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Advice on running a midnight movie program--- 30 Jul 2014 01:11 #41249

  • nathanrlds
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he important thing is to keep it Special--make it a night out. The experience of being in the audience for one of these shows is very different from our regular show.

There's no need to spaz out and advertise it as MIDNIGHT MOVIE MADNESS!!! or some such bombastic nonsense...just keep it calm and put the film in your program listings regularly, just noting the time..but it's good to make a separate section of the program set aside for these events.

The programs you're going to be running are films anybody could rent at the corner video store or watch online..so you have to make it an EVENT! All the time.
Put aside the etiquette you normally reserve for your audience because these shows are for a different segment of the audience.
Going to a midnight movie is just like going to a Rock concert (They came out of the Rock music culture back in the day)...so think of yourself, when your're running the event, as more like Billy Graham or Hilly Kristel than Sid Grauman.

The event is going to be a night of barely contained chaos if it's done correctly. Crank up the volume on the music in the lobby to a higher than normal volume--(As a soundtrack, go for classic Rock, 60's-80's, but the kind of music that's more conceptual: Goth and Black Sabbath will go down well, so will early Punk and Psychedelic/Prog----Glam Rock is a midnight movie match in heaven--but avoid HC Punk or anything like John Mellencamp!) Allow your workers to be a little surlier than usual, though I'm not saying they should be mean or anything----

If the show goes down correctly, your vibe will be more like a well-produced Rock concert--if it goes down poorly you'll have either Altamont on your hands, or else Lawrence Welk...two extremes to avoid.

In fact, you may want to partner with a local Rock station to produce your midnight movie series---that's what a lot of theaters did back in the 1980's. Just make sure to manage the relationship well. Don't let them get too much power over the program or any other aspect.

I recommend having something projected on the screens as the audience takes seats--obscure ephemera, Culty short films, cheesy old commercials, and if nothing else, even kaleidoscope effects.

You may want to have an announcer for the program to get the crowd in the proper mood, but it's not necessary.

As I say, this is not a normal night out at the movies, that's why these shows are special, and some audience members who're expecting a regular show will be somewhat put out...at least a couple of times, I've had distraught audience members walk out....just think that they're not really part of your audience.

When it comes to programming your series, If you stick very close to the titles in the following list you won't go wrong---Suggested Program Selections



These are the type of fare that was made for the circuit! Some of them are out of circulation or extremely difficult to find the ownership, but I could help you track down that aspect of these films.

Definitely avoid showing fare like THE GOONIES, TEEN WOLF, SPACE JAM, LABYRINTH or other such fluff....the audiences for these movies are not meant for real midnight movies, and you want to keep the circuit consistently edgy....

One thing that I'm going to do for my series is make or have made an animated program header, to introduce the series and to provide a bridge to the regular feature. This can be done in Flash or some similar program.

Well then--Have at it. I'm looking forward to your series, and if there is any kind of assistance I can provide just let me know---
Last Edit: 30 Jul 2014 01:15 by nathanrlds. Reason: Put in Link
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Advice on running a midnight movie program--- 31 Jul 2014 07:21 #41255

  • filmbooks
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This is a terrific post. I'd love to hear more about how your series is working out. Plus any info on licensing and return would be a huge help. I noticed some of the films on your list are public domain titles. Have you tried any of these and have you found decent copies (digital or prints)?
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