Star and Shadow handbook
From The Star And Shadow Cinema Wiki
The Star and Shadow is a fundamentally different type of cinema
Please do not make the mistake of considering that The Star and Shadow exists to host your idea. It exists for you to participate in running something that gives you the opportunity for you to explore your creative ideas.
The Star and Shadow is made up of, and run entirely by, its volunteers; there are no paid staff or traditional hierarchical structures. Anyone can become a volunteer and get involved in any aspect of the organisation.
The ethical position of the Star and Shadow is based on flux, knowledge sharing, debate, and other factors not yet noticed. Star and Shadow is like a doughnut. It has no centre. It is an environment where mutually supportive individuals collaborate to keep a truly inspirational building and programme of events going on in Newcastle upon Tyne for as long as possible into the future; where protons and electrons bash around randomly, the result of which is by and large a 'stable' entity.
So first rule is that no rule is fixed, or sacred. The organisation has tendencies, not codes.
One could say the S&S is based on concepts of the DIY subculture. DIY questions the supposed uniqueness of the expert's skills, and promotes the ability of the ordinary person to learn to do more than he or she thought was possible. It explicitly critiques modern consumer culture's emphasis that the solution to our needs is to purchase things/ professional services, and instead encourages people to take technologies into their own hands to solve needs. This can be said of physical, structural things like kitting out a building fit for purpose, and of abstract, metaphysical things like how do we approach 'organisation', 'hierarchy', 'knowledge,' 'power', 'culture' and other stuff.
Other ethical tendencies to be found at Star and Shadow in cliché form are: recycle, reuse, reduce; think global/ act local; mutual aid and co-operation; autonomy; openness and transparency; free speech/ freedom of expression; many hands make light work; non hierarchy; accessibility; from each according to their means, to each according to their needs; human rights; responsible/ethical consumerism; local and organic; nothing ventured, nothing gained, etc. No animals were harmed in the making of this cinema.
Memoranda and Articles.
The Star and Shadow is not a building. (Ceci n'est pas un batiment.)
The capacity of the Star and Shadow activity is the collective energy and commitment of the volunteers who make things happen in it, not the building itself.
To programme something, be it a film, a gig, an exhibition, a fundraising event, or any of the other things that happen here, involves everything to make that event happen - the logistics of running the building, publicising the event, covering costs and the content.
Because the building is open regularly, some general building running actions are maintained on a regular basis. However each event needs to liaise with the general running and with the events before and after it so that everything runs smoothly.
In order to run well we need lots of good communication and sharing of workloads. And we can only do what we all collectively can manage. Different types of programming may signify different types of involvement but a transparency and a desire for open communication is crucial to working well.
The Star and Shadow is a building:
It costs: £120 a day (based on number of days we are open a year) to cover rent, rates, utilities, license, insurance (i.e. to have a building in working order)
In theory, the takings on the door should cover the costs of putting on events, plus a contribution to the running costs. For all programming this is the general rule, and we hope that over time we balance out, by some events being cheaper and more popular, and some expensive and maybe less popular.
Getting involved in the Star and Shadow is in practice very simple, but explaining what being involved means - for whom, how and why - is very tricky. Its one of the reasons this handbook has been written. For people wanting to put on events, its important to get involved first, in order to have a general understanding of the complexity and burden of putting on things at the S&S. Often, someone turns up at a meeting with a new idea, excited about putting it on at the Star and Shadow, and it proves very hard for them to understand the various jobs that would need to be done (which don't have specific supervisors as in a regular hierarchical organisation), and equally complicated and exasperating trying to explain it all – it somehow ends up in a mutually humiliating stand off, and a resorting to the language of “We” and “You”, rather than the “Us” the S+S aspires to be. So, here is an attempt to explain!
The principal is that people -put in- to the cinema the same amount they -get out- of it, which is why it should be sustainable. To cope with the administrative, legal and maintenance responsibilities of running a business open to the public, the idea is that many hands make light work.
To expand on that, involvement means: wanting to play a part in shaping the place; being involved outside of putting on one particular event; caring about the building; understanding and sharing tasks according to time and skills – existing, new or shared; strategically planning for the longer term; participating in budgeting; respecting other volunteers and their ideas, both individual and collective; working in collaboration with other volunteers.
Here are some steps to getting involved in a broader participation in this place.
Step 1: The Induction. On every first Thursday, at 6.00pm and every second Saturday of the month, at 11am, there is an hour-long induction, including an ACCESS ALL AREAS tour, a brief history of the how, why and what of the S&S and a brief training intro to working at the bar, in the box office and fire safety.
Step 2: Sign up to the volunteers email list: (and any others that you are interested in – programming, bar, etc.) These are points of communication between volunteers outside of meetings. email@example.com
Step 3: The Meetings: See the 'Meetings' section. (but quickly, general meetings are 1st and 3rd mondays of the month, programming meetings are 2nd and 4th mondays.
Step 4: Signing up for shifts: We have a paper system currently behind the bar, which has a month at a time for signing up your name for bar, door, usher, projectionist or key holder.
Step 5: Organising an event (film/gig etc.): Read on! This document will become more and more useful to you.
HOW YOU PUT ON AN EVENT AND WHAT'S INVOLVED
How do I/you put on an event at the Star and Shadow?
Congratulations! You have read this booklet, participated in an induction and done your first shift as a volunteer…..now you're ready to put on an event, a film or a gig.
1.Bring your ideas, hopes, plans to the next Monday night Programming Meeting.
This is a forum to share ideas and work out how they might be put into action with other people. These meetings take place on the second and fourth Mondays of the month and it's a good chance to meet other people who programme events at the Star and Shadow.
THE DIARY GETS BOOKED UP FAR IN ADVANCE SO THIS FIRST PROGRAMMING MEETING MAY STILL BE MONTHS BEFORE YOUR EVENT DATE.
At this meeting, you may well be hooked up with a 'Shadow', someone who is familiar with putting on things and is happy to support you.
USAGE OF THE SPACE
Through reading this booklet and the following section you should be able to work out how you and your project relates to the Star and Shadow - the more you get involved the easier and cheaper everything becomes.
Usage could be but is not limited to: Film screenings, Artist films and presentations, Gig nights, club-type events, Exhibitions and Exhibition openings, Fundraisers, Markets, Meetings - public and private, Rehearsals, Office based stuff, Filmmaking, Making things in the workshop, Long term/ongoing use of building, Private hires, Workshops.
Usage CAN'T really be: Private birthday/wedding parties, product launches.
USAGE V. COST: WHO TAKES THE DOUGH
Ca$h rules everything around me, so said Wu Tang Clan. However a core ideal of S&S is to forge relationships outside of cash-type exchanges. As the Star and shadow is run on the trust of all the volunteers involved and the public that come into contact with the cinema, it is vital that all financial agreements are seen to be transparent and honest. To clarify, using space at the cinema can be categorised into the following relationships:
The star and shadow (s&s) refers to the collective of members and volunteers, formalised as a Community Interest Company.
The Building is the space and resources that are available for the activities of the Star and Shadow to happen.
Volunteer: (please read the "involvement" section.) No charge for using the space; inclusion in brochure; volunteer support; S&S underwriting the costs of the event/usage and taking the income. Negotiation about use of The Building.
COST: £0 but £120 should be budgeted for building overheads - this can come from tickets, grants etc and is negotiable at a monday meeting.
Use of equipment: If equipment is used for an event, this should be budgeted for over and above the building overheads. (see section:"£120??")
Who Gets the Money: S&S takes ticket sales, membership money and bar sales.
Please take the next step and read about the budgeting form.
Independent: This is for people who want to retain independence in their event, but still want to involve an S&S volunteer (buddy? Shadow? Star?) in their planning and delivery. An 'independent' is someone who understands the ethos and running of S &S and would be doing something that fitted within the aims of the S&S. However S&S will not underwrite the cost of the event/usage and the running costs of The Building also have to be met (£120p.d, which would need to be incorporated into the ticket price and paid in advance or on the night (see section: "£120??").
Inclusion in the brochure; 'Independents' are responsible for providing volunteers, number to be decided at a meeting, in consultation with the s+s volunteer liaison for that event.
COST: £120 running costs of The Building, (negotiable - e.g. for a meeting, a donation towards electricity & heating would be nice.)
Who Gets the Money? Independent gets ticket sales (minus S&S building overheads and equipment costs), S&S takes bar sales and membership money.
Please take the next step and read about the budgeting form.
Co-promotion:Independent promoter as above, but at the outset an agreement is made about who will underwrite which costs, and how the ticket money will be split. This arrangement needs to be thoroughly discussed at monday meetings. Bar sales and membership still go to the cinema.
Private Hire:We do private hires based on the capacity of individual S&S volunteers to oversee the event planning and production. We have done conferences and workshops with the University, private screenings of community films and theatre productions and others. We charge according to what people can honestly afford from £300 per day down to free if it is particularly close to a volunteer's heart.
An organisation or person wanting a private hire must find a volunteer/keyholder that is willing to take on the private hire, by emailing their request. It is the responsibility of the volunteer taking on the private hire to ensure the event is put on the wiki, a keyholder opens up and the money is paid.
COST: £300 + VAT per day for public sector/ university/ profit-making.
£150 + VAT per day for not-for-profit/ community use or if there is a good reason e.g. the cinema would not otherwise be used and the organiser cannot afford more.
Charge per item of equipment used that has upkeep costs associated, (see section "£120??")
Who Gets the Money? S&S invoices for hire and takes any bar sales and membership money (a publicly open event must collect and enforce membership but a private closed event like a birthday party does not need membership).
Not one of these? i.e having meetings, rehearsals, making stuff. Really you need to be putting something in to the organisation to make it fair, yeah!
General building overheads The star and shadow makes a small profit from bar takings, but it costs £600 a week in rent, heating and electricity etc. to keep the building open (£120 per available programming day; i.e. five days per week). The Star and Shadow also believes in diverse and exciting programming that sometimes only appeals to a small set of people. So the star and shadow hopes to subsidise the smaller events with larger events and it needs more than just bar takings to survive - a very successful night might take £400 in bar profits, which is only 2/3 of a week - not very much when you consider the next big event could be in 2 weeks time. Event organisers should try and build a £120 donation to the star and shadow in to the budget for an event. This is not because we want to increase the possible losses of a person or group wishing to put on an event, but to ensure that the star and shadow can also benefit from successful events.
The £120 for the cinema which should be included in an event budget is important but is negotiable, IF you have a good reason why an event might not be financially successful and it is agreed at a star and shadow meeting that a lesser amount is ok. Of course, if the organiser wants to give all profits to the star and shadow they should still include £120 in the budget and any extra given to us is very gratefully received!
If an event is not successful, S&S does not expect the event organiser to make a massive loss to cover the star and shadow (S&S is prepared to share the loss and does not expect to be paid first) but we would like the event organiser to pay as much of the £120 as they are reasonably able to do (S&S shouldn't be last on the list to be paid either).
The £120 daily costs are worked out to cover fixed costs. It would be unfair to burden every event with a per event fraction of the total cost of running the cinema, so equipment whose use can be directly attributed to individual events should be paid for by ticket money from those events. These costs need to be included at the budgeting stage (see section: "Budget Form").
Here is a breakdown of certain specific costs:
35mm Projector:[costing needs to be done]
Cinema digital projector:[costing needs to be done]
Bar video projector and speakers: [costing needs to be done]
Slide projector:[costing needs to be done]
16mm projector:[costing needs to be done]
Dark room:[costing needs to be done]
Cottage kitchen: [costing needs to be done]
In the case of volunteer and independent gigs we want to make the organisation of your event more transparent in order to help the star and shadow know what events are happening in the future, manage its finances and also help people who may not have much event experience to manage their finances. We do this with a budget form in which an event organiser writes down their costs (promotion, event cost, star and shadow cost) and an estimate as to how many people will turn up and therefore what the ticket price may be. Even a film season where the costs are straight forward should have a form, but in this case the details should be easier to fill out.
The budget form is not a draconian measure but is there to help event organisers and ensure the star and shadow has quality, organised events. However, when filling in the budgeting form the names of the promoters and their agreed split of financial responsibility should be clearly stated (e.g. try to be specific).
Because financial arrangements are crucial to running an event, and if the only person who has made the arrangements cannot attend the event, it would be best practice to have two star and shadow volunteers to know what arrangements have been made so that finances can be resolved at the end of the night.
If the meeting consensus is positive and you are in the wiki and you've read this handbook then the next step is to organise your event and complete the budget form so that your event can be confirmed (if everything is organised at the meeting where you propose the event then the budget form could be submitted at that time).
The rest of this section deals with a few of things that are always key to any event and which will come up...
WHAT IS BEHIND EVERY EVENT AT S&S
Membership: For ANY public event that is advertised as happening here everyone attending must become a member (£1 per calendar year). This is a part of the license operating procedures. The only exceptions are private events that are not advertised publicly or private hires. Membership income always goes to the cinema - it goes to towards costs of publicity.
Bar: Bar income always goes to the cinema. This is bread and butter money and goes towards our upkeep. The bar is stocked generally and there is a bar team who manage this. The bar team need info on expected numbers and preferences to order correctly. (e.g. if an event is white wine spritzers themed, the Bar team can make sure that there is lots of white wine and soda if they know in advance.) Please read Bar Ethics for more info.
Location: Events that are noisy can happen in the bar or cinema. Unfortunately that means no loud music or live music in the big hallway space because the neighbours can hear it.
Keyholders: All events need a keyholder present who can open and lock up but also has knowledge of the building and takes responsibility for it.
Everything needs to be discussed! Communication is what makes things happen. Come to a meeting, or if Monday eves are impossible, get in touch and find someone to talk about it on your behalf.
The wiki is where its at: This wiki is the collaborative, web-based information site and is how the complicated programme is managed. Please read instructions on booking pages and use the wiki for booking events. wiki.starandshadow.org.uk
S+S has a license: Which everyone is collectively responsible for maintaining. For all info look here: S+S license
Staffing Knowing how busy an event will be is important so that the right number of volunteers are available to work it. Experienced volunteers can advise on this.
Preparation and Tidying Making any event happens includes all preparations before and clearing up afterwards. Leaving clearing up for others is not on! Checking what is on before and after will help to share this workload too.
Publicity It is everyone's responsibility to publicise any event at S+S. Some publicity is done by S+S regularly – weekly email, bi monthly brochure and listings to press. There are some helpful pointers about publicity and who to contact on the wiki (Publicity_tasks) and there is also a publicity group who can advise and support. Independent publicity is highly encouraged. You can also get posters for films from certain sources. Check 'contacts' page on the wiki.
Information for the S+S brochure must be supplied ? weeks before the beginning of that programming period to ensure it gets in to the programme.
To create a facebook event, please contact one of the S+S Group administrators and ask them to make you an admin. You can then create events hosted by the S+S Group and invite the members to your events.
Press - The S+S has a press in the office to mass produce black and white posters???
Legal: Capacity - Currently 220 (or 200?) but this includes volunteers and performers. In addition if you are just using the bar area, upto 140 can be seated comfortably.
health and safety,
Money: Please see the section on money to learn about how money is split up.
Floats - The Star And Shadow can provide floats for the bar and the door, even if the event is being organised as an independent promotion. The Keyholder on the night will provide a £100 float which is then re-counted and put back in the safe at the end of the night.
Cashing Up - At the end of the night (or after the door or bar has closed) cashing up needs to occur - the float is separated and then any money going to the star and shadow is put inside bags with a slip that specifies the date, event and what the money is for (membership/bar/door/technical costs)
Box Office Returns.
Technical: Any technical requirements for any event need to be clearly identified in advance to make sure that all equipment is on site and available, and volunteers can provide relevant support when required. For information, look for technical information on the wiki or email the S+S Tech List.
Do you have working equipment? - The state of the equipment varies all time time. Most of the time the S+S has a working PA, Stage Lights, one working organ and a piano that is in tune but one semi-tone below concert pitch.
Technical operators - The tech group has regular meetings to train people to use the various pieces of equipment and there are volunteers proficient in different pieces of equipment.
Tech safety issues?
Content: Quality control (?),
Link to s&s objectives (clarify these in ethos),
Know how to & book it.
Venue: Waste disposal / Recycling,
Effort to look and feel good,
Opening and closing,
Familiarity with building (safety, access, elec and heating, wireless network),
Cleaning up esp. toilets,
Bar and Box office stocked and ready,
Prep of equipment and furniture,
Knowledge about which space is being used,
Timetable of parts of building in use/collaboration + clashes.
How you leave equipment,
Administration follow up: Returns, Data entry, Banking, Monitoring forms, Accounting.
We have regular meetings every Monday at 6pm at the cinema. Everyone is welcome to come along and share their thoughts and ideas on the many and varied topics that arise. However, it is advisable to have been to an induction to get an overall picture of the running of the Star and Shadow before coming along to a meeting. There is a flat (or rather no) hierarchy and anyone coming to a meeting can be involved in our consensus decision making.
The regular meetings alternate each week between general meetings, programming and publicity. General meetings can include topics such as building and maintenance, financial dispositions, legalities, working procedures and more. Programming meetings generally include film season ideas, one-off events, new proposals and so on. Publicity meetings can include press contacts and how to improve our visibility, programme distribution and postering.
Our meetings are:
* 1st Monday of the month – General meeting * 2nd Monday of the month – Programming meeting * 3rd Monday of the month – General meeting * 4th Monday of the month – Programming and publicity meeting * 5th Monday (when it occurs) – Social (we do something nice and don't minute it!)
There are also other meetings that are arranged throughout the month on an ad hoc basis. These meetings are more specific to a particular area within the running of the Star and Shadow. For example, meetings can be called by the Bar Team, Technical Team, Publicity Team, Programming Team, Volunteer Co-ordination Team, Team Admin and Project Big Clean. If you are inclined to get involved in a more focused way then you are, of course, more than welcome to sign up!
Shadowing: Not quite so insistent as the long shadows that follow you on a sunny day in winter, your S & S Shadow will appear beside you, helping to ease your path towards putting on an all-round-successful event. But your shadow is not to be stitched to your feet! Your shadow is there to answer questions and guide you in order for you to shine like the star that you are (star, shadow...you see what we've done?!)
Its your responsibility to read this book, but your shadow will help you to understand a bit about the S & S and becoming involved, talk through any concerns you have and support you in filling out the EVENT PLANNING SHEET (see page ....) The process of filling in this sheet will encourage you to plan well, thinking about the finances, publicity and logistics for your event and hopefully illuminating some of the subtle nuances of the S & S.
You (the person/collective/organisation organising something at the S & S) and your Shadow will arrange to meet up, or be in contact as soon as possible and as often as deemed necessary. However, it is dependent on the availability of a shadow and one cannot be guaranteed for everyone who wants one. So please approach the S & S by email, come along to an induction and a meeting and let's see what we (stars and shadows) can do.
TESTIMONIES FROM VOLUNTEERS, PUNTERS ETC
"I was hugely impressed by what had been achieved, largely on voluntary labour, and by the professionalism of the whole event, run apparently on a shoestring budget. There is an enthusiasm and spiritness in this bunch of people which is rare to see and extremely invigorating. I wish them the very best for the future." - Guy Sherwin (Artist)
"I think the Star and Shadow is a testament to the human sprit! A number of idealistic individuals have come together to provide an artistic hub that relies on volunteers, which is not only important in itself, but provides an example to others in what can be done with sheer belief and willpower. On a subjective level, I go along to be stimulated and entertained, enjoying everything from Woody Allen classics to home-made 'Super 8' movies. The bar has proven to be a relaxed space in which to meet my friends and I've watched (and played with) excellent performers on the Star and Shadow stage. Newcastle would be a poorer place in its absence." - Paul Smith (Maximo Park)
"I just returned from my exhibit in Newcastle which was fantastic. It was a perfect environment to share 43(two). The Star and Shadow Cinema is a volunteer led and driven organization - how extraordinary to be among the company of such talented and impassioned artists and arts enthusiasts, whose only aim is creation and the sharing thereof. This is the soul of art. The multi-faceted space has many stories to be guessed, none to be known for certain it reminded me of an old Victorian Stable which had been converted into an industrial holding space before being commandeered by the S&S folk. The film projections 'brought a certain magic into the space' (as commented by one viewer). In addition the Super8 of Threadswas presented for the first time. The combination of all these elements resulting in a highly successful and well received event! - Kate E Deeming (Artist)
When asked why he volunteered and what he liked about volunteering, Craig replied, "The chance to do creative things and be with people I like and respect." - Craig Wilson (Urban and Eastern & Volunteer)
"Earlier this year I was approached by the organisers of the Star and Shadow Cinema and asked to present a programme of my film and video work at their venue. I don't normally travel 300 miles to do a single screening but I had heard good things about the organisation and was curious to see the cinema for myself, so I decided to accept. My visit to Newcastle confirmed that I had made the right decision. On arriving at the cinema a few hours before my screening on June 20th I was immediately impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of the people who run it. I was proudly shown around the excellent cinema space (where an enormous amount had been achieved with limited resources and second-hand and borrowed equipment) and told about their additional plans to create a film production workshop on site (again utilising mainly donated or discarded machinery). It was very apparent that the success of the operation was highly dependent on the resourcefulness and commitment of the volunteer staff and their friends. My screening in the evening was attended by a large and attentive audience. The technical presentation of both the film and video work was excellent, and superior to that found in many high profile and well funded galleries and cinemas. I was very impressed by the diversity of the audience and the depth of the questions raised in my Q & A at the end of the screening (the audience diversity is no doubt largely due to the extremely eclectic programming and the admirable policy of low ticket prices, which extends to free entry to aslyum seekers). The post screening discussion went on for the best part of an hour and then continued on a less formal level in the friendly adjacent bar, making my visit to Newcastle worthwhile in itself. To conclude, I cannot praise the Star and Shadow highly enough and can't think of anywhere more deserving of Arts Council support. I just wish that there was a similar venue screening artists' film and video in London." - John Smith (Film and Video Artist and Professor of Fine Art, University of East London)
"I can't really remember how I got involved with the Star and Shadow, but I sure am pleased that I did. I remember sitting in the old Cineside office getting excited about plans to build a new cinema and feeling amazement at what a group of people can do when they set their minds to it. I have been a volunteer from the beginning of this adventure. I've taken part in the amazing building festivals where skills are shared and gained, and a great community is experienced. I have programmed seasons of films, I send out the weekly email announcements, have made contact with the press, worked on the door and the bar and been a Star and Shadow 'Shadow' for several events which helps others get involved for the first time. Volunteering is important as you get new skills and meet new people but most of all you are part of what keeps the cinema alive. There have been so many great events at the cinema, from amazing films and gigs to meetings and socials. It's main charm is that you get to see films that otherwise you wouldn't see. I believe in the Star and Shadow! Without it, Newcastle would not be the same place." - Rebecca Knight (Volunteer)
"Tyneside Rape Crisis Centre (TRCC) used the Star & Shadow Cinema 21st January 2009 to screen the film “Consent” and held a discussion in the bar afterwards. In the lead up to the event the staff and volunteers from TRCC felt supported by the volunteers of Star & Shadow with reference to all of the preparation and promotion of the event. Star & Shadow allowed TRCC to use the facilities free of charge, if there had been a charge attached to the use of the facilities TRCC may not have been able to go ahead with the screening. The Star & Shadow was a perfect venue for our event; the atmosphere was in keeping with our ethos. The volunteers at the Star & Shadow really contributed to the ambience of the evening. TRCC feel that this event gave the audience the chance to discuss the practicalities of prosecuting a sexually violent crime as well as look at the emotional implications for the survivor. The film also sheds some light on to how subjective juries can be in these cases. TRCC believe that without the space to discuss these issues after experiencing the film people are left with questions unanswered, the Star & Shadow provided the perfect space for this discussion to take place. What follows are some quotes from members of the public who attended the event: “I thought the evening was very well-organised and there was a very positive and supportive atmosphere.” “I thought the film was very effective and left me with a lot to reflect on.” “I thought having the option of staying behind to discuss Consent was an excellent idea.”" - Tyneside Rape Crisis Centre
to go through as individual/at a meeting:
(needs work but for starters)
- Have you volunteered at the cinema before?
- If not, can you come to an induction and work a few shifts before your event?
- Same questions to your team.
- Have you read the Handbook carefully?
- Have you checked the programme to see what else your event may fit with?
- Have you checked the wiki to see the structure of a week/month?
- How far along is your content - are you looking to create a team or do you come fully formed (tech/design/publicity/staff/production)
IDEAS FOR DESIGN/ LAYOUT.