A blog about movies and filmmaking.

The Subculture Of Line-Waiting

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Waiting in line is not a new thing. Anyone that has been to the DMV, a theme-park or even an all-you-can eat restaurant; has stood in line for something that might seem silly to someone else. (I mean, why do you need a driver’s license to drive around?) But, there is a subculture that has sort of developed in what might not be considered “normal life”.


And most of this is focussed on people that wait in line to watch movies – hence why I’m writing about it. Fortunately, or not, I have been indoctrinated to and I have to admit that beyond the random eccentrics that you’ll inevitably meet through standing in line; I never quite saw how odd it really was until I took a friend that had never done it before. Part of that story has to do with the fact that I was uncharacteristically surrounded by “weirdo’s”, which normally I’m not. (I leave that to my not-too-approachable demeanor – which is all a front, by the way.)

Anyway, there are even numerous forms of line-waiter; from the obsessive fans that camp out for days if not weeks to catch the newest release of their favorite property. (I’m looking at you TWILIGHT and STAR WARS geeks.) There are people that just stand in line to catch glimpses of their favorite stars – no specific examples here, other than just most fans. And finally, and the focus of this post; the free screening line waiters.

Free screenings, for those not in the know, are movie screenings that can be anything from a word of mouth screening put on for the general public by the studio; the press junket screening that allows non-press to attend and fill up the seats (because despite the axiom, “everyone’s a critic”; not everyone has a press pass), and finally premiere events that the lucky few – or sometimes the lucky everyone if the premiere has an overflow theater – attend. (I’ve been to a few of these and it’s interesting for me to attend a show wearing my crusty hoodie and broken down sneakers, sitting beside a guy in a tux and a woman in a designer gown.) The funniest thing about these line waiters though, is that more than likely they’re just waiting in line for something to do. Not because they’re that particularly excited to see a certain movie they’re there to see – most have no clue what they’re seeing – or even seem to attend movies that would seem to fit their demographic. Not that an old woman shouldn’t have an interest in seeing JONAH HEX, but a lot of times these people will stand in line for hours and then leave twenty minutes in, because they don’t care for what they’re seeing.

“But how do people know about these free screenings,” you may ask. Well, there are many, many websites; mailing lists; and contests, that give out tickets. And just to increase the highly competitive field of line-waiting;I’m going to give you, my dear readers (all two of you), a list of the sites you can go to, to try and see your own movies for free.

GOFOBO and FILM METRO are my main two sites. You have to sign up for accounts with each one, but then it’s free to attend any movie you can get tickets to, by just searching your zip code. FREE MOVIE SCREENINGS is a little more sporadic in it’s availability, but can have some pretty great stuff – I once got tickets for a midnight screening of John Carpenter’s THE THING, from this site. The only other major one – c’mon I can’t give you everything – is CAMPUS CIRCLE. They tend to send out a newsletter with RSVP info. I have to admit that I don’t use them that often – okay, never – but I know they’re a big one. Your other options are looking through independent news papers, radio stations and wherever local contests are put on. The other thing is that most of this is really only useful in more metropolitan areas. So, sorry Galion, Ohio, you’re probably not going to be able to use this unless you want to drive to one of the bigger cities.

But, the fun thing about this line waiting subculture is some of the cool people you will meet waiting in line. I’ve met people that are working on their own movies, have access to other cool things – because there are people that are scarily involved with attending events of any kind – and even people that are just interesting, like-minded individuals.

Just watch out for the crazies.


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