Three Ways Action Films are Art

Action movies have been crowd-pleasers for a long time, drawing in massive crowds since the beginnings of cinema as a form of mass media – even in the silent era of film… …when the experience of cinema leaned even more heavily on the visual than it does today. Film has shown that it is uniquely suited to expressing action to thrill audiences. When one takes the time to look into the century-long history of action sequences, just like with any other art form: there are derivations, enhancements, homages, and remixes to be … Continue reading

How to Critique a Movie: Five Methods

You’ve heard it before.  Maybe you’re even the one who said it in a moment of desperation: “I like it for what it is: a movie.” Thanks for the in-depth analysis, Aristotle… I understand, it takes a little bit of knowledge to be able to boil a 2-hour experience into a few lines of commentary… so, here’s a five point crash course on film theory, with examples from the franchise everyone knows, Classic Star Wars; so that you can set yourself apart from the crowd with insightful analysis of any … Continue reading

Why 3d is Not a Gimmick (But Awful for Films)

Like a lot of sensible people, I believe the recent rash of 3d filmmaking to be about as ridiculous as Smell-O-Vision. And, it’s not because it’s a gimmick, as is popular to wax on about. I don’t even mind a little gimmick in my film. Sometimes the cinema salad just needs a little more mayonnaise, and there’s nothing wrong with that…after all, today’s gimmick is just yesterday’s innovation, and tomorrow’s retro.  So what is the problem? Immersion is not expression. 3d is a fine technique for immersing a player/user/viewer into … Continue reading

A Legend Passes: Ray Harryhausen, Visual Effects Innovator

Ray Harryhausen, a giant in the field of visual effects, passed away yesterday at the age of 92. If you’ve never heard of him, you have undoubtedly seen his work. Before the advent of digital effects, Ray stunned audiences from the 50’s to 80’s with his ground breaking stop motion work in such classics as Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans. Stop motion existed before Ray, of course.  In fact, stop motion in film predates sound.  Ray’s major contribution to the field is that his creatures and characters existed … Continue reading

Can Superman Still be Marketed After 75 Years?

For people like myself who invest considerable time into parsing film, and storytelling in general, we have a phrase for tropes like the Superman:  Older than dirt.  From Action Comics no.1 to the Cold-War-classic Christopher Reeves films to the displacing of the characters into Smallville as teenagers (something which has slightly less narrative sophistication than Muppet Babies), the Superman trope has seen better centuries, and it shows. In fact, the Superman plot device has been around since the Sumerians chiseled the Epic of Gilgamesh onto stone tablets in cuneiform ca. 2000 B.C. In a sense, … Continue reading

What invisible gum can teach you about boosting creativity.

Many years ago, predating my time as a professional videographer and visual effects artist, I was sitting in a summer class for acting.  I was chiefly concerned with expanding my knowledge of acting technique to better pursue my dreams of becoming a director of cinema.  Acting class, if you’ve never taken one in, usually consists of a series of illustrative exercises. One exercise was called, “the walk”.  Each student was to come to class that day with some simple, mundane ritual that would be performed as part of a personal … Continue reading

Digital Effects for the YouTube Generation.

In 1994, the wizards at Industrial Light and Magic wowed audiences with their contributions to Forrest Gump, wherein the title character was portrayed in fictional encounters with famous personalities from bygone eras. The entertainment value was obvious. And, fresh off the release of Jurassic Park, audiences were becoming accustomed to big studios making the impossible real. But for nearly two decades, that level of special effects has only been possible with million-dollar production budgets and professional digital effects artists. Maybe that’s about to change:

Your Work is Supremely Boring

It’s a hard thing to explain to young idealistic filmmakers and motion graphics artists: Your work is almost assuredly boring. It’s become a cliche to wax philosophical on how the Internet is changing the way we interact with data, with our attention spans or the way we think in general; but that’s not what I’m talking about.

About ADG

ADG Creative is a strategic communications firm specializing in branding, interactive, learning and gaming, and software development. We combine process, experience and extraordinary creative talent to tell our customers' stories in unique, memorable and usually unexpected ways, leveraging both conventional and new media platforms.