Bo Colen has never been afraid to think outside the box. As a Recording Arts student at Full Sail, he found himself intrigued with filmmaking just as much as he enjoyed the world of music and recording studios, and would often sneak into other classes to absorb information from the Film degree program.
And after subsequent years of assuming various job titles in the production/post-production side of the film industry (as a screenwriter, engineer, camera operator, and production manager, to name a few), Bo has once again leaped into another realm of the business. As creative executive for Paramount Home Entertainment Global, Bo’s part of a small team that leads the creative design of all of Paramount’s International releases, overseeing the packaging and artwork for movie promotional campaigns and DVD/Blu-ray releases for films such as Watchmen, Tropic Thunder, and Star Trek. “What is released domestically in the United States can wildly vary from International territory to territory. Watchmen alone has four variant Key Art layouts. The Blu-ray that you buy in the UK will look vastly different from the US. This allows Paramount to market globally to the different tastes and aesthetics of varies countries and cultures.” explains Bo.
“My career has definitely taken a left turn. I’ve pretty much worked in every end of entertainment, with years and years of experience in production and post, so this is kind of the last step,” Bo says. “It’s been really interesting for me to see how studios market things and the amount of time, money, and energy that really goes into that process. It’s not really happenstance that just a few months ago you couldn’t turn around without seeing a Watchmen advertisement.”
With such a rich catalog of titles and projects in his workload, every day brings a new challenge and experience for Bo. In addition to working with theatrical releases, Bo oversees the Paramount catalog re-releases into the new Blu-ray format. “To coincide with the latest Friday the 13th film, we re-released the catalog and I worked on redesigning the artwork for the original films. It was a lot of fun, because we were creating an entire line look for eight films,” he says. “We get a lot of creative license. We’ve been redoing some other older projects that have lead me to dig through Paramount’s vaults, touching archive items that have been sitting around for 25 years, and then working with a design agency to do something completely new and different.”
“With a title as old as Friday the 13th, what we find in the vault is all we’ve got to work with; if something’s not there, it’s not there, and then we have to fake it or make it up. Back in the 1970s, studios obviously weren’t thinking of home entertainment while they produced movies,” he continues. “It’s vastly different from how things are done today. When a film is greenlit, especially if it’s a big title like G.I. Joe or Transformers, they go into pre-production knowing that they’ve got to pony up with the extra content.”
It may be a different world than what he was used to from his years behind the camera, but Bo loves every minute of it. “Sometimes I’m working more analytically than I am creatively, but I always switch gears so I can keep things moving,” he says. “It’s really engaging, especially after working on the front-end of things for so long – it’s kind of nice to be working back here and handling the finished project, instead of dealing with all the stresses that come with production. Every day is different, and it never gets old.”