Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Digital Henchmen Launch Party

Had a chance to stop in at the Digital Henchmen launch party last Thursday night @ Club SAW here in Ottawa. Didn't see too many from the animation community, but there was a good turnout and much fun to be had (despite the lack of a liquor license).
The Henchmen put on a good party, I'll say that for them. Good door prizes and a heck of a show, the highlight of which, for me, had to be Halifax Rap Legend Jesse Dangerously. As a brother in girth, it was great to see this man rock the mic. His rhymes were solid, peppered with the requisite amount of humour and nostalgic pop references, and his stage presence is undeniable.
As for the video the Henchmen were premiering? I think it's only fair to approach this as a review.
The Digital Henchmen are three guys who've been in the business of television animation for about three or four years each. They've worked on a few decent productions, mainly at Mercury Filmworks here in Ottawa. They've decided to get out on their own and focus on shorter form work. As their first official collective effort, they've put to gether a music video for local band, Amos the Transparent. The song is great, if not a little haunting.
I'd seen the trailer the boys put together, and I was a bit hesitant. I like these guys and applaud what they're doing, and would love to give them a shout out here. From the trailer, I was a bit concerned. The animation and art direction left me a little cold. The character designs are largely uninspired, the animation is seviceable but lip-synch is poor, and the colour design exposes a lack of understanding of colour theory.
I was pleasantly surprised by the finished product.
My criticisms remain. Those are all areas the Henchmen will have to work on to be competitive. But the finished product, the video itself, in a whole, was thoughtful and enjoyable. There was something in the concept that these lads were able to capitalize on and communicate. The pacing was effective and their adherence to the narrative overcame the cosmetic issues I had with the piece.

There's plenty to tear apart, for sure, but for a maiden effort, I think the Digital Henchmen did a fine job. These guys still have a lot to learn, and I hope they find opportunities to keep learning, because if the day comes when their practical skills match their creative intention, they'll have found their niche.
Good luck to Jordan, Steve and Darren. These are less than perfect times to launch a new business. I hope they have what it takes to keep the band together.


  1. Not sure what happened to the pic of the guys... interesting colours.

  2. I thought these guys did a great job for a first effort. Good luck to Digital Henchmen, and thanks Mike for reporting on it! ~Mark C.