Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Venues, New Plans!

The idyllic scene above is the setting for ... a film society? Apparently so and more power to them! I wish I was there right now. This is the back yard patio of Miramont Winery Estates, who hosts a local film society that gathers monthly for films under the stars and, one assumes, a selection of fine wines! Miramont ordered four classic films in late July: D.O.A., His Girl Friday, Beat the Devil and The Big Combo. I also sent the free Sample Show. Miramont uses a large-screen projection DVD system and reports the quality is excellent. The films are not advertised on their website nor do they show a picture of the screen, but the expansive patio area is on display in a wedding video at Special Events on their home page.

This small order suggested the obvious -- many of the classics can not and should not be preceded by a serial chapter of Dick Tracy or even an Edgar Kennedy short since it makes the program a bit long. A cartoon or two and an exciting trailer, on the other hand, can spice up any program. This led to a new project called Just Classics. To fill new orders I will re-master each classic with bonuses before the main feature. At the same time I will create a movie poster for what is now a "Programme." Whether they use the poster is up to them, but it allows me to advertise the films MUCH better than a title and brief synopsis in a catalog. Movie posters have always sold a film, first from the distributor to a theater and then to the public. A quick glance wonders: "Would my audience come to see this?" The poster designer strives hard to get that "Yes" answer!

Another new venue seems quite excited about using Café Roxy shows. The Watseka Theatre in Watseka, Illinois has started a "Food & A Flick" program every Saturday that the theater is not otherwise in use. The cost is only $10 for a meal and film (drinks are extra).

Click on "Movie Schedule" from the Watseka home page to see the upcoming shows. Today lists Meet John Doe (too long to add any shorts) and Beat the Devil. They already showed His Girl Friday. Coming soon is The Stranger. I personalized two posters for the Watseka Theatre as shown here. Their web page notes: "We show only Public Domain movies. This means there is no copyright infringement issue about which to be concerned." I did not request this disclaimer, but it doesn't hurt. It might have something to do with a local pizza parlor showing Disney features, one assumes without paying royalties. They have been warned about the perils of getting caught and are now looking at the royalty-free, in fact completely free, Roxy Sampler!

The Watseka Theatre has a unique set-up in that the Club Café for dining is immediately adjacent to the theater. You walk through a door from one to the other, which is how Food & A Flick works. While it's not a dinner theater where you watch from your table while eating, it may be BETTER! Given a choice, wouldn't we all choose a comfy theater seat in a vintage movie theater? A picture of the interior may aid your decision!

The Watseka may try my suggestion to show free movies every Saturday during the lunch period. Free movies to all, with the assumption that many would eat in the Café before, during or after they take in a few films. They can try it out with the Free Roxy Sample Show, then the All-Star series of family-friendly shorts. This is starting to sound like a sales pitch, so I'll quit while I'm ahead. The real test will come weeks into a series when word spreads and the audience builds.

I am absolutely convinced that audiences will rediscover and enjoy the great classics, B-pix, serials, Buster Keaton and all the rest if they are exhibited in good quality in a festive venue. The Watseka is positioned to try all aspects of the Roxy experience from Film Society Screenings to Saturday Matinees, from paid shows to free admission.

Any venue -- yes, yours -- holds the same potential!

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