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  • Screenwriting Instructor’s TV Series Premieres Tonight!

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    New York Film Academy screenwriting instructor Jerry Shandy is looking forward to tonight’s premiere of the television show Perception. In addition to his staff writer credits for the series, the NYFA instructor penned an episode called Cipher that will air in August. The crime drama stars Will & Grace’s Eric McCormack as Dr. Daniel Pierce, an eccentric neuroscience professor who helps the FBI to solve complex cases. The show, which also stars Rachael Leigh Cook and Kelly Rowan, premieres after The Closer tonight on TNT.

    Originally from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Jerry got interested in filmmaking because of the wildlife filmmakers that would visit his hometown. He initially attended USC with hopes of becoming a filmmaker, but soon realized screenwriting was the place to be. “I like screenwriting because it’s the creation of the characters,” says Jerry. “I wanted to get into directing, and in the long-term I still want to do that, but I always wanted to be the one generating the story. The filmmakers I admire are the ones who come from that background.”

    New York Film Academy screenwriting instructor, Jerry Shandy

    After working as a writer’s assistant on CBS’ Close to Home, and a series of PA jobs, including assisting producer Lawrence Bender, Jerry got an agent and sold a pilot to USA and Universal Cable. That pilot became his calling card, and the buzz around it got him meetings, and his most recent gig on Perception. He is also developing a feature script with a European production company, and is developing a television pilot with international television heavyweight Endemol.

    Jerry says he loves teaching courses at New York Film Academy’s Universal Studios campus, including One Hour Drama, Pitching for Producers, and Feature Workshops. “I feel like it’s complementary because I’m able to bring in the industry experience, and talk about what’s going on out there. I also get to go over the basics of writing every day. My ideal day is being able to write half day and interact with students the rest of the  day.”

    Ready to make your mark in screenwriting? Check out New York Film Academy’s screenwriting programs today!
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    July 9, 2012 • Academic Programs, Screenwriting • Views: 4221

  • New York Film Academy’s Alumni Spotlight: Jason Liles

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    “Before I moved to NYC I was told by many that I was too tall to be an actor,” says New York Film Academy Acting for Film graduate Jason Liles. “However, it seems my height was been the very thing that’s been getting me in the door to this point.”

    The 6’10” actor has booked a number of high-profile jobs since his graduation in May 2010. Jason explains, “The very week after graduating… [I did an] episode of stand-in work for [pro wrestler] The Big Show as he guest starred on an episode of USA’s Royal Pains. That was my first experience on a big film or TV set ever.”

    “About a month later, [I was called] in to audition for a principal role as a tall alien in Men In Black III 3D!” says Jason. “I ended up working as three aliens over several weeks with [7-time Academy Award-winning] special makeup effects artist Rick Baker and his crew. I worked on the film… with nearly the entire main cast. I got all my SAG waivers and made some great connections. It was an incredible experience. I’m very much looking forward to it’s release on May 25.”

    Jason got another lucky break when he got a second callback for a role on a commercial. He recounts, “I was ecstatic… when I found out searching on the internet that it was a PRINCIPAL role in a NATIONAL Allstate commercial… This was my first time ever auditioning in front of the director, and all for a big project like this. MIB’s audition was for a camera. It was so cool to be getting direction from the director himself at the audition and I gave it my all in that room.”

    Jason waited anxiously until he got the news that he booked the role. He explains, “Because of the waivers I got doing Men In Black III, I had to join SAG to do it so I also got my SAG card!!! Meetings with agents were being set up!!! I couldn’t believe it. I was in denial even. I started to think, ‘Okay, it’s a commercial, but it won’t be that big. It can’t be.’ It just seemed too easy and too good to be true.”

    “The shoot went amazing,” he says. “Around 300 extras were cast for the crowd, and about 15 principals including us basketball players. I got to work directly with Dean ‘Mayhem’ Winters and his 11-year stunt double, David Shumbris, all day. It was such a pleasure to work with both of them and I can’t say enough nice things about them. Also getting to work directly with acclaimed commercial director David Gray was really exciting for me. He was nominated for the prestigious DGA Commercial Director of the Year award in 2004 and I believe this was his first Allstate Mayhem commercial.”

    “I had never experienced anything like a 2,000 frames-per-second high-speed camera getting my close-up for a national commercial before,” says Jason. “When we were setting up that shot, I can’t explain the anticipation and excitement for what was about to happen. I was so amped and felt so grateful to be standing on that court surrounded by such talent. After we got my close-up I went over to the monitor and watched it with David. It looked incredible! So epic! I remember standing behind David as he’s pointing at my face on the monitor saying to the assistant director, Peter Jackson, ‘That’s great! That’s perfect right there. Great, let’s move on.’ It was such a compliment for me to come from such a great director like him.“

    The commercial is currently airing on CBS, TBS, TNT, TruTV, Comedy Central, History, Fox, ESPN, and AMC. Jason says, “Another graduate of NYFA, Nick Purdy, said my ‘shocked face is plastered all over Canadian television.’ So evidently it’s showing internationally as well.”

    “I love this business,” Jason says. “Less than a week before shooting the commercial, I knew nothing about it. Persistence is key in anything, and… especially in this industry. I feel so very blessed and so lucky to get this opportunity only a couple years into my career. I can’t thank God enough for the opportunities that have been given to me and can’t wait to see what’s next…. There’s one thing that I’ve come to learn in this business: you never know what’s right around the corner.”

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    April 18, 2012 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5607