script
Posts

  • Q&A With Comedian and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting Alum Aubree Sweeney

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    On Monday, October 22, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting alum Aubree Sweeney returned to campus to perform a stand-up comedy set followed by a Q&A with NYFA screenwriting instructor, Eric Conner.Aubree Sweeney

    Sweeney earned a master’s degree in screenwriting at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus. After graduated NYFA’s screenwriting school, she studied with the Upright Citizens Brigade, an improvisational comedy theater and training center in Hollywood; from there, she transitioned to stand-up comedy and now she is a nationally touring comedian. Sweeney continues to build her theatre resume and has been part of several television commercials.

    Conner opened up the Q&A by asking Sweeney’s advice for aspiring comedians. “If stand-up is something you wanna do, just go hit as many open mics as you can,” Sweeney said, “and just keep getting onstage until you feel comfortable.” Sweeney shared that her background as a dancer and a baton-twirler for football games at the University of Arizona helped her with confidence.

    Conner then inquired about Sweeney’s writing process. “Write it, rewrite it, rewrite it again, again, again, don’t look at it for a couple weeks — maybe a semester,” explained Sweeney.

    Aubree SweeneyShe continued, “Write it again, polish it, then you’ve got that confidence because you know this material; you know that it is written to the best of your ability, and then you’re going onstage, and then you’re gonna figure out what that little extra thing [is] that makes it better… I think that most of my confidence in doing stand-up comedy onstage comes from the work not onstage.”

    Sweeney also gave advice about how to deal with the anxiety of being new to performing stand-up, “I would recommend when you first start doing stand-up comedy, at the front, say ‘I’m new.’ I said it was my first show for probably the first 25 shows.”

    Sweeney shared some of the best ways to get gigs as a comedian: promote yourself as much as possible, be resourceful, be open to performing at unconventional venues like business expos and county fairs, and adapt your comedy content for different crowds.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Aubree Sweeney for her performance and for providing insider insight for aspiring comedians at NYFA.

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    November 7, 2018 • Guest Speakers, Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 774

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting Grads Celebrate With an Industry Pitch Fest

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    It was that time of year once more as graduating BFA New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting students recently attended their culminating Industry Pitch Fest Event, held at the penthouse ballroom of the Andaz Hotel on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, surrounded by the astounding views of Los Angeles.Screenwriting Pitch Fest Sept 2018

    A catered event and mingling opportunity for students, executives, and faculty alike, this capstone evening celebrated the New York Film Academy’s graduating Screenwriting school students by offering them a unique opportunity to jumpstart their professional development and pitching their film and TV thesis projects to entertainment industry professionals.

    These exceptional writing students spent their final semester in their Business of Screenwriting classes working with instructor Jerry Shandy in conjunction with Faculty Chair Nunzio DeFilippis and other members of the Screenwriting Department, preparing and fine-tuning their pitches. They were also joined by a stellar Screenwriting alum that night. The Pitch Fest shared the venue with an equally impressive event by NYFA’s Producing school.

    The students’ dedication and passion for their work was on display as they pitched their thesis projects, which they had developed for nearly a year. Students left with new contacts, excitement about the scripts they’d worked so hard on, and a sense of what it’s like to meet with industry professionals.

    Considered by the school to be their first night as professional screenwriters, their hard work paid off as the talented and creative students pitched agents, managers, studios, and digital, VR, TV, and film production company executives in a relaxed, roundtable environment.

    Screenwriting Pitch Fest Sept 2018Organized and hosted by Jenni Powell, Ashley Bank, and Adam Finer, the Pitch Fest featured representatives from Hollywood companies including: Jim Henson Company, MGM, Practical Magic, Verve, Rain Management, Little Studio Films, Tremendum Pictures, and Gulfstream Pictures.

    The New York Film Academy wishes to thank all of its participants, particularly our industry guests, without whom this evening could not have been possible. NYFA also extends a big congratulations to all of our BFA graduates and wishes them the best of luck as they move forward in their professional journeys!

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    September 26, 2018 • Community Highlights, Screenwriting • Views: 1052

  • Women in Comics: New York Film Academy (NYFA) and Final Draft Host “Write On” Podcast

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    On August 20, 2018, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) partnered with Final Draft to host a live taping of Final Draft’s podcast, Write On, focused on women in comics. The panelists were Shannon Watters, Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith, and NYFA screenwriting school instructor Christina Weir. The event was moderated by Pete D’Alessandro."Write On: Women in Comics"

    Shannon Watters is the senior editor at BOOM! Studios and co-creator and co-writer of the award-winning comic book series, Lumberjanes. Kirsten Smith is a writer and producer (Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You, She’s the Man, Ella Enchanted, The House Bunny and The Ugly Truth) and Christina Weir is a writer (New X-Men, Skinwalker, Three Strikes, Maria’s Wedding, Bad Medicine, Play Ball, Dragon Age: Deception).

    The panelists were first asked what makes comics unique as an artistic medium. Smith said that, in her opinion, comics are special and intimate because they are “a work of art.” Weir added that, in the comic medium, it is essential to keep things moving; even if the scene is just a conversation, it’s important to keep it visually interesting to the reader. Watters shared that she likes using “the page turn” as a tool to surprise and entertain readers of comics in book form.

    The production of a comic is similar to the production of a play or TV show or film because, to be successful, the comic has to tell a story and, in order to tell a story well, there must be trust and communication between all parties involved. Watters described the relationship between a comic writer and artist as symbiotic and “like a marriage.”

    "Write On: Women in Comics"Weir added that comics are “great learning tools for screenwriting” because they “force [the writer] to get to what’s important… You only have so much space to get your point across.”

    The panelists were asked what they believe the future of the comic industry looks like. Watters said that she believes that in the next couple decades, there will be more and more women, people of color, and LGBTQ comic writers and artists. Weir added, “We are in an age now where kids are encouraged to read comics… Comics are cool!”

    Lastly, Watters’ advice for aspiring comic writers and artists is to “Get your stuff out there!” She encouraged students to share their work on the web and to meet other creative people to network, collaborate, and grow.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Shannon Watters, Kirsten Smith, and Christina Weir for sharing their experiences and advice for young writers.

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    August 28, 2018 • Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 1626

  • Literary Manager Josh McGuire Drops Knowledge on Business of Screenwriting Class

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Josh McGuireOn August 12th, Underground Management‘s Literary Manager Josh McGuire joined New York Film Academy Los Angeles‘ Business of Screenwriting class, dispensing pearls of wisdom for NYFA‘s next generation of emerging screenwriters from his invaluable representational perspective.

    On how he ended up in Los Angeles — McGuire explained he followed his gut. He was studying to be a lawyer, but he dreaded the work and had a crisis of what he should do. “The only thing I ever really loved were movies and TV shows”, McGuire explained, “I grew up on the classics — Goonies, Jaws, Indiana Jones. I wanted to be a part of that world.” With no connections in Hollywood, McGuire decided to quit law. He left the east coast and moved to Los Angeles.

    Reading the back pages of the Hollywood Reporter, McGuire founded a job opening for a location manager for an independent movie. He talked his way into the position and thus began his entertainment career. However, he quickly learned the stress of being in on-set production wasn’t for him either – “it almost gave me an ulcer.” But it was at a party where he met his later business collaborator, Trevor Engleson, that he became intrigued by literary management.

    McGuire eventually landed a desk working for a manager at Washington Square Arts, a literary and talent management company in New York and Los Angeles. It was there McGuire found his niche for what he loved to do — developing material with writers. Before long, McGuire was discovering and signing his own clients. And ready to venture out into having his own business, he remembered his inspirational meeting with Engleson. He reached back out to Engleson with his new plan, and they talked about potentially working together. He’s been working with Engleson at Underground ever since.

    McGuire answered a variety of student’s questions about how he advises his own writer clients. “Let me think about that,” McGuire explained, “is a phrase every writer needs to learn when they’re getting notes from a studio or producer.” “It’s not just to show that you can be flexible as a writer,” McGuire clarified, “it’s the truth — you DO need to think about it — so you can figure out the note behind the note and find a great way to fix it.”

    Answering questions about the types of studio notes his clients receive, McGuire explains they come in all shapes and sizes, “from a machete to a scalpel,” McGuire elaborated, “but if you want your project to move forward, you need to address them. This business is unbelievably collaborative. Get used to it.” McGuire continued his discussion of working with buyers (financiers and studios), by explaining that often he reverse-engineers the process, by targeting places and sometimes even re-shaping material somewhat after finding out what they’re looking for first. “Why wouldn’t I make their job easier for them by giving them what they want?”

    It’s certainly worked out so far, as McGuire has sold countless TV and film projects around town from his growing list of talented writers, including Ronnie Christensen (PASSENGERS), Jason Micallef (BUTTER), and Andrew Goldberg (FAMILY GUY). He also has moved into producing, where he’s an exec producer on the upcoming OUTPOST 37 and INCARNATE. He has BUDDYMOON in development with Universal and the TV show BASTARDS with 20th Century Fox.

    To close, McGuire offered his final piece of advice for writers coming fresh out of school, “Assistants — make friends with as many as you can. Today’s assistants are tomorrow’s execs, and will eventually run this town. And so much of all this depends upon the close relationships that you build.”

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    August 20, 2014 • Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 8091

  • Screenwriter John Glosser Joins NYFA’s Business of Screenwriting Class

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    John GlosserOn July 29th, Black List screenwriter John Glosser joined New York Film Academy’s Business of Screenwriting class to discuss breaking into Hollywood, his life as a writer, and his unique perspective on the film industry.

    “If you’re not addicted to doing this, don’t do it,” Glosser advised, “Seriously, it has to be addiction because it’s just such a difficult career to break into. You have to want it as bad as an aspiring athlete wants to become a professional.”

    Glosser spoke about his early days working on-set as a Unit Production Manager on such horror films as Splinter and about first getting repped. “I went backwards; I got my agent and then my manager, but it all comes down to relationships. In the end, a friend of a friend is what got my script in front of the right people.”

    That script was The Broken, which not only placed on the 2012 Blacklist, but got Sam Worthington attached to produce and Nicolas Cage attached to star. The crime drama tells the story of a farmer in 1967, grieving for his murdered son, who discovers a suspicious cover-up on the part of a corrupt sheriff.

    Glosser went on to speak about his experiences developing projects with various A-list directors and producers since The Broken hit the town, but closed with his belief about the most fundamental thing in this business —

    “Voice”, Glosser affirmed, “is the most important attribute as a writer you can look to build. You all have one, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. You need to cultivate that voice… I don’t care if you write a story about an Elf living in Tokyo who drinks tea and falls in love with a flower. If you have a voice, people will notice.”

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    August 6, 2014 • Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 6930

  • MFA Screenwriting Student Has Script Optioned

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
    Jymmi Willoughby

    Jymmi Willoughby

    Over the course of the year in New York Film Academy’s MFA Screenwriting Program, students are required to write two feature screenplays, among other writing projects. During Jymmi Willoughby’s first MFA term, in Floyd Byars’ class, he began writing a feature script called X-Gay. A common lesson given to beginning writers is to write what you know. Write something that is true and personal to you. Jymmi took that advice and ran with it.

    “The idea for X-Gay came from a very personal place. I was raised in a rural community in southern Ohio and brought up as a Southern Baptist. I knew from an early age that I was gay, but I also knew that it was one of the worst things a person could be. I grew up knowing this and, in all honesty, hating myself. I eventually started seeking treatment for my homosexuality, because my nightly prayers were just not cutting it. That’s when I happened upon reparative therapy, also known as “ex-gay” or “pray the gay away” therapy. That’s where the idea came from. It was basically me remembering how odd and interesting my experience in this therapy was, the group dynamic (because it was group therapy), and how it felt to have to keep it a secret from everyone in my life. It was very cathartic to write.
    “You cannot live your life in accordance to the desires of others. In the film, Jonah, the main character, has to accept who he is and what makes him happy — he has to forsake everything he has known in order to have that. I think that’s what is so interesting about his arc. He goes to change himself or get fixed and ends up accepting who he is. I hope that people will come away from the film feeling hopeful and empowered. The nation is in a state of change and no one should have to feel like they need to change themselves in order to fit in. I also hope that the movie will make people feel brave.”
    After Floyd read the script, he knew Jymmi had something special. “X-Gay is a remarkable piece of work which I sent to a few producers. All liked it,” said Byars. Now, Damita Nikapota, who made the Paul Schrader picture Forever Mine, has recently optioned the script. “I think it will be made before long,” added Byars.

    “Floyd was integral in the entire process. I only had the vaguest of clues what I was doing. I had one screenwriting class in undergrad and it had been years, so I was really re-learning everything and trying to figure out how to structure a story and how to create characters. Floyd was so helpful with every aspect. I think of him as a mentor. He is so sharp and he can see things on a microscopic level. It’s really incredible. The guy is a master. I honestly can’t say enough good things about him and I am forever grateful that our paths crossed.”

    “My experience at NYFA has been a very positive one. Before I came here, I had a BA in English and had only taken one screenwriting course as an elective and we only had to write 40 pages of a feature. I was very nervous, thinking, “I’m just a country bumpkin and here I think I can just come to LA with no film experience and expect to keep up?“ I was very relieved to find out that my class was a nice mix of people with varying knowledge of film and screenwriting. After being here, it felt like we were all on an even playing field. I also have to brag that I am part of an amazing group of writers. The work that comes out of our classes is pretty remarkable and everyone is constantly raising the bar. We make each other better and that’s been the best experience. Plus, the instructors are incredible. They really care and want to see us succeed. I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to learn from such talented individuals.”

    Jymmi is currently working on several other projects. He has another script which was optioned by a NYFA producing student, and is writing his third feature as a thesis project.

    “I love to tell stories and to make people laugh and writing allows me to do both. So my goal is just to be a working writer. Film, television, comic books, anything. As long as I get to tell stories and engage people, then I’m happy. And of course, pay the rent. Maybe that sounds cliché, but it’s the truth.”

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    November 18, 2013 • Screenwriting • Views: 3875

  • Screenwriting Workshop in LA

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    screenwriting

    On Saturday, November 16th from 9 to 12:30pm the Screenwriting Department (in L.A.) will be hosting a morning of free screenwriting workshops for any New York Film Academy student who wishes to attend. The workshop/lectures are designed to boost the story skills of students from any discipline — acting, directing, producing, etc. — and will include talks on how to build characters, story structure, log lines and pitching skills. As they say in the business, without story, you got nothing.

    We are limiting the event to 50 students, so any who wish to come must RSVP soon to reserve a seat.

    To RSVP, email: Adam.Moore@nyfa.edu

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    November 8, 2013 • Screenwriting • Views: 3877

  • Screenwriter Chris Galletta Screens The Kings of Summer

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
    Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 11.58.03 AM

    NYFA Instructor Ben Cohen with Chris Galletta

    On Tuesday evening, the New York Film Academy was treated to a special screening of the Sundance Grand Jury Nominated feature, The Kings of Summer. The film stars Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman, Mad Men’s Alison Brie, and Will & Grace’s Megan Mullally. The story revolves around three teens, who decide to escape their dull parents for the summer and build their own home in the middle of the woods. Despite their lack of experience in the wilderness, the boys do their best to “live off the land.”

    kosJoining us afterward was screenwriter, Chris Galletta, who answered questions from our moderator, Ben Cohen, and students. Surprisingly, Chris mentioned how this was his first screenplay and even he was surprised just how well the ball began to roll. The script gained Chris representation, was sold, was made, made it to Sundance, and will be released theatrically on May 31 by CBS Films. Clearly a testament to his talents, but self-admittedly some luck came into play. It was soon after Nick Offerman offered to play the father role that the film really became a reality. “I’m a huge fan of Nick’s,” said Galletta. “I love him on Parks and Recreation and couldn’t have asked for anyone better.”

    Like most screenwriters, Chris admits he is highly critical of his work. He says he was rewriting drafts of his script all the way up until the movie began shooting. “I wanted to keep it funny throughout. I didn’t want it to lose its humor in the third act, like a lot of other comedies I’ve seen where it just wraps up the plot.” Some sound advice. Know your genre and maintain its tone from beginning to end.

    Chris is currently working on a new comedy adventure, which is still being scripted.

    Be sure to check out The Kings of Summer when it is released in theaters on May 31st. 

     

     

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    May 8, 2013 • Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 6674

  • Spanish Goya Nomination for Jorge Laplace

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    ALFRED Y ANNA

    New York Film Academy screenwriting graduate, Jorge Laplace is the screenwriter behind the Goya Nominated Animated Short, Alfred & Anna. The Goya Awards, known in Spanish as los Premios Goya, are Spain’s main national film awards, considered by many in Spain, and internationally, to be the Spanish equivalent of the American Academy Awards. This is Jorge’s second Goya nominated script, the former being the documentary, 30 Years of Darkness.

    photo (11)

    Jorge Laplace

    Alfred & Anna was directed by Juanma Suarez with music by Roque Baños, whose known for his work in Sexy Beast and The Machinist.

    We’re very proud of Jorge on another wonderful accomplishment and wish him the best at the Goya Awards on February 17!

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
  • Dreaming of an Electric City

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    New York Film Academy MFA Film graduate Nick DeRuve is in pre-production on his first feature film, Electric City. As Nick describes it, “[It] is a gritty drama about a thirteen-year-old who attempts to keep his family intact when they receive an eviction notice. I spent my pre-teen years chasing my older brother and his friends around the city of Schenectady. They were teenagers, and I was trying my hardest to fit in with their crew. I experienced a lot of things kids that age don’t, such as violence, crime, and witnessing a lot of drug use.”

    “I would say around the age of thirteen is when I started having initial thoughts about making a film about two brothers stuck in an urban setting,” he explained. “When I was thirteen my family moved, not far from Schenectady, but to the suburbs, and that’s when I realized what I had experienced was different. Over the years I knew who the film would be about, but I still didn’t know what the film would be about, so I could never get the idea out on paper.”

    Nick was no novice when he began at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus. “I had been a working gaffer in NYC for four years after completing my undergrad,” says Nick. “My passion was to direct, so I spent that time on set studying everything that was happening. I decided to go back for my MFA to continue after my goal of being an indie filmmaker, and experience filmmaking in LA. No matter what my experience was prior I wanted to absorb everything my teachers had to offer. I developed good relationships with my teachers, who have great knowledge and experience.”

    After graduation, Nick developed the feature length script for Electric City, and reached out to his former advisor, NYFA instructor Brendan Davis, for feedback. Brendan raved about the script, saying, “He nailed the tone, the arcs, and the characters, and kept it real while keeping hope. He’s done a really exceptional job on it and has the chance to make an exceptional film. To me this is a… studio quality drama with award-worthy writing. The roles in this piece are something that serious actors would fight to play. But the material speaks for itself.”

    Though they have secured some funding for the film, they have also started a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Twenty-percent of the proceeds will go to support Small Can Be Big, an organization that supports victims of domestic abuse and families in need. “It’s a social issue that we have to stare in the face everyday,” says Nick. “Why not try to help people as much as we can, whenever we can, because at the end of the day, that’s the goal. Make a difference, make a change, even if it’s for just one kid who needs a reminder that even when times are hard, we can never give up on ourselves and our goals.”

    When asked about future plans, Nick said, “Right now my main focus is getting Electric City in the can, and screening at festivals by 2013. I’m not really thinking about any other projects. I have a wallet full of receipts, ticket stubs, and business cards that I use to jot notes down on. When the time comes to start developing a new story, I’ll have that as my resource. For now, all I got is this script, and a pocket full of dreams.”

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    May 14, 2012 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4672