Design with Restraint

Don’t you hate it when a movie trailer gives away the entire plot of a film? There is something to be said for restraint.

That was our philosophy when it came to marketing Casa Valentina which is receiving it’s non-professional regional premiere next week at The Colonial Players in Annapolis.

Written by Harvey Fierstein (and NOT Harvey Weinstein!!!), the play is set in 1962 and involves a group of cross-dressing men.

Of course, including a man dressed as woman in the publicity materials would have drawn a lot of attention, but the director was keen on not giving too much away. He wanted to tease the public a bit, and he also wanted to save the big reveal of all seven men dressed as their female personas for the actual ticket buyers.


So, we decided to take a series of portraits of a single actor. The shots were tightly framed and focused on pieces of the man’s transformation. The pics would speak to the play’s content without spoiling all of the fun. 

For this we only needed a single costume. And not even a full costume at that. Our approach made sense from a practical standpoint since most of the actors costumes and wigs were unavailable at the time of the photoshoot.  (It ALSO makes sense to not burden your costumers too early in the process!)

So, here are the series of photos we shot. 

To achieve a cohesive look and thereby brand the images, we treated the pics with a color filter to give them a vintage feel. We also added the shows title treatment which acts as a logo and ties the images together. 

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We started with the widest shot of just the shoe, and every few days, we revealed a little more. We ended the campaign by revealing the actual show design, which does, in fact, reveal the face of one of the dressed men.

In  perfect world, we’d have used the same model in both the close-ups and the final full image, but c’est la vie. Whatever we lost in consistency, we gained in financial savings. Since we shot these pics on the same day that we did our other publicity shots, these extra cost us nothing. 

The strategy is working! The show opens in one week and anticipation continues to build! If you're in the Annapolis/DC/Baltimore area, you should check it out! Running May 25 through June 17.

And that is how you do A LOT with a little.

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