Why It’s Important to Start an Outdoor Movie Before Dark

Posted by Paul Murray on Wednesday Aug 7, 2013 Under Tips

SOC-Outdoor-Movie-Before-dark Enjoying a free outdoor movie is a great end to a full day of summer activities. Since we’ve been at this for a long time, we show our movies around dusk, which is up to 60 minutes earlier than other companies.


There’s just enough ambient light to get settled with snacks and not trip over anyone. The surrounding environment is still visible enough to be enjoyed.

Plus, the movie is done earlier so you and your family can get to bed in time to sleep off an awesome day at the movies. After all, summer days are long! On the East Coast, you may not see sunset until nearly 9 p.m.!

Do you really want to wait that long to start an outdoor movie?

Yeah, we didn’t think so.

We try to think of every little detail to create a fabulous outdoor movie experience. Have you ever thought of the following reasons why an early start time is best?

A Better Bang For Your Buck

If you’re planning the event, an early start time means more time for sponsor ads to be shown! We get set up right away so that advertisers can have a good 20 minutes of screen time, ensuring they are getting the most value out of working with you.

Volunteers who are helping with concessions or other activities aren’t up too late and can get some much deserved rest! This may also save you money on venue and labor costs. You won’t have to pay any one overtime for having a late night event.

Did you realize that outdoor movie providers who have a late start time may be using inexpensive equipment?

Think about it! If their equipment can’t achieve a crisp, colorful image before it’s fully dark, you may be using an unprofessional provider. Remember to wow moviegoers with the best audiovisual equipment available.

These same results can be achieved when you are showing a movie indoors as well.

An Experience That’s Bigger than the Movie

If you’re attending the event, it can be tough to not get bored (in the dark, no less) when you’re waiting an hour or two before the movie starts.

We’ve all been to events like that. The kids are running around, because all of the toys and games you’ve brought no longer capture their attention.

It seems to be getting hotter and hotter as time passes so, so slowly. Nobody wants a summer outing to end on a sour note like that. We want attendees to be entertained as much as you do!

Ever have the little ones (or you) fall asleep during the movie and miss it? Even if it’s a movie we’ve seen before, the experience is lost when you doze off.

We know the cutest summer photos are of the little ones tuckered out after a great event. But we want that to happen after the movie is over!

Check it out: You’ll find even more tips on why outdoor movie start times are important on our blog.


All Rights Reserved
Southern Outdoor Cinema
“Bigger Screens. Brighter Images. Crisper Sound.”

Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

The 3 Top Things Event Organizers Forget At An Outdoor Movie

Posted by Paul Murray on Monday Aug 5, 2013 Under Tips

SOC-things-event-organizers-forget-outdoor-movie Attending an outdoor movie event is a great way for individuals, groups of friends, and families to have fun together. Movie-goers see a beautiful setting, a large screen and an opportunity to enjoy an evening of cheap or free fun.

As an outdoor movie event organizer, you know there is a lot more planning behind the scenes to these special events. You spend a significant amount of planning and preparation that must be done to create an evening of fun for your movie guests. As an event organizers, you do a lot of work to pull off outdoor movie events, but there are just a few tasks organizers commonly forget. Here is a look at the three most common things outdoor movie event organizers forget.

1.) Trash bins
Guests will either bring snacks and drinks or purchase them at the concession stand. They will need a place to deposit food and candy wrappers, popcorn bags, drink containers and other trash during and after the movie. Be sure to place a few trash bins around your venue to avoid trash being left on the ground and inconveniencing your guests.

2.) After Movie Lighting
Lighting for after the show is another consideration that often gets forgotten. Portable utility lights or volunteers with flashlights walking around the crowd are both good lighting options that will increase safety and convenience for movie-goers. It is very dark by the end of the movie and guests will need light to gather their belongings such as wallets, keys and cell phones and make it safely to their cars.

3.) Sprinklers

Sprinklers are on timers and can go off during the movie, getting both the equipment and the crowd wet. This has actually happened to us twice here at Southern Outdoor Cinema! Avoid this soggy situation by turning off the sprinklers at your venue ahead of time.

If you are planning an outdoor movie event in the future, keep these often overlooked items in mind and learn from the mistakes other movie event organizers often make.

All Rights Reserved
Southern Outdoor Cinema
“Bigger Screens. Brighter Images. Crisper Sound.”


Paul Murray, the outdoor movie expert, and his team at Southern Outdoor Cinema produce extraordinary, big screen outdoor movie events that are stress-free to organize. Southern Outdoor Cinema works with schools, universities, cities, Fortune 500 companies, marketing agencies, film makers and festivals to assist them in creating outdoor movie experiences that are well attended and leave their sponsors ecstatic.

Tags : , , , | Comments Off

Avoid A Four-Legged Fiasco & Other Movie Event Flubs

Posted by Paul Murray on Wednesday Jul 24, 2013 Under Event Productions, Tips

Pets at outdoor movie events Don’t let Fido and friends cause an outdoor movie fiasco.

Forgetting the details can cause a big problem for movie events, particularly when they are held outdoors.

Learn from the cautionary tale of the Fulton River Park movie series in Chicago. Dog feces has become such a problem at the park, not only were movie attendees offended, so were the event sponsors. In fact, one of them pulled their advertising and the movie series had to be cut back.

Leash law enforcement at this park has been lax, and it is turning people away from the park. This in turn means lack of funding for the movie series’ event planners. It’s the worst possible scenario for a problem that may have been avoided.

Heed the following do’s and don’ts about the details in your movie event planning.

Before Booking the Venue

Do some research! Check for reviews, news stories (like the unfortunate one in Chicago), anything you can find. If the particular venue or its owners have been investigated before or have been the defendants in a lawsuit, these are red flags.

Don’t forget about safety. What is the crime rate like near these venues? Most newspapers and local law enforcement agencies provide a report of crimes happening in the area. Consider alternative venues if anything seems suspicious.

Do ask around. Contact the planners of other events at the venue and ask about their experiences. Some venues may offer references before booking.

After Booking the Venue

Don’t skim over the fine print. Reading the contract terms, rules and regulations (such as leash laws!) several times is another important factor before the movie event begins. Do not miss a single detail and ask as many questions as possible.  Write down any questions or concerns and make notes as they are addressed.

Do remember to keep everyone abreast of the details. If vendors or advertisers involved, go over your findings with them or have representatives do a walkthrough (more on that later). If Southern Outdoor Cinema has used the venue before, we would be happy to give you tips on what to expect.

Do a site visit and a run-through of the event. Depending on the movie event, more than one walkthrough may be required. Check to see if the area is well lit, and there is nothing obstructing the view. The Fulton River Park movie series folks had to move trees so folks could see the movie. This is something that can be avoided if planned in advance.

Before the Event

Don’t forget to check the weather. It’s not just about checking for rain! Make sure the temperature and humidity will be comfortable for guests. If it’s going to be a scorcher, make plans to provide refreshments such as bottled water or a sno-cone machine.

Do provide back-up plans well in advance of the event. Utilize social media and on-site volunteers to make sure everything goes smoothly.

After the Event

Do leave the area better than you found it. That’s a mantra for any situation involving the clean-up process. This will please your guests, those in charge of the venue and your sponsors.

Do not forget to include everyone in future planning. The Fulton River Park folks may have benefited from polling their guests and sponsors every year after the event. If dog feces was a recurring problem, changes could have been made, and they would still have their movie series intact.

What are some other details to remember when planning an outdoor movie event? Let us know in the comments.

All Rights Reserved
Southern Outdoor Cinema
“Bigger Screens. Brighter Images. Crisper Sound.”

Tags : , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Three Myths About Movie Licensing You Need To Know Before Hosting A Movie Event

Posted by Paul Murray on Wednesday Jul 10, 2013 Under Tips

Movie Copyrights Considering ways to minimize costs for your next indoor or outdoor movie event?

One area where scrimping is a big no-no is movie licensing. Some outdoor movie companies will not work with you during this process in order to save themselves a few bucks and some time.

Here are a few warning signs you may be working with a company who doesn’t care about making sure your event goes off without a hitch.

1) Movie studios don’t have time to check up on illegal movie events. Social media and other internet sites have revolutionized promotion and event advertising. This also makes it much easier for licensing companies and filmmakers to make sure they aren’t enduring copyright infringement.

Much like employers nowadays are checking out Facebook and Twitter social media profiles before hiring, movie studios are diligently checking on illegal showings of their films. Ever notice how quickly YouTube video clips of movies and television shows get pulled? It is just as easy for them to find out if a public movie showing isn’t properly licensed.

2) If you get caught, just feign ignorance. Just because copyright law was not made available to you by an unprofessional company doesn’t mean you are off the hook. If the movie studio or licensing company can prove willful infringement, the penalty is huge – up to five years in jail or a $250,000 fine.


The cost of obtaining a movie license is minuscule in comparison to the fines and penalties associated with copyright infringement. Unfortunately, event planners are held liable for such infringement, not the outdoor movie company.

An unprofessional company will leave you holding the bag. Or, in this case, the bag of popcorn.

3) Not obtaining a license is only hurting big movie studios. They don’t really care and can afford to have a few illegal showings go unnoticed. Anyone who works in the movie industry will disagree vehemently with this myth.

Licensing requirements are not simply a way for companies to make money off of folks showing movies without a license. The laws are in place to make sure filmmakers and screenwriters continue to create really great movies!

Without licensing, these folks would have little recourse to ensure their works are protected and financed.

Remember, when you are planning a large-scale movie event, this falls under the public performance requirement of copyright law.

Even if the showing is free to the public or being held by a non-profit organization, a license is required for such an event.  The requirements for an educational exemption are very specific. There are no exceptions!

The public performance requirement excludes folks showing a movie for a few family and friends, but not movie events like we help you plan.

And there’s the key: At SOC, we assist you in obtaining a quote for the movie you wish to show, and we fill out licensing paperwork on your behalf to ensure your outdoor movie showing is legal.

We really take this seriously and have been for years. For more information on movie licensing, check out our FAQ.

All Rights Reserved
Southern Outdoor Cinema, LLC
“Bigger Screens. Brighter Images. Crisper Sound”

About Southern Outdoor Cinema
Southern Outdoor Cinema takes the stress and guess work out of hosting a movie theater-quality event outdoors and under the stars. Southern Outdoor Cinema doesn’t just rent movie screen equipment, but instead we share nearly a decade of movie event production experience with our clients to help them produce outdoor movie nights that are extraordinary. For a free consultation contact Southern Outdoor Cinema at www.SouthernOutdoorCinema.com

Tags : , , , , , | Comments Off

Beef Up Your Next Corporate Picnic With an Outdoor Movie

Posted by Paul Murray on Wednesday Jun 12, 2013 Under Event Productions, Tips

outdoor movie event concessions Listen up, bosses and HR folks.

We know you’d like to get rid of – er, donate – your branded drink holders, pens and notepads to your employees as gifts. But the desires of your employees are not much different than when they were students.

The delightful word folks at work want to hear is “incentive.” Well, and the word “fun.” (Of course!) Incorporating an outdoor movie with an incentive-based and fun corporate event is the key to employee satisfaction and participation.

Besides, you get to have some fun, too.

The awesome part about having an outdoor movie event is you can craft it to be as small or as ginormous as you want. Do you want it to be just your employees and families? Fine. Want the whole community in on it? Do it!

When we asked the social media universe what they think of when they hear the words “corporate picnic,” we got some great responses, including our favorite:

“Hot dog in a suit, holding lemonade away from self to avoid spillage, avoiding sitting down to avoid getting suit dirty.”

We love the idea of making the event a pool party. Here are some other event planning ideas for creating the perfect corporate event using an outdoor movie rental.

1) Fundraising: Does your company support a charity? Fabulous! You can use the proceeds from concessions to go towards your charity of choice.

Have attendees collect donations in advance of the event or during the activities. If you have been considering a charity and haven’t found the right one, check out Charity Watch or Charity Navigator for reputable organizations.

2) Volunteering: Consider calling for volunteers to help run the outdoor movie event. Think about giving the employees who participate a couple of hours off  for helping out.

You can also turn the event into a canned food drive, coat drive or any kind of physical donation event. You’ll be encouraging your employees to give back, helping your community and enjoying yourself all at once.

3) Rewards: You can make this outdoor movie event a reward for outside volunteerism, a great sales quarter or anything you choose! Remember, “incentive” is the key to engaging your employees. And what better incentive than treating your employees to a free movie on a theater-quality screen?

4) Competitions: Remember those field days back in school? Before the movie, have a sack race, bean bag toss or other games available for your employees and their families.

There are a lot of different possibilities when it comes to hosting an outdoor movie event for your company. Our turnkey system will take the stress out of event planning. Your only problem will be deciding which great activities to choose from.

And maybe you can give away the branded swag before watching the flick.

We’ve given you a few activities to get started in creating a memorable corporate picnic that includes an outdoor movie rental. What activities would you add?

What marketing tips would you give those planning this type of event? Let us know in the comments or our Facebook page!

All Rights Reserved
Southern Outdoor Cinema, LLC
“Bigger Screens. Brighter Images. Crisper Sound”


About Southern Outdoor Cinema

Southern Outdoor Cinema takes the stress and guess work out of hosting a movie theater-quality event outdoors and under the stars. Southern Outdoor Cinema doesn’t just rent movie screen equipment, but instead we share nearly a decade of movie event production experience with our clients to help them produce outdoor movie nights that are extraordinary. For a free consultation contact Southern Outdoor Cinema at www.SouthernOutdoorCinema.com

Tags : , , , , , , , , | Comments Off