THE HOLLYWOOD FRINGE FESTIVAL BLOG
April 30, 2013 by Ben Hill
First things first: My name is Elizabeth Steele, but you should just call me ‘Liz’, because no one will know who you’re talking about if you ask for ‘Elizabeth’!
How did you first get involved in the Fringe?
This is my fourth year with the festival— and it should come as no shock to learn that I started as a volunteer at Fringe 2010. I was a recent transplant to LA and desperately missed the sense of family I felt in my college theatre department, where any position in any production felt like the center of the world because we were all so close. The moment I felt closest to recreating that feeling was volunteering during one of the first nights of Fringe, while a high school cast was waiting to enter from the lobby. Their excitement was contagious! They all happily shared their story with me and even though I wasn’t performing or part of their group, I felt that wonderful, familiar thrill so keenly.
What do you do as Volunteer Director and how did you get the job?
After the inaugural year, I approached Ben Hill (Festival Director) about volunteer coordination. There were plenty of helping hands that first year, but as anyone in management knows, it’s almost as difficult to distribute tasks as it is to complete them on your own, so it was a challenge at times to keep the volunteers organized. I wanted to be the staff’s mouthpiece, the go-between for doling out tasks to volunteers helping around Fringe Central. I wanted to make sure the floor was vacuumed, that shows always had someone to run their box office, that someone was sent to pick up confetti, and so on and so on. All the rest of the Fringe staff had their hands full as it was.
Throughout the year, it’s my responsibility to attract and retain volunteers. While most of our energies are focused toward June, we have fundraisers and promotional videos to shoot during the off-season, as well as outreach programs and community events to attract participants, patrons and other volunteers as we approach the festival. It’s my job to secure the extra help we need to get the job done.
What’s the best part of your job? The most challenging?
If you ever need to find me in June, look no further than the Fringe Central Box Office. If I’m not there, I’m probably asleep. It’s a great place to meet participants, train volunteers, and help patrons make the most of their Fringe experience. I love being there— being in the thick of it is my favorite part of my job.
It’s also a great place to work with my fellow staff members, especially Elizabeth Karb, our Audience Director, on volunteer scheduling— which is definitely the most challenging aspect of my job. Our volunteers are extremely generous with their time (a generosity we take every precaution not to abuse), so when something comes up unexpectedly, it can be difficult to secure a fresh volunteer. Thank goodness for email and Twitter (we’re @hffvolunteer— please follow us for volunteer news)— shifts always get covered, despite my initial heart attacks.
They say Fringe is one big party— any truth to that?
Well, as my head will attest, there’ve been some pretty raucous impromptu fetes in the past. But the Fringe is definitely growing up. Bar hours are becoming more reasonable and we staff members don’t party the way we used to, but one thing’s for certain— the Fringe feeling, the magic that makes Fringe what it is— isn’t going anywhere. In fact, I’d say the Opening Night Party gets better with age, continuing to break its own records every year. That’s my favorite day of the festival… and not just because the Fringe Box Office is closed.
April 17, 2013 by Ben Hill
Q: What does an Outreach Director do?
It definitely depends on where you work! In some organizations, outreach is synonymous with marketing. In others, it is exclusively arts education and youth programs. It may relate to drama therapy, recruiting, financial development, creating community partnerships… you name it, it might be outreach.
Q: Okay… so what do you do as Outreach Director for the Hollywood Fringe?
I have three major areas of outreach – student outreach, community outreach, and artist outreach. I coordinate and program Student Fringe, which invites middle- and high-school students from different parts of Los Angeles to visit Hollywood Fringe, see different Fringe shows, and participate in Q&As with featured artists.
This year, I’m also coordinating Fringe Family, working with GLAAD to develop a larger LGBT presence within the Fringe community (and a larger Fringe presence within the LGBT community), and I spend the months leading up to registration getting to know new artists and producers who might enjoy participating in the festival.
Last summer, I had the opportunity to go to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as a representative from Hollywood Fringe – that was definitely the furthest I’ve ever “reached out”, geographically speaking!
Q: You came to the first Hollywood Fringe Festival as a participant. How did that lead to getting a job?
I was still living and working full-time in San Diego and commuting to Los Angeles for Fringe-related events, venue meetings, rehearsals, etc. At some points, I was commuting one or twice a week to make sure that people around the Fringe were getting to know me. The 2010 Hollywood Fringe Festival was a blast for me, and I decided to move to Los Angeles a few months later.
My perspective was: “What can I add to this festival?” rather than “What can the Hollywood Fringe do for me?” I had planned to volunteer for the next Fringe and hopefully get hired the year after that – so I was very lucky to have been brought on staff earlier.
Q: Least favorite Hollywood Fringe activity?
Breaking everything down the day after the Closing Night party.
Q: Favorite Hollywood Fringe activity?
If you’d like to learn more about how to support or participate in Student Fringe or Fringe Family, e-mail [email protected]
April 14, 2013 by Ben Hill
Jeffrey Wylie, Aaron Lyons, Michael Shaw Fisher, Ben Moroski and Meghan McCauley
Thanks to everyone who attended the second Fringe Workshop Saturday afternoon! We had a full house at the Open First Theater, home of the 2013 Fringe Mainstage.
Thanks to our Fringe Veterans Michael Shaw Fisher, Aaron Lyons, Ben Moroski and Jeffrey Wylie for lending their wisdom and experience.
For those of you who missed it, we recorded the proceedings.
Still have questions? Email us at [email protected].
April 10, 2013 by Ben Hill
An arial view of the second Town Hall
Thanks to everyone who attended the second Fringe Town Hall last night! We had a full house at Elephant’s Lillian Theater, a jewel of the 99 seat landscape.
The focus of the workshop was marketing your show. Much of the information can be found in the participant packet so do take some time to study that.
For those of you who missed it, we recorded the proceedings.
Still have questions? Email us at [email protected] or join us for the next workshop on Saturday, April 13th from 2 to 4 PM PST where we’ll focus primarily on what to expect during the festival (and how to best prepare!).
April 02, 2013 by Rachel Stoll Armstrong
Who are you, how’d you get into the Fringe, and why should we care?
I’m Dave McKeever, Producing Director of the Fringe. I founded the Fringe with my friends. As an artist hellbent on community organizing, stepping back and creating the conditions for others to more easily stage their own works was a logical progression in my own journey.You should care, because the arts are a foundational element of what it is to be human. No matter who you are, your experience of the arts has deeply shaped you as a person, primarily for the positive. The Fringe is a catalyst for audience and artist alike to deepen their connection to themselves and the society around them.
What exactly do you do as the Producing Director?
I oversee the booking, staffing, and execution of all Fringe-Run spaces at the annual festival. I also finalize all design elements for the Fringe, including the annual Guide.
Basically, I just want to throw a really great party. Nothing is more thrilling than watching the degree to which the festival engenders joy in the city I have chosen as my home. On the Fringe website, your profile description is always editable; mine has always said, “I am your friend and co-worker on all things Fringe.”
What’s the craziest tech experience you’ve had during fringe?
I think the craziest tech experience at the Fringe was last year when I was running a show at Open Fist and Matt Richter casually told me the Lounge was on fire. The whole thing was resolved without my assistance, but it still instilled the proper sense of panic.
Another highlight are the lights going out during the 2011 awards ceremony in the tent; thankfully a quick fix.
Can you tell us some interesting facts about yourself?
What is your favorite color: Puce.
What are your least favorite words: Moist, Nougat and Cake.
What is your phobia: Ripping cotton balls in half.
picture courtesy of Star Foreman
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