What do hosts do?

Round up a group of friends for an hour or so of live, in-person conversation once a month. We provide an Ideafilm that touches on up to two topics — anything from forgiveness and commitment to creativity and the future of artificial intelligence. You play the video for your group and, after viewing the episode, talk.

Can I see the film before my friends come over?

Yes. Hosts have access to each of the episodes in advance. Feel free to take a look. (Though many of our hosts say they enjoy experiencing the film for the first time with their group.)

How long is the event?

The videos are less than 30 minutes long and we recommend setting aside one to two hours for conversation.

How many people should I invite?

There’s no hard rule, but we think between 8 and 15 people is a great size for conversation but of course that depends on your space. You’re encouraged to over-invite—we all know that things come up at the last minute and people will cancel.

What makes for a good mix of people?

Some hosts focus on gathering people from diverse backgrounds. Others round up friends who know each other well. We think it adds something special to have people in the room who don’t know each other. However you do it, you will discover that even people who seem to have much in common have a diversity of life experience that makes for interesting conversation.

Should meetings be co-ed?

That’s your choice as well.

What’s your recommended policy on phone usage during the event?

We suggest that you send a day-of email reminding your guests of the start time, etc. and in that email, ask them to turn off their cell phone before they come in. Perhaps provide a landline number if, for instance, a babysitter needs to urgently get in touch with a parent.

Are hosts meant to act as conversation facilitators? Should I prepare questions for the group?

No. What we have seen is that the conversations do not need facilitating. We have a Preamble we recommend you read – or have a group member read – to provide some context and guidelines. There may be an awkward silence when the film ends.  Some people won’t talk right away, or at all. That’s ok. Just wait. Conversation will start. It always does. We promise.

Can I host the meetings outside of my home?

Sure. Any private space works as as long as you have a TV that can show the film and there’s some privacy afforded to the group during their conversation.

Should I put out food and drinks?

We don’t have too many “shoulds.” Food and drink is totally up to you. Whatever you might put out for a book club probably makes sense for this. Here are some tips for an affordable event:

  • Do a daytime meeting. There are some projects held midday. The host puts out carrots & hummus, pb&j, tea, and coffee. Everyone brings a bag lunch.
  • Have your guests contribute an appetizer.

Can I share host duties with a friend?

Yes. Consistency is the most important thing, so if sharing makes it easier to meet more often, then do that.

Can I gather two different groups in a month?

Yes. Some might want to round up a co-ed group for an evening meeting and then a different group for daytime. Fine by us.

What if I can’t get the group together every month?

We recommend having monthly meetings. We understand not everyone can do that. Try to do the first three in a row.

Some people I invited are unable to come this month, but would like to be included for the next one. Is that ok?

Absolutely. It’s inevitable that the groups will evolve and change.

How do I get the film?

Hosts have access to the videos to screen for the group. Just login here at our website.

What are the technical requirements?

Hosts will want to stream the video from their computer or other device to their TV. You can use a Smart TV, Apple TV, Chromecast or even plug your computer into your TV with an HDMI cable. We have tech guides accessible to hosts.

How do I formalize my group?

We’re expanding rapidly, but we’re still small and want to stay in touch. Contact us via email to let us know you’re gathering. We’d love to get you connected and get to know you.

How does membership work?

Membership is required for all hosts. And we are building a community so projects can interact with each other and group members can be connected to us, too. For a limited time, we are running a promotion that covers the membership costs for all our new neighborhood projects. This waives the $180 membership fee for all participants. So it makes sense to start your project soon, if not today.