Its easy to....

MAKE YOUR OWN UNDERGROUND CINEMA GROUP
with the exploding cinema do it yourself guide

  • STEP ONE - GET A GANG
    You cant do this alone so first you'll need to get together with your friends or a group of other film/video makers, you can do this by circulating a leaflet advertising a meeting. Make sure you get the leaflet into every venue, business, club, college, launderette where potential gang members might hang out. Remember at this stage it doesnt matter if youve got experience or not, enthusiasm and commitment is more important.

  • STEP TWO - HOLD A MEETING
    At the meeting explain that youre forming a group to hold screenings of film/video and that the group will now be having regular meetings where decisions will be made democratically. Next find out : A. Who is prepared to put in the work to make things happen. B. If anyone in the group has skills, equipment or film/video work they are prepared to let the the group use. C If anyone knows of a venue that would be suitable for the groups first screening.

  • STEP THREE - MONEY
    At first you may have to put up your own money to get things going but once you start having screenings the group will be self financing and you can get your money back. The most effective way to operate is to make the group totally non-profit making, pay no wages and use all your takings to buy equipment and improve the screenings.

  • STEP FOUR - FIND A VENUE
    Start small, you need a place to hold an audience of about 50 max. Try to get a venue that is easy to get to, preferably near to the main public transport routes. Try for a weekend date but Wednesdays and Thursdays are OK. As youre going to charge admission on the door make sure you get to keep it all to plough back into the groups activities.

  • CAFES -
    Some cafes are ideal because they have their own chairs, are usually licensed for drink, stay open late and are usually looking for a way to increase their takings. PUBS - Many pubs have function rooms which are top notch some even have their own T.V.s and video projectors but chairs can be a problem and of course they usually close at eleven oclock.
  • CLUBS -
    Chairs are a problem, drinks can be overpriced and you may have to pay to use the venue but you can find a good deal if youÕre prepared to haggle.

  • SQUATS -
    Squats can provide total freedom for your operations and you get to sell your own drink and food but on the downside security is a problem and you risk the cops closing you down at any time so make sure you check out all the angles.

    Wherever you end up doing your screening make sure that before the screening you write a letter to the venue detailing the deal you have made with them.. this can save a lot of haggling and grief later on.

  • STEP FIVE - EQUIPMENT For a basic screening you will need -

  • TRANSPORT -
    A car with a big boot and a driver.

  • VIDEO -
    A T.V. set and and a video player. You should be able to borrow these from a group member or a friend.

  • SUPER 8 -
    A sound Super 8 projector . If no one in your group has one, then youÕre going to have to buy one so start checking out Car Boot sales, junk shops, the local paper, camera shops etc. You should be able to get a basic sound projector for under £50. Makes to look for are EUMIG, CHINON, ELMO and BAUER.

  • 16mm -
    16mm projectors can be difficult to get hold of, try to borrow one from a local college. YouÕll need one which plays OPTICAL SOUND. Because a lot of colleges and training institutes are now using video and computer technology itÕs worth contacting them and trying to get them to give you their old 16mm projectors and other cine equipment.

  • A SCREEN -
    You can buy a screen from a Car Boot sale / flea market or use a white sheet, even a clean white wall will be fine.

  • SOUND -
    Many Super 8 filmmakers use audio cassettes with their work so youÕll need a cassette deck or ghetto blaster. Most 16mm projectors come with their own speakers. If youÕre going to have an MC introducing the films or have makers doing live dialogue over their work youÕll need a basic sound system and a microphone.

    STEP SIX FINDING THE WORK AND PUBLICITY You can publicise the show and look for work at the same time, make a leaflet which advertises the show and calls for work then put it up everywhere, send it everywhere, give it out at clubs, pubs, gigs, colleges...everywhere. Call the local radio, talk to everyone...film/video makers wont mind showing their work for free so long as they know that all the money you make is going to a cinema which will promote their work and create a scene where they can interact with other makers and meet an enthusiastic audience. At first you can just get makers to turn up on the night and get free entry with a film/video but itÕs safer to organise a programme before the show and this means you can draw up a simple photocopied programme.