Cinema & KO! My Final Placement by Sam

The last month of my placement at Cinema & Co. was unfortunately cut short due to the current climate (hope everyone’s keeping safe!) but the good news is that, following on from my previous blog (which you can read here) myself and the team managed to launch Cinema & KO. to great success. In this final blog, I’ll be discussing how Johan and I made final preparations for the event, the successes and failures of the event itself, and also reflecting on my time as a whole.

The first day back after uploading the last blog consisted of improving on skills I’d gained previously. To begin, I helped once again edit an updated trailer reel, removing old events and trailers that had already been, and replacing them with new ones. This editing proved to be a lot quicker than the last (a sign of my skills improving I’m sure) and I still felt as though I’d managed to further improve my editing skills even more. This would prove incredibly useful for university assessments like video essays, but also for personal projects like making short films and more. After this, Johan and I moved onto making sure everything was in place for the main event: Cinema & KO.

The event itself was to be split into two main parts. Both taking place on a Saturday, the first half would be open to everyone. We planned on having Nintendo Switches set up in the main cinema room, and a backup in the entrance area for when the main tournaments weren’t on. This event would run until 5, at which point we’d close up, and begin swapping out the switches for an Xbox one, for our main tournament event (that was for over 18’s only, since the game Mortal Kombat 11 was rated 18). This tournament would run until 9pm, with the bar being open for the entire event.

In order to make sure we were fully prepared; we did several things. First of all, I made contact with Game once again, ensuring we had consoles and games ready for both halves of the event. Having this contact before starting the event proved crucial, as without Game, the first half would more than likely have not existed, as Game provided both the switches and games we used for the mini tournaments (The Xbox and copy of Mortal Kombat 11 belonged to the cinema).

The second half of the preparation revolved around creating a tournament bracket for the second and main half of the event, as professionalism was key. Though our main goal was to ensure everyone had fun and enjoyed themselves, it was also crucial to ensure the tournament itself was fair and done professionally, as this would ensure satisfaction from everyone, and (hopefully) ensure they would return to the next event, and bring more people too.

We experimented with a few different ideas, from creating the bracket in different formats such as Microsoft excel, to using an automatic generator. Though I developed my technical skills here, by beginning to create a working bracket on my laptop, eventually we opted for an online one that would generate the brackets randomly and uniquely. This was to ensure the bracket itself looked professional and that there would be no problems in functionality, that could cause delays in the event.

After this, we decided to review the overall plan, before agreeing to meet next on the Saturday of the event. This would be the accumulation of all our hard work over the past few weeks, and so we were both excited and nervous to see how the event would proceed.

The Saturday of the event arrived, and would also mark the end of my time on placement at Cinema & Co. The first half of the event, where we opened it up for everyone to play Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. proved to be very successful. Though not our target audience (and not our main event) it was certainly exciting to see how popular it was, with many families and some adults coming in to have a look and get involved. I developed a few skills during this first half, mainly to do with communication and management. As a sort of co-host, I was helping to ensure everything was running smoothly. This meant juggling tasks such as monitoring one of the two Nintendo Switches we had at the time and answering any questions in regard to how to play the games, how long we were running it for, and if the event would be held again.

After this, I felt a lot more confident in my management ability, and though I’ve always felt my communication skills are fairly good, I still thought that hosting the first half had improved them even more.

After swapping out the consoles and getting the tournament bracket ready, it was almost time to re-open for our second and main event. Unfortunately, this event proved to be less popular than the opening one, which we thought could be down to many factors.

The event was planned to take place on the first Saturday of every month, so obviously we had to kick this off on a Saturday. The bad news was that this particular Saturday was a perfect storm of problems (or at least, problems that we thought would’ve had some significant effect on the turnout).

First of all, the weather in the night became extremely bad, potentially putting people off travelling the distance for a few hours of gaming. Secondly, this was towards the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in the UK, so understandably we thought that many would be hesitant to come hang out in a potentially busy public cinema. Finally, the timing (being more towards the night-time) and fact that the game being played was rated 18 meant that we were cutting out a major crowd, as anyone who was in town passing time would already be gone, and anyone under the age of 18 would be unable to attend.

Despite all this, the event was not completely unsuccessful. We had a turnout of around 15 people, who seemed to really enjoy their time and expressed interest in returning to the next one. This allowed us also to run the tournament smoothly, without having to substitute any plans due to low numbers. Once again, I felt as though my managing skills were improving, as I was a lot more confident in the plans and layout this time around. As previously stated, though my communication skills were already fairly good, this once again did help, as I was letting people know about future plans for the event and more.

After the event concluded, Johan and I decided to brainstorm quickly on how we could increase its popularity, and also took onboard some feedback from those we attended. What we concluded was that for the next event, we’d create some sort of poll in which attendees could vote for what games and specific activities they want to see, therefore ensuring that they would definitely be interested. Obviously, as was the case with this particular event, sometimes other factors such as weather and illness can have serious effects, but we decided that if we tried our best to control all other factors, then things should run even more smoothly for the next time.

As I said earlier, this unfortunately turned out to be the last time I would be working at Cinema & Co. due to current circumstances. As of right now, there has yet to be a follow up event (due to not enough time passing too) so I can’t comment on if the next event proved to be more popular. However, I have no doubt that it will continue to improve, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Overall, my time at Cinema & Co. has been a rewarding experience, and I feel as though I’ve certainly learnt new things and improved on skills I’d picked up previously. Seeing how an independent cinema is run and maintained was very intriguing, and how they decide on what to show and when was especially interesting. However, the most rewarding element was improving my editing and managing skills.

You can read Sam’s full blogpost here

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