Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Secret Adversary: Photo Shoot

Tommy & Tuppence in Playhouse Square

Creating The Secret Adversary tour image created a special challenge. Great Lakes Theater Marketing Director Todd K., and I wanted to create a sense of motion, the impression of urgency. Our young detectives are working against the clock to stop an international criminal mastermind.

First, of course, we needed some charming young detectives, and found them in the persons of Devon Turchan and Deborah Cluts. Shortly after being cast they met with production costume designer Esther Haberlen, who created these c. 1920 looks expressly for the promotional shoot. She will be designing different looks for the tour.

Having decided upon an action shot, we needed to decided where they were rushing to, and why. It had to be intriguing without any necessary knowledge of the story or characters involved.

A few guide images we shared were those of intrepid journalist Tintin and of course, the Doctor, (who has somehow been referenced somewhere in the past four outreach tours) each of whom have awesome coats.

We met with the design team at TRG Reality and threw ideas around. It was decided that to suggest action, our protagonists had to be on their way from somewhere to somewhere else. So the background could not be abstract, but we also wanted to avoid anything very complicated. Something that could be happening in the story, not some detail-laden plot point, but more exciting than, say, a city street or sidewalk.

At the start of the story they met at the top of the stairs at a stop on the London Underground. One after Todd and I skulked each of the Playhouse Square theatres (each built in the early 1920s) in search of stairwells which could stand in for "the tube."

These stairs lead to the original balcony of the Allen Theatre, just off the grand rotunda. As they are no longer useful for accessing the theatre balcony (the Allen has been foreshortened by the Cleveland Play House) the stairs remain something of a hidden treasure, with those striking lights features crowning the rail posts.

The folks at TRG moved in and we all worked together to instruct Debbie and Devon to dash up the stairs ... again, and again, and again. We needed them to concentrate on numerous thoughts at once; Debbie spotted something at the top of the stairs, Devon is focused on her. He's trying to catch up with her, with a hand on her shoulder, and also to check his pocket watch. Also, we desperately did not want them to trip and fall.

Unedited rough image.

We had time to go over the unedited images back at the office and several staff members weighed in with their opinions (thanks, Kelly and Stephanie!) and this was roundly agreed to be the best picture of Debbie (thanks, also, to Dresden, who was our stylist that day). However, these are days of perfection and fantasy and we had suggestions for how to make the place look more like a subway ... and also whether or not we wanted to incorporate a different image of Devon.

The carpet (seen above left in the rough image) would be out of place in a public space like a subway. Also, some signage would better suggest the fact that they were even in a subway, and we provided several images, like the one directly above, of the London Underground.

If possible, we wanted to keep Devon's hand, but chose a different one of his torso shots, so he would be more visible - especially wearing that awesome coat. Finally, we just wanted to whole thing flipped so the post was up left instead of right for the purposes of future cropping and typography for the poster.

The day before Thanksgiving we received this final promo image for The Secret Adversary. I am thankful to work with so many talented and thoughtful artists, at Great Lakes Theater and TRG Reality!

Final image - TRG Reality

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