10 Things I learned from my HFF17 Experience (The Hollywood Fringe Festival)

21 Jun

The Unknown Artists and Ruckus Rockwell produced the show “13th Grade” at the Hollywood Fringe Festival this year.
2 shows Left: 6/23 @ 7:30pm & 6/24 @ 7pm
OMR theatre at The Complex on Santa Monica Blvd.

Poster design by: Katrina Rennells who also plays “MARGOT” in the show

I wrote a lot, I laughed a lot and I learned a lot. Here are 10 Things I Learned:

  • Make Sure You Have the Money you Need to Produce the Show you Want. We made only half of our Indiegogo hopeful campaign goal. This made producing the show extremely difficult. Waiting on the funds and the ticket sales to even things out was stressful. When you’ve got a great script and music and amazing actors, the last thing you want to do is stress about money being the reason why you can’t put up the show you want. A lot of the “Things I didn’t like” reviews had to do with space/sound issues. Had we had the money we needed up front,  we could have delivered a better product. And I never want money to be the reason why we don’t do an awesome musical comedy.
  • Make Sure Your show is Actually 10 Minutes Less than the Time you Quote. Our show ran 58 minutes most nights for an 1hr long allotted time. It was a nail biter. Definitely writing an hour and 15 minute musical next year and saying it’s 90 minutes.
  • Find Reviewers Ahead of Time. We had about 2-3 people come and review our piece. Would be nice to arrange having more of them there that first weekend so we can use those reviews as buzz for the remaining shows. We are so thankful to our Fringe audience reviewers!

  • See More Shows. 375 shows this year and I got infected with, what we lovingly referred to as “The 13th Plague”. This hindered my schedule quite a bit and there were so many more shows I wanted to see. It was a big bummer. I want to hit previews hard and start making recommendations ASAP so people can plan ahead. I’d also love to start something where shows send me a clip of their rehearsal and I can make a MUST SEE blog early for people to plan ahead.
  • Advertising. This is where the majority of your budget should go. There are SO many shows. It’s hard to get a voice. Especially if you’re a newbie. Being that this was my first fringe, I noticed that there were a ton of shows with built in audiences and buzz from previous years. So they were sold out before they even opened! haha. Swag will be a good idea for next year too. Everyone’s got a postcard. You must be clever.
  • Events. We did the Cabaret, Opening Night party, a couple nights at Fringe Central and will be doing Prom this year. I think it’s important to do as many Fringe events as possible to meet new people and make friends. You want these people at your shows and they’re most likely going to come to their friend’s show than a strangers. BE MY FRIEND.
  • Social Media. It’s a lot of work but it’s so necessary. Posting about your show, your audience reviews, things to get people to stop and look at your page are important. If you can get GOOD quality photos or little video teases of your rehearsals… it’s key. It’s a way to stand out. If the audience can’t come see your show yet, at least they can see its potential.
  • Cross Promoting. We DEFINITELY could have been better about that this year but we weren’t terrible. Find a show with a great reputation, with a theme you believe in and a piece that you know is gonna be good. Team up with their team and cross promote.  Social media posts, program ads, flyers and swag to pass out with your postcards.
  • Have a Good Time. This is why I strongly encourage comedies at something like Fringe. If your piece is a crowd pleaser then you know that they’re having a good time. They’re laughing. They’re applauding. If you’re on stage having a blast, they’ll sense that and join you. We had INCREDIBLE audiences and we couldn’t thank them enough for the energy and positive attitude they brought to 13th Grade.

  • Effort. All of the above takes effort. You have to have a team that is willing to go above and beyond for your show when it comes to Fringe. Decide carefully whom you surround yourself with when participating in fringe. It’s not just a run-of-the-mill show. It’s an experience and it should be.


Shows I recommend: Shakeslesque, Herpes a Love Story, Buffy Killed Edward, Ladies in Waiting, Nick and Brooke’s Comedy Special, So you Want to be a Vampire, Spidey Project. There would be so many more had I not got infected with the plague.



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