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Monthly Archives:May 2015

A WIFI Creative Branding and Design Experiment

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An Instagram Project.

Four years ago, I racked up quite an Instagram following, a little over 10,000. I was just a normal dude working at a normal job. I didn’t care about followers then, however, I was still consistently uploading work ranging from photos to designs to selfies. Haha! I had a reputation of being notoriously creative with photo edits on just an iPhone. I, eventually, got frustrated and deleted the account because of spammers and photo stealers.

However, as I attempt to create a new Instagram following (check me out at @nash_in_nyc if you like), I realized that creativity is so important in building a huge following that is organic. The McDonald’s WIFI design, in the above image, represented one such creative design that was posted to my original Instagram and, definitely, one aspect that was responsible for the surge in followers. I decided to create a few others recently using Illustrator and Photoshop. The above collage shows the results. Obviously, the actual company logos aren’t mine; but, the creativity behind the design is mine. It also represents my ability to think, brand and innovate creatively; as well as, bringing any design to life.

I hope you like them! Maybe, I’ll do more later. I’m also working on some minimalist movie posters. You can check out the Iron Man and Wolverine graphics in the design portfolio on the ‘Stills’ page. Thanks a lot!

Nash

24: TV’s Greatest Addictive Action Series

24

A Dose Of Adrenaline Entertainment. And A Possible Reboot.

Subject to opinion, 24 is perhaps the greatest action television show ever made. Kiefer Sutherland, who plays CTU agent Jack Bauer, starred in this Emmy and Golden Globe award winning show which concluded its television run of nine seasons and a made for TV special. It is one of the longest running action shows on television, with more than 200 episodes. How could a show last that long? Adrenaline Entertainment bruh.

I can never get enough of this show and I was very disappointed when it concluded. What makes this show so awesome and great? Is it because of the chilling suspense, the “on the edge of your seat” torture scenes, the brilliant cinematography, the addictive psychological aspect of it, the genius plot and its twists, the fight scenes, the explosions or the endearing patriotism to the USA that causes goosebumps? It is all that and so much more. In my opinion, Jack Bauer is one of the greatest fictional heroes of all time. Right up with Iron Man.

Who knows what the future of television will bring, in terms of programming, like 24? Well, FOX claims to be working on a reboot of the series. But, without Kiefer Sutherland. I’ll still give it a chance because the same producers are on board; but, we will have to wait and see. “DAMMN IT!” (Classic Bauer voice)

Nash

Doritos Superbowl Commercial Competition

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The Final Touchdown.

The Doritos Superbowl Commercial Competition is back again for another year of amazing cash prizes and great offers. And, according to the company, it will be the last year for the contest’s ten year existence. The grand prize will be one million dollars and a Warner Bros/DC Comics movie gig. All impressive tokens for an upcoming filmmaker, in my opinion. I won’t be entering the competition but, if anyone is interested in participating, you should start gathering your cast and crew immediately. The deadline is the first week of November.

 

Nash

Film Analysis: The Lady Eve

TheLadyEveA Transitional Study Of A Classic Screwball Comedy.

Preston Sturges wrote and directed this classic screwball comedy in 1941 starring Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck.  The film was produced by Paramount Studios. The film revolves around a con woman and a snake expert who meet abroad a luxury-liner.

Henry Fonda plays Charles, a snake expert who had just spent a year in the Amazon region looking for rare snakes with his cynical friend Muggsy. He boards the S.S. Southern Queen bound for New York, and while on the ship, he is surrounded by pretty ladies dying for his affection. Amongst those watching Charles is a group of three cons. While he is at dinner, with all the women are ogling him, Jean gets his attention by sticking out her foot and causing him to trip over. Complaining to Charles that he should watch where he is going, she convinces him to escort her to her room so that she can replace her broken shoe heel. Charles is sexually attracted to Jean, but when he tries to make a pass at her, she pulls away.

Back in the dining room, Charles is introduced to the Colonel, one of the three cons, and they play cards, Charles winning $500 from the Colonel and $100 from Jean. But Charles is being set-up for the next game when the Colonel will come in for the kill. Back at Jean’s cabin, Charles and Jean sit close and something happens she hadn’t planned. She becomes attracted to Charles too. The next morning, Muggsy warns Charles that the Colonel and Jean are cons, but Charles won’t listen to him. Meanwhile, the Colonel is looking forward to fleecing Charles, but Jean doesn’t want any part of it. Jean participates in the card game between Charles and the Colonel, ensuring that the Colonel doesn’t cheat. But while Jean waits for Charles after the game, the Colonel convinces Charles to another game of double-or-nothing, with Charles losing $32,000. Jean, angry with her father, makes the Colonel destroy the check. The next morning, Muggsy proves to Charles the three are con artists. Devastated, Charles shows Jean the evidence, claiming he knew she was a criminal. Jean is determined to get even with Charles. When the ship docked in New York, the Colonel reveals he merely palmed the $32,000 check.

However Jean still wants revenge on Charles. She impersonates an English woman, Lady Eve Sidwich, and introduces herself to Charles. Planning to make Charles to fall in love with her again, she intends to break his heart like he broke hers. When Charles meets Lady Eve Sidwich, he immediately notices her, but is so flustered that he constantly trips and falls over himself. Although Muggsy tries to convince him that she is the same person, Charles reasons that Jean would never come close to his home without at least disguising herself, so he concludes the resemblance is only a coincidence. They soon court and marry each other, and while on their honeymoon, Eve begins to confess her past, naming all of her old boyfriends and lovers. Charles get irritated and jumps off the train.

Jean’s con team urges her to close the deal, indicating that she can make a huge settlement. While Charles’ father and lawyers are on the phone with her pleading to settle quickly, she says she doesn’t want any money at all, just for Charles to tell her that the relationship is over. He refuses, and instead gets on a ship back to the Amazon. On the boat, Jean meets Charles, just as they met before, and they immediately go to his cabin where they confess their love for each other and the fact they are both married. Muggsy leaves the room, saying, “Definitely the same dame…”

Nash

Film Analysis: Citizen Kane

citizen-kaneAn Artistic and Cinematographic Dissection of Citizen Kane.

A fantastic piece of cinematography, even probably ahead of its time when filmed, is the movie “Citizen Kane.” It was a black and white film made in 1941, and directed by Orson Welles. It was written by Herman Mankiewicz and Orson Welles and also starred Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane. Citizen Kane was Orson Welles’ first feature film. Historically, the film is based upon newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst.

The plot of the film started with the death of a powerful and wealthy magnate named Charles Foster Kane. However, what was unorthodox about the film was that it did not parallel the conventional approach of today’s cinema concerning issues of death. I am referring to possible movie plots like the mystery behind his death etc. At least, that was what I thought. Instead, it focused on his life before death, how others felt about him and most importantly, the significance of the word “rosebud”- the last word he had mentioned before he died.

To simply analyze this movie chronologically, Kane is forced to leave his mother at a very young age, grows up and enters the newspaper business. He uses “yellow journalism” to gain prominence and power, and eventually takes over the newspaper. He marries Emily, and within due course starts an affair with woman named Susan. While running for governor of New York, his political opponent and wife uncovers the affair, resulting in the crumbling of Kane’s marriage. He marries his mistress, who eventually leaves him as well. His life crumbles and several years later, he dies while holding a snow globe in his hands. He realizes that despite being wealthy and powerful, the only true happiness he had, was during his youth while playing in the snow with his sled. Following his death, a media frenzy occurs and a reporter tries to interpret the meaning behind his last word- Rosebud. The reporter suggests that rosebud could be a woman or something he lost. (When Kane picked up the snow globe, I knew rosebud had some connection to his past as a youth. The Snow globe was used as a symbol to depict the snow he played in while young. It was until the end I realized rosebud was his sled.)

However, apart from my simple chronological explanation, it should be duly noted that this brilliant film did not unfold that way. This cinematographic marvel unfolded in a non-linear sequence employing the use of the flashback technique (LOST anyone?). The film actually starts off with his death and through the flashbacks of various characters being questioned by the reporter; we understand who Kane is and the characters’ relationships to Kane.

Depth of field was significant in this film. Many deep focus shots – shots where everything within the frame was clearly focused on – were used throughout the film. One example that I loved was the scene where the people were talking in the house while a young Kane was seen playing in the snow through a window. A noteworthy observation is that film opened with a shallow depth of field shot and ended with that same shot – the fence and the “No Trespassing Sign”. The fence and the sign were sharply focused on while ignoring the background (what was behind the fence).

Unreliable narrator is a technique where several storytellers with different points-of-view are used to narrate a film. Since there are several views and opinions and the audience wouldn’t necessarily know who to believe, the narrative is said to be “unreliable”. In the film, this is evident through the narrative of the characters whose flashbacks are shown. Each of them has their own opinion of Kane. Is he a genius, scoundrel, saint? Who should we believe?

Overlapping dialogue occurs when characters talk over each other, and one scene where this is noticeable, is when a young Kane was talking outside of the house while his mother was talking to the others inside of the house.

The way light was used in this film was phenomenal and UBER-FANTASTIC. As seen in the newsroom and the bank vault, the faces of certain characters were obscured by the manipulation to light provoking an air of mystery and slight suspense. Other techniques also used in this film were low angle shots and superimposition of shots.

The setting of the film was truly remarkable. In the film, Kane is a connoisseur of fine art from Europe. His specially made home, Xanadu was depicted as Baroque architecture,  a reflection of his European art taste. Art is a part of the background in many scenes. The influence of Baroque style painting in Citizen Kane is impossible to ignore. Many scenes seem to imitate Caravaggio’s style and use of chiaroscuro – using violent contrasts of light and dark, a dominating feature of painting called tenebrism. This contrast is inexplicably obvious giving Citizen Kane  validation as “American baroque cinema”.

Because of my tremendous fascination with current mainstream entertainment, and to some extent naïve-ness, I was totally oblivious that such techniques in cinema were possible, even existent, in those days. As a result, I end with the same words I started with: A fantastic piece of cinematography.

Nash

Film Analysis: M

Peter_Lorre_M

How to Depict Psychopathy Correctly with Brilliant Storytelling and Cinematic Techniques.

“M” is a German film directed by Fritz Lang, an apparent master of his field, in the early 1930’s. It was a suspense drama with a mild infusion of comedy, written by Fritz Lang and his wife, Thea Von Harbou and starred Peter Lorre. This film was unlike any of Fritz’s past projects because it was his first film incorporating the element of sound into a motion picture. Most films at that time were silent films and only appealed to the audience visually.

The film is about an elusive psychopath who kidnaps and kills little girls. A full-fledge search for the psychopath is established by the local police. However the persistence of the local police causes interference with the local crimelords. As an alternative, the crimelords decide to devise a strategy quickly to capture the psychopath, thus relieving themselves of raids by the local police. The local criminals captured the psychopath and staged an “underground trial” that parallels the legal trial system. The psychopath pleaded insanity, but the criminals found him guilty and sentenced him to execution, however, his life was saved by the police.

With regards to film techniques, Fritz used parallel action, where two actions are shown simultaneously via cutback editing. He also used off-screen space, i.e. blocked areas on a movie frame that are still part of the screen space. It was done in such a way that the action in the blocked areas was insinuated, so the audience still got the gist of the situation. There were many “close-up” shots as well, to emphasize and even exaggerate facial expressions and features, eg the scene where the psychopath was looking into the mirror. But the most important technique that Fritz used was his savvy manipulation of sound. One of the psychopath’s M.O. was his very distinct whistling and ironically, it was his distinct whistling that lead to his capture. Figuratively and ironically, a criminal who was virtually invisible to law enforcement, was visible to a blind beggar. Fritz also used the theme of social order vs outsiders in M, where social order identifies law enforcement and outsiders represent the local criminals.

Overall, for an old film, the general plot was very interesting, the acting was good and the use of sound techniques was very brilliant. And did I mention that this film was made in the 1930’s. Damnnn! It’s ironic how filmmakers today have so many advanced resources available and still produce unbelievable crap fests; while the fathers of film-making had very limited technology and resources, but still produced brilliant masterpieces.

Nash

Film Analysis: Bonnie and Clyde

006-bonnie-and-clyde-theredlistA Transitional and Thematic Study.

Bonnie and Clyde, one of the first 100 films chosen for preservation by the United States National Film Registry, was a crime film directed by Arthur Penn in 1967. The film starred Warren Beatty as Clyde Barrow and Faye Dunaway as Bonnie Parker and it was distributed by Warner Brothers.

A simple synopsis, the film revolves around a dynamic duo, Bonnie and Clyde, who partake in various crimes ranging from small-time heists to bank robberies. The duo, along with three other accomplices, is pursued by law enforcement officials and is inevitably forced to evade them. Unexpectedly, rangers catch the felons and wound two of the group’s members. Bonnie, Clyde and CW manages to successfully escape without being hurt. The rangers receive information that the three are hiding at the home of CW’s father, Ivan. Ivan makes a mutual agreement with the rangers which allowed leniency for his son in exchange for the takedown of Bonnie and Clyde. In the end, Ivan sets up Bonnie and Clyde and the result is catastrophic. The police, hiding from the bushes, opens fire and shoots them mercilessly and fatally.

One of the most important scenes from Bonnie and Clyde was the bank robbery that resulted in the death of the bank manager. Bonnie and Clyde prepares to rob a bank while CW waited outside of the bank to aid in a quick and successful escape. However, CW comically decides to parallel park in a location unaware to Bonnie and Clyde. After Bonnie and Clyde exits the bank, they initially are unable to locate CW. They drive off hysterically hitting other vehicles. The bank manager jumps onto the vehicle and unexpectedly gets shot in the face. This scene marks an important transition in the progression of the duo’s criminal capabilities. Clyde admits that he never shot and killed a person before but he had no other alternative.

The scene had several shots; however all of these shots were long shots and medium long shots except for one shot which was a close up. Deep focus was prevalent throughout the entire scene- shots where everything within frame was clearly focused on. The type of sound used was diegetic meaning the sound emanated from the elements inside of the film. The scene is a transition from a comedic tone to a dramatic one and the director conveys this when he switches from all the long shots to a close up shot. The close-up shot is used to illustrate the murder of the bank manager and emphasizes the facial expression of Clyde as he shoots the manager in the face.

The most prevalent themes that the director wished to convey within this scene were crime and violence. And such themes were evident when Clyde robbed the bank and resorted to killing a man to facilitate escape. It was the first instance within the film where we notice the transition from mediocre petty crimes to a fatal, catastrophic crime. Throughout other scenes in the movie, the violence intensifies making this film a bona-fide gangster crime film, breaking all the taboos associated with filmmaking at that time.

The idea of this movie reflected events that were once part of American history. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were ruthless bank robbers who operated during the Great Depression and most of the scenes in the film represent actual events that transpired during their run from the law.

Nash

Film Analysis: The Public Enemy

public-enemy

A Cinematic Examination of Violence in Film.

Rated as the eighth best gangster film of all time by AFI, The Public Enemy is an American film directed by William Wellman in 1931. It was based on the novel, Beer and Blood, and was written by H. Thew, K. Glasmon and J. Bright and starred James Cagney as Tom Powers. The Public Enemy was distributed by Warner Brothers.

Simply put, the movie revolves around Tom Powers and his rise towards becoming one of the leading gangsters of his time. He is joined by his best friend Matt and while serving under a bootlegger named Paddy Ryan, they commit vicious crimes and receive a fantastic and luxurious lifestyle as their reward. Naturally, Tom becomes very greedy and wants more, and is involved in a shoot-out with another gang. He survives but shockingly, he dies at the end of the movie.

One of the most riveting scenes from The Public Enemy revolves around the sighting of Paddy Nose and Power’s successful attempt to seek retribution for Paddy Nose’s disappearance from a past job that almost got him caught. During a dinner, Tom and Matt leave and follow Paddy Nose to his apartment. A black cat crosses Paddy’s path as he walks on the sidewalk. Tom and Matt then approaches him and together they enter inside to resolve unfinished business. Paddy Nose begs for his life and sings a song hoping to persuade the gangsters to change their minds. Without emotion, Tom still shoots Paddy Nose and then leaves with Matt.

The scene had 17 shots. Most of these shots were medium long shots followed by medium shots and long shots. However, within this scene, the most important shots worth mentioning are the first one, his use of camera angles and the last one. The type of sound used was diegetic meaning the sound emanated from the elements inside of the film. Low lighting provided the almost gloomy certainty of unfortune.

In the first shot, a black cat crossed the path of Paddy Nose. From a superstitious perspective, this shot foreshadowed the fate of Paddy Nose. A cat crossing your path is usually considered bad luck. Ultimately, for Paddy, it was indeed bad luck getting shot and killed.

At an angle, the camera pointed downwards as Tom Powers looked down at Paddy Nose. This technique, looking down at someone, allowed Powers to be perceived as powerful and dominant. Alternately, Paddy Nose was looking up at Powers and Matt, while begging, indicating weakness and submissiveness. This is evident when he gets down on his knees and asks not to be killed and he did not retaliate when punched and kicked by Powers.

The last shot of the scene was a combination of off-screen space, panning, forward moving track and medium long shot culminating in a long take. It is especially important to note how the relationship between off-screen space and sound created a less chilling death but still maintained its suspenseful effect. The director used off-screen space to kill Paddy Nose, so we did not actually see that, but it was the sound of the bullet that allowed the audience to make that connection. And since the shooting occurred off-screen, the sound was not synchronous since it could not be linked to an image. It is this part that depicts Powers as a true gangster. Paddy’s disappearance did not drastically affect Powers; however Powers still felt the need to get revenge because he was betrayed.

It is truly a remarkable landmark scene richly filled with brilliant cinematography, diegetic sound and several thematic issues infused into it. The most prevalent themes that the director wished to convey in this scene were revenge, violence and power. It was the first time throughout the film; we collectively observed the powerful, assertive, dominating, vicious and retributive qualities of Tom Powers. Throughout other scenes in the movie, only one or two of those characteristics were shown at once. William Wellman excelled by creating a very powerful scene incorporating all the traits of a bona-fide gangster into one scene.

The idea of a gangster movie reflected the events that were once part of American history. The years 1920 to 1933 were a period in American history, known as Prohibition in the United States or the Noble Experiment, where the sale and manufacture of alcohol for consumption was prohibited. This was depicted in the opening shot of the movie, where alcohol shops were closing down and the police were enforcing the prohibition. As a result of this prohibition, underground criminal activity was rampant. Many gangs sold alcohol illegally for lucrative gains and resorted to violence in order to protect their interests. Law enforcement and political officials were extorted and anyone who crossed the gangsters was killed. Even if anyone was indirectly responsible for the almost demise of a gang member, the individual was marked for death. With regards to the scene, Wellman’s film successfully conveyed those events of American history through the thematic uses of power, violence and retribution.

Nash
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