How it Works

Getting Started


Once you have a team in place and a venue, here’s a quick (but detailed) breakdown for a “Typical Meaningful Movies Event,” to give you an idea of what’s involved. This presumes an event that repeats on regular basis. For most, this is monthly, for some twice monthly or weekly. This can be made far simpler, or more complicated, as you are inclined, and not all steps are mandatory.  You’ll find that every group organizes a little differently.

  • Select a film
    • Do you have a specific topic you’re targeting? Ask the Network if someone might have a recommendation.
    • Search film festival websites, consider personal recommendations, distributors’ sites, reviews, etc.
  • Access the film
    • Check with other groups to see if they have the film and more details about availability, cost, etc.
    • Has it been released? Is it in DVD yet? Is it available via streaming?
    • Where is the film? Filmmaker? Distributors? Organizations using it for their targeted campaigns? How do I contact these people?
    • What is the cost to publicly screen? (usually involves price negotiations)
    • Schedule the screening date.
    • Order the film in plenty of time prior to your event.
  • Pre-screen the film in its entirety
    • Verify quality of the film, that it’s relevant, meets your goals, the DVD is in perfect shape with no defects, etc.
    • Summarize and extract discussion points.
  • Create a schedule and sequence for the evening’s activities
    • Film, discussion, activities, etc.
  • Contact and schedule guests and/or aligned organization(s) to join you (if desired – you may want to skip having guests, depending on your goals)
    • Coordinate presentations and instruct guests on agenda, process & goals for evening, and limitations (e.g., time allotted to speak)
    • Use Skype with the filmmaker or other guest, if desired (test out Skype with them ahead of time)
  • Create and distribute publicity materials
    • Flyers, Emailer, web posting, Facebook (has someone already made a flyer that you might be able to modify?)
    • Send publicity notice to media outlets
    • Upload to local web calendars
    • Encourage related organizations to promote to their lists.
  • Get and set up snacks for the evening (if you’re planning to provide them at your event).
    • Request donations from local bakeries, grocery stores, etc. Purchase other supplies as necessary.
  • Gather, set up and test equipment.
    • Projector, screen, sound system, DVD player, laptop (might want to have a backup)
    • Set up chairs and other items as needed (easels, slideshow, materials for letter-writing, discussions, or other activities.)
  • Set up table(s) for flyers and topic info table, guest info and displays, film lending library
  • Final coordination with guests/speakers.
  • Welcome attendees as they come in.
  • Evening begins
    • Welcome & thanks, intro to the evening, including nuts & bolts like bathroom locations, summarize the evening schedule
    • Introduce the film and then show it
    • After film, introduce guest (if haven’t done so earlier)
    • Plea for donations and pass the cans, and concurrently allow for announcements of community events
    • Short break
    • Reconvene for facilitated discussion (large circle, several small circles, panel Q&A, or other)
  • Evening’s close, clean-up, disassembly of equipment, thank guests, thank attendees
  • Social time for attendees until closing time of your event
  • Debrief the evening – lessons learned?
  • Follow up thanks to guests

Take a look at the four simple steps to get started.