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NYFA Conservatory: Why a 1-Year Program Is Your Next Life-Hack

We’ve all heard inspiring rags-to-riches tales of celebrities who found their big break by being discovered in malls or whisked away from their ordinary job by a chance encounter with a talent scout, director or agent. While we can’t deny this fairy tale does sometimes come true in real life, for most professional visual and performing artists the road to success is paved with hard work — and excellent training. If you’re considering the arts, you may want to consider updating your training.

Whether your dream is to make magic behind the camera, on the screen, or in post-production, don’t wait for a chance encounter with fate: you can take matters into your own hands by pursuing hands-on training in the skills you’ll need to change your own life and learn to be an artist.

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Daydreams Come True

It’s never too late to pursue your dream, but it’s important to understand what tools you’ll need along the way. It can seem like there’s a huge gap between daydreaming at your day job and actually living your dream. The good news is that there is one secret weapon that can help you find your footing as you develop professional skills while saving time: a conservatory program.

Why a Conservatory?

Picture spending all day every day doing only what you love, all while working closely with and learning from people who are experts in what you want to do. That’s a conservatory: intensive artistic training in a creative environment designed to push aspiring artists to develop their skills to the highest level.

A conservatory program is a little bit different than traditional college. Rather than requiring classes in a core curriculum of all subjects, a conservatory allows students to focus exclusively on their subject. The intensive focus allows conservatory students to develop a unique depth of understanding for their craft and receive specific training relevant to their specialty in the arts.

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At the New York Film Academy, our conservatory programs offer students from all backgrounds the training and experience they need to rise to a professional level and build a body of original work. The New York Film Academy’s conservatory is unique because we believe in “learning by doing.” That defines everything we do, and our hands-on instruction helps our students learn to handle the real-world challenges of their chosen industry, whether that’s a working film set, an animation studio, a photography studio, or a Broadway stage. In one or two years at NYFA, students complete more training in less time through an intensive, project-based curriculum crafted to prepare professionals for the real world.

Hands-On Learning

Starting on day one, we put our conservatory students in real-world situations, whether that’s behind the camera, in front of the camera, or working with software to create their own digital works of art. Learning hands-on challenges our students to learn to think on their feet, adapt and problem solve — all skills that are essential for work in the arts. Collaborative projects allow our students to work together, build a strong network, and learn to see their chosen craft from every angle.

Industry Teachers

Our students learn from a faculty of working professionals who are still active in their fields. This means that our instructors offer a direct line to the heartbeat of current industry trends and provide vital insight to the business side of the professional arts.

Incredible Locations

If you’re excited about the idea of spending a year or two changing your life through one of NYFA’s conservatory programs, check out our campus locations:

NYFA New York

If you are looking for a sense of adventure, choose a conservatory program at NYFA New York City. Our campuses at 17 Battery Place and 26 Broadway place students in the heart of one of the world’s most diverse cities, the home of independent film, the proving ground for actors, and the theatre capital of the world. For the artistic soul, New York City is alive with unimaginable hope and inspiration, and students will recognize the setting of many beloved films and television series shot in the city, from “The Godfather,” “Ghostbusters,” “Taxi Driver” and “Do the Right Thing” to “Madmen,” “Broad City,” and “30 Rock.”

NYFA Los Angeles

NYFA Los Angeles is in the heart of Hollywood, the birthplace of American cinema and the heart of the film industry. From the sunny and inspiring city to the nearby beaches and mountains, students are in the perfect place to create their own original projects in the same city that served as the location for countless classic and contemporary films and television shows, from “Sunset Boulevard,” “The Graduate,” “Tangerine,” and “Nightcrawler” to “Star Trek,” “Game of Thrones,” and “Broke Girls.” And NYFA students have unique entertainment industry opportunities, such as working on the prestigious Universal Studios backlot and in Warner Brothers facilities. 

NYFA South Beach

“The Gateway of the Americas,” Miami is a city of diverse culture, sun, and energy, with gleaming white beaches, turquoise ocean waters, a beautiful Art Deco district, and a famed nightlife and restaurant scene that draws visitors, artists, and industry leaders from around the world. Located in the heart of the gorgeous South Beach neighborhood of Miami, NYFA South Beach offers conservatory students the opportunity to make art while exploring one of the most vibrant cities in the U.S. Miami has served as the location for many major films and television shows, including “Scarface,” “The Birdcage,” “Jane the Virgin,” and 2016’s Academy Award-winning film for Best Picture, “Moonlight.”

NYFA Australia

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The New York Film Academy Australia has two campuses, in Sydney and Gold Coast, where conservatory students can can attain their CUA60615 – Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media or CUA51015 – Diploma of Screen and Media.

NYFA Australia: Gold Coast

Our Gold Coast (Queensland) campus is located in a state-of-the-art facility in Southport, directly across from the Gold Coast Broadwater with a popular waterfront promenade, large estuary and attractive parklands. We also have our own production studios on-site at the renowned Village Roadshow Studios, where our students have the opportunity to do their production work in the backlot, the filming location of international blockbusters including “San Andreas,” “Unbroken,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” “The Shallows,” “Kong: Skull Island,” and “Thor: Ragnarok,” among many others.

NYFA Australia: Sydney

Australia’s largest and most famous city, Sydney is considered the jewel of the Southern Hemisphere, with one of the most beautiful harbors, great surf beaches, a magnificent opera house, and an eclectic film and music scene that adds to rich cultural environment. NYFA students have access to premier facilities and equipment and can create their own work throughout Sydney’s beautiful beaches, iconic buildings, historic landmarks, award-winning restaurants, and a uniquely vibrant culture. Sydney has served as the location for numerous blockbusters such as “The Great Gatsby,” “The Matrix,” “Stealth,” “Babe,” “Crocodile Dundee,” “Wolverine,” “Mad Max The Road Warrior,” and “Mission Impossible II.” 

Have you enrolled or completed one our conservatory programs? Let us know about your experience below! Learn more about our conservatory programs and continuing education at the New York Film Academy.

Apples And Angels: Acting In New York VS Acting In Los Angeles

Acting in New York vs Los Angeles

New York City and Los Angeles couldn’t be more different in terms of location and culture, but one thing they have is a thriving entertainment industry. Every year, thousands upon thousands of wannabe actors flock to the Big Apple and the City of Angels with dreams of fame and fortune. But too often actors move to a new market and find that they do not fit. So, how does an actor decide where to pursue their dreams? With a little planning and research the two major American entertainment hubs can be better understood and aspiring actors can make the right choice for them.

The City That Never Sleeps

Broadway is the one thing that comes to mind when actor’s think of New York City, and the pursuit of a theater career is the number one reason that an actor should move to New York. There are currently 40 theaters operating on Broadway alone, with hundreds more off Broadway and in neighboring boroughs.

Beyond the plentiful opportunities in theater, NYC has grown into a substantial TV market with 20+ TV shows filmed in the city. One important note about the shows filming in New York is that they tend to be dramas, think Boardwalk Empire or Law and Order: SVU. This is where knowing your type before a move is important. If you are a sitcom actor, maybe New York is not the best place to move.

Climate and culture is equally as important to consider as acting opportunities because to be successful, an actor must be comfortable with their surroundings. New York has a climate that varies widely from hot and humid summers to frigid cold winters. Besides the drastic climate, rent prices in the city should be considered. According to Rent Jungle, a one bedroom apartment in New York averages over $3,000 per month.

On the plus side, New York has some of the finest training for actors such as The New York Film Academy, The Actor’s Studio, and New York University. In addition, the compact nature of the city means that actors can walk or ride public transport to most auditions and meetings.

Why New York:

  • Incredible Theater
  • TV Dramas
  • Awesome Schools like New York Film Academy
  • No Car required
  • East coast vibe
  • Cooler climate


On one hand you have beaches and sunshine, on the other you have smog and traffic. Undoubtedly, Los Angles is the epicenter of the world for television and film production. All the major studios and networks (Universal, Disney, Paramount, Fox, etc.) are located in the sprawling city. Which brings up a major cultural difference, in LA a working actor has to own a car.

Personal transportation is also important when it comes to audition because, in contrast to New York, LA has dozens of casting directors scattered all over the hills and valleys. Of course, outside of film and television, LA does have a large theater community as well. Los Angles theater is respected and innovative, but understandably will always operate in the shadow of Hollywood.

For practical consideration, Rent Jungle lists the average monthly rent for a one bedroom apartment in LA at $2,000, significantly cheaper than New York. Also, the difference in climate is obvious. Los Angles has a relatively stable, Mediterranean climate with temperatures in the 70’s year-round.

Finally, although LA has a more laid back atmosphere, it still offers plenty of fine training grounds.

Why Los Angeles:

  • Unrivaled Film and Television
  • Film training and NYFA Campus
  • Warm weather
  • More relaxed lifestyle
  • Sitcoms!

The New Guys

Outside of the traditional two entertainment giants, smaller cities around the country are making a name for themselves in film and theater. Atlanta, Austin, Portland, Miami, and New Orleans all offer film incentive programs that are drawing large Hollywood productions. Recent films and TV shows that have shot in these cities include BallersWild, 21 Jump Street, and The Walking Dead.

Impressively, smaller markets offer advantages of their own. For instance, SAG-AFTRA cards are easier to earn, there is less competition for roles, and the cost of living is much lower. If New York and LA aren’t right for you at the moment, consider the other locales that might be more feasible.

New York City and Los Angeles, California will always reign supreme as the dream destinations for actors. However, acting opportunities exist all around the country, so all actors can pursue their careers with gusto no matter where they live. Perhaps someday, after careful consideration and planning, your Hollywood or Broadway dreams will become reality.

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Los Angeles Amazigh Film Festival

LAAFFIn support of the indigenous people of North Africa, the Tazzla Institute for Cultural Diversity is holding its 6th annual Los Angeles Amazigh Film Festival on Saturday, December 6, from 2:30 pm to 7:30pm at the Wells Fargo Theater.

Tickets are available on their web site www.laaff.org for $15.00 each, and at the door the day of the event for $20.00.

This year’s festival will offer the West Coast premieres of three award-winning documentaries regarding Morocco. Two of the films are directed by well known producer, Izza Genini (Vibrations in the High Atlas and Nuptials in the Middle Atlas). LAAFF will also salute the work of Dounia Benjelloun (Sand Hill Production, Casablanca and New York), who has contributed each year to this festival, by showing her award-winning 2012 documentary Palm Grove School. In addition, the program will feature the very special documentary created by Dr. Wassim Korbi, recipient of several awards, called Azul (Tunisia).

Among the attendees, LAAFF will be honored by the presence of Moroccan producer, Mr. Ahmed Baidou, who will present a short on the city of Agadir, which was devastated by a 1960 earthquake. He will also be screening his latest feature film, Aghrabou (the Boat), which won the Best Film Award at last year’s festival.

“We have selected visual productions of quality to illustrate the Amazigh (Berber) culture of North Africa in its wealth and variety. All presentations are subtitled in English. We hope you will join us for an afternoon of good films, and good cheer.” – LAAFF

This event is primarily sponsored by the BMCE Fondation of Morocco, and by A.C.A.A., Amazigh Cultural Association in America.

The United Film Festival Los Angeles

United Film Fest

The United Film Festival Los Angeles will be returning to the City of Angels for its 7th year at the Los Feliz 3 from September 5th through the 11th. The festival will be screening great independent films, both features and shorts, and a midnight screening of their cult classic documentary, The Rock- afire Explosion.

Selections include:

  • Live-In Fear on Friday, September 5th at 9:30pm (In order to escape the anxieties and fears of their normal lives, four emotionally distant friends travel to the Utah mountains to try and reconnect but it only ends up driving them further apart. They soon find the world coming down on them as they must face their fears and a deranged cult hell-bent on waking something ancient and evil up from a thousand years of sleep.)
  • Chasing Notes on Saturday, September 6th at 7:00pm, (The first documentary of its kind – focusing on the real-life challenges and demands faced by film composers who apply their craft in an intensely competitive field. Broader than that, however, it captures the spirit of chasing one’s dreams, which is an aspect of life that everyone can relate to. This film will allow you to meet the personalities of those who write the music we love in our movies, showing you a human side of an overlooked industry. As you get to know the key players of film composing, and hear their widely entertaining (and at times painful) tales of experience, you will also witness the emotional journey of an emerging composer attempting to break through into the industry at all costs. Capturing the very essence of the independent spirit, Chasing Notes shares candid stories intertwined with behind-the- scenes access about what it’s really like to be a composer in Hollywood today, and how some will brake for nothing to succeed at it.)
  • Legend of the Red Reaper on Sunday, September 7th at 6:30pm (For a thousand years, the Reapers guarded mankind from the demons that wait in the dark. Now, at the beginning of a new age, the Reapers are betrayed and slaughtered. Only one Reaper remains – Red, and she’s out to exact revenge.)
  • Echoes on Tuesday, September 9th at 7:00pm (Struggling with horrifying, sleep-paralysis induced visions, a young writer retreats with her boyfriend to an isolated desert house. As the visions intensify, she finds herself on the verge of losing her mind…or uncovering a life-threatening secret.)
  • Furthest From The Wild on Wednesday, September 10th at 7:00pm (Chronicling the many struggles that non-profit animal sanctuaries must face, Furthest From the Wild is a window into the world of captive animals. It offers a unique look at the lives of those who care for beautiful, and at times, dangerous creatures.)

Jason Connell is the founder and director of the United Film Festival, which started in Tulsa in 2002 and then spread to Los Angeles & New York in 2007 and next to San Francisco, Chicago & London in 2009. The festivals have a rich tradition of screening exceptional independent films and have gained a respectable reputation in only a few years time. Connell’s distribution division, the appropriately named United Films, has grown rapidly and now represents an impressive and constantly expanding library of independent films.

If you’d like to check out the full schedule or buy tickets, visit: theunitedfest.com/LosAngeles!

NOTE: Tickets for most screenings are $10, with the only exception being the midnight screening, which is 2 for $10.

Best Film Locations In Los Angeles

As Los Angeles is the country’s leading hub for movie and television production, the city’s many neighborhoods and attractions have appeared in countless films and shows. It’s hardly an understatement that for many first-time visitors, exploring Los Angeles can feel very much like traveling through a real-life movie. With so many unique areas to film, we’ve put together a list highlighting some of LA’s more notable film locations. Before you get started on your next filmmaking project in the city, be sure to check out Los Angeles County’s policy regarding film permits to ensure your production goes off without a hitch.


The East Gate opening up to Chinatown in Los Angeles

The first modern American Chinatown, Los Angeles’ Chinatown Central Plaza was opened on June 25, 1938, becoming one of the country’s original open malls, with the iconic East Gate being completed in 1939. The area is composed of buildings that combine American and Chinese styles to create a unique location that has served as the backdrop for such films as Chinatown, Rush Hour, and Lethal Weapon 4. While many of the area’s Chinese population has relocated to other areas of Los Angeles, this one-of-a-kind commercial center is still a leading bastion for Chinese culture, food, and music.

Santa Monica Pier

The ferris wheel and attractions at the Santa Monica Pier

Originally opened in 1909 following a year of construction, the Santa Monica Pier has been attracting locals and tourists alike for over a century. Boasting Pacific Park, which is a family amusement park and has a sizable Ferris Wheel, a carousel from the 1920s, the Santa Monica Pier Aquariums, stores, street entertainers, restaurants, and a number of other popular local businesses, the pier offers countless scenic locales that have appeared in such notable movies as The Sting, Beverly Hills Cop III, Funny Girl, Forrest Gump, and They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? Also, if you’re looking to get some fishing done in between takes, the end of the pier is a popular spot for fishers. With an annual visitor rate of over four million people visiting the pier every year, there is countless opportunities for filmmakers to find extras and interesting characters for their projects.

Beverly Hills Hotel

The iconic exterior of the Beverly Hills Hotel

On May 12, 1912, Margaret J. Anderson and her son, Stanley S. Anderson, opened The Beverly Hills Hotel. After unsuccessful attempts had been made to drill for oil, water was found. With that discovery, Burton Green formed the Rodeo Land and Water Company. He announced plans to build a city with large lots of curved, tree-lined streets. But Green needed a special attraction to set his city above all the other housing developments sprouting up around Southern California at the turn of the century.

A grand hotel was envisioned, and Green persuaded the Andersons of Hollywood Hotel fame to come and build their dream. Against all advice, they left their secure surroundings in Hollywood and came to the undeveloped area that was later to become the city of Beverly Hills, literally built around the new hotel. Over the course of the century, the hotel became a popular destination for celebrities and royalty, with such famous guests including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Howard Hughes, John Wayne, and many others. It was also featured on the cover of the Eagles’ famous Hotel CaliforniaLP and in such movies as The Way We Were, Shampoo, California Suite, and American Gigolo.

City Hall

The exterior of Los Angeles City Hall

The tallest base isolated structure in the world, Los Angeles City Hall serves as the center of government for Los Angeles and is where the mayor’s office is located alongside the meeting chamber for the Los Angeles City Council. Designed by John Parkinson, John C. Austin, and Albert C. Martin, Sr. and completed in 1928, the building’s singular art deco-inspired style would help to inspire the design of other notable buildings in downtown Los Angeles, such as the Los Angeles Public Library.

The building’s iconic status as both an architectural and cultural landmark has only grown over time as it has served as the backdrop for countless classic movies and TV series, appearing as the Daily Planet building in the Adventures of Superman, Dragnet, Adam-12, the 1953 version of War of the Worlds, Perry Mason, and countless other productions. If you’re looking to give your production a classic LA feel, the City Hall is a perfect location for filming.

Griffith Observatory

 Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California

Made famous to cinephiles the world over due to its appearance in the classic James Dean film Rebel Without a Cause, the Griffith Observatory opened in 1935 after Colonel Griffith J. Griffith gifted the city with the 3,015 acres upon which the observatory would be built. The observatory was unique from its inception as Griffith had made it a stated goal of making observatories open to the public at a time when they were primarily used solely by scientists. As such, the observatory remains free to the general public.

Located on Mount Hollywood, the facility and its surrounding park offer visitors and filmmakers an extraordinary view of the Los Angeles Basin, which includes downtown, Hollywood, and the Pacific Ocean. Some of the famous films that have used the location include Flash Gordon, The Terminator, The Rocketeer, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Yes Man, and Terminator Salvation.

Millenium Biltmore Hotel

The entryway of the Millenium Biltmore Hotel

The Millennium Biltmore in Los Angeles, California opened in 1923 and at the time was the largest hotel west of Chicago and designed by architects Schultze & Weaver. Originally named the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel, it was made a Historic-Cultural Monument in 1969. Its interior is extremely ornate with frescos and murals, marble fountains and columns, and bronze stairwells and doorways.

The hotel’s lobby was featured in the movie Ghostbusters, as the fictional Sedgewick Hotel. It also served as an early location for the Academy Award Ceremony when the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences was founded at a luncheon banquet at the hotel’s famous Crystal Ballroom in May 1927. It was the nerve center of the 1960 Democratic National Convention; headquarters of the Democratic National Committee and housed TV networks and candidates including John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Adlai E. Stevenson. Movies that have been shot at the hotel include Vertigo, Chinatown, and Beverly Hills Cop.

San Fernando Mission

The exterior of the San Fernando Mission in Los Angeles

Based in the Mission Hills district of Los Angeles, the Mission San Fernando Rey de España was established by Father Fermín Lasuén on September 8, 1797. The fourth such mission he had built in as many months, Lasuén had chosen the location due to its accessibility and the mission served to both spread the Christian message and establish a Spanish colony in the United States.

Over the course of the next two centuries, the San Fernando Mission became a fixture of the Los Angeles landscape, being sold and re-sold multiple times and operating as a train station, a warehouse, and even a hog farm at one point. In 1971, the San Fernando earthquake caused enough damage to the mission that the city had to re-build it completely.

With the birth of the film and television industries, the San Fernando mission appeared increasingly on movie and TV screens in such productions as Dragnet, Knight Rider, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, and Incredible Hulk, making it a perfect location to capture a slice of historic Los Angeles.

Queen Mary

The Queen Mary in the Long Beach port

Originally constructed as an ocean liner that traversed the North Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967 by the Scottish business John Brown & Company, the Queen Mary was designed to compete with the superliners that were being built by German and French companies is the 1920s and 30s. During World War II, the Queen Mary was transformed into a troopship that carried Allied soldiers before returning to commercial service following the war.

By 1967, although the Queen Mary was one of the most popular ocean liners, as it was losing money it was ultimately retired that year, where it was sailed to the port at Long Beach, California and has remained since then. Over the past four decades, the ship has become a nexus of commercial activity as restaurants, a museum, and a hotel, which helped to earn the ship its place on the National Register of Historic Places. Since its retirement, it has served as a location in such films as The Poseidon Adventure, Death Cruise, Chaplin, and Pearl Harbor.

Greystone Mansion

The exterior of Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills

The largest home ever built in Beverly Hills, Greystone mansion was built by famed oil-tycoon Edward Doheny in 1928, as a gift to his son Ned. With over 46,000 square feet of living space, it cost more than $4 million to build in 1928. Many people hail this massive home as one of the grandest mansions on the West coast.

Shortly after the house was built, there occurred a legendary controversy wherein Ned and his secretary died of a murder-suicide. Ned’s family remained in the house until 1955 and its new owner nearly demolished the home until the neighborhood of Beverly Hills stepped in and purchased the mansion, leasing it to the American Film Institute from 1965 to 1982, wherein countless films and television shows were and continue to be shot. Now a public park, every summer Catskills West holds a play in the pool area entitled The Manor. Some of the many films and shows to be shot in and around the mansion include The Big Lebowski, The Bodyguard, Alias, The Muppets, Spider-Man, and There Will Be Blood.

Union Station

The interior of Union Station Los Angeles

Built and opened in 1939, Union Station is known by many as the “Last of the Great Railway Stations” to be constructed in the US, serving trains from the Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, and Santa Fe Railways. Partially designed by John and Donald B. Parkinson—the father and son duo who were also responsible for Los Angeles City Hall—the station itself was an amalgamation of different styles that included Dutch Colonial Revival and Mission Revival. As such, it has served as an iconic film location for movies that include Catch Me If You Can, Blade Runner, Speed, and Star Trek: First Contact.