The "premiere" is a great event where everybody can get together and watch the film - it's a lot of fun, as well as a useful opportunity to reassess the work. It also highlights the value of the project to the wider community, try and get along funders, sponsors, supporters, family and friends - and showcase it in a celebratory environment.
I thought drama was when actors cried. But drama is when the audience cries - Frank Capra
Cinemas are of course wonderful places to have the showing - if you play your cards right certain local cinemas will give you a good deal.
You can have a fantastic screening in a local village hall, school hall - in fact, practically anywhere. If you are going to set up your own screening there are a number of points to consider:
A good sound system is a must. Bring all the cables and connectors you might need. Make sure you listen carefully to the level; having it turned up to eleven might be appropriate for a music-video screening, but for a documentary you really want to hear the words.
If the film is under ten minutes, why not show it twice
Good blackout makes all the difference. Binliners are the main way to get a space blacked out, although card and thick material will be better if you know there is going to be a lot of sun. Don't underestimate how long it can take to blackout a big space, nor how tricky it is going up and down tall ladders. Don't do it without adequate safeguards.
If possible, search out a good space that already has blackout, chairs, and a loo. If you only have a short programme (very likely) you don't need to consider fancy refreshments; but if you have bigwigs coming along, or you have a long programme of films (not too long!) it's a nice touch.
You can get all sorts of fancy projection screens, but there is not much better than a clean, matt painted, white wall or a huge piece of white paper (but make it tidy - without cinema curtains everyone is going to be staring at this before the show starts).
Video projectors are getting better, cheaper, smaller, brighter and easier to adjust every year. However, still make sure it is carefully set up, and pay particular attention to focus and aspect ratios.
You can get away with a cheaper (dimmer) projector as long as you get the venue really dark.
Use the best quality source you can. DVD can be better than using a laptops inbuilt player.
If you can work out a way of providing some gentle pre show music, while the audience assemble, this can work a treat.
It depends on what you are creating, but remember you don't have to screen your work traditionally. A wild approach might be appropriate, a specially designed screening environment might provide a better way of showing your work:
If the whole team knows how the film is to be presented while creating the film, then an 'installation' style can really enhance the final vision, the screening and the film are so interrelated, something unique emerges.
Don't rely on other people, whatever they say on the phone! Arrange to test the system with your tape, dvd, laptop, preferably the day before but at least two hours before the show
Things to consider when setting up or working in conjunction with a third party on a presentation: