New York Film Academy
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New York Film Academy Master of Arts
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One Year Accelerated Master of Arts in Film & Media Production

MA Film students shooting a scene MA Film students using a camera MA Film student films with a camera

Overview of our MA in Film & Media Production

The Academy makes the accelerated schedule possible by creating an extended academic year allowing students to complete three full-length semesters in one calendar year.

New York Film Academy MA degree programs are offered only at our Los Angeles Campus.
Each student writes, shoots, directs, and edits 8 films and works on at least 20 more.


The New York Film Academy Master of Arts (MA) in Film & Media Production is a three semester accelerated graduate program. Designed to educate aspiring content creators, it is a hands-on, total immersion, professional course of study. Each student will create eight of their own film media projects in an array of formats and genres. They will work in collaboration on their classmates’ projects on at least twenty more.

As film and media production evolve in the twenty first century, the Masters of Arts in Film & Media Production, provides creative visual storytellers with the grounding in this new arena needed to thrive and succeed. An intensive curriculum challenges students, develops their skills, and prepares them for the new and evolving production world of today. Students will gain experience shooting their projects on the newest in HD, film, and digital equipment from Canon 5D to Red Dragon, as well as classic film cameras like Panavision and Arriflex.

NYFA MA Film student on location


MA Filmmaking students begin their immersion in film production through a series of intense classes in directing, screenwriting, cinematography, and editing. These classes support a number of short film productions that allow their skills to be quickly placed into practice, as well as assist them with developing proficiency with the overall production process. Each student will direct four short film/media projects in the first half of the semester.

Students will also develop their leadership and collaborative skills through fulfilling the essential roles of Director of Photography, Assistant Camera Operator, and Gaffer (Lighting Technician) on the films of their classmates.

Dialogue production is explored in depth in the second half of the semester, as classes in directing, screenwriting and editing continue. The final project of the semester is the digital dialogue film, which students will write, direct and edit.

Throughout the semester students are immersed in a course about the changing formats of media production in today’s entertainment marketplace. This course prepares them to undertake production of their thesis film in semester two as a short film, or a new, still developing format, such as webisode, or content for mobile applications.

The combination of these classes will prepare students for the second semester and production of their Thesis Projects.

NYFA MA Film student adjusts the camera
  • Art, aesthetics, and technique of visual storytelling including directing, cinematography, and editing.
  • Fundamentals of film production and digital editing.
  • Survey and examination contemporary media formats and distribution vehicles from a content creator’s perspective.
  • Fundamental training in acting and directing actors.
  • Immersion in screenwriting craft.
  • Develop and ability to collaborate and lead a student film crew.
  • Write, direct and edit four short film/media projects.
  • Crew as cinematographer, gaffer, and/or assistant camera on approximately twelve additional films.
  • Write a short film script with dialogue.
  • Write, direct and edit a dialogue film.
  • Successfully complete Production Lab exercise.


The second semester challenges students to develop their craft artistically and technically, and to progress beyond their earlier achievements with the medium. Building upon the filmmaking foundations learned in the previous semester, students continue with their directing, screenwriting, cinematography and editing classes.

An intensive in the field production class, film production lab two, provides instruction in all of these areas through a series of in the field productions. The development of professional on-set conduct and leadership and collaborative skills are also rigorously developed in this class.

The branding and marketing required to make an entrance into the crowded contemporary media field is studied at length prior to production of the thesis project. This allows for any provisions required to successfully promote the project.

NYFA MA Film students The capstone of the semester is the thesis project, a production of up to fifteen minutes in length, or multiple shorter media projects. It may be a short film intended for film festivals and distribution which incorporates all of the disciplines instructed throughout the semester, or a new format as studied in the Media and Society class. Current examples include webisodes, branded entertainment, short TV pilots, or commercials. The student’s ambitions and capabilities, as evidenced in the thesis project, are expected to increase from the first semester projects. Students will also expand their knowledge of production, and collaborative abilities, through acting as crew-members on five of their classmates’ productions.

Intensive classes in post production assist the student not only with completing the final steps of the filmmaking process, but also with developing an ability to give and receive editorial and creative feedback on their project.

  • Advance in proficiency in the fields of directing, editing, and cinematography.
  • Develop an increased ability to produce the short film at a higher level.
  • Advance in proficiency in the field of collaboration and leadership skills.
  • Acquire a comprehension of branding and marketing as required to promote thesis project.
  • Develop an ability to give and receive constructive editorial and creative feedback on a project.
  • Direct and edit a thesis project of up to fifteen minutes in length (shot on 16mm film, 35mm film, or High Def).
  • Develop proficiency with the second semester equipment package.
  • Participate as a principle crew- member in five fellow students’ films.
  • Direct or DP a film production lab two project.

Year-End Screenings

The Thesis Project will be presented in a movie theater for an invited audience. Students are responsible for inviting all guests. This public screening is not part of the formal evaluation process, but serves as a celebration of the students’ progress and achievements thus far.

Course Description

  • Film Production I The core of the first semester, this course introduces students to all major aspects of narrative visual storytelling. 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 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 four short films.
  • Film Production II A continuation of Film Production I. Students move deeper into the craft of directing. The on set of dialogue production brings with it a new set of skills and techniques instructed in this class. The semester capstone film, the digital dialogue project, incorporates all of the lessons learned in Film Production I and II.
  • Media & Society In the twenty first century media is constantly in transition. New narrative formats are emerging almost daily and content producers must not be left behind in this dynamic environment. This course examines these new forms in depth and the unique requirements that they place upon narrative storytellers. Creating content for webisodes, mobile and alternative viewing platforms, branded entertainment, as well as commercials and the music videos are discussed in depth in this class.
  • Film Production Lab I Students stage and shoot complex dramatic exercises under the guidance of the instructor. They design shots to heighten the emotion of a sequence, and then shoot the sequence on digital video in a supervised environment. The concepts taught in Film Production I and II are practiced here in a hands on environment in the field under the guidance and mentorship of instructors. This guidance provides crucial insights that are applied to the capstone project for the semester, the digital dialogue film.
  • Editing I This course presents students with multiple aesthetic approaches to editing film and video. Students will learn how to apply concepts such as temporal continuity and spatial continuity, as well as less traditional discontinuous editing techniques to their work. The course will also discuss the psychological and emotional effects of editing on the overall story. Additionally, students will learn to operate digital editing software, which they will use to edit their own films. Classes are supplemented with individual consultations at the computer.
  • Cinematography I In this course, students undergo intensive training in the use of the 16mm non-sync motion picture and high definition 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.
  • Screenwriting I This course introduces the established tools and language used in writing a narrative media 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.
  • Acting This course adheres to the philosophy that in order to direct actors, one must understand and experience acting as art and methodology. Directing students will become actors. Students learn how to identify a screenplay’s emotional “beats” and “character objectives” in order to improve their actors’ performances. Students are prepared to not only communicate and collaborate with their actors, but to actualize the best emotional outcome of a scene.
  • Film Production III Building upon knowledge and skills acquired in Film Production I and II 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.
  • Producing I This course 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 projects. 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.
  • Film Production Lab II This hands-on course challenges students to interpret and apply all theory and practice of the first semester curriculum in a series of 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.
  • Editing II This course teaches students to edit their upcoming thesis 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.
  • 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 thesis project 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.
  • Emerging Formats As the tools of production have become more affordable, and the ubiquity of the Internet has created more media outlets, standing apart from the field is more important now than ever before. This class examines how to use these tools to create your own specific “brand”, and ultimately how to create a market for your projects, or intellectual property.
  • Thesis Project Film Post Production In this course students will apply the knowledge gained so far through editing and post-production courses to finish their Thesis Film. They will be assessed on their ability to take a film from rough assembly to locked picture to a finished product with sound mix and titles. Excellent problem-solving skills will be necessary to steadily improve each cut of the film on the way to achieving one’s vision.
  • Thesis Project Crew Participation By participating as crewmembers during their classmates’ thesis projects, students will gain further on-set experience and become more intimate with the nuts-and-bolts aspects of filmmaking. By understanding the role of each key member of the crew, students will greatly improve their ability to manage a large production as a director.
  • Cinematography II This class immerses students in the technical and creative demands of cinematography. They will learn to go beyond simply “‘getting an image’ image” and focus on the nuances of visual storytelling. Topics include: Arriflex 16SR camera and accessories, High Definition Camera, Use of Color and Light, and 35mm 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.

Dates & Tuition

Fees Per Semester

Tuition: $12,666 (USD) +
Equipment Fee: $1,334 (USD)

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 Los Angeles:
May 2015 - May 2016
September 2015 - September 2016
January 2016 - January 2017
May 2016 - May 2017
September 2016 - September 2017

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