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  • NYFA Acting Graduate Publishes New Book Based on Creativity

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    Sinapsis

    New York Film Academy acting graduate Dr. Ariel Orama López published a new theoretical framework based on Creativity and the recent findings of Neuroscience: the textbook is called CRËATIVE SYNAPSE: CRËATE.YOUR.UNIVERSE© (2013). It is the first theoretical framework that explains the behavior of the human being by integrating the following variables: creativity, neuroscience, and the new influence of the virtual universe. The collection book will be presented in the atrium of the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico on Wednesday, September 11, 2013, in a distinguished context of artists, health professionals and academics.

    Dr. Gregory J. Quirk, a prominent American researcher specialized in Neuroscience & Luca Spaghetti, the well-known Italian amico writer -who served as a guide to Elizabeth Gilbert on her journey through Italy while writing Eat Pray Love– elaborated the prologues of this substantial investigative work of thirteen years: they provide in their prologues a nourished and accurate view of this text book, according to their experiences. The art of the book includes the precious paintings and drawings of Ektor Rivera, Celestino & Ramon Bruin (from the Netherlands).

    The text arises from a practical & theoretical framework created by Dr. Ariel Orama López that departs from his preparation, experience and knowledge in science, human behavior, natural sciences and performing arts. It includes experiences of the author -with a logbook on his sensible hands- in contexts gifted with creativity and spirituality such as Mexico, California, Spain and Italy.

    AG COLOR

    Dr. Ariel Orama Lopez

    Ariel is a Puerto Rican professional actor & psychologist. He is a collegiate actor of the Colegio de Actores of Puerto Rico, a certified Executive Coach (specialized in Crëative Life Coaching) from TISOC, Barcelona, Spain and a licensed clinical psychologist. He was selected as a finalist of Taller TELEMUNDO: actores, in Miami, directed by the well-known actress nominated for an Oscar in the movie Babel (2006), the distinguished Mexican actress & professor Adriana Barraza.

    Ariel Orama has worked in commercials, theatre, short films, indie films, documentary, series, television, media writing, and voice-overs, summing more than 200 projects in arts (2001-2013). He is also a composer and singer: one of his songs (Seré/I’ll be) was selected for the Puerto Rican dramatic documentary The Eyes of the People (producers: Roberto Ponce & Gladys Albino) and his song (Alto Vuelas/ Flying Higher) was selected as the official Puerto Rican song for the World March from the Peace, celebrated in Argentina and New Zealand.

    He performed in fourteen Short-Films in California during his NYFA training in Acting for the Film (Los Angeles). Recently, he was selected as the Creative Coach & Consultant for the television program Idol Kids Puerto Rico (from the recognized English franchise Idol ©) and have offered courses at the Colegio de Actores de Puerto Rico and other relevant forums about Psychology of Character.

    Ariel directed and starred on the Puerto Rican Short-Film ESTEB∆N, which received national and international laurels and/or nominations (Director’s Choice: Best Film, Top Ten Film, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Editing & Best Music) in following contexts: Spain, California, Orlando and Puerto Rico.

    The Puerto Rican actor has received different awards in performing arts, including Best Direction Selection, Best concept, Best actor & Best Script. Ariel was one of the five recipients of the Sor Isolina Ferré Medal in Education of the Government of Puerto Rico, unique National distinction in service and education.

    Dr. Orama is member of the new movement Voces Unidas por el Cine Puertorriqueño and this special project has been presented on Telemundo (Acceso Total) expressing about of all this wonderful initiatives and his vision about the film in the Island.

    Currently, Ariel is co-directing and working as the scriptwriter (producer: Vane Vélez) for a documentary that will be presented on Festivals based on the emerging Film Industry in Puerto Rico -the “Shining Star of the Caribbean”-, called CINECONTRASTES©: it includes testimonials of relevant figures such as Jacobo Morales, Idalia Pérez Garay, Vicente Juarbe, among others relevant figures of the Industry.

    The book appeals to artists, academics, psychologists and to the general public. It is published in Spanish and soon in English. It can be acquired in different libraries of the World, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Sony.

    Prsentacion libro Dr Orama sept2013

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    September 9, 2013 • Acting, Diversity, International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 8516

  • 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.”

    dytman2

    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: 5550

  • Finding Luck With ‘The Lucky One’

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    Filmmaker Bala Balakrishnan graduated from New York Film Academy in 2010. Shortly after graduation, he wrote, produced, and directed a short film called The Lucky One. It made the festival rounds in 2012, and proved to be a hit, winning 8 awards in competitions across the nation.

    Bala works as a software engineer during the day. Like many people with day jobs, he decided an Evening Filmmaking program would work best with his busy schedule. “I was always interested in film,” says Bala. “After I had my second kid, I said, ‘I don’t want to be sitting in front of a computer all the time.’ It was my childhood desire to tell stories. I said, ‘Okay, I’ll go take a class.’ I invested and it paid off.”

    He began commuting to New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus from nearby Orange County. As he puts it, “You start from the beginning, and get hands-on experience.” The Evening Filmmaking program covers writing, directing, cinematography, and editing – all the building blocks for getting started in filmmaking.

    After graduation, Bala decided to start work on a short film. Working around his day job, he wrote a story about a young boy whose parents would rather spend time on their iPhones than taking care of their child. Like many filmmakers these days, he turned to Indiegogo to fund his 18-minute short film. Bala started production in the summer of 2011, working with a number of his New York Film Academy classmates.

    Since its completion, The Lucky One has played numerous festivals across the nation, and just won its eighth award last week at the California Film Awards. Bala Balakrishnan is currently working with a screenwriter for a feature length action thriller, in addition to two other feature length scripts.

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  • The Collaborative Process of Storytelling

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    Meet Peter Allen Stone, an actor and teacher at the New York Film Academy who helped create the successful play Unnatural Acts. Receiving 3 Drama Desk Nominations including “Best Play”, it played to sold out houses at Classic Stage Company in New York City and its run was extended three times due to popular demand. Based on a true story about Harvard University in the 1920’s, five academic deans set out to eradicate the homosexual population at the school. The play exposes the inquisition of students and the struggles young men faced as sexual minorities. A native of San Joaquin Valley in California, Peter Stone decided to become an actor at age four after seeing a production of Annie. At age 18, he obtained management and had a small role in a television show called Saved by the Bell: The New Class. After taking coursework at California State University in Long Beach, his professors who were also veterans on Broadway encouraged him to pursue it fully. As he says, “[They] really taught me that acting was about ‘doing’ and not just saying lines.”

    What has been your experience working with the Plastic Theatre Company? 

    Working on Unnatural Acts has been the most fulfilling time in my life. We worked on the play for a period of time with no money or guarantees. This story is one that came from the heart. We knew this story needed to be told. There were three suicides. I feel honored to be a part of it, and blessed that the ghosts of these students are finally having their stories told. Working as a collective was interesting and challenging at times. However, the group that was assembled knew that the play was bigger than any one of us. We debated, argued, and challenged each other–but always for the sake of the play. We started with the source material from Harvard. We had over 450 pages of handwritten material written by the Deans from their interrogations of the students. As a group, we went through it all and tried to connect the dots while honoring the truth. Some of the writing was barely legible and difficult to read. I felt like an archaeologist discovering a secret world.

    Continue Reading

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    June 20, 2012 • Acting, Community Highlights • Views: 4267

  • Evelyne Binsack: Defeating Mt. Everest and Reaching New Heights

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    Evelyne Binsack Rock ClimbingDocumentary student Evelyne Binsack was already a celebrity before attending New York Film Academy. In 2001, she became the first Swiss woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world. She also spent four months crossing Antarctica to reach the South Pole. She is the author of Expedition Antarctica and Steps on the Edge, and has been featured in a number of documentaries about her adventures. She speaks 3 languages and is also a helicopter pilot. Until our interview, she didn’t know that she had been named as Switzerland’s fourth most famous person – not bad, considering the poll included musicians, politicians, and movie stars!

    Evelyne said she discovered her love of the outdoors in her native Switzerland. “A friend of mine took me to the mountains near home. I fell in love and thought that’s what I want to do: [be] outdoors having adventures.” At the time, Evelyne was a runner competing in the 800 and 1500-meter dash. “That was something very different — fighting against each other. In mountaineering, you’re fighting together. You can’t fight against each other. That’s something that impressed me, the contrast.”

    Evelyne found New York Film Academy’s 1-Year Documentary Filmmaking program years later. “I was Googling in Europe,” she said. “Everything was three years for film programs, or… [very short] crash courses. What can you learn in one week? I decided to come here. I really enjoy the program… but as a country girl, it’s [hard] being in the city. Here, people live for the weekends, and Monday they feel like [crap]. Friends in my country don’t have this attitude. Most of my friends do what they love. They risked things to do what they love and they’re more happy. To see that people are just working for money, it hurts somehow. Take more risks and be passionate for what you do!”

    Despite the urban setting, Evelyne says she has already learned a lot in her first few months of school. “[Documentary instructors] Wendy Apple and Reuben Aaronson are great. They’re all fabulous. They have [a lot of] experience and it’s great to listen to them!” she said. She has already been putting her new knowledge to work as well. She explains, “I’ve been giving [lectures] for 10 years, and that’s how I make my income, but I didn’t know why some stories [wouldn’t] work. For my speeches it’s very helpful to know about structure and character arc. It helps me to understand why one story is good and why another story doesn’t work.”

    Evelyne admits to missing her adventures, saying, “I don’t like the word addiction, but somehow I’m addicted to the mountains and to climbing. I’m part of nature. If I’m not part of nature, I feel empty. It hurts.”

    After finishing the Documentary Filmmaking program at the end of the year, Evelyne will return to Switzerland, where she will plan for her next big adventure. “I want to traverse from Alps, cross the Caucuses, and find out stories about the sacred mountains of the Himalayas.”

    Check out a recent feature on Evelyne Binsack that aired on Swiss television, and get a behind-the-scenes look at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus!

    Evelyne Binsack Alps

    Evelyne Binsack Summit

    Evelyne Binsack Swiss Alps

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