Host a Screening

Did you know that it can be very simple to host a screening?  Under Our Skin has made a very simple event planning guide.  Basically – all you need is the proper community rights to show the documentary, the documentary and a venue.  The Event Planning Guide from Under Our Skin is the perfect way to plan your screening.

Decide what type of screening you will be hosting.  There are several questions you’ll need to answer before deciding which item to purchase in the store. Is this a community screening which will be free of charge?  You will need to purchase the Community Use DVD. Are you wanting to screen this at an institution such as a medical center or university?  You may need to upgrade to the Institutional Use DVD.  Do you already have the documentary, but want to show a community screening?  There is an “upgrade” package.

Make sure to read each one of the items listed at the store online.  Once you’ve determined the type of screening you will be hosting, a DVD with the proper rights can be  purchased at the Under Our Skin Store.

How long does it take to get a screening planned?  In all honestly, it depends on how much you already have and how much work you want to put into it.  I was able to host a screening of Under Our Skin in only 4 weeks time.  I was starting pretty much from scratch, but I also had two wonderful helpers that helped me get everything together in 4 weeks.  I also had many items from a previous awareness events that I didn’t need to order.

I recommend following the, “Attend, Assist and Host” approach.  What does this mean?  It’s simple.  First, attend a screening hosted by someone else.  This will give you an idea of how one can run from the perspective of a guest. What are things you liked about the screening (not the documentary itself, but consider the overall experience)?  Second, assist someone else in hosting a screening (preferably someone that has already hosted a screening before). When you do this you’ll want to consider things you didn’t realize had to be done the first time – Assist the person through most of the process (from gathering supplies, to setting up, to taking down). Lastly, you’ll be ready to host one yourself.  You’ll want to get yourself a few volunteers and possibly even the person that you helped assist.  They’ll be able to give you some guidance in the process.  You can host one without the “Attend, Assist and Host” process, but it honestly makes the first time you host a screening of the documentary much smoother.  Each screening you host will go smoother.

Cost Decision:  One important deciding factor in your venues is cost.  Many locations will graciously donate the venue or you may have to find a sponsor to pay the upfront costs.   It really depends on where you’re wanting to host a screening.  It’s not often what you know, but who you know that can minimize the cost of the venue.  Use your contacts, but make sure to thank them at the event itself.  If you let NC Lyme Advocacy know of your sponsors, we can thank them for their support on the event page for your screening.

Cost Decision:  Honestly, you can host a screening for little to nothing (minus the cost of the community rights DVD).  It’s all about what you want to put into it.  You need to think about food/drinks/decorations/informational tables.  You and only you can decide how much you’re willing to spend.  You can ask for sponsors and donations, but sometimes these only come in at a trickle.  Be sure to check out the page under the Advocacy tab called Ideas.  You’ll be able to find all sorts of ideas there in regards to where to find things and ideas of how to decorate.

Cost Tips:  Don’t purchase everything you want at one time.  Purchase one to two reusable items for each event.  Eventually, you’ll have everything you’ll need minus the consumables (items that will run out – such as brochures).   If there is a larger item you desire, find out if that item ever goes on sale and wait to purchase it until it does even if you have to skip out having that item at an event.  Find out if a friend has the item that you can borrow until you are able to purchase it yourself.

Cost Tips:  Split the cost of items with a friend and share the items.

Cost Tip:  If you decide you want to print off invitations for a screening, it is often cheaper to print off business cards as invitations than to order invitations.  Yes, they are smaller, but since they are smaller it’s easier to keep a stack on hand.  You can always make these generalized so they can be used at more than one event.  Just make sure that the “invitation” card has the website address that will link to your specific event.

Cost Tip:  Have you thought about getting stickers? Instead of doing circular stickers, look into address labels instead.  You can often get 140 address labels (aka stickers) for the same price as 24 round stickers.  This is much more economical.

Cost Tip:  Look to find great deals with clearance items that are lime green.  Always keep your eyes out for lime green items in stores even if you aren’t planning an event.   You never know when the perfect item will find you for much less than regular price.

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