We recently had a (virtual) sit-down with Mark Sproul, Committee Member for the community cinema Balerno Village Screen. He’s also the owner of Sproul-Digital, a digital consultancy.
How many people attend Balerno Village Screen?
Our cinema screens one weekend every month and we tend to have over 400 people at our screenings over the course of the weekend when we put on two evening films for adults and something for younger people on Saturday afternoon. And on occasion, due to a high demand for tickets, we have to dual screen or put on additional screenings and we reached over 1200 for our Skyfall screening last year.
Where did the idea for Balerno Village Screen first come from?
The idea for the screen came from a couple of our committee. We have a great community hall in the village which isn’t used on a Friday and Saturday night and we wanted to try something that got people out and make use of the facility that wasn’t being fully utilised.
What were the biggest obstacles you faced during the planning, and what have you learned since the first event?
One of the initial challenges we had to overcome was securing enough investment to start the project but once we overcame that obstacle we quickly got up and running and have received support from many different groups and organisations not to mention the good citizens of Balerno turning out in numbers once a month to enjoy our community cinema.
What’s the one tool you can’t live without?
The power of our digital channels has been absolutely key in the success so far of Balerno Village Screen. We regard the website which is built on WordPress and the integrated online booking facility offered by Eventbrite as the most important factor for us. It allows us to manage event numbers really well to ensure we get a great turnout at every event. We can market, spread the word, engage our regulars and reach out to new audience members. And once on the website they can quickly and effortlessly book their tickets though the integrated Eventbrite booking system. It is easy and fast for us to set up and administer and simple and effective for our customers to use. Many of our customers now arrive with their tickets on their Smartphones and we check them in device to device – no paper required.
Any tips for a first time event organiser on how to stay sane?
Event planning is key. Get your information out in advance and follow your booking numbers so you can plan for the events you are having. And relax and enjoy it.
What has been your favourite moment while organising these events?
Too many to mention. The most rewarding aspect for us is how the community has embraced the cinema and turn out in huge numbers every month. On top of that we’ve had BAFTA winning writers and film makers at our screenings, raised substantial sums for local charities, screened some special interest screenings and niche screenings, run a programme of animation events organised for local children and our efforts have been recognised by the Scottish Parliament.
Where can visitors go to learn more about your upcoming events?
The best place to find out about upcoming events is on our website. We have a screening calendar that lists events and we try and put our tickets live two weeks before the cinema weekend. More information can be found at www.balernovillagescreen.com
If you enjoyed this post, you should also read A Chat With Josh Roberts, Festival & Events Director, Wellbeing Festival
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