Organising a Film Event
Organising a film event but not sure how to get started? Here’s a quick DIY guide you can use as a guideline. If you intend to organise a film festival with 5-6 films, we recommend that you start at least 6 months before the date of your opening night.
PHASE 1 – CONCEPTUALISATION
STEP 1 – OBJECTIVES
Determine the objectives of the screening – why do you want to organize it and what do you hope it achieves?
STEP 2 – FOCUS
Choose the theme or focus – for instance, a particular director, or a country, or a region, or a subject matter genre, or a language.
STEP 3 – SCALE
Decide on the rough number of films that you intend to screen – is it just one film screening or multiple screenings (i.e. a film festival)?
STEP 4 – DATES
Decide when to hold the event – for instance, ‘anchored’ around a milestone date, or taking into consideration availability of a key film or celebrity or practitioner.
STEP 5 – IDENTIFY FILMS
Identify the films of interest – it’s good to make this as long as possible, for the first draft, especially if you are organising a festival or a series of film screenings.
STEP 6 – VENUE
Identify potential screening venues. Certain venues can only play certain formats, so be sure to check with them the formats that they can accept.
STEP 7 – BUDGET
Work out a budget for the event – as a rough yet representative indication, for a week-long festival of 5-6 films, S$25,000 is usually enough to cover the main costs. This estimate does not include two things: revenue from ticket sales (which would usually go in its entirety to the festival organisers); and the cost of the opening reception, if any.
PHASE 2 – PROGRAMMING
STEP 1 – RIGHTS-HOLDERS
Identify rights-holders (who would grant permission / licences to screen the films), and print sources (which may not be the same entities as rights-holders).
STEP 2 – SHORTLIST
Narrow down your selection of film to those that meet your budget, and are available to be screened at your event.
STEP 3 – CLASSIFICATION
Obtain and submit advance screening versions (called ‘screeners’, usually in a DVD format) for local Board of Film Censors clearance and certification (this takes on average two months from the date of local submission).
STEP 4 – SCHEDULE
Plan the screening schedule based on films that are likely to be confirmed.
STEP 5 – CONFIRMATION
Book, and pay for, the films and the screening venue(s).
STEP 6 – MARKETING COLLATERALS
Research, write, design and produce the festival collaterals (e.g. brochures, posters, trailers). Keyart and trailers for individual films are usually given by the rights-holders.
STEP 7 – INBOUND FILM TRAFFIC
Manage the inbound shipping and customs clearance of the film(s).
STEP 8 – LOGISTICS
Arrange all the logistical requirements with / at the screening venue(s).
STEP 9 – FILM RATINGS
Collect the films back from the Board of Film Censors, with the classification ratings.
STEP 10 – TESTING
Test the film at the screening venue(s) – it is important to test in the specific hall(s) with the specific film medium that will actually be used for the event.
PHASE 3 – MARKETING
STEP 1 – PUBLICITY
Publicise the event and distribute the publicity material.
STEP 2 – TICKETING
Sell (or arranging for the sale of) the tickets, in advance as well as on each screening day.
STEP 3 – MANPOWER
On the actual screening day(s), depending on the venue(s) arrangement, you may need people on the ground to handle ticketing/front-of-house.
PHASE 4 – POST EVENT
STEP 1 – OUTBOUND FILM TRAFFIC
Manage the outbound shipping of the film(s).
STEP 2 – REPORTS
Preparing the festival attendance report, and providing attendance / marketing exposure reports to sponsors / partners.
STEP 3 – FINANCES
Reconciling the festival bank account, and settling any surplus / deficit incurred.
STEP 4 – PAYMENTS
Payment of invoices for the festival.
FINAL STEP – CELEBRATE!
Throw a huge party (and don’t forget to invite us!) to celebrate the conclusion and success of your event!