“Don’t try to comprehend with your mind. Your minds are very limited. Use your intuition.” ~ Madeleine L’Engle
When our client, Kate Kaminski, first approached us to work on branding and promotion for her comedy performance about three internet-famous psychics and one disgruntled ghost hunter, we feared she may have become possessed.
She conjured a tale so bizarre and magical that we felt compelled by powers beyond our mortal comprehension to contribute our dark (graphic) arts, writing, and branding experience to this otherworldly endeavor. Having already spent years reading our clients’ minds, we considered ourselves well-suited to work on this positively spooky artistic project.
Séance on a Tuesday Afternoon satirizes cultural appropriation, the self-promotional obsession of online life, online hookups, and the need we all have to believe in something… beyond. Embedded within the audience, the séance gets awkward right away as subterranean jealousies surface and a couple on a first date gets disruptive. But when unexpected messages arrive from THE FUTURE, events turn even more chaotic.
The performance was held at PortFringe 2019, a non-juried fringe festival that supports edgy, experimental, and boundary-pushing artists in Portland, Maine. After preliminary gatherings to discuss the script and characters, we took the crystal ball and ran with it. Since it was necessary to channel a host of mysterious and inscrutable spirits during this journey, we summoned our extra-sensory perceptions for the guidance needed to create the perfect paranormal projection. Like the comedy performance itself, the branding and promotional images had to be outside the norm — and a little over the top!
With our deck of tarot cards and special talismans in hand, we began work on the logo and visual theme. Guided by the ghost of Edgar Cayce, we developed a look that harkened back to the early days of psychic and spiritual symbolism. The logo not only had to promote the performance, but was also meant to serve as a “Protection Disk” that would be given out to audience members during the show to “keep them safe from uninvited spirits.” Each disk would have a different “fortune" printed on its reverse side.
I swear I’m not moving it!
An Indiegogo page was created to raise funds for the production and we needed to produce a short animated introduction that would be cut together with footage of the actors discussing the performance. The idea was to create an extra-large Ouija-style board that would serve as a backdrop for a spirit-guided planchette, which would wander the surface pausing periodically to reveal insightful information. These would take the form of old postcards, scraps of paper and other assorted ephemera.
The spirits have been summoned.
In lieu of the typical show program, Kate suggested we write and design personal promotional materials for four of the main characters — the ghost hunter and the three psychics. This was a chilling prospect, since each character had their own distinct and somewhat disturbing personality. Fearfully remembering FBI agent Jack Crawford’s warning to Clarice Starling not to allow Hannibal Lecter inside her head, we gingerly stepped into the skins of these unusual characters to get to know them better. After a series of weird out-of-body experiences and deep empathic channeling insights, we were able to write narratives for them. These would not only help guide us during the design journey, but would also help to define their backgrounds.
Photography provided by the super-talented Judy Beedle!
Honor Gale is a hurricane force of ghost-hunting energy and is dedicated to ripping off the masks of frauds and fakes everywhere, one paranormal practitioner at a time. She’s on the verge of discovering something BIG and nobody can stop her! She’s not afraid to make enemies and she’ll take down some people along the way, but that’s just the price of exposing THE REAL TRUTH!
Jayne Nixon’s claim to fame is predicting the Mount St. Helen’s eruption in a drawing when she was six years old. As the self-pronounced “World’s Most Famous Psychic” she appeared on Larry King Live in 1998. She now hosts a weekly podcast called Makeouts/Breakups in which she reveals the celebrity stories that go beyond this world and into the next.
Leslie Seeman (pronounced See-man) has visited all levels of the astral plane and had the good fortune to bond with one uniquely wise and sacred SPIRIT, a dearly departed dog named Origami. Lucky viewers who tune in to Leslie’s vidcast, Origami Nation, learn weekly how to raise their SuccessQuotients™ by absorbing the subliminal messages he sends through his trademarked Head Talks™.
Rose Slade is a Gaia Goddess and a Reader of Auras. She was called upon by many seers and sages of ancient enigmatic places and times to embark upon a shamanic journey that has transported her to many fascinating worlds. Rose’s nickname is “The Cat” for her ability to see whatever you’re trying to hide. Also because it was noticed at the psychic fairs that she laps her water backwards out of her glass.
Bringing these characters to life required us to dive deep. In order to be “real,” Kate provided them with actual Instagram accounts, as well as fake email addresses, podcasts, and YouTube channels. We helped produce a series of Instagram posts for Honor Gale, who uses her patented Honor System™ to root out fraudsters.
And finally, Kate and the spirits compelled us to design a poster and a promotional postcard for the performance, in addition to a small advertisement that would appear in the PortFringe program.
Working on Séance on a Tuesday Afternoon with Kate, her partner, Betsy Carson, the actors and the rest of the crew was a blast! With such creative characters and comedic writing to inspire us, it was truly a lucid dream come true. We will fondly keep our Protection Disks close by to repel those pesky Victorian phantoms, evil doll apparitions, unclean wraiths or other ethereal beings that might be floating nearby. At the very least it will remind us that “The Future is Coming!”