Promoting A Play With Film

It is becoming popular for theater companies to hire filmmakers to make promotional videos for shows, but how does a filmmaker create a promotional video for material that is entirely under copyright?

I was recently cast in the role of Frankie in Arouet’s stage production of Terrance McNally’s award winning play Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. I asked Ian Stone, my film partner at Sleepwalk Productions, to help us create a promotional video for the play.

Since the license does not allow for any portion of the play to be videotaped, a concept was needed for the video that would promote the play without using material directly from the script. Ian quickly came up with the idea of making mid- 1980’s dating service interview tapes for each character. By choosing that time frame, the promotional video is placed sometime before the time of the play. The scenario is that Frankie and Johnny have independently gone to the same dating service.

Working closely with the play’s director Roy Arauz and production designer Kristina Hestenes Stimson, Ian was able to have characters true to McNally’s script and sell the time and place of the dating service through set dressing and costumes.

We let you wonder: what happens when chance throws these two very different people together years later?

Stay tuned for Johnny’s video…