IT'S EASY TO......

 

Why wait for someone to show your work when you can do it yourself.

STEP 1 : GET A GANG

You can't do this alone so first you'll need to get together with your friends or a group of other film/video makers, you can do this by circulating a leaflet advertising a meeting. Make sure you get the leaflet into every venue, business, club, college, launderette where potential gang members might hang out. Remember at this stage it doesn't matter if you've got experience or not, enthusiasm and commitment is more important.

STEP 2 : HOLD A MEETING At the meeting explain that you're forming a group to hold screenings of film/video and that the group will now be having regular meetings where decisions will be made democratically. Next find out :
A. Who is prepared to put in the work to make things happen.
B. If anyone in the group has skills, equipment or film/video work they are prepared to let the group use.
C. If anyone knows of a venue that would be suitable for the groups first screening.
STEP 3 : FINANCE At first you may have to put up your own money to get things going but once you start having screenings the group will be self financing and you can get your money back. The most effective way to operate is to make the group totally non-profit making, pay no wages and use all your takings to buy equipment and improve the screenings.
STEP 4 : FIND A VENUE

Start small, you need a place to hold an audience of about 50 max. Try to get a venue that is easy to get to, preferably near to the main public transport routes. Try for a weekend date but Wednesdays and Thursdays are OK. As you're going to charge admission on the door make sure you get to keep it all to plough back into the group's activities.
CAFES - Some cafes are ideal because they have their own chairs, are usually licensed for drink, stay open late and are usually looking for a way to increase their takings.
PUBS - Many pubs have function rooms which are top notch some even have their own T.V.s and video projectors but chairs can be a problem and of course they usually close at eleven o'clock.
CLUBS - Chairs are a problem, drinks can be overpriced and you may have to pay to use the venue but you can find a good deal if you're prepared to haggle.
SQUATS - Squats can provide total freedom for your operations and you get to sell your own drink and food but on the downside security is a problem and you risk the cops closing you down at any time so make sure you check out all the angles.

STEP 5 : EQUIPMENT

For a basic screening you will need :
TRANSPORT - A car with a big boot and a driver.
VIDEO - A T.V. set and a video player. You should be able to borrow these from a group member or a friend.
SUPER 8 - A sound Super 8 projector . If no one in your group has one, then you're going to have to buy one so start checking out Car Boot sales, junk shops, the local paper, camera shops etc. You should be able to get a basic sound projector for under 50. Makes to look for are EUMIG, CHINON, ELMO and BAUER.
16mm - 16mm projectors can be difficult to get hold of, try to borrow one from a local college. You'll need one which plays OPTICAL SOUND. Because a lot of colleges and training institutes are now using video and computer technology it's worth contacting them and trying to get them to give you their old 16mm projectors and other cine equipment.
A SCREEN - You can buy a screen from a Car Boot sale or use a white sheet, even a clean white wall will be fine.
SOUND - Many Super 8 filmmakers use audio cassettes with their work so you'll need a cassette deck or ghetto blaster. Most 16mm projectors come with their own speakers. If you're going to have an MC introducing the films or have makers doing live dialogue over their work you'll need a basic sound system and a microphone.

STEP 6 : FINDING THE WORK AND PUBLICITY

You can publicise the show and look for work at the same time, make a leaflet which advertises the show and calls for work then put it up everywhere, send it everywhere, give it out at clubs, pubs, gigs, colleges...everywhere. Call the local radio, talk to everyone...film/video makers wont mind showing their work for free so long as they know that all the money you make is going to a cinema which will promote their work and create a scene where they can interact with other makers and meet an enthusiastic audience.

At first you can just get makers to turn up on the night and get free entry with a film/video but it's safer to organise a programme before the show and this means you can draw up a simple photocopied programme. Because of low/no budgets the vast majority of the work you'll get will be between 5 and 20 minutes long this means that for a three hour show with two intervals you'll need about 10 to 15 films for a show. Try to get a good mix of film and video and a variety of genres eg. animation, documentary, drama, home movies........ You might want to select the films you show or even censor them but our advice is SHOW ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING and let the audience decide, if they have food and drink and aren't made to sit in total silence they wont mind sitting through a couple of boring films and if a film is totally offensive let the audience shout it down or walk out, it's not up to you to prejudge their reaction.

The only problem is with films over 30 minutes as they tend to monopolise the evening but you can always show them in instalments or help the maker to put on their own screening. If possible try to get at least one live performance amongst the film/video this will really liven the night up.

STEP 7 : THE SHOW Hold a meeting before the show, make sure you've got everything organised, work out who's doing what on the night...projection, sound etc. Make sure everyone knows to get to the venue early to set up the show. Set up a table on the door where you can take money, you can either sell raffle tickets or ink stamp the audience's hands. Put a book on the door for film/video makers to put contact numbers in for the next show. Don't try to reproduce the trance like auditorium of commercial cinema the audience can get this at the local multiplex, instead try to create an interactive space, put candles around, get the film/video makers to talk about their work, encourage debate, if something goes wrong don't get embarrassed tell the audience what's happening , you can even get the them to help with the problem

STEP 8 : TOUGH IT OUT

Because of years of neglect and indifference the media scene has become pretty hardcore ........ people will tell you that it wont work, the established 'INDEPENDENT' media will ignore you and because you're open and democratic, careerists and users will try to exploit you, even some bitter film/video makers may slag you off...well we're here to tell you it can work...
KICK OUT THE JAMS !

STEP 9 : LATER

If you hold regular shows you can and develop and expand the groups activities, with the money you make you can buy more Super 8 projectors and some 35mm slide projectors then project images on the walls of the venue, you can get musicians to play along to film, set up installations in cupboards and in the toilets, expand your photocopied programme into a film/video magazine, take over disused buildings to hold bigger one-off shows........! The only limit to what you can do is your own energy and imagination..........