Are you planning the screening of an indie movie, or bringing a group together for some gaming community fun? You can take a few notes from block parties and business conventions at the same time to make specific get-togethers a lot more powerful and engaging, and if you can give the event some thought a few months in advance, you could be the host of one of the greatest screenings, LAN (local area network, yeah, those still happen) parties, or any other multimedia-powered events in your area. Here are a few ways to turn your specific situation into a controlled party--and maybe an opening for a real party on the side:
Display And Sound System Testing
If your event needs to deliver quality video or great audio to a large group, you need to plan the visuals and acoustics well in advance. There are few things more annoying than sitting through bad pictures, focus issues, screeching speakers, and whispering movie dialogue when everyone is seated and ready. It's a recipe for criticism, chaos, and disinterest.
Don't test everything before--and especially not during--the event. Mistakes can happen at any time, but you can iron out a lot of configuration problems while learning how to adjust certain issues ahead of time. This is especially important when you need to consider seating arrangements for decent views in the back, ways to spread out seats so that tall people or even taller hairdos won't get in the way, and to make sure that your event doesn't have echo problems.
You may need to rent the equipment ahead of time for proper testing, but there's no harm in contacting the party rentals to get help with a mock setup to figure out how everything works. Put in the deposit early and get help with setup to make sure that everything works as planned, and to give the rental company an idea of what you're doing to make emergency troubleshooting on the big day a bit easier.
Distraction And Game Engagement
Some events are about more than focusing on a single topic. If you're bringing in a group of gamers, different friend circles interested in a certain type of tech, or groups of people who will be around for more than an hour, they need multiple things to stay engaged.
The issue is that if there's only one event to discuss or try out, you may lose a lot of interest if people have to wait. Bringing together a group of gamers, for example, can get boring very quickly if everyone is waiting for their turn to get into a match. Planning multiple matches that are both part of and outside of a tournament scenario can keep people engaged with the party's content and entertained when their part is delayed or over.
It's a good idea to have a few separate, blank meeting areas for guests to set up their own entertainment as well. Tabletop gamer players will need lots of surface area with their tables and a few chairs, but different game groups don't need to be close together. It will keep down distractions from yelling and can give people a chance to start up multiple games.
Contact a party rental professional to discuss available equipment and layout advice for your next event.