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  • Kyle MacLachlan Set to Return to Twin Peaks

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    Agent Dale Cooper sitting with cup of coffee

    Twin Peaks fans, pour yourself a steaming cup of black coffee and a slice of cherry pie as everyone’s favorite federal agent is set to return to the classic series. Kyle MacLachlan confirmed that he would be reprising his leading role as Agent Dale Cooper on Monday during Showtime’s panel at the Television Critics Association Winter press tour, putting to rest rumors that have been circulating ever since it was announced last October that David Lynch’s and Mark Frost’s cult television would return to the small screen in a nine-episode run on Showtime in 2016.

    MacMachlan’s announcement came as a surprise to a room full of television critics as MacLachlan strolled onto the stage, while remarking to Showtime president David Nevins, “You look like you need a damn fine cup of coffee,” a spin on Cooper’s infamous catchphrase.

    While this next installment of Twin Peaks is still heavily shrouded in secrecy—it will not be the show’s third season but rather revolve around a central storyline that may involve a new crime in the town of Twin Peaks with Lynch directing every episode—Nevins did remark that other members of the original cast would also be signing on. As for MacLachlan, he remarked to the crowd before exiting the stage that he is “very excited to return to the strange world of Twin Peaks.”

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    January 14, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 3833

  • Renowned Casting Director John Levey Visits NYFA

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    john levey

    New York Film Academy students gathered this week to view the pilot episode of Showtime’s hit TV series Shameless, and participate in a Q&A with the show’s illustrious casting director John Levey. The Q&A was moderated by NYFA LA’s Dean of Academic Advising Mike Civille.

    John Levey 2

    Mike Civille with John Levey

    John Frank Levey is a casting director for John Welles Productions and is one of the most respected in the industry. Levey has won four Emmy awards (ER and West Wing) and is the recipient of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Casting Society of America. Levey is best known for his casting credits for hit TV shows like Southland, ER, The West Wing, China Beach, Third Watch, and Shameless (currently airing on Showtime). Levey started his career as a theater director with the NEA fellowship at the Mark Taper Forum and continues to direct theater in Los Angeles today.

    John stressed the importance of working with a casting director in low-budget films. The role is often considered nonessential given the restrictions on this level. Although a student film, for instance, may not be able to afford to hire John, the production could work with his assistant who has access to his knowledge. Having an expert to “people” your film (as John puts it) is just as important, if not more, as having a cinematographer, production designer, or digital editor. After all, it’s the characters who keep the audience’s interest.

    When asked what John focuses on most during an actor’s audition he said “the life within them.” John often “plays the fool” in the audition room to keep a light atmosphere in which the actors feel comfortable in allowing their true self to come out. It’s a talent for allowing magic to happen and identifying the right flavor of persona that John has refined throughout his career.

    Actors in the audience were interested in knowing how they could get the attention of a prominent casting director such as John. His answer to this question was simple, “Do the work!” There is no substitute for this. Any other explanation for why an actor hasn’t been discovered, for instance, “I don’t have the right agent,” is just an excuse. It is your hard work and talent that will bring you success and nothing more.

    John is currently casting for his fifth season of Shameless.

    Levey 3

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    October 24, 2014 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 6350

  • So How Do You Get a TV Series Off the Ground?

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    dytman

    One of the most crucial steps into the film and television industry for any writer is finding and landing the right agent. It’s one of the first obstacles for any film student, especially after graduation. So, the New York Film Academy was excited to hold an informative Q&A with the Senior VP of Gersh Agency, Jack Dytman. His long list of clients include TV series show-runners, executive producers, story editors, staff writers and feature writers in all aspects of the business. His clients have worked on network and cable television series such as Breaking Bad, Dexter, Sons of Anarchy, Walking Dead, Desperate Housewives, Castle, Criminal Minds, Hawaii 5-0, Smash, Lie To Me, Frasier, Without A Trace, Law and Order: SVU, X-Files, Alias, Hill Street Blues, Suddenly Susan, Murphy Brown, Boston Legal, Barney Miller, Law and Order, Chicago Hope, NYPD Blue, Married with Children, Carnivale, and more. Numerous clients have been nominated for Emmy Awards, ten clients have received Writers Guild Award nominations, and four have won. In the last five years his clients have received nine Producers Guild Award nominations.

    Given his background, Jack provided much insight into the world of the business. He spoke about the current popularity of television, noting, “I have a long line of feature writers trying to get into television, but TV is different…you need to be able to lay the pipeline for 100-150 episodes. It’s not just three acts and an ending!” He also stated that the people that you may need to pitch to are “smart and have heard everything, so the work needs to be unique.”

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    Tova Laiter with Jack Dytman

    One of our students asked Jack the popular question, “How do you get your foot in the door at a network show?” He suggested that, “If you want to get in the door, be a writer’s assistant. If you can’t do that, do something else – sweep if you have to!” Typically it can take up to ten years to develop a writing career for networks, but there are exceptions. One exception he mentioned was the creator of Burn Notice, who had never written for a show. So while it’s rare, it can happen. “You should find your niche and focus on that genre. Understand the networks and cable  – what are they branding? Understanding the difference between ABC, CBS and SHOWTIME is important.”

    While Jack admits it was difficult to predict what shows would become hits, he knew Magnum PI was going to be. However, other shows such as Pushing Daisies simply didn’t catch, even with the top people on board. Then there was Seinfeld, which took about three years to turn into a good show. Go figure.

    Jack also walked our audience through the Development process for TV shows, which was quite telling.

    1. Writer goes to agent with AN IDEA.
    2. If agent says “it’s great” they go to a studio or network.
    3. If it moves forward, they will create or develop a creative team together.
    4. The team will, among other things, BRAND the show. An incredibly important part of network television (each studio and network have branding branches.)
    5. If all goes well, the pilot is picked up once written.
    6. The pilot WILL receive notes, accept them and work with them!
    7. Hopefully pilot gets made, then shown, then repeated.
    8. This process repeats itself annually.

    If you don’t like receiving notes, you’re in the wrong business. Jack stressed the importance of being able to take notes and establishing a relationship with producers and executives. The old cliche about the industry being, “Half about ability and half about like-ability,” is true. “A lot of it is about relationships – you have to network constantly.” He closed with these words of advice, “Have someone refer you when trying to get your work out there.”

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    August 1, 2013 • Guest Speakers • Views: 5553

  • Acting Grad on a Roll: True Blood, Grey’s & Californication

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    Since landing the Lifetime film William & Kate, New York Film Academy Acting Conservatory graduate, Camilla Luddington, has been on a major roll. She starred in an entire season of Showtime’s Californication as Lizzie, joined the cast of Grey’s Anatomy as Dr. Jo Wilson, and has been on six episodes of HBO’s True Blood. Not only that, Camilla has been tapped to play Lara Croft in the newest incarnation of the Tomb Raider video game franchise.

    “I was in the first ever one year acting class at the New York Film Academy in 2003 and I am so thankful for the experience,” said Camilla.

    Camilla initially lost out on a role in ABC’s pilot, Gilded Lilys. However, while she was promoting Tomb Raider at Comic Con San Diego, she heard ABC was looking for a new doctor on Grey’s. “I was asked to come read for it with six other girls, and then heard maybe two days later the role was mine. I think meeting Shonda Rhymes [at ABC] during that pilot season helped though. I think as an actor sometimes you focus on the immediate (aka not getting that role) but you never know what opportunities can come back around, or how one role can actually lead to the casting of another. As was the case for Grey’s Anatomy.”

    [UPDATE]

    Check out our most recent interview with Camilla Luddington where she talks about her role on Grey’s Anatomy, what it was like to play Lara Croft in Tomb Raider and her upcoming film The Pact II.

     

     

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