When I was working on the LCD Soundsystem film SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS we talked a lot about the idea that a visit to the cinema needs to be more than just a movie and popcorn. I wanted to create an event that went beyond the Q&A with the stars and the directors we already had planned. Could we get band members form across the glob to be a part? Could we replicate moments from the film in the cinema? Could we make it more like a gig? Could we change the language we used around the film to that which you would normally associate with a gig?
One of the ideas we had was to create a set of rules for watching the film. The rules included 'You can dance', 'You can cheer', 'You must take photos' etc. The idea of encouraging the audience to switch their phone on during a movie is something most cinemas and film makers would flat out refuse. Thankfully Picturehouse got where we were coming from and were cool with it. Switching 'on' your phone during a movie is something that the film industry is going to have to get used to. It's a new rule of cinema - people like to share their lives and that includes capturing screen shots of the film they are watching - it's happening and it's creating spreadable media. Be thankfull.
So I was delighted to discover that in 1960, after taking control of the promotion of his own film, Alfred Hitchcock made a short film introdicing the rules for watching Psycho. One of the rules was that nobody would be allowed into the cinema once the film started. Another was they you can't talk about the movie to friends. Cinema owners were up in arms, they hated having to play by Hitchcock's rules. As you can imagine their fears were put to rest once the audiences were queuing around the block. Nice work Alfred.
The rules were accompanied by another film in which Hitchcock gives the audience a tour of the Psycho set and teases them by almost giving away spoiler details. Watch it here.