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Discussion in 'General Advice' started by aporter2012, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. aporter2012

    aporter2012 Member

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    Valparaiso Indiana
    I was talking to a friend who brought up an event called FringeNYC. I am very unfamiliar with the event, and he did not do a very good job explaining it, or actually tell me what it was. I googled it, and came across their website and became very intrigued. I was wondering if there was anyone out there who has attended or worked at FringeNYC and could shed some light about their experience.
  2. Andy_Leviss

    Andy_Leviss Active Member Premium Member

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    Well, a few thoughts. First, while this article was primarily written aimed at producers, I highly recommend reading Michael Minn's article "Producing at the Fringe". I designed for one of the other shows sharing the venue with the show "Irreplaceable Commodity", which Michael talks about in that article, and he does a fairly good job of detailing the good, bad, and ugly from our experiences that summer. (There were far more of the latter two, for the record.)

    From my perspective, you couldn't possibly pay me enough to ever work on a Fringe show again. From a tech perspective, minimal is better. You get next to no support from the festival or the venues, and both the ridiculous rep schedule (it's something like a 30 minute changeover between shows, officially as 15 for the outgoing show to strike, 15 for the incoming one to load in, although sometimes shows are nice enough to share the time as a 30-minute changeover for both; and generally don't count on much if any storage space in the venue) and the more ridiculous tech schedule.

    Fringe is NOT a place for tech; it is a place for visibility of the piece, with as minimal tech needed to support it as possible. What disgusted me most about my experience with Fringe was the non-chalant, who gives a crap attitude that's pervasive on every level of Fringe, up to the very top levels. More than one Fringe staffer at all levels has been known to answer questions/complaints about tech support (or, really, any aspect of Fringe) with "So what, man, it's only Fringe!"

    When the top people in the organization are saying things like that, it's not a good thing in my book.

    Festivals in general are a headache, but a good learning experience, but I feel there are better ones to be involved in than Fringe as far as the tech side of life is concerned. (Not to mention that, while some pieces are amazingly good, there are more and more that I can't possibly begin to comprehend how they got selected, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms.) For example, NYMF is its own brand of headache (a former GM of NYMF has been known on occasion to apologize when meeting new people in the biz who worked on past NYMFs), LOL, but it's night and day above the level of Fringe in every respect.

    FWIW, and please feel free to ask specific questions if you have them,
  3. dsm

    dsm Member

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    From the linked article:
    Taken out of context, but still rather amusing, and probably not encouraging.
    It's a good article.
  4. garyvp

    garyvp Active Member

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    IT Professional
    Brooklyn NY
    This post says it all - I worked on one and there was almost no tech - just a fixed minimal grid. But it was a great way to see new works - there were over 100 shows in several weeks.
  5. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    New York
    I designed/ran a show in the FringeNYC last summer, and while I agree that the limitations are extreme, it is not horrible assuming that you keep the scope of the piece to the time/resources you have allotted.

    In terms of schedule, I'll give you a sample schedule that I had last summer:
    7:20-Arrive at theater, sit in lobby and chat with crew/house staff
    7:30-Previous show ends, lobby fills, I get squeezed into the corner
    7:45-Previous show is struck, House Staff allows my crew into theater for setup
    7:45-7:53 Stage Manager sets the stage and props, I load the lighting console with our show file, hook up my laptop for the sound cues
    7:53-8:00-Chat with SM, House Staff, Enjoy life
    8:00-House Opens
    8:15-Show Starts, we had a 30 minuet time slot for a show that was 27 minutes. I had 3 places where I would cut the show if time was getting close, though I never had to.
    8:45-Show is over, house is exciting while SM and I strike/restore
    9:00-We walk out of the theater, next show walks in behind us.

    It is an insane schedule, but assuming you don't attempt to load in a full set, it is quite reasonable. Audiences expect minimalist shows, its fine. Any complexity that is required in the show must be pre-programmed. The show I did last summer was run off of qLab (both lighting and sound) and the qLab file had something in the range of 130 cues. I believe I averaged one cue every 14 seconds. However, all of this was programmed over the course of a month long rehearsal process, so our one hour of tech was more then enough. Lighting cues were also prewritten in blind while I sat in starbucks between the festivals load-in time and when I had my tech time later that evening.

    In terms of jobs, it seems like the best way to do it is to work for the festival its self. The technicians who worked for the festival would get hired out/sold to shows that required a technical person, and I believe they made somewhere between $10-$15 an hour and a very decent show price, while those of us hired by shows got more of a thank-you then any real financial reward.

    Would I take the job again: Yes, I would, but only if the show fit the space. My show worked because the SM and I could load-in and out the show within 10 minutes if we weren't pushing ourselves, and 7 minutes if we needed to hurry. My load-in required:
    • Pull Gel in Side Lights (it was lavender, which didn't work for my show)
    • Load Lighting Show from Disk
    • Wait until house opened to play pre-show music

    Strike was just taking my stuff out and then putting the gel back.
    Easy, fun, good NYC credit, and I met some very nice, fun people.

    If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

    Oh, and some photos from that show can be found here.

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