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Author Topic: Movie hosting/preshow speeches
Dominic Espinosa
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1172
From: Boulder Creek, CA.
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted 04-04-2006 10:48 PM      Profile for Dominic Espinosa   Email Dominic Espinosa   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't know if anybody out there is doing this anymore but back when I started working for Wallace Theaters they had a policy about hosting the movies.
Before the show an usher would come in and give a quick speech that covered the usual courtesy topics, no cell phones, no feet on the seats, etc. offered the web address, etc.

This weekend Friday and Saturday especially we had a decent amount of business for Ice Age 2 so I chose to make a similar announcement before the show since we'd had several people on their phones and talking in the first show on Friday.
What I'm considering is making this a routine for the busy film on Friday/Saturday/Sunday.
Is anybody else doing this? And what does your speech contain?

Thanks!

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Paul Linfesty
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1381
From: Bakersfield, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 04-05-2006 01:33 AM      Profile for Paul Linfesty   Email Paul Linfesty   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This practice is always done at all 15 screens at the Arclight Cinemas and at the El Capitan Theatre, both in Hollywood. Neither theatre shows filmed policy snipes (or ads for that matter).

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Thomas Dieter
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 234
From: Yakima, WA
Registered: Jun 2004


 - posted 04-05-2006 02:25 AM      Profile for Thomas Dieter   Email Thomas Dieter   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I had thought about doing that at our theatre, thinking it would be nice to greet all the customers at once, asking them to be polite even though the shows are only a dollar or fifty cents, and what previews they would be viewing.

My problem was trying to figure the best time to do it as many of the people that come to theatres now, come to the theatre late perposely so they don't have to watch previews. Why anyone wouldn't want to see what's coming out in the future that might appeal to them is beyond me. But then again, going to a movie that I know thinking about I would never do either, but it seems to be the fad these days. Just last month someone wanted to go see the movie Fire. She didn't know anything about the movie what it was about or who was in it, just that it was listed in the paper that we were playing it. Turns out it was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The title was so long, "Fire" ended up on a second line along with the times.

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Dominic Espinosa
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1172
From: Boulder Creek, CA.
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted 04-05-2006 03:06 AM      Profile for Dominic Espinosa   Email Dominic Espinosa   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thomas, that's terrible!
Kids tend to do that. The market we're in is pretty laid back and the hosting speech we do once a week for the special film series goes over great.
I've always been an advocate of the hosting speech because it does seem to help with the cell phones and such.

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Dan Allen
Film Handler

Posts: 1
From: Fredonia, NY, USA
Registered: Sep 2005


 - posted 04-05-2006 08:02 AM      Profile for Dan Allen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
we do live events as well as our cinema series, so we had a cd made that covers everything and is played just before the house goes dark. we're also a restored victorian theatre with no food or drink of any kind allowed inside, but our audience knows this and respects it.

parents who bring their kids to the children's cinema series ignore it for the most part, as theres drink boxes and cereal all over afterwards - but the cd does help, since there isnt always someone here to host.

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Louis Bornwasser
Film God

Posts: 4426
From: prospect ky usa
Registered: Mar 2005


 - posted 04-05-2006 10:52 AM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
One of the significant losses from the old days is that there really is no one from management watching the auditorium. The preshow speech not only puts a personal face on the largely incognito movie going experience, but it also give at least the impression of "we are here and we care." Generally this reduces behavior problems. Louis

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Scott Jentsch
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1030
From: New Berlin, WI, USA
Registered: Apr 2003


 - posted 04-05-2006 11:13 AM      Profile for Scott Jentsch   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Jentsch   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I like the idea, for all the reasons already mentioned.

Doing a personal welcome and making a short speech about expected conduct and such is a classy move if the person doing it can pull it off. I've done a few talks in front of packed houses, and it's a little nerve-racking at first.

At the very least, it would be worth a try to see how people respond and if any behavior problems are reduced.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12393
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 04-05-2006 04:33 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You guys who do the speeches -- do you have a microphone or do you just shout it out?

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Eric Hooper
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 530
From: Fort Worth, TX, USA
Registered: May 2003


 - posted 04-05-2006 05:17 PM      Profile for Eric Hooper   Email Eric Hooper   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The CineArts locations have been doing this at some shows. The reaction from the audience is very positive.

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Chad Souder
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 962
From: Waterloo, IA, USA
Registered: Feb 2000


 - posted 04-05-2006 06:52 PM      Profile for Chad Souder   Email Chad Souder   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I tried giving a pre-show speech before ATL this past weekend. I asked them to turn off their cell phones, but I think they were too busy talking on them to hear. I did manage to get out of the auditorium without anything they began throwing actually hitting me.

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Caleb Johnstone-Cowan
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 593
From: London, UK
Registered: Mar 2006


 - posted 04-05-2006 08:12 PM      Profile for Caleb Johnstone-Cowan   Email Caleb Johnstone-Cowan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
IMAX do a pre-show speech in London, the girl looked pretty nervous and there were 20 people in the auditorium. It went on a bit as well although with the trash they usually show the showmanship is necessary to justify the ticket price.

Think it would be a challenge to find any staff or managers with the confidence to pull it off especially if you have an audience populated by 'rude boys' or 'chavs' as the lingo goes in the UK for perceived troublemakers.

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Matt Kerekes
Film Handler

Posts: 73
From: Rio Rancho, NM
Registered: Oct 2004


 - posted 04-05-2006 11:56 PM      Profile for Matt Kerekes   Email Matt Kerekes   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have worked at a couple of companies that have done welcome speeches. The first required welcome speeches for every single show every single day. The second, I brought welcome speeches to and we did it for busy shows on the weekends, 2 weeks before Star Wars Ep 3 came out and it doubled our midnight attendance. They are a good tool, but you either have to be outgoing and do them yourself or have a really great employee do them who loves talking to people. Usually they would go something like this:

Hi welcome to (Company name) (Theatre name)
My name is ______ I'll be your usher for this evening.
Just wanted to tell you about a few things going on in the near future, we have a _____ promotion on _____. We also serve fresh hot _____ in concession and we offer some great combos. We ask that you please silence all cell phones and pagers and please keep your feet of the seats. (etc.) Thank you for coming to (movie title) presented in (format) digital sound. Sit back relax and enjoy. If you have any questions feel free to ask anyone in uniform.

Also you would want to have the projectionist standby at the time you do the welcome speech so right after they can start the movie.

Hope this helps.

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Dominic Espinosa
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1172
From: Boulder Creek, CA.
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted 04-06-2006 03:03 AM      Profile for Dominic Espinosa   Email Dominic Espinosa   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The speech thus far is this:

Hello and welcome to the _____ theater. My name is _____ I'll be your _____ this evening.
During the show if you experience any problems with the light, temperature, sound, picture, or any disturbances please let us know and we'll take care of it for you right away.
Also, for your own enjoyment and as a courtesy to others, please set your cell phone or pager to off, silent, or vibrate and if you have to take a call, please take it outside the auditorium.
Before I go I'd also like to remind you about your website at _____.com where you can get showtimes, movie information, and more.
Thanks for your time, enjoy the show!

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Patrick Matthews
Film Handler

Posts: 86
From: Kansas City, MO, USA
Registered: Sep 2004


 - posted 04-06-2006 09:25 AM      Profile for Patrick Matthews   Email Patrick Matthews   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We do speeches before each of the shows at my theatre. We are a small 150 seat single screen theatre and has very loyal customers. We don't have a pre-set speech because I believe that it feels very stiff and not genuine. When I go up to do the pre-show speech I always make sure to tell people the names of the employees working (there is usually only 2 or 3) and that if we can do anything better please come let us know. The worst complaints we get are about the heating and the air conditioning, nothing ever about sound, focus, or framing. I also do the speeches before the late night film series I run. This is mostly 20 something that are in attendance but they get a kick out of it because I do it in a much more casual way. I think that it is a great tool but sometimes it is hard to get up there and do it when there are less than 5 people in the crowd.

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Scott Jentsch
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1030
From: New Berlin, WI, USA
Registered: Apr 2003


 - posted 04-06-2006 04:46 PM      Profile for Scott Jentsch   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Jentsch   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Those are great speeches, as they are cordial and to the point without being too long.

Having something scripted like that makes it easier to do, because you can concentrate more on the delivery and less on what you are saying while you are saying it (ad lib = bad, for most people).

I think it would be interesting to do some exit surveys before starting pre-show speeches, and then also during. My guess is that overall enjoyment levels would increase once the pre-show speeches started, and behavior issues might decrease as well.

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