Popular Australian musical duo Bombs Away’s most recent music video, “Everybody Stand Up,” featuring Luciana, was directed by New York Film Academy Australia Gold Coast alumni and a current student. The video has been gaining buzz with over 100,000 views on Youtube in just about a month.
on set of “Everybody Stand Up”
Produced by Joel Thomas from Voyageur Productions, “Everybody Stand Up” was directed by Gold Coast alumnus Damian Lang, who says he and his crew thought the Bombs Away guys were a pleasure to work with. In addition to Lang, the crew consisted of current student, Harrison Scholes, as well as alumni Matt Robinson, Melissa King and Shawn Chapman.
“My experience from NYFA was critical to my performance,” says Lang. “It has also helped me present myself professionally as a director and a business.”
Lang is currently working on two music videos and just finished wrapping his short film, The First Step. His hope is to eventually direct his first feature film.
For now, enjoy this music video from Lang and his NYFA crew.
New York Film Academy students gathered in a theater at Warner Bros. Studios this past week for a special screening of Whiplash followed by a Q&A with this year’s Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons. Jonathan Kimble (“J. K.” Simmons) is known for his roles as Dr. Emil Skoda on the NBC series Law & Order (and other Law & Order franchise series), neo-Nazi Vernon Schillinger on the HBO prison drama series Oz, Assistant Police Chief Will Pope on the TNT series The Closer, J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, and the voices of Cave Johnson in the 2011 puzzle game Portal 2 and Tenzin in The Legend of Korra. Simmons’s performance as music instructor Terence Fletcher in Whiplash (2014) received universal acclaim and earned him more than 30 accolades, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Golden Globe and BAFTA Award. Producer Tova Laiter moderated the discussion.
To anyone who’s seen Whiplash, the memory of J.K. Simmons’ role as Fletcher, the music conservatory instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a promising young drummer’s potential, is burned into their memory. Soon after the credits finished rolling, and the man who had just captured the students’ attention so intensely on screen appeared in the flesh and took the stage, the whole theater immediately erupted into cheers and applause during a standing ovation. It was interesting to see how much of a contrast the terrifyingly sadistic Fletcher was to the real man behind the role. J.K. was upbeat, jovial, and having the students laughing in stitches with his endless stream of quips. He was as appreciative to be there as the student’s were to see him and even though the line of students waiting to ask questions stretched to the back of the theater and nearly out the door, J.K. stayed until every last question was answered.
J.K. talked about the incredibly fateful circumstances surrounding the Whiplash feature. Director Damien Chazelle wrote the part of the student drummer Andrew for Miles Teller not knowing at all the the actor had been a drummer since the age of 15. What’s more, when Damien first approached J.K. about playing the part of music instructor Fletcher, he assured him that there would be a music technical advisor on set and that they could use a body double for difficult orchestral scenes. As it turned out, however, Mr. Simmons studied music in college. “I thought I was going to be Leonard Bernstein when I grew up, but I took a few left turns…” J.K. jokingly said. “It was just all meant to be.”
Elaborating more on the making of the film that changed his life forever, Mr. Simmons explained that when he first met Damien Chazelle the director was only 26 years old. However, despite Damien’s lack of experience, the two immediately clicked as J.K. saw the genius within the young director. Within 10 minutes of working together on the Whiplash short film, Simmon’s and Chazella knew they would be working together on the feature version. Simmon’s also had a comfortable, creatively exciting relationship with actor Miles Teller on set. Even though the tension between them was high on screen, the two would joke around together between takes on set. This was also due to the relaxed environment Damien created on set which allowed for experimentation from the actors. An interesting fact about the young music students from the various college bands in the film was that, aside from a few, they were composed of real student musicians, not actors. And during the filming the bands were actually creating real music!
While reminiscing on the long road that took him to where he is now J.K. said, “When I look back it almost seems like I had a plan. But I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, and doing what I really enjoy doing… When I was scrapping by and making ends meet, I didn’t have a wife and kids and any responsibilities… In my case, the level of success, acclaim, attention I’ve gotten more and more of in the last decade or so, if that had happened when I was 25 years old I would not have been prepared creatively, personally in any way.”
For many decades, Rolling Stone Magazine has been a leading force in music and entertainment culture. Its ability to catapult an artist’s career is quite remarkable. The same could be said for the music video and its ability to launch the careers of so many talented directors. In fact, a slew of today’s top film directors like David Fincher and Spike Jonze began their careers by making music videos. In the New York Film Academy’s Rolling Stone Music Video Workshop, we provide that very same training ground.
This week, our music video students had the privilege of visiting the world-famous headquarters of Rolling Stone Magazine in New York City. As part of the tour, students had an opportunity to gawk at the Hallway of Covers, which displays every Rolling Stone cover since its inception in 1967. As you can imagine, our music video students were in awe of the massive display. Our hope is that it was also inspiring for the young artists. You never know, perhaps their face could be on the cover someday.
The New York Film Academy has recently collaborated with R&B sensation, Banky W, on his latest music video for the upcoming single, “Unborn Child” featuring hip hop artist, Lynxxx.
Hailing from Lagos, Nigeria, Banky enrolled in NYFA’s Union Square campus to study an 8-week Filmmaking course where he was able to develop his skills to co-produce and co-direct his largest music video to date alongside Jonathan Whittaker, Chair of Short-Term Filmmaking Program at The New York Film Academy. With a NYFA crew comprised of former students, assistants, and faculty, “Unborn Child” was shot on the stellar Red Epic at Gary’s Loft in Midtown and just off Bruckner Boulevard in the Bronx in only 2 days. The video stars Banky, Lynxxx, and 8-week Acting for Film student Aminat Ayinde.
Banky plays the role of an NYPD officer that finds out the unexpected news that his girlfriend, Ayinde, is now pregnant. As he departs for what he thinks will be just another day on the job, the mother of his unborn child will soon find out that Banky is injured in the line of duty and leaves Lynxxx, his fellow NYPD partner, to deliver an important letter of heartfelt words and lessons for his child to live by in this emotional song and video.
The video is currently in post-production at the New York Film Academy and is pending information on the premiere. One thing we know for sure is that we are extremely proud to have had Banky join us as a student and collaborator on this project. Working with Banky firsthand, Jonathan Whittaker says, “For someone of Banky’s stature to trust me with their vision is a tremendous honor. There is no higher sense of accomplishment than collaborating with students who are putting into practice what they have learned in my classroom.”
Within two months of graduating from New York Film Academy’s One-Year Acting for Film Conservatory, Mia Ella Jordan was cast in the feature film, Basketball Girlfriend, which is now available to rent on RedBox. She was also in Jez Dior’s music video, Who Drank My Whiskey, which, at one point in time earlier this year, was the #1 song trending on Twitter. Aside from those two projects, she was the lead actress in the short, I-589, which premiered at the LA Indie Film Festival.
Hailing from Santiago de Chile, Mia had originally auditioned with Basketball Girlfriend director Jean-Claude La Marre for another project and, some time later, he called her in to audition for the role of Jenny and cast her that day. This is fairly common in the industry, so don’t get too discouraged when you don’t land the initial audition. Maintain strong relationships with directors and casting directors.
Mia had been working in theatre for quite a while and while she loved it, her heart was in film. After attending an international school fair in Santiago, she was drawn to NYFA. Mia felt the Acting for Film courses were the perfect compliment to her previous acting training in theatre.
“The Meisner technique has been the most useful to me in terms of auditioning and being on-set,” said Mia. “I’ve heard from a lot of actors and even some agents that Meisner doesn’t help in auditions, but to me listening is everything because it sustains my being in the present and so it instills me in my truth.”
Mia eventually hopes to reach a point in her career where she can choose specific roles that truly resonate with her. As an actress, she believes she has a wonderful responsibility with the audience and wants to honor it by creating and being a part of projects that truly inspire and make a difference.
Recently, Mia finished acting in another music video for Jez Dior’s single, Clean Me Up. She’s also finishing up filming a short film, I Forgot You Were Here, where she plays a blind woman in a troubled relationship. “I love it because it’s not moral and I believe art never should be,” she says.
Check out Mia Ella Jordan in Jez Dior’s Who Drank My Whiskey.
One of the many exciting partnerships the New York Film Academy has developed is with Warner Bros. Records. From this exciting collaboration, the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles was tapped to film the music video for popular singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis’ new song She’s Not Me, which comes off her new album, The Voyager. Following production, the video was edited by NYFA student, Saud Al-Moghirah, and is now live to view on Jenny’s Youtube page!
Have a look at the video below, which is a time-lapse of a mural painted outside of the famous Amoeba Music in Hollywood. Jenny’s full album, The Voyager, will be released July 29th by Warner Bros. Records.
Since graduating from New York Film Academy’sAFA Filmmaking Program, Joshua Berry has quickly climbed the ranks on Revolt TV’s In Harm’s Way, a music television show that consists of music videos, band interviews and performances, as well as interstitial segments with the host of the show. Josh is Director of Photography/Associate Producer on the show. Given the tight budget, Josh works with a small crew consisting of him, a sound mixer, and sometimes a freelance camera operator. Most of their shoots consist of a four camera set up: Josh will operate one camera, set another one up on a tripod, mount a GoPro for a super wide angle, and a B Cam operator. Not only that, he sets up all of the lighting and electric as well.
In his associate producer role, Josh is tasked with gathering elements that his editor requires. These elements consist of stock photos, pulling music for the show, and organizing all of the music videos that come in for the show.
“My NYFA education was definitely helpful for what I am doing today,” says Josh. “I run a set essentially by myself and I am partially able to do that because of the constant hands on training at NYFA, which taught me how to preform every position on a film set.”
As Josh continues to develop invaluable skills on set every day, he hopes to one day ‘tell a story’. To do so, Josh hopes to someday work on a narrative film or TV series, whether it be as a director of photography or director.
The New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, in association with director/producer D. Channsin Berry, is holding a music video competition open to NYFA LA students.
The director and producer of such noteworthy documentaries as Dark Girls and The Black Line (Profile of the African-American Woman Part 3), Mr. Berry has recently formed his own music company September Soul Music and is giving students at NYFA LA the opportunity to submit ideas to direct, produce, and edit music videos for two of his artists. The songs include “Movin” by R&B/Adult Contemporary artist Electric Blue Man and “Extremes” by R&B/Pop artist Corey Cross.
Producing instructor and Chair of Diversity Development Cheryl Bedford, who recently moderated a panel on Black Hollywood at NYFA LA that included Mr. Berry, says, “NYFA’s Black Hollywood Panel has brought together wonderful partnerships. These are excellent opportunities for our students!”
Students who are eligible to submit their pitches to Mr. Berry are second or third year honor students and each candidate must put together a crew of NYFA LA students in good academic standing. The music video for Corey Cross will be performance-based while Electric Blue Man’s treatment should be smooth and classy, along the lines of Pharrell Wiliams’ “Happy” music video. The location is a small sound stage and a white cyc, allowing students a great deal of freedom in bringing their pitches to life. Both music videos will be shot on the same day, encouraging students to keep their ideas inexpensive and of high quality. Mr. Berry will then actively promote the music videos, offering students a chance to get their names out in the entertainment industry.
Students interested in participating should submit their ideas to email@example.com by Monday, April 28th. A committee will then narrow the field down to five finalists, each of whom will have five minutes to pitch his or her idea to Mr. Berry.
As most of us know, going through a breakup can be a very difficult and tumultuous time. And while some of us tend to get down, struggling to get through the days, artists often find inspiration from the ordeal. This was the case for New York Film Academy documentary graduate, Sarah Choi. Sarah’s recent music video Second Wind captures the breakups of three young women through a choreographed dance number set to the tune of Arcade Fire’s Afterlife.
“What helped me get through the first few months after the breakup was renewing my commitment to telling stories through my films; and also taking dance classes,” said Sarah. “I found it therapeutic to let loose and try to communicate my feelings through movement and music.”
Sarah teamed up with a number of NYFA filmmakers from all over the world to create the film, which was shot in a very short period of time due to conflicting schedules. Her Director of Photography, Tomas Velasquez (from Colombia), Assistant Camera, Mihyun Park (from South Korea), and Gaffer, Aleksandra Miasnikova (from Belarus), have great chemistry founded upon respect and friendship. “We met while studying at the New York Film Academy, and I would love to continue working on projects with them!”
The video has already garnished praise across the web including a mention on The Huffington Post called Dealing with Love.
You can watch the video in its entirety below. Enjoy!
Director of Photography: Tomas Velasquez
Assistant Camera: Mihyun Park
Gaffer: Aleksandra Miasnikova
Production Coordinator: Leslie Stanfield
Colorist: Jared Melman
Cast: Breton Tyner-Bryan, Leigh Schanfein, Sarah Choi
Key Make-up Artist: Mallory Passione
Hairstylists: Zachary Hart, Mallory Pace, Marykate Osick
As the drummer of the legendary New York punk rock group, The Ramones, Richie Ramone channels his experiences to perform in the short film/music video, Criminal, directed by Steven Hanft.
“Ramone came to me with a limited video budget and asked if I could make him a music video that was a full on psycho thriller with a plot,” said Steven Hanft. “Something with suspense, like a Hitchcock TV show, or like Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers. I said yeah, I could try. I penned the script going with the idea of a short suspense film about two desperate bank robbers hiding out on the outskirts of Los Angeles.”
Through the help of New York Film AcademyActing for Film Instructor, Melissa Sullivan, Steven was able to cast two of her student actors, Bonnie Lawrence and Nikita Tserev, to play the young outlaw lead parts in the short.
The video is slated to premiere on Billboard.com in early January 2014 and will coincide with the release of Richie Ramone’s single Criminal.