STEP 1: GENERATE SUPPORT
Talk to friends and acquaintances who share your thirst to support and make the local independent film and video projects. Seek media artists within the community. You’ll find them buying tickets at the local arthouse theaters, renting movies at video stores, and grousing over the latest releases at coffee shops. Post flyers at these and other artists hangoutsand don’t forget film programs at local schools! Look for film festivals or film societies in your area. These events typically attract filmmakers who know each other and are familiar with each other’s work. Contact the membership director at AIVF and ask for the Salon application package. This is a kit that is designed to aid Salon upstarts and help you articulate your thoughts about the new Salon.
STEP 2: BRAINSTORM
Gather the group for an initial meeting to discuss the realities of making independent media in your area, and particularly, how your Salon could best meet the needs of the community. Let each person express their interests, and figure out what resources in your community foster the group goal of supporting independently created work. These can include public access television stations, media centers, and libraries. Consider organizations that might be able to donate space, equipment, refreshments, or even ideas. Space is essential. Your group will need an informal place to gather. A Salon can start in your living room, coffee shop, or bar and later relocate to a larger venue such as a media center. Find what works best for your group.
Set up a structure: Talk about out what others would like to do within a salon and how they would like it to run. Salons can support film festivals, production, education through panels and lecture series, and exhibition. Discover the interests of your group and the strengths of your community. Think about the goals of the group: Are you forming to bring more production into your area, should you focus on exhibition of locally produced work? Are you forming to be an educational tool for makers in your area, or do you want to be a central networking resource for production? Know your goals, yourself, and your community. Evaluate the viability of your intentions. Are you serving the community in a broad sense? Are you creating a unique resource? During this brainstorming session, you should be consulting the Salon application, which will help you form a mission statement, establish contacts, and construct a decision-making process.
STEP 3: NAME YOUR GROUP
This will make things easier in the long run. Be creative, catchy, and fun, or be ironic, sarcastic, and cantankerous. Either way, your name should be one that people can easily remember. This is an opportunity to build long-term relationships with your community, as well as a way to solidify the community that exists around mediamakers in your region. Let your name speak to that ideal of unification.
STEP 4: STAY IN TOUCH WITH AIVF
Call, write, or e-mail the membership director in the AIVF office in New York. Almost the entire staff is from outside of NYC and will understand your needs. Through AIVF, you’ll find that Salons present the means to connect with fellow filmmakers not only locally, but all across the country! AIVF can help you spread the word by assisting you with mailings, materials, and a listing in "The Independent Film and Video Monthly".
STEP 5: MAKE A GAME PLAN
Organize a few events that would be realistic to produce and would benefit filmmakers in your area. Consult your notes from your initial meeting: What does your community need? Think broadly. You can plan for the entire year, or you can plan from meeting-to-meeting. Regardless of your structure, it is important to delegate the responsibilities to a coordinating group, and it helps to involve as many people as possible. To keep everyone informed, create a listserv, phone tree, or voice mailbox that everyone can access.
STEP 6: SPREAD THE WORD
Send the membership and advocacy director your completed Salon application. AIVF will call you up enthusiastically and tell you what a great job you are doing. The membership director will confirm your goals and make sure you have sufficient resources to represent the AIVF community in your area. Once AIVF has given you the green light, we’ll put your information on the web and in the magazine, for all to see.
STEP 7: DO YOUR THING
Now that your Salon has been planted, have fun and watch it grow.