About this project
It's the very last day of our Kickstarter and we'd like to ask you for a little more help.
We reached our goal, but the reality is that the transition to digital projection is just our first hurdle. The Screening Room will survive. Now we want to assure that the Screening Room can be enjoyed for many years to come. Any additionally pledges will go into maintaining and supporting both the theater’s new equipment as well as the aging existing equipment.
Please help us by taking a little time to tell a few extra friends, family, or coworkers who might not have heard about our fundraising efforts, or that might have planned to pledge, but have forgotten. Every little bit counts. Thanks so much for you support throughout this fundraiser.
As it stands the Screening Room is a modestly profitable enterprise, this even in the face of the little theater industry seeming to be going the way of the dinosaur. The tiny storefront on State Street in Newburyport has been running reels nightly since '82 and the audience keeps coming.
We opened in '82 with 16mm projectors, those table top models so familiar from the grade schools of the 20th century. That worked as people still had to leave home to see a movie. Shortly after that however came cable TV and home video and we upgraded to 35mm projectors, the monsters now visible as you enter our lobby.
Years went by, we ran the reels nightly. We oiled and greased, cleaned and maintained our proud symbols of 20th century technology. They rattled, they rumbled, they made a lot of noise, they were hot and heavy but they ran and ran and ran. They still run. We're still here.
The Screening Room has earned its way as an important niche in the Newburyport arts scene. Some of our customers have no memory of our not being here. There are 30-somethings who remember puppet shows from their childhood who now come in the evening. Senior citizens were once younger and wished they had time to come now do come regularly.
Now technology is nipping at our heels again. 35mm is no longer the technology of the day. 35mm is now the voice of the past, soon to be silenced as 35mm film will no longer be produced. We need to convert to digital technology.
The challenge is to upgrade. Digital is actually a big improvement in technology. All film eventually becomes toxic waste so digital answers that issue.
It is not a given that we will always be here. We must go digital or fade into the past. It has happened before. In Colonial times there were rows of alehouses that served as the theaters of the day. Long gone they are. In the roaring 20s of the last century there were vaudevillian theaters that packed in the crowds, ghosts of an audience they are now. Post World War 11 saw movie houses in Newburyport that are now department stores, banks and a health club.
Our continued existence is no more assured than those Colonial alehouses, vaudevillian palaces or movie theaters gone by.
WE'RE NOT THE ONLY ONES WHO NEED YOUR HELP
Many independent theaters throughout the country are struggling to find the funds to go digital or face closure. Please consider supporting these other great Kickstarter campaigns. Not only will you be supporting a great cause, but you may find some great incentives!
- Arlee Theater in Mason City, IL - Celebrating it's 77 year, the Arlee has taken a firm stance under family management: to provide family-friendly entertainment only. In a time when small towns are dying, supporting this campaign is something you can do that will help many others.
- Uptown Theatre in Port Townsend, WA - Opening on April 5th 1947, the Uptown is owned and operated by the 3rd Generation of the founding family. This unique large single auditorium theatre not only provides an extra special movie going experience... It is living history.
- Lewis Theatre in Lewisburg, WV - Originally built as both a cinema and vaudeville house, The Lewis has shown an estimated 5000 different films and countless live performances over the last 74 years, and is a charter member of the WV Historic Theatre Trail. The theatre works hard to pick movies of merit, not just what will sell, because they believe their community deserves to see the highest quality films, regardless of box office numbers.
Risks and challenges
We've done our homework. Right off the bat we were wise enough to define ourselves correctly according to size. The equipment, both newer digitally as well as conventionally, is sized according to the "throw" of light to the screen. We were sure to state that our "throw," at 55' is very short. Thus we do not need to overkill our equipment needs.
A mainstream theater may "throw" light 100-200' and need a very powerful machine. We can get by with a much smaller yet museum-quality projector. This brings our need down from over 100K to "only" 60K. We are always sure to quote the word "only."
We managed to define our need most appropriately as a Solaria One or D projector. This was after a number of false leads, dead-ends and digressions, the usual research route. We came to three reliable quotes from Boston Light and Sound, Integrity Entertainment Systems and All Media. From this point we were concerned with initial cost, maintenance costs and maintenance personnel availability, and after thorough research and carefully weighing our options we chose Integrity Entertainment Systems.
Integrity Entertainment Systems, out of Niskayuna NY, came to our attention through Christie Digital Systems. Christie is the gold standard of digital projection systems. Integrity is a Christie distributor and as such uses the Christie parts and service systems. Integrity has personnel local to the North Shore and Boston area through Christie.
So we have chosen Integrity/Christie as our brand and service provider.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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