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Movie Night Logistics

13 years 9 months ago #154225 by lasnell68
Replied by lasnell68 on topic Re:Movie Night Logistics
We have a movie night on average one night per month. We are a K-5 school, and have learned that the K-2 grades like a lot younger movies than the 3-5 grades, so we split the two groups up, offer two movies, and put them in two different rooms. We use the school's equipment.

We ask for a $5 donation per student, $10 max per family, to cover costs. We try to have a 1:10 volunteer to student ratio so parents can leave their kids and go. We also limit the kids to a couple bathroom breaks during the movie so we don't have kids constantly traipsing in & out. The kids also wear PJ's and bring blankets. We outlawed pillows last year because they became sources of flying objects and we decided to nix that altogether.

We own a popcorn machine and pop the corn in advance, putting it in bags before the movie. Popcorn and either lemonade/water or juice boxes/water are included in the donation, and served during intermission in our cafeteria. Our school district owns the license for us to show the I don't know the specifics.

We also do one night a year where it is "dinner and movie" and we charge a bit more and offer pizza during the "intermission." We also do a "kids' choice" movie night for the last one of the year. We send a flyer home with several options and the kids vote.

Our Movie Night Director has a drawing during the night (intermission or after it's over) for prizes that the kids take home. Then each kid gets a sucker or lollipop of some kind as they exit the door.

Lastly, we have a thorough check in/check out process through the main doors and lock all other doors so no one can sneak out of the school. We eliminated the pay at the door scenario because we did not have enough volunteers to cover the number of students (we usually have around 300 show up). Now we are considering allowing pay at the door but only if the parent stays to help out.
13 years 9 months ago #154222 by Sellstar
Replied by Sellstar on topic Re:Movie Night Logistics
My position on Movie Night is that you need a certain number of free events for parents and children to enjoy as a family without having to expend any monies. Our PTO has held a movie night the last two years and has "lost" an average of $500 per event after all costs and selling of refreshments. But the cost of putting on the event is totally outweighed by the experience of having families and friends enjoying themselves out in the open air on a cool spring evening.

For refreshments we popped corn....lots of it... and spent about $50 on popcorn and bags. At $1 / bag it doesn't take long to get your money back. In addition this year we offerred pizza for a buck a slice, sodas and candy. We took in over $500 in refreshment sales, plus received additional money from one of our spirit night partners -- Bruster's Ice Cream -- that we had on site. They contributed 20% of their sales for the evening to our event.

We've had about 300 people at each of our events, utilized a professional projection company for the best viewing experience and have had great enthusiasm from our parents and students. This year we screened Alvin and the Chipmonks 2 and everybody loved it.

I believe the thousand dollars we've invested over the past couple of years was worth it. We budget for it early and use other events to help fund this one. The extra trouble involved in making it right for students and parents is paid back through increased participation at all levels.

You can see photos from this event as well as others at our photo site... .

Jim Dunnavant, White Oak Elementary, Newnan, GA
13 years 9 months ago #154217 by gmparkes
Replied by gmparkes on topic Re:Movie Night Logistics
I suggest you check out the guidelines regarding ticket sales. There are some very specific rules as to whether or not tickets can be sold and for that matter even whether refreshments can be sold. I never really understood it completely but since you are showing a movie for more than what would be your personal use, there are additional requirements and license fees.

If ticket sales are allowable, I suggest at the door. For such a small ticket cost, it is probably simpler that way and many people may wait to make their decision as to whether to attend until the day of.

We have done a movie night in the past and it was one of our free family events. We gave out popcorn for free and had a pizza vendor selling pizza and an italian ice business selling ices. We as the PTO did not sell or charge anything due to the licensing restraints. We showed G-Force incidentally.

We actually have cancelled the event going forward or at least removed it as a main event. The last three years have been plagued with problems such as inclement weather, sprinklers going on during the movie, popcorn machine breaking, etc. This year we had to move it indoors and it was not good. There were mandatory security lights that we could not turn off in the gym so you could barely see the screen. The custodial staff did not want any food or beverage in the gym. There was no AC since that has to be requested at the County level in advance.

Hope this helps somewhat. I kind of gave you a lot more than you asked for but hopefully my experiences will help your event be more successful!
13 years 9 months ago #154215 by sentae
Replied by sentae on topic Re:Movie Night Logistics
we are planning our first movie night. if we do decide to sell tickets, should we sell them ahead of time or just at the door?
13 years 11 months ago #153758 by Bill Munder
Replied by Bill Munder on topic Re:Movie Night Logistics

As a parent of students in different school districts I have seen both types of set-ups... schools attempting to a DIY(do it yourself) as well as having a professional service do it. Believe me, have a professional do it! Not that the DIY was horrible but the other option was just so much better and I think it only cost around $300 or so.

The DIY event had a small projector with a not so bright projector that was not very high contrast. The sound was OK but didn't have a "good" quality about it. ANd this was with the room being totally dark too. The screen was only 12' across which I didn't think was to big for it being a special event. I have even heard of some school using TV's. Kinda lame if you ask me.

The professional set-up had a 20' diagonal screen with an awesome sound system (good punch to the low end too) and a very clear, bright, vibrant projection system. It really gave a feeling of a theater in a gym. It felt so much more special and worth attending.

One more note... the latter being so much better audio visually speaking, kept the kids attention much better. The first set-up had the kids talking and roaming around. I guess what I am saying is if you are going to do this kind of event, it should come off as a "special" event. It does make a great time for all, especially outdoor movies.
13 years 11 months ago #153756 by Donna Zirpolo
Replied by Donna Zirpolo on topic Re:Movie Night Logistics
We have used a service to do the entire set-up for us. Not only was it more professional overall, it was very reasonably priced and our vender provided back-up equipment such as an extra projector and sound system. It was perfect and nothing for us to worry about. I strongly recommend doing it this way. a good source for this is Richard Eisenacher of Eisenacher Audio Visual Services. They really were professional and helped us out every step of the way.

Movie Night Logistics is second nature to them. They even gave us advice for doing it ourselves though we decided to have them do it. Good decision all the way.
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