As I hinted at in my last email to the group, I've been thinking of restarting the discussion Meetups, however, life is necessitating some changes if we do.
Here's an executive summary, and full details below:
* Discussion Meetups will be on weekends, every other month.
* In preparation, attendees are expected to watch 2-3 films centered on a theme. The films selected will be a mix of mainstream, indie, foreign, recent, classic, etc.
* More casual discussions (which don't require prep) may be scheduled from time to time, but not on a regular schedule. If someone else is interested planning these, I can help you out.
* Feedback requested: is this something you'd be interested in and willing to commit to on a per-Meetup basis? Are you willing to pay a little money to see these films? Whether through streaming/rental services, or seeing films while still in theaters?
For those that like to keep things short and sweet, I think that covers it. If you'd like to hear more about my specific thoughts, keep reading.
So, the need for change is because I'm starting a new job on Monday, and it's a late shift (noon - 8pm), hence weekday evenings are no longer available for me to run these discussions. I can't really commit to an afternoon/evening each month, though I think every other month could work well.
Also, talking with Alyssa about this a bit, for us anyway, we've found that the conversations are most interesting when we're discussing films that everyone has already seen and giving it a deep dive.
With all this in mind, for the discussions, I'll pick three films centered around a theme, which we will discuss in-depth at the Meetup. Attendees are expected to watch at least two of the three films on their own ahead of time, so that we all have a similar baseline to contribute to the discussion. I'll do my best to announce the films well ahead of time so you have plenty of time to hunt down and watch the films. If folks would like to set up mini-Meetups to watch these, that's great, but I won't have the time to host any myself.
When selecting themes, it could be anything from a genre, a particular setting/city, a stylistic choice (eg., long takes, black & white during color era, linked short stories, stories that take place in less than 24 hours, etc.), or whatever. For variety, I'd probably avoid focusing on a specific filmmaker or country, though that would certainly be a possibility for the future.
For selecting individual films, availability will be a high priority, I will make sure that all the films are available for streaming/rental/library, or are still in theaters. This does mean that you will be expected to spend a little bit of money to see these movies, though probably not much more (if at all) than most of us already spend to watch movies anyway. Aside from availability, I'd like to have a least one film that covers each of these categories (most films will fulfill a few): art house/independent, mainstream/Hollywood, foreign, classic, recent (< 5 years perhaps?).
I think there's still room for the more topic driven discussions (I particularly liked the "2013 in review" Meetup), but I'm thinking that these will work better when scheduled on shorter notice when there's a newsworthy item to discuss. Alternatively, if someone else wants to volunteer to take the reins on that, I'd be glad to share my notes for discussion topic ideas.
Finally, we'll need to find a good venue for these discussions. Unfortunately, we won't have access to Running Start (where we held a number of these discussions) during the weekends.
Anyway, please let me know what you think. If enough people are interested, I think this could be a lot of fun, and result in some great conversation, but I also don't want to spend too much time planning this if no one else is on-board. If there's interest, I'm hoping to schedule the first one of these for mid-September.
PS. I'm thinking before then would be a good time to do a mid-summer, "what have you been watching" catch-up.
PPS. I don't know for sure when, but I fully expect Boyhood to come to Worcester (it's high profile enough that it should reach Showcase Art), if we don't break down and drive out to Boston for this before then, we'll likely set up a Meetup when we go to see it.