Ben Hill founded the Hollywood Fringe Festival (and designed the website), which runs June 5–30 (including previews) at venues around Hollywood.
What made you start the Hollywood Fringe Festival?
I really loved festival management and festival production. We’d been to Edinburgh—the mother ship of fringe festivals—and various fringe festivals around the United States and the world; we knew what a beacon [they] could be for any city as far as the arts are concerned, and what a consolidating force they are in the actual community. What we try to do in this festival…is to give everybody the tools to work together and to promote themselves and to create an atmosphere where people feel free to experiment.
How can actors get involved?
There is no one cattle call–type audition, although that is something that we might start soon. But there is a low barrier to enter, so if you have an idea as an actor, it provides a very safe environment for you to try something. In a fringe festival environment you’re talking about three to eight performances with a built-in audience, so a lot of actors…can experience the actual act of producing their own show.
How much training do you need to enter?
We’ve had people of all different levels, from people who’ve never stepped onstage before, who’ve never produced their own show, to people who have toured around the world for decades. There’s no level at which you are not professional enough to do it, and there’s not a level where you’re too professional to do it.
What’s the best way to take advantage of the networking opportunities?
The fringe festival is there for you to work if you want to work it. We have multiple workshops, like how to be a producer–type workshops that will help you learn “this is what I need to know; this is what I need; this is how I market my show; this is how [to] budget.”… There are also town halls, and Fringe Central organization hosts the party venue where people come after their shows [or] before their shows…[and] they network with other people with similar interests.