This month, NYFA Veterans were invited to attend an exclusive pre-release screening of feature film “Dunkirk,” through the Motion Picture and Television Relief Fund’s (MPTF) Veteran Benefits Assistance Program. NYFA Veterans William Grodnick and Luis Camacho attended the special screening of “Dunkirk” in New York City and have shared their experiences with the NYFA Blog. Please note: this blog has been edited for clarity and length.
The New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) facilitated an exclusive, hands on Game Design workshop for service members and veterans that were interested in pursuing an education in the field of game design and game engineering. Veterans from across Southern California, including Los Angeles and San Diego, met at the College’s campus located in Burbank, CA.
Several veteran nonprofits including Veterans in Film & Television (VFT), Team Push (TPU), and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) collaborated with NYFA to support the workshop. The special event focused on how to break into the game design industry. As part of the activity veterans participating worked together to build games.
Bryan Parent, Founder of Team Push, and a workshop participant, stated, “These types of events are important to our veterans; it is an opportunity to learn how their military skills can be used in a civilian setting, where they can work together as a team with other veterans and co-workers, and to break apart any assumptions we have leaving the military, or what others think we are coming out of the military. NYFA put all of that into an easily digested workshop that left all of Team Push Up’s members asking for more.”
The College’s Veterans Services Department organized the event; Chris Swain, NYFA’s Game Design Department Chair facilitated the workshop. Swain is a seasoned game designer and game design engineer, who has authored 50+ games for Activision, EA, Sony, Microsoft, Disney and many others.
“The New York Film Academy has a long history of supporting veterans and while this workshop was geared towards those interested in learning more about the burgeoning game design industry, the occasion also provided an opportunity for veterans to network with each other and be around those with similar life experiences,” said Eric Brown, US Navy Veteran and Veterans Coordinator at NYFA.
On Friday, April 21, the Student Veterans Organization (SVO) of the New York Film Academy hosted an Open Mic night at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Ship 8103 in Burbank, CA. The Open Mic night provided an excellent opportunity for veterans to more deeply develop camaraderie and fellowship.
The VFW eagerly supported the NYFA SVO event, which brought many younger Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to the VFW. The NYFA SVO President Vincent Cugno, who is a BFA Acting student at the College, hosted the evening and brought together current fellow NYFA veteran students, and alumni, who wanted to showcase their talents. Gino Filiponi, NYFA Acting for Film student, stated “It was great to share some laughs with fellow veterans.”
Seasoned comic Travis Frazee—who has showcased at local comedy clubs—was the headliner for the evening. Frazee, currently a student in NYFA’s BFA Program, has performed routines at venues including the “Ha Ha Comedy Club,” “Flappers,” and “The Comedy Store.”
This was the first of many events that the NYFA Student Veteran Organization will be organizing. Other activities include community service engagement, BBQ’s, sports nights, and more that are all designed to bring veteran students together.
Founded in 1992, the New York Film Academy College of Visual and Performing Arts (NYFA) has a long history of supporting the military and veteran communities. The College has been privileged to enroll more than 1250 veteran students at our campuses in New York City, Los Angeles, CA and South Beach, FL., since 2009.
In order to increase the support services to student veterans, in 2014, NYFA appointed the honorable Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient and on-air military strategist for NBC/MSNBC as the Chair of NYFA Veterans Advancement Program.
Recently, Colonel Jacobs and NYFA’s senior leadership met with several major studios including SONY Pictures, NBCUniversal, DreamWorks, and Voltage Pictures to increase support in helping NYFA student veterans obtain internships and employment opportunities.
The entertainment and media industry leaders that the NYFA delegation met all spoke very highly of the veterans that they have employed in their companies, and expressed keen interest in partnering with NYFA as an obvious pathway to hire additional well-trained veterans that have been educated in the fields related to filmmaking.
“Veterans are some of the most creative people in the visual and performing arts,” states Colonel Jacobs empathically. “They are strong leaders and their life experiences will be an asset to any company that hires them.”
NYFA’s Veterans Advancement Program continues to bring unique opportunities to its veteran students. As an example, NYFA provided veteran students the opportunity to work on the production of the New York City Veterans’ Day Parade in collaboration with the United War Veterans Council (UWVC).
On another occasion, veteran students worked with LA Mayor Garcetti on his 10,000 Strong Hiring Initiative by filming the major event and interviewing the Mayor and other VIP participants. This activity was held in celebration of Mayor Garcetti’s one-year anniversary of the launch of the 10,000 Strong Hiring Initiative. The New York Film Academy received a Certificate of Appreciation from Mayor Garcetti on behalf of the city of Los Angeles and its residents for delivering impactful media services.
Veterans also had the good fortune to produce a video for the California Department of Veterans Affairs for service members transitioning out of the military. Other projects have included directing, producing and filming public service announcements—on a pro-bono basis— for veteran non-profit organizations. All of these opportunities provided many of the veteran students with their first chance to work on professional productions.
Colonel Jacobs noted, “We hope that by developing these relationships we will be able to help more student veterans and add to the number of veterans that graduated from NYFA that are currently working and finding success in the industry.”
-Jim Miller and John Powers
On March 4th, 2017, the New York Film Academy College of Visual and Performing Arts (NYFA) welcomed the 222nd Broadcast Operations Detachment to the College to provide hands-on instruction on voice training and filmmaking. The 222nd provides public affairs and media relations support for the U.S. Army Reserves, Regular Army, and Department of Defense.
The New York Film Academy Los Angeles has a long history of supporting the military and veteran communities by provided exclusive workshops. NYFA previously hosted the 201st and 222nd military units last year and held several exclusive training workshops for wounded warriors.
The training was held at the College’s state-of-the art campus in Burbank, CA. NYFA’s instructors, who are all industry professionals, led workshops focused on voice training to provide a refined creative approach to enhance their narrative skill sets. The soldiers were instructed to bring a narrative story that they connected with emotionally to add value to the training delivered. The workshop was followed by a compilation of film/framing compositions and advanced sound/audio instruction. By providing the experience from the Director’s point-of-view, the service members were uniquely supported in their current roles within the unit.
About the event, Kerry Wright Commander of the 222nd Broadcast Operations Detachment said, “The New York Film Academy puts together the best training an Army broadcast unit could ask for. The 222 Broadcast Operations Detachment has received valuable workshop training, covering interviews, lighting, voice overs, and camera framing and composition — all of which covers our required mission essential tasks. NYFA’s Veterans Services is committed to ensuring that our Army Public Affairs soldiers receive the best in training from highly qualified instructors. We are grateful, and look forward to seeing you at future workshops.”
The New York Film Academy, the world’s largest and most prestigious private global visual and performing arts private institution, is committed to supporting this newest generation of veterans. NYFA is proud to serve military veterans and servicemembers in their pursuit of a world-class education in filmmaking—and related disciplines—through its Veterans Advancement Program, Chaired by Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient.
The New York Film Academy College of Visual and Performing Arts (NYFA) is proud to welcome a new group of veteran students, many of which are transitioning from the military and into higher education for the first time. All new veterans were greeted in their first week with veteran-specific orientations conducted by the NYFA Veteran Services Offices at each of the three US campuses (New York City, Los Angeles, and South Beach) that are designed specifically to accommodate their diverse set of needs and help to set them up for success. Several Veteran Service Organizations (VSO’s) from the local areas sent representatives to educate the new cohort of veteran students on the benefits, resources, and programs available to them at NYFA and in the external veteran community.
In New York, representatives from The Mission Continues, American Corporate Partners, and Black Veterans for Social Justice provided important information to the veterans about initiatives that are offered by their organizations. These services include professional development assistance, emergency housing and legal assistance, as well as volunteer opportunities for those looking to give back to their communities.
Veteran Services Coordinator, Christopher Paparis announced some new additions for veterans on campus, including the recent opening of the on-campus Veterans Lounge, and a new Fellowship position exclusively available to NYFA veterans with the NYC Department of Veteran Services and NYC City Service Corps.
In Los Angeles and South Beach, Veteran Services Coordinators spoke to new NYFA veteran students about the many services and resources that the NYFA Veteran Services Offices provide, such as military benefits advising, transitioning information, the School’s Veterans Advancement Program and essentials of student life on campus. A representative from the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) came to speak about the various WWP programs and extended an invitation for the veterans to join the organization.
Army veteran and One-Year Filmmaking student, Corey Bourque said, “The LA Veterans team were very helpful in the orientation. They went above and beyond to make us feel welcomed and helped with questions. I also enjoyed learning about all of the programs and resources available from the Wounded Warrior Project. I was unaware that they offered so much. I am proud to be a veteran attending the New York Film Academy and look forward to my time here.”
NYFA is honored to serve our nations heroes and are happy to assist them as they begin their academic journey and their careers within the film industry.
A group of One Year Producing students recently toured the NBC studios at legendary 30 Rockefeller Plaza led by NBC and MSNBC on air talent and editorial consultant Col. Jack Jacobs. Colonel Jacobs is the Chair of the NYFA Veterans Advancement Program, and is one of our nation’s most decorated military servicemembers—including being a recipient of the Medal of Honor, which is the nation’s highest military award.
NYFA producers and Department Chair Neal Weisman got a behind the scenes look at the various newsroom and studio sets for such iconic television shows as the “Today Show,” “NBC Nightly News,” “Morning Joe,” “AM Joy,” “The Rachel Maddow Show,” and a glimpse of the famed “Saturday Night Live” studios. Already familiar with multi-camera studio broadcast techniques from their television production classes at NYFA’s New York City Battery Park campus, students got up front and personal with the state-of-the-art professional control rooms, switchers, robotic cameras, and other equipment that bring NBC shows into the nation’s living rooms every day.
Mr. Weisman stated, “in keeping with the Producing Department’s philosophy of emphasizing practical and pragmatic knowledge, skills, and tools — nothing beats observing world class professionals at work. This has been an invaluable experience for our producers as they get ready to enter the Industry.”
On Sunday, December 11, the New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts Veteran Students enjoyed an afternoon at the LA Memorial Coliseum to watch the Los Angeles Rams host the Atlanta Falcons. This opportunity was made possible by a generous ticket donation from the LA Rams organization, which is a proud supporter of military servicemembers and veterans.
Veterans enjoyed the afternoon experiencing the game — and simply being with their fellow veterans. A few of the NYFA veteran students stated that this was the first live NFL game that they’ve ever attended. Veteran Services Coordinator Michael Kunselman, a U.S. Navy veteran, stated, “It feels great to be able to provide these social opportunities to our veteran students… and seeing how much they enjoyed the game feels great. The NYFA courses are intensive and require a huge amount of focus, time, and energy; this is a great way for everyone to blow off steam and relax together.”
The LA Rams fell to the Atlanta Falcons with a final score of 42-14.
The New York Film Academy is extremely grateful for the support that the Los Angeles Rams organization provided to our military, and to the veteran students at NYFA.
On December 10th, 2016, Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor Recipient, Chair of NYFA’s Veteran Advancement Program, and on-air Military Strategist for NBC and MSNBC, led a group of veteran students from the New York Film Academy on a behind-the-scenes tour of NBC studios.
Attendees visited the sets of The Today Show and NBC Nightly News and gained deeper insight into how a major news network provides content for its viewership.
“Every time I set foot on a professional set, I get chills! This is why I came to NYFA! I want to be on television!” exclaimed U.S. Navy veteran, Julia Velasquez, Acting for Film graduate, upon seeing the giant production set as the group walked into the MSNBC studio.
After touring the sets, students were brought to the MSNBC control room where they were treated with a very interesting situation occurring in real-time: A scheduled interviewee was late for their interview spot and the control room personnel were involved in a whirlwind of action trying to fill air space while the person made there way through heavy cross-town traffic!
Colonel Jacobs used the opportunity to provide a learning experience for the NYFA students, explaining the demanding conditions they must navigate through to provide a seamless broadcast to audiences at home.
The veterans soaked up the lesson Colonel Jacobs was instilling: Every position at the network is specialized and translates into the creation of a product that is greater than the sum of its parts when the team works together.
“Television is a collaborative production — just like filmmaking. People work together and pool their talents to create art,” mused Army Veteran and NYFA Filmmaking and Photography Conservatory graduate, Anthony Floyd.
Veterans Day 2016 was a very special occasion for the New York Film Academy (NYFA) as dozens of veteran students and their families marched in Veterans Day Parades in the three major cities where NYFA has campuses— Los Angeles, New York City and Miami.
The NYFA student veterans in New York City marched along with nearly 20,000 participants in the 97th annual parade, which is the largest Veterans Day Parade in the country. The grand marshals of the parade were military servicemembers who also worked at Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, the 109th Mayor of New York City, also marched in the parade alongside representatives from the newly formed NYC Department of Veterans Services (DVS), including Brigadier General (ret.) Loree Sutton, MD, the Commissioner for DVS. NYFA vet students were invited by Commissioner Sutton to march with the DVS contingency and the Mayor.
Students in Los Angeles joined the inaugural parade in Los Angeles, which was held on the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus and was led by former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda. The event featured live entertainment, a car show, children’s play area and games for the entire family.
In South Florida, communities honored veterans with events in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Student veterans marched in the 19th annual Veterans Day Parade in Coconut Grove. These events also featured a community gathering, live music and food.
“The parade was a great opportunity for NYFA veterans to come together to honor those whom they served with as well as veterans from all generations,” said NYFA Veterans Outreach Coordinator, Eric Brown, US Navy. “They were also able to feel the support from their communities for their service.”
NYFA is thankful to support these annual events and is proud to serve military veterans and service members in their pursuit of a world-class education in filmmaking—and related disciplines—through its Veterans Advancement Program, which is Chaired by Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient.