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.
Cinemas wonderful places to have the showing - if you play your cards right certain local cinemas will give you a good deal.
Setting up your own screening
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.
Good blackout makes all the difference. Binliners are a good 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.
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.
Use the best quality source you can.
Pre show music
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:
- Six televisions stacked in a cupboard
- A projection onto the ceiling.
- Three sea inspired films, projected onto the sails of a hand-painted cardboard galleon 3m x 1m x 1.5m.
- In a shop window at night.
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.
Things to consider when setting up or working in conjunction with a third party on a presentation:
- Source (whose system are you playing it on, if you are taking the film along on a memory stick for someone else to play then it is a good idea to have a dvd or another copy just in case)
- VGA or HDMI cable
- The annoying little connector that some laptops require to connect to a projector
- 4 way mains connector
- extension cable
- Projection screen - possibly just a white roll of paper
- If you are plugging your laptop into someone elses system you might need an audio connector like a mini-jack to phono
Festivals are a great way to get your film seen by lots of people.
Festivals for young people
- Cinemagic an international film festival based in Belfast
- Discovery International Film for Young Audiences based in Dundee
Filmfreeway is a good way to get films to a number of different festivals easily. And/or these British festivals have stood the test of time
Always check dates for submissions and entry requirements carefully, and check they have a suitable slot for your type of film
Review and evaluation is critical to establish the importance of recurring opportunities for learners. Education is progressive and therefore a second film is always better - you have learned by mistakes.
Good evaluation, record keeping and documentation can also mean headteachers, local authorities and funding bodies can see that further development is justifiable.
Documentation & feedback
- Newspaper coverage - ring the local paper and send them a press release about what you are doing.
- Questionnaires to hand out at end of project.
- Photograph the project in progress.
- Video documentation of the project in progress (in a documentary style).
- Vox pops - young film makers answer a series of evaluative questions
- Diary room - direct to camera, in a room alone, often captures the most honest responses