Differences NYFA vs. AFI???


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I have to choose between NYFA and AFI. Any suggestions which school is better and what are the differences between them? I'm planning to apply for TV producing program, but I'm having a hard time choosing School. Any help/suggestion is greatly appreciated.

P.S. I'm glad to find this site, seems like a lot of helpful information and interesting people here.
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The difference between the two is sort of the difference between a Yugo and a Rolls Royce.

Both of them will get you there. It's just a simple matter of how you want your ride to go.



Everyone who has money can 'choose' NYFA..but when it comes to AFI, it's not the same case..sure you need to have money or loans..but also even if you choose AFI, you have to be selected from hundreds of applicants to get in. NYFA requires nothing for enrolling to their programs ( which makes me think that they're not serious enough, it's like just a business for them )AFI requires a lot of things..because it's one of the top five film schools according to a lot of people, and these guys are all serious..I think you should just check both schools' web sites..
personally, don't waste your money with NYFA, I mean this is what I think..you should of course contact with someone over there, once I did and I was not pleased with their attitude..they didn't make me believe in them..
but do waste all of your energy and effort and time to apply to AFI and get accepted to the producing specification :)
you will immediately get the difference when you just search both schools' web sites..AFI has a great alumni and faculty, and you will have better network while you will be studying there, and you will prepare yourself much better for the industary comparing to NYFA..
I mean these two schools can not be compaired..AFI is the Rolls Royce like Gregory says :)
And I have my interview with that lovely Rolls Royce two weeks ago for the directing specification actually, hoping to get in this year! and if not work a lot and try the next semester..sorry for talking like a poster child, but believe me AFI is sure way way better..
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Ezgi, hope the guys from AFI boards read this. You're definitely in. =)

Artpicru, I don't have very deep information on the AFI x NYFA issue, but from what I do know, I'm 100% with ezgi.
NYFA advertises on buses.

You will learn something. Don't get me wrong. But it's staffed by graduate students from schools you actually have to get accepted to. You don't have to apply to NYFA, just have a pulse and a checkbook...much like my undergraduate institution, actually. And I learned enough to get me into USC.

But USC has been a far more beneficial experience. As will AFI.

Please do more research, my friend. There's no reason these two schools should ever be compared to each other. It's not like comparing a Yugo to a Rolls, it's like comparing an escalator to a Rolls.
thanks filipe :)

I actually agree with Jayimess for some parts too..My undergraduate institution was digital film academy and I learned and improved myself enough to produce, write, shoot my own films.I had beneficial network from there too, we're still working on some projects together..and I also learned enough to get me a chance at least for the interview.
plus it was a lot cheaper than NYFA.
it most of the time depends on what you are looking for artpicru.

what we say here is own personal thoughts and tastes..
just to give you a few ideas..
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ArtPic - I can understand your confusion in the decision process. AFI is a great school but I did want to let you know as a graduate of the New York Film Academy most of what you are hearing is not accurate and probably refers to some of the short workshops they put on.

As an applicant to the New York Film Academy Master's of Fine Arts program I was asked to submit a narrative statement, academic transcripts, creative portfolio, writing supplements, two letters of recommendation, and complete an interview with the director of the program.

This was far from easy or just a simple apply and accept process and I found the class I ended up in full of very talented people.

Since graduation I have worked on numerous projects with both ABC and NBC Networks as a director and cinematographer.

Basically it's a young school with a lot of programs that helped me out a lot. I made 12 films in the first year alone. Couldn't have imagined a better way to build my reel.

Well just thought I'd give the other side of it. Hope it helps and best of luck.

First let me say that I have been working at the New York Film Academy for many years as an instructor, administrator, and program designer. I studied filmmaking and made my first films as an undergrad at Harvard and went to grad film school and received a MFA from NYU Tisch school of the Arts.

Naturally I have a bias, but I would like to clear up some misconceptions.

I believe both NYFA and AFI have their strengths. NYFA (a comparatively young institution) was created as an alternative to traditional film schools like AFI and NYU. As one respondent suggested, many of the instructors at NYFA (like me) received their MFA's from either NYU, USC, AFI, Columbia, or UCLA (by the way when I was in grad film school at NYU, many of my teachers were also NYU graduates; and amongst AFI's faculty there are also AFI grads). However, more important to us than their academic qualification, the instructors we hire and retain are dynamic teachers, passionate about their craft, and receive extremely high praise from students. They are also active filmmakers, which contributes to the energy and real world insight to their classes.

While I am a great admirer of AFI, in developing the curricula at the Film Academy we tried to do something different. We feel that a filmmaker (like a painter, writer, actor, or musician) needs intensive and extensive practice and cannot be pre-judged. Unfortunately filmmakers rarely get the opportunity to learn in this way. Think if an art student only got to paint one or two canvasses and was expected to master the craft! Yet this is often the case in film programs.

To address this problem and demystify the technology and craft of filmmaking, every student in our one-year filmmaking program writes, directs and edits eight of their own films; shooting on 16mm, DV, HD, and 35mm. In addition they work on eachother's crews in key positions, so they graduate with 500-1000 hours of set experience. Our programs are rigorous and challenging to aspiring filmmakers at any level.

It is true the enrollment to the Non-Degree programs at NYFA is open, while AFI's MFA program is very limited. However, NYFA's MFA programs at Universal Studios also have traditional graduate admissions requirements. In any case the open enrollment of many of our programs reflects our belief that it is impossible to know whether aspiring filmmakers have the necessary talent and drive until they have had the opportunity to study intensively and make a number of their own films. Incredible work is done by our students, and many go on to win awards at major festivals with the films they made at NYFA. Our graduates are working at every level of the industry and making feature films(as directors, editors, cinematographers, producers, and screenwriters). You can read about some of them and their experiences at NYFA on our website on the alumni pages.

The question is really about the quality of instruction, curriculum, equipment, and other intangibles, like the atmosphere and energy of the school environment and the degree to which it encourages creativity. The NYFA compares very well with any school in all these areas. But ultimately it is the student him or herself who possesses the talent, passion, character, and commitment to make a life as a filmmaker.
So, this reeks of PR/marketing.

I didn't say the instructors were graduates of the film schools, I said they were grad STUDENTS, as in, still enrolled. I've heard this from people who attended the LAFS and NYFA's Universal program. Admittedly, these people were working in G & E on sets, so it's not as though they're not learning anything.

If, in one year, each student makes 8 films of their own and crews on 28, I'm unsure where storytelling finds time to grow. I can't imagine churning out 8 production-ready scripts in that amount of time.

Personally, I'm more concerned with the fact that such a young, untested program feels comfortable charging high tuitions that only Columbia and AFI exceed...no matter what program you take, it's $17k/semester.

It's one thing to be a lower-priced alternative, such as USC/UCLA/New School/SVA offering smaller "extension" or "summer" programs, but the high cost makes me leery. Very leery.

Also, the website is extremely...icky.
OK, this is getting silly.

I am a graduate of BOTH NYFA and AFI. I took the 8 week program in '96 (that was the longest they had at the time, and if they'd had an MFA program when I was still a student, in retrospect, I certainly would have applied) and I was the youngest Director to graduate the AFI in 2001. I am currently living in Dubai and working as a television director/producer. I make English language shows for international broadcast.

Now I realize I am not Steven Spielberg (although his son did attend NYFA for their 1 year program), but as a successful professional I can certainly vouch for the education I received at NYFA. Everything I have done in film/tv I owe to the Academy. I was in Cannes 2 times this year (for the festival and for the television market) and I am constantly meeting other working professionals who graduated from NYFA. It seems that no matter where I travel, no matter where I work around the globe, I am always surrounded by other working NYFA alums. Many more, I must say, than AFI, although I am still in close contact with many of my former classmates, instructors, and administrators. I love AFI. I learned so very much there. But I became a filmmaker at NYFA, and I rest soundly on the foundation I earned there.

If you are serious about learning the craft, and you are interested in working as a filmmaker rather that dreaming or simply telling your friends and family that you WANT to be a filmmaker, NYFA is (in my humble opinion) the perfect place to start.


But on another note, I find this website hard to take seriously. I visit this site from time to time because my company is always looking for interns / emerging talent, but any website that does not list the U.A.E. as a country, when Dubai and Abu Dhabi consistently make the headlines in Variety and the Hollywood Reporter as two cities in one of the only countries still investing in emerging talent regardless of recessional times, gives me pause. SERIOUSLY. Is the webmaster asleep or doesn't he/she care/know about the film industry?


This thread seems to be veering wildly off course.

ARTPicRU, no one is going to be able to simply tell you about the differences between NYFA and AFI to such an illuminating degree that you'll know which is the best place for you, especially when there are conspicuous posts (as Jayimess was pointing out) by users who have registered for the express purpose of rallying (and what an emphatic rally!) to NYFA's defense.

Personally, I find all of the School X vs. School Y posts a bit odd. Do the original posters expect the contest to be decided once and for all by the infallible crowd at studentfilms.com (most of us around here, myself included, seem to share anxieties and timelines more than elucidating experiences and decisive judgments)?

I don't think there's anything wrong with trying to hear about the experiences of others when trying to make a decision about pursuing a given program Film program, but that feedback should constitute a very small portion of the basis for your selection process.

My advice: do your own research and try to identify what's most important to you which you expect a Film program to facilitate and then look into AFI and NYFA individually. Hopefully, the differences between AFI and NYFA will fall out of that process. The literature each institution puts out is biased in their favor of course, but leave yourself the task of sorting through those respective biases instead of complicating it further by receiving the biases of anonymous individuals on this forum.

I apologize for the length of this post, but this thread has become distorted to the point where I think it's best that you step back, ARTPicRU, and do serious research/reflection on your own.
Smiles to JG.

Why, if one learns all that they need to know at NYFA, would one return to spend tons of money at AFI?

Rather than brochure copy, I'd love to hear experiential information about the program.

The program has a reputation as being something of a scam, and honestly, I'd love to hear it proved different. I'd love it to seem like a viable option for those who don't get into other programs, or for one reason or another, can't or don't want to attend them.

But so far....it hasn't.
I attended the M.F.A. program at The American Film Institute and have been directing film and theatre since graduating, as well as teaching at a number of film schools, including the New York Film Academy, where I have been deeply involved in curriculum development, as well as teaching directors craft, acting, and producing. It is difficult to compare AFI and NYFA because they are extremely different and both equally effective in their missions. Generally, AFI is a graduate/post-graduate institution and most of my classmates had already excelled in some aspect of the business and were seeking to make a professional transition into filmmaking. The New York Film Academy assumes that the student may have no prior experience and therefore gives the opportunity to experiment extensively with all aspects of filmmaking, from directing and writing, to cinematography and acting, in order to help the student discover which aspect of this field might be right for him or her. At the AFI, I made three shorts in a year, and then, after becoming one of five directors chosen for the second year, I directed a longer thesis film, which premiered at Sundance. This helped to secure my first feature directing job. However, I already knew a great deal about directing prior to attending the AFI. And having served on the admissions committee there, I can tell you that students with a strong sense of focus, maturity, and prior achievement, not to mention a B.A. are most likely to be considered (this from my perspective and not speaking on behalf of AFI admissions, by the way). The New York Film Academy, while offering a masters in film, might provide a better choice for college-level students who do not have extensive knowledge of the craft because the curriculum at NYFA is more detailed in terms of director's craft, directing actors, lighting etc. as well as more nurturing on a daily basis in terms of students having access to faculty, facilities, and equipment. Ultimately, a student in the NYFA one-year program will make eight films in all formats (16mm, digital, 35mm), which will help him or her to better discover their creative voice. Also, the New York Film Academy is different from other places I have taught or attended (such as NYU) in that the administration is accessible and therefore immediately responsive to curriculum requests, such as adding classes and courses each group feels they need more instruction in, without having to go through all sorts of bureaucratic procedures. In short, I loved being a student at AFI, but if I hadn't already directed a lot of theatre, worked with actors extensively, or assisted on several studio features, I don't know that I could have survived there as well as I did, since they tend to accept students who have already been through college and have attained a certain amount of life experience, not to mention professional credentials in some aspect of the arts, other than filmmaking. If I knew little about directing, producing, or directing actors and wanted to spend a year making a lot of projects to develop my voice in a nurturing environment, I would most likely have chosen NYFA. Either way, there are many NYFA student films that have gone on to screen at Sundance, Cannes, and Tribeca as with any of the other film schools. If you write a great script, cast powerful actors, and direct the film with a unique aesthetic, regardless of which film school you attended, your work will get noticed.

Whatever school you choose, students should visit classes and observe, first hand, rather than going off message boards and what they are told in marketing materials. If you can observe a few shoots and instructors, that will give you a much stronger idea. Plus, the location of the school, its campus, and the energy of the student body also has a lot to do with where it will be best for you to matriculate. Again, whether it be NYFA, NYU, AFI, etc., they all have their strengths and weaknesses, but ultimately, it's about whether that individual student has the discipline, talent, and passion to pursue a filmmaking career and which environment is right for him or her.
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As an Alumnus of the AFI Conservatory (where I received an MFA in Directing) & a current screenwriting, directing & producing instructor at New York Film Academy, I feel I can give you an accurate appraisal of both schools.

Both schools are extremely hands on. You will be using a camera & shooting within 1 week of your start date.

You can receive an MFA from both schools, if you have an undergraduate degree. If you don't have a degree, you can still attend & complete a 1 to 2 year course. As of now, at NYFA, you must go to Los Angeles to earn an MFA, but as of next year, some of the disciplines in NY will offer an MFA as well.

There are differences between both schools:

Yes, AFI's enrollment is highly selective & competitive - you don't choose to go to AFI, they choose you.

Most AFI students enter the school with working experience in the industry, AFI expects you to have some knowledge of the field before you enroll. This expectation GREATLY affects their approach to teaching in that the basics of filmmaking are NOT taught. You are given a camera & you start shooting. You edit your film and get it critiqued by the entire student body & head of CAFTS. There is very little film theory or in-class instruction (especially for producers & directors). AFI's philosophy is more "trial by fire", you're sort of thrown into the filmmaking process. You get your work torn apart in Narrative Workshop. You learn from your mistakes.

NYFA's philosophy is more curriculum oriented and more nurturing. Students have intensive classroom instruction, hands on experience, production workshops, as well as theory & genre classes. Before you shoot you have numerous "practice" sessions (production workshops).

NYFA also offers students the opportunity for one-on-one instruction with their teachers. Any questions or problems can be ironed out in a private one hour consultation with any teacher in the school. Before shooting your film.

NYFA also offers Business of the Industry classes, Strategies for Film Festivals classes, and other classes to help prepare students for "life after NYFA" - help in guiding students future careers.

AFI does not offer this support.

NYFA is also more comprehensive in the courses they offer. Students can focus on filmmaking, documentary making, Electronic Newsgathering, Producing for all forms of visual media (including TV), shooting short films, commercials, music videos, reality shows, webisodes, etc.

AFI's curriculum primarily emphasizes filmmaking.

NYFA's faculty is made up of professionals working in the field, most of whom have graduated from top film schools and have received MFA's from those schools. NYFA is more selective in hiring & keeping on instructors.

AFI's faculty is mostly made up of working professionals, which is great. But the quality of teaching is sort of hit & miss.

These are just some of the differences between the schools.

Therefore I believe that NYFA better prepares students for the film and television industry than AFI does. It also offers any student the opportunity to learn, as long as they have a passion for film.
I graduated from AFI where I was a directing fellow and a cinematography fellow. I am still blown away by how much I learned so quickly. I learned more in the first week than I thought there was to learn in an entire two-year film program. It immediately surpassed my expectations and it opened me to an understanding of art in general and filmmaking specifically.

Now I am a cinematography instructor at NYFA. I see students here experience the same immediate and profound growth. I see in them their pleasure with new understanding, and their purposeful concentration when they rush to practice what they've just learned. I wouldn't keep teaching if I didn't get to see these moments.

I think NYFA students are made fortunate in have these experiences because of several inherent qualities of the program. Students are in classes through the bulk of most days, and are shooting projects on those days when they are not in class. They are taught and they practice multiple cohesive and coordinated facets of filmmaking. They live and breathe film. This allows me as their teacher to open sophisticated conversations very quickly. Their questions soon become pro, their thinking becomes pro, and their projects demonstrate such.

Furthermore, the quality of instruction here is exceptionally high grade. Each individual teacher I know here has a knowledge that is sharp, accurate, and broad. Only those teachers who can keep up remain in the program. This is necessarily so because the wide variety of programs cover so much and in fine detail, and we instruct a group of students with a vast range of backgrounds and levels of experience. I am particularly impressed with the consistent practical, tangible, and useable analysis of the abstract nature of film storytelling that is a matter of course here. I can't fairly speak to my own strengths, but I can tell you I learn more about directing from the directing teachers here when I co-teach a critique class with them than when I was a student myself.
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Is the whole staff the NYFA staff comprised of alums of AFI? How odd.

I guess we have learned that if you want to teach at NYFA, go to AFI. ;)
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Oooh, Suzako, you are a bad bad...girl? Are you female? I can't remember, but for some reason I think you are.

This thread is amusing.
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