Stacy Jones Hill is the Publicity Director of The Hollywood Fringe Festival, which runs from June 14th to June 24th at various locations in Los Angeles. Here is a link to the website:
1. What is a Fringe Festival?
Fringe Festivals exist throughout the world as havens for underground and emerging arts scenes. The Fringe concept was incubated in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1947, eight performance groups appeared uninvited on the “fringes” of the exclusive Edinburgh International Festival. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has since grown into the largest arts festival in the world with hundreds of artists, thousands of performances, and millions of patrons every summer. It annually grosses over $100 million for the local economy and remains the biggest tourist draw in the UK.
Fringe Festivals have since sprung up in dozens of cities across the world.
Most Fringe Festivals are open and unjuried preferring lotteries, first-come-first-served, and find-your-own-venue systems to a formal selection process. This open means of programming fosters the work of both the well-established and the obscure; everyone has the opportunity to participate. Fringe Festivals nourish young visionaries by providing networking opportunities and production experience. They also provide large economic and cultural boosts for their hosting communities.
2. What is the history of Hollywood Fringe Festival?
Ben Hill, the Festival Director, and David McKeever, our Producing Director, got the bug for running festivals back in 2005 when they started the Hatchery Festival– a new play festival produced in Washington DC. Ben met myself and the other co-founders in Iowa City (where we were currently in school) and then moved out to Los Angeles with us in 2007 with the idea to start another festival. We were sitting around the dinner table in our apartment one day when the pieces finally came together. We knew there were hundreds of theaters and performing arts companies in Los Angeles, but there seemed to be something missing: a cohesive community, a gathering point for new and emerging artists. And the Hollywood Fringe was born. We planned for a couple of years before we put up the first festival in June 2010. In 2011 we doubled in size and we may do the same again this year based on our web analytics and ticket sales so far.
3. How does one get a show in the festival?
We are an open access festival (non-curated), meaning anyone can join in if they complete the three steps of registration:
1- Create a project on our website (http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/project/add_project). This can literally be anything.
2- Secure a venue within our boundaries. This is often the most complicated (but important!) step. We have a list of already-participating venues at www.hollywoodfringe.org/venue/list, or people can also register their own venue (we’ve had people perform in parks, churches, hair salons, etc). All the venues have different rental pricing & contracts, so it’s up to the productions to determine what works best for them.
3- Once you’ve been booked at a venue, you can pay your Registration fee. Fringe registration fees are $250 for paid, multi-performance shows and $175 for one-offs and free shows.
4. What is your strangest festival story?
I always tell people that anything can happen on the Fringe, because we’ve experienced it all! Last year, I saved a cat with one of LA’s top theatre critics– that was a highlight. This year, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing puppets! I also got a lift from a participant in their vintage jalopy just because I needed to cross the street with a bunch of camera equipment. I felt like I’d been transported back in time to the golden age of Hollywood!
5. What has been the Fringe Festivals biggest success story?
Many of our participants have gone on to produce successful runs throughout the country, allowing them to make money year-round on what they love most.
6. What makes a good one man show?
Some of my favorite one-person shows on the Fringe have been extremely personal and brave accounts of life experiences. Good writing, acting, and production value always help– but my favorite shows have always stood out simply because of the amount of heart that has gone into developing the production.
7. What separates the Hollywood Fringe Festival from other Fringe Festivals?
We run a Fringe very similar to the original Fringe that originated in Edinburgh, Scotland– if you have an idea and the tenacity to make it happen, you’re welcome to Fringe. I’d say we have a more entrepreneurial model compared to other North American Fringes in the sense that we encourage artists to make it happen for themselves. Our artists have to make their own partnerships, develop their own promotional and marketing materials, and drive audiences into their shows. Many other Fringes curate or select shows by lottery. We’re more of a free-for-all, but it makes the market more competitive, in my opinion.
8. With all the live theater in LA why should my readers attend Hollywood Fringe Festival?
A lot of the time in LA, people see shows from the same company over and over and never get out of their inner circle of friends and co-workers. Fringe provides a gathering place where people can meet new artists and companies, form alliances and new collaborations, and talk! We put a lot of emphasis on the community aspect of our festival– it’s different than anything else you can experience here.
9. How can one contribute to the festival. Are you only looking for money or are you looking for props and costumes as well?
We are currently trying to raise $20,000 through Kickstarter to help fund a number of new programs this year (this closes at 11:59 PM on June 13th). You can also donate alcohol (beer, wine, spirits), lights or decorations, or your time! We are a massive organization and always need more volunteers.
10. What is the best advertising campaign you have ever seen for a festival show?
A lot of flyers are handed out at the Fringe so we usually encourage people to get creative with what they hand out. Some of the unique schwag this year includes buttons, pill bottles (with Mike N’ Ikes instead of pills), condoms, cocktail napkins, slap bracelets, and more!