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  • Q&A with Emmy Award-winning editor, actor, writer, and director, Steven Sprung

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    On Wednesday, December 5th, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted a Q&A session with Emmy Award-winning editor, actor, writer, and director, Steven Sprung, following an episode of Community which Sprung directed. Sprung is best known for his editing work on Star Trek Beyond, Entourage, and Arrested Development.

    Steven Sprung

    The Q&A began with a student who inquired about Sprung’s time at Syracuse University. Sprung shared that in college, he and his friends were very enthusiastic about filmmaking and worked together to produce numerous short films. During this time, Sprung got the chance to write, direct, edit, and act as these short films had very small production teams and needed many roles filled by very few people. He discovered that he had a special talent for editing and was nominated for an A.C.E. Eddie Award for outstanding achievement in editing while still an undergraduate at Syracuse.

    Another student asked what advice Sprung had for actors trying to perform comedic material. “Do a lot of live productions ‘cause you can get instant feedback on whether people are finding things funny,” answered Sprung, “…and… don’t try to be funny; that’s the biggest killer of all.” Sprung suggested that actors “really get invested in the drama of a scene” because a character’s investment and reactions in the moment heighten the humor.

    One student in the audience asked if Sprung felt that the entertainment industry was progressing in terms of the number of roles available for actors of color and international actors. Sprung said that, in his experience, most mainstream television shows and movies have mostly white and American production teams and actors. However, he added that there are increasing roles for actors of color and international actors because there is “so much content” available to consumers: cable TV, streaming services, web series etc.

    Steven Sprung

    Another student asked Sprung what makes actors stand out in auditions, inspiring casting directors to choose them as opposed to their peers. Sprung discussed how he cast one of the actors in the episode of Community that the students had just watched; he ultimately chose this actor because he “lit up the room” in auditions — Sprung liked his energy and his delivery. He informed students that casting is not an exact science or necessarily predictable; casting is based on a number of factors including industry relationships, whether casting directors are looking for known or unknown actors, personal opinion, etc.

    One student asked Sprung how to become a known actor. Sprung said that he believes that that type of motivation to be unsustainable in the long run. He added, “If your primary motivation is to entertain people, or to engage creatively with others… if you have a vision for your life, then you can do that no matter who’s paying you, no matter who’s validating you, or hiring you or not hiring you.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Emmy Award-winning editor, actor, writer, and director, Steven Sprung for sharing his industry experiences and wisdom with our students!


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    December 11, 2018 • Acting, Digital Editing, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 858

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

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailOn 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.

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    November 7, 2018 • Guest Speakers, Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 853

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

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailIt 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!

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    September 26, 2018 • Community Highlights, Screenwriting • Views: 1132

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

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailOn 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.

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    August 28, 2018 • Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 1717

  • NYFA Screenwriting Instructors Release New Comic Miniseries “Dragon Age: Knight Errant”

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmaildragon ageChair of the New York Film Academy Los Angeles Screenwriting Department (and Dean of Faculty) Nunzio DeFilippis and his wife/writing partner Christina Weir, who is also an instructor at NYFA, have a new comic book miniseries which just launched on Wednesday, May 10th!

    “Dragon Age: Knight Errant” is a comic miniseries that ties into the story world of Bioware’s award-winning fantasy game series “Dragon Age.”  Set after the events of the last game, “Dragon Age: Inquisition, Knight Errant” is the tale of a drunken washed up Knight, Ser Aaron Hawthorne, and his elven Squire Vaea. Vaea is more than she appears — a thief who uses Ser Aaron’s travels to roam the world and steal high value artifacts. When a job goes wrong and pulls her into a larger Inquisition operation, she’s in danger of having her Knight (and meal ticket) find out the truth.

    The miniseries launches with Issue 1, on sale in comic shops across the country on May 10th.

    Nunzio and Christina recently appeared on NYFA Games’ Twitch channel to talk about this book, their careers, comics and games. The team discuss their newest miniseries, as well as their writing career which includes numerous comic books, television shows, movies and video games.
    Watch live video from NYFA_Games on www.twitch.tvFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    May 11, 2017 • Faculty Highlights, Screenwriting • Views: 2835

  • NYFA Collaborates with WGA Veterans Writing Project

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailThe New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) had the great privilege of collaborating with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and their Veterans Writing Project to support a number of veteran students in the NYFA filmmaking and screenwriting programs.

    wga veterans

    Daniel Smith (US Army, NYFA MFA Screenwriting Alumnus, standing far right) and David Dasilma (US Army, NYFA MFA Acting Alumnus, kneeling front left) among other participants in the WGA Veterans Writing Project

    The WGA’s Veterans Writing Project held a two-day retreat loaded with opportunities to bend the ears of professionals in the screenwriting industry. On a fall weekend, the WGA welcomed 64 veterans from across all branches of the military. Veterans traveled from states as far as Florida for the chance to learn and write with seasoned TV and film writers. Through their willingness to give back to veterans, individual veterans were assigned WGA member mentors who were very forthcoming with their experience and knowledge in the craft of writing. Veterans were able to workshop ideas and engage in writing exercises that were key lessons in getting ideas on the page.

    wga veterans writers

    Mentors (far left) Michael Jann (THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON) and (far right) Saul Turteltaub (THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW) flank participant Michael Williams. Photo Credit: Glen Golightly

    Along with sessions focusing on the craft of screenwriting, the weekend also included a powerful full-cast table reading of Ken LaZebnik’s screenplay, Sterling. On Sunday, WGF President and program mentor Larry Andries moderated an industry panel, which included executive producer Brannon Braga, Gersh Agency agent Eric Garfinkel, producer Brad Kervoy and Disney Channel development executive Sheila Walcott.

    The weekend retreat was only the beginning of the yearlong program that includes a 10-week session of intensive workshops. With the minds of accomplished writers, attendees benefited from a knowledge base that comes from those who have succeeded in the business. It was a wealth of information for the NYFA students and all the veterans that attended.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

  • NBC Visits NYFA in Search of Diverse Talent

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    nbc diversity

    NBC’s Grace Moss presenting NBC’s Diversity Initiative Programs

    This past Thursday, March 19th at the New York Film Academy in Union Square, our students, alumni and faculty were treated to an informational session on NBC’s Entertainment Diversity Programs hosted by Grace Moss.

    The goal of their initiatives is to increase diversity on the network through programs like Writers on the Verge, the Directing Fellowship Program, NBCU Short Film Festival and Scene Showcase.

    Grace was able to break down each program with her informative presentation, and answered questions from the audience. She even answered specific one on one questions for students after the presentation.

    nbc diversity

    The New York Film Academy strongly recommends its students of diversity apply to these programs, as it is an amazing opportunity to break into the industry on a serious level.

    Below are just a handful of the programs Grace highlighted in her presentation:

    DIRECTING FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM The Directing Fellowship Program is designed to take directors accomplished in their respective fields (features, commercials and/or music videos) and give them the opportunity to work alongside episodic television directors. The selected directors will foster relationships and fine-tune their art to fit the television format.

    NBCUNIVERSAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL The Short Cuts Film Festival is an initiative to discover diverse voices both in front of and behind the camera. It provides creative individuals of diverse backgrounds an opportunity to get their materials in front of key decision makers from the entire NBCUniversal family, as well as agents, managers, producers, and other industry players.

    WRITERS ON THE VERGE Writers on the Verge is a 12-week program focused on polishing writers and readying them for a staff writer position on a television series. We are looking for writers who are “almost there,” but need that final bit of preparation with their writing and personal presentation skills.

    LATE NIGHT WRITERS WORKSHOP The NBCUniversal Late Night Writers Workshop is a program focused on exposing talented joke, sketch and comedy writers to NBCUniversal’s late-night & alternative lineup and readying them for a staff writer position.

    NBC SCENE SHOWCASE A 6-8 week workshop of original scenes by diverse writers, cast with up-and-coming actors and guided by directors of diverse backgrounds presented in a one-day showcase for executives, producers, casting directors, and other industry professionals.

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    March 20, 2015 • Acting, Filmmaking, Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5137

  • Hollywood Horror Writer & NYFA Instructor Talks Screenwriting

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailDan KayOn November 25th, 2014, screenwriter and New York Film Academy writing instructor Dan Kay swung by our Business of Screenwriting class to regale his story of how he went from a kid growing up in Larchmont, NY to a rising Hollywood screenwriter, whose movie Pay the Ghost, starring Nicholas Cage, is currently in post-production.

    Kay grew up on the east coast and was always a lover of independent cinema. “Movies like Clerks, The Brothers McMullin, solid independent productions, these were the movies I looked up to and wanted to initially make,” Kay recalled. Kay studied English at the University of Pennsylvania, and upon graduation got his first movie into production, which he also directed, the indie Way Off Broadway about five recent college graduates who take a crash course in life as they explore the dynamic conflict in friendships, sex, love, and betrayal. Kay credits the movie getting made to indie producer Richard Perello, whose Cataland Films which financed the film has since gone on to produce all of the comedy troop’s Broken Lizard’s productions (Super Troopers, Beerfest, etc.).

    “Traveling with the movie, as it played the festival circuit, is still one of the most memorable times of my career,” Kay remembered. Way Off Broadway played in over 30 film festivals and won the Grand Jury and Audience Award Prizes at the Westchester, Stony Brook, and Waterfront Film Festivals. Small Planet Pictures picked up theatrical distribution and the IFC Channel picked up its TV rights.

    Kay spent his first few post-college years in New York, working production and post-production jobs at night so he could write during the day, something he adamantly recommended to our writing students. “In my opinion, you want to allow yourselves the maximum amount of time to write and crank out new material, so it’s best to get a job that allows you to have that precious block of time.” Still, it wasn’t long before Kay realized he needed to move out to Los Angeles. “The independent scene was changing and wasn’t as thriving in New York as it had been. There were fewer jobs…” Kay headed out west, where he soon found representation.

    Kay’s first writing assignment may surprise some, as it’s outside of the spectrum of what he’s now known for working on (mainly thriller, action, and horror movies). It was Disney’s Tinkerbell 2, a straight-to-DVD animated children’s title. “Even though it was outside the realm of what I would normally do, I had to find a way to get excited about it, and put myself into it, something you always need to with your writing,” Kay explained. Kay was working hard on the script and Disney was planning a whole slew of sequels, which Kay had already mapped out, but when there was a regime change at Disney Animation, they scrapped the whole endeavor, including all of Kay’s work, a lesson Kay didn’t soon forget — “Some things are beyond your control, especially Hollywood company politics, and as a writer, you have better get used to that and not take it personally. And keep writing.”

    Next up for Kay was his horror/thriller Timber Falls, his first foray into the thriller genre he’s now becoming increasingly known for, about a weekend of camping in the mountains that becomes an excursion into hell for a young couple, because of the grotesque plot hatched by the deranged locals. Kay spoke pretty frankly about the evolution of this project, “Basically the director (Tony Giglio) who came on rewrote my script. On the poster is a man with a hatchet blade threatening a scared, bloody woman – yeah, neither of those characters were in my initial screenplay,” Kay remarked, getting a few laughs. “It was in the era when ‘torture porn’ was increasingly popular due to movies like Saw and Hostel, so they transformed it into one of those,” Kay shrugged. He explained this is pretty common. “At some point, a director is going to make changes to your story – it’s inevitable. Sometimes they’re drastic alterations as was definitely the case here.”

    pay the ghost

    Nicholas Cage on set of “Pay the Ghost”

    However, since Timber Falls, Kay has had increasing levels of success in the thriller genre. In 2007, Kay set up Details at Paramount Vantage with then rising (now-uber) horror producer Jason Blum, which tells the story of a daughter who disappears after uncovering a demonic force that only she can see, and the father who stops at nothing to bring her back. And it was actually back in 2010 that Kay initially set up Pay the Ghost, originally with financier SKE (Sidney Kimmel) and director Dennis Iliadis (Last House on the Left). The script tells the story of loving couple, whose young son is mysteriously abducted Halloween night, who one year later begin to sense his presence in frightening ways.

    Despite all the elements in place, however, this incarnation of Pay the Ghost never came to be and it was only when the script went into turn-around and financier Voltage Pictures and Nic Cage came aboard that it regained momentum, which happens sometimes, Kay explained. In the interim, Kay kept writing and has a host of other projects in development as well, including the tech-thriller I.T. with Pierce Brosnan attached to star and John Moore (A Good Day to Die Hard) attached to direct. Kay has also ventured into TV, something he recommended to NYFA’s students, setting up his supernatural thriller pilot Diabolic with eOne. “There’s been a seismic shift in the film and television landscape, and it definitely behooves young writers to try their hands at both,” Kay advised.

    Kay closed out with a wise piece of advice on how he comes up with his ideas. “You have to remember that a good idea can really come from anywhere. And in the idea phase, it’s a fragile thing, so don’t stymie yourself early on. Let the idea grow, as you really never know what it might become…”

    Kay is repped by APA and New Wave Entertainment. Pay the Ghost is currently in post-production and slated for next later this year. Kay lives in Los Angeles and teaches writing at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    January 5, 2015 • Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 5012

  • Literary Agent Says TV is Where it’s At

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    melinda jason

    Once again, producer Tova Laiter put together an exclusive event for New York FIlm Academy students in Los Angeles. One of the toughest obstacles coming out of film or acting school is landing the right agent — or landing any agent for that matter. Given the full house at Warner Bros, Theater 4 for this event, students were anxious to get some inside information from Melinda Jason and her business partner Simon Ore. Melinda is a prominent literary agent at Conspiracy LLC – with her partner Simon Ore – a production and management company based in Los Angeles. As a former lawyer at 20th Century Fox and former Head of Literary Department at Gersh, Melinda has also established producing deals with Universal Television, Disney and Sony Pictures, and has produced five feature films. Some of the talent she is most famous for discovering are Michael J. Fox, Dean Pitchford (writer of Footloose), Ron Bass (writer of Rain Man and My Best Friend’s Wedding), and David Saperstein, whose manuscript Cocoon she sold to Fox. Melinda and Simon Ore are currently developing an animated series, several feature films, and several television pilots, including one in partnership with Producer Nick Welchsler (The Road, Requiem For A Dream, Sex, Lies & Videotape, Drugstore Cowboy).

    Melinda wasted no time in getting straight to the point, “In order to get yourself out there nowadays you have to be a great writer, get a producer, make content and create experiences!” Melinda, who has a first look deal with Fox Television, thinks television is where it’s at today. “TV is great now, it’s on a higher level intellectually, you can get your writers paid and once they are respected there they really get to show what they’ve got. These writers really think, they do research. The arch is different than in film, the characters have a lot of potential. TV is about being strategic.” Melinda clearly cares about her writers.

    Simon spoke in terms of what young writers tend to do when getting off the ground. “Sell your passion!” exclaimed Simon. “Once you are in, find the happy medium in compromising with your work.” Don’t sell out, don’t be unreasonable and inflexible.

    Melinda continued on, saying how a good writer must constantly read. “Read good stuff and bad stuff, lots of it. Go to places like www.simplyscripts.com and do the work.” Simon added that a writer needs to be patient. “Some of it is not over when you’re done. Take a break. Come back to it.”

    One thing the pair really stressed is how in today’s market, writers need to MAKE CONTENT! “Create something, put it on the internet.” However, once you get the ball rolling with credibility, it is important to know where content belongs. “Know the networks, they want different things,” said Melinda. “You have to know where content could live.”

    Her final words of advice, “You have to be really careful to never make a choice based on money. Follow your passion. You must feel strongly about it!”Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    September 27, 2013 • Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 7162

  • ‘The Devil’s Advocate’ Screening with Taylor Hackford

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    Taylor Hackford

    Taylor Hackford at NYFA LA

    Last Wednesday, at the Warner Bros theater in LA, New York Film Academy students were treated to a screening of the classic Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves film, The Devil’s Advocate. Following the screening, director Taylor Hackford dropped by to talk about the film and his career on a whole. Taylor, who directed such films as An Officer and a Gentleman and Dolores Claiborne, says he developed an interest in film during his time in the peace corps in Bolivia. He saw many films there and shot his own on super 8 film. After coming back from the peace corps, he went to law school for two weeks, but then quit because he decided he really wanted to work in the film industry.

    His first job was in the mailroom at the Los Angeles TV station KCET. He began writing copy, editing, shooting and reporting for their news program. Working as a journalist really helped Taylor develop as a director–learning how to tell people’s stories and make them feel comfortable enough to open up. He also learned how to “deliver on a deadline” with the high turnover rate in news. He eventually started making documentaries for the news station and became passionate about the stories he was telling.

    taylorTaylor also has a love for music and it’s no surprise that his films are known for their great soundtracks. In An Officer and a Gentleman, Taylor knew that music was important to the working class people the movie was about. Taylor went to great lengths to find the right music and especially in convincing the producers to spend the money on the soundtrack. His persistence didn’t stop there. In order to convince the studio to shoot the opening of An Officer and a Gentleman in the Philippines (which sets up Richard Gere’s backstory), he agreed that any expenditures that went over budget for the additional shooting would be taken out of his own salary. Paramount never realized what an amazing movie they had, until it sold so well and became such a success. “Nothing is ever predictable,” Taylor told the students. “All you can do is keep your vision. That is all you have.”

    While shooting The Idol Maker, Taylor was not as experienced as a director. He came onto set with a very detailed plan as to how he wanted to shoot everything. However, his cinematographer and 1st AD had different opinions, and since they were much more experienced than him, Taylor ended up using their ideas. When he saw the dailies two days later, Taylor realized he had made a big mistake–the drama wasn’t there and the shots didn’t mean anything. After that, Taylor remained firm in following his own vision. There was a reason he was hired to direct the movie. “You have to make decisions. If you must, ‘get on with it’ and you can’t ‘take your time.’ Time is money with filmmaking. Preparation is key–you can work through most of your potential mistakes if you think it out ahead of time.”

    Taylor now directs a scene without providing blocking instructions to his actors and tells them to “do the scene.” The actors typically find a few great moments that Taylor will incorporate into the scene. This way the actor feels like he is using their ideas and he’s able to include some spontaneous moments that he hadn’t thought of. Directors have to learn how to work with an actor until they can catch them in an authentic moment. Taylor used the example of working with Keanu Reeves who is not, at first, as spontaneous as Al Pacino. He would have to do eight takes with Keanu before he would break out of his preconceived notions of how to perform. This is a tactic that he had to employ as a director, which worked for this particular scenario.

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    September 23, 2013 • Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 7654