New York Film Academy

Is film school worth it? I'm taking the plunge to find out.

Location: studio city, ca

Aspiring film-maker...

Thursday, October 28, 2004

One LONG week

Since I last updated I've been away from the school. We are now working on our last project on 16mm film :( . Which is a bummer because I fell in love with it. The feeling of having your movie in your hands in film format feels great, instead of just holding a DV tape or something. That probably sounds weird...I know.

Our last 16mm film project is suppose to be about 5-10 minutes long. We have a crew of three at the moment and got two projects done, working on the last one tomorrow. The first project was about a blind man who gets his sight back and realizes the world is shit...My film is an MKUltra game about a man secluded in his apartment (don't know what mkultra is? google it...good shit). The next project we will work on is Stevens, which is a cool action packed movie...with kickass martial arts, can't wait.

That's about it, we have no classes, but we have to film these long shorts in one week.

GRAND THEFT AUTO: SAN ANDREAS kicks your mother fuckin ass nigga!

Monday, October 18, 2004

George Lucas...

We didn't have class today. Like I mentioned in my early entries, we have to focus on our ten minute film, go through pre-production, production...and post.

I just wrote the first draft of my 8 week screenplay, it ended up being about 6 pages dialogue.

Anyways, I watched alot of documentaries that evolved around George Lucas. I didn't know this man was the shit. I watched an hour documentary on the THX-1138 DVD. Very aspiring, if your a up and coming filmmaker like myself, do yourself a favor and watch it.

Also watch the documentaries on the Star Wars DVDs. Everyone around George thought he was being fuckin ridiculous while making Star Wars, they didn't see the vision that he obviously saw...they just saw plastic toy spaceships and a harry animal with a british accent. The documentary is about 2hr 30min, and is great. I had no clue Lucas had such an effect on so many film directors today (I thought it was just fanboys), like Peter Jackson, James Cameron...Ridley Scott etc etc. Good stuff. I got more respect for the man then I have ever had before.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Week 4

Day 17

Another editing class, our teacher is awesome. Once again we just practiced editing to music, distorting it, etc etc. This is a long process, and can be tedious...

We had a screenwriting class, unfortanetly I can't remember what we learned. I'm updating this journal pretty late, and it happened last week. Sorry, heh...

I edited my production workshop about a grim reaper stalker that I filmed last weekend at the western set. Most of the footage besides one take came out good...

Day 18
Another editing class with music. They gave us a clip of a James Cameron documentary about Titanic, they made us edit that clip to various pieces of music so we can see which fits better, then gave us footage on us dubbing the dialogue to sync with the voices.

Directing class. We were getting prepared for our big 8 week project. 8 week project is a film the students do and is due on the 8th week of there start date. You go and make a film over everything you learned, continuity, mise-en-scene, montages etc, and make one with a convincing/entertaining story that last 7-10 minutes. They give each crew member 3 days to film (instead of half a day like our 1-4 min shorts we've been doing every weekend). We pretty much get about two weeks "off" from class, we have classes sporadically (?) throughout the two weeks, but it's mainly for pre-production, production and post only.

DAY 19
We began editing our music films we did over the weekend. Which is a pain in the ass honestly. It's sooooooo fucking time consuming, everytime I get one of my cuts on beat with my music I'll have to take a 10 minute break...hah. In the four hours we had I got about a minute done of footage...out of 4 minutes...and my one minute still had to be cut smoother. Damn...

We screened our Production workshops that we did at the western set. Talked about what could of been better...and what we did better, etc etc.

More editing of the damn music video. But I got the hang of Final Cut and it went alot smoother, I actually got the whole thing done...and it looked great. 'Dissolves' can be your best friend in editing sometimes :).

Day 20
There was another 9-1 slot for editing, but since I already got my music montage done (and alot of people did also), I just slept in. I got a call from my school around 10 saying they cancelled the producing class for the day, bumma. So this was the first day since I've been in L.A. that I didn't have to go to school, or film anything. I was free of reels and fstops and focus pulling for one sweet day. So what did I do? Nothing really actually, I went and bought tickets to see SAW for next Thursday, the director and actor will be there. I then watched all three Star Wars DVDs. I think I'm the only person in the world who doesn't mind the changed ending to Episode 6, I think it works fine, Vadar isn't a menacing villian anymore, so it's koo that they have him appear as he was when he was a nice boy...heh. I then attempted to watch THX-1138, sticking to my Lucas...but man, I fell asleep around the 40minute mark. Cool concept and plot, but SOMETHING needs to happen, I'll try watching the rest tonight...

DAY 21
Cinematographer class. We messed with Dollies, and we learned how to shoot a fight scene effectively and with continuity, fun times.

We screened our music videos/montage. Everyone in the class did a bang up job, I'm proud of them. This was our last day with our Directing teacher (he's gonna turn into our writing teacher next...weird how they do that).

After class about 13/16 students all decided to get together and rent a cabin by the lake, in a area in California called Big Bear or something. We rented a badass looking 3-room cabin, we all split the price 13 ways, got tons of marijuana (i dont smoke personally, but don't mind if others do), alcohol (I definetly do that!) and just had a blast. We took a swim in the cold fucking lake, the hot tub that was inside our cabin, and just got drunk, playing movie sharades while drunk is the shit. Especially if your around nothing but film students that devote that want to devote there life to film. No one could get my sharade of Labyrinth though, bastards...

This is our first real weekend off, our teachers told us to start screenwriting our 8 week 10 minute film, but other then that we had nothing to film this weekend. So it was nice to relax at the cabin, get drunk...have a ball. Everyone in our class likes each other, we all get along good (which trust me, makes filming much....MUCH easier to do).

Next week I start working on my 8 week film. It's our final film of the non-synch type, meaning telling a story with no dialogue. I'm working on a 10 minute short that takes pieces of Silent Hill 4, mixed in with the beginning of the japanese movie Oldboy. I'm hoping it comes out good, because the last 3 films I did, I just filmed to learn the basics...this one I'm gonna put all my effort in, and since I have 3 days instead of 6 hours to better be good. Cya...


Over the weekend we shot 3 films, it had to be either a music video, or a montage of footage that cuts to music emotionally. I did mine, which was a comedy to the song of "I want Candy" by the Bangles I think, and I had some samples from 'Puff the Magic Dragon', another crew member did a song off the Matrix, and the third didn't get his done because of camera problems and whatnot. Bumma...

Thursday, October 07, 2004


Day 12.

Class actually started at about 2pm today. The teachers wanted us to have class at pitch black night time so we can practice lighting for outside. So from 2-5 we had our producing class, which is awesome. The students got together and had our last Producer teacher fired, for giving us more information on lighting and editing...and nothing to do with Producing. From 6-10 we had a lighting class for lighting outside, which can be a pain in the ass...or extremely easy, ahh...

Day 13

10-1. Writing class. I can't remember exactly what we learned (few days ago), but it had something to do with keeping a solid pace on your screenplay, and always have conflicting events. 2-5 was a directing class, we just looked at what we went over last Thursday at the Spartacus set and talked about what were doing this weekend, which is a music video and montages.

Day 14

Biggest day of my life. I'll get this out the way first; we shot on a western backlot (back to the future III). Okay, I was the director...yada yada, I filmed a chase scene. Good stuff. Now heres the real meat, they blocked off another shoot that was going on. They had signs and shit detouring people if they got to far off the limits. Me being so fucking ambitious (and stupid...maybe?). Well, when the lunch truck came, I "accidently" forgot to unload my film from my camera on time, so everyone had to leave for the lunch truck and I had to stay and get my film in can. I watched as everyone left and was out of sight. I took a stupid orange cone and put it to the side and walked straight off the lot for a good 10 minutes...eventually I was on another set, which didn't look familiar. I walked a little bit more and saw a sign for War of the Worlds. I was tooo fucking excited...but nervous and scared. I walked a bit more and noticed a panavision camera on a electric dolly. I went around a corner and just leaned up against a wall. Eventually I saw the same Panavision camera and about 10 people around it, they were about 50 feet away from me...not far at all, they were shooting at the opposite direction so no one noticed me. Then I saw Steven Spielberg, my heart stopped beating and I instantly started to sweat. He pointed around my direction and some guy came running over my way...I was scared shitless. He stopped a few feet ahead of me and picked up some little small prop and ran back, I said to the guy "I can get that for you", he ignored me.

So I didn't want to ruin my experience and walk any further so I stayed put as they were setting shit up. They brought out a HUUUUUUUGE fucking crane which had cars attached to them (about 8), they then had about 10 extras with torn up clothing and looking beat the fuck up come out. A good 5 minutes later they were set. Stevens assistant director (I assume), yelled out a few lines and kneeled and said something to Steven (and by the way, Spielbergs universal cart is sweeeet...has a picture of Teddy from A.I. and golden wheels, very cool). Steven said something, then yelled heart skipped a few beats and scared me shitless. They had the cranes moving slowly, and the extras moving fast and then they dropped the cars near the extras...looked VEEEERRRY sweet. Then the sides of the buildings crumbled slowly, I'm sure they'll had in lasers or something in post-production.

A security guard came and stood right next to me. He looked me up and down, I said "My na..." before he cut me off and motioned "be quiet on set" to me. When Spielberg yelled cut, he said "I need to see some I.D.", I gave him my Universal Lot I.D., but the problem has a green line on top, and only people that are allowed on set are ones with Red lines. He was cool, he let me watch for another minute, I asked him if I could watch closer..."no way in hell, I can arrest you for trespassing right now, but you're being quiet and calm so it's fine", he said he has seen most people sneak on set and act a fool. Eventually he said I had to go back to my class and I did. But that made my day, watching my favorite director shoot an action scene was surreal. Very cool...can't wait for next weeks Production Workshop :)

Day 15

9-12 We had our last class for awhile with our acting teacher, he gave us more pointers and tips on how to treat actors during and outside of shooting. From 1-4 we screened our films we shot last weekend and discussed them. Slow day, but the weekend gets rough...

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Week 3

DAY 11

10-1. We had editing class. We learned how to cut audio files with film, and making it go in sync. This is harder then I thought actually, but pretty fun and time consuming. We had to cut a african-sahara-animal movie and make it fit in with the music. 2-5 was screenplay class, focusing on 3 act structures and what it means. I've been pretty big on writing screenplays so I pretty much knew everything he was teaching, but still informative.

Week 2

DAY 8 September 29th

We had a producing class which was bullshit. It was from 10-1, our Producing teacher sucks, honestly. Matter of fact he didn't teach us producing at all, he went over all the shit we learned in our Cinematography class and Directing class, very boring. The students all agreed and we put together a petition. We then had the head of staff talk to the students, and a few days later he was fired...ouch. It may sound mean, but we're all paying a shitload of money to go to the school, we don't need teachers that can't teach so they bullshit they're way through by teaching us what we already learned. 2-5 we had our director teacher, he gave us some fundamentals on directing continuity, aka cutting various shots together, the 180 rule...over the shoulder - eye lining etc. 5-9 we had editing class, which just made our skills better at Final Cut Pro HD.

DAY 9 September 30th.

We went on the set of Spartacus, The Scorpion King and Princess Diaries 2. We met up with the actors and got to experience more with camera work, continuity and directing actors. That was all day, 9-6.

Day 10 October 1st.

9-12. Today was more of a watch the shit we shot, while we chill back and the teacher tells us what we could of done better, and what we did totally wrong. We screened the stuff we filmed on the universal sets last week. 1-4, we did the same thing, but we screened the stuff we shot over the last weekend.


Sat-Sun. All 3 of my crew members (including myself) all had to direct a film for continuity, atleast with 3 cuts or more. Everything went fine, we all decided on a horror angle, so it was fun.