Are you an aspiring actress or actor hoping to someday receive an Academy Award nomination? Perhaps you will get lucky and be discovered while sipping a Big Gulp on a drugstore counter stool. That did work for a famous movie star “back-in-the-day,” even though I don’t think she was drinking a Big Gulp.
Many “hopefuls” engage in theatre activities or classes available at school or in the community, as well as pursue summer enrichment opportunities. The next plan, unless an extraordinary offer is received before high school graduation, is to consider postsecondary studies in film and/or acting. My last article, Westward Bound!! Los Angeles Colleges, featured comprehensive four-year institutions with reputable theatre, film and television programs. A week later from that tour, I returned to Los Angeles to visit the New York Film Academy’s California campus. I consider it be a viable option for an enthusiastic film and acting candidate.
Now your first thought is probably, “Why isn’t the Academy in New York?” There are two locations for the New York Film Academy. The New York City campuses are located in Union Square and SoHo; I will be visiting them in May. However, in mid-February I had the pleasurable experience of touring the West Coast site in Los Angeles, California, located on the backlot at Universal Studios. There is a branch campus in Abu Dhabi, UAE, as well as other locations with short-term programs and workshops.
A distinct feature of NYFA, as compared to the comprehensive programs, is that students are immediately immersed in the creative atmosphere of the curriculum with “hands-on” experience. The concentrations for the Associate of Fine Arts include Producing, Screenwriting, Acting for Film, Filmmaking, and Game Design. The Bachelor of Fine Arts options are Filmmaking, Acting for Film, Screenwriting, Animation, Game Design, and General Education. And, if your passion extends to the advanced studies, the Master of Fine Arts offers areas such as Photography, Cinematography, Documentary, Screenwriting, Producing, Filmmaking, Game Design, and Acting for Film. All programs are accredited.
A mission of NYFA is not only to create highly competent professionals, but also graduates, who possess good character and worthy attributes sought after by employers. There are internships and networking opportunities with professionals in the industry that are valuable perks for students. The Universal Studio campus also sponsors a summer enrichment program for high school students, as well as other locations. There are also special summer workshops for younger students, ages 10-13.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts program requires several general education classes. Students declare a major when admitted. Approximately 15-25% of the students are community college transfers and the remaining statistics represent matriculation directly from high school.
The Los Angeles/Universal Studio campus does not have residential dorms; however, NYFA housing can help students find an affordable residence, roommate(s), and other necessities. Since students spend a lot of time at the campus, and not their apartment, they don’t appear to be distressed about the arrangement.
There are 1200 students at the Burbank campus. The Academy offers talent scholarships and need-based grants. International students can receive financial awards. Tuition varies by program. Students are sole owners of all film(s) they make during the program. NYFA reserves the right to make copies of work for promotional purposes.
There is a rolling admission policy for all workshops and students are accepted until programs are filled. Successful applicants must have a high school diploma, or equivalent, and show proficiency in English. Requirements also include a letter of recommendation and a narrative statement. A creative portfolio is not mandatory but it could be an asset in the competitive process. As can be expected, NYFA is selective in their review; therefore, they are seeking applicants who are passionate about their studies, committed to challenging work, and motivated to be successful in order to attain a career in the industry.
NYFA is worthy of consideration for students eager to immediately embrace the curriculum and experiences of film and acting, without a desire to explore and combine other non-related majors or minors. Yet, there are some students with a passion for NYFA’s curriculum; however, they are still unsure about total commitment. And if so, that’s okay; that’s why a comprehensive college might be more desirable. Remember, that's why we, college planning specialists, recommend "right match and fit" as an important factor in your search.