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  • NYFA Producing Grad Kalpana Malviya’s Made in America Airs on Zee TV

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    New York Film Academy Producing graduate Kalpana Malviya’s original reality program Made in America launches this week on Zee TV, India’s largest television network.

    India.com reports that Made in America is the first-ever English-language Bollywood reality program to be produced entirely in Hollywood. Hosted by Nina Davuluri, the 2014 Miss America winner, the show  chronicles the journey of six young South East Asian women selected from a pool of 6,000 hopefuls in a talent competition in the vein of America’s Next Top Model. The competition includes participation in acting classes at the New York Film Academy.

    Last fall, Malviya told the New York Film Academy Blog that her NYFA training was a help in poising her to launch her professional life in television: “I’m from India. Hollywood films really pop in India. I took what I learned at NYFA and landed a job with Zee TV.”

    It was while working with Zee TV that Malviya came up with the idea for Made in America, which combines Hollywood glamour with Bollywood power for an entirely unique reality television experience. Malviya recalled, “I pitched them the idea. They loved it and now, here we are.”

    As Sameer Targe, CEO, ZEE TV America explained to India.com, Zee TV is “the flagship television network for the South Asian community in the United States,” meaning that the new reality program will provide an exciting collaboration and cultural bridge between Hollywood and Bollywood.

    We had a chance to catch up with Kalpana Malviya to hear her thoughts about bringing her original series to life.

    NYFA: First, can you tell us a bit about your journey and what brought you to the New York Film Academy?

    KM: As a child I was always fascinated by films and wanted to make movies and TV shows. I pursued modeling in India to try and further my dreams. I won (first runner up) a beauty pageant, Miss Gladrags, 2009, and from there received many opportunities. After my modeling contract was up, I started working at various production companies. I soon realized I had to learn. So, I decided to come to the New York Film Academy to expand my knowledge in production.

    NYFA: Do you have a favorite NYFA moment from your time studying with us?

    KM: My favorite NYFA moment was the realization of my true abilities. I saw a new world opening with tremendous opportunities all around me. I was soaking up as much as I could, but it wasn’t until a professor from NYFA sat me down and told me that I had a natural talent for producing, I realized what I wanted to do within the industry.

    NYFA: What inspired your passion for producing?

    KM: In addition to my fascination with films, I had a knack for business. I am certain the business woman in me was influenced by watching my father run his own company. I found myself naturally gravitating towards producing, without realizing what it was at the time. There I could utilize both my creativity and business abilities to produce quality film & TV shows, which allowed me to bring all my skills to the table. It wasn’t just enough to understand the story, I had to visualize and work towards bringing my vision to the right niche market.

    NYFA: Now that Made in America has aired on Zee TV (congrats, again!), can you tell us how your role as a producer has evolved? Are there any aspects of bringing the production to air that have surprised you, or opened new challenges?

    KM: I would have to say that learning to market the show to the right audience was certainly a challenging and evolving aspect for me. In addition, to bring the story forth I had to explore new ways of marketing with social media, targeted ad campaigns, and press coverage, all while keeping in mind the final goal of increasing our show’s revenue.

    NYFA: Would you say your time at NYFA was at all useful for preparing you for the work you are doing today?

    KM: Of course! I took my first steps toward development, direction and distribution (“Triple D’s”) at NYFA. There, I gained all the necessary knowledge and technical skills to become a creative mega force. All of those technical skills and creative understanding are critical for my role at Zee TV.

    NYFA: You’ve said in other interviews that part of your inspiration for Made in America was a desire to see more high quality South East Asian content on TV. Can you share with our international student community your view, as a working producer, as to why this is so important?

    KM: I think it’s super important to celebrate diversity within media. America has been recognized as the melting pot of cultures from my recollection. Its even more pertinent to bring this to our communities given today’s heated political climate. We can use media as an outlet to reflect different ethnicities, viewpoints, and lifestyles. I would urge to all student to choose a media platform that represents diversity.

    I am thankful to be a part of one such media force with a threshold of 1 billion viewers  over 171 countries around the world. Zee TV brings cultures together and celebrates differences in cultures of our unique countries to amplify the beauty.

    NYFA: For our producing students, can you offer any advice on bringing an original concept like Made in America to live on a major network?

    KM: Its a combination of finding the right media platform that allows you to be innovative and creative and where the executives fully support their staff’s new ideas. Without people like Sameer Targe (Zee America’s CEO) and Kitty Koo (VP International Relations at NYFA), among others, to support and believe in me, making these shows would not be possible.

    At the end of the day you need to believe in your own vision and people to help you make that vision a reality. “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world” (Harriet Tubman)

    NYFA: Can you share with us about any upcoming projects you are working on?

    KM: I’m working on an array of new programs produced in the U.S. by Zee, which will air on the channel throughout 2017 and 2018. There’s a huge variety in what we’re producing — a matchmaking show, a business show, and a new style family quiz game show, as well as a docu-drama on successful Indian-American entrepreneurs.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Kalpana Malviya for taking the time to share a part of her story with our community.

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  • NYFA LA Sits Down with Reailty TV Showrunner Eric Streit

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    eric streitIt’s not every day that New York Film Academy documentary students have a chance to meet a man whose past jobs range from running for U.S. Congress in Kentucky to portraying “Balthazar the Monkey Boy” in a touring carnival attraction. On Monday, October 24th, students met the man, Eric Streit.

    Though of the most prolific and successful reality television showrunners in Hollywood don’t be fooled by Streit’s eclectic job history. His hit credits include Gator Boys, Mall Cops and New Girls on the Block. Streit’s heart lies in the sometimes crazy world of reality television.

    Streit sat down with documentary students in New York Film Academy LA’s Industry Perspectives to discuss breaking into reality television.  After serving in the U.S. Navy, Streit began his show biz career as a stuntman and actor.  When he was hired to blow up a car for and pulling off the stunt on a tiny budget, Streit discovered his affinity for field producing for reality TV.

    After working as a director on the Dr. Phil Show and as a producer on the docu-reality series Intervention, Streit produced 189 episodes of Little People Big World and was then able to move up to the rank of showrunner.

    Streit spoke about how he prefers reality television to feature films in terms of production. “With TV you can go in with a 5 or 6 person crew and shoot in no time,” Streit said.  Streit sees the reality television world as the “Wild West”. The only rule is hard work pays off.

    Students were treated to previously unaired sizzle reels. Streit broke down the rules to what goes into making a good program and how it’s marketed. New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Streit for giving the students a detailed, thorough and highly entertaining look at the inner workings of reality television.

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    November 18, 2016 • Documentary Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 2890

  • Sci-Fi Comes To Life As Mars One Chooses Final 100 Candidates

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    Mars One Narrows Down to 100 Finalists

    It is either the most ambitious project in the history of mankind, or a brilliant reality television production that has an elaborate hoax at the heart of its marketing plan.

    Dutch nonprofit company, Mars One, announced Monday that they have narrowed down 100 final candidates — out of a pull of more than 200,000 — to compete for a chance to get a one-way ticket to Mars.

    The field of 50 men and 50 women will be narrowed down to 24 travelers. And viewers will be able to see the process via a reality television show.

    As per Norbert Kraft, Mars One’s chief medical officer, finalists were narrowed down to the final 100 based on who is most dedicated to the cause, not necessarily who has skills or knowledge most suitable for the trip.

    The organization has said the goal is to colonize Mars by sending six teams of four travelers every two years beginning in 2024. And although technology is likely to progress somewhat by then, Mars One has set the lofty goal of colonizing Mars with the technology we already have available.

    That seems like a bit of a stretch, as only about half of unmanned missions have successfully made it to the red planet. And if a successful landing were to be made, experts estimate that the travelers would only be able to survive for 68 days with current technology, essentially making this a suicide mission.

    The trip would also require an enormous amount of funding. Although Mars One hopes to extract some of that from the reality show they are planning to produce, it would only earn a tiny fraction of the billions and billions of dollars the trip would require.

    Whether an actual trip will come to fruition is yet to be seen. We are still a decade away from the planned mission (which has already been moved back once). But one thing is for certain: even without an actual mission launch, we are sure to get a lot of entertainment hoping that this seemingly Sci-Fi story comes true.

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    February 17, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 2734

  • Screenwriter Steve Desmond Joins NYFA’s MFA Screenwriting Biz Class

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    Steve Desmond

    Steve Desmond

    On July 22nd, screenwriter Steve Desmond joined New York Film Academy‘s Business of Screenwriting II class to discuss tips and advice on breaking into Hollywood as a writer, sharing many valuable insights.

    After winning a Student Emmy while still an undergrad, Steve emphasized that while he was initially focused on getting repped as a writer after school, he soon realized that the most important thing he could focus on was becoming a great storyteller. He advised young writers to not be so focused with finding an agent or manager right away and instead to work on their craft and to keep getting better.

    “Write every day,” Steve advised. “I keep a calendar in my office, and I mark it off for every day that I get a few hours of writing done. And then I push myself. Can I do ten days, twenty days, thirty days? Of course, sometimes it’s necessary and refreshing to take breaks. But you should be writing 5 to 6 days a week whether it be outlining or writing pages.”

    Steve also works as a Commercial Treatment writer. He spoke about this unique area of the business as a way to support yourself as a fiction writer, while still getting paid to write and learn about the commercial production process. He also discussed working as a freelance Reality TV Treatment writer and brought in examples of such work.

    Steve finally spoke candidly about the process of developing projects with producers, stating that producer notes can be great, but that you always want to be careful to both agreeing with a note that you initially love, or in rejecting a note that you initially don’t like too fast. “Both can get you into trouble,” Steve warned, “and it’s best to take it all in and think it over after a script meeting.”

    Along with his writing partner, Steve has written and developed film projects with production companies such as Imagine Entertainment, Blacklight Transmedia, and the Disney Channel. Steve currently has a biopic in development with Level 1, a sci-fi thriller with Davis Entertainment, and thriller On Your Doorstep with Haven Entertainment, where Steve is attached to direct.

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    July 29, 2014 • Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 4790