THE HOLLYWOOD FRINGE FESTIVAL BLOG
May 23, 2013 by Ben Hill
Greetings, Fringe Community!
When we began planning the Fringe in the Summer of 2007, there were moments when our lofty visions for the festival seemed mere figments of our imaginations. How could we possibly align the human and material resources to actually produce on these visions? I think many of us have been there before; when an idea is so new and delicate, its prospects seem impossible or at least implausible. Goodness knows, many of us have nurtured these ideas only to see them discarded the next morning over coffee.
Something about this particular idea stuck. Its force grew and through the sweat, minds and hearts of so many others, its being took shape. And here we are 6 years later, 3 festivals down and one epic June set to begin.
Including our upcoming festival, the Fringe has presented a total of 846 shows, over 3500 performances and 357 world premieres. In just three years, we have become the largest performing arts festival West of the Mississippi. No small accomplishment as the road to the present has been far from easy.
We give 100% of box office receipts back to the artists who participate in the festival. We regularly use 100% of the registration funds raised through the Fringe on promoting the festival. Our staff regularly donates the majority of their time to make this happen. And there’s so much more to accomplish.
Here’s where you fine people help. We are attempting to raise a very modest $15,000 by June 12 so we can pay our many bills once the festival closes on June 30. If we raise more than that? Fantastic, it will be poured directly into the 2014 festival.
What bills you say? To name but a few: Ad buys, printing, distribution, staff, rents, utilities, insurance, entertainment, website costs, permits, rentals, merchandise. The list goes on and on; it is not inexpensive to run a festival of this magnitude.
If the Fringe is something you truly value, if you feel this is an event needed in the world of theatre, then I ask you: Please help us today. We very much need it.
We have big ideas for the future: enhanced programs for students and families, new modes of intra-fringe transportation, pole signs along LA streets, a broader international outreach program, new perks for participants and novel ways to celebrate the wonder of theatre.
This Fringe has shaped our lives and filled us with purpose and so we give much of our lives to it every day of the year. Please join us, it feels really good.
Ben Hill, Festival Director
Hollywood Fringe Festival 2013
May 20, 2013 by Ben Hill
Who are you and what do you do?
Hello, I am Ben your friendly cruise director for HFF13. I started planning the Fringe with my friends in 2007 right after we moved to LA. After unpacking our shirts, we realized that LA didn’t have a Fringe. Then we reserved a domain name. The rest is history.
As Festival Director and Board Chair, my job is to make sure the HFF happens every year. I work on promotion, development, production, participant support, ticketing, special events, partner relationships and strategic planning. It’s a 365-days-a-year, 17-hour-a-day job.
I also spend a lot of time developing the Fringe website and mobile apps. Both of those projects have been active since 2007. I write the code, develop the spec and sing the songs.
What inspired you to start a Fringe here?
The place itself inspires Fringey thought patterns. As we aren’t shackled by a dominating commercial theatre scene, we have a lot of opportunity to define LA as a hotbed for emerging theatre. It really helps that this also happens to be the truth.
I’ve also seen firsthand the effect of Fringes in other cities. Edinburgh (the grandmother of all Fringes) is an inspiring creation; one of the wonders of the world. If you love HFF and want more, buy your plane tickets to Scotland today. Every fringe lover needs to take that pilgrimage.
Why a Fringe in LA? Isn’t LA a 365 day Fringe?
Good question. Fringe Festivals serve a specific purpose. They act as an incubator for new talent, an event with international recognition and a banner celebration for the theatre community. Of course there’s fringe-like action occurring all year round; that’s one of the many aspects that makes LA such a dynamic artistic city. For these few weeks, that dynamism has a time, a place and a big spotlight. That makes it special.
Any suggestions for first time Fringers?
Take risks. This goes for both your on-stage creativity and your personal scheduling. Don’t just see shows that seem to fit your normal patron profile, push yourself. Leave that safety zone behind. One of the big benefits of HFF is that shows are generally short and mostly inexpensive allowing you to enjoy a high volume and disparate assortment of works.
Build community. Most involved in the Fringe are looking to expand their horizons: To see shows, make friends and influence people. See someone else with a Fringe Button? Talk to them, ask them what they’ve seen, make a friend. New friends turn into great future partners if the spark is right.
Don’t be a jerk. We laugh about that line but it’s serious. This isn’t the place to be self-involved, petty, dismissive or rude. Those types tend to sit alone in the corner. The fringe is a place to be generous, kind, helpful and filled with mirth. Embrace those moments of fringe miracles and pay it forward, you’ll be happy you did.
Would you rather fight a hundred duck-sized horses or a horse-sized duck?
I am thinking I could take a horse if it came down to him or me; and a duck is a pretty goofy and lovable bird. I think I could talk my way out of it. I have no interest in fighting a hundred anything.
May 14, 2013 by Ben Hill
fringers gear up for the last town hall of the season
Thanks to everyone who attended the final Fringe Town Hall last night! We had a full house at the Open Fist Theater, home of the 2013 Fringe Mainstage and Box Office.
For those of you who missed it, we recorded the proceedings.
Still have questions? Email us at [email protected].
May 07, 2013 by Ben Hill
Who are you, and what are you doing at the Hollywood Fringe Festival?
I’m Elizabeth Karb, and I’m the Audience Director for the Hollywood Fringe Festival.
What is an Audience Director?
That’s a good question, and I’m glad you asked it. I am the voice of the audience within the Fringe organization. It’s my job to make sure that our audience, the patrons of the arts, without whom the Fringe would be a sad and lonely affair, are well taken care of.
What’s your average Fringe day like?
I spend most of my time in the Fringe Box Office. I’m there to help with the managing of the box office, selling tickets, checking people in for shows, answering questions, etc. And if, as sometimes happens with a festival of this size, a ticketing concern arises, I’m there to fix it.
How did you get started with the Hollywood Fringe?
Well, two years ago, my friend Meghan McCauley (the Fringe Outreach Director) mentioned that the Hollywood Fringe needed volunteers, so I signed up. The next year, they asked me to come back as Box Office Manager, and now, I’m the Audience Director. I would encourage everyone who’s thought of volunteering to do it. I’ve met so many great people through Fringe, just because I decided to lend a helping hand.
What do you like best about Hollywood Fringe?
That’s a tough question, because there’s so much I love about the Fringe. I love the independent productions that it helps to showcase. I love the spirit of creativity and innovation. But most of all, I love the people that it brings together. It’s really hard work for the staff and the artists, but it’s so rewarding to see this community spring to life every June. And it’s a lot of fun. It’s totally worth it.
Do you think Daenerys Targaryan will succeed in reclaiming the Iron Throne?
Well, time will tell. She definitely has the whole dragon thing going for her. But, I’m sure Tyrion [Lannister] will figure out something to neutralize that threat. At any rate, I don’t think Joffrey will be king in the end. He’s pretty lame.
May 05, 2013 by Ben Hill
Thanks to everyone who joined us for the April Twitter Chat. We had a great turnout and an enlightening conversation.
This month the chat will be held on Monday, May 20th, from 8 to 9 PM PDT. All you have to do to join the discussion is use the hashtag #HFF13. The chat will be moderated by the @HollywoodFringe account.
These are great opportunities to build your follow list and establish a supportive community before the festival begins
Thanks and see you online!
A young Japanese woman discovers her father's love for her only after she loses her hair and skin. Nearly a dozen characters are brought to life in this revealing, fearless and funny journey of survival and the power of dream.
Grandmothers of the Universe Conceived and performed by Miri Hunter Haruach Open Fist Theatre 6209 Santa Monica Blvd Hollywood CA June 23 3PM June 24 9:30 PM, with special musical performance June 28 4:30 PM June 29 5:00 PM
The Kinderwise Music Co. is a zany, larger-than-life Vegas-style music extravaganza for kids 10 & under featuring dancing, mascots, comedy, music, HD animation, balloons, props and more! Kids are invited to the stage and become part of the show.
Mom always said “Don’t write anything down you don’t want others to read.” So, I’ll just have to tell you instead. Follow along on some weird and true adventures that can only be called art. Elephant Stages / Studio / #HFF13
Mud, by Maria Irene Fornes, is a visual play depicting life's natural relationships in surreal situations. Mae, a woman striving for education, is trapped by her ex-lover’s and current lover’s desperate pleas for attention.