A brief history of Graham.
OK, so maybe “adventure” and “intrigue” overstates it. But I am a teller of tales: an award-winning creative director, writer, and video journalist who makes content — and builds content orgs — with strategy and story and soul.
Here’s the big thing about me: I’m a little bit of everything. Born in a sleepy subdivision in Virginia and raised in the Tokyo sprawl, I currently count myself as a Brooklyner … at least until we have another polar vortex and I act on my threat to move to Los Angeles. (Mom, if you’re reading this, it’s happening and you just have to accept it.)
That goes for my career, too. After a few years spent flirting with teaching and a few more grinding towards my law degree, I finally risked doing what I always wanted to do: storytelling. I started my career as a news producer for Tokyo Broadcasting System, a Japanese television network. For five years, I immersed myself in journalism, visual narrative, and crafting content for a massive audience. Covering all the news out of DC (and beyond) taught me the journalist’s greatest skill: mastering little bits of everything quickly, then shaping them into stories that anyone can understand.
That skill has lingered as I’ve branched out into different types of storytelling — whether it’s copy that sizzles, content that sticks, or a screenplay that’s just silly. As former Director of Innovation at HuffPost, and Founder and Creative Director of the Explainer Studio at Vox Media, I never found a format I didn’t want to build, a topic that I didn’t want to study, or a brand’s problem that couldn’t be solved with some nifty, lateral thinking. So whatever your content needs to do, I can help — bit by bit.
Graham Fact #47:
Graham does not eat at ramen shops that do not serve miso ramen. Nor, in fact, does he acknowledge that non-miso ramen exists.
Graham Fact #6:
A list of Graham’s current and forever inspirations: Italo Calvino, Joan Didion, Joss Fong, Charles Yu, Winsor McCay, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Andre the Giant, George Plimpton, Lindsay Ellis, Grant Morrison, Kanye West, Michael Tucker, Ezra Klein, Kelly Link, David Byrne, George Saunders, Edgar Wright, Mark Twain, Taika Waititi, and Stan Lee
Graham Fact #3,381:
In college, Graham wrote his colloquium on 18th and 19th century piracy in the Straits of Malacca. In the 21st century, he rode on a boat in the Straits of Malacca that was later stolen. By pirates.
Graham Fact #89:
Graham is a Virgo born in the Year of Dog. Astrostyle.com calls Virgos “perfectionists,” “uptight,” and “overly critical.” Chineseastrology.com says Dogs are “loyal,” “kind,” and “determined.” He has since bookmarked Chineseastrology.com.
Graham Fact #616:
There is only one bone that Graham has ever broken: his skull. This may account for many, many things.
Graham Fact #48
On his first business trip ever, a petrified Graham was sent undercover to film visiting North Korean dignitaries. He got the shot, but has been officially barred for life from the Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa in La Jolla, California.
Graham Fact #223
Graham has had the chance to ask questions of — and even received answers from!— many important people: Secretary Hilary Clinton, Governor Sarah Palin, Senators Daniel Inouye and Carl Levin, and Pacific Commander Admiral Robert F. Willard. Yet, somehow, he is most proud that he once interviewed competitive eating champion Takeru Kobayashi.
Bachelor of Arts, History
College of William & Mary
Juris Doctor, Media Law
Lead Editorial Producer
Director of Innovation & Int’l
Aol Partner Studio
New York, NY
Founder & Creative Director
New York, NY
Creative Director & Show Runner
Los Angeles, CA
Creative Director & Consultant
New York, NY
Let me tell you a story.
I help brands, publishers, and agencies with anything and everything in content, from writing a 60-second script to starting up entire studios. Don’t see what you need listed? Talk to me, and I’ll figure out how to provide it through my production company, Half-Nelson Holding Company.
Ideation & Strategy
Content and experiential ideas that are so big they’ll grab the attention (and dollars) of clients and so achievable that they’ll earn the thanks of your production team — all wrapped in a beautiful, smartly written package. And it’s not just content — I’ve built entire studios.
Leading and inspiring creative teams and providing a vision for award-winning storytelling, whatever the format or client goal. Got something new you want to try? That’s my favorite — let me pioneer it, then build a template for you to follow.
Scripts. Copy. Articles. Explainers. Essays. Sizzles. Infographics. White papers. Social posts. Novels, both graphic and otherwise. Heck, even musicals. I don’t think there’s anything I haven’t written for clients — or haven’t liked writing.
Consulting & Workshops
Honing your brand, your positioning, and your processes with years of experience, data analysis, and just a little flair. I’ve founded whole studios, built new design languages and pitch decks, and refreshed social strategies for clients big and small. (And I’ve talked about it around the world.)
Voiceover & Talent
They don’t call me “Two-Take Nelson” for nothing. If it’s right for the piece, I bring my expertise, enthusiasm, and (nerdy-yet-soothing) presence to both screen and VO booth. I get it done quickly, and have garnered awards in the process.
Editing & Script-doctoring
Sometimes a piece needs polishing — or even just a second set of eyes. But my philosophy is that rewriting without rewiring just isn’t enough. As someone with great mentors, I now greatly enjoy teaching young writers, producers, and creators who are still honing their craft.
Kind praise from very nice people.
Vox has perfected the art of creating explainer videos that are both entertaining and educational by weaving stories into every lesson. Finding out how Spotify’s customized Discover Playlists are built is interesting enough for a music and tech geek like me …
I love the real-talk nature of this piece. Let’s all believe we can make it better.
(Not to mention swell coverage in these very fine publications.)
Heartbreaking works of staggering Graham-ness. (Under Reconstruction)
There’s a lot of bad content out there. No matter what, I fight for my content — and your content — to be informative, relatable, fun, and personable. (Or, to put it simply, good.) Please ask me for links to work while I rebuild this section.
Heartbreaking works of staggering Graham-ness.
There’s a lot of bad content out there. No matter what, I fight for my content — and your content — to be informative, relatable, fun, and personable. (Or, to put it simply, good.) Please stay, explore, and enjoy.
And the response so far has been pretty good.
Just in case you wanted hard numbers about my work — or hard numbers and shiny hardware.
I’m ready to believe you.
You may have already guessed this, but I like to chat. So, c’mon, let’s talk about your next project. And if you understood that Ghostbusters reference, let’s be best friends.
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