With the past few months’ GAME OF PEAKS night (where we screen Twin Peaks and Game of Thrones back to back), Monday has consistently been the highlight of my week. Nothing compares to spending time with friends and loved ones, experiencing stories of characters you all know and love together. Of course, it helps to be a good host for these kinds of things, and providing the optimal entertainment experience with no overlong set-ups, technical difficulties and mediocre video quality is key. I’ve been hosting movie and TV nights since college, and here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.
- ALWAYS CURATE GOOD CONTENT
Find something that a big group can enjoy. It could be a hilarious comedy or a thrilling action movie. Sometimes even movies considered the worst of all time can provide fun for the whole crew (look up The Room). Be careful though– there really are some shows and movies that aren’t meant for big groups. As much as I ended up falling in love with The Wire I remember watching it for the first time with a few friends. Before the episode ended we were all asleep.
- SHOW SOMETHING YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS LOVE
The best things to watch in groups are shows or movies your friends all love and have been waiting for. It’s no accident that I’m writing this article as everyone’s about to watch the Game of Thrones season finale. I’ve seen every episode of season 6 with friends, and we spend at least an hour after discussing theories, reliving great moments, or just hating on Lord Baelish and Sansa.
- MAKE SURE FOOD AND DRINK ARE AVAILABLE
It’s always better to have more of everything to avoid running out of things. Prepare enough food and drinks that you can hold with your hands to minimize distracting moments of people using silverware or walking around and blocking the screen to get plates.
- GET A BIG TV THAT’S SUPER CLEAR
You need a reliable and great TV that’s clear and crisp for optimum experience. I personally use the 65-inch X9300D Bravia TV, which gives the best color intensity, the most dynamic blacks and the peak brightness that the format can give. It’s great screening something in 1080 knowing that I can fully enjoy the 4kHDR it provides me with.
- MAKE SURE YOUR SOUND IS AWESOME
The real secret to a cinematic experience is the sound. Once an explosion happens and you feel the hum of the subwoofers, it feels like you’re right there. I play everything from background music to HD movies on my Sony HT-ST9 Soundbar. The sounds is just so full and complete. It’s so hard to even listen to TV speakers ever again.
- HOLD SPECIAL SCREENINGS
I’m very lucky to have friends that are truly talented filmmakers, and so sometimes we get together and screen each others’ films for comments or just to share something that hasn’t been shared yet. Just a week ago one of my best friends Marie Jamora came over to screen her short film Flip The Record, a sweet and charming coming-of-age story about a young Fil-Am DJ in 80s Daly City. After the screening we had a short Q&A and a signing.
Very proud and happy to host the Philippine premiere of one of my besties’ @marie_jamora’s short film Flip The Record, a genuine, hilarious and sweet look at what it was like to grow up DJ livin’ in Daly City in the 80s. The video is of us tweaking the levels because the image has to be perfectly the filmmaker’s vision. It’s a good thing the #sony4khdr is up to the task (the #SonySoundBar made sure that vinyl sound was crispy af too) @sonyphinc
- THEMES ALWAYS HELP
I remember coming home after a long day at work, eager to watch the pilot episode of Twin Peaks: The Return with friends, and my girlfriend surprised me with the complete Twin Peaks experience: Twin Peaks toys and paintings, the soundtrack playing in the background, and an unhealthy dose of coffee and donuts. Sticking to a theme immediately puts you in the world you’re about to behold, and adds an element of fun and silliness to your viewing nights.
- THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENT – GREAT CONVERSATION
There are really a few things more fulfilling than talking with a bunch of people about your favorite show right after seeing a new episode. 13 years ago we had LOST in MARS (our back-to-back Veronica Mars/Lost night), and the thrill is back with GAME of PEAKS. But all of this would be incomplete without the final and most important element—great conversation. Debriefing about the episode, discussing dream scenarios and theories, revisiting your favorite moments and saying “grabe naiyak ako diyan”(that made me tear up) or “oh my God when the _______ did the ______ I was really holding my breath! — that’s what really puts the home in home viewing.
- ALWAYS CURATE GOOD CONTENT
So fire up the home system, buy some chips, dip and drinks , and message your closest friends that you’ll be watching episode 7 of Game of Thrones all together tonight. Trust me: the experience will be exponentially sweeter.