New York Film Academy South Beach
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New York Film Academy Filmmaking
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Acting for Film


Degree Programs at the South Beach Campus



Acting for Film



Acting for Film

One-Year Filmmaking Program & Certificate in Miami

Photo by NYFA photography grad Luis Alvarez Photo by NYFA photography grad Alexandra Wolf Photo by NYFA photography grad Micah Foote

Overview of our 1-Year Filmmaking Program



The New York Film Academy in South Beach, Miami, offers a film school experience like no other. As part of the Academy’s philosophy of learning by doing, film students are behind the camera from day one and gain comprehensive filmmaking experience and knowledge at an accelerated rate, leaving the program with a fully-realized final project and extensive on-set experience. NYFA’s conservatory-style 1-Year Filmmaking Program is a total immersion, hands-on experience for students interested in gaining the all-around filmmaking exposure necessary to make their own films.

Based on an academic year, the intensive curriculum is divided into three semesters. Courses encompass all of the disciplines required to create unique short films, including directing, screenwriting, cinematography, editing, and working with actors. Emphasis is placed on using these skills immediately in productions of the students’ own creation, with each student both writing and directing several short films.

Throughout their year in the program, each film school student writes, shoots, directs, and edits eight films and works on 28 more. Students in the program receive over 1,000 hours of hands-on instruction and actual production experience as they utilize the New York Film Academy’s professional facilities and shoot projects with industry-standard equipment in HD, 16mm film, and 35mm film. All projects are edited digitally.


Our program is for people who have the passion and dedication to plunge into full-time filmmaking, and to commit themselves to a focused and demanding curriculum. The accelerated pace of the program necessitates that participants work with self-discipline, energy, and mutual respect.

As in all New York Film Academy filmmaking programs, the one-year course emphasizes hands-on learning. Film directing classes are not theoretical explorations; they are practical workshops designed to put students in the director's chair as quickly as possible, working with industry-standard equipment in premier facilities and locations. The New York Film Academy encourages students to take creative risks and find their own voices as visual artists.

By the time students complete their one-year film program they will have developed skills in all the filmmaking crafts, an enormous amount of production experience, eight films of their own, a one-year diploma, and an expanded awareness of themselves and others. Students' final films are celebrated in a school screening open to cast, crew, friends, family, and invited guests.


  • Write, direct, and edit films of increasing complexity and length including a master's thesis film.
    • Mise-en-scène In their first film project, students are introduced to mise-en- scène, or directing a shot to visually tell a story. Students create a dramatic moment and concentrate on the dynamics of the shot that will best express it. This project exposes how the relationship between the subject and the camera creates drama. Students design and shoot a scene that has a beginning, middle, and end, learning to pay close attention to the choice of lenses, distances, and angles.

      Since the story will be told within one long shot, the shot must be carefully staged to express as much as possible about the characters and their actions. Students learn to rehearse the shot for blocking of actors and camera until the scene works without needing to stop; only then should they roll camera. Students shoot their film in high definition video, then edit and screen their projects for critique and discussion.
    • Continuity Continuity is one of the fundamental principles of modern filmmaking. By making a “continuity film,” students learn both the way cuts can advance the story while sustaining the reality of the scene, and the difference between “film time” and “real time.” Students are challenged to make a film that maintains continuity in story, time, and space. The action in these films unfolds utilizing a variety of shots (10–15) in a continuous sequence (no jumps in time or action). In the continuity films, students must produce a clear, visual scene while maintaining the authenticity of the moment. Students write, direct, shoot, edit, and screen a film of up to three minutes. Students must thoroughly pre-plan and complete a series of essential pre-production elements including script, location scouting, shot list, floor plan, storyboarding, and schedule. \
    • Music & Montage Film The third project introduces students to the relationship between sound and film, as well as to narrative tools like montage and jump cuts. In this project, students are encouraged to explore a more personal form of visual storytelling. For this film, students choose a piece of music edit their images to work in concert with, or in counterpoint to, the music. Students should experiment with rhythm and pacing. Each student writes, directs, shoots, edits, and screens a film of up to four minutes. In addition to storyboards, students may use a still camera to plan their films to assist them in their choice of locations, angles, and lighting.
    • Quarter Film From the first week of the program, students begin developing their scripts in writing class for their fourth film.

      This fourth film is more ambitious in scope than the previous exercises. It builds upon the foundation of skills and knowledge gained in the first part of the semester. Students may use sound effects, music, voice-over, and ambient sound to help tell their stories. The final project may be 3-10 minutes in length, keeping in mind, “less is more.”

      Each student must complete a production book that includes the following:
          Statement of Objective: Idea of the film and stylistic approach in a concise statement.
          Scenario: Shooting script, storyboards, and floor plan.
          Analysis: Intention, realization, mistakes, crew work.

      Films may be of any genre, and can be narrative, documentary, or experimental.
    • The Subtext This project challenges students to explore the relationship between dialogue and dramatic action. It serves as the students’ first foray into directing a film with dialogue recorded on set. Students are provided with short dialogue-only scripts with no description of physical detail or action. The student director determines the "who, what, where, when, and why" of the story. Above all, each student director identifies the character objectives and dramatic beats of the scene.

      Students will find that these elements determine the meaning of the dialogue and should deepen their understanding of text versus subtext. When the finished projects are screened in class for critique, students will discover how different directorial interpretations of the same scene reveal the characters and the impact and meaning of the story.

    • POV Each shot in a film expresses a point-of-view, and in narrative film, the point-of-view changes often, sometimes with each new shot. For the most part, point-of-view — which is often called narrative stance — is largely invisible to the audience; though the accumulated effect of the changes profoundly affects the way the audience interprets any scene. Students will analyze different ways to create a point-of-view through visual means: the POV shot, shot size, eye-line, camera height, movement, over-the-shoulder shots, lighting, color, and contrast.

      The POV project teaches students to visually reinforce the dramatic point of view initiated in the screenplay. Students are given a short scene containing two characters with conflicting objectives. Each student will choose one of the characters to be the main character and then direct a short film using the visual tools explored in class to present the viewer with a clear and distinct point-of-view.
    • Semester One Film The semester one final film is a narrative digital film project of up to 10 minutes. This film should showcase all the lessons and techniques students learned in the first semester, emphasizing the Acting for Directors classes, production workshops, and individual exercises of the second quarter. Ideally, the semester one film should be a performance-driven film, with no more than three characters and one or two locations. However, students always have the option of shooting a documentary, music video, or experimental film for this project.
    • Year One Thesis Film This project is the culmination of the year’s work. Each student’s goal is to produce a fully realized short film that demonstrates his or her own artistic vision and point of view. Students work with larger crews and with more time allotted for pre-production, production, and post-production than the previous projects. Students prepare for this project with the assistance of all classes in the second semester — including the producing class, which is specifically designed to guide students through the pre-production of this project. Students must prepare detailed production books and receive a “green light” from the faculty to check out for their shoots. Each student can choose to shoot this film in one of three formats — high definition digital video, 16mm film or 35mm film.
  • 1-Year Miami Filmmaking Program: Additional Requirements

    • Perform key crew positions on your classmates' films including: cinematographer, gaffer, sound recordist, assistant director, and assistant camera.
    • Direct and edit a sync-sound narrative film of up to 15 minutes (HD, 16mm, or 35mm).
    • Participate as a crew member on fellow students’ films and group projects.
    • Shoot and edit scenes on 35mm film using Panavision cameras.


  • Learn the art and technique of visual storytelling including directing, cinematography, editing, and post-production sound design.
  • Learn the fundamentals of digital video production and digital editing.
  • Survey of the documentary format with focus on styles, techniques, and elements of storytelling.
  • Fundamental training in acting craft and directing actors.
  • Immersion in screenwriting craft.
  • Advanced filmmaking craft including directing, casting, producing, sync-sound production, color cinematography, editing, and sound design.
  • Learn fundamentals of 35mm and HD.
  • Gain the ability to work independently and collaboratively in a high-pressure creative environment.
  • Develop the skills to direct a short film of up to 15 minutes in length.
  • Acquire in-depth experience working as a director, producer, assistant director, director of photography, assistant cameraperson, gaffer, and grip on student productions.
  • Mastery of nonlinear digital editing.
  • Foundational knowledge of film history.
  • Knowledge and practical application of aesthetic film theory.


Beginning on day one, students participate in an intensive sequence of classes including Director’s Craft I, Camera & Lighting I, Digital Editing I, Production Workshop, and Screenwriting I. They extend and deepen their in-class learning by producing their own short 16mm films.

Throughout their time in the 1-year filmmaking program students will work in crews of three or four. Each student writes, produces, directs and edits film projects of increasing complexity. In addition, each student fulfills the essential roles of director of photography, assistant camera operator, and gaffer (lighting technician) on the films of her/his crew members. Thus, everyone has the extensive hands-on experience of working on multiple short films while also building a strong foundation of analytical and academic knowledge.

Students’ project work is grounded in classes that ensure a deep analytical and theoretical knowledge of the filmmaking arts. Students conduct in-depth studies of the methods used by the great directors to affect their audiences and to trigger emotional responses. They will learn to use the 16mm Arriflex-S motion camera and its accessories, learn the fundamental theories and technical aspects of nonlinear editing, and shoot in-class exercises with the Canon 5D under the supervision of their instructor. Through combining student projects with in-class practices, students learn and incorporate the rules and tools of filmmaking into their work. First-semester students also study acting, learning to not only communicate with their actors but to draw out the best emotional outcome of a scene. Students also explore the foundations of screenwriting, workshopping ideas, writing loglines, treatments, rough drafts, and shooting their scripts.


The second semester of the 1-year film program challenges students to further develop their film craft both artistically and technically, and to progress beyond their earlier experiments with the medium. Classes prepare students for production of their final film, the production itself, and post-production. Advanced topics in directing, producing, screenwriting, and cinematography are instructed in intense classes consisting of both lectures and class exercises. This includes intensive instruction, demonstration, group sync-sound directing exercises, individual consultations, and pre-production (including casting, rehearsal, and location scouting), to help prepare students for a more ambitious, carefully crafted and mature film for their final project. On-set mentoring is provided in the sync sound production workshop class, where students direct or act as cinematographer on complex projects on-location. In screenwriting class, students develop the script for their final film. Instructors review both the artistic vision and the production planning of final film projects before approval is granted. Students will also have one-on-one consultations with instructors as they work through issues from their scripts. Second semester students also learn the traditions of film history, with the goal of positioning their own work within a legacy of cinematic art.


The focus of the third semester is the production of the one-year final film. These projects can be produced on high definition video, 16mm or 35mm film. Advanced courses support deeper investigation of film production, post production, screenwriting, sound design, marketing and visual effects skills.

In addition to directing their own final film, each student also learns to be a valuable collaborator by contributing as a crew person on five classmates’ projects during the production window. This helps students learn valuable production skills and understand how other filmmakers overcome complex production difficulties and issues. Students spend an additional 20-40 hours a week beyond class time on projects. The Academy recognizes, as should students, that these hours will vary from student to student. Students are responsible for making their own film project schedule, which must be supervised and approved by an instructor.

The final phase of the 1-Year Filmmaking Program is devoted to post-production. During this phase, film students edit, receive instruction, and screen rough-cuts of the one-year final films.

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420 Lincoln Road, Suite 200 Miami Beach, FL 33139
Phone: (305) 534-6009

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