Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Your production, Buzz'd Out Live!, will soon be debuting as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the show’s premise and format?
Benjamin Benjamins: It's a trivia game show with a twist. It's like Jeopardy for people who love pudding. It's kind of an amalgamation of our favorite game shows that created this fast-paced game show where contestants do goofy or weird things in order to buzz in and answer questions to win points.
Roe Moore: It's going to be different for Fringe audiences because Buzz'd Out Live! is highly interactive and more of a non-traditional theatrical show. Most shows in Fringe are one-person shows with deep, emotional messages and stories. With our show, we're going for a more entertaining, more "Let's have fun!" aspect. Not only does the audience get to be on stage and part of the show, returning audience members will be treated to a new show each time. No two shows will be alike -- from the challenges, to the trivia, contestants -- even Ben will be wearing a new suit each show. This has added an extra level of complexity, but we our hopes are audiences will be thrilled.
BD: As the executive producers, what inspired you to bring this production to life?
RM: The inspiration to produce this production is the idea that we're doing something different. I've been producing shorts and web content for the past few years. Buzz'd Out! stretches and surpasses a lot of what I've done. It's been a huge learning experience on a creative level as well as a producer.
BB: What inspires me is two words: Double Dare. I was born the same year as Double Dare -- 1986. I was born in August of 1986, and Double Dare premiered September of 1986. For me, that show really inspired me to think about game shows in a way that was different. All the game shows up to that point were very interview-like, very talking-heads. Panel game shows. Trivia game shows. And they didn't have any flair. It wasn't until Nickelodeon came out with Double Dare and their subsequent game shows like Legends of the Hidden Temple and that sort of thing that pushed the envelope of what a game show could be. I think it led to the creation of reality-based challenge shows like Survivor and Amazing Race. It all started with those physical challenge game shows. And who doesn't want to dump substances on people? Marc Summers had this flair and energy on camera that was impalpable. And everybody wanted his job, and I feel like they still do. But he's the guy for the job.
BD: You have a fantastic team involved with the project. What can you share with us about the creative process of working with the team and bringing the show to life?
RM: The creative process is really a huge part of our show. Ben has been the one who delves into the creation of our show challenges. Then, we take his ideas and we test them in my driveway to see how well the challenges work for camera or for the stage in the case of the Fringe show. Everyone on the team is vital, because we each have our own strengths that we bring to the table that balance each other. I have a strong eye for seeing how a challenge can work on camera for the TV show, whereas Ben -- with his experience in attending a lot of live game shows -- he knows how to make it more audience-friendly and even find ways to make the audience involved in a challenge.
BB: Our game show literally takes a village. What we're doing is a show that's prop heavy and mess heavy. But when we produce this show, we are never producing it in our own studio. It's a lot like we have the deck stacked against us. When we produce our show for TV, we work in a studio that we need to vacate at the end of the same day we're filming. We get in, we set up, we film our episodes, and then we have to be 100% out by the end of that same day. We produce this show for nearly nothing. Our entire crew is volunteer in the hopes we can make this into a real thing and push it to the next level. Everybody plays a vital role to make the production happen. Especially now that we're doing fringe, our window of time is so limited to load in, start our show, make a spectacular mess, and then get everything loaded out. So, we have a really amazing team of people that help put on this show, but they help with the creation of our games.
The way we operate the show is this: If you have a good idea, don't keep it to yourself. If you have an idea for a game, speak up. We've had people on our show that came up with ideas or found solutions for things that nobody had thought up before. Everyone has a role in our show, but everyone still has a voice to say, "Hey, what if you try this?" My motto has always been if you see a problem and you know a solution, give us the solution. A lot of times we know what the problems are -- or we figure out what the problems are as soon as we start rehearsing and testing, but the solutions are very difficult to come up with. When people come up with a solution, it takes a lot of weight off to come up with a solution. Our team is incredible.
BD: What do you hope that audiences will take away from the show, and should theatregoers anticipate audience interaction?
BB: Theatergoers who are wanting to be part of our show will be in for a treat. Our show is as interactive as a show can get: We pull our contestants for our show directly from our audience from our show line right before we start; we have a few challenges that involve the audience helping the contestants to complete the challenges to buzz in and win points. When you come see our show, you won't be forced to participate. It's a whole lot more fun if you come ready, willing, and able to be part of the fun. It's probably the closest most adults will get to ever being on Double Dare in their adult livelihood. At least for me it would be, if I wasn't the host of the show.
BD: What makes the Hollywood Fringe Festival an ideal venue for Buzz'd Out Live!?
BB: Primarily because of cost. Hollywood Fringe is the one spot where you can be an independent artist and be able to put your show up and get the kind of exposure you need to be able to take your project to the next level. There are a lot of people who have started at Fringe -- or even smaller venues where they created their show, took it to fringe -- and then from there, experienced a lot of success off the back of getting the exposure that fringe has. The Fringe Motto is go see everything. People will go see shows that they've never heard of. When you get that kind of exposure of people willing to take a chance on you, that's when they can see through whatever minor things that may be right or wrong with it and be able to see the bigger picture. Then you can build a following to take it to the next level. We've already planned to see at least 10-12 other shows now and probably will add more because we want to see the shows that are "can't miss: shows. Another benefit is the venues are interested in making your show great. If they can't do it for you, they won't take your show but they want to accommodate you as much as possible. And our venue owners, Jenn and Greg Crafts at Studio/Stage, both really encourage us to do our things. There are still certain rules and regulations, but I'm not afraid to ask them about stuff in fear they'll say no, because most of the time the answer is "yes" or "yes, but x-y-z." That's really the best parts of doing the show for Fringe.
BD: The show will be appearing at Studio/Stage from June 2-23, 2018. Are there any future plans to perform the show at other venues?
RM: The big picture would be to produce this show on a professional level for a network and a wider audience. We'd love to partner with Hulu, Netflix, YouTube Red, or the other New Media networks because our show is different. We feel it would cater to their audience base. I mean, if Fox or other national networks were to offer us an opportunity, we'd totally jump on board. Right now, it's a matter of finding the audience that wants the content we're producing.
BB: Especially nowadays where the sky's the limit. You can produce content, and with proper promotion and knowing how to find its audience -- which we are learning a lot about that producing this show -- you can write your own meal ticket. That's the thing that Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon have all taught us: You don't need a network to make your show. You can produce your show independently. It's a matter of getting the "yes" to our long-term vision and take a chance for us to make the next level happen with us. We have a quality product and a unique concept for a show. We are considering taking the show on the road and doing it live for colleges and corporate parties. That would be a lot of fun. We're not ruling anything out. Right now, it's putting the show out into the universe and let the chips fall where they may. The whole point of doing this is to do the show, really have it kick ass and fun for everyone, and then see what happens from there.
RM: As we seriously joke, Ben's dream is a stage with a drain. We do really want to bring this show to the next level and create it to be as entertaining as Double Dare or Ellen's Game of Games. But for now, we're creating and putting it out there to see what floats.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects that you would care to share with our readers?
BB: We are working on a live game show mobile app that is similar to HQ but includes a version of Buzz'd Out!'s challenges. That's currently in development, and we're seeking developers that know mobile applications. We're open to talking to people who would like to jump on board!
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about and purchase tickets for Buzz'd Out Live!?
BB: Buzz'd Out Live! opens June 2nd and runs through June 23rd with the Hollywood Fringe. Tickets are $15.00 each and are on sale at www.Buzzdout.com/live. We will be live streaming our first show on June 2nd.
For more information, be sure to check out www.BuzzdOut.com, where viewers can watch our previous episodes and see special behind-the-scenes footage of our tapings and stage shows.
Be sure to check out the promo video.