Guest Blog: New York Film Academy
The conventional wisdom is that actors and other film and photography artists must move from places such as West Virginia and Nebraska to the historical centers of film and theater, Hollywood or New York, as the only serious means of pursuing theater or film as a career. Certainly, this has been the reality for the better part of the last century. The bulk of the work has been and remains in those places, with a smattering of production elsewhere in places such as Chicago (small theater, comedy and commercial advertising), San Francisco (theater, film) and Miami (print, music and Spanish-language productions).
But the a growing degree of film and still photography shoots on location, as well as the natural decentralization that comes from digital technologies, suggests something else: The individual interested in a film, documentary, photojournalism, commercial photography or video post-production career might be able to stay put, if that’s what pleases them. Even if “put” is in North Dakota.
This might put at ease the minds of many parents whose children show an interest in the performing and creative arts. They won’t necessarily have to move far away. Want evidence? A simple perusal of state film board websites makes the case. Almost all states have an active film industry, which can include feature film productions, commercial shoots and assistance for documentary movie shoots. Those states pursue these industries because they are an economic stimulus. A sampling of states large and small:
Alabama: More than 3,500 jobs in acting, production and distribution of films. Filmed in 2010 and 2011 were October Baby, The Man in the Maze, Awakened, Rocket City Rednecks and Sweet Home Alabama.
Florida: 27,500 jobs in film production and distribution. Twenty eight films and TV projects were filmed in the state in 2010-2011, including Magic Mike, Rock of Agnes, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Pitchmen, Tough Love, Burn Notice and Operation Wild.
Illinois: 21,000 full-time equivalent jobs, up 80 percent in 2008 from 2007 due to a tax incentive change. Shot in Illinois in 2010 – 2011 wereMan of Steel, Lincoln, A Fonder Heart, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Bad Teacher, Boss, The Rosie Show and The Playboy Club.
Maine: More than 1,800 jobs, 230 of which were production related, on seven key projects in 2010 and 2011: Anatomy of the Tide, Nor’easter, 40 West, See Girl Run and American Loggers.
Texas: More than 39,000 jobs, 7,400 of which were production related in 2010 and 2011, a time when 78 key projects filmed included True Grit, Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World, Monte Carlo, Friday Night Lights, The Lying Game and Big Rich Texas.
Wyoming: More than 320 jobs were filmed in 2010-2011, including Django Unchained, Tree Fight, Deeper and Wolves of Yellowstone.
Some students pursue their careers locally, at a ranked university or perhaps their community college, or through online learning. Others take the leap to study away from home, such as through schools in New York, California and even Europe or Asia. Many aspirant moving pictures students get a base of knowledge by studying still photography, such as the New York Film Academy (NYFA Photography School) where a cross fertilization of students in acting, production, animation and game design allows students a broad exposure to theatrical arts – being versatile can be a strong advantage in smaller markets, should the graduate decide to carry it back home.
Certainly, the industries remained centered in the media capitals of the nation’s largest cities. But it doesn’t mean that people working in those industries need to be based there. The cost-effectiveness of a studio in West Virginia, the photogenic vistas of high desert country in Utah and the talent pool in Minnesota all translate into opportunities and options to approach an entertainment career closer to home.
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon Illustrations (behance.net)
- Kodak Is Selling Off Its Legendary Film Business [Photography] (gizmodo.com)
- Film: Newswire: Universal believes Videodrome is not something for them to leave alone (avclub.com)