Throw Yourself Into the Road Gladly! The blagging of #WithnailWeekend

Now #WithnailWeekend has some pace we are getting a number of queries about whether we could run alternative dates and venues. The level of interest is great but the answer is sadly no we can’t. Why you SCRUBBERS (I hear you ask?). Because we are a pair of total amateurs with busy working and family lives (except Hugh who lives in a skip and drinks meths with the w%^kers off the site.) We don’t want to make any money out of Withnail Weekend we just want to watch the film with fellow fans. So, in the spirit of the punk rock ethic, here are a few pointers to try and encourage more folk to adopt a do it yourself approach in other parts of the country. We emphasise we aren’t experts and we have made it up as we go along so do not take this as textbook- have a bash and do it your way is the most important message. 


1) Make sure you have enough interest. Facebook is awash with Withnail fan groups and key word searching on Twitter can help find folk by location who love the film. @Withnailizer alone has thousands of scrubbers following! 

2) Have a recognisable Twitter handle. Having “Withnail” in it is obvious; the balance needs to be catchy and geographically relevant. Hence the uber imaginative “Brum” for us!

3) Find a venue – independent cinemas are more flexible and most allow private screen hire. The Electric in Brum has also helped us with marketing at no extra charge bless them. Here comes the tricky bit- someone has to take a financial risk as there will be a venue hire (this will vary so shop around) and a public licence fee (circa £85). The more of you there are to bankroll it and the more demand you have the lower the risk. Somewhere handy to bus stops and stations will help the cause. In our case we sold the cinema out (106 seats) in six days. It was only a £100 deposit and we have managed full cost recovery swiftly. 

4) Find people to help; the amount of comms involved will peak and trough quite significantly (mornings and early evening on weekends seem to be peak time alongside commuting time on a Friday.) Hugh and I opted to share the management of the Twitter account. People like Mike Ward @badsciencemonk have played a key role in generating twitter traffic and improving our “Tweet reach.” Richard E Grant and Ralph Brown have been lovely; their interest opened the door for many other SCRUBBERS to get involved and raised the profile of #WithnailWeekend significantly. Equally we have been at pains not to bombard with requests, I can imagine they get asked to do this sort of thing rather a lot!

5) Look for local groups that will support you with marketing. There are loads of Birmingham based twitter accounts and blogs such as VisitBrum who have been of immense help. We were also blessed by @_AleMary (pun intended) who kindly placed us in the Birmingham Post. Such people and orgs exist in all cities and are usually really helpful.

6) Follow back. You can’t possibly read all the tweets on your timeline for an account like this but the more you follow the faster your audience grows. To start with it is more about quantity than anything else, the quality follows! 

7) Take the pain out of payment. We used Eventbrite. The downside is the admin fee £1.07 per £8 ticket. However it can drastically increase marketing reach and also means you don’t have to worry about payment. There is also an early payout option that can help if you have cash flow issues. There are also really useful tracker tools (proportion of tickets sold, functionality to develop mailing lists etc). Finally the Eventbrite app enables a scan and check-in function on the day to ensure everyone gets their seat. 

8) Build around the film. We have had loads of ace people such as breweries, restaurants, street vendors, quiz masters, cake shops etc all coming forwards to help and pitch in. Our role is to signpost and co-ordinate wider activities- we haven’t spent a penny on venue hire once the film was booked people are only too happy to have the business. 

9) Be positive. It is a leap when you first post the event online. We have encountered nothing but positivity and offers of help. WithnailWeekend will be a shared effort and we really appreciate everyone who has pitched in ranging from a simple RT to offers of time and money. 

Best of luck- if we can help in anyway come and talk to us 



Matt Bowsher and Hugh Evans a.k.a. @WithnailBrum