Theme of Color

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been scrambling to get my website complete enough to start showing off my portfolio, and I have individual pages about each project I’ve worked on that I’ve written a little summary or synopsis.

There is one particular piece that I made with a handful of my friends called “The Henchman trailer,” which we made for a video competition. The competition was very unique in and above itself, where contestants make movie trailers for a non-existent movie, and the winning trailer gets its feature-length movie made by Ron Howard.

Unfortunately, we did not win, but looking back at this trailer made me realize just how much we packed the theme of color into our minute-long video. If you haven’t done so, please check out The Henchman trailer.

Now, before I get too far into talking about the theme of color in The Henchman, I want to quick talk about a particular short film and how color played a significant role throughout it. Titled “The Pink Phink,” this was the first Pink Panther cartoon ever made, and actually won an academy award.

I was very young when I first saw this cartoon, but it planted a seed in me that took root to my very being. Each and every time I saw it since, it becomes more powerful and evokes a feeling of bewilderment and amazement, urging me to want to discuss its ending. I greatly attribute my passion and desire of art direction and film to this cartoon.

It’s all color play

At its core, this is a fun cartoon and cartoon shenanigans accompanied by an amazing soundtrack. There is no dialogue; none is needed to portray what is happening and at no point would the viewer feel lost. The Pink Panther comes across a man who is painting a wall the color blue. The Pink Panther, being pink, is not a fan of the blue color and decides to help out to the chagrin of the man by painting pink over everything.

This all culminates at the end where it leaves the viewer with an ambiguous visual. Everything is colored pink: the house, the ground, the trees, there’s even a beautiful pink sunset. The Pink Panther is so enamored with it all he “buys” the house from the man and promptly moves in. The pink sunset creates a silhouette of the house in all its pink glory.

But then the sun sets. The sky turns blue, the exact same tone of blue the man was attempting to paint the house. As it fades to black, there is not a single bit of pink on the screen.

Was the Pink Panther ultimately defeated? Was the Pink Panther actually the antagonist, making the man the protagonist? Was the man actually the one selling the house or was he just a contractor, so enveloped in his task that he was overlooking the buyer right in front of him?

I could go on, but its this ambiguity at the end that makes me just love it. And it’s all done with color.

The color in Henchman

Which then brings me to The Henchman trailer. The narrator, played by my buddy Darin, is sitting at a table with several other minions or “henchmen,” not really listening to his evil boss, played by me, drone on and on.

Our colors have been established; Darin, aka “Alexander Kline,” the henchman who has seen it all under his boss’s leadership, is wearing a purple tie, and the evil boss is wearing a red tie.

When a rookie minion, played by Max Mars, questions the evil boss’s authority, everyone else at the table tremble and try to remain composed, while Alexander Kline reveals a sort of “here we go again” look. The evil boss’s powers are revealed with his red burning eyes and the color red illuminating the screen, torching the rookie.

We then get a close-up of Alexander’s eyes, and they, too, reveal that he has a power with a surge of electrical purple color in his irises.

In making the vanity logo for The Henchman, I gave a huge nod to “The Pink Phink” as I have the sky change from a fiery red to a purple color.

At a subconscious level, the colors are supposed to represent the two clashing forces, and visually seeing the color change at the end lets the viewer know the change will happen. Since this is a trailer, however, it attempts to evoke the “How will he do so…?” as a sort of call-to-action to want to see the actual feature-length film.

No, we haven’t made a Henchman feature-length film, and we have had no discussions to do so.

…for now.

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