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New York Film Academy Filmmaking
NYFA student operating a camera outdoors Film school student shoots scene on Panaflex camera NYFA film school student with a Red One digital camera NYFA student films with a Panavision Panaflex camera

Overview of our 1-Year Filmmaking Program

Each student writes, shoots, directs, and edits 8 films and works on 28 more.

The Academy's 1-Year Filmmaking Program gives students the all-around filmmaking experience necessary to make their own films. The year is divided into two semesters with one to two weeks of vacation, depending on the start date. Students in the program receive over 1,000 hours of hands-on instruction and actual production experience. The curriculum integrates intensive study in all the major filmmaking disciplines including cinematography, directing, screenwriting, producing, and editing. They all write, shoot, direct, and edit eight of their own short films (including a thesis sync-sound film). They shoot projects in HD, 16mm film, and 35mm film. All projects are edited digitally.

New York City, 1-Year Filmmaking Graduate


Our program is for people who have the passion to plunge into full-time filmmaking, and to commit themselves to a focused and demanding curriculum.

No previous filmmaking experience is required. However, participants must work with self-discipline, energy and mutual respect.

As in all New York Film Academy programs, the one-year course emphasizes hands-on learning. Film directing classes are not theoretical explorations; they are practical workshops designed to put students in the director's chair as quickly as possible. The New York Film Academy encourages students to take creative risks and find their own voices as visual artists.

Students complete the year in filmmaking with skills in all the filmmaking crafts, an enormous amount of production experience, eight films of their own, a one-year diploma, and an expanded awareness of themselves and others. Students' final films are celebrated in a school screening open to cast, crew, friends, family, and invited guests.

SEMESTER ONE OVERVIEW

Beginning on day one, students participate in an intensive sequence of classes in Film Directing, Screenwriting, 16mm Film and Digital Camera Technique, Lighting, Digital Editing, Directing Actors and Production Workshop. They extend and deepen their in-class learning by producing their own short 16mm films.

Working in crews of three or four, each student writes, produces, directs and edits four films of increasing complexity. In addition, each student fulfills the essential roles of Director of Photography, Assistant Camera Operator, and Gaffer (Lighting Technician) on the films of her/his crew members. Thus, everyone has the extensive hands-on experience of working on sixteen short films in the first two months.

During the third month, each student directs three digital projects. These projects and in-class production workshops challenge students to explore the dramatic mechanics of motion picture storytelling and the critical collaboration between actors and directors. Supporting classes include Screenwriting, Directing Actors, Directing, Production Workshop, Cinema Studies, and Documentary Filmmaking. The combination of these classes and the digital productions prepare students for the second semester and production of their thesis films.

SEMESTER ONE OBJECTIVES

PRODUCTION GOALS
  • Write, direct, and edit 8 films of increasing complexity and length a final thesis film
    • Mise-en-scène In their first film, students are introduced to mise-en- scène, or directing a shot to visually tell a story. Once they create a dramatic moment, they concentrate on the dynamics of the shot that will best express it. This project teaches students how the relationship between the subject and the camera creates drama. Each student designs and shoots a scene that has a beginning, middle, and end. Students will learn to pay close attention to the choice of lenses, distances, and angles.

      Since the story will be told within one long shot, it must be staged to express as much as possible about the characters and their actions. Students should rehearse the shot for blocking of actors and camera until the scene works without needing to stop; only then should they roll camera. Students shoot their film in high definition video, then edit and screen their projects for critique and discussion.
    • Continuity Continuity is one of the fundamental principles of modern filmmaking. By making a “continuity film,” students learn the way cuts can advance the story while sustaining the reality of the scene, and the difference between “film time” and “real time.” Students are challenged to make a film that maintains continuity in story, time, and space. The action in these films unfolds utilizing a variety of shots (10–15) in a continuous sequence (no jumps in time or action). In the Continuity Films, students must produce a clear, visual scene while maintaining the authenticity of the moment. Students write, direct, shoot, edit, and screen a film of up to three minutes. Students must thoroughly pre-plan and complete a series of essential pre-production elements including script, location scouting, shot list, floor plan, storyboarding, and schedule. Students must thoroughly pre-plan and complete the following pre-production elements: script, location scout, script breakdown, floor plan, storyboard, and schedule.
    • Music & Montage Film The third project introduces students to the relationship between sound and film, as well as to narrative tools like montage and jump cuts. In this project, students are encouraged to explore a more personal form of visual storytelling. For this film, students choose a piece of music, and in the editing room, they cut their images to work in concert with, or in counterpoint to, the music. Students should experiment with rhythm and pacing. Each student writes, directs, shoots, edits, and screens a film of up to four minutes. In addition to storyboards, students may use a still camera to plan their films to assist them in their choice of locations, angles, and lighting.
    • Quarter Film From the first week of the program, students begin developing their scripts in Writing Class for their fourth film.

      This fourth film is more ambitious in scope than the previous exercises. It builds upon the foundation of skills and knowledge gained in the first part of the semester. Students may use sound effects, music, voiceover, and ambient sound to help tell their stories. The final project may be 3-10 minutes in length, keeping in mind, “less is more.”

      Each student must complete a production book that includes the following:
      • Statement of Objective: Idea of the film and stylistic approach in a concise statement.
      • Scenario: Shooting script, storyboards, and floor plan.
      • Analysis: Intention, realization, mistakes, crew work.
      Films may be of any genre, and can be narrative, documentary, or experimental.
    • The Subtext This project challenges students to explore the relationship between dialogue and dramatic action. It serves as the students’ first foray into directing a film with dialogue recorded on set. Students are provided with short dialogue-only scripts with no description of physical detail or action. The student director determines the "who, what, where, when, and why" of the story. Above all, each student director identifies the character objectives and dramatic beats of the scene.

      Students will find that these elements determine the meaning of the dialogue and should deepen their understanding of text versus subtext. When the finished projects are screened in class for critique, students will discover how different directorial interpretations of the same scene reveal the characters and the impact and meaning of the story.
    • POV Each shot in a film expresses a point-of-view, and in narrative film, the point-of-view changes often, sometimes with each new shot. For the most part, point-of-view—which is often called narrative stance—is largely invisible to the audience; though the accumulated effect of the changes profoundly affects the way the audience interprets any scene. Students will analyze different ways to create a point-of-view through visual means: the POV shot, shot size, eye-line, camera height, movement, over-the-shoulder shots, lighting, color, and contrast.

      The POV project teaches students to visually reinforce the dramatic point of view initiated in the screenplay. Students are given a short scene containing two characters with conflicting objectives. Each student will choose one of the characters to be the main character and then direct a short film using the visual tools explored in class to present the viewer with a clear and distinct point-of-view.
    • Semester One Film The Semester One Final Film is a narrative digital film project of up to ten minutes. This film should showcase all the lessons and techniques students learned in the first semester, emphasizing the Acting for Directors classes, production workshops, and individual exercises of the second quarter. Ideally, the Semester One Film should be a performance driven film with no more than three characters and one or two locations. However, students always have the option of shooting a documentary, music video or experimental film for this project.
    • Year One Thesis Film This project is the culmination of the year’s work. Each student’s goal is to produce a fully realized short film that demonstrates his or her own artistic vision and point of view. Students work with larger crews and with more time allotted for pre-production, production and post-production than the previous projects. Students prepare for this project with the assistance of all classes in the second semester, including the producing class, which is specifically designed to guide students through the pre-production of this project. Students must prepare detailed production books and receive a “green light” from the faculty to check out for their shoots. Each student can choose to shoot this film in one of three formats—high definition digital video, 16mm film or 35mm film.
  • Perform key crew positions on your classmates' films including: cinematographer, gaffer, sound recordist, assistant director, and assistant camera.
LEARNING GOALS
  • Learn the art and technique of visual storytelling including directing, cinematography, editing, and post-production sound design.
  • Learn the fundamentals of digital video production and digital editing.
  • Survey of the documentary format with focus on styles, techniques and elements of storytelling.
  • Fundamental training in acting craft and directing actors.
  • Immersion in screenwriting craft.

SEMESTER TWO OVERVIEW

The second semester challenges students to develop their film craft artistically and technically, and to progress beyond their earlier experiments with the medium. It is designed to enable students to create a fully conceived and executed short film thesis, shot in Hi-Def using the RED Scarlet, 16mm using the Arriflex SR, or in 35mm using a Panavision camera, depending on the student. Each student comes to the second semester with a script for his/her final project of the year. These projects are the primary focus of the second semester. They are used in all the classes as a basis for learning.

The semester is divided into three distinct phases. The first is devoted to intensive hands-on instruction, demonstration, group sync-sound directing exercises (using students’ scripts), individual consultations, and pre-production (including casting, rehearsal, and location scouting). The second phase of the semester is the production period during which each student directs his/her own film, and crews on his/her classmates’ films. The third phase of the semester is devoted to post-production. During this phase, students edit digitally, receive instruction and critique, screen rough-cuts of the films, receive feedback and then finish their films for a final group screening.

SEMESTER TWO OBJECTIVES

PRODUCTION GOALS
  • Direct and edit a sync-sound narrative film of up to 15 minutes. (HD, 16mm, or 35mm)
  • Participate as a crew member on fellow students’ films and group projects
  • Shoot and edit scenes on 35mm film using Panavision cameras
LEARNING GOALS
  • Advanced filmmaking craft including directing, casting, producing, sync-sound production, color cinematography, editing and sound design.
  • Learn fundamentals of 35mm and HD.



Course Descriptions

Director’s Craft I
Cinematography I
Editing I
Production Workshop I
Screenwriting I
Cinema Studies I
Individual Editing I
Sound Recording I
Director’s Craft II
Producing
Cinematography II
Sound Recording II
Editing II
Screenwriting II
Production Workshop II
Individual Editing II
Cinema Studies II

Director’s Craft I

The core of the first semester, this course introduces students to all major aspects of filmmaking. Students will learn concepts to help achieve maximum psychological impact by studying the director’s decisions in camera placement, blocking, staging, and visual image design. Students will take part in several in-class workshops and will be challenged to think comprehensively about their film projects in terms of the economic realities of low budget student production. Using their own film projects as prototypes, students will learn to break down their film scripts in terms of story and emotional beats, shot selection and composition, and budgeting and scheduling. This course will be the forum for preparing, screening, and critiquing seven short films.
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Cinematography I

In this course, students undergo intensive training in the use of 16mm non-sync sound motion picture and HD digital video cameras and their accessories. Through hands-on workshops and film tests, they will also learn fundamental lighting techniques. As they progress through the workshop, they learn how to support the mood of the story with lighting choices and they experiment with expressive lighting styles.
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Editing I

This course presents students with multiple aesthetic approaches to editing. Students will learn how to apply concepts to their works, such as temporal and spatial continuity, as well as less traditional non-linear techniques. The course will also discuss the psychological and emotional effects of editing on the overall story. Additionally, students will learn to operate Avid Media Composer digital editing software, which they will use to edit their own films. Classes are supplemented with individual consultations at the computer.
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Production Workshop I

Students are split into shooting crews of 3-4 people to shoot mise-en-scène, continuity, and montage exercises in the field. The instructor will screen and review the footage from previous workshops and discuss any outstanding issues of the production that the students have. These workshops are designed to facilitate the students’ individual projects.
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Screenwriting I

This course introduces the established tools and language used in writing a film project. Students will take a story from initial idea, treatment, and outline to a rough draft and finally a shooting script. Instruction focuses on the fundamentals of visual storytelling. The intersection of story structure, theme, character, tension, and conflict is examined through detailed scene analysis. In-class discussion provides students with constructive analysis and support. Students are encouraged to tell their stories visually, rather than relying on dialogue.
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Cinema Studies I

This seminar teaches students to identify the techniques used by cinematic innovators throughout the history of filmmaking. Through screenings and discussions, students will grow to understand how filmmakers have approached the great challenge of telling stories with moving images from silent films to the digital age. The course explores ways that the crafts of directing (particularly shot construction), cinematography, acting, and editing have developed. Students are then challenged to place themselves within that development with regard to their on-going film projects.
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Individual Editing I

This course prepares students for the challenges inherent in cutting a more complex narrative film with dialogue and multiple sound tracks. Students are required to dedicate a large portion of time to editing their projects with the aid of trained editing lab teaching assistants.
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Sound Recording I

This is a comprehensive class that details the process of sound recording. It provides concepts, technical information, and hands-on demonstration. Students are introduced to various types of recording devices and taught when to use them. The class challenges the students to use sound as an additional tool for storytelling, and takes them through the complete recording process.
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Director’s Craft II

Building upon knowledge and skills acquired in Director’s Craft I, this course is a concentrated examination and analysis of the aesthetic elements of the director’s toolkit as it applies to shot choice, composition, setting, point of view, character, and camera movement. Students learn how to cover complex dialogue scenes with a series of shots and practice different approaches to coverage by breaking down scenes from their own scripts. Students are encouraged to develop their own directorial style drawing from the elements presented in this class.
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Producing

Producing leads students through the entire process of pre-production, including scouting and securing of locations, permits, and casting. The producing instructor and students design a production schedule for the entire class. The instructor encourages students to form realistic plans for successfully making their films. Using script breakdowns, students learn how to plan and keep to a schedule and budget for their productions. They use their own finished scripts in class as they learn how to take advantage of budgeting and scheduling forms and methods.
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Cinematography II

This class immerses students in the technical and creative demands of cinematography. They will learn to go beyond simply 'getting an image' and focus on the nuances of visual storytelling. Students undergo intensive training in the use of the Arriflex 16SR, the 35mm Panavision and the RED Digital Cinema cameras. In addition to being trained to operate advanced camera equipment, students study basic color theory and learn to control the color palette of their projects. Special attention is given to the emotional attributes that can be assigned to an image by changing the hue, saturation, and contrast of any given image. Students learn to incorporate these theories into their projects, and gain a greater understanding of aesthetic image control.
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Sound Recording II

This course introduces students to professional sync-sound dialogue recording techniques. In addition to being trained in the use of the Roland recording equipment and lavalier microphones, students study concepts in mixing multiple track on-set recordings. These techniques are practiced and perfected during production workshop exercises under the supervision of the sound instructor.
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Editing II

This course teaches students to edit their sync-sound projects. Students are encouraged to expand upon previously mastered techniques to establish a consistent editing design, dialogue rhythm, and sense of pacing and continuity that compliments the story as a whole. Post-production equipment and software learned by students include: After Effects, ProTools, and the DaVinci color mixer.
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Screenwriting II

In addition to providing an in-depth study and exploration of dialogue in film, Screenwriting II focuses on the writing, rewriting, and polishing of the One-Year Final Film scripts. Students will conduct live readings of their screenplays and engage in instructor-led discussions of the work. The goal of this seminar is to increase the writer’s mastery of those aspects of screenwriting as outlined in Screenwriting I.
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Production Workshop II

This hands-on course challenges students to interpret and apply all theory and practice of the first semester curriculum in a series of sync-sound production exercises. Students shoot complex dramatic scenes on 16mm film and high definition video from their own scripts with the guidance and critique of the instructor. Students must determine what adjustments to make to their scripts and shooting plans before entering into production. These practice scenes are expected to be fully pre-produced (storyboarded, cast, scouted, rehearsed, and pre-lit) and executed at a professional level.
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Individual Editing II

This course prepares students for the challenges inherent in cutting a more complex narrative film with dialogue and multiple sound tracks. Students are required to dedicate a large portion of time to editing their projects with the aid of trained editing lab teaching assistants.
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Cinema Studies II

Cinema Studies II is designed to help students become more fluent in film vocabulary, aimed to develop their analytical skills when it comes to historical and international range of film works. The students also discuss aesthetic and social aspects of film in this class. This course involves story analysis where the instructor goes through a film scene by scene, as well as genre studies.
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Film Projects

Mise-en-scène
Continuity
Music & Montage Film
Quarter Film
The Subtext
POV
Semester One Film
Year One Thesis Film

Mise-en-scène

In their first film, students are introduced to mise-en- scène, or directing a shot to visually tell a story. Once they create a dramatic moment, they concentrate on the dynamics of the shot that will best express it. This project teaches students how the relationship between the subject and the camera creates drama. Each student designs and shoots a scene that has a beginning, middle, and end. Students will learn to pay close attention to the choice of lenses, distances, and angles.

Since the story will be told within one long shot, it must be staged to express as much as possible about the characters and their actions. Students should rehearse the shot for blocking of actors and camera until the scene works without needing to stop; only then should they roll camera. Students shoot their film in high definition video, then edit and screen their projects for critique and discussion.
back to top

Continuity

Continuity is one of the fundamental principles of modern filmmaking. By making a “continuity film,” students learn the way cuts can advance the story while sustaining the reality of the scene, and the difference between “film time” and “real time.” Students are challenged to make a film that maintains continuity in story, time, and space. The action in these films unfolds utilizing a variety of shots (10–15) in a continuous sequence (no jumps in time or action). In the Continuity Films, students must produce a clear, visual scene while maintaining the authenticity of the moment. Students write, direct, shoot, edit, and screen a film of up to three minutes. Students must thoroughly pre-plan and complete a series of essential pre-production elements including script, location scouting, shot list, floor plan, storyboarding, and schedule.
back to top

Music & Montage Film

The third project introduces students to the relationship between sound and film, as well as to narrative tools like montage and jump cuts. In this project, students are encouraged to explore a more personal form of visual storytelling. For this film, students choose a piece of music, and in the editing room, they cut their images to work in concert with, or in counterpoint to, the music. Students should experiment with rhythm and pacing. Each student writes, directs, shoots, edits, and screens a film of up to four minutes. In addition to storyboards, students may use a still camera to plan their films to assist them in their choice of locations, angles, and lighting.
back to top

Quarter Film

From the first week of the program, students begin developing their scripts in Writing Class for their fourth film.

This fourth film is more ambitious in scope than the previous exercises. It builds upon the foundation of skills and knowledge gained in the first part of the semester. Students may use sound effects, music, voiceover, and ambient sound to help tell their stories. The final project may be 3-10 minutes in length, keeping in mind, “less is more.”

Each student must complete a production book that includes the following:
  • Statement of Objective: Idea of the film and stylistic approach in a concise statement.
  • Scenario: Shooting script, storyboards, and floor plan.
back to top

The Subtext

This project challenges students to explore the relationship between dialogue and dramatic action. It serves as the student’s first foray into directing a film with dialogue recorded on set. Students are provided with short dialogue-only scripts with no description of physical detail or action. The student director determines the “who, what, where, when, and why” of the story. Above all, each student director must identify the characters’ objectives and dramatic beats of the scene.

Students will learn how these elements determine the meaning of the dialogue and should deepen their understanding of text versus subtext. When the finished projects are screened in class for critique, students will discover how different directorial interpretations of the same scene reveal the characters and the impact and meaning of the story.
back to top

POV

Each shot in a film expresses a point-of-view, and in narrative film, the point-of-view changes often, sometimes with each new shot. For the most part, point-of-view—which is often called narrative stance—is largely invisible to the audience; though the accumulated effect of the changes profoundly affects the way the audience interprets any scene. Students will analyze different ways to create a point-of-view through visual means: the POV shot, shot size, eye-line, camera height, movement, over-the-shoulder shots, lighting, color and contrast.

The POV project teaches students to visually reinforce the dramatic point of view initiated in the screenplay. Students are given a short scene containing two characters with conflicting objectives. Each student will choose one of the characters to be the main character and then direct a short film using the visual tools explored in class to present the viewer with a clear and distinct point-of-view.
back to top

Semester One Film

The Semester One Final Film is a narrative digital film project of up to ten minutes. This film should showcase all the lessons and techniques students learned in the first semester, emphasizing the Acting for Directors classes, production workshops, and individual exercises of the second quarter. Ideally, the Semester One Film should be a performance driven film with no more than three characters and one or two locations. However, students always have the option of shooting a documentary, music video or experimental film for this project.
back to top

Year One Thesis Film

This project is the culmination of the program’s work. Each student’s goal is to produce a fully realized short film that demonstrates his or her own artistic vision and point-of-view. Students work with larger crews and with more time allotted for pre-production, production, and post-production than the previous projects. Students prepare for this project with the assistance of all classes in the second semester, including the producing class, which is specifically designed to guide students through the pre-production of this project. Students must prepare detailed production books and receive a “green light” from the faculty to check out equipment for their shoots. Each student can choose to shoot this film in one of three formats—HD digital video, 16mm film, or 35mm film.
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Dates & Tuition

Fees Per Year

Tuition: $39,292 (USD) +
Equipment Fee: $4,136(USD)

Number of Semesters: 2


For Los Angeles Location:
Number of Semesters: 3


Students will also incur additional expenses on their own productions. This varies depending on how much film they shoot and scale of the projects.


Location & Available Dates

For New York City:
January 2017 - January 2018
May 2017 - May 2018
September 2017 - September 2018
January 2018 - January 2019
May 2018 - May 2019
September 2018 - September 2019

For Los Angeles:
January 2017 - January 2018
May 2017 - May 2018
September 2017 - September 2018
January 2018 - January 2019
May 2018 - May 2019
September 2018 - September 2019

For Sydney Australia:
January 2017 - January 2018
May 2017 - May 2018
September 2017 - September 2018

For Gold Coast Australia:
January 2017 - January 2018
May 2017 - May 2018
September 2017 - September 2018

For South Beach Florida:
January 2017 - January 2018



Please note: Dates and Tuition are subject to change
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