Do you think you want to – maybe join our illustrious collective? Help put on shows and operate Exploding Cinema from behind the scenes?
Great, Exploding Cinema is always looking for new members to help put on shows and be part of the group. Before you think of writing YES!! Let me Join in!! We want to make sure you understand what you are getting into…
WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU LOCATED?
If you are reading this website from Seattle, or Saigon, then it’s obviously not an option, as our events and meetings mostly take place in LONDON, UK. So being within striking distance is a must – unless you want to bring us to your home town? At the moment the majority of our members live in London. This is where the group originated (Brixton) – but as members join from other areas, the more likely we are to have more events and meetings there. We are flexible.
WHAT THE DEVIL DO THESE EXPLODING CINEMA MEMBERS DO?
The Open Access Shows are the core activity of the group, but OTHER THINGS can and do happen- in the past we have done several Tours in Europe, and some visiting shows outside of London, been central in organising the London wide Volcano Underground film fest ( working with other London groups such as OMSK and the Halloween Society) and sub- groups of members have formed to run related projects such as the VACUUM compilation. Please don’t feel that the only involvement you can have is helping out on already established projects – the group/the project is structured to be open-ended and there is always room for new ideas and directions. You will find that we have a philosophy that has been pretty fiercely consistent (our independence from state funding being a case in point) and new ideas will always get thoroughly discussed before being taken up or financed by the group.
However, there are plenty of other ideas that have not been developed as fully as the Open Access screenings- for example campaigning in a broader context to develop the presence of alternative/grass roots moving image culture through ALTERNATIVE DISTRIBUTION INITIATIVES- liasing/ collaborating with other UK and Wordwide underground/experimental/ amateur Cinema scenes… campaigning for more democratic TV ACCESS, for distribution of alternative low budget moving image culture…etc…etc.. There is plenty of scope for exploring new ground or taking EXPLODING CINEMA ideas and passions further…..
SO WHAT HAPPENS AT THE MEETINGS?
For every show, there are at least 3 or so meetings to organise it, and the other things we get up to. These are held at members houses (we don’t run an office) and usually last a few hours. These main meetings we discuss and make decisions about all aspects of running the collective and its activities. No one gets PAID for any work, we do this because we believe in it and because it’s a hoot, but neither are members expected to put any of their own money into the project, or get out of pocket on its behalf. At the moment of writing this there are about 9 active members of the Exploding Cinema Collective. As we all lead complicated lives and not everyone can always make it to all the shows and meetings, jobs are rotated so everyone gets experience in all aspects of running the show. In this way, everyone gains new skills and the absence of any one member will not cause the show to grind to a halt.
We are always looking for active members. We try very hard to be open hearted and minded as a group, and welcome all comers to get involved. The only thing that is really important is that you have some genuine interest and understanding of the aims and spirit that motivate the Exploding Cinema.
WHAT IS IT LIKE BEING INVOLVED IN THE GROUP AND WHAT WILL YOU EXPECT OF ME?
WE ARE A COLLECTIVE and we try very hard to function genuinely as a collective- and to fight against hierarchical structures or cliques developing in the group. Just as you could join the group and – if you want to- immediately work as the programmer for the very next show, likewise everyone is expected to muck in together and do the real glamorous jobs- like humping equipment in the rain and peeling up beer- sticky gaffer tape from the floor at 1.00am. It is possible, in theory, to limit your involvement to just helping out at shows. In practise this tends not to work very well, as the dynamic of the group is informed by coming to meetings and being engaged in what we do more generally. But no one will be forced to take on work they don’t want to do. There are many different jobs to do- some more popular than others- and it’s a good idea to try doing different ones- even if you think your strengths only lie in, say poster designing, or projection, there are always others in the group who will want to have their turn with those roles too.
DOES EXPLODING MAKE FILMS? WILL IT HELP ME TO MAKE FILMS?
Well, the answer is yes and no – as a group we don’t have any collectively owned production or post production equipment, and it is not in our remit to be a production base. (I believe however there is an Exploding Cinema Super 8 Camera somewhere!) But most of us in the group are active low budget film makers, with our own gear, and we do often help each other with productions on an informal basis once we’ve gained each other’s trust. There are a lot of knowledges within the group members, about Filmmaking, Super 8, animation, film as spectacular projection (mucking around with loops and slides ) Web design, digital post production and special effects etc. etc… and then of course with us if you’re a film maker you’ve always got a mainline to show your work at Exploding Cinema shows, and benefit from the flow of information and contacts that comes through being active in the group.
SO WHAT KINDS OF WORK WOULD I BE DOING AT THE SHOWS?
Below are a list of the jobs we apportion out at meetings, and a description of what kind of thing that person does – it will give you a flavour of what it’s like working with us. We will help you learn how to use the equipment and show you the way we generally go about running the shows. Of course it’s useful if you have some previous experience in doing this kind of thing, but absolute beginners are ok by us!
Video and film Projectionists…usually one person doing video, one or 2 doing super 8, 16mm and changing the slides on the main screen. If you’re not comfortable/ experienced (just a little will do) with operating this kind of equipment, then we can give you a little lesson or you can work as an assistant projectionist and learn on the night. The projectionists, amongst other things, have responsibility for looking after the films/vids properly and cuing them up and making sure they are fit to go through a projector.
Decor...several people can do this job which is basically to make the venue look stunning in any way you fancy – we have an ample supply of partly clapped out slide projectors and super 8/16mm projectors for putting film loops on (it’s best to make loops up at home before the show ) and bits of white stuff to string up and project on. If you have other sorts of ideas for dressing the place that would be fab too- try to keep it low budget, but if you bring it up at a meeting EC can usually dig up a few quids for materials.
MC… some of us love this job, some are terrified to even try it; basically this job is quite transparent to any one who’s seen the show; the m.c. introduces the films and vids in whatever way comes naturally to them, alcohol sometimes helps the nerves. it’s good to know a bit about the e.t.c if you do this as one as the m.c’s roles is to inform as well as jolly along. Your responsibility is also maybe to invent a game and buy audience prizes.
Door…taking money from the punters, being kind but firm – i.e. absolutely no freeloaders, liggers, etc. Usually several people take it in turns and work in pairs. A very essential job, for obvious reasons, and one which it’s easy for new members to do as it’s self-explanatory.
Floor manager… This person is boss for the night, and should know exactly what’s going on at all times, and be able to trouble shoot and delegate all tasks. Some preparation is need for this technically, e.g. making sure that there is enough gaffer tape etc. dealing with the venue beforehand if necessary.
Sound…Working on the sound desk, twiddling those knobs, making sure the right sound comes out at the right time!- That was a taste of on the night jobs, but there are many before the show e.g.
Programmer…collating all the films & vids & performance info that has been sent in & liasing with all the film makers about when and where the screening is etc.. Composing a coherent and pleasurable running order that makes up a good programme.
Flyer/poster design… do stuff in your own style, as long as it’s clear, and contains all the right info. it’s probably best to take this on if/when you are fairly confident that you can do a clear, exciting cut and paste poster-job.
Publicity – distribution of flyers posters and leaflets, photocopying, putting posters up anywhere and everywhere/ flyposting, handing out flyers at related events, and to all your friends.
Booklet design & making… a gang effort, usually one evening in the week before the show, making our 16-24 page A5 lovely cut & past fanzine/info about films/e.c. activities etc.
Behind the scene jobs- these rotate on a more long term basis… Treasurer– keeping records of all the incoming and outgoing finances. Balancing those books. Sorting out expenses accrued by members in their line of duty ( lots of little hand written notes and till receipts) Mail manager answers all the correspondence coming into the group- mostly via the Exploding Cinema Hotmail mail- keeps members abreast via email of opportunities/ ideas brought to the group. Website maintainers and Designers- self evident from our lovely website! Equipment maintainers- Keeping tabs on our big mound of equipment. Repairing anything that gets damaged, replacing bulbs/ fanbelts/ leads that go missing.
HOW YOU CAN BEGIN TO JOIN….
Before you come to a main meeting, we generally would like you to have come to at least one show first, ( yes! lots of people get enthused just by reading the website!) This is because at our main meetings we strive to be focussed, and this can be difficult if there are people there who haven’t got a reasonable insight into what we do. Sometimes we ask potential new members to come to a the next show early -to get in for free, and help us setting up the venue- this is often a good time to get more insight into how things work, help us with the legwork and have a chat. And/ or you could come along to what we call a BOOKLET MEETING which happens a few days before the show- when a bunch of us do the cut and paste art work and assemble the little photocopied programme booklet that is given out at shows. We don’t have an agenda to discuss at Booklet meetings, so it’s easier to answer your questions whilst we grapple with the Pritt Stick…
What to do NOW?
Have a good read of our Constitution. it’s probably not the most inspiring thing on the website but it gives you the general idea of how we are formally constituted as a collective. Read lots of the other stuff. Come to a show if there is one coming up soon. Then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org . GOOD LUCK!!