PRETTY and THE INN creator Steve Silverman teamed up with FUMBLING THRU THE PIECES creator Julie Smith earlier this year and founded the Hot as Hell Web Series Festival, which will debut in Palm Springs on Friday, August 16. They pulled in a few other top-notch showrunners (from DEVANITY and VENICE) and came up with what promises to be a unique and fun three-day event. We Love Soaps caught up with the Indie Soap Award-winning Silverman to find out more.
So how did the idea for this Fan Fest come about?
"Julie Smith and I have been very good friends for several years now," Silverman explained. "A couple of months ago right as the festivals were gearing up--LA Webfest, Hollyweb Fest---I turned to Julie and said, 'These festivals are great. Why aren't we doing our own thing? And why aren't we doing something that's fan based? Why don't we do something for the fans?'"
"We talked about it for several weeks," he continued, "and I decided to loop in [VENICE showrunner and star] Crystal Chappell to see if she was game. She was really funny. She said, 'Please, the only thing I ask is no autograph tables, and no lines. Just something really fun and family feeling.' And I said, 'Yes, that's what we're going for.'"
Always looking for a niche, Silverman determined that doing an event for the fans would be the way to go.
"To compliment you guys at We Love Soaps, what I always loved the most about coming to the Indie Soap Awards is the night before, and two nights before, and the after party. The awards are great but the bar stuff is the always best when we're just hanging out and talking. And I've noticed more and more fans are coming. So I said, 'What if we do a fan event?' And I tossed out to Julie the idea of doing it in Palm Springs instead of L.A. Let's give someone a travel destination. It's Palm Springs, California, it's the middle of August and the hotels are super cheap out here."
And the flights directly into Palm Springs airport reportedly cost exactly the same amount of money as going into LAX.
How were the participating shows decided?
"We looked at the budget and also looked at who we are close-tight friends with," Silverman said. "This is a first-time, let's-see-how-it-goes launch festival, and see how we do for the first year. I have two shows, Julie has a show, and of course we're going to invite Michael Caruso from DEVANITY, and I'm good friends with Crystal so I asked her if VENICE would want to be involved. That gave us five shows, they were all LA-based, we all know each other and are friendly, and have worked together on things. That's pretty much how we decided. We didn't want to exclude anyone. I know I have friends out there from other shows and I stepped on their toes. It really just came down to us trying something. Julie and I are putting up the money and we want to launch it small to see if it's going to be a small thing or if it's going to explode. We don't know if we'll have 30 people there or 300. We'll find out as we get a little closer. We wanted to see how the public would respond."
"Something Julie and I talked about is most of the festivals run the same," he explained. "We create the content. We give them the content. We pay to be in their festival. We pay to go see our own screening on the big screen. We pay to go to an award show where we might win an award. So when we were planning the Hot as Hell festival I said, 'No screening of episodes. No awards. That's not what we're going to do.'"
Friday night will include a big surprise event but Silverman isn't revealing the details.
"We're going to do stuff that's totally different. Everyone will love the big surprise event on Friday. They'll go crazy and laugh their asses off. I won't say a word about it except come and have a good surprise with all of us."
Saturday will include a morning panel and an evening event, leaving the afternoon for attendees to explore Palm Springs.
"We have a big Saturday night event we basically call Mystery Science Theater for web series," Silverman said enthusiastically. "We will have episodes of our series on the big screen, and the cast and creators will be handed mics and sit up front and give live commentary on their episodes with the volume turned down low. It's going to be really fun and really silly, and cool hearing the cast talk about their shows live while they are running.
There will also be panels of creators, cast and even famous guest stars.
"We also have a guest star panel that will be killer," he revealed. "It will be a discussion with Joan Van Ark, Michele Lee and Kirsten Vangsness, who have guest starred in our shows. We also have a creator's panel where the creators will be up on stage, we'll look at different videos and have a discussion with a moderator."
The name "Hot as Hell" came about for the exact two reasons you might suspect.
"First of all, it's going to be over 100 degrees," Silverman said as he began to laugh. "And then Kyle David Pierce, Mark Gantt, Michael Taylor Gray, Michael Caruso, myself, the hotties, will be there!"
If you know anything about the creative genius of Steve Silverman (Joan Van Ark compared him to Ryan Murphy) and like to laugh, we recommend this as a must-attend summer event.
"I am somebody who likes to do unique things, and I love surprises," he told us. "If you watch my shows you know I love to give you surprises whether it's the storyline, or actors that pop up when they're not expected to pop up. And we have surprises planned for the whole weekend. There will be giveaways, and tons of videos that are being made just for this event."
Compared to many events the price of the "Hot as Hell" festival is very affordable. There are also two additional special deals being offered.
"A super low early bird ticket for $159 for all six events," Silverman said. "Breakfast is included both mornings. There are cash bars everywhere, and snacks provided. The Riviera Hotel that we're working with--where Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. would hang out before going to Vegas--is giving us a killer deal of $99 a night. And the rooms are swank. If we get more than 75 rooms booked the price drops to $89 for everybody. On top of all that they are waiving their $28 a day resort fee to use all the resort accouterments. It's just $99 a night plus the event ticket."
"It's going to be a really fun, friendly, family-feeling weekend. That's what we're going for. It's something you can't get anywhere else. We wanted to offer something you couldn't get on the internet."
Below is more information about the festival:
Hot as Hell Web Series Festival
Friday, August 16-Sunday, August 18
SCHEDULED TO APPEAR:
Denise Alexander (THE INN, PRETTY)
Michael Caruso (DEVANITY)
Crystal Chappell (VENICE, THE INN)
Diane Delano (FUMBLING THRU THE PIECES)
Mark Gantt (THE INN)
Michele Lee (FUMBLING THRU THE PIECES)
Michael Taylor Gray (PRETTY)
Stacy McQueen (PRETTY)
Kyle David Pierce (THE INN)
Dale Raoul (FUMBLING THRU THE PIECES)
Kelsey Robinson (FUMBLING THRU THE PIECES)
Steve Silverman (THE INN, PRETTY)
Terri Simons (PRETTY)
Julie A. Smith (FUMBLING THRU THE PIECES)
Joan Van Ark (PRETTY)
Kirsten Vangsness (PRETTY)
Riviera Resort Hotel
1600 North Indian Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA
Visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/385685 for even more information.