An Outdoor Movie Night is a fantastic, family-friendly event, that has the potential to be a significant fundraiser while providing a wonderful evening(s) entertainment for your entire club.There are many companies specialising in providing the full outdoor cinema experience including the large outdoor screen, sound systems and even the movies to be shown, making it a very easy event to put together.
By outsourcing to a specialist outdoor movie company, your club’s profit will be reduced but the club will avoid issues such as copyright infringement. This is also the type of event that you can run multiple times to create a “season” of movie screenings and in the process securing your club an ongoing fundraising revenue screen.
Outdoor Movie nights require significant time and effort as well as upfront expenses, so clubs need to be confident the event will provide a return on that investment. Clubs should consider circulating an "Expression of interest" email to members to judge the level of interest within their community before committing to the event. However, the upside is, that this type of event has the potential to raise significant funds over a season.
Promotion of this type of event can be effectively achieved via club resources: website, noticeboards, newsletters and social media pages. Pamphlets and flyers promoting the event can be produced and placed in high-traffic areas of the club. To capture a wider cross-section of people, clubs should also consider advertising the event in the local community newspaper or community radio.
This event creates a large number of revenue opportunities including:
Licences and Permits
It is important to consult with your local council and outdoor cinema provider to make sure all relevant licenses and permits are obtained and your insurance broker to ensure your public liability insurance policies cover the event. It is illegal to show a film in public without the appropriate rights so make sure these are covered in your agreement with the outdoor cinema provider.
Factors to Consider
Target AudienceThis type of event is perfect for attracting a wider audience than simply the immediate players, friends and supporters of your club. To maximise the potential of this event, it should be promoted less as a club event and predominately as a community event where everybody is welcome. Of course, you may wish to run the event purely for immediate players, members and supporters, which will make it a lot smaller and easier to organise.
Volunteers and Staffing RequirementsStaffing requirements depend on the size and scope of your event and can be substantial so it is important to plan ahead. Your club will need to consider traffic management, food, cleaning and bar staff.
RisksWeather presents a formidable risk factor to the success of this event. Clubs need to consider an inside option if available.
Selecting the Right FilmThe success of your night largely depends on choosing the right film. Work with your outdoor cinema company to select the best film but make sure you take into consideration the age of your expected audience and importantly any religious and racial factors.
Food/CateringAt events such as these, with potentially a large number of attendees, clubs may wish to consider outsourcing the food to specialist event food vendors. Having a variety of food vendors adds colour and excitement to an event and moves the event more up market than the traditional club run BBQ. Food vendors will happily attend events without charging and will often give a % return on sales - 10% is the standard.
AlcoholA serious question you will need to answer is “are you going to allow alcohol to be consumed at your event?” Traditionally the answer would have been an immediate YES, but today many events are becoming alcohol free in order to attract the family-based crowds. Plus, your club will need to acquire a liquor licence from the local council or regulatory authority so it may be easier to keep the event alcohol free.
Assuming that alcohol is to be sold, there is the temptation to have the traditional club run marquee, selling beer on ice and maybe a few varieties of premixed drinks. Again, this event lends its self to being more adventurous and fun so you may wish to invite one or more wineries to sell their wines. Nothing is more romantic that a bottle of nice wine, picnic dinner on a rug watching a movie under the stars.
To add a touch of fun and frivolity you may wish to sell cocktails also. Again there are many vendors who provide this service.
Non-alcoholic DrinksYour club may choose to sell soft drinks only at this event but again it is the type of event where you can have fun. Consider adding a touch of the tropics to your event with popcorn and slushee or snow cones vendors.
Don’t forget, it is very important, not to mention profitable, to ensure you have enough Coffee (and to a lesser extent tea) to satisfy the caffeine desires of your crowds. Again, unless you have commercial coffee making equipment capable of serving large volumes quickly this is a task most clubs would generally outsource to specialist coffee vendors.
Selecting a LocationIn selecting a location the major considerations are:
Most clubs, as soon as they decide to have a function, automatically nominate their ground, facility or clubrooms as the venue. If you club's located next to a community oval with a large grassed area for people to watch the movie and participate in other activities and amenities as well as ample parking, then perfect. If your club is not located at an oval, your club may wish to consider less obvious choices.
The obvious choices are not always the best, consider what other venues are available in your local area, you may have a beach, a river, a farm setting, a botanical park, a foreshore or another location special to your community that with a bit of imagination can be converted into a very special and memorable venue.
TicketingAn outdoor cinema night lends itself to the creation of not only general admission tickets but to also having “gold/premium class” and corporate ticketing options. General Admission tickets – when creating your general admission tickets you will have to consider which of the following categories you will offer:
“Gold class” tickets – by packaging together food and drink options, the best seating positions and even providing nice seating for the movie it is easy to create a “gold class” or premium ticketing option which will allow a premium price to be charged.
Corporate tickets – this is a great event for companies to bring their clients and customers. It shows the host business supports local community events while providing a great networking opportunity for the host business.
A corporate ticket can be created by packaging together a large number (10+) of Gold/Premium tickets together. An important feature to build into the corporate tickets is that the corporate host requires a semi separated area that allows them to network with their clients/guests.
Working with your Local Government BodyWhen running a large community event such as an outdoor cinema movie night many clubs forget to discuss the event with their local Council/Shire. Unfortunately many clubs have an adversarial relationship with their local Council which is very unfortunate.
As soon as your club is thinking of running this type of event you should speak to the events team at your local Council/Shire. Talking to Council is important because local Councils have significant experience, resources and very often funding which will be required to run your event successfully.
Topics which should be included as part of initial meeting agenda with the council are: Event definition, date, time and location.
Discuss your expectations for crowd numbers and your clubs plans to deal with:
This procedure should be treated as a guide only. Your club should seek advice specific to the needs of your club and event. Seek further details from authorities and service providers; especially in regards to insurance, licences, permits, spectator and participant safety.