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A guide to next steps
for viewers of
Tribe of Heart films

View & share the film online now

View & share the film online now

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Your Event Part 2: Advance Planning
Advance Planning

The Groundwork for a Successful Event

Who is your core team?

Start by making a list of individuals, groups and organizations you can call upon for help. Think outside the box, and ask all of your family, friends and co-workers to help! Collaboration can easily multiply your reach (membership, email lists, Facebook friends, media contacts) as well as reduce the work for an event. Many hands make light work!

Add to your list educational, environmental, health, peace, and other social justice groups in your area. Don't forget film and cultural groups, humane societies and animal advocacy groups, as well as schools, universities, and faith-based organizations. There are probably more groups than you might expect! Each may have experienced leaders and highly motivated members who can help in many different ways.

Once you've recruited some potential team members, spend some time identifying who has experience in areas such as event planning, audio-visual technology, volunteer organizing, public speaking, social media, and publicity. Decide who will be the team leader. Check out the sidebar on this page for a list of key roles and responsibilities for your core team.

How big a team do you need?

How many people do you imagine attending? 5-10 people in your living room? 20-40 people in a classroom, at a library, or a coffee house? 75-100 people in a college auditorium or community center? 200-500 people at a local movie theatre?

For a small screening (audience of 20-50), build a core team of 3-5 people who know your community well and are connected to local and regional groups and organizations. For a mid-size screening (50-150), aim for a core team of around 5-7 people. For a larger screening (150-500) you will be best served by a core team of 7-10 people, or more, depending on the size of the event.

Select a venue

Libraries, college classrooms or auditoriums, schools, churches and community centers are often available free or at low cost and often have video projection equipment available for use. Independent or art house theaters can be a good choice for larger-scale screenings. Keep in mind that it's easier to get people to go to places they already know, and can be difficult to get them to go to an unfamiliar place. Venues already known as movie viewing places and closer to concentrations of people are inherently easier to fill, as are those close to public transportation, or with parking nearby.

If you are unfamiliar with a venue, make sure to either attend an event there or make a visit to tour the location and facilities to make sure you have a realistic understanding of its strengths and weaknesses. Asking the in-house staff questions will help you get a feel for their level of knowledge and expertise, and help you identify areas that may need follow-up or extra attention.

Identifying a good venue:

- Is it too large? It's better to have a crowded room than a half-empty one!

- Can it be made completely dark?

- Is it quiet and free from interruptions?

- Is there parking and/or access to public transportation?

- Is it handicapped accessible?

- Is there a screen, video projector and sound system available? Are there people on site to help you use the equipment? An interruption free, high quality screening of the film makes a real difference in the audience's ability to let go and immerse themselves in the viewing experience. Quality equipment and competent tech support are key to achieving good results.

- Is there space for people to mingle after the screening to discuss their experience?

- Are chairs and tables provided (if a reception is planned)?

- Is food and drink allowed? Are there kitchen facilities?

Set the date and time

Check public schedules for community events, holidays, elections, school breaks, etc., to avoid unnecessary conflicts that could diminish your potential audience. For evening events, start times between 6:30 and 8:00 PM seem to work best.

Set the date far enough in advance to allow for adequate planning time and publicity. Again, our recommendation is a minimum of 2 months in advance (i.e., a month to plan and a month to implement), depending on the size of the event.

After you have determined your screening location, date, and time, register your event to receive permission and get your event listed on our online event calendar.

Video projection and audio equipment

Tribe of Heart films project beautifully when a high quality projector is connected to a computer that can either stream the films directly from our website (with internet access), or play the films from a DVD. Countless screenings to audiences of up to several hundred have been held this way using DVDs, and now many people are starting to use live streaming for their screenings when they have reliable internet access. Many venues will have some or all of the projection equipment you need, and most movie theaters are set up for DVD projection as well.

If an otherwise ideal location does not have video projection capability, you can rent a video projector, a portable screen and a sound system. If you go this route, however, we recommend you recruit an experienced volunteer or hire a professional with audio-video experience to be your tech person to handle the very important task of selecting, setting up, testing and running the projection and sound system equipment on the day of the screening. For larger venues, it is helpful to have a microphone for the introduction and post-screening discussion.

Should there be refreshments?

YES! Free food is a great motivator for getting people to come to your screening, PLUS it’s a great opportunity to introduce people to tasty, compassionate snacks free of animal products! If you decide you have the resources and volunteer help to provide simple refreshments, we recommend serving them after the film and discussion. Generally, many people want to stay afterwards and talk about their experience, and sharing food that was produced without exploitation or violence takes on a deeper meaning after seeing the film.

Be sure the venue has at least two tables you can use, one for refreshments and one for literature to be displayed after the event. You may have to bring your own fold-up tables if they do not come with the space.

Print literature and other materials

If you are planning to provide any literature or supplemental materials to audience members, it is a good idea to plan in advance what materials you plan to use so you can print or order them ahead of time.
Tribe of Heart

Please remember that part of the agreement when you screen a Tribe of Heart film is that no materials will be distributed which promote products of exploitation or the industries that produce them, including those bearing labels such as "humane," "organic", "cage free," "free range," and other similar terms. Likewise, no materials may be distributed on behalf of organizations or groups that have campaigns promoting such products, or that engage in publicity efforts, initiatives, or legislative coalitions with corporations that produce them.

Because there is so much public confusion about so-called "humane" animal products, we have created a pamphlet called Don't Buy the Myth, which is designed to answer many of the questions audience members may have on this subject. The pamphlets are available for purchase here, or they can be downloaded for free here and you can print them yourself, or have a local copy shop print them for you.

Develop a timeline

Read the Event Timeline & Checklist and customize it to your event, working backward from the date you have decided upon. Creating and following the timeline will help you efficiently organize your team members and to-do lists, while maximizing the potential of your screening event. This timeline will become the ‘spine’ of your event planning process, listing all of the tasks that must be done, and reminding you of the details.

Once you have created your timeline, identify WHO on your core team is doing WHAT task. Each member of the team should have a copy of the timeline as well as access to this step-by-step guide (the guide and the timeline are designed to be used together).

Keep the team active and effective

Set up regular times to meet with your core team (either by phone, in person or online) to make sure all the tasks are being completed on schedule, and that each team member has enough support. We recommend that the team leader makes sure the meetings stay on topic and don't run too long. Remember the importance of appreciating each other's efforts, cheering each other on, and keeping the group's spirit up. We all have busy lives, and it makes a difference to be part of an effort that is positive and community-oriented. Setting up an email list or Facebook group to keep everyone in touch can be very helpful.

Create a budget

If you will be holding a small screening, there should be few if any costs involved. However, with larger screenings, potential costs could include venue rental fees, equipment rental, printing, mailing, food and beverage, advertising, etc. It is possible to get all or some of these items donated depending on who is on your core team and if you have organizations collaborating with you. Please note that Tribe of Heart does not allow any corporate sponsorship of screenings of our films (see Screening Guidelines for a detailed explanation). In special circumstances, when needed to help cover the costs of a venue, Tribe of Heart will allow admission to be charged to the public. However, advance permission to do so is REQUIRED. Contact us if you feel charging admission will be necessary and we can further discuss our requirements with you.

Next Step: Promoting Your Screening

Copyright © 2016 Tribe of Heart Ltd.

Four-Part Guide to Holding a Screening

Part 1 of 4:
Before You Begin

Part 2 of 4:
Advance Planning

Part 3 of 4:
Promoting Your Screening

Part 4 of 4:
The Day of the Event

Event Timeline & Checklist

Additional Resources

Must-Read Screening Guidelines

Publicity/Screening Resources for PK

Publicity/Screening Resources for Witness

How to Hold a Post-Screening Discussion


These are some of the roles you may need to fill. Depending on the size and scope of your screening event, some of these roles may be unnecessary, while others may require more than one team member.

Team Leader: Run the meetings, keep track of the big picture, check in with each key person, make sure there are enough volunteers, manage the budget.

Co-Leader, Spirit Lifter, Volunteer Coordinator: Recruit volunteers, make sure enough people are helping with each task, build team spirit, keep everyone motivated.

Tech Person: Reserve and/or rent the video projector and sound system. Set up, test and run the projector and sound system ahead of the screening, leaving enough time to trouble-shoot if there are any problems.

Special Guest Liaison: If you are doing a larger event, you may want to have a team member who focuses on personally inviting notable people to attend (community leaders, legislators, etc).

Media Coordinator: Create a media list with contact names, phone numbers and email addresses for local and regional print, radio, TV and online media. Identify local event calendars and their deadlines for submitting events. Send press releases to media contacts and follow up by phone and/or email.

Internet Outreach People: Create and manage a Facebook event page, post Facebook updates, Tweets, and blog posts regularly. The more people doing this the better. Internet outreach is one of the most effective ways to spread the word.

Poster and Handbill Captain: Create a postering route for your community. Get materials printed. Organize volunteers to plaster the town. Assign territories to each volunteer, then make sure they check back at regular intervals to replenish supplies at their designated locations. The more people doing this the better!

Food & Beverage Committee: Organize vegan refreshments for after the screening. Seek donations of food and drink from local establishments, as well as paper plates, cups and utensils (preferably recyclable). Recruit volunteers to prepare food to bring, if needed. Make sure there is a table for refreshments at the venue, as well as garbage bags/cans and recycling containers. Oversee clean-up after the event.