Hi Guys! Great discussion here!
As far as the Legion M meetup page, it's a work in progress. I think the guys do a great job of providing content in a pinch with the little staff they have. There will be bumps, but all-in-all I think we get great looking pages that provide value to some degree. There were some hiccups with communication, but the idea was great and I think we just want to improve on it for the next project!
I can chime in a bit after our experience here in NYC. We were the first to organize Meetups for the Colossal opening weekend. We had 4 days in a row of meetups alternating between 2 different theaters here in town. We were flying blind with no reference on how to do it, but the best thing to do is just keep communicating with the theaters prior to the events. The location of food and drinks after is another story! Here are my ups and downs below.
The theater managers were very accommodating when it came to having a table set up for us - one being nicer than the other with a tablecloth provided as well. Had I known, I would've brought my own table cloth to stay consistent. But for the most part, just keep in touch with them and they are happy to help!
We did our best to have bags for everyone who attended across the 4 days. We were running out of goodies fast! We had enough for OUR pre-bought Legion M ticket holders, but we found that the theaters were sending over anybody who purchased Colossal tickets to our table that was not associated with Legion M. We were more than happy to introduce ourselves, tell them about Legion M and offer them a Colossal goodie bag, but it sure did make me nervous thinking we'd run out for our Legion M members by day 2 or 3.
We had secured some donations for the goodie bag in advance from some local vendors (The Strand Bookstore and Forbidden Planet Comics). They added some cool stuff to the bags, including the bag itself. When we ran out of bags, we made a special trip to a party store to buy some regular paper gift bags to fill instead.
I also found that it made better sense to hand out goodie bags after the screening to force folks back to our table to talk about what they thought of the movie and possibly give us a live review on camera. We could ensure a big group photo that way and we'd have the kaiju ready to go by then too.
We didn't do this for each day, but I think it makes sense to create a Facebook event for each Meetup or screening so people can Check In, upload any pics, and give them some instruction on any hashtags to use. We did a couple of Facebook Lives for everyone who wasn't able to attend either NYC or LA for opening weekend. I think it helped get a sense of what we were trying to do and any experiences we had. We certainly should've done more, but things get so crazy that it doesn't even cross your mind unless you have a dedicated person to making sure social media is constantly updated throughout the events.
Afterwards, I think it's important to set time aside to provide as many details as possible of how everything went, especially if you couldn't do it during. It keeps the entire online community engaged and excited for when things come around their area. For those that don't have the privilege of living in a location where the movie will show, they at least can feel part of something by seeing everyone's pics and comments.
BEFORE OR AFTER PARTIES:
This is not so easy to do in NYC when your headcount is not definitive. I'm not sure how the experience is everywhere else. And honestly, this is my biggest challenge even for regular monthly meetups, let alone Colossal screenings with Jeff and David in attendance! I just don't get people RSVPing in a timely manner, so I have a hard time securing a location for a specific group size. Space is limited in NYC and you want to secure locations ahead of time, but NY'ers are non-committers until the last minute!
I think it would be great to create a Facebook Event for the parties as well. If you can, do so! But I could hardly ever define a specific location ahead of time for Colossal. I just kept a couple of options in my back pocket to use last minute depending on crowd size. The larger theaters didn't allow us to take up a space for a discussion before of after the screening without going through corporate group sales. On the largest day we ended up just having a very large impromptu mingling session in the lobby of the theater with roughly 85 people. We spent time talking to everyone about their thoughts on the movie, handing out cupcakes I had made, and by the end of it most people went their own separate ways and just a handful of us walked to a small restaurant nearby. It made logistics much easier for us if we just spent the time hanging out with everyone at the theater.
If you can, you should take the time to thank the theater manager again. Keep that relationship. We will be back!!