Video and vlogging are coming to my blog. In the next few months I will make short videos to present and describe each of the seven Speak-the-Rainbow colors. I shot the first one about green yesterday in a park in Paris with a professional photographer. Thinking about what I would say had me thinking about green and seeing green messages everywhere. A few days ago I discovered Ridley Scott’s film The Martian on DVD and immediately saw the powerful green message which emerges as the story unfolds. Spoiler alert if you have not seen it!
The film opens with images of the red planet, Mars, and immediately plunges us into a story of drama and despair when disaster strikes the crew. The red emotions of fear, loss, and isolation are marvellously and metaphoically emphasized here by the choice of the red planet as the story’s setting.
Slowly our hero, a botanist, takes control of his environment and life by planting seeds in the form of potatos in the red and lifeless soil. Green sprouts where only red existed and thus a green message of hope start to balance the red emotions of the story.
The director calls back this growth right at the end of the film with this image
before leaving us with the final images of Matt Damon teaching the next generation of NASA astronauts and scientists in a classroom. As our world faces the ravages of climate change and food shortages, could there be a greener image for Ridley Scott’s film to finish with than a botanist planting seeds on how to solve our planet’s problems in the minds of a future generation of scientists and space explorers?
Yesterday morning as I got ready to go to the park, I took out a leaflet which I had found inside a sealed book I had bought in Prague two days before. The slogan read “EACH AND EVERY TASCHEN BOOK PLANTS A SEED”. As I looked at it, I wondered how I could use it in the video. I quickly altered the image by adding my rainbow to it. Suddenly I had a new and powerful message.
Each and every rainbow plants a seed when you use green. Rainbows have been symbols of hope ever across cultures and history. In the Bible the rainbow is a sign of hope from God to Noah that the rains would cease and the waters recede. Green is the middle color of the rainbow and hope is the base you build with green.
You plant seeds in your audience’s mind by sharing a lesson, spreading optimisim, teaching, and using green words like we, our, us, let’s, you, will and shall. Although Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” evokes a classic expression of a blue “I’ vision, the speech is considered one of the most powerful messages of hope ever spoken. It is easy to see why when you compare the actual the number of times MLK said “I” to his use of these green words. Whereas “I” appears only fourteen times, MLK used “we” 33 times and said “will or shall” 32 times. Furthermore, MLK said “our” or “us” sixteen times, “you” eight times, “let’s” twice and added ten more uses of “let”. Finally he even said the word “hope” three times. These simple words resonate all through this speech and audiences hear and remember these seeds of green hope.
Barak Obama’s famous slogan “Yes, we can” shows us that green is the easiest color to use and yet many people forget to add green hope to their stories or speeches. Hope is the reward that great storytellers like Ridley Scott and speakers like MLK and President Obama give their audience. What seeds will you plant in your next speech? Remember EACH AND EVERY RAINBOW PLANTS A SEED!