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TOPIC: Promotion for local filmmaker

Promotion for local filmmaker 20 Jul 2008 00:58 #25516

  • BurneyFalls
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I did a free screening today for a local college kid, Tristan Howard, who spent three years making a wildlife documentary ("The Wildlife of Little Hot Springs Valley"). He was able to get his film aired on TV recently on a PBS station. I contacted him and offered to play his film at the theatre. He was quite excited, as he had never seen it on the bigscreen.

We planned this event for several weeks, got it advertised for free on all the local TV channels, and local papers. I advertised it in my email newsletter, and he put up numerous flyers. Admission was free and I gave everyone a free small popcorn.

We had no idea how many people might attend. I was hoping for at least 30 for his sake. We had 125! We were both quite pleased. I welcomed everyone and introduced Tristan. Tristan then gave a brief introduction to his film and the film began.

It is a very nice, well made wildlife film with very clear narration. Everything was going great when THE POWER WENT OUT in the whole town halfway through the film!

Everyone was very good. The emergency lights were enough to throw some ambiance into the auditorium. Tristan came back out front and answered questions for about a half hour. Everyone stayed!

We finally got the power company rep on the phone and was told it would be a couple hours before the power would be restored.

I made the dreaded announcement and everyone was quite understanding, yet disappointed they didn't get to see the second half of the film. They were very complimentary of Tristan's film, the theatre and the sound system. Tristan sold several copies of his DVD, maybe even more than he would have had the power not gone out.

As luck would have it, the power came back on right as the last people were driving away.

It was fun doing this and put a smile on my face seeing the local kid make good. He was pleased, I was pleased, and the community seemed pleased.

Just wanted to share my feel-good day.

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Re: Promotion for local filmmaker 20 Jul 2008 06:53 #25517

  • rodeojack
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Burney, this is the very situation that I used to lose sleep over.

We can put some 2,000+ people here. Being a drive-in, I have one shot per night... no multiple shows with which to save an evening. I either get it right or I lose.

In the past, we had several occasions when chipmunks would sacrifice themselves over the power lines, usually knocking out one of my 3-phase legs, which, ironically, wasn't noticed until I fired up my 3-phase lamps. The power company usually gets out here within a half-hour, but by the time I get the show going, it's REALLY late... maybe 11pm or so.

6 years ago, I purchased a surplus generator and had the place wired with a manual transfer switch and an outdoor plug. If the power goes out, I can haul the generator to the building with my John Deer lawn tractor, plug it in, start it up and have the place running in about 10 minutes... concessions, booth... pretty much everything.

Ironically, we haven't lost power one time since I bought the generator... but one save would (will) pay for the whole project. It's probably been cheap insurance, in that I don't worry about that part of the operation so much now.

I don't know how you'd prioritize this, given the local performance of your power utility... but it's something you might consider. I've seen generators at more places than just mine.

Oh... congrats on the special show... even if it included more adventure than you'd planned. Wish I had that kind of flexibility.

[This message has been edited by rodeojack (edited July 20, 2008).]
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Re: Promotion for local filmmaker 20 Jul 2008 12:09 #25518

  • BurneyFalls
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I have often thought about purchasing a generator on a trailer. Then I could haul it to whichever of my two locations needed it for those long term power outages we have occasionally. It probably would not have helped in this situation unless, by chance, it was parked at the right location.

What size generator do you have? We have talked about what size to get, but have never done the actual research to determine what I really need. I would like one that will run all three of my HVAC's.

I have the power company coming out soon to increase my service at one of my locations. We blew the main a couple times right before we opened recently. It's a quick fix, just turn the A/C off in the booth until all the popcorn is popped! But that surely is not the permanent solution.
Maybe when they come out I will be able to determine what size generator I will need also.
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Re: Promotion for local filmmaker 20 Jul 2008 21:22 #25519

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Mine is a 40kW Onan diesel. It's big enough to run my booth (7, 5 & 4 kW) and almost all my concessions (2 poppers, hot water, grill, ice machine, walk-in cooler and freezer). We only have to juggle things around a little... a couple of bun warmers have to stay off, and only one side of the grill can run. A 60kW would have done the trick for me, but this is what was available.

Mine has a standard trailer hitch. I have a trailer ball that I screw onto the back of the 'Deere, and away I go.

I'd check Ebay (emergency generator keywords), classified weeklys, construction sites and military surplus sales for this kind of stuff.

You can also get residential-level generators for much less than the industrial stuff (like Onan). Generac makes good equipment Considering how often you'd need it, it's a good option, and you'd probably get newer equipment for the money. Big box stores, like Home Depot, dealer the line.

Your power company, or most any electrician can tell you what your peak needs are, simply by using an Amprobe to measure your current draw. Size the generator up a bit... maybe 25%, and you're set.

I didn't go to the expense of installing automatic switching, because it doesn't happen often enough, and a 10 minute fix is an acceptable alternative to losing the whole night.

[This message has been edited by rodeojack (edited July 20, 2008).]
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Re: Promotion for local filmmaker 21 Jul 2008 22:09 #25520

  • ttroidl
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It must be harder to find a 3ph unit I bet? Never looked for one myself.

I did see a deal on 1950's vintage super HD units a while back don't recall the specs though.
tony.
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Re: Promotion for local filmmaker 22 Jul 2008 06:31 #25521

  • rodeojack
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Maybe a little. With the prices going down, there's a larger residential market, and few homes run on single phase.

Still, 3 phase gennies are fairly common, if that's what you need. A lot of the surplus and industrial market is 3 phase, and many of the generators are made so you can wire them to suit. Mine can do single or 3, 110/208, 120/240 or 240/480, depending on how the jumpers are set.

One of the radio stations I take care of has a 480 volt generator. We feed it into a step-down transformer, then to the transfer switch. It works just fine.

A couple of our local grocery stores have 3 phase generators that run on natural gas. They have them plumbed right into the metered gas utility. There are no worries about fuel or storage, and they'll run as long as necessary without much attention from the local staff.
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Re: Promotion for local filmmaker 22 Jul 2008 11:17 #25522

  • Cinemateer
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Local farm implement and supply auctions are also excellent places to find good used generators of all sorts.
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re: Promotion for local filmmaker 24 Jul 2008 03:15 #25523

  • BurneyFalls
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40 is big! We will soon find out what will be required here.

Going back to the wildlife film screening, we are going to try it again in a couple weeks at my other location. Maybe this time the power will stay on.
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Re: Promotion for local filmmaker 26 Jul 2008 15:33 #25524

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We noticed the other night that the transfer box next to my meter was extremely hot. The connections inside the box were melted and the wires were so hot you couldn't even touch them. The paint on the box was peeling off, also. The power company came out very fast and repaired the connections. This happened a couple years ago, also. Anyway, bad splices/connections inside that box was the cause of the main tripping. Too hot in there.

I am still going to increase the size of my service to accomodate any future power consuming additions.
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Re: Promotion for local filmmaker 27 Jul 2008 00:36 #25525

  • leeler
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Burney, that sounds dangerous.

I'd get somebody out there who you trust to take a look at the electrical load and give a recommendation. You don't want your electrical circuits frying, that's how electrical fires get started.

Good luck

"What a crazy business"
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Re:Promotion for local filmmaker 27 Aug 2008 17:50 #29827

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Got the meter box upgraded this week. Everything is fine and dandy now.

The second and last screening of the documentary played without a problem as have all our regular shows since the upgrade.

Initial problem solved. Still looking for a generator.
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Re:Promotion for local filmmaker 28 Aug 2008 10:19 #29834

  • Mike
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One of my theatres has a generator building attached that was normal for theatres in the good old days when power was less relaible. If it was a problem with any frequency I'd go ahead and have the back up on stand by.
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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