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So you want to line up, forever and a day...

Discussion in 'FanForce Activities' started by TragicLad, Jan 13, 2002.

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  1. TragicLad

    TragicLad Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 29, 2000
    So you and your friends have decided, damn the torpedos, full steam ahead, we're going to go and camp out on the sidewalk for EPII:AotC. You my friend, are in for a strange and wonderful time. Some of it will be good. Some of it will be bad. All of it will be an unforgetable experience.

    I know, because I helped put together a two week lineup in Toronto for EPI:tPM.

    So you've got your case of pop. A bag of Cheetos. An MP3 player chock full of John Williams goodness. Figure you're all set for that 100hr marathon out front of the theater, right?

    Well - maybe not. If you're planning a line that will run any longer than 16hrs in duration, there's a few things that you may need to consider.


    My Lord, is that legal?
    Check your local bylaws. Many communities have bylaws that would prevent your line from taking place. Vagrency laws. Curfews. Loitering. Call up your city hall, explain to the bylaw officer exactly what it is that you are intending to do and see if there are any bylaws that would directly affect your plans. No sense in planning for a long long line if your local bylaws prohibit you from occupying sidewalk space for longer than a half hour.

    In Toronto, we found that we were allowed to be on public property for as long as we liked, provided we did not impede the regular flow of pedestrian traffic. We were also warned to keep the noise levels down at night as the theater was in a residential neighbourhood.

    Location Location Location
    For many cities, the theater choice will be an obvious one. One grand, majestic house of the cinema that stands head and tails above the rest. For other cities, there's a plethora of choices.

    Some things that you need to keep in mind when choosing a theater are;

    Central location - can everyone in your city get to this place with ease, or is everyone going to have to make an epic journey on a daily basis.

    Proximity to transit - goes almost hand in hand with the central location, but if the only way to reach this place is by car, you will miss out on those who might have joined you had they been able to walk, bike or take a bus to where you were.

    Proximity to 24hr. establishments - is extremely important. Perhaps one of the most important elements in a theater location. It's 3am. You've downed a half dozen cans of Coke and a thermos of coffee.

    Nature's not just calling any more.
    Nature stopped calling a few minutes ago. No, Nature isn't even paging you. Nature is marching up and down your bladder with a full mariachi band - and you really really have to take notice.

    Won't you be happier at this particular juncture if there's a Denny's or a coffee shop or anything else that's open 24hrs just across the street?

    Geeks line up for amazingly stupid long time - film at 11
    We knew going into our line up for Phantom Menace that they would exploit, manipulate and turn things into a circus. We just had no idea how big this manipulative, exploitive circus was going to be.

    We had situations where the media was using our message boards as a means of manipulating our members. We were told at one point that we either comment on an editorial against us, or they'd bring somebody who did want to comment about it and film them in front of our line. Completley without warning, one media outlet arrived with spotlights, a flatbed truck lined with speakers blaring music and an army of people shoving food products from big brand names into unsuspecting pedestrians hands. Not knowing what the hell was going on, and desperatly trying to learn, we were told by one producer, "this is going to happen whether you like it or not so just deal with it." Hurray - we had all become corporate shills.

    This is not to say that media is bad. Not at all. Most of the people in our line learned of it in one way or the other through newspaper articles, tv interviews, articles on the net.

    Know in advance what it is that you want to say to the media. A pre-printed pres
  2. PunkJr

    PunkJr Jedi Youngling star 1

    May 16, 2001
    Well spoken.

    I wasn't able to take part in the Episode I line event due to a jaunt across the ocean on an aircraft carrier, but I've been helping out with our Episode II planning here in Seattle, and believe me, everything that TragicLad has spoken about is definatley true.

    One thing that he said that I want to reiterate is to know what you're going to say before the media gets there. There's nothing like stammering and stuttering into an interview microphone to make you look like a retard. I know, it happened to me tonight.

    So, have fun, ask questions, and feel free to email others who have done this before you. The Seattle Star Wars Society and the folks from CountingDown did it, and we're more than happy to answer questions!

    --Darth Depot
  3. JestersWay

    JestersWay Jedi Youngling

    Jan 28, 2002
    Yeah every city has differant laws towards staying on streets overnihgt. Just remember it's great for a town to be on national news. We all know how often major news stations show lines from differant cities.!!
  4. TragicLad

    TragicLad Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 29, 2000
    continuing with the un-asked for advice...

    Why are we lining up?

    This is probably the very first thing that any group lining up should ask themselves. There are no wrong answers to this question, but is important nonetheless, as it will help to shape your line and give everyone focus.

    Obviously, getting in to see the movie first is what we're all there for, but what are the secondary reasons? After all, critics of your line will be quite correct in stating that they'll be just as able to walk up to a theater on opening night and get in without a problem. So why are you there forever and a day?

    Are you there to get on TV? Promote an existing club or organization? Get attention?
    You will want to focus heavily on the media aspects. You will want to look into your local bylaws regarding sinage and posting of bills. You will probably want some sort of dress code in effect - Tshirts promoting yourselves, that sort of thing. You will probably want to be a little more strict as to who joins your group so that everyone there -- or at least everyone who might end up in front of a camera is a sufficient spokesperson for your group.

    Are you there to promote a charity?
    A close relationship with the charity you are supporting should be established. You are there in service of the chartiy, the charity is not there in service to you. So be sure that you are not hindering or harming any of the charity's own efforts with your actions. If the charity's primary fundraiser falls in the month of May, they may not be too keen to have their press overshadowed by talks of a lining up. Events that you hold should be reflective of the organization you support (A movie outing to see 'American Psycho II' might not be the best choice for a group supporting a shelter for victims of abuse). Be sure to have brochures and materials from the charity at your line at all times. People may be uneasy about donating cash directly to a bunch of folk on the street, so have contact info so people can make direct donations to the charity.

    Friendship and Camaraderie
    Using the film as an initial start-point to meet new people. Face it, there are dozens of people who share the same interests as you and your friends, but save for chance meetings, the odds of you coming together are slim. These people could be the best friend you'd ever have, but unless you have a way of coming together, you'll never know it. The line up can serve as that means of coming together. Not a great deal of organizing is required for this type of line. Just enough to ensure that everything runs smoothly and all have a good time. Loosly structured and freewheeling, people will get out of this line what they bring to it. An everybody's welcome atmosphere works best for this type of line. Fifty year old lawyer? Fourteen year old goth? Doesn't matter. You all love Star Wars so get together. Movies will come and go, but hopefully the bonds made during this line will last for years to come.

    It is this category that the Toronto Line fits best with. We chose this as our primary reason back with Phantom Menace. All of us made some very strong friendships out of that line. Hell, I met my true love in that line. I personally can't wait for the new friends that will spring out of the next line.

    Whatever you choose...
    Be upfront about it. If the line is there to promote a particular agenda (we want to break a record, we want to be on tv, we want free stuff from sponsors) then don't try and pass it or yourselves off as something else ("I'm sitting in line in protest against the poor treatment of the south american june bug - support our charity by giving me a sandwich!").

    You don't need to justify your line to anyone but yourself. It's okay to simply say, "I'm a huge geek and having a great time!"
  5. TragicLad

    TragicLad Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 29, 2000
    More un-asked for advice...

    Zathras can never have anything nice...
    Anything you bring to the line will get smashed, squashed, stepped on, dropped, kicked, bent, twisted and potentially swiped. No one need have any mallicious intent. It's just the nature of things that in a large crowd, tiny collectibles can get krunked up. If you can't afford to lose something, don't bring it to the line.

    Raindrops keep falling on my head
    Ask anyone who was at the first Celebration. Rain happens. We had a number of downpours during the duration of our Phantom Menace line, including opening night.

    Keeping an eye on the forecasts can give you a heads up on the weather, but even still, you can be surprised.

    Umbrellas can help, but I recommend having at least one or two tarps or plastic sheets along with you. Several people and all your stuff can keep dry under a single sheet. For those fortunate enough to be lining up close to parking, having a vehicle where you can stash magazines, board games and other items you'd rather not get drenched can be a godsend. If this isn't an option, keeping an empty cooler nearby can do the trick. Otherwise, a tarp will have to suffice. Just be sure that your gear is stored on higher ground.

    If you do get caught unawares in a downpour - go home. Get dry. Get some fresh clothes. Then come back to the line. Staying in line, wet, cold and miserable is just plain foolish.
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