Remember – Tell no one

Next Wednesday sees the beginning of a new batch of Secret Cinema screening’s in London and I am soooooooo excited!!!

To explain what it is –

People buy tickets for a date they are available and other than that they know nothing about the thing they are going to, other than they will watch a film, which again is unknown.

From the time the ticket is bought to the date, various correspondences will be sent with clues of the film, where to meet and a ‘dress code’ (i.e. costume to wear) on the day. You then show up at the time and place and from then you are transported into a new world.

The premise of the event is to immerse people into the surrounding and feel of the film they are about to watch, and all while they still do not know what film it is. It a very strange thing to go through and all the staff at the event are actors that only interact with you in character, and sometimes you can’t make out who is an actor and who’s just an attendee like you.

You normally have 2-3 hours of walking around the location to interact with things, have some dinner and drinks and gather up clues of what the film could be, and then somehow you end up at the screening with all the other spectators who have walked around for 2 hours and had similar experiences along the way but at different times or in a different order.

Back in January, ‘The 3rd man’ was the film with war time clothes to be worn, German soldiers marching around and a cellar to escape through.

In June the film was Prometheus; a film actually in the cinema at the same time. A warehouse near Euston station was converted into a spaceship and we all had to go into ‘hyper sleep’ dressed in our boiler suits:

For next week the clues so far are:

  • Secret Cinema working with “The State of Oak Hampton” to “clamp down on vicious crimes through investigation and punish the thought as well as the offense”.
  • Alongside this, a meteorological station will be set up in London to “trace the skies and bring daily reports to our contenders and offenders”.
  • I have also been given my identity for the evening – A male School principle named Romeo Ferguson from Calico Rock??? Weird eh!?

All this is what secret cinema deem as the future of cinema and in all honesty I think it is. The marketing of it is so unique it throws away any conventional marketing theory out the window and into the face of film marketers, whom need to see what can be done with some creative thinking. The strategy for example is for customers to ‘tell no one’ and they promote the fact that customers shouldn’t tell anyone about the screening. Of course this means that people then do, and is helped by some ‘tasks’ required of the attendee in order to attend such as adding a symbol to their Facebook profile picture or, in the more recent case, the ID card being shown on the main Facebook picture, a fun experience I found personally when I get asked what it is and I reply with ‘I can tell no one’. One of my friends thought I had joined a wierd cult!

But it seems to work, with Prometheus they sold 30,000 tickets at £35 (thats over £1million revenue!), all with no one actually knowing what they were buying so it appears that the market for surprise does exist. I know that on the extreme end of this that there are companies that provide a service for you to be kidnapped! But…I think I will stick to watching a film thanks!

This will be the 19th screening of Secret Cinema since 2007 and in an interview recently with wired.co.uk the creative director, Fabien Riggall said “I really believe that in the future, all big films could be seen in this way, that cinema becomes more social, more magical, more of an experience than what’s currently on offer.”

I had a look today and there are still some limited tickets available- www.secretcinema.org

Remember – Tell no one (or in my case, write a blog post about it – well I’m not saying it out loud, that counts right?)

Happy Friday Everyone!

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