Field of Dreams

go digital
Of all the starving artists protesting the mayor’s policies, aspiring filmmakers have the least to complain about. Jump-starting film production in the city is part of Giuliani’s pro-business manifesto, which is why his office has publicly praised a collaboration between NYU’s Center for Advanced Digital Applications and Industrial Light & Magic special-effects wizard Corey Rosen (The Lost World, Twister, The Phantom Menace). Rosen is consulting on a series of intensive digital-production courses cada director Peter Bardazzi calls The Making of… Come fall, they will launch “The Making of a Digital Commercial,” which Bardazzi expects to be very popular because, well, there’s a lot of money in TV ads – particularly groundbreaking ones. Rosen himself taught the inaugural class, “The Making of a Digital Movie,” to twelve students handpicked for their professional commitment to using digital film once they graduate. (There will be fifteen students in a repeat course next spring.) Students play in a lab lined with advanced Silicon Graphics workstations. The movie course culminates in a shot to be included in a new film. This time around the shot will be a computer-created swarm of bees for the forthcoming horror spoof I Know What You Screamed Last Summer.

“The Making of a Digital Commercial,” fifteen daily sessions starting in October, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; “The Making of a Digital Movie,” starting in February, same schedule; $3,500. New York University Center for Advanced Digital Applications; 11 West 42nd Street (790-1370).

you are the d.j.
Clubland veterans in search of a little extra cash (or cred) get behind the turntables and start spinning. For tips in the art of turntablism, D.J. videos are a great place to begin. Disco Mix Club’s D.J. battle videos feature the best D.J.’s from around the world scratching their way to the championship. “Just from watching the D.J.’s hands in a well-recorded video, you can learn a lot,” says Christie Z-Pabon, DMC events coordinator. The best of the best are featured in Summit, which showcases six world champions. DMC’s Turntablists Trix & Technics starts with the basics: Q-Bert (former DMC world champion, now of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz) breaks down chirps, flares, and crabs. If battles aren’t for you, check out the Turntable Mechanics Workshop video by the Invisibl Skratch Piklz or get bi-monthly updates on their Turntable TV videos.

Check out the 1999 DMC D.J. World Championships on September 17 and 18 at the Hammerstein Ballroom. For DMC info, call 714-7180; buy videos at or

the voice is familiar
If you love the sound of your own voice (and who doesn’t?) more than you love your current day job, you’ve probably indulged the voice-over fantasy: a few hours of work and thousands of dollars in the bank. “The fact is, though, that the people with the smooth, golden voices, with the best diction in the world, often have the most trouble getting work,” says David Fulford, who teaches an introductory course in voice-overs at the New School. “It’s the people with distinctive voices who get agents right away.” This is a magic moment in the voice-over business, Fulford says, with “more opportunity now than at any time in the last 30 years.” Most of the new work is in videos. “Even medical companies need voice-over actors for the videotapes they send doctors to sell new medicines. The perfume counter at Macy’s has a video playing. Someone did a voice-over for that.” The twelve-session class includes instruction in animation voice-overs, audio-book work, narration, making sample tapes, and marketing.

Introduction to Voice-overs,” twelve sessions starting September 21, Tuesdays from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m., limited to twelve students; $470. The New School, 66 West 12th Street (229-5690).

making movies
Even if you’ve always known deep down that the words a film by… should precede your name, a career in film or TV production takes more than a night class or two; for the truly committed, a short but intensive program – like Jerry Sherlock’s eight-year-old New York Film Academy – may be the only serious option. Graduate Andrew Wilkinson decided to take two months off from an advertising job in London when he stumbled upon the film academy’s Website. After taking the eight-week version of “Total Immersion,” a crash course in all technical and creative facets of film-making that results in four short films per student, Wilkinson returned to London to “resign my flashy car and my flashy salary,” and signed up for the advanced workshop. Through contacts at the school, he says, “I’ve been given and offered work that will keep me busy for the next two or three months.”

Four-, six-, and eight-week sessions begin every month; $3,500 to $4,000, plus about $1,250 to $2,000 for materials. New York Film Academy, 100 East 17th Street (674-4300).

this just in
If watching TV newsreaders makes you think, I can do that, Nancy Reardon can teach you how. Reardon has been coaching aspiring TV anchors and reporters for eighteen years – beginners at the New School, more advanced students at her studio. She teaches students “nuts and bolts” – how to keep their heads from moving, what colors to wear on-air (red is her favorite). Techniques include wearing pieces of tape to keep eyebrows immobile and gesturing just out of camera range to subtly add expression to the voice. Reardon’s students, who currently include a lawyer, a model, and an advertiser, are predominantly female, something which she attributes to the fact that many “bright, talented” women in business and law are hitting the glass ceiling and beginning to think about Court TV.

“On Camera,” twelve sessions starting September 23, Thursdays from 7:45 to 9:30 p.m., limited to sixteen students; $470. The New School (229-5690).

laughter in concert
Back in the day, the Eddie Murphys of Saturday Night Live went directly to stand-up stardom. Today, SNL grads have only bad movies to look forward to, while Ben Stiller’s group skits and the Kids in the Hall are considered seminal. A new generation of comics have become stars by playing well with others. The four members of the Upright Citizens Brigade have been spreading the wealth for three years in perhaps the city’s best improv workshop. Four course levels, now taught in the group’s theater, indoctrinate comics of all skill levels in long-form improvisation – what workshop veteran Robert Corddry of Naked Babies calls “the thinking man’s improv.” Corddry credits the Brigade with making him bolder and smarter. “I’ve learned to base my sketches in some sort of reality,” he says. “It’s funnier when it’s true.” The workshop doubles as a farm team, as students are cast in the theater’s shows. “At some point, they become not just students but part of our theater,” says the Brigade’s Matt Besser, who teaches the fourth level. The first level is open to anyone, but even experienced comics must take the courses in order.

Eight weekly sessions beginning mid-October, weekends from 9 a.m. to noon or Mondays from 7 to 10 p.m.; $300 per level. Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, 161 W. 22nd Street (366-9176).

millennial mozart
So you wanna be a rock-and-roll star – without leaving home? A thousand bucks buys a bare-bones recording system for a personal computer, and for about two grand you can get your CD pressed. MP3 allows anyone to sell music at its site, and Advantage is now accepting indie records. Zealous autodidacts should check out the proliferation of information on the Web ( and are good places to start). The New School offers classes in midi, synthesizers, and home recording. Fred Winston, director of the Guitar Study Center, recommends Making Music With Computers and Making the Most of MIDI as “user and buyer guides for project studio people.” The Institute of Audio Research’s alums include Oscar winner Roma Baran and Jack Douglas, producer for the Beatles and Aerosmith. With an 87 percent placement rate for graduates, IAR apparently delivers a skill set that can actually land you a job. The 600-hour Recording Engineering and Production Program can be completed full-time (days) in six months or part-time (evenings) in nine months and offers an internship program in New York recording studios.

“Making Music With Computers,” four sessions beginning September 29, Wednesdays from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.; $250; “Making the Most of midi,” twelve sessions beginning September 28, Tuesdays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.; $370. The New School (229-5690).

Institute of Audio Research, 64 University Place (777-8550).

Field of Dreams