Reasons to be Happy, in North Hollywood~
It was a small thing. But one of those little defining moments that you make a note of when they happen. I was walking down Magnolia Blvd in North Hollywood, when I caught sight of it. There it was, on the window of the Sherry Theatre. My first publicly viewable photograph made since I had arrived in Los Angeles just a few months earlier. Right there. There it was. I really enjoyed that moment.
The theatre production of Reasons to be Happy, a play written by Neil LaBute, had requested I create a photograph for them for use on their promotional poster. A few actor friends were involved in the production, and ticket and concession sales would benefit Alzheimer’s research. Either of those reasons would have been good enough for me to participate. And with the assistance of one of the co-directors, we hatched a concept for the photoshoot.
There is a famous industry phrase that says, never work with children or animals. I think it’s fair to say that perhaps melting ice cream could also be added to the list of challenging elements. Yet wrangling numerous ice cream cones over and over did prove to be an amusing aspect of our shoot.
The concept was meant to express the messiness of relationships, but there was only a small window of optimum timing for the ice cream. Definitely melting and dripping, but not so melty that it wouldn’t be believable that a couple would continue to hold on to the dripping cones. In real life, at some point, one of them would simply have had enough. Both of the increasingly fluid ice cream and the increasingly fluid relationships depicted in the play.
In the end, the final photograph for the poster ended up as a composite of five photographs we made. One photo was the overall master shot of the couple, and the additional four were used to replace slightly less than perfect scoops in the hero couple photo, and even a couple of additional ice cream drips. At one point during the shoot, the drip phase of the shoot, I shot hundreds of rapid fire photos, trying to catch the perfect chocolate drip and then the ideal vanilla drip.
It was a great production with a wonderfully talented cast and crew. I was able to attend both performances and thoroughly enjoyed them. It was… wait for it… one of several Reasons to be Happy in North Hollywood that weekend. Sorry, Gentle Readers, I couldn’t help myself.