantryman, Lewis returned home from combat and served as a bartender in Scottsdale, Arizona until he could figure out exactly what it is that he was meant to do. As fate would have it, one day Lewis befriended a patron of his bar over a few drinks. After a night of bonding and talking, Lewis soon discovered that the man was writer/producer Andrew Weiss, and he was in the Phoenix area shooting a film he had written called Middle Men. Weiss’ story peaked Lewis’ interest and led him on a career path toward screenwriting and filmmaking.

    His first gig was as an Art Department PA on a feature called Everything Must Go. While working in the art department, he met the 1st AD, Joe McDougal, who offered the job of being a PA in set. On the first day of shooting, the DP asked him to come in as a day player (2nd AC)—which allowed him to be in Arizona’s Union.

    While currently studying filmmaking at NYFA Los Angeles, Lewis also works as a Talent Coordinator on NBC’s Last Comic Standing. He’s also worked as a talent coordinator for multiple award shows including the ESPY’s, ASPCA Hero Dog Awards, American Cinematheque, and Race to Erase MS.

    nic lewis

    Lewis recently had the opportunity to be Episodic Director, Co-Executive Producer and Producing Director Glenn Kershaw’s “Director’s Shadow” on season 11, episode 7 of Criminal Minds.

    In the meantime, Lewis is preparing his own project, which will be a web-series called Bluffside Drive, premiering January 5th, 2016 on Youtube.


    October 8, 2015 • Film School, Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 6193

  • NYFA Veteran Students Attend USC Football Game


    Veteran students attending the New York Film Academy gathered on Saturday, September 12th to attend the USC Trojans football game at the famous “Coliseum” in Los Angeles. This event was in collaboration with the Veterans Department and the Veteran Student Association at the New York Film Academy.

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    As a school committed to its veterans, the sporting event was part of an ongoing effort to bring veterans together and develop a peer-to-peer support network within the veteran student population.

    Army veteran and acting student, Doug Prideaux, had this to say about his experience at the game: “I enjoyed meeting fellow students and appreciate the support that the New York Film Academy provides to its veterans.”

    usc football

    Additionally, BFA Acting veteran student Joel Wright was thrilled to attend his first major college football game.

    Not only was it a good day for the Trojans, putting up a whopping 59 points, it was an all around enjoyable afternoon of football and camaraderie for our fellow veteran students.

    We extend our gratitude to the USC Center for Innovation and Research (CIR) on Veterans & Military Families for providing the tickets.

    football usc


    September 25, 2015 • Community Highlights, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 6444

  • NYFA Hosts Special Event for Wounded Warriors


    wwp at nyfaAs a nationally accredited and degree granting college, the New York Film Academy has been privileged over the last few years to enroll hundreds of veteran students at our campuses in both New York City and Los Angeles. To further give back to our veteran and military community, the New York Film Academy in Battery Park held an event exclusive for veterans from the Wounded Warrior Project.

    The mission of Wounded Warrior Project is to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured servicemembers, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs.

    The daylong event began with a speech from Colonel Jack Jacobs, NYFA’s Chair of the NYFA Veterans Advancement Program. Jacobs has served as a platoon leader in the 82nd Airborne Division, executive officer of an infantry battalion in the 7th Infantry Division, and commanded the 4th Battalion 10th Infantry in Panama. A member of the faculty of the US Military Academy, Colonel Jacobs taught international relations and comparative politics for three years, and he was a member of the faculty of the National War College in Washington, DC. He was in Vietnam twice, both times as an advisor to Vietnamese infantry battalions, and he is among the most highly decorated soldiers from that era, having earned three Bronze Stars, two Silver Stars and the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest combat decoration.

    Jacobs spoke in depth about the importance of veterans in Media and Film, and joined the Warriors for lunch after his inspirational speech. After that, the Warriors were given two truly hands-on workshops in both filmmaking and acting for film.

    “It was an honor and privilege doing this event for the Wounded Warrior Project,” said Director of Performing Arts Enrollment, Roger Del Pozo. “They did a fantastic job in the workshop, and they were very inspiring — it was an amazing experience.”

    wounded warriors

    An award-winning Top Military Friendly School, the New York Film Academy is dedicated to helping veterans achieve their educational and career goals. Many of NYFA programs are approved for the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the New York Film Academy proudly participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

    For more information about NYFA’s Veterans Benefits, Resources and Alumni, please visit


    June 16, 2015 • Acting, Community Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 6901

  • NYFA Military Students Produce Veterans PSA with Joe Mantegna

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    Actor Joe Mantegna with NYFA veteran students

    Today, military veteran students enrolled at the Los Angeles campus of the New York Film Academy produced a Public Service Announcement for partnering organization, The Soldiers Project. The PSA featured award-winning actor Joe Mantegna, who is a dedicated supporter of veterans and their families. The Soldier’s Project, a non-profit organization that offers counseling to service members, veterans and their families, has been a long time collaborator with The New York Film Academy, offering counseling and support to Veterans making the transition from military service to pursuing their dreams in the creative arts industries at NYFA.

    The PSA shoot was staffed by an all veteran film crew featuring veteran students from all branches of the military and studying various disciplines including filmmaking, producing, cinematography, and photography. The shoot offered a unique opportunity for Veteran students to come together and create a high quality video that will support their fellow veterans.

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    Ruddy Canohernandez, a BFA Producing student who produced the PSA, did so with the hope that his work would “open doors for other service members that he has been so lucky to take advantage of.” As a Marine, Mr. Canohernandez holds strong to the idea of never leaving a man behind, and sees his work as a producer as part of supporting his fellow service member. The PSA was directed by first year student and Army veteran Eric Milzaski, who was thrilled to have the opportunity to direct such a well known actor. In his own words, “this was a tremendous experience for me as a filmmaker, and we, as veteran students here, appreciate the opportunity that the NYFA Veterans Office was able was provide us with.”

    Mr. Mantegna was impressed by the hard work and professionalism of the veteran students and shared a desire to see more veterans working in the entertainment Industry. We will all be keeping our eyes out for this exciting PSA and the futures of these talented young filmmakers.

    -John Powers


    April 24, 2015 • Community Highlights, Student & Alumni Spotlights, Veterans • Views: 7290

  • Screenwriting Student Hosting History Channel’s ‘Forged in Fire’


    As a school that prides itself on being a Top Military Friendly School, the New York Film Academy often highlights its veteran and former military students who have shown achievement and success both inside and outside the classroom. One of our current BFA Screenwriting students, Wil Willis, has already succeeded in finding his way into the business, as he is now hosting the History Channel’s Forged in Fire. The competition reality show—in the vein of Ink Masters or Face/ Off—pits master blacksmiths against one another in head-to-head competition to forge from scratch a weapon that could win them a $10,000 prize.

    Willis had been hosting a show for Discovery Channel’s American Heroes Channel, and the producers decided to test him for Forged in Fire. Willis tested well and the job was his.

    Before pursuing a career in entertainment, Willis served in the Army as a Ranger, and in the Air Force as a Pararescueman. After fifteen years in the military, Willis found himself working on the set of a Broken Lizard production. From there, he began taking acting classes on the down-low, so his military buddies wouldn’t find out. His decision to step out of the box paid off.

    “After acting in a couple films, someone asked me to be a TV show host,” recalled Willis. “I figured why not?” Life is all about adventure and having some cool stories to tell the nurses at the Veterans home.”

    From an early age, Willis had a fondness for storytelling and movies — especially 80s B-Movies like The BeastmasterGiven his passion and his goal of obtaining a college degree, Willis decided to pursue his BFA in Screenwriting at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles.


    In the process of learning how to properly structure his countless ideas, Willis recently finished a personal project titled Comatose Dad, about a veteran struggling to get his act together in the real world. In the script, the main character kidnaps his comatose father from the hospital and takes him on a road trip.

    With his foot already in the door, Willis has extremely strong ambitions. “It would be an honor to graduate with the other guys in my class. As far as achievements go…I want it all,” says Willis. “No one comes into this business wanting to ‘just get by.’ I think you’ve got to want it all to get anywhere. And when you start making progress, you’ve got to want more and push yourself and know that you can do better and that you’ll only be as good as the last project you worked on.”


    April 6, 2015 • Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 11644