I’ve been fighting a losing PR battle (kinda).
The cinema is full tilt into our renovations; we’re replacing all the downstairs seats, repairing floors, painting the shit of everything, and generally sprucing things up.
By ‘we’, I, of course, mean ‘not me’. I’m doing minimal clerical crap (today included making two phone calls to a courier company, one angry, one slightly apologetic, trying to track down an AWOL package picker-upper and tweaking some web page things) and cleaning my office.
My office. My office the furnace. It’s been sunny (that’s change tomorrow, mind) and my newly cleaned windows + slightly askew blinds (since said cleaning) – working A/C (all the auditorium doors need to stay open for ventilation) = sluggish, stupid, Megan.
By the end of the day, the fumes from the concrete sealant they were using on the floors were part of the mix so I was 100% zombie. My skin itches. My lungs burn. You are all in danger.
Anyway, we (by which I actually me me (and my boss)) have been trying to run a public information campaign about the cinema’s temporary closure. In the last few weeks, this has been most especially focusing on how! awesome! new seats are, and that, hooray, we reopen May 17 with a film that has been requested for months (but could only premiere now – well, on May 17). However, this ‘campaign’ started much earlier.
We made the initial announcement in February in our printed programme (circulation approximately 40000). We have sent out email newsletters, press releases, tweets, Facebook updates over the last two and a half months. There has been a link to a ‘news’ item on our website’s homepage for six weeks. We have been directly contacting local media outlets trying to get any kind of coverage. It wasn’t enough.
This week, suddenly, now that the seats are gone, we are getting daily, some quite cross, messages wondering what is happening to the seats.
Happening? Happened. They are gone. Buh-bye. No more. It doesn’t matter that I posted as much yesterday, more requests, via the same medium came in today.
So, for all our confidence in our attention-grabbing, the message of ‘new seats’ only got to those who were a) paying attention to the cinema at all, b) paying attention when tweets were sent out, and looking at the right pages and paragraphs of newsletters and programmes, and c) reliased that us getting new seats means that the old ones needed to go. A tiny group, in the end.
Obviously, the goings-on at a local cinema are of limited interest to any population, even in this generally friendly-to-the-indie-cinematorium town. But today I was challenged (publicly) on our not adequately letting the universe know that the cinema was getting new seats, nor that seats were up for grabs.
I nearly replied with this.
But I didn’t. I did (quite irritably, I admit) reply, explaining our efforts, but, really, why bother arguing? Unless you are broadcasting information directly into every single human brain, someone will miss out. Professionally whining really accomplishes very little.
There is just too much information to absorb out there, even if one is dedicated to paying attention to pop culture and the arts goings-on in a city. I mean, sure, it’s fucking ridiculous that my younger brother seemingly didn’t know about Baz Luhrmann’s Gatsby (in 3D!) madness until last week, but I only just found that Commander Riker is a sitting boss. And I have never once come up with a current pop music reference in our weekly pub quiz. No one can no everything even in one (admittedly vague) subject area.
But still, man. We tried. We tried our best with our limited resources. And the seats were shitty and decayed anyway. Who wants a lumpen chair that has been sat in by, literally, tens, hell, possibly hundreds of thousands of butts. No amount of steam cleaning is going to completely eliminate that taint. (No pun intended.)