New York Film Academy

Why I Think New York Film Academy Is a Questionable Investment

New York Film Academy charges up to $15,000 or more per semester for their filmmaking programs. But is that investment worth it? New York Film Academy appears to spend a hefty amount of its revenue on advertising. New York Film Academy posters and billboards are plastered over many major cities on bus stops, etc. But what about the quality of instruction they provide for the price?

What Do You Think of New York Film Academy Student Films?

Check out this short film shot at New York Film Academy, according to the Youtube credits:

Do you really think you couldn’t make a movie like that using your own video equipment and some friends? You decide. Seriously. Meanwhile, this is a short video shot by a film school drop out who got paid by TBS to shoot it a few years ago. His name is Peter Atencio, and his latest project was a feature film called “The Rig”. Check out this short called “The Freeloader’s guide to easy living.” (Explicit language, great filmmaking).

Pete told me he went to a film school similar to New York Film Academy in Colorado. After two days, he and his friend couldn’t believe what nonsense there was. He dropped out, bought his own Panasonic DVX100 with a quarter of his tuition, taught himself how to shoot, and has been shooting stuff in LA ever since. (This video was shot with his own camera and SOME CRAPPY LIGHTS in about 2 days!) Make sure to check out the “action movie” that starts at about 2:55.

Pete isn’t specially trained, he taught himself, and YOU CAN TOO!

New York Film Academy, NYU, USC: Black and Student Film White Films

Another thing you should know about New York Film Academy, like NYU… is that if you enter one of the film programs you are going to be shooting black and white silent movies like this one (which is actually kind of funny, as it spoofs what it is like to go to a place like New York Film Academy):

Students at NYFA and other film schools are still using ArriS 16mm film cameras. These cameras cost $150 a day or so to rent at nearby facilities in Queens in Brooklyn. But they haven’t been used in the industry for many years, which is why I consider them to be outdated filmmaking equipment.

It’s great fun to use black and white film to shoot a movie, but why are people paying thousands of dollars to do it? Make sure to check out my article on how to make a cheap 16mm black and white film how they do in film schools. (The same article, or a variation therof, was featured on the popular blog completely with comments from other filmmakers about the quality of these student films). You can find that article by clicking here. You can rent an old camera (which they don’t make any more) and buy film stock, learn to shoot it in about 5 minutes, shoot it, and have it developed, then edit it on your Mac like they do at New York Film Academy and boom… you’re done.

According to NYFA’s website they have you do about 5 short black and white films with some variations of voiceover or music tracks, but no synch speaking. This is a fun exercise, but is it really worth $15,000 a semester? That’s up to you.

Evan Meszaros was in a film school, but dropped out when he realized it was smarter to just start working in the business. This is a clip from his first feature “Windcroft”, which has won many awards at various film festivals:

For some reason the entire MOVIE is available on youtube right now on Youtube. You can watch it here:

We did an exclusive interview with Evan and asked him why he dropped out of film school, and why he recommends students at places like New York Film Academy save their money and just start making movies. You can hear the entire interview along with much more inside film school secrets.

A Final thought on New York Film Academy

You’ve probably never heard of Evan or Pete either, but they are both working directors who don’t owe a penny to a film school, and learned their craft faster, smarter, and cheaper without it. Before you sign up for New York Academy and agree to pay them thousands of dollars, examine the course load and equipment closely and ask yourself: why couldn’t I buy this stuff and teach myself? Networking and learning filmmaking is as easy as hopping on the internet.

One comment

  1. Hi,

    Your article confirms what I have been suspecting for some time. However, do you have any views on what might be a good alternative? I have heard USC is a great place to study film, but I have also heard it is nearly impossible to get into.

    I also realize you can make movies without going to film school, but I feel like some initial training (even just a summer camp) would really give me some momentum.

    Anyway, I would really appreciate it if you could suggest some realistic alternatives to NYFA.

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