Featured Filmmakers: Michael Grasley

31 August, 2021

Welcome to the third edition of Featured Filmmakers- a monthly series in which Screen and Film School Brighton’s student blogger Lauren Louise takes a closer look at some of the incredible creatives behind the screen. This month we take a look at the work of the brilliant Production Designer, Michael Grasley!

Name: Michael Grasley

Movies: Euphoria, Malcolm & Marie, Assassination Nation, I Care A Lot, Life After Beth, Electric Slide

Skill: Production Designer

This month’s featured filmmaker is the incredibly impressive production designer, Micheal Grasely. In this blog post we will be looking at how Grasely got where he is and his process when building and decorating sets as a head production designer.

Grasely is a production designer who seems to work very closely with the Euphoria Showrunner, Sam Levinsion, to build and dress sets for his features such as Malcom & Marie and Assassination Nation.

Unlike us, Micheal Grasely did not start out in a Film School. Instead he attended an Art School where he studied Industrial Design, before getting a Masters in Architecture. Grasely promptly moved on to building set design pieces for his local theatres, before relocating to Los Angeles to work as part of art crews for advertisements and music videos. Grasely got his leg up by putting in the extra work by doing mood books for directors to present to production companies.

When planning out a set, Grasely likes to start by making paper models in addition to sketches to generate new ideas and attempt different concepts/ This gives him a space to figure things out and cut holes and spaces for where the camera and lighting would need to be, like on this set from Assassination Nation where they built the bathroom set.

For the feature Life After Beth, Grasely had to build two sets of the same location as it transformed from an attic into a mud covered cave by the end of the movie. Building two sets saved time when shooting the movie.

Carefully planning these sets means Grasely can make more elaborate sets in collaboration with directors and cinematographers to make intricate sets and rigs like the rotating hallway in Euphoria. Below you can see the digital pre-visualisation of the set they built to rotate slowly with the actors in it.

 

Micheal Grasely is an exceptional Production Designer known for his aesthetic and remarkable sets. We can’t wait to see what comes next in his journey through film!

 


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