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UNICA 2018:
Ideas to help our clubs

An old-fashioned gentlemens club'.

Thanks to the discussion leaders and those who took notes:

English Group: Franka Stas and Jackie Williams
French Group:  Guido Haesen and Suzy Sommer
German Group: Egon Stoiber and Regina Stoiber
Balkan Group: Mitze Chapovski

Thanks to all who took part, offered ideas, comments and anecdotes.

The social aspect

How to make members really feel part of your club.

  • Friendship between club members seems to be an important aspect.
  • Send an invitation e-mail to all members to remind them of each club evening.
  • Most members will send apologies if not able to attend - encourage this and make sure they know who to contact. If you hear nothing then make contact with them.
  • Some people may find that intrusive, but most will respond positively.
  • Often members come once and feel like an outsider – more effort is needed to make them welcome.
  • Some clubs have a Social Secretary. That person provides a warm welcome and offers help for new members, introduces them to friendly people and makes sure they know when and where refreshments are served; and where the toilets are. If your club has a magazine, they make sure the newcomer gets a copy. In this way each new member gets a "godmother" or a "godfather".
  • The Social Secretary also often provide refreshments for visiting speakers.
  • Some film clubs have merged with photography clubs,which usually have more members. They often show films every week. But do not be surprised if only 50% attend such screenings.
  • If your website has a restricted section, make sure that every member has a password to access it.
  • Have a blog for for members in the restricted area and one for visitors in the public area, so they can ask questions.
  • Arrange technical meetings on different evenings to regular club meetings, as not all members are interested in the technical side of things
  • Invite members of other clubs to visit for an evening.
  • End a club evening together, for example in the restaurant around the corner.
  • Generally think carefully about the social aspect of your club.

How to get ALL members more active at club nights?

Involve those who usually just watch.

  • Make use of YouTube for technical aspects, so that individual members can find what they are looking for and review it at home
  • Give members a project to complete, working in pairs can help stimulate individuals.
  • When making “club films” give everyone a job to do – however small.
  • Give everyone the same story theme or the same pieve of music and ask them to make a short film using it.
  • After all members watch a film, a small group or a single member should judge and talk about a certain aspect of the film, for example on the subject: camera, light ...
  • Use “wetransfer.com” to send material to all members and ask them to edit a film from it – for example cut 10 minutes of material down to 4 minutes and if necessary add sound.
  • Beginners start a script and more experienced members help by offering help with equipment or their expertise in support of the beginner.
  • When a member makes a film celebrate it – cheer them on!
  • In Autumn run a 6-8 week course for beginners, for which there is a charge, but which includes free membership for the rest of the year.

Sharing Films

How to make the less ambitious filming members feel safe enough to share their films.

  • The work of less ambitious filmmakers should be well received. Everyone remembers their beginnings. Good clubs try to help them and give them advice to improve their films without hurting their feelings. It's a shame that many members no longer show the films, that they have tried to improve.
  • After a viewing there can sometime be a ‘big silence’, which feels like criticism. Think of ways to overcome this.
  • Discuss the film in small groups
  • Ask the film maker if they want to discuss, softly discuss, or hear "strict" opinions?
  • Criticism – make it constructive – and accept that some members do not like help or advice.
  • To get everyone involved make groups and give them a specific aspect to focus on (story, image, sound, editing etc.) Individuals feel more comfortable giving their opinion in a small group.
  • To filmmakers who have dared to show their film, we ask if they want to discuss it. In some clubs they are discussed ex officio. First of all, you have to praise the positive sides of their film and try to make constructive criticism, but gently, in small steps.  Some clubs judge a film once a week, in all roles you are a judge or a spectator.  Maybe do small group discussions and not confront the filmmaker with all the members at the same time. No one wants to lose face!

"DO" nights

Successful club nights where members are ‘practicing’ and learning ...

  • "Music Lottery" – each member picks a piece of music and puts its title in a hat. When drawn two films are made using that piece of music (one by the original chooser and one by whoever drew it from the hat).
  • "Assignment Nights" - where everybody is active with an assignment such as practicing interview technique:
    • First night on formulating the questions; have an observer, a ‘guest’ and a ‘reporter’,
    • Note the pitfall of ‘closed’ questions (those which permit yes or no answers)
    • Second night, how to make your guest look good on camera; location, background, lighting, framing, sound
  • "Camera direction" – how to improve the power of your image, (to prevent your audience from ‘zapping’ away) how to position and frame the camera, depending on who your main character is.
  • Workshops.
  • At the beginning of each club evening, a member gives a technical presentation for 15 minutes, which adds up to a course.
  • We make a film: Each member writes a film theme on a piece of paper. From these film themes one will be drawn. Matching this theme, each member makes a short film. This is then shown and judged.

New Season Plans

How to get an attractive programme for a new season?

  • Most clubs offer editing, sound and short films explaining how to film. We discuss cameras, various media, little tricks...
  • Some national organisations have created a website with courses and demonstrations. For example, the Luxembourg federation organised a subtitling course and a course on copyright.
  • Some clubs invite another club to share projections and ideas. They shoot on site or on the club's premises, trying to integrate all members.
  • In various clubs, internal competitions are planned for fiction films, holiday films, very short films, films with a specific theme. Everyone is free to participate.
  • Making a club films - a joint project with all  members
  • Local film lovers make a film for the community.
  • Topic "Wunschfilme" at a club evening
  • A club evening is organized by the youth
  • Neighbouring clubs can sometimes share meetings, especially if they invite a special guest to speak.
  • Have ‘meet-ups’. These are advertised as one-off events on one aspect of film making - such as make-up for horror films, interview techniques, vlogging (video blogging), stunts, sport-filming.  People, especially young people, may attend such events, because they do not have to commit to regular meetings as they would if they joined the club. Of course after a few such events, we hope they will be impressed and want to join!

More Members

How to get more members for your club?

  • Public relations at fairs, e.g. photokina
  • Cooperation with museums, include "films" in their programme.
  • Carry out projects with other cultural institutions.
  • All clubs realise that it is very difficult to attract young people. There are amateurs who go to youth centres to help them make short films, to make young people want to make films. Initiations to cinema are organised in schools. But we have to face the facts, young people are not attracted to clubs, they make a film in 24 hours, maybe come once or twice... Young people go to Internet platforms. Lack of time, lack of interest.
  • Instead, we need to target young retirees because they often have the time and desire to create something "sustainable". To stimulate this creativity in a club, it is necessary to have the opportunity to show the productions to an audience. National and international competitions are nowadays oriented towards semi-professional productions, which rarely come out of an amateur club.

Help from National Organisation

Which activities (besides competitions and festivals) would we, as a club, want our National organisation / Federation to offer us?

  • Involvement of the association in the formulation of the law: keyword: use of drones, privacy rights, copyright advice.
Photo of uoung people doing a jigsaw puzzle.Making a club programme to serve a lot of people is like working on a jigsaw puzzle ... it is easier if many people work together!