Written by Lydia Muir

Hosting a screening for your project is a huge feat in itself, but in an age where most people would prefer to stay in than attend an in-person event, it's important to find creative ways to make your screening memorable. Last week, I hosted a screening for my web series The Roommate Contract and here are three simple low-cost things I did to make it more interesting for my audience.

Do more than just a screening + Q&A

When most people think of a screening, they imagine watching a film or episode and then listening to a Q&A and that’s it. However, if you think about your audience and your project, I’m sure there are other fun little short elements you can include.

For example, in the third episode of my series there is a sequence of bad dates my protagonists go on. So, before the event, I collected bad date stories from my audience on Instagram and had one of my actors read them out during the event.

Not only were they funny and made the audience laugh, but some of them submitted stories and were excited to hear their's read out loud by a cast member.

The Roommate ContractDev Hardikar

Another fun segment we included was a live acoustic rendition of the theme song performed by one of our lead actresses.

However, you can always be creative. Think outside the box of segments that your audience would enjoy with the resources and connections you have!

Dev Hardika

Include interactive elements that audiences can participate in

Another way to make audiences feel special is to include interactive elements where attendees can either have a voice or be included or complete an activity. I have seen some filmmakers include a live tweeting activity or hosts who are great at audience engagement. I decided to include two activities that related to the premise of the show.

The first was a poster where attendees could fill out their own rules for The Roommate Contract. The other activity included inviting attendees to fill out which qualities they would look for in a roommate. They wrote their answers on a post-it note and stuck it on a poster by the door. We then shared these responses on social media.

This was a very simple activity that was also very low-cost but gave audiences something to do as they waited for the event to start. It was also a great conversation starter and a great way for audiences to mingle with each other.

Give your audience a souvenir to take home

Finally, I had special exclusive wristbands created with the title of the show and a link to the website to watch the show. Not only do people love to receive free gifts, but it is also a good way for them to be reminded of your project when they go home.

Unfortunately, out of sight out of mind is a common problem with indie projects so this is a way to increase awareness and engagement. Try to be creative and create something that won’t just get thrown away and ideally also links to the themes of your project.

These are by far not the only things you can do to create an unforgettable screening but hopefully it inspires you to think outside of the box and come up with creative ways to make your screening stand out!

This post was written by Lydia Muir, a New York based filmmaker. She developed a web-series The Roommate Contract which is now available on YouTube. She has also produced award-winning short films and is currently developing various film and TV projects. If you have any questions or want to chat, feel free to reach out to her on Instagram @lydiamuir_film