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Movies DVD releases, movie reviews, etc. Have a movie that worked great for your event? Let us know! Also included are discussions of movie screening licensing.

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Unread 08-13-2010, 10:41 PM   #1
big daddy
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Thought I might ask how others handle this..........actually a follow up to Swank pre-Release.

Do most of you keep a collection of movies for the customer to choose from or do you let them pick a movie? I can see perhaps if it is a backyard gig they may want to show something of their own but at a more public event who chooses? I am quickly learning about pre-releases etc from criterion and public performance licenses etc..........can become quite costly... ( Cars 2 coming ) .

I can only assume if it is going to be a larger public event a more recent new release would probably be in demand along with a higher price tag

Matthew
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Unread 08-14-2010, 06:04 PM   #2
Mackinac Movies
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right now, I let teh client pic the movies, then I arrange them with swank. I have not worked with another company as of yet. I slao have not been able to do a job where a license was not required.
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Unread 08-15-2010, 01:25 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Mackinac Movies View Post
right now, I let teh client pic the movies, then I arrange them with swank. I have not worked with another company as of yet. I slao have not been able to do a job where a license was not required.
do you charge extra for your dealings with Swank or is it already built in to your price?
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Unread 08-16-2010, 10:56 AM   #4
Doug Miles
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For any type of event I always let the customer choose which movie they want. In other words, I don't have a specific list for them to choose from. But, who supplies the movie is a different question.

If it's a public event (and a license is required) then the customer should definitely be supplying the DVD (and in many cases the DVD is actually provided by Swank).

If it's a private (homeowner) event, it becomes a gray area. Personally, I would err on the side of caution, and state that the customer is responsible for providing the movie. The reason is that the copyright law states that you have the right to show a movie to a close circle of friends and family. If I bring a DVD to an event, then I am showing my copy to people who are NOT my close circle of friends and family.

You definitely have more control over the quality of the DVD if you supply it yourself (see my latest movie night thread about a customer supplied DVD that was skipping). But, I'd rather be safe than sorry. Just my opinion.

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Originally Posted by JPR
do you charge extra for your dealings with Swank or is it already built in to your price?
I know you were probably asking Neil. But, I thought I would mention that Swank has refused to work with me on occasion due to the fact that I am the "equipment provider" and not a representative of the customer or event location. You could offer the service to get the license, but I wouldn't count on always being able to get a license for a customer.

Last edited by Doug Miles : 08-16-2010 at 03:02 PM. Reason: spelling mistake
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Unread 08-16-2010, 01:09 PM   #5
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Preferably would not provide any of the media but I hate the idea of losing a big job due to the obstacles of getting a license.
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Unread 08-17-2010, 09:10 AM   #6
Mackinac Movies
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OK, as being a DJ I can tell you I hate, and will avoid at all costs walking into an event and having the media handed to me. There is just too many variables of having scratch discs, burned copies, non-compatible stuff, unedited content. I always try to bring my own media, weather it is music or movies. Am I violation copyright in the movie realm? I don't think so. I am providing the equipment and medium to play the movie. The client chooses the movie to play. What does it matter where it comes from, if it is a private event. Granted everything I have done this year has been licensed, but I would not hesitate to go to someones backyard and play my copy of a DVD that they wanted. Maybe the gray line is that they also need to own a copy of the movie too. I don't know.

As far as licensing, I know Doug has more experience, and has had trouble licensing for a client in the past. Swank will tell you officially that you can not license a film, and then charge a line-item on the invoice for the license fee, but they do not go as far as saying that you can not arrange for the licensing for them. There is a client area and a shipping area in the application, you can certainly do all the work for them fill out the forms and such, pay the fee, and just have them ship the movie directly to you. I really don't like the idea of relying on a client to do all that legwork. It is my job to provide the experience for them, so I think the licensing is part of that. What I tell the client, and swank, that for this project I am a member of the clients organization (their movie coordinator) Swank will have to setup an account for it, and then run the paperwork. I pay the licensing fee with a CC, and the client gives me a check to cover the whole event. I do not itemize the licensing fee, nor charge a certain fee to arrange for the license for the client. I look at it this way, I have a certain evening that I can work, I want $XX to show a movie, any movie. Client wants me, they pay me. I show up with everything that they need, give the experience, collect payment, move on.
Am I slipping through the cracks at swank operating this way? Maybe, I have only done it twice that way. I look at it this way, at the very least I am ensuring that the movie is licensed properly, and swank & the MPAA police would be happy, what does it matter whose name is on the paperwork.

What happens the first time you show up to a big public performance, that the client was supposed to license, and and they hand you a scratched blockbuster DVD? Whose responsibility is it then to make sure the event #1 works, and #2 is legal? At that point what choice do you have, there is 300 people waiting to see Avatar 7!

By controlling as many aspects about my events that I possibly can, the more successful my shows are. I never ever rely on my clients for anything, the majority of them are un-reliable, just because they have other things to worry about then the entertainment, that is what I am there for!
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Unread 08-17-2010, 10:47 AM   #7
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I'm pretty much in agreement with everything you're saying. In fact, I'll take it a step further and say that I think the responsibility for licensing should be OUR's, not the customer. If they really want compliance, they're going about it all wrong. Also, I have been refused by Swank to submit an application for a client, and I've been refused a simple quote, or even a "ballpark" estimate on obtaining a license. And that's even when I had all specific information from the client. This might be because the NY/NJ Swank rep knows me by now, I don't know. But if you plan on obtaining licenses for customers I would never tell Swank who you are or you could end up in my situation.

Like you said, what happens if you are handed a scratched disk, etc? Even Swank's disks can be messed up. I saw this happen once, thank goodness it wasn't my party. We went to a local movie night that was showing Nanny McPhee. I know the guy from the township who got the license, so I know it was a licensed Swank disk. Anyway, there was sticker residue on the disk, and it was not playable. This was discovered AT the movie night. So, someone ran home and got a copy of Finding Nemo. This creates two problems. First, Nemo wasn't licensed, and second, Nemo is Walt Disney, and that's a BIG no-no. Nobody got in trouble, but it was a disaster of a movie night (although I enjoy Nemo more than Nanny McPhee).

Swank has told me that I can bring a backup copy in case a licensed copy doesn't work for some reason. And, for licensed events I've always done that. But, homeowner events are a little different. I am almost 100% sure that you would not have a problem if you supply a disk for a non-licensed event. But I am almost 100% sure that it is not legal under the MPAA's guidelines. Again, just my opinion, not advising anyone about what they should or shouldn't do.

Here's another problem. Many times homeowners (specifically homeowner's kids) can't decide on a movie until the day of the event. It would be a pain in the butt to run around the day of an event trying to find a movie. It's easier to leave it up to the customer. Am I afraid of getting bad disks, copied disks, etc? Sure, but that happens in maybe one out of every fifty parties. The hassle of bringing disks is worse than one out of fifty botched parties, to me. The way I look at it is, I could just as easily be doing drop and go setups (drop off the equipment and let them operate it). If they get a scratched disk, this wouldn't be my fault. So, just because I stay to operate the equipment, doesn't make a bad disk my fault. Although I will say that I didn't used to think this way. Customers have given me tough skin over the last few years. In the past I would have done just about anything to make every party run perfectly. But now, I put in about 40% of the same effort, and get about 95% of the same result.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Later.
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Unread 08-17-2010, 07:58 PM   #8
big daddy
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What is MPAA?

I am up in Canada, Ontario more precisely. After speaking with Criterion motion pictures uphere, if I am doing backyard movies, if the client provides the movie I/ they are not required to have a license. Any public event, this performance license is required. They will apparently send 2 copies of the ie. new release or pre-release about 2 days prior to the event.

his keeps throwing me back to the question of how many screens to have, and do I want to do public events or keep to backyards? pennies vs dollars ??

Matthew
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Unread 08-18-2010, 07:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big daddy View Post
What is MPAA?
Sorry. Motion Picture Association of America

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Originally Posted by big daddy View Post
his keeps throwing me back to the question of how many screens to have, and do I want to do public events or keep to backyards? pennies vs dollars ??
It's an important aspect to consider when selecting screen size. The best way (ie: Mackinac Movies) to approach the larger events is to book a series of events BEFORE purchasing a large set up. That way you know that you have a good portion of your cost already covered. The bad way (ie: Me) to approach the larger events is to spend thousands of dollars on a large set up when you only have one or two leads on large events.

In my area most townships, schools, etc. have either cut funding for the larger events, or they have purchased their own equipment. But I do see some signs of life coming back. Not sure what things would be like in Canada.

There's a big market for backyard movies, but pricing can make it or break it. Most likely if you do backyard events you will need to streamline things and keep your operating costs low, regardless of what you charge customers. In the end it has to be worth your time and effort, or why do it?

How about try both? Or, pick one to start with and then expand later.
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Unread 06-22-2011, 07:06 PM   #10
big daddy
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Hi Guys.............well I am yet to even get a movie night booked but I have been approached by a local community association to do a movie in August. Using my 16 x 9 I figured I would charge $850ish for screen, projector, audio etc. Then I told them about the public performance license fee.

Up here a 1 time license is $500.00 + my fee is $1350ish. They laughed at me saying we are a local community association with limited funds. I am dying to get out with it so I dropped my price to $300.00 and they look after the license.

My guess since I haven't heard from them, is that they won't go thru it. What to do in a circumstance as such???

I did manage to use the 16 x 9 for the 1st time for game 7 between Boston and Vancouver. Put her right in the driveway. Didn't get a good picture until early in the 2nd period, but sure was cool and attracted about 30 neighbours who came over with their chairs and liquid refreshments .

Matthew
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