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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Film buying/booking (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Film buying/booking
Paul Looker
Film Handler

Posts: 81
From: Pittsburgh, PA/United States
Registered: Sep 2009


 - posted 09-20-2016 08:28 PM      Profile for Paul Looker   Email Paul Looker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Does anyone here do their own booking?

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Richard C. Wolfe
Master Film Handler

Posts: 250
From: Northampton, PA, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 09-20-2016 10:10 PM      Profile for Richard C. Wolfe   Author's Homepage   Email Richard C. Wolfe   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, why?

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7991
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-21-2016 12:12 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I do bookings for repertory programming at a performing-arts house that occasionally runs flims. This is pretty straightforward and largely involves making phone calls (and/or sending email messages) and getting the theatre to write checks.

As I understand it, booking current films is a much different process, at least if you are in a competitive booking zone.

I once thought that film booking would be an ideal job, where one could go to screenings all week and work on Mondays and Tuesdays. The unfortunate reality is that, even on the repertory side, there are factors outside of the booker's control (e.g. film availability) that affect your service. From what I can tell, it is actually a fairly tough business.

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David Buckley
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 522
From: Oxford, N. Canterbury, New Zealand
Registered: Aug 2004


 - posted 09-21-2016 04:47 PM      Profile for David Buckley   Author's Homepage   Email David Buckley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'd not actually thought about it before, but I arrange the movies for a second run house, so I guess I book films!

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Martin McCaffery
Film God

Posts: 2353
From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-21-2016 04:56 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I book our films. We're a single screen non-profit arthouse is a small market with an AMC and a Carmike to make our life miserable.

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Paul Looker
Film Handler

Posts: 81
From: Pittsburgh, PA/United States
Registered: Sep 2009


 - posted 09-21-2016 06:43 PM      Profile for Paul Looker   Email Paul Looker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I ask because I'm wondering if it's something I could do myself. My current booker is alright but it's a part of the business that i just have no idea how it works and immersing myself in it might at least prove educational. We are a four screen theater just outside Pittsburgh. We show first run.

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Brian DeCiancio
Film Handler

Posts: 45
From: Warren, OH, USA
Registered: Sep 2002


 - posted 09-24-2016 02:39 PM      Profile for Brian DeCiancio   Author's Homepage   Email Brian DeCiancio   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I book my 2 indoor second-run theatres (6-plex and 8-plex) but leave my drive-in to the pros.

I don't see much reason why anyone could not book a second-run/sub run theatre themselves. First-run can be a different story depending on your market and grosses.

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Buck Wilson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 863
From: St. Joseph MO, USA
Registered: Sep 2010


 - posted 09-24-2016 03:41 PM      Profile for Buck Wilson   Email Buck Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
How would the process of switching over go? Seems that it would be awkward at best

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Brian DeCiancio
Film Handler

Posts: 45
From: Warren, OH, USA
Registered: Sep 2002


 - posted 09-24-2016 04:22 PM      Profile for Brian DeCiancio   Author's Homepage   Email Brian DeCiancio   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Awkward perhaps if you feel you will burn the bridge with your booker. I have used several over the last 20+ years and none ever took it personally when I changed.

The bigger challenge is compiling all the contact info for all of the studios. The small distribs can be difficult to connect with.

Before taking on booking for yourself, weigh the value of the other conveniences that a booker provides you...billing, submission of box office reports, dealing with the studios (for any number of reasons).

At a minimum, ask that you can keep the door open to come back if it doesn't work out. Most would probably be more offended if you switched to another company moreso than if you decided to try it yourself.

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Melanie Loggins
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 148
From: Wayne, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2011


 - posted 09-24-2016 05:05 PM      Profile for Melanie Loggins   Author's Homepage   Email Melanie Loggins   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I run a single-screen independent theatre that usually gets titles 2- to 3-weeks off the break, but we do open the occasional title. I used a booker for the first year we were open, but since then I've been doing it myself, almost 5 years. I find it much simpler to do it myself. I would decide what movie I wanted, email him, wait for him to email the film company, and then he would reply with a yay or nay and terms, and then I would tell him to book it, and he would email them back, and then I'd get a confirmation. It could take days. Now I email my representative directly and usually have the whole thing taken care of in a few minutes. I will say this, though: gathering contacts took time. I had to look through old emails from him that were actually forwards for reps or cashiers and email that person and start the process.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12445
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-24-2016 08:34 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Melanie Loggins
I would decide what movie I wanted, email him, wait for him to email the film company, and then he would reply with a yay or nay and terms, and then I would tell him to book it, and he would email them back, and then I'd get a confirmation. It could take days.
That's really a convoluted way to do it. Here, we've had the same booker for over 20 years. We have two phone conversations a week -- Monday, and Thursday. On Thursday we discuss what's coming up, what we want to play on the break, what terms/playtime we'd be comfortable with, etc. We lay out a Plan A and a Plan B for the upcoming week. On Monday, he makes the appropriate calls (or maybe emails?) to the studios and once the arrangements are finalized he calls me and tells me what we have. I myself probably spend a grand total of 10 minutes a week talking to our booker, on the average.

We use email too but only for quick, non-urgent things like a missing boxoffice report or a studio looking for a payment, things like that.

Of course it helps that I've had the same booker for ages (not just the same agency, but the same person) and he knows exactly what we like to do, what movies work the best here, what I'm willing to put up with as far as terms, what the studios will want from us, and so on. He can usually predict my every decision.

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

Posts: 8318
From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
Registered: Nov 2004


 - posted 09-28-2016 08:12 PM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Advantage with a booker is that he groups you with other cinemas of your size to make it look like a chain to the studios.

Thus, with this configuration, he can cut better deals to you than if you do it yourself.

Studios don't know you, and right off, you have to sell yourself to them on why they should give you their business.

They'll give you the business,but you have to play ball on their terms, which can be horrible if you're not careful.

After you get established, then they might start cutting deals with you.

Good luck

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Mike Frese
Master Film Handler

Posts: 465
From: Holts Summit, MO
Registered: Jun 2007


 - posted 09-30-2016 04:54 PM      Profile for Mike Frese   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Frese   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You should use a booker for at least 1 year.

I used a booker for a couple of years before I switched to doing it myself.

The switch was not too bad. I had to email each studios bookers to nofify them.

It will be an easier switch if you have been paying on time and reported your numbers on time.

I was in a competitive market with a smaller chain.

My old booker booked for many theaters and a smaller chain as well and I do not believe he was able to get me better terms because of that. I have offered numerous times to compare terms with a couple of people who claim that you should never book yourself and they never took me up on the challenge.

We operated 4 screens and were mostly first run. Our rank seemed to be in that 3400 range.

Clearances appear top be going away.

I spent probably 5-10 minutes a week booking usually by email.

So I believe it is a no-brainer to do your own booking and it does save a decent amount of money and I enjoyed the quicker response of information.

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Bob Ezra
Film Handler

Posts: 68
From: Carbondale, CO, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 09-30-2016 11:36 PM      Profile for Bob Ezra   Email Bob Ezra   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We (my wife and I) have been booking our films for over 31 years.
It works for us

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Michael Gonzalez
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 790
From: Grand Island , NE USA
Registered: Sep 2000


 - posted 10-10-2016 09:09 PM      Profile for Michael Gonzalez   Email Michael Gonzalez   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Now this might be where you current booker comes from but I have worked for a couple of smaller chains (30ish locations) and their booking department would also book movies for a few different independents. So that may be another option to look into too as I would imagine an advantage would be that they would group you with their chain as far as getting better deals.

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