Build Your Visual
Storytelling Portfolio at NYFA
NYFA’s Liberal Arts and Science courses are designed for visual storytellers and tailored to the discipline. In these courses, students learn through completing diverse, hands-on projects, broadening their knowledge in their chosen area of study and improving their verbal, written and communication skills.
These projects are examples of the types of work that students complete, and projects vary by location, program, and degree requirements and are subject to change. For more information, please see the course catalog.
Projects By Topic
NYFA offers LAS courses in the Arts and Humanities, Foundation Studies, History of Art, Theatre, & Media, Natural Science, Social and Behavioral Sciences. The projects listed below are examples of the type of work that students will complete and not an all-encompassing list.
The Short Story
tudents use the foundational literary techniques, such as plot formation, characterization, setting development, etc. that are learned throughout the semester to craft their own short stories. Rather than providing students with a specific topic or theme to write about, the process begins with the development of a round main character and the exploration of potential conflicts they may face. Throughout this writing process, students receive feedback from their instructor and classmates in order to make revisions for their final product. Once they’ve completed the assignment, students have the opportunity to share their work in class.
Literary Analysis Paper
Students use the foundational literary techniques, such as plot formation, characterization, setting development, etc. that are learned throughout the semester to craft their own short stories. Rather than providing students with a specific topic or theme to write about, the process begins with the development of a round main character and the exploration of potential conflicts they may face. Throughout this writing process, students receive feedback from their instructor and classmates in order to make revisions for their final product. Once they’ve completed the assignment, students have the opportunity to share their work in class.
Music Video Mini Assignment
Students look at key music videos from the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s that either informed or directly connected to the New Queer Cinema movement. They examine how queer people are portrayed in regards to social behavior and notions of masculinity and femininity. Students also look at how can we understand camp (i.e., a deliberately exaggerated and theatrical behavior or style) as a mode of queer resistance.
Ethically Notable Game Proposal
Over the span of five weeks, students create a design document for a serious video game that explores an important controversial social issue of their choosing (e.g. immigration, abortion, economic injustice). Attention is paid to how gameworlds present values, the creation of morally-complex characters, and special techniques for motivating players to engage in ethical reflection.
Know Thyself: Your Life Philosophy
The aim of this assignment is for students to answer the key questions asked by the class to formulate their your own philosophy of life. The project is completed in two parts. In the first they ask themselves: What can I know? Who am I? What do I think is the relationship between my mind and body? Do I have free will? In the second part of the project, the focus moves to questions of value and they ask themselves: What do I think justice is? and How should society be structured/organized?
Students consider the hypothetical scenario of being stuck in an elevator with someone who could help them land their dream job in film. They showcase their philosophical knowledge in answering questions about things such as the best way to live a human life, core values, the legacy that they wish to leave. In doing so, they provide a thorough account of different philosophical ideas that apply to their philosophy. In preparation for this paper, students are exposed to different philosophical themes such as the examined life, authentic happiness, human dignity and equality, and virtue. Students consider implications that could follow from living out their philosophy including (but not limited to): types of films they will make, types of roles that they will play in movies, social justice causes that they will be actively supporting, content that they will share on their social media, blog, and/or YouTube channel) and develop their own original quote.
Culture Awareness Presentation
Students give a FIVE-MINUTE powerpoint presentation on the culture they come from and what brought them to Los Angeles. Students are asked to include photographs in their presentation of their culture, which might include their family, friends, the places where they grew up, and specific customs, traditions, and cultural activities.
Public Service Announcement
Students create short and impactful PSA videos to raise awareness and encourage positive change around critical topics within society. Some topics include mental health, racism, drinking and driving, sex trafficking, and bullying.
Place of Peace Vlog Post
Maintaining a study-life balance can be challenging for first-year college students. Throughout the semester, students are encouraged to connect with their campus city and remember what brings them joy in their hometowns or home countries. In their vlog post, students share places that bring them peace.
Rhetorical Analysis of the Debate Surrounding a Controversial Moral/Legal Issue
Students take a current issue of moral or legal controversy of their choosing and analyze the arguments and rhetoric used in it that are available through the world wide web. Previous topics have included (but are not limited to) the morality and legality of abortion, the death penalty, America’s current immigration policy, euthanasia, eating animals, gendered restrooms, single-use plastic, brain implants, universal health care, affirmative action, and cancel culture. Students analyze cognitive biases that can impact the debate, identify rhetorical devices, psychological fallacies, and common fallacies on both sides, analyze a quantitative study on the topic, and then consider two opposing arguments on the topic. In their analyze of these opposing arguments, student showcase their new skills in developing standard form, looking for vagueness and ambiguity, and identifying weaknesses in premises and overall argument, and developing a better version of the argument. In doing so, students learn how to look at an issue from diverse perspectives and so develop intellectual empathy in addition to increased critical thinking skills that lead them toward self-authorship. Students are provided with detailed feedback on rough drafts to facilitate their success and mastery of the material.
With this reflective essay, students will (1) account for and evaluate the writing choices they made by reflecting on their own writing processes for the three different genres of academic writing covered in this course (i.e., narrative, opinion, and argumentative genres), and in a series of takeaways relevant to course concepts, (2) illustrate how they impacted their writing. As evidence, the essay must reference and discuss excerpts from their writing and writing process, strategies employed, specific lessons and activities from class meetings, etc. Applicable items will be appended to the end of the essay.
Film Analysis Presentation
Students complete an in-class presentation on a classic film, analyzing how the filmmakers created a meaningful artwork using the language of cinema. They also explore how their chosen film reflected or shaped the broader culture at the time of its release, or in the years since. Students may earn extra credit by creating their presentation in the form of a visual essay, which provides them an opportunity to practice their own audiovisual storytelling skills.
The Lazzi Project
After historical discussion about the Italian Renaissance and the world of Commedia Dell’Arte, students are asked to research a specific stock charter and choose from 1 of 2 projects. Students may 1. Find an example of “Lazzi” in a contemporary sit-com and create a short presentation to the class drawing analogies to the stock character and Lazzi structure we see in Commedia Dell’Arte. 2. Students may choose from a list of Lazzi scenarios and create a 1-2 minute Lazzi performance as one of the stock characters they have researched.
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Project
Students attend a screening at the Academy’s theater ($5 for students!) and visit the museum. Students write a 3-4 page assessment of their experience.
Build a Model
Students build fully labeled and anatomically correct models of an organ or organ system, using what they have around the house. Their creativity really shines through as we see everything from recycling bin items to pantry items, candy or play doh turn into beautiful renditions of parts of the human body. They present their models, as well as a detailed description of organ function, and a common disorder and remedy associated with this organ or system.
Build an Alien
Students must apply what they have learned of Astronomy, Biology, and Anatomy and Physiology to build a physiologically and morphologically correct alien that might live on a planet or moon in our solar system. Adaptations of creatures that live in extreme conditions here on Earth serve as sources of inspiration for these hypothetical life forms. Students describe in detail how this organism is adapted to its home, as well as present a detailed drawing (or computer generated image) of it.
Please note: Equipment, curriculum, and projects are subject to change and may vary depending on location. Students should consult the most recently published campus catalogue for the most up-to-date course information.
Students look at Joseph Campbell and his exploration of myths, his discovery of the Mono-myth/Hero’s Journey and his influence on Lucas in creating the narrative of Star Wars. Students are assigned groups and must create an original Hero’s Journey.
Technology, Privacy, & Communication
Students participate in a simulation where they play as an ethics advisory committee for a Google-like company that provides emailing, blogging, search, and social media services to a nation ruled by an authoritarian government that demands censorship and private information about a group that it’s labeled a domestic terrorist group, but Amnesty International calls innocent environmentalists. They try to arrive at a consistent policy about self-censorship and responding to government requests for censorship and information that balances key moral considerations and is consistent throughout their dealings with various governments across the world. They then communicate that policy through a letter to the American people.