Cancel The Event? Play It Safe!

by Bob Deutsch

Hi Hurricane Matthew,

Please make a hard right and move away from our east coast!

There can be no doubt in anybody’s mind that hurricanes are not good for anything outdoor movie related. And tropical storm strength winds can extend hundreds of miles from the hurricane center.  Outdoor movie equipment is not designed for tropical storm strength winds – 40.8 mph (34 knots). And crew and audience are in danger of flying debris (tree branches, trash, tents, etc.). And I have not mentioned lighting.

So when is the right time to cancel an event? Our answer is when it becomes obvious that a safe event cannot be held. This can be as far in advance of the obvious or much closer to the event. Why is this very much on my mind? We have an event with a 65’ x 33’ AIRSCREEN inflatable screen in eastern Georgia on Saturday, with an install on Friday.

Given the current forecast conditions, I do not expect that we can inflate the screen on Friday or before 7pm on Saturday. The event begins Saturday at 7:30pm. This does not give us much time to align the screen, and if the forecast is off by a bit, then the show is in question. Our contract policy is that once travel begins, the client is responsible for the cost of the event regardless of weather. That said, we like our clients to have options in cases like this – if our out of pocket costs are covered (trucking, travel, contract labor), we are happy to reschedule to an alternate available date.  This then shifts the decision as to whether to cancel or wait to the client. Our goal that the client is satisfied regardless of weather outcome.

None of the above are easy choices. And as an outdoor movie operator, you are often put in the position of the decision. I counsel you to think conservatively.


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