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July 11, 2022

How to Host Your Own Dine 'n' Doc

We’ve drawn up a planning guide to help take the stress out of hosting so you can enjoy your time with friends.

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July 11, 2022

How to Host Your Own Dine 'n' Doc

We’ve drawn up a planning guide to help take the stress out of hosting so you can enjoy your time with friends.

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So you want to host your own Dine 'n' Doc? We’ve got you covered! To take the stress out of hosting, we’ve drawn up a planning guide so you can enjoy your time with friends instead of worrying about logistics.

Planning Guide

  1. Making your guest list: Make a list of 2-12 friends depending on your space and how intimate you want the conversation and experience to be.
  2. Selecting a documentary: Browse Docuvist and make a list of films you’re interested in streaming. We recommend starting with 1 short or 3 micro docs, but if you have an attentive audience and enough time to dedicate to watching a full feature documentary—go for it!
  3. Taking action: Now that you've selected a film, decide on what you are going to do to "Take Action" after watching the film (check out our recommendations on each doc page). Examples include: donating to an organization aligned with the film's theme, writing to your local Representatives, collecting items like medical supplies for a local organization. If this is an activity like letter writing, think out the logistics and materials. If there's anything you need your guests to bring, such as money, stamps, or donation items, now is the time to figure that out.
  4. Preparing your menu: My go-to, easy dinner theme is a pizza potluck. I ask my guests to bring a frozen cheese pizza and some toppings. As people arrive, we assemble all our pizzas and then enjoy our creations while watching the film. Pizza is about as low stress as you can get, but if you are feeling fancy, you can also use a Dine 'n' Doc as an excuse to prepare a gourmet dinner. Last but not least, don't forget dessert. I keep it simple with something like cookies but you do you.
  5. A few more things to prep: 1) Create a music playlist (maybe the documentary has a soundtrack like Summer of Soul) 2) Figure out your seating situation. Do you need extra chairs or cushions for people to feel comfortable while watching the film? 3) Decide what discussion prompts you may want to use 4) Plan a rough schedule (steps below) to ensure you have a stress-free evening.
  6. Sending out invitations: I recommend using Partiful to send out invites and track guests. It helps you stay organized as the event planner and it's fun for guests to receive. Be sure to specify vaccine requirements, cost, and whether guests should bring food, beverages or items to donate. I like to keep the doc we're watching a mystery and then reveal the title 36 hours before the event. Everyone loves a little suspense 😉
  7. You did it: You're now ready to host your own Dine 'n' Doc. Make sure to tag us on social media @Docuvist and #dinendoc. Or send us your photos:

Sample Schedule

6:00 Set Up

30+ mins

  • If you are providing dinner, make sure it's ready in advance so you can relax once guests arrive.
  • Get your snacks or appetizers ready.
  • Play the soundtrack or music playlist. (I like to have it set to repeat.)
  • Queue up the film so you don't have to fuss when you're ready to hit play.
  • Lay out your "Take Action" activity so guests can start getting excited about the film when they arrive.

7:00 People Arrive: Appetizers + Drinks

60-90 mins

  • Put out appetizers and beverages so guests can immediately grab something.
  • If you didn't make dinner in advance and instead you're doing a pizza potluck or another DIY meal, go ahead and start prepping as people arrive.

8:00 Dinner + Documentary

45-60 mins

  • Encourage guests to serve themselves as food comes out of the oven, but no need to rush—it's ok to finish eating while you watch the film.
  • When you're ready to start the film, give a brief intro about what you'll be watching.
  • Get comfy, dim the lights, and hit play.

9:00 Dessert + Discussion + Take Action

45-60 mins

  • Get your dessert ready so people can serve themselves.
  • As the host, you get to facilitate the discussion. We provide several discussion questions on each film's Docuvist page, but feel free to use that as a starting point and add your own questions. Three of my favorite questions to ask that are good at jump starting a conversation are:
    1. What surprised you?
    2. What about this story did you relate to?
    3. How are you feeling after watching this film?
  • End the evening with the "Take Action" activity. People will feel more invested in the activity after discussing the film. While this activity is going on, I like to put my music playlist on again or play some behind the scenes videos about the film or interviews with filmmakers.

If you host your own Dine 'n' Doc, I would LOVE to know about it! Please tag @Docuvist and #dinendoc on social media so I can see your set up. ❤️

Happy hosting!


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