BONSAI PEOPLE COMMUNITY SCREENING GUIDE
We are looking for community screening partners to screen the film this fall when Muhammad Yunus gets his Congressional Gold Medal. Please read this over, so that you understand how to host a successful screening.
ABOUT THIS TOOLKIT AND COMMUNITY SCREENINGS
This toolkit is designed to be used by community organizations, nonprofit, grassroot, and faith-based organizations, and youth groups that want to screen Bonsai People in order to motivate, educate, and help raise awareness within their communities about the issues in the film.
This detailed and user-friendly program empowers you to create a fabulous event. Some parts may not be applicable to everyone, so pick and choose what is necessary and works for you. These are all suggestions from past experience to give you an idea of what may be helpful to reach and impact your audience.
Community screenings require a community-screening licensed DVD or one of our special “Community Screening Kits” that contain posters and postcards. For more details and to obtain a screening kit contact us.
Our experience is that people normally want to buy DVDs after a screening! If you would like to buy more DVDs at a bulk rate to sell as a fundraiser for your organization, so order some at our online store.
Thank you for signing up to become Bonsai People a screening host!
Getting The Word Out
1. Hand Out Postcards and Hang Posters With Your Event Info
The 100 Postcards included in this kit have a blank space where you can either handwrite or affix computer printed address labels with the specific date/time/place of your event. People love a visual reminder of events coming up in their communities. Place these at local coffee shops and other venues that have message boards near to your event.
2. Electronic / Viral Outreach
Email, social network messaging sites and blogs are some of the most effective ways to reach people. Attention spans are short, so this type of approach works best when combined with other sorts of outreach and publicity. Create a facebook event page and invite all your friends in the area and ask them to invite their friends and spread the word. Tweet about the event and put a hashtag of your city and microcredit and socent. Example. Come join us for a screening on the film Bonsai People – The Vision of Muhammad Yunus Oct 16 at 6pm in #Ottawa #microcredit #socent http://www.wiam.ca/film/performances/byday/2011-10-16
With any electronic outreach, be sure to include a link to BonsaiMovie.com so people can view the trailer, or better yet, embed the trailer from our website. People love watching a trailer as a sneak preview of what movies they are thinking of seeing.
3. Local Media
Before you make complicated plans about how to promote your event, spend some time thinking about who is most likely to understand and appreciate your event. Consider what your target audience watches, reads and listens to. By targeting your core audience, you might decide that it makes more sense to focus on an alternative weekly paper or radio station that already covers innovative community initiatives rather than the major daily paper. Create a simple “press release” that gives the details of your event along with the synopsis of the film and of course the website. See our sample screening press release to get the idea.
Below are some basic tips for your media outreach:
- Find the contact details and make a list of a wide range of local media you plan to contact.
- Send the press release to everyone on your list either by email or fax.• If press wants photos or a press kit about the film itself, you can always direct them to the website where those materials are available for download.
- Get the event on calendar listings in your city’s weekly publication(s) and on the web.
- Make calls to local television and radio programs. Let them know about your event, and be prepared to give them contact and title information of local experts or advocates that can be available for interviews.
Here’s who to contact:
- Local TV news: assignment editors
- Public affairs or magazine programs: producers
- Talk radio or local/community radio: producers or hosts
A couple of days prior to your event re-contact the media list and invite them to attend the event.
4. Co-Sponsoring Organizations
We strongly encourage including other organizations in your event plans, as it helps you broaden your reach and establish new, potentially long-term coalitions. Allied organizations can get involved in a range of ways depending on their capacity. This can include getting the word out about the film through listservs or websites, contributing time or resources to the screening event and/or participating in a post-screening panel discussion. The key in approaching co-sponsors is to help them understand how your event fits into their priorities as an organization, and how they will ultimately benefit from being associated with your event.
5. Campus Screenings
As with community screenings, finding on-campus co-sponsors is very important. Contact departments, research centers and youth organizations that have an interest in the topic and ask them to be part of this event. This increases the visibility and success of the event and helps put a spotlight on the issues in the film. An educational guide will be available here soon.
Bonsai People: Event Planning
After defining your target audience, objectives, and framing, begin planning the event:
1. Preliminary planning – at least 6 weeks prior
- Choose the date and book the venue for your Bonsai screening event.
- Recruit local organizational partners to broaden your reach, and help identify roles for each one; such as publicity, panelist coordination, reception planning, etc.
- Determine speakers (including filmmakers), panelists, and moderator (if applicable).
2. Logistical planning – 3-4 weeks prior
- Create a flyer to publicize your screening. Get enough photocopies of the flyer made.
- Confirm that you have the right equipment to screen the DVD. You’ll either need a DVD player and a large TV, or a DVD player, a projector, screen and sound system.
- Secure food for reception (if applicable).
- Draft agenda and discuss with partners.
- Order an appropriate number of the multi-pack DVDs to sell at the event at a fundraiser.
3. Logistical planning – 2 weeks prior
- Create an email blast to publicize your event electronically. We suggest sending one announcement 2 weeks prior and another reminder several days prior to the event.
- Contact community calendars about your event.
4. Media outreach – 10 days prior
- Send out press releases to media outlets.
- Make calls to local television and radio programs.
5. Final planning – several days prior
- Important: test screen your DVD of the film in advance of the event to make sure there aren’t any glitches. Be sure that the screen is high enough so that everyone can read the subtitles!
- Send second round of email blasts.
- Follow up with press who expressed an interest in covering the story.
- Finalize agenda.
- Make copies of handouts, including literature from your organization, fact sheets, etc.
6. At The Event
- As people arrive, ask them to sign up to receive updates from your organization.
- Before the discussion, announce that you have DVDs for sale and that these sales will help cover the cost of the screening! Set up a table near the exit and have someone stationed with the DVDs during the discussion.
- Have a timekeeper so panelists/speakers remain within their assigned speaking time.
- Encourage participants to spread the word and let them know that they can learn more about the film at BonsaiMovie.com
Sample Bonsai Program
Sample program and additional planning tips to help make your event a success:
SAMPLE PROGRAM: 2 hours 45 mins.
- 7:00 – 7:30: Guests arrive, sign in, enjoy refreshments
- 7:30 – 7:40: Host welcomes guests, makes introduction and explains the evening program
- 7:40 – 9:10: Screening of Bonsai
- 9:10 – 9:45: Group discussion, comments, plans for continuing community actions
Location! Location! Location?
The possibilities for where to host your Community Premiere are virtually endless.
- Invite your family, friends and neighbors right into your living room.
- Reserve a room in your local library or community center.
- Incorporate the screening into the regularly scheduled meeting of a local club or organization.
- Use space available at your church, mosque, synagogue or temple.
- Hold the event on campus in your dorm lobby, a classroom or the student center or library.
- Ask a local coffee shop, pub or other business to allow you to use their space.
- Find out if your local independent movie theater would be willing to host a screening.
Choosing the right location for your event depends upon whom you’d like to attend and the particular environment you want to create. Can your own home accommodate a small group of friends? Where do people in your community already like to gather? Where have you seen similar events hosted in the past that you thought were really great.
If you are promoting the event to the wider public, think about a place where most people, regardless of race, religion, or sexual identity, would feel comfortable. If you want to encourage your local public officials or other community leaders to attend, select a location that would be appropriate for them.
Other factors to consider when selecting a space include ease of parking, access to public transportation, and the distance your guests must travel to get there. Also remember that the central component of the evening is the TV screening, so find a location with proper screening capabilities: DVD projector, screen, large screen television, audio, etc.