The 20/20 Series
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  • The NYFA 20/20 Series: A Conversation with Author and Consultant Thomas Werner

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    Guest Spotlight: Who is Thomas Werner? 

    Thomas Werner, Author, Consultant, and Instructor with the New York Film Academy joined global viewers with host, Liz Hinlein for our June 30th 20/20 Online Series. Werner is the author of The Fashion Image with a second book on the way. 

    Author and Consultant Thomas Werner

    Author and Consultant Thomas Werner

    Now a Consultant and Founder of TWP Creative Edge, Werner supports artists and students to achieve their goals as they pursue careers in Fine Arts. As a Curator and former Owner of the Thomas Werner Gallery in Manhattan’s Chelsea Art District, Werner built a robust network of art collectors over the years, during which time he developed a keen eye for various qualities of work. It’s from this experience that Werner is able to support students with active, hands-on learning experiences. 

    Every Artist Needs Funding. What Do I Keep in Mind for Grant-Writing? 

    Short answer: start small. Thomas Werner advises artists to begin with small funds in order to build experience in the skill of grant-writing. For example, he suggests beginning with $2,000 or $3,000 total funds at a time. Once new artists perfect their writing style based on successes and failures, Werner suggests targeting larger funding opportunities. 

    A grant is “not about me and my artistic vision,” says Werner, but rather a description of “how you’re going to make that vision happen.” In order to set realistic expectations for a project, writers should remain clearly defined in their scope of work that ultimately fits the mission of the organization. According to Werner, sometimes organizations will ask for budgets, so it’s critical that young artists keep their goals in check. At the end of a project, you will be expected to deliver on what you promised. 

    An Artists’s Life on Social 

    Young artists may already have a social media presence on several different platforms. But Werner advises keeping professional and personal lives separate. While artists are human and may be expected to showcase themselves in some of the content they promote, Werner advises keeping the content focused on the work itself. In order to do so, artists may consider creating separate social media handles for the “brand”. 

    Actively promoting your brand is equally as important as having an online presence. Werner suggests a few channels for emerging artists to showcase themselves and their work. For example, he discusses his own presence on Instagram (you can follow Thomas Werner @thomaswernerprojects) and encourages artists to showcase their work in popup shows. 

    In-person and virtual networking offer a much-needed avenue for artists to grow their access to collectors. As a former gallery owner, Werner reminds viewers to pitch to smaller galleries alongside larger names. The reason: smaller gallery owners have a huge network of collectors given the fast-paced nature of their work. 

    Hang in There 

    Werner offers a few truths. He relays, “no one says ‘ your work is amazing, we’re going to fund what you do’ forever,” which means for emerging artists, grant-writing is an essential part of your career. As a consultant, Werner prides himself on his with students to advance their careers with tactile learning. With him, the interactions are not simply transactional. 

    Werner takes time to understand his client’s process. For example, he takes time out of his schedule to learn how the artist creates by visiting the studio or area in which they work and notes any blockers as part of the artists’ process. Anticipating criticism is one very real disincentive for artists to actively showcase their work.

    As a motivation for those who may be experiencing this fear, Werner shares a story from his own experience starting out in the field. During his early years exhibiting his work, much of his work was severely criticized by his own educators. He says, “the work I exhibited–I was told was awful,” Werner pauses before continuing, “but it sold. That’s why I don’t tell people that their work is awful.” 

    As Werner advanced his career, he became his “biggest critic.” Now hyper-aware of everything related to his work and his business, he shares that his journey from curator to gallerist offered experiences that enhanced his ability to tune in with the qualities of his work that are more likely to sell. 

    Get in Touch with Thomas Werner

    If you’re a student or young artist interested in learning more about Thomas Werner, his background, or his ongoing support for emerging artists, follow or DM Werner on his Instagram profile (@thomaswernerprojects) or visit his website thomaswernerprojects.com

    Don’t miss our next 20/20 Online Series with Liz Hinlein by registering directly on our NYFA Events page. The virtual event is held every Wednesday at 3 pm EST

    Host Spotlight: Who is Liz Hinlein?

    Liz Hinlein

    20/20 Online Series Moderator Liz Hinlein

    Liz Hinlein is the Creative Director of Filmmaking and Cinematography with the New York Film Academy. During her tenure, she created our popular weekly virtual event, The 20/20 Series

    Hinlein is an award-winning DGA director and graduate of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Her background in filmmaking and media content includes a robust portfolio of work that spans feature-length films, commercials, and music videos for artists including Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears, Quincy Jones, Incubus, and Fishbone.

    The 20/20 Series is a pop-up virtual event that takes us into the homes, hubs and workspaces of an array of dynamic creative visionaries to allow for relaxed, engaging conversations on craft, creation and artistic vision.

    Each conversation with a creative visionary features 20 minutes of discussion with a moderator and a 20 minute Q&A from YOU, the audience.

    This event is open to the public, as a means of promoting global connection and creativity, a key mission of NYFA.

    You can catch videos from The 20/20 Series as they are released, here

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    July 30, 2021 • Filmmaking, Screenwriting • Views: 1213

  • The NYFA 20/20 Series: A Conversation with Commercial Director Jordan Brady

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    Guest Spotlight: Who is Jordan Brady? 

    Stand-up comedian turned Director, Jordan Brady is a self-taught filmmaker with narrative feature films and commercial videos within his professional portfolio. 

    Brady directs advertising campaigns for global brands and agencies. With a focus on comedy commercials, he has directed comedy giants including Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Keegan-Michael Key, Rory Scovel, and more. 

    Commercial Director Jordan Brady

    Brady received multiple Clios, National Gold, ADDY’s, Gold Promax Award, One Show, D Show, Pencil, and AICP Awards. His work is routinely spotlighted on AdWeek, Ads of The World, and Agency Spy. You can catch Brady on his filmmaking podcast RESPECT THE PROCESS, described as “The Rosetta Stone of filmmaking.”

    What does it mean to respect the process?  

    For Jordan Brady, it’s important to respect the process. So what does that mean? For those new to filmmaking, the shoot is a day (or many days) of executing a vision. More work than play, Brady experienced his fair share of experiences observing unfocused crew members. 

    As a director, he understands that while there are opportunities throughout the filmmaking process that encourage play and exploration. However, the day of the shoot is not one of those times. When you arrive to work on set, you should be ready to perform the tasks defined before the big day. 

    What excites you about directing commercials?

    For some, it may be challenging to see the glamour of commercials, but as Brady so aptly put it, “it’s a one-time assignment. So you mount an army of love, and everyone’s in a great mood, because it’s a one day or five-day shoot,” as opposed to feature-length films which can run for weeks at a time. 

    For those wondering what a strong commercial director looks like, it’s someone like Jordan Brady. According to the expert, the indecisive director is the mood killer. A director needs to be firm in the decisions they choose on set, in addition, focused on the vision. 

    “It’s ok to be wrong,” says Brady, “but if you set the party train to go in one direction, you better have a good reason to stop.” According to the director, it’s almost better to get the shot even if you change the course or vision afterward.

    Given the new world of hyper-short video for social media ads and other mobile platforms, the six-second ad is the new 30-second ad. Described as a liking to calligraphy, it’s important to gather the essence of the vision in about three shots because you are limited on time and resources. 

    How do you handle the special effects for your shoot? 

    Hands-down, Jordan Brady believes in doing your homework. According to Brady, you don’t try to figure out the effect on set. The day of the shoot should be kept focused on getting shots. To figure out the logistics of an effect are expensive, time-consuming, and generally not received well by the client. 

    Brady recommends trying things out before you bid for a job. In fact, for some projects, Brady works with everyday objects and his phone to work out an effect before sending in a bid. Regardless of whether the agency moves forward, Brady graciously gives away comedy bits as a professional courtesy should the content fit the narrative. This is a helpful technique to keep your name on an agency’s radar even if you don’t land a project. 

    What are the main challenges you face as a commercial director? 

    For Brady, the biggest challenge is communicating your vision over and over….and over…again. While time management is tough, communicating with an agency, client, actors, assistants, copywriters, and producers can become burdensome. 

    The one area Brady agrees is NEVER a challenge, is the actual screen direction. For him, that’s the fun part of the job. To achieve success is to simply use your imagination, bring some fun and personability to the set, and bring out the best of your actors by remaining focused on the original vision. 

    According to Brady, the trending comedic bit across commercials is the awkward ending. The moments of silence at the end with the meta focus and acknowledgment of the silence is an industry favorite. 

    Keep in touch with Jordan Brady

    You can follow Jordan Brady on Instagram by following @thatjordanbrady. You can also see his work on his Linktree

    Don’t miss our next 20/20 Online Series with Liz Hinlein by registering directly on our NYFA Events page. The virtual event is held every Wednesday at 3 pm EST

    About Liz Hinlein and The 20/20 Series

    Liz Hinlein

    20/20 Online Series Moderator Liz Hinlein

    Liz Hinlein is the Creative Director of Filmmaking and Cinematography with the New York Film Academy. During her tenure, she created our popular weekly virtual event, The 20/20 Series

    Hinlein is an award-winning DGA director and graduate of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Her background in filmmaking and media content includes a robust portfolio of work that spans feature-length films, commercials, and music videos for artists including Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears, Quincy Jones, Incubus, and Fishbone.

    The 20/20 Series is a pop-up virtual event that takes us into the homes, hubs and workspaces of an array of dynamic creative visionaries to allow for relaxed, engaging conversations on craft, creation and artistic vision.

    Each conversation with a creative visionary features 20 minutes of discussion with a moderator and a 20 minute Q&A from YOU, the audience.

    This event is open to the public, as a means of promoting global connection and creativity, a key mission of NYFA.

    You can catch videos from The 20/20 Series as they are released, here

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    July 30, 2021 • Filmmaking • Views: 969

  • The NYFA 20/20 Series: A Conversation with Broadway Vocal Coach Aimée Steele

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    Guest Spotlight: Who is Aimée Steele? 

    Vocal Coach for the Broadway revival, West Side Story, Girl from the North Country on Broadway, and collaborator on a multitude of projects including working with the cast members of Tom Kitt’s, The Visitor, at The Public Theater.

    Aimee Steele NYFA

    Broadway Vocal Coach Aimée Steele

    Aimée Steele has been teaching in NYC for over 20 years. She received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from The Eastman School of Music and a Master of Music in Vocal Pedagogy from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a graduate of the Maggie Flannigan Acting Studio where she studied the Meisner technique and has intensively studied the Joan Lader technique with Andrea Green.

    It’s All About Confidence 

    According to Steele, there is often little difference between the seasoned acting veteran and the student starting out in the profession. The seasoned vocal coach notes that when a new student or new professional enters her studio, she takes time to learn how the client learns best. In order to serve him or her with the best support, Steele searches for the unique qualities that the client brings to their performance. 

    Since acting is considered a highly competitive profession with judgemental environments that often make actors feel lesser than they are, Steele advises new professionals to simply focus on what they love: to sing. 

    “In this industry, you have to have an immeasurable amount of confidence. We bear our souls.” 

    Teaching confidence is not an easy task for a vocal coach, but Steele reminds the audience not to compare themselves with others, or even with prior versions of themselves. The best way to achieve a level of confidence that continues to motivate a professional is to focus on the present and the tasks at hand. 

    Working on Broadway: Maintaining Professionalism When Star Struck

    As a vocal coach, Steele collaborated with high-profile named musical directors and actors. She’s only human, so Steele discusses how she manages to work with tenured professionals whom she admired from afar. To avoid getting too star-struck, Steele reminds herself that the client is simply human and they’re here for her services and help. 

    Often a collaborator on Broadway, Steele has worked with many musical directors on Broadway shows who typically reach out to ask for a collaboration. Oftentimes, according to Steele, the producers will have the final say on whether a vocal coach will be kept on stage throughout the production. The reason being, some productions have very tight budgets, but when there is funding available for vocal coaching, it is recommended. 

    Vocal coaches grant the bridge of communication between the actors and the musical director. As the most immediate partner to the actor, the vocal coach can provide ongoing tips and reminders to help singers stay on pitch and keep in focus the purpose of their scenes and the entire story. 

    How to Be Vulnerable 

    “Voice cracking is ok,” says Steele when considering the performances she’s seen in her work tenure, “Some of the best performances I’ve heard are not by people who are considered real singers.” In fact, the singers who provide the most human energy, Steele reminisces, were the singers that left the most impact. That didn’t translate to perfect pitch. 

    For those interested in technical advice, Steele notes that while singing solo to the audience, with no one else on stage, you are still singing to someone. Consider in your mind what happened to your character in the previous moment or scene. This should drive the motivation for your singing to achieve the emotional goal. It’s critical to allowing your vulnerability to shine during these moments to give a stellar performance. 

    Steele teaches both in-person and virtually around the world. Her vocal studio is based in the Upper West Side of New York City and you can learn more about her services and get in touch by visiting www.aimeesteele.com

    About Liz Hinlein and The 20/20 Series

    Liz Hinlein

    NYFA 20/20 Series Moderator Liz Hinlein

     

    Liz Hinlein is the Creative Director of Filmmaking and Cinematography with the New York Film Academy. During her tenure, she created our popular weekly virtual event, The 20/20 Series

    Hinlein is an award-winning DGA director and graduate of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Her background in filmmaking and media content includes a robust portfolio of work that spans feature-length films, commercials, and music videos for artists including Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears, Quincy Jones, Incubus, and Fishbone.

    The 20/20 Series is a pop-up virtual event that takes us into the homes, hubs, and workspaces of an array of dynamic creative visionaries to allow for relaxed, engaging conversations on craft, creation, and artistic vision.

    Each conversation with a creative visionary features 20 minutes of discussion with a moderator and a 20 minute Q&A from YOU, the audience.

    This event is open to the public, as a means of promoting global connection and creativity, a key mission of NYFA.

    You can catch videos from The 20/20 Series as they are released, here

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    July 30, 2021 • Filmmaking • Views: 854

  • The NYFA 20/20 Series: A Conversation with Award-Winning Director/DP Jordan Haro

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) was thrilled to welcome award-winning Director of Photography,  Jordan Haro as part of The 20/20 Series in May 2021. The 20/20 Series was created by NYFA’s Creative Director of Filmmaking and Cinematography, Liz Hinlein. The conversation was moderated by Hinlein and held virtually, allowing individuals to join NYFA and the special guests from all over the world. 

    Jordan Haro NYFA Guest Speaker

    Award-Winning Director/DP Jordan Haro

    Haro is known for his work on TV shows like Snowfall and Archer, as well as feature-length films including Machete (2010), The Wolverine (2013), and Balloon (2011). His long-spanning career titles include photographer, writer, editor, and keen observer. The Austin, TX-native filmmaker bounced around the globe telling stories for massive clients including National Geographic, Atlantic Records, TLC, and Sony Pictures. Aside from always watching, learning, and growing, Jordan’s current goals and aspirations are squarely set in the world of narrative filmmaking.

    During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Haro and his partner rented an airstream to travel across the United States in order to film, “we rented one airstream trailer back during the pandemic, just when we were coming out of the lockdown phase, that was actually a great trip. That experience sold us on buying one,” says Haro, “It just so happened that a hurricane bore down on us at the same time as this deal. What started as us filming each other, became a tour of climate change across the country. We hit a crazy electric storm in Oklahoma, a horrible snowstorm in Utah, and then got stuck in Colorado while California got hit with those forest fires.” 

    Haro, originally from Austin, Texas was raised on breakfast tacos and barbecue. He has mainly worked as a director, although has many years of experience in producing, editing, and shooting movies of all shapes and sizes. Jordan runs a production company, Homecourt Pictures, that specializes in producing and editing directly to the network, behind-the-scenes marketing, and promo materials. 

    When asked about how he looks for new work Haro answers, “I’m still figuring that out. The main thing is that during certain periods, I’ll be really busy with work that pays the bills, and then I’ll be hit with phases where I can ask ‘what do I want to do?’”

    As an independent filmmaker, Haro sees owning a camera as a positive investment. Not only is he always at the ready for when a story is breaking but it is a great tool for collaborating/bartering with fellow filmmakers. 

    About Liz Hinlein and The 20/20 Series

    Liz Hinlein

    20/20 Online Series Moderator Liz Hinlein

    Liz Hinlein is the Creative Director of Filmmaking and Cinematography with the New York Film Academy. During her tenure, she created our popular weekly virtual event, The 20/20 Series

    Hinlein is an award-winning DGA director and graduate of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Her background in filmmaking and media content includes a robust portfolio of work that spans feature-length films, commercials, and music videos for artists including Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears, Quincy Jones, Incubus, and Fishbone.

    The 20/20 Series is a pop-up virtual event that takes us into the homes, hubs and workspaces of an array of dynamic creative visionaries to allow for relaxed, engaging conversations on craft, creation and artistic vision.

    Each conversation with a creative visionary features 20 minutes of discussion with a moderator and a 20 minute Q&A from YOU, the audience. This event is open to the public, as a means of promoting global connection and creativity, a key mission of NYFA.

    You can catch videos from The 20/20 Series as they are released, here

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    May 1, 2021 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 208

  • New York Film Academy Launches Virtual Interviews With Industry Creatives for ‘The 20/20 Series’

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) launches The 20/20 Series, created and moderated by NYFA’s Creative Director of Filmmaking and Cinematography, Liz Hinlein

    The 20/20 Series is a weekly, virtual pop-up event, open to the public, that takes attendees into the homes, hubs, and workspaces of an array of dynamic creative visionaries to allow for relaxed, engaging conversations on craft, creation and artistic vision.

    Denis O’Hare, Sarah Pirozek, and Liz Hinlein speak virtually on “Creativity vs. Compromise”

    Hinlein launched the series on April 15, 2020 with inaugural guests: actor Denis O’Hare (American Horror Story, The Good Wife, Dallas Buyers Club) and writer, director, and producer Sarah Pirozek (#Like, Free Tibet). Hinlein, who curated the discussion to be surrounded by understanding an artist’s ability to be creative and compromise, also opened up the conversation to the global audience, allowing them to ask O’Hare and Pirozek questions about their career and navigating the industry.

    Adam Bernstein, Sarah Pirozek, and Liz Hinlein speak virtually about the creative process

    After a successful launch of the series with attendees from over 70 countries tuning in to The 20/20 Series, Hinlein followed up the first conversation on April 22, 2020 with Nickelodeon network alum and renowned television director Adam Bernstein (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, The Sinner). Pirozek, who was a guest the previous week, also joined this week’s discussion, which touched on directing different mediums from music videos to television and film.

    At this time, additional guests announced for upcoming conversations include:

    • Joe Berlinger (Director) – April 29, 2020
    • Peter Zizzo (Songwriter and Producer) – May 6, 2020
    • Mark Pellington (Director) & Sarah Pirozek (Director) – May 13, 2020
    • Anka Malatynska (Cinematographer) – May 20, 2020
    • Piper Perabo (Actress) & Stephen Kay (Director) – May 27, 2020

    More guests will be announced each week throughout the Summer with industry professionals including cinematographers, screenwriters, VFX artists, producers, and more. For the latest updates on The 20/20 Series upcoming guests and to register for an event, click here.

    New York Film Academy would like to thank the industry professionals who have contributed to The 20/20 Series and looks forward to welcoming more guests to Liz Hinlein’s creativity-focused 20/20 Series.

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    April 27, 2020 • Acting • Views: 695