Vanquishing My Debt

I'm 29 and trying to get a handle on my finances so that, one day, I can buy a home of my own. I've been reading personal finance blogs recently and decided to start one chronicling my own struggles and success (hopefully). I am lucky, considering the amounts of debt and tales of tragedy I've read about... but I am making some positive changes and moving in the right direction.

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Free movies

I am a film lover, but am hard-pressed to swallow paying $10 a ticket lately. Boy, do I have to want to see a movie badly!

A lot of free advance screenings are held by the studios to gauge audience opinion about a film. Sometimes, the films aren't finalized and they change elements according to what the audience wanted to see. We went to see a screening of "The Break-Up," and we've been told by friends that the released ending was different than what we saw. We've even seen some films where the special effects haven't been completed yet.

Other times, the studios will hold advance screening to get the ball rolling on word of mouth recommendations by the time the film opens. This really backfired when they had screenings of "The Man," with Eugene Levy and Samuel L. Jackson. Eugene, Sam... I love you both, but what were you thinking?

Screenings usually work this way: You print out your pass, which tells you what time the film starts. If you want to be admitted, always get to the theatre at least 1 hour earlier - a line forms at the theatre and admission is not guaranteed. Where you are in line determines if you'll get into the theatre or not. I've told some people about the free screenings, and they say that waiting in line isn't worth the free admission - I couldn't disagree more. Hanging out with your friends, talking for an hour, having a quick dinner in line while you wait for a free movie... what's so bad about that?

Some screenings will pass out questionnaires after the film... questions about your favourite/least favourite characters, what you thought about the music/costumes/story, etc. Just be truthful - no need to lie.

The only no-no about this whole process is that people associated with the film or television industry cannot be admitted to the screenings. They want a random sampling of random people. They will ask you if you're involved in the industry and you can answer how you wish.

These are some of my favourite sites to free screenings in Los Angeles (some have national listings, too).

1) Campus Circle - a newspaper for college students that has a neat website featuring a section for free local film screenings. I have seen many movies from Campus Circle over the last 2 years or so. Some passes must be picked up at their office, while other screenings are only for college students (with ID cards).

2) Movie Filler - You have to register to use this site, which is free. You will get an occasional email from them. We got passes to the "Mission Impossible 3" Los Angeles premiere through this site... I know, I know, but I love Phillip Seymour Hoffman! We didn't get in because there were hundreds of people that showed up before we did.

3) The "Free Movies" thread at Slickdeals - Just jump to the last few pages of the thread for the most current listings. There are listings for screenings all over the country here. I love Slickdeals!

4) The "Free Movie Screenings" thread at Fatwallet - This works the same as the Slickdeals link above - just jump to the last pages for the most current listings. Also national listings.

5) Craig's List - you can find indie screenings sometimes, depending on where you live. If you're an indie film lover, this is a great resource. There's almost always listings for student films, festivals, etc.

6) The AMC Summer Movie Camp - obviously, this is a seasonal one. At select AMC theares around the country, they're showing free family films this summer. Check the website for a full listing and more details.

Hope this helps some of you film buffs out there!


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