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Fanbase Press Interviews David Dean Bottrell, Co-Founder of Sci-Fest LA

The following is an interview with Daid Dean Bottrell, co-founder of Los Angeles’ perennial favorite Sci-Fest LA, a one-act play festival that continues to expand and entertain year after year. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Bottrell about the lineup of one-acts currently being performed in this year’s festival, the evolution of the show throughout the past three years, the ins and outs of their creative process, how to purchase tickets, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the triumphant return of Sci-Fest LA! As the one-act festival returns for year three, what are you most looking forward to about the 2016 lineup?

David Dean Bottrell: I gotta say — the scripts just keep getting better and better. I’m extremely proud of the diversity of the material this year. We have one script that has no dialogue. Not one word is spoken. It’s all texting and it’s one of the scariest shows we’ve ever produced. Plus, we’ve got great actors like Dee Wallace (E.T.), Allison Scagliotti (Stitchers and Warehouse 13), Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager), Peter Mackenzie (Blackish), and Jonathan Slavin (Dr. Ken) to name just a few – all performing live on stage. It’s probably our best collection of acting, directing, and designing talent ever. On the literary side, we’ve got stories from Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Janis Ian, and seven other amazing writers. It’s all great stuff. Imaginative, dark, scary, mind-bending, and occasionally hilarious.

BD: Having been a part of Sci-Fest LA since its inception, how have you seen the festival as a whole and the shows evolve?

DDB: It’s always been our goal to expand the boundaries of the festival beyond just producing one-act play, and that’s really starting to happen. This year, in addition to our awesome line-up of Sci-Fi one-acts, we’ve added readings of new Sci-Fi screenplays, plus a Sci-Fi short film program and, of course, our short story events which are always killer. We’re really becoming a festival that focuses on creating new Sci-Fi content and that’s very exciting. We’re publishing our first book of stories from the competitions, and a couple of our projects are in development as films.

BD: When looking for one-acts for the 2016 lineup, did you have a specific criteria in mind for which shows would be included?

DDB: We actually don’t really have a set criteria. The story just needs to grab us, and we try to avoid scripts where people sit at a table and talk for 15 minutes. Other than that, we’re open. It’s always a tough process. If we wind up with two amazing time travel plays, we can only produce one of them and that’s always a tough call to make. Our final line-up of 10 short shows has to have some kind of balance. I will say that experience has taught us that the stronger the visual component is, the better it will probably play in our festival.

BD: What can you tell us about the process of working with this year’s creative team, including the cast, crew, writers, and donors?

DDB: We’ve been very blessed to have so many extraordinarily talented members of our creative team returning for a third year. Because this year’s shows are much more complex technically, we’ve needed much more time to work out transitions and create workable designs. It can be exhausting but nobody really complains because, in the end, we’re always so pleased with the quality of the shows. I love it when our audience comes out raving about what they’ve seen. That’s the best moment for all of us. Our process is always the same in every department from literary to design to physical production: How can we tell this story really well? It’s exciting for everybody. 

BD: Sci-Fest LA returns each year to the ACME Theatre in Hollywood. Why do you feel that the theatre has provided such a perfect home for the festival?

DDB: The ACME is a great space, and we’ve been so lucky that they’ve wanted us back each year. Dan Kane and his staff have been so supportive, especially the first year when we had no idea what the hell we were doing. I don’t think we could have had better hosts anywhere in town. 

BD: For our readers who may be interested in donating to Sci-Fest LA, what is the best way to do so?

DDB: Sci-Fest LA (like any other arts organization) always needs money. This year is no different. Anybody can make a tax-deductible donations via our website, We’re very grateful for the support. 

BD: Finally, where can readers find more information regarding Sci-Fest LA, its 2016 season, and the best way to purchase tickets?

DDB: Our website has all the info, including calendars and links to buy tickets to all the cool shows. We’ve got so many fun performances and events throughout the month of May. I hope fans of sci-fi will take advantage of all the great stuff. We’ve got monsters, demons . . . it’s a real celebration of everything the genre can be! We run May 5th – May 20th at the ACME Theatre in Hollywood.

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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