A Few Things I Learned About Hosting a Movie Screening

When the Oscar nominations were announced, I knew I was in trouble. We had only seen three of the five nominated animated films! My daughter asked how we could see them all, and instead of saying “we can’t,” I stupidly decided to figure out a way for it to happen. Do to the evils of the universe, one of the films was snatched out of our grasp at the last moment, but we did manage, thanks to many of you, to see Studio Ghibli’s “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.” Because I hosted the movie myself.

I had never done anything like this before, but Gathr made it pretty easy. I signed up to be a movie captain on their site, and then all I had to do was to get enough people to buy tickets in advance so that our local theater would agree to show the film. Sounds easy, right? Well, I would like to apologize after the fact to everyone that I annoyed or hounded over the last month in an attempt to make this thing a reality.

We needed to sell 56 tickets, which seemed like a very small number to me, but it was actually a large number. Especially since people do not generally plan their movie-going months in advance (although I do know for sure that on November 2nd of 2018 I will be sitting in a theater with my 11-year-old daughter watching Captain Marvel). The cutoff date to secure the screening was 8 days before the movie was to play. People needed to sign up ahead of time, which is what they do not like to do. On that last day, despite my postering the town, posting in every online forum I could think of, and making personal phone calls to every human on Earth, we were still 14 tickets short. I started wondering how many extra tickets I was willing to buy, and then, slowly but surely, a miracle trickled in.

And once we hit our goal, more and more people began to buy tickets. Because, as I said before, movie going is often an impulsive thing, or at least a “what should we see this week” sort of thing. By the time the opening credits started playing we had sold almost 100 tickets. But I am getting ahead of myself.

On the morning of, people began to have questions. Questions for which I did not have an F.A.Q. “Can I buy tickets at the theater?” “Can I show my ticket on my phone? My printer is broken…” “What time do the doors open?” So I learned a lot myself. GKids films, who were releasing the film in America, had awesomely sent me posters to hand out to everyone in attendance. I had assumed they would be of a small size, perhaps 8.5″ x 11″. No, these were full-sized giant movie posters that weighed more than my sofa. It was with these gargantuan items that my daughter and I arrived at the locked door of the movie theater on the cold Saturday morning, full of questions, half an hour before the start of the film.

The people at Merrill’s Roxy Theater were awesome. They knew the answers. They were so supportive, helpful, and excited about the event. It was here that I found out that I was in charge of taking tickets, but that people could also buy tickets (with cash) from the theater. I had a list of names to check off, and a stack of posters to hand out. Ruby couldn’t wait to hand out the posters, although we decided it might be better for people to pick them up on their way out of the theater.

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The theater asked if I wanted the dubbed or the subtitled version. They gave me free popcorn. They set up a table for my posters so we did not have to hold them all, plus they put out rubber bands for rolling them up. It was truly wonderful and we felt so taken care of. I got up and thanked everyone for coming before the movie started, and then we got to sit back and watch a very weird, kind of sad movie that everyone loved. But I was glad that Edward was at a laser tag birthday party. That was a much better fit for him.

I got to chat with most of the people as they walked out of the theater, and many of them took a poster. If you want one for some reason, please meet me at my car. I have plenty left. They were all grateful for the movie and for my putting it on for them, which was awesome. After so many weeks of wondering if it was going to happen, or if I was just wasting my time and energy on something that would be ultimately fruitless, it was a fabulous feeling to see so many happy people come out of that darkened room. If you were one of those people, thank you again. You made me and my daughter very happy.

So I learned a lot, I think a small amount of community building took place, and if I ever do it again I will have answers to most of the questions that I had no idea about this time. And though I am very glad to no longer be stressing about ticket sales, I would totally do it again. If my daughter asked me of course.

Posted in Edward, Movies, Parenting, Princess, Ruby, Theater.

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