Gradient Productions

Concept 2 Completion

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What to Write?

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” ~Benjamin Franklin

Writing for Gradient Productions has been both edifying and challenging.

Tasked daily with drafting something worth reading, in various forms, you gain a set of skills unlike those found in a classroom.

Take campaign writing: In order to get your point across the content must be simple, informative, yet creative. For a graphic flyer, you must take into account what the Visual elements are saying, and choose to either let them speak for themselves, or build upon what’s being implied. And considering you have roughly 5 seconds of an average persons’ attention, it must be short.

In the case of Narration writing, cut the unnecessary. “Audiolize” in your head the narrator’s voice and choose words appropriate to their style of speaking.

I pull inspiration from a variety of sources; Apple for the way they speak volumes for a product/campaign in 1-6 words. Certain creative minds forVanity Fair & National Geographic. Anthony Bourdain and his superior writing “voice”.

I was an actor under the tutelage of an established screenwriter/director, and of the many lessons I learned from him, one that resonated for me as an actor/writer was that, “If you aren’t going to feature something, cut it.”

Filed under Film Production Inspiration Photography Graphic Design Writing Gradient Productions Reading Apple Movie Acting Directing Benjamin Franklin Campaign Challenge How To Screenwriting Narration National Geographic Vanity Fair Anthony Bourdain Creativity

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The 84th Academy Awards

“Life. Camera. Action.”

In honor of the 2012 Academy Awards, we managed to collectively watch every film nominated for Best Picture.

“I think it was a year of movies where most of the components were really good, but there was one that didn’t live up to the rest, so you’re just left not satisfied.” ~Alisha Noles, Production Designer

These mini reviews explore the aspects that we know best, be it the acting, directing, design, or music.

Check out our most recent posts below and prepare for February 26th!

Filed under Academy Awards 84th Academy Awards Show Movie Film Life. Camera. Action Production Design Gradient Productions review acting directing design music February 26th

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Directing/Writing/Sound:

My Week with Marilyn: No film in recent years has been able to capture the inner workings of a star as brilliantly as this film. Williams’ manages to capture the essence of the icon while simultaneously developing her own character. She deserves her nomination and could easily take the prize. It’s disappointing the film is not more represented at this years big night.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close: This film was in fact extremely loud and incredibly close to being wonderful. It has Stephen Daldry’s overly dramatic style and lack of restraint all throughout. Under another director the film may have been able to reach it’s potential. That said, Tome Hanks, Sandra Bullock, and Max von Sydow offer beautiful and heartfelt performances.

The Help: Flawless acting compliment a polished screenplay with moments both moving, and unforgettable. You’ll gain a new respect for Emma Stone as an actress, and see why Viola Davis more than deserves her Oscar nomination.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Not since Heath Ledger as The Joker has there been a performance so captivating as Rooney Mara’s Lisbeth Salander. A thrilling, if dense, mystery with unmatched cinematography & editing, though the screenplay fails to capture the intensity of the novel’s end revelations.

Moneyball: The sound design was subtle and added a unique feel to the movie. Their use of silence created dramatic moments in which the audience could respond emotionally to the situation, especially when the drama was at it’s highest point.  Two Thumbs Up!

War Horse: The music was written by John Williams and you could tell without looking it up on IMDB.  It was as if he took the score from “The Patriot” and mixed it with the score of “Jurassic Park”.  In all honesty, the score just felt lazy.

Filed under Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close My Week with Marilyn The Help War Horse Moneyball The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Tom Hanks Michelle Williams Marilyn Monroe Emma Stone Viola Davis Brad Pitt Jeremy Irvine Rooney Mara Film Oscars 2012 Review Movie Cinematography

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Cinematography/Design/Production:

Hugo: Visually it delivered exactly as hoped. There is a theatrical quality to the design of the film that supports the whimsical storyline. The attention to detail and historically accurate information provided a lot of room for the production design to play with reality.

Midnight in Paris: It was surprising to see this nominated for “Art Direction”. Although the storyline was refreshing, the design of the film did not deliver – ultimately leaving you dissatisfied with flat, obvious design decisions that were nothing more than average.

Winnie the Pooh:You’ll love the simplicity of this movie, and how they stuck to the true nature of the original cartoon. From a Graphic Design perspective, the way they used & interacted with typography was also really interesting. Honestly why wasn’t this nominated?!

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: This was an incredibly stunning film; the cinematography was absolutely gorgeous, and each shot regardless of length was beautiful to look at. It should be every cinematographers goal to make something that pretty for the big screen.

The Descendants: A very satisfying movie, with every element of it done perfectly. The cinematography was simple but amazing and fit for what the movie was. The Director of Photography knew how to use restraint in order to drive the story forward.

Filed under Hugo Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Winnie the Pooh Midnight in Paris The Descendants Gary Oldman Chloe Grace Moretz Owen Wilson George Clooney Marion Cottilard Hawaii Paris Movie Film Oscar Oscar 2012 Nominations Best Picture Cinematography Gradient Productions

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Enjoyability:

The Artist: In the wrong hands this black & white, silent, and analogue film may have relied on its “artsy” attributes to get by, but it doesn’t. The “old style” film making moves the thoughtful plot and well rounded characters forward in a way that modern film techniques could not have done. A truly enjoyable film.

The Tree of Life: It was a really pretty movie, and actually certain shots looked straight out of National Geographic. But the story felt really disjointed, with random shots of random things placed sporadically. At one point, there’s dinosaurs…dinosaurs. It felt artsy on purpose. There are some truly beautiful interactions between the main family, but overall, it lacked focus.

Filed under movie Oscar Oscar 2012 Nominations Tree of Life film The Artist Best Picture cinematography production design graphic design art gradient productions

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Re-Introducing Bon Iver!

Bon Iver has been around for a while; since 2007 he’s been considered an “underground” artist. So it’s ironic and appropriate that he win a Grammy for “Best New Artist”.

(Click the picture above to check out Bon Iver’s new album)

A couple of years back, a friend asked our music man Nathanael Sams whether he had heard the folk rock riffs of “Bon Iver”: he hadn’t.

Well, he had – he just hadn’t known it. Four singles of the alternative artist had been featured on the popular show “Chuck”.

So really, Bon Iver isn’t a “new artist”, rather a newly appreciated one.

Heavy folk guitars, string arrangements, saxophones, kick drums, and reverberated vocals channel a sound reminiscent of Mumford & Sons, with a little mandolin in between.

If you’re unsure whether or not you’ll enjoy his new album, a good test would be to watch the movie Once. If you enjoy the soundtrack in that film, you’re pretty much guaranteed to love Bon Iver’s new album…Bon Iver.


Filed under Bon Iver Music Grammy 2012 Best New Artist Best Alternative Album Alternative Rock Album Mumford & Sons folk guitar photography picture cigarette tobacco smoking movie Once film mandolin Chuck TV Nathanael Sams Gradient Productions underground artist