Re: Show Length
- Kevin Conod makes an excellent point about show length. When we
re-established our identity from the Hansen to the Clark Planetarium in 2003
with fulldome video we thought hard and surveyed our audiences about that
very subject. We felt the days of 45-minute long "feature shows" were over,
especially with the kind of emotional intensity you can achieve with
fulldome animation. The best length (for us anyway) has been the 35-minute
length. Doing anything shorter made the public feel shortchanged, and the
script was way too fluffy because you didn't have time to develop a real
Just last summer we tried running a 20-minute long show, even adding a
4-minute fulldome "preamble" to the and following it up with a 10-minute
"what's up tonight" segment. It tanked. Word got out really quickly
(indicated through attendance and surveys) that the show was way too short.
People felt jipped.
Now if a planetarium is primarily a "tourist attraction" and the average
visitor wants to spend only 60-90 minutes in the entire institution, that's
one thing. While at the Museum of the Rockies we ran 22-minute shows in the
summer and our capture rate jumped from 30% to 44%. But that was a unique
situation. Most all the people who have purchased shows from us prefer the
35 minute show length.
However, this does bring up a question I'd like to ask the group:
Is there an interest out there in running "mini-shows" (12-20 minute
vignettes) or "news reels" (2-4 minutes long)? Either of these could be run
before a "main feature," or even as several segments pieced together to
offer a chapter approach to hot topics and current events. I ask because we
have a possible opportunity to create such a format but I need to know that
there's interest in actually running it.
Any feedback would be appreciated!
- We at Sci-Port are in the mini-show and newsreel market. Given the
nature of our open dome (people can come and go) and our bench seating,
watching anything longer than 30 minutes can be uncomfortable.
Moreover, admission to our planetarium is part of the overall admission
to the science center, so people feel like they're getting something
extra (lagniappe, as we say in Louisiana) when we can offer them
something short and personal, in addition to our live presentations and
movies (all of which are about 25 minutes long). We did develop a short
show for our donor gala (11/18) which we continue to play. It's 10
minutes long and our visitors love it.