Finding a venue
You obviously need somewhere to show the movie. Start with your local cinemas. The main things you need to think about when choosing your venue are:
• Screening facilities (DVD/Blu-Ray or PCP (digital))
• Public Access (including disability access)
• Local transport options (including parking)
• Venue layout (foyer, sales area, seating)
• Availability on your chosen date(s)
• Size (number of seats)
You want a good deal for venue hire, as this is often where people get caught out. Look for a flat fee, or a very small, per ticket sold fee. Try to avoid flat fees plus per ticket fees, as this can add up very quickly. Try to avoid using a cinema that wants a fee per seat, rather than by ticket, especially if you aren't sure how many people will come in your first year. Make sure your venue knows that 100% of profit goes to charity.
Call your venues of interest during the mid-afternoon (around 1-2pm) and tell them that you’d like to speak to someone about renting the venue for a charity event. You will most likely end up speaking to a salesperson or manager. If the sales staff are not available, be sure to get the names and contact details of the relevant people (more than one if possible) and try again later. Don’t count on getting a return call or email response on your first enquiry – you will need to be proactive and follow up. Be prepared for the venue sales staff to refer you to their national headquarters – get a specific name and note down who referred you. Here are a few tips when making enquiries:
• Mention the event name, the movie name and Equality Now. It’s helpful to have a little blurb prepared about the event and about Equality Now.
• Discuss your preferred date, and be ready to negotiate dates and times that are beneficial for both your crew and the venue. Venues may be reluctant to hold a private event during their peak times (such as Saturdays) and may have premium rates for particular times. Be prepared to be flexible.
• Find out the rental rate. For theatres, this could be either by seat or per ticket or a flat rental rate. Rates can vary widely, from $200 to over $1,000. Ask if they are willing to reduce their rate, as the event is for charity.
• Find out their minimum and maximum seating capacity. They may ask how many people will be attending. You may have no idea until you start selling tickets, but try to provide an estimate. If their rental rate is based on the number of attendees, find out when you will need to provide a “final” headcount.
• Find out what you would be getting as part of the hire agreement. Can they sell tickets for you from their box office? Do they provide any staff? Can you set up tables in the foyer/lobby to sell tickets or merchandise? Can they advertise the event by displaying posters and posting the details on their website?
• Find out when you would need to make a deposit to secure the date and time, and when the final payments would be due.
• They may mention that “Serenity” is out of circulation. Let them know that our organization has been in touch with Universal, and have negotiated special licensing rates for this event with no additional royalties due.
• Talk about concessions. Some cinemas will let you use the venue for an agreed amount of food/drink sales.
• Don’t be afraid to negotiate with them. Suggest the possibility of them being a sponsor for a better rate.
• Talk about setting up and packing up time. You will always need some time to prepare and to pack up, so when you ask about a booking be sure to include this time not just the time for the movie (approx 120mins in length). You might also need time for introductions, raffle prize drawings, or to show a PowerPoint presentation or other footage.
• Talk about AV equipment if you think you'll need it (i.e. microphone, projector etc).
• Talk about ticketing options. Will they do this for you or do you have to organize it yourself?
• Do you have to pay for house staff?
• Can you get special deals at the candy bar by having your attendees show their ticket?
• Do you have to pay a deposit? Do you have to pay the total fee upfront? (We suggest avoiding this).
• Look into smaller chain or independent cinemas, they are often much easier to deal with, and will do better deals.
This is all just rough guidelines and questions you should think about. Once you’ve found the venue you want, you will most likely be asked to sign a Hire Contract and put down a deposit. Make sure you read the contract carefully and understand what you’re getting and what’s expected of you.
Can't find a cinema that will give you a good deal? Think DVD/Blu-Ray. Look for a venue that has DVD screening capability. Universities, halls, sport clubs. All sorts of places are possible venues when you are looking at using DVD instead of PCP, although the quality of the actual picture obviously won’t be of the same standard, but can still be pretty gorramn good. At this point, Serenity is available on BluRay and HD DVD. If your venue has a BluRay or HD DVD projector, then this is good for everyone involved.
Global Steering Committee Chair (2010-2015)
Global Team: Comms Lead (2009)
Local Organiser/Crew: Melbourne (2007, 2009-2016), Vancouver (2006)
New Melbourne Browncoats Inc President - newmelbournebrowncoats.com