Positive Celebrity Exclusive: Colton Tran talks Cruella, charity and gives advice to filmmakers!
“The most important advice I can give to anyone wanting to pursue their dreams is to always stay positive, and never let the negative in. Positivity is such a powerful tool.”
Colton Tran recently dropped a trailer for his new short film Cruella, which is the first part of his Scarytale Ending mini-series. The film puts a head-turning twist on a childhood favorite movie, 101 Dalmatians.
Tran started his filmmaking journey when he was just 12-years-old. His unique styles and creative ideas are magical. The self-taught pro loves editing, creating, directing and bringing his incredible visions to life.
It was in those moments as a young kid that Colton fell in love with the whole filmmaking process.
Following his dreams and aspirations has landed him in some major film festivals across the nation. Though many short films just don’t have what it takes to be successful, Colton’s style makes every film he touches hauntingly perfect.
Those who have had the pleasure of working with Colton on set have always left with positive experiences and lessons that will further help them on their own filmmaking journey.
We wanted to know more about his process for making this film, as it’s so well done and has such great potential.
“I was actually in a meeting with Disney Channel. We were discussing a future collaboration and I brought up the idea of finding a way to explore the darker side of our beloved Disney films.”
Clearly, the concept is too dark to be done by Disney themselves, so I decided to add it to my anthology series “Scarytale Ending.” It’s a series of short stories that have no fairytale endings.”
As a result of being so creative, Tran has truly made a name for himself and with his anthology series coming, we can’t help but get pulled into his dark-themed shorts.
We asked Colton if he had plans for his short in regards to pitching the idea to Networks, like Netflix or Hulu.
“At this moment it’s independent. I want to finish four more episodes and then pitch it to Blumhouse, Hulu and revisit Netflix. One of the episodes was bought from me by AwesomenessTV and I was able to direct it for their own horror series “Sleep Tight.”
The goal of becoming a filmmaker is one that doesn’t happen by chance. Filmmakers don’t care what equipment they have. They are still busily filming and doing their best with what they have available. You’d be surprised how well an independent film can be, even on a low budget.
Established directors have constantly said filmmaking is a creative process and to not be afraid of taking chances. Colton shared some insight for those looking to make their dreams a reality.
“My biggest piece of advice would be, don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to dream big and don’t be afraid of rejection. I believe that you can reach your highest potential in anything that you do if you go into it knowing that you’re doing your best.
There’s so much competition in the film industry and I suggest you use that competitive energy to keep yourself creating and making sure you stay on top. Your hard work will always prevail.”
Filmmaking takes a lot of planning and coordination. Regardless of what Colton and his team are working on, it’s nothing less than incredible. Tran shared how grateful he is to have such a great cast and crew.
“I am so grateful for the team (cast & crew) that I have been fortunate enough to assemble while out here in LA.
When I collaborate with my cinematographers, I make sure we’re on the same creative page from the beginning. Lighting and tone are crucial for the style of film that I direct.
It’s hyper-stylized when it comes to angles, color, lighting, shadows, symmetry and forced perspective.
Since there aren’t many indie filmmakers who pursue this type of filmmaking I strive to make sure it’s top notch and stands out due to the style.”
It’s no secret he’s a pro but he also has some huge influences when it comes to his passion for film.
“My all-time favorite film is Scream. It’s the film that inspired me to become a filmmaker. Also, A Nightmare on Elm Street. That type of horror is my favorite type of horror… dark fantasy. In Freddy’s world, anything is possible.
My biggest influences would be Wes Craven and Tim Burton.
Wes Craven was able to create iconic horror films and characters and also be the one who revived a whole new generation of horror.
Tim Burton inspires me with his German Expressionistic vision and style.
The whimsical dark fantasy worlds that he creates has inspired many of my films and concepts.”
Indeed, the excitement is building for the moment we get to see episodes of Colton’s Scarytale Ending series!
“You can expect more from Cruella and new Scarytale Ending episodes within the next several months. Still deciding if we should release the next four in bulk or individually.”
Connecting with audiences through character emotion is incredibly important.
In fact, the characters’ emotional development leads to their ultimate transformation at the overall story level.
“I feel like Cruella brings out many different emotions. When I had the concept of showing the side of the story where she finally gets a hold of the puppies, I knew it wouldn’t be pleasant. That’s the fun of these dark stories, making the audience feel uncomfortable. That’s one of the main emotions I love to draw from my films. The contrast of something beautiful (bright colors, lighting, wardrobe) and then jarring the audience with the dark side of what lies beneath. Every story has a dark side. People just hide it and I want to explore it.”
When it comes to any film, it’s important to know what will make your film stand out. Colton shared how his work distinguishes itself.
“This is a great question. My work distinguishes itself by style alone. Most indie films especially don’t take the risk of going outside the box when it comes to style. That’s where I feel like my work stands out. We are able to create a whole world building concept with a highly stylized tone that only bigger budget studios are able to pull off.”
Colton isn’t only a creator, he also loves to act, which is what really makes him stand out in front of the camera. He already knows what he’s looking for and nails his roles. He shared with us about one of his favorite sets.
“Being on the set of Disney Channel’s “CLOUD 9” will always be one of my fondest set experiences. I met a lot of my close friends on that film and we still all continue to work with each other.”
What’s the most important aspect of directing an animation film or series?
“Staying true to your vision. Especially with a series. As the episodes go on, things can sometimes lose a cohesive feel. So I make sure that my directing style stays true throughout the series.”
With that in mind, stay tuned because one of Colton Tran’s latest films, KILLER DATE, is right around the corner, as well as GLOW, which will be released on Netflix in August!
“One of my latest films KILLER DATE will be premiering in October and my episodes of Netflix’s GLOW will release in August! So I’m getting excited for that.”
Charity is important, and there’s no lack of that on Colton’s side of the world. He loves to support charities, especially those that deal with animals. He loves animals beyond measure.
“My favorite charities would be the Thirst Project and GLADD. Also, any charities that help animals. I’m always all for helping the animals.”
Thirst Project is a non-profit organization whose aim is to bring safe drinking water to communities around the world where it is not immediately available. It’s not common to be able to walk to the kitchen and get water in some countries
The fact that Colton has worked so hard proves, you can and you will reach your goals.
You just have to grind and keep up the confidence, believe in what you are envisioning and work with a team that supports your vision and empowers you to follow it 100%.
Let us know what you think of his work in the comments below.