On July 12, 2019, my high school chum Juan Carlos Hernandez posted Clown 345, a short comedy film about three clowns, a phone, and a joke. It stars Juan (a professional actor who has played many roles on TV, feature films, and even local theater in and around New York City), his wife Adria, and his son Anthony James Hernandez.
Clown 345 was not a project that I was linked to at its inception; I was cracking the story to the screenplay that I titled Happy Days Are Here Again and eventually was produced as Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss. I had already sent Juan another script – my first attempt at a comedy – but that one just didn’t flow well, so I decided to go with Plan B, which I envisioned as a riff on All in the Family but scaled down to three characters.
Anyway, while I shifted mental gears to work on Happy Days Are Here Again, Juan wrote a script about a young clown’s attempts to tell a joke, while his father and mother, who are also clowns, try to give him advice. He had most of it done, but he wanted me to contribute some material to bridge the start of the film with the ending.
I hadn’t yet gotten far with the first draft of Happy Days Are Here Again, so I agreed to look at the Clown 345 script and see what I could add to it.
It took me a couple of days to come up with an idea; our first collaboration, A Simple Ad, was a tightly contained story that takes place mostly in one room, except for the coda, which is a brief exterior scene. Juan needed something that was more “opened up” and could be shot outdoors.
So…I came up with a nice little sequence and a sight gag that references one of my favorite authors. It isn’t a long bit and it’s not a David Lean epic, but, hey…it’s my modest addition to Juan, Adria, and Anthony’s 8 minutes and 45 seconds-long short.
A Simple Ad, Clown 345, and Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss are all viewable on YouTube.
If you watched Clown 345 and want to share your thoughts, please jot them down in the Comments section below!