How to (Legally) See Movies for Free in Los Angeles by Golda

One of the advantages of living in Los Angeles, if you love movies, is that many actors, writers and directors also call this wonderful city home.

Every day, there are advance screenings of new movies in Los Angeles, and some of them even include appearances by the actors, writers or directors. Which means you have a great chance of meeting a celebrity, and getting an autograph. Best of all, many of these screenings are completely FREE of charge.

But how does one find out about these screenings? I’ve gone to many free screenings of new movies even before they come out in the theaters and I’ve heard many actors, writers and directors speak about them, too. And all for just the cost of gas to get to the venue.

Here’s the secret: Mailing lists. Keep your eyes open for mailing lists for screening series. That way, you can sign your email up once, and then you will receive an email invitation every time there is a screening.

When I receive an email for a screening, I often reserve a ticket even if I’m not sure I’ll attend because they often run out within hours of the sent time. Often with one ticket you can bring a guest, but not always, so be sure to read your ticket carefully. When you’ve RSVPed and you receive the email confirmation, either print out the page and bring it to the screening or have it handy on your smartphone.

I recommend that you arrive early to the screening as there are usually long lines to get in. Your ticket often does not guarantee you a seat, so it pays off to be early.

Here are some of the mailing lists that I’m subscribed to:

  • Unlikely Films: I listed to the Creative Screenwriting Magazine podcast while it was still in session, and from there I was introduced to this mailing list. Jeff Goldsmith puts on advance screenings several times a month with Q&A sessions with actors, writers and directors from the films. I recently went to a screening of Wanderlust at the LA Film School from this series. Ken Marino and Joe Lo Truglio were both present for a Q&A session after the film.
  • Entertainment Weekly Front Row: A friend told me about this mailing list. I’ve mostly gotten invites to screenings of television series from this list. I haven’t gone to any of them yet, but it’s a great one to join if you love TV!

Websites

  • Gofobo.com: I haven’t quite mastered this site but it’s definitely a great way to find about screenings in your area (not just LA). You can search for screenings by movie, but as far as I can tell, often you need an RSVP code to get tickets to a screening. How do you get an RSVP code? Details here.
  • Advance Screenings: This site is more of a list of all the offers out there. You can sign up for emails on screenings, but it’s easier to just search by movie title.
  • Film Metro: Similar to the two above, but seems to have fewer movies available.
  • WildAboutMovies: Just found this one today, and it looks promising, as it has more movies than the other sites.

Hope you meet many celebrities and see lots of great movies! Have a great week, Los Angeles! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @SurvivingLA and like us on Facebook!

-Golda

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