Advice for Planning an Outdoor Theater Event

When well planned and organized, an outdoor movie event can provide a truly magical experience for everyone that attends. Complemented by twinkling stars and the natural soundscape, outdoor movie events are easy to enjoy but often quite challenging to plan!

The key to hosting a successful outdoor cinema event is in the details; everything from the venue to the film selection to the amenities and snacks should be carefully considered. We’ve compiled these handy event tips to help you plan your next outdoor movie night. With a bit of foresight and the right event software to keep everything organized, you can set yourself up for successful and memorable outdoor events!

1. Define your Budget

Outdoor movie events can be a great way to bring people together, but they also require careful planning in order to be successful. One of the most important considerations is establishing a budget. Depending on the size and scale of the event, there will be different costs associated with renting equipment, securing a location, and advertising. By taking the time to create a budget, event organizers can ensure that they are not caught off guard by unexpected expenses. Additionally, it is important to set realistic expectations for ticket sales and concessions.


2. Scout for a Suitable Venue and Date

Choosing an appropriate location for your outdoor cinema event can have a huge influence over its success or failure, so it’s worth investing some time on this one.

There are many factors to consider when selecting an outdoor venue, such as the proximity to public transport and sufficient parking space, the size of the venue, and the type of surface on which the event will be held. If the event is to be held in a park or other open space, it’s important to check that there are no noise restrictions in place that could limit the use of amplified sound. The layout of the venue is also important, as you’ll need to ensure that there is enough space for the screen, projector, and speakers, as well as for the audience to sit or lie down comfortably.


3. Secure an Event Permit

Acquiring proper permits for your event is important to ensure its legality and safety. Without the proper permits, your event could be shut down by the authorities, leaving you with significant financial losses. To avoid this outcome, be sure to research the permit requirements for your specific event and locale well in advance of the event date.

Once you have determined which permits are necessary, you can begin the application process. This will typically involve submitting paperwork and paying a fee. In some cases, you may also be required to provide proof of insurance. Obtaining the proper permits can be time-consuming, but it is essential to ensure that your event is carried out smoothly and without any legal issues.


4. Choose the film

Selecting the film to be screened is arguably the most integral decision you make when planning your cinema event. The wrong choice can leave your audience feeling disappointed, while the right one can result in a sold-out screening and rave reviews. With so much riding on this decision, it's important to take the time to choose a movie that will appeal to your target audience. Consider the genre, theme, and rating of the film, as well as its release date and any awards it has won. It's also a good idea to read reviews from trusted sources (if you haven’t seen it for yourself) before making your final selection.

Before screening a film for a public audience, it's important to make sure that you have the necessary licensing and rights. Otherwise, you could be opening yourself up to a lawsuit. The best way to avoid any legal trouble is to get in touch with the distributor of the film you want to show. They will be able to tell you what rights you need in order to screen the film. In most cases, you'll need to purchase a licensing agreement as well as streaming and distribution rights. Once you have the necessary rights, you'll be able to screen the film without worry.

5. Promote the Event and Start Selling Tickets!

Drum up the guest count by advertising the event on various marketing platforms. Utilize social media, local newspaper ads, posters, flyers, and other innovative channels to attract your target audience. In addition, contacting local community businesses and schools in the neighborhood and asking them to spread the word about your event is also a great way to promote it. You can also have early-bird discount tickets to encourage people to buy sooner than later.

Besides the main event, highlight other key amenities such as food and beverage trucks, DJ booths, local vendors, outdoor games, kids' play areas, face painting, photo stations, and others that will resonate with your audience. Additional entertainment will also maximize your guests' experience.

The EventPro software can effectively keep track of specific details related to venue and event management, including managing attendee registrations, seating arrangements, and creating event itineraries, leaving you free to accomplish other important tasks like event marketing. It's a great tool to help you meet the labor intensive demands of hosting an event.


6. Consider a Backup Plan for Inclement Weather

Unlike indoor events, the unpredictability of weather poses another challenge for outdoor events, so it is imperative that you plan for inclement weather. Obviously, everyone hopes for warm weather and clear skies, but those things can’t be guaranteed. With the help of some portable pavilions and tents for shelter, you can provide attendees with some shelter in case rain puts a damper on your evening event.

If possible, try to secure an alternative date, not long after the initial date, in case a thunderstorm or other extreme weather event makes your screening impossible.


7. Be Keen on the Event Capacity, Entrances, and Exits

Plan carefully so that your outdoor event may not exceed the ground capacity, as it might be challenging to manage the crowds. You do not want a traffic snarl-up at your event, so make sure to have enough staff on hand to manage the crowd easily.


8. Prepare an Equipment Checklist Ahead of Time

Inspect your venue thoroughly well before the arrival of your guests.

Test all the necessary equipment to ensure everything is all set and in place. Ensure all the extension cords and wiring are correctly secured. Also, check if the power supply and the backup generators are in good working condition.


9. Ensure the Comfort of your Guests

There are a few key things you should have on hand at outdoor movie events to make sure your guests are comfortable. First, make sure you can provide restrooms for everyone. If you don't have enough restrooms on site, consider renting portable toilets. Second, offer a variety of snacks and drinks, including both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options. And finally, don't forget the bug spray! Nothing ruins a good movie like pesky mosquitoes. By taking care of your guests' basic needs, you can ensure that they have a fun and enjoyable movie experience.

With these pointers, you are all set for the best outdoor event of the year. Combine your event management skills and planning with EventPro’s event software, and you have a recipe for success! Built to suit a wide variety of events, this event planning software includes ample features to help keep every element of your event on track, on budget and on time.

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