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FAQ & Testimonials

What’s Involved?
We provide a turn-key festival in a box and you execute the on-the-ground logistics. You’ll treat this like any event you want to be successful: You’ll find an appropriate venue, do lots of grassroots marketing, get volunteers and secure the technical requirements.

The two thing we ask most are…

  1. Identify ways to reach “new” people in your community
  2. Only commit to hosting the festival if you plan to have a successful, sold-out event. Host partners should aim to secure a theater with at least 200 seats.

What if we’ve never organized and event of this nature before?
The “Tool Kit” and the step-by-step instructions make it simple and easy. We’ll give you everything from organizational checklists and execution timelines to tips on working with the media and greening your event. We’ve streamlined the entire process so once you secure your venue, film program and technical equipment, you’ll mainly just need to focus on the marketing and outreach.

Will it be a money maker?
Yes! The festival is an effective fundraiser. We wouldn’t suggest hosting the festival if it didn’t have the potential to raise funds for your organization. The success of SYRCL’s home festival is why we decided to take it on the road. The best thing to do is weigh the costs and build a budget:

  • Costs: tour costs, venue cost, tech staff, equip. rental, PR, printing and concessions
  • Income: ticket sales, private donors, potential local sponsors, concessions, silent auction, raffle sales, etc…

Seems like a lot of work?
It does require a committed effort but we’ve streamlined the event so you can focus mostly on outreach and marketing. If you consider every person you talk to about the event, every interview you do for the event and outreach effort you perform, the event will more than pay for itself.  It becomes more than coordinating an event, it becomes a vehicle for getting your message, issue and organization in front of potential new activists. It’s not just an event, it’s its own campaign with measurable targets. Piggyback the festival with a campaign or membership drive to facilitate your organization’s goals. It’s not a stand alone event, it’s a means to an end.

How many hours does it require?
Based on past venues, expect the main coordinator to spend on average 150 hours organizing the event.

Do you come to our tour venue?
No. We do not travel to the tour venues. We’ve chosen to not tour to each venue for four reasons: 1) we have prepared such a turn-key program that we do not have to. 2) It cuts down our greenhouse gas emissions and keeps our carbon footprint low. 3) By not traveling to each venue, your tour date is not dictated by our schedule. You can pick a date that works best for your organization and community. 4) We do not want to take stage time away from the host group. We want our host groups to be the emcee and use every stage opportunity to encourage membership.

What attendance can we expect?
Attendance is dependent on the size of the venue and the extent of your outreach and marketing efforts. Successful past venues have sold out 200, 300, 500 and event 1000 seat theaters. On average, we ask all our venues to set a goal of 200.

What is an average ticket price?
You set the cost of the ticket. It is based on the budget you set. $10-$12 is an average ticket price set by most venues. Free is not recommended because it attaches no value to the event. Too expensive ($15 or higher) and you push people’s threshold for what they are comfortable paying.

Reaching “past the choir”?
We’re not going to make any headway in the environmental movement if only like-minded individuals attend events like the Wild & Scenic On Tour. We need to reach out past the choir. But how do we do that? Wild & Scenic has compiled a list of recruitment strategies for bringing together a diverse audience from your community. We developed the tour because we realize the films can create a common ground for people of all affiliations to meet, listen and talk. The festival can initiate cooperative efforts in your community leading to interest-based collaboration that fosters dialogue pertinent to broader transformation.

What is a diverse audience?
You want to have an audience of all kinds of political beliefs, opinions, interests and demographics. When both sides are brought together, people will look around and see that we really aren’t that different. We all want a healthy planet. Once we reach that common ground, we can start finding solutions.

Are the films all environmental?
YES! 100% environmental. Films range from alternative energy and community activism to solutions on global warming and the protection of our Wild Places. See our films list.

Do we get to choose the films?
Yes, most definitely! It is a lot of fun to select your own films and build a program that address the issues you want to highlight. We provide a menu of 55+ films to choose from. We offer film trailers online and a list of film bios to aid you in your selection process. Once under contract, we provide a pass code to our secure channel on Vimeo.com where you can watch the full-length version of our longer films. And we offer three pre-set programs which serve as a playlist sample.

There are a lot of film festivals, so why Wild & Scenic?
Wild & Scenic focuses strictly on environmental films that raise awareness, promote sustainability and gives a call to action. Most other film festivals focus just on adventure and mountain culture. Our festival has a purpose: Inspire Activism!

What if we just developed our own film festival?
Instead of having to build your own film festival, we’ve done it for you. We’ve done all the trial and error and packaged it into a proven model that is a turn-key event, both affordable and effective. We’ve pre-screened over 300 films, contacted all the filmmakers, handled all the contracts/licenses, developed a logo, designed promotional collateral and a comprehensive How-to-Kit. it’s like buying a house that is already built and all you have to do is pick out the wallpaper and light fixtures. And by partnering with the festival, you join a grassroots network of other Wild & Scenic venues. That common bond will make you part of a larger movement than your own.

Is there any promotional help?
You don’t have to design any graphics or create any collateral. We provide a complete, online, graphics package including poster, ticket, program and handbill templates. We’ll also provide a laundry list of inexpensive ways to promote the festival and dress up your event with fun features.

What technical skills does it require?
We will provide complete technical guidelines. We require each venue follow these strict requirements to ensure quality. Without a suitable tech system, you do not have a film festival! And it is imperative that you have an experienced technician to operate the projector equipment, lights and sound.

What’s the best kind of venue?
When selecting a venue, there are many questions to ask yourself: how many people do you want to attend, are there front stage lights for an emcee, area for tabling in the lobby, what’s the size of the projector screen, what are the projector capabilities, etc… Most importantly, think about location! Ask yourself: what location will draw the best crowd and the audience you are targeting, where does the community come to gather? Look at cinemas, schools, stage theaters, halls, etc… Ask for a non-profit discount or better yet, get it donated.

TESTIMONIALS

Wild & Scenic On Tour has grown to over 110 locations nationwide since its conception in 2004. 80% of those venues are hosted by environmental organizations who have used the festival as a way to increase membership. See a complete list of all nonprofits in the Wild & Scenic Grassroots Network. They have experienced the value and ease of using Wild & Scenic On Tour’s turnkey format. Hear what past tour venues have to say about hosting the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival and see why it is such an effective outreach tool.

Friends of Butte Creek – Chico, CA
“Our board realizes the value of the festival as a tremendous draw for members of our community who come for the films and leave as members/supporters of FBC and the environment.”

Friends of Casco Bay – Portland, ME
“The festival is an excellent ‘hook’ for reaching people who may not know about our work and for increasing our visibility in the greater Portland community through targeted outreach, an extensive PR campaign, and invitations to personal acquaintances and colleagues. We have been able to garner new members, volunteers, and supporters through this event. Perhaps more importantly, we have used the event as a membership‐recruiting opportunity simply by acquiring the names and contact information for future cultivation of these guests. Getting contact information of potential members can be the greatest obstacle an organization like ours faces in recruiting new supporters.”

Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance – Jackson, WY
“The Festival is a great membership tool because it attracts a more diverse set of community members than our traditional means of increasing membership like mailings, community forums, and advertising. We are always looking for ways to engage the large number of twenty-somethings living in Jackson. When we hosted the festival in 2008 we drew a significant number of attendees from this demographic, allowing us to solicit memberships from this hard-to-reach group in addition to other subsets of our community.”

Access Fund – Boulder, CO
“Driving membership through public events is one of the more successful ways to engage new members because AF staff can have more meaningful connections with non members through face-to-face conversation and interact.”

Vermont Natural Resource Council – Burlington, VT
“Wild & Scenic is becoming an established and well-known event in Burlington. Some of the keys to success? It’s fun! It’s an evening full of great films (and, therefore inspiration and motivation), we offer great good food, a stellar Silent Auction, good tunes and amazing networking opportunities.”

Tennessee River Gorge Trust – Knoxville, TN
“It brings together such a diverse group of individuals; you have a captive audience and a microphone…”

Yellow Dog Watershed partnership – Marquette, MI
“It was interesting that someone said to me that it looked like the same people that usually show up that attended the festival. When I looked at the sign up sheet, 60% were non-members. These were new people. I think finding additional ways to reach people will help us reach our goal of protection.”

Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project – Flagstaff, AZ
“The film festival allows us to specifically target new demographics of people and focus on citizens in our local community whose support is critical for the restoration of wolves in our region.”

Organization of the Assabet River – Maynard, MA
“This is the most amazing event we do! It creates a huge amount of publicity and visibility for our organization and brings the community together in an inspirational atmosphere. People begin to talk about what they can do locally to help and this is good for our river and for the other special places in our communities.”

Greater Yellowstone Coalition – Pocatello, ID
“The films make environmentalism seem cool. This is a hard thing to convince people of! The films go a long way toward demonstrating the breadth of the environmental movement as well: they show fairly “normal” school teachers doing amazing things with kids, phenomenal skiers who care deeply about their sport and receding snow lines, young farmers who just went for it and started their own operations. When people see this variety, there’s more of a chance that they will identify with one or more of the people and stories presented and think, “you know, I could do something like that too!”

Norwalk Seaport Association – Norwalk, CT
“The Wild & Scenic Film Festival has begun to reposition the image of the Norwalk Seaport Association in the public’s mind. Once know mostly for our ferry service to Sheffield Island and hosting the Oyster Festival, people are beginning to understand and appreciate our environmental efforts and partnership with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuge System. We receive a significant number of gracious appreciations and thank you’s for not only hosting the Film Festival but for the work we are doing. It’s a fantastic feeling to know we are making a difference.”

Save our Sandhill Cranes – Sacramento, CA
“Wild & Scenic gave us an big, fun and sexy opportunity to attract some local reporters that are interested in coving the environment but had not previously been aware of the important work that we do. Much of the Smart Growth land-use and transportation planning policy work that we do is very complex and plays out over long periods of time—it is not easily consumed or understood, it is definitely not very fun, and does not lend itself to a quick news story…But Wild and Scenic on Tour hooked them. In these weeks after the festival, the media contacts we made have continued to contact me about our other upcoming campaigns and conservation efforts.”

Ventura Hillsides Conservancy – Ventura, CA
“We have held fundraisers but never a “friend”-raiser such as this. We gained many new members and generated community interest and support for our organization. We can’t wait to do it again next year!”

If you are interested in receiving references from past venues, please contact the On Tour Staff.