Organizing an online screening with available free tools

The Experience

Tools You’ll Need

Things to Bear in Mind

  1. I suggest to give up the idea of live streaming. Live streaming of a recorded file (i.e — not a webcam) is surprisingly expensive or complicated. It’s possible though and there are efficient ways to do it (hint: OBS Studio and a strong internet connection are good starting points), but it’s beyond the scope of this post.
  2. Consider limiting the number of registrants (viewers). I will never stand in line for a restaurant or a club, but admit it adds prestige… Limited space and exclusivity are old marketing tricks, but they still work.
  3. Resist the temptation and start exactly on time. You want to create a real event and respectable events start on time. If #2 above was about “limited space”, that bullet would be about “limited time.”
    Another reason for it is that you want everyone to be there when you start your Q&A.
  4. Emphasize the Q&A: you might be surprised, but the session with the filmmaker / actor / writer is one of the main reasons for people to participate in an online screening in the first place. The Q&A makes it a community event. Otherwise it’s just a personal, lonely screening.
  5. Think production. An online screening is a production. With line-up and everything. Don’t get fooled by the idea you’re working from your balcony (like I do…): create a rigorous checklist, connect to the internet by cable (and make sure no one is watching an HD film on the same network), go the bathroom before the event begins, prepare good lighting if you are part of the Q&A, check your camera, double-check your microphone, have your mobile near you to send and receive messages in parallel, have someone assisting you if you’re not a multi-tasking person. It’s a total production and if people are bored, they will churn. The latter term (churn) is usually used for e-commerce, and yes, you are ‘selling’ your art, even if it’s free.


Google forms. Note the “Accepting responses” and the option to export to a spreadsheet, circled in red
I love Jitsi




Digital film distributor and founder of Movie Discovery VOD platform, QuickRights and Movies Everywhere . A former documentary filmmaker.

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Yoram Schaffer

Yoram Schaffer

Digital film distributor and founder of Movie Discovery VOD platform, QuickRights and Movies Everywhere . A former documentary filmmaker.

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