back to school

7 Great Live Action “School” TV Series  

It’s been said most television sitcoms can fall into three categories–shows about friends, shows about a family, or shows about a workplace. Many dramas typically fall under one of these categories as well. One location that’s seen it’s fair share of television series is the school, which can be a mixture of all three.

Here are some of the classic live action television series about school:


Dan Harmon’s show about a group of misanthropes who form a study group at a community college quickly became a cult favorite, and lasted five seasons on NBC before getting cancelled and renewed for a sixth season by Yahoo! Screen. The show, which revelled in both referencing and subverting all things pop culture, launched and boosted several careers, including comedy veteran Chevy Chase, Alison Brie, and Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino.

Freaks and Geeks

Freaks and Geeks, a period drama about high school outcasts in 1980, also launched multiple careers, including Linda Cardellini, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, producer Judd Apatow, and creator Paul Feig. No wonder the one-season wonder picked up an Emmy for Outstanding Casting in a Comedy. The show had the hallmarks of Apatow’s and Feig’s future work–pop culture-referencing humor with a ton of heart.


The memorable pilot for Glee launched a new wave of musicals on television, including Smash, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and live performances of famous musicals. The show worked with high school stereotypes like jocks, cheerleaders, and nerds, but over six seasons it shaded its characters with a ton of depth. Glee covered nearly every social issue a high schooler might encounter, as well as covered hundreds of famous pop, rock, and musical numbers. The show, which included NYFA alumni Chord Overstreet and Naya Rivera–the latter as the deviously talented Santana Lopez–also wore its progressive heart on its sleeve, and was praised for its three-dimensional LGBTQIA+ and other diverse characters.

Friday Night Lights

Adapted from the 2004 film by Peter Berg, itself adapted from the nonfiction book by H.G.Bissinger, this NBC drama ran for five seasons, earning critical acclaim throughout its run. Like its source material, the show was based around a Texas town’s obsession with high school football, but quickly transcended that material to become a grounded, fully-realized portrayal of working class families. The show, and its characters, wasn’t afraid to wear its heart on its sleeve, and from time to time punctuated its character drama with breathtaking football action and laugh-out-loud comedic beats.

Saved by the Bell

Originally a workplace vehicle for Hayley Mills about middle school called Good Morning, Miss Bliss, the show was renamed Saved by the Bell in season two and re-tooled to be about the students, now in high school, led by the charismatic Zack Morris. The show became both a syndication and Saturday morning staple for an entire generation, and has persisted in pop culture through TV movies and spin-offs like The College Years and The New Class.

My So-Called Life

In 1994, ABC aired this teen drama that lasted for only a season but dealt with several major issues for teens in the 90s in its short time, from drug use to alcoholism to school violence. The show launched the careers of Jared Leto and Claire Danes; the latter winning a Golden Globe for her lead role. 

Veronica Mars

The first season of Veronica Mars was a murder mystery whodunnit with a clever gimmick–what if the hard-boiled private eye was a teenage girl? Suspects and witnesses came from every clique in high school as the title character navigated a murder investigation with her homework and dating life. Kristen Bell’s winning performance as well the show’s shocking twists and clever, snappy dialogue, made the show a cult hit. It lasted another two seasons before being cancelled, but was brought back to life as a feature film and most recently with another season of TV.


Friday Reads: Best Binge-Worthy Shows to Watch Before Your May Classes Start

NYFA’s upcoming intake dates in May 2017 mean that it’s almost time for you to begin your journey into the world’s most intensive, hands-on visual and performing arts education. With classes starting right around the corner, your television binging time will soon become scarce. Before you know it, you’ll be hitting the editing lab instead of the couch and writing scripts instead of changing the channels. So order some takeout and use the most of your precious remaining free time to get caught up on these great binge-worthy shows. You owe yourself a good binge, after all!

“Stranger Things” (Netflix)


Believe the hype: this ‘80s throwback really is that good, and it features NYFA guest lecturer and board of directors member Matthew Modine! The show is a driven by a gaping, chilling air of suspense in a Goonies-meets-X-Files mystery that somehow manages to evoke nostalgia without retreading tired content. Fresh and eerie, “Stranger Things” is an easy binge with only eight episodes to tell its tightly-wound story. Especially of note are the fantastic performances, which recently garnered the cast the SAG Award for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series.

“Santa Clarita Diet” (Netflix)

This 10-episode comedy-horror combines the disparate worlds of California real estate and … zombies? Flesh-eating realtor Sheila (Drew Barrymore) and her husband (Timothy Olyphant) navigate Sheila’s new reality of needing to feast on human flesh. Consider yourself warned: The show has been slammed for its graphic depictions of gore, but overall it’s been both a critical and commercial success.

“Westworld” (HBO)

This is a show you’ll want to binge on and then rewatch for all the subtle nuances that you may have missed the first time around. As one of the more original shows on television, “Westworld” (created by the fiendish imagination of Michael Crichton) is the story of a Wild West theme park where the tourist can do anything … yes, anything. It’s a chilling reflection on the state of humanity, made even creepier by the eerily conflicted figure of its creator (Anthony Hopkins). If you’re looking for a philosophical binge, “Westworld” may be your fix.

“Outlander” (STARZ)

Currently on its second season, “Outlander” is just plain fun to watch. It’s the entertaining drama of a World War Two-era nurse (Caitriona Balfe) who travels back in time to 1700s Scotland, only to fall in love with a handsome rebel Scot (Sam Heughan). Based on the bodice-ripping romance novel series by Diana Gabaldon, this addictive show features an attractive cast set against the gorgeous backdrop of both Paris and the Scottish Highlands. Less reliant on the fast-paced intricacy of “Game of Thrones” or the beguiling philosophical questions of “Westworld,” this show anchors its binge-worthy chemistry in Balfe and Heughan, who make an exceptional screen pair that you won’t want to miss.  

“Narcos” (Netflix)

If you haven’t watched the first season, make sure to get caught up on this show quickly! Both seasons make for a great two-day binge, especially Season 2 as the hunt for Pablo Escobar begins to heat up. Wagner Moura turns in a fantastic character performance as the heavyset and volatile Escobar, while “Game of Thronesactor Pedro Pascal serves as the lean and hungry officer determined to take Pablo down.

Don’t forget to check out our many programs beginning May 2017, and beyond.

How to Thrive at NYFA in the Fall: 4 Tips


This fall, whether you’re a returning student or it’s your first year of studies, the autumn semester can be a wake-up call if unprepared. After months of summer vacation and (usually) a more laid back schedule, it can be a challenge to adjust and settle into a more demanding routine. Especially in NYFA’s immersive, hands-on programs, you may find yourself both exhilarated and surprised by the rigorous mix of energy, discipline, and practice that are your new normal.

A mixture of emotions sets in if you’re a student in the fall: the start of classes is exciting, but you might also feel nervous about classes, exams, teachers, scheduling, project work, and more. We’ve created a list of some ideas that can help you hit the ground running. You can rock your programs and make the most out of your time at NYFA. With the following tips, you’ll not only survive your fall semester at NYFA — you’ll thrive.

1. Make the Most of Your Time with NYFA’s Industry-Standard Technology and Premier Facilities


From the very beginning, NYFA has followed the same principle: the best way to learn is by doing. That is why every program offers hands-on courses where you are fully immersed in your chosen craft while working on hands-on, experiential projects that involve new technologies. But to give you the best hands-on experience possible, you need access to modern equipment.

From industry-standard tools to cutting-edge software, NYFA’s premier facilities have everything you need to learn professional-level skills. Since there are very few schools out there with the same intensive focus on hands-on learning with such an impressive supply of cutting-edge tools and tech, why not get your hands on it as much as possible? Make sure to book yourself lab time. Ask your teachers all your questions about the equipment used in their classes. Research new ways to improve your technical knowledge and skills. We’re confident that students who take extra time to learn how to master today’s equipment are more likely to not only graduate, but to compete in the real world.

2. Keep Up-To-Date on Important Events Happening on Campus


If there’s one thing you can expect during your fall program at NYFA, it’s for everything to get busy real quick. Whether you’re studying for an upcoming exam or getting together with fellow peers to nail down a project, it can be easy to lose track of important events happening on campus. We recommend you follow all of NYFA’s social media pages to learn about extra resources and special events going on that students from other schools dream of attending.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as well as our other social media channels.

And don’t forget to keep up with our incredible list of special guest speakers that frequently come by to help aspiring students. Previous speakers include Steven Spielberg, Al Pacino, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ron Howard, and Seth Rogen. Campus activities that bring students from different programs together are also valuable.

3. Learn From Your Phenomenal Teachers


At NYFA this fall, you have access to one of the best teams of staff ever assembled. Our faculty boasts professionals that have extensive experience and are still professionally active in the field they teach. Our faculty includes working directors, producers, cinematographers, writers, photographers, and more. No matter what area of study you choose, you’ll have the best of the best to teach you the skills needed to create and compete in the industry of your choice.

And the best part? Our instructors are committed to training the next generation of creative professionals and have a genuine passion for it. If you bring your A-game and A-student attitude, your teachers will be able to help you grow immeasurably. Be sure to pay attention and utilize your time in class and on projects to the utmost, respecting your instructors and gleaning as much insight, knowledge, and mentorship as you can. Remember that your instructors are also professionals in your field, and are offering you a unique edge and insight into the world of visual and performing arts.

4. Don’t Forget to Stop and Smell the Pumpkin Spice


Make no mistake about it — attending a visual and performing arts school can be a challenging experience, no matter the time of year. You’re in a new setting, possibly far away from home, and with a seemingly endless list of exams, projects, classes, and more to consider. But despite all this, most students come out of fall feeling satisfied and ready for more.

The key to this is focusing on your studies giving your all to your hands-on, intensive program experience this fall. You may make lifelong friendships and connections with other students. You will definitely learn new things. Don’t be afraid explore NYFA and your new campus. NYFA student life coordinators are always available to help get you involved in campus activities meant to offer fun learning experiences while you work toward your goals. With focus, hard work, and passion, your time at NYFA will be an experience that you will never forget.

Do you have any amazing tips on how to thrive during your studies at NYFA this fall? Let us know in the comments below!

Back to School: Graphic Design Supplies You Didn’t Know You Needed

Graphic design supplies are not to be overlooked now that school is back in session. With graphic designers more in demand than ever, it’s a great time to get yourself back to school to learn the essential skills of the craft. And if there’s one thing all aspiring graphic designers should know, it’s that having the latest software and tech isn’t enough. Any professional will tell you that to be fully prepared as a graphic designer you’ll need creativity, discipline, and attention to detail — and that those skills are just as important as the technical tools and artistic talents you’ll be using.

That being said, graphic designers also depend on certain supplies to make their ideas come alive. Whether you’re just starting your journey as a student or continuing an ongoing course of study, you can expect to use various tools while you advance your skills and knowledge.

So, what are the most essential graphic design supplies for those of you beginning a new journey in this dynamic and growing field? Below, we’ve summarized a few things every graphic design student should consider picking up as they start another year of school at NYFA — or, for that matter, as they start to pursue their own path beyond school.

Sketchpads + Writing Tools

There’s more to being a great graphic designer than knowing your way around Photoshop and other state-of-the-art editing tools. The best designers are prepared to follow inspiration when it strikes and put down a brilliant idea whenever it comes to mind — whether that be on the bus, in a classroom, or anywhere on campus. You never know what you’ll see or hear that inspires you to come up with something amazing for a school or personal project.

Instead of forgetting your idea by the time you reach your computer, use your handy sketchbook to put it down on paper. This is an essential graphic design supply, as it will enable you to keep developing your concepts and brainstorming new ideas until you’re ready to transition it to computer. Being able to share your design ideas visually while away from your desktop is a valuable habit to have when discussing ideas with other students, possible clients, and even the interviewer for your dream job.

Whatever Helps You Stay Creative And Focused

From painters and musicians to creative writers and actors, all artists depend on their skills and imagination to create. But when there are distractions or you’re not comfortable, it can be nearly impossible to come up with groundbreaking ideas. The best artists, including professional graphic designers, will tell you just how important it is to find a space and atmosphere that gets your creative juices flowing. It might be a little unorthodox to think of your workspace, belongings, or home as a part of your graphic design supplies, but why not? Once you’re designing, everything in your life can be an integral part of stimulating and protecting your creative work.

Do you like listening to music while working? If so, you should invest in good speakers or headphones that allow you to enjoy your music with superior audio quality. Or maybe you could use a new desk chair that will help reduce (or eliminate) the aches and pains you get from sitting in front of your computer for too long. Imagine your optimal working environment and think about what you’re missing or what you can upgrade to make it it even better. Feed your creativity by taking good care of yourself, your workspace, and your needs.

Access to a Great Computer

One of the biggest investments students make when returning to school is picking up a new computer. As a graphic design student who will be using a lot of demanding software, this can be an especially important decision. Unless you already have a fairly new machine, you’ll want to upgrade your desktop so you don’t waste time running programs slowly or having to take repeated trips to your school’s computer lab. If you’re a graphic design student at NYFA, take advantage of lab hours and resources in your program.

And if you’re debating on picking up a laptop or desktop for your personal use, don’t forget there may be advantages to the latter. Many laptops today come with great specs, but it’s usually desktops that offer more storage space, better RAM, faster processors, etc. This can be very useful as many graphic design tools require a lot of juice to run — especially when you have several tasks open.

Bear in mind that many resources you need may be available through your program, like ours. But also don’t forget that your own down-time and personal space are themselves valuable resources and opportunities as you learn the craft of graphic design. Organizing ahead of time and making sure you have access to the best graphic design supplies is a great way to set yourself up for success at school, and beyond.

Have a favorite supply for your own graphic design adventures? Let us know in the comments below!