Audience Development Workshop with Sarah Mosses

Bridget Mulrooney from Fordingbridge Regal Cinema attended her first Film Hub event on the 16th April to learn about Audience Development from Sarah Mosses. Here she shares what she got out of this session!

This particular event was actually the first FilmHub meet-up/workshop my colleague and I had ever attended. We were both a little bit worried about what to expect and if it be worth taking the day ‘off’ (and having to catch up on our workload later!). In hindsight we are really glad we gave it a go.

We went to the Audience Development workshop at Watershed (Bristol) where, for the first time, we met a big group of people equally as passionate about film and cinema as we are.

Due to the size of our venue (30 seats) we have an extremely small team. This event was the first chance we have ever been given to have large group of people, who also have some experience within the sector, to bounce off. Everyone had great ideas and personality to bring to the discussion.

It was really novel for me to find myself in a room full of people who understand what we go through on a daily basis to make our cinema run as it should. I was personally quite moved at being able to connect with so many wonderful like-minded individuals. We also swapped details with a couple of people from relatively local organisations who we have since kept in touch with and seen outside of Film Hub events.

The actual workshop itself, run by Sarah Mosses from Together Films, far exceeded my expectations. Sarah did an excellent job of dealing with the fact that there were many different types of venues represented in the room; she was able to suggest ways in which we could tailor her suggestions to be both useful and realistic to achieve within our own organisation.

We have since implemented many of her recommended practices and top tips! Including:

  • Identifying and contacting ‘strategic partners’
  • Keeping a record of our relationship with ‘strategic partners’
  • Using Canva to create media posts for socials
  • Improving the lines of communication between programming and marketing
  • Identifying themes within films and how they can be used in our marketing

Sarah has given us some truly invaluable tools. After the workshop I felt very confident to be able to take these figurative tools back to the office and implement them with the rest of the team.

Our ‘Strategic Partner Matrix’ has proved to be exceptionally useful; we now have one big, shared database on which to track all the people and organisations that we have worked with. It has been really useful in identifying who our most useful partners are from the data we have on when we last interacted with them, if they were willing to help us on some level, what ‘level’ our relationship is with them and who, within our team, is responsible for building and maintaining that relationship. It has definitely streamlined our approach to marketing and has really helped us to get all members of the team on the same page.

We will definitely do our upmost to attend future Film Hub events – in fact, we have already been to our second event in Salisbury (which, rather usefully, is just round the corner from us). It was great to see lots of returning faces, catch up with everybody and hear what progress they’ve been able to make since we last saw them.

I would strongly encourage any first-timers to bite the bullet and attend an event. Don’t be shy to come on your own – everybody is very welcoming and, as you all have something in common, conversation flows very easily. You don’t need to do any preparation, just rock up and enjoy the day!

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