School Movie Night Made Easy (and Legal)

Alamo City Moms Blog and City Moms Blog Network are partnering with Swank Movie Licensing to share information about their services with our readers. This is a sponsored post.

Every PTA parent I know will tell you that planning and hosting fun, drama-free events that bring the community together while also raising funds for the school are the ultimate measures of success. But that can often seem like an elusive dream, especially in a time when over-the-top themed carnivals and events seem to be the norm.

I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that hard. You don’t have to bring in an animal farm and carnival rides to have a memorable, fun event. One of the best, easiest ways to make everyone happy is by hosting a family movie night.

Earlier this year, my fellow PTA board members and I immediately agreed that a family movie night would be a win-win situation—an easy way to engage families and raise additional funds for our school. We soon discovered that it’s illegal to have a movie night without properly licensing the movie you are going to show. Even if you already own a copy of a DVD, you don’t own the right to show it publicly even if your school is non-profit or not charging admission.

Luckily, there is an easy solution already in place. Swank Movie Licensing USA makes the process simple and legal. Their licensing service can make your movie night happen without breaking the bank. A public performance site license allows your school or library to legally show movies for non-teaching activities without the risk of copyright infringement.Swank Movie Licensing USA is the only place to get a comprehensive license that includes nearly all of the studios. That means you have a wide variety of movies to choose from, including those released by Walt Disney, DreamWorks, Lions Gate, Universal, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Sony and many more.

Ready to plan your school’s movie night? First, check with Swank to see if your school has an existing license. If so, you are in luck and ready to move forward with planning your movie event (skip to Step 2 below). If not, there are several ways to partner with Swank.

Step 1: Pick your plan.

There are a few different ways to license movies from Swank. You can buy a single viewing license, which is helpful if you only plan on having one or two movie events per year, or a year-long license, which allows anyone in the school the freedom and flexibility to screen as many movies as they want all year long.

Single Use: Request a quote, purchase your license, and go.

Multiple use: Enjoy unlimited movie viewing and maximize your fundraising potential. Other groups at school can also use it for:  rainy day recess, after-school care, and student rewards.

Step 2: Schedule and promote your movie night.

As I looked further into the Swank suite of services, I was delighted to see that they even offer free tools for maximizing impact. They have a free online webinar that covers how to raise funds and reach out to your community with your license through movie events. So not only do you get a license, you get the support and know-how to help maximize your fundraising potential.

Once you’ve picked your movie and a date, let Swank provide the templates and tips to promote your event. One of the best perks of Swank is that they provide FREE printable promo materials. Just log into your account, find the image you want to use, and edit to fit your school details—they have flyers, posters, and more.

Step 3: Enjoy movie night success.

Once your movie night has arrived, there are several creative ways to raise more money for your school. At our school’s fall movie night we held a concession stand and sold affordable snacks like hot dogs, chips, popcorn, and soda. I’ve found that parents are more than willing to donate items to help raise money fast, so don’t be shy about asking for their help.

Another idea is to host a themed food and film event. Sell meal tickets and show the movie as a bonus. Spaghetti is an easy, cheap, kid-favorite dish, and paired with a movie like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs —presto!–you have a themed event. Don’t want to bother with the cooking? Offer a local restaurant, food truck, or culinary school the chance to cook for publicity. Many will even donate a percentage of sales back to your school if you ask. It’s a win-win!

Finally, think about adding on “chance to win” options. Raffles, silent auctions, or gift basket prizes are popular fundraising add-ons.

Step 4: How to maximize your movie license.

Your school or PTA has purchased a Swank license…now what? In addition to hosting as many family movie nights as you would like, there are other ways to maximize the appeal and impact of your license agreements. Some other great fundraising ideas include:

  • Date night. This is an incredibly popular and lucrative fundraiser. Parents can get a night out while your PTA or PTO can keep kids entertained with a movie.
  • Rent out your space. A license from Swank Movie Licensing USA covers your entire school building, which means you can rent out space to others to legally show movies. This is an often underutilized option that has the bonus of passing on the work to another party while you sit back and raise money in a hands-off way.
  • Challenge your classes to a coin war. Encourage students to bring in coins to add to a classroom jar. The first class to fill their jar gets a special movie screening.

Ready to plan your event but still have questions? One of the best perks of Swank is that if you call for help you get to talk to a real person! No confusing automated menu to sort through, just genuine, old-fashioned customer service. In this overdigitized, over-automated day and age, I’ll take all the real connection I can get.

Want to learn more? Follow Swank on Social Media:

Swank Movies Site
Swank on Facebook
Swank on Twitter

Here’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. I was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, a sunny, cultura-rich land where la gente are the majority. As a child I spent my days doodling unicorns and puppies and people and anything that caught my fancy. Drawing was my life, and I dreamed of one day being an artist. After high school, I left town for a bit to attend Yale University but ran back to Texas as soon I’d tossed my graduation cap in the air. I got a “real” job in advertising, where I met my wonderful husband, Victor. In 2005, I got a little brave and decided to step into art full time, for the first time. I spent a year recreating the Mexican Loteria, updating it to reflect the symbols and culture I knew: the “Tex Mex” version. The My Loteria game and corresponding line of kitchenware appeared in H-E-B grocery stores and boutiques around the country, which was pretty cool! Fast forward a couple years, and Vic and I decided it made perfect sense to move to the middle of nowhere and sell ice in the desert (in Alpine, Texas, where we opened the Murphy St. Raspa Co., an homage to Mexican shaved ice, candy, art and culture). A baby later and with one more on the way, we decided to come back home to San Antonio to be closer to family. I landed my dream job as the Marketing Director of The DoSeum, San Antonio’s Museum for Kids. Life was good. But I knew deep down in my heart of hearts that I needed to give my art another try. And a little more than a year ago, I took that leap and never looked back. So here I am today: a mom to two awesome little girls, a muralist, portrait artist, wife, and social media addict. I built a tiny house art studio in my backyard, dusted off my paintbrush, and began painting again after a two-year dry spell. I recently completed my first large-scale public mural to celebrate the San Antonio missions’ World Heritage designation, and am plotting my next art move as I type. I spend my days painting portraits, planning murals, perusing social media, and being my kids’ scheduler in chief. And you know what? I’m having the time of my life.