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 Post subject: Iron Horse Society meeting with Sup. Conway 09/30/17
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:48 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1733
Several of the members of the Iron Horse Society Board of Directors had an after-hours meeting with Superintendent Debbie Conway last evening (who I might note upended personal plans to be present) to discuss the near term and 2018-with emphasis on how we could best respond to Steamtown's needs, especially given recently announced retirements. The discussion included interpretive and operational and administrative matters, restoration priorities, Railfest immediate past and future.


One of the items that was discussed was fundraising.


With the Superintendent's approval, we are soliciting public input on the idea of having "Movie Day at Steamtown", where we could make present some of the many marketing and public affairs films for now gone "Fallen Flags" in the sort of environment they were meant to be seen it-a darkened movie theater with super-elevated seating. We are asking for your opinion on the idea-especially with regard to whether you would be willing to attend.


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 Post subject: Re: Iron Horse Society meeting with Sup. Conway 09/30/17
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 2:30 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:31 am
Posts: 399
I have no idea what the cost would be to show it, but the only movie that I can see generating money would be the Polar Express. Sometimes fees to show a protected work will be waived for a non-profit entity, but you would probably have to start that process now to be cleared in time for December.

You could also supplement with popcorn and beverage sales, not sure how the NPS would fee about that. One of the terms of showing the film without a fee may be that you cannot charge an admission, so in that case you would be totally dependent on concession of gift sales. And in THAT case, it may not be worth the effort at all.


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 Post subject: Re: Iron Horse Society meeting with Sup. Conway 09/30/17
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:32 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1733
"have no idea what the cost would be to show it, but the only movie that I can see generating money would be the Polar Express. "

That's not what we mean by "marketing and public affairs films for now gone "Fallen Flags""

We're fully aware that many of these movies are available online; at youtube and archive.org

While I'm certainly not adverse to making money; we are still an exempt organization with a educational and charitable purpose-PE might be entertaining for children, but it's fantasy, not history and carries hefty fees and restrictions.

The only outside films we might want to show might something from the NRHS' library or that of some other historic group's archive, who might want to show their films in a theater environment.


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 Post subject: Re: Iron Horse Society meeting with Sup. Conway 09/30/17
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 7:14 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1806
Supe,

Our Museum has offered historic industrial films like GE's Going Places with mild success. On the other hand our younger visitors really enjoy clips of the silent films of Harold Lloyd featuring trolleys.

I would suggest finding films that are in public domain or have low license fees. Titfield Thunderbolt, versions of the General, etc. Swank Films handles license of commercial entertainment films for schools and non-profits at a reasonable fee.

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: Iron Horse Society meeting with Sup. Conway 09/30/17
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 7:22 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:10 am
Posts: 2332
Expanding to cover rail-related industries would be fun, too. Often they have railroad footage that the railroad or the railfan would not have taken. One of my favorites (viewed with industrial buddies more than one) is This is Hormel.

Not to be confused with This is Us. It's kind of a like a This was Us.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3762640/


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 Post subject: Re: Iron Horse Society meeting with Sup. Conway 09/30/17
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:26 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
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Location: Maine
Railroad films are fun if they apply directly to a favorite road, or aid in research. Movie's like "The Train", "Von Ryan's Express", "Polar Express", are available on disc and anyone can watch them whenever they wish. I don't see a film series drawing a large crowd of any kind, at least not from a distance.

Events that might draw crowds are those which might involve getting involved in polishing specific equipment, lubricating, painting, and anything that allows train lovers to become a part of the event. Night photo events, or events where public can dress in period clothes and have their pictures taken around simulated steaming locos could prove attractive. There'd be some planning and advanced notice involved, but lots of people would love to have family pictures taken around 2123, dressed as families meeting the train, or aroind 4012, as an engine crew showing children how it works.

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 Post subject: Re: Iron Horse Society meeting with Sup. Conway 09/30/17
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:48 pm 
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robertjohndavis wrote:
Expanding to cover rail-related industries would be fun, too. Often they have railroad footage that the railroad or the railfan would not have taken. One of my favorites (viewed with industrial buddies more than one) is This is Hormel.

Not to be confused with This is Us. It's kind of a like a This was Us.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3762640/


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-6gnFO11JY

I wonder where they got the idea for the introduction to that film...............

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcmPwH3YK3s

PC

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 Post subject: Re: Iron Horse Society meeting with Sup. Conway 09/30/17
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:10 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:31 am
Posts: 399
superheater wrote:

That's not what we mean by "marketing and public affairs films for now gone "Fallen Flags""



I can read comprehensively. But you are talking about two things that have nothing to do with one another - fundraising and instructional videos.


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 Post subject: Re: Iron Horse Society meeting with Sup. Conway 09/30/17
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:53 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 238
6-18003 wrote:
superheater wrote:

That's not what we mean by "marketing and public affairs films for now gone "Fallen Flags""



I can read comprehensively. But you are talking about two things that have nothing to do with one another - fundraising and instructional videos.


Hey Supe - I admire your effort but 6-18003 has a good point. Your group's plan sounds more like a monthly meeting at the local historical society - likely not a big draw or money maker. Who is your target audience?


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 Post subject: Re: Iron Horse Society meeting with Sup. Conway 09/30/17
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:59 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1733
"I can read comprehensively. But you are talking about two things that have nothing to do with one another - fundraising and instructional videos."

I think I failed to emphasize something here-we really looking to get deeply interested people as the target audience and a presentation that has an authentic historic nature-for two reasons.

1.) Using the theater requires a special use permit-it's much easier to justify when you are emphasizing the historic nature of railroad's efforts to use film as an advertising medium to inform and persuade the public-because that enhances public understanding.

2.) One of our secondary objectives is to attract new volunteers-in making the suggestion, I was hoping to trade a somewhat specialized audience for a deeply interested audience that might have a new volunteer or two in it.

@robertjohndavis:

An excellent suggestion. It's often forgotten how deeply intertwined railroads were with coal and other extractive activities-coal, as a non-degrading, low value density commodity that can be loaded and unloaded was (and is) a perfect fit for the railroads business.

@wesp

Thanks for the suggestion. We are aiming for pubic domain stuff; but its good to know that should we need to deal with IP issues; there's a specialist out there for that.

@Richard Glueck

I actually have a couple of "specific roads" in mind. Unfortunately, I don't think the mighty West Pittston and Exeter (all six or so miles of it) released one.


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 Post subject: Re: Iron Horse Society meeting with Sup. Conway 09/30/17
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:11 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1806
Quote:
I think I failed to emphasize something here-we really looking to get deeply interested people as the target audience and a presentation that has an authentic historic nature-for two reasons.


Supe,

Ah-ha. With that information your plan makes sense as a way to attract and retain new volunteers.

Since you mentioned films, it still may be good to try a few vintage popular films to support general program for the Park. If successful you can have the added benefit of local support that can be rallied when you need letters and phone calls to support Steamtown when needed.

Upward and onward!

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: Iron Horse Society meeting with Sup. Conway 09/30/17
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:38 am 

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:31 am
Posts: 399
superheater wrote:
I think I failed to emphasize something here-we really looking to get deeply interested people as the target audience and a presentation that has an authentic historic nature-for two reasons.

1.) Using the theater requires a special use permit-it's much easier to justify when you are emphasizing the historic nature of railroad's efforts to use film as an advertising medium to inform and persuade the public-because that enhances public understanding.

2.) One of our secondary objectives is to attract new volunteers-in making the suggestion, I was hoping to trade a somewhat specialized audience for a deeply interested audience that might have a new volunteer or two in it.



Your original post focused on fundraising, and that's what I replied to. You can educate or fundraise, but not both. And certainly, the more you whittle down your audience to include only deeply interested people, forget any profit at all.

Item #1 illustrates why it has taken so long for a group like Iron Horse to get off the ground at SNHS- red tape, even for a partnering entity, and lots of it. Item #2 tells me you'd be better off focusing on groups like the Boy Scouts of America.

To paraphrase an old saying, volunteers can be skilled, available, or interested. Pick two.


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 Post subject: Re: Iron Horse Society meeting with Sup. Conway 09/30/17
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:51 am 

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:31 am
Posts: 399
Super, let me also say that I am not trying to rain on your parade, you asked for feedback and I honestly do not see a bridge between what you want to do and where you want it to lead. I would love for you to prove me wrong, so who knows.

I thought about your issue since last night and there is really only one scenario that I can think of to bring in volunteers while raising money. That would be a paid program, similar to "Engineer for a Day," but much more involved over maybe five or six sessions. Participants should be 18+, classes should focus on different aspects of safe railroading, culminating with cab time and an honorary certificate upon completion. You can have two price points, one for diesel and one for steam. They can pay per class or upfront but can't skip ahead, and it could be purchased as a gift.

Again, no idea how the park would react to this proposal but I think it's your best bet to attract people who might "get the bug" and stay on as a volunteer. Especially if two or more participants attend class-type sessions, and become friends through the process - learning and accomplishing something together is how you build those bridges. From what I hear, Iron Horse has the roster to make it happen.


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 Post subject: Re: Iron Horse Society meeting with Sup. Conway 09/30/17
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:30 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 9:18 am
Posts: 469
Location: Wall, NJ
From a fund raising stand point versus volunteer development, I’d break the two apart.

I would look at the showing of the films you mention as a benefit of membership. Say, regular membership events are planned over the course of the year with one or two featuring such films. Remember, for max volunteer development you need to keep families involved so look to membership events where the volunteer can bring his/her family are key.

As to fund raising I would look at the example set by the WW&F. No gimmicks here, no special events really. They come up with a workable project plan, issue a request for donations, and the money comes in. Key is that those who donate can look at a history of accomplishments which are simply awe inspiring. I see a movie night as a fund raising tool as nickel and dime stuff which is time consuming and a poor return on investment of time/energy.

So, in my mind, a family based volunteer development program is one aspect here. Separately is to develop a fund raising program, but that program must be based on some specific project planning and realistic goals.


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 Post subject: Re: Iron Horse Society meeting with Sup. Conway 09/30/17
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:08 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1733
@6-18003

"Super, let me also say that I am not trying to rain on your parade, you asked for feedback and I honestly do not see a bridge between what you want to do and where you want it to lead. I would love for you to prove me wrong, so who knows."

As the believer in vigorous debate and the relentless pursuit of error, I take no offense.

If somebody thinks I'm about to jump off a cliff, I'd much rather they call me a nitwit before I leap.


@ J.R. May:

I think your suggestion of bifurcation is " on to something" worth careful consideration.

I appreciate all comments.


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