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TOPIC: Non-Profit Theater

Non-Profit Theater 02 Jul 2013 04:24 #40107

  • jepperson1
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Hi folks,

I run a non-profit live performing arts center. We have one of our four theaters equipped with a high quality digital cinema. We rent it out for corporate presentations, small independent premiers, etc., but now I'm looking to begin exhibiting films on a regular basis to fill the dead time when we don't have a live performance. Mostly art and classics. I have a couple questions I hope I can get some help with:

1) I've noticed on at least one distributors website that we would be considered a non-theatrical exhibitor, in the same category as museums, art galleries, etc. Would it be fair to consider that true for most distributors? What are the positives and negatives of being "non-theatrical"?

2) I've seen it suggested here that a theater our size should save some money and do it's own booking. I'm fairly comfortable with the idea, as I book theatrical productions, but I don't really have a clue where to start, who to contact, what the reporting and record-keeping procedures are, etc. If anyone has some advice in this area, I'd appreciate it, and if you think not having a buyer is crazy, can you recommend someone for my situation?

Very many thanks for the help.
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Non-Profit Theater 04 Jul 2013 04:59 #40116

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A booker is not that expensive and will save you a lot of grief as they are better acquainted with the distributors. I can personally recommend a booker that I used but I can't find his number yet. We just moved and the place is a mess. I believe Mike, the owner of this site, is also a booker.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Non-Profit Theater 04 Jul 2013 20:33 #40117

  • Andrew Thomas
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The nice thing about hiring a booker is that in addition to getting somebody with an established relationship with the distributors, the booker is almost like a circuit themselves. A booker that has 50+ screens to put content on has more value to the distributors reps than a tiny single screen could ever hope to be.

This can also sometimes be problematic for the theater as some bookers have been known to try and push theater operators to put on flicks that are likely to be lower performers than the titles they may want as the booker is trying to scratch the distributors back on a weak title that they are trying to bump the screen counts up on.
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Non-Profit Theater 05 Jul 2013 15:24 #40120

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if you are just starting... hire a good booker and learn for a while... they will be invaluable getting you started.
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Non-Profit Theater 06 Jul 2013 00:22 #40123

  • Bob Nash
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Good advice from Rufusjack. I would follow it
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Non-Profit Theater 06 Jul 2013 01:25 #40124

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Thanks for the feedback, folks. Really appreciated. What kinds of issues might I have with only booking films late night, daytime and on off nights (basically there will be live theater Thu, Fri, Sat evenings and Sun afternoons). Anything I have to worry about in terms of minimums, etc? Is this why some people are suggesting I go "non-theatrical"?
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Non-Profit Theater 06 Jul 2013 01:36 #40125

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Since distributors usually get paid a percentage of the boxoffice gross they will probably charge you a flat fee since you will be offering them only off-times. You are playing live stuff during the best times for movie presentation. You will probably not get any "first run" stuff.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Non-Profit Theater 07 Jul 2013 02:48 #40127

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revrobor wrote:
Since distributors usually get paid a percentage of the boxoffice gross they will probably charge you a flat fee since you will be offering them only off-times. You are playing live stuff during the best times for movie presentation. You will probably not get any "first run" stuff.

Thanks. I'm not really planning on first run, at the moment I'm thinking 2nd & 3rd run as a 'brew & view' type experience at 10pm Thu, Fri, and Sat. We're near college dorms, so I think it could be popular. On other nights, and during the weeks that the theater is dark (with live shows) we'll present indies and classics.
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