what do hosts do?

round up a group of friends for an hour or so of live, online conversation. we provide an episode that touches on one or two topics — anything from forgiveness and commitment to creativity and the future of artificial intelligence. on zoom, you play the video for your group and afterward the group talks. there are 16 episodes currently available, if you and your group decide you’d like to continue to meet.

can I watch the film before we gather online?

yes. hosts have access to each of the episodes in advance. many hosts say they enjoy experiencing the film for the first time with their group. most opt to watch episode 1 before their gathering to get a feel for how the project kicks off. (again, many hosts report the experience of watching the film with their group is very different from watching it alone. in the good way.)

how long is the gathering?

the episodes are typically shorter than 30 minutes and we recommend setting aside one hour for conversation after

how many people should I invite?

there’s no hard rule, but to take advantage of the way zoom tiles the videos between 6 and 9 people is a great size for conversation. you’re encouraged to use tablet or a computer instead of a phone so that you can use gallery view and see the faces of all your participants.

what makes for a good mix of people?

at this time, we’re finding that people want to gather with those they’re missing while we’re isolated. some hosts focus on gathering people from diverse backgrounds or who they wish they knew better. others round up friends who know each other well. we think it adds something special to have people in the group 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 phone policy during the gathering?

since we’re relying on the face-to-face contact provided by the camera, we recommend asking people to turn off their cell phone before they join the zoom meeting room. we’re also suggesting that people mute their microphone while the film is playing.

are hosts meant to act as facilitators? are there discussion questions?

no. the host is a conversation participant, just like their guests. the difference here is that the host sets up the zoom meeting and shares their screen to play the film, but after that, their face is just one of the 6 – 9 on the screen. what we have seen is that the conversations do not need facilitating – and since you can see each other and see when you unmute or move to talk, the conversations have flowed really well. we have a brief introduction we recommend you have a group member read aloud before you play the film, to provide some context and guidelines. that preamble acts a good reminder to listen more than you talk and to avoid talking over each other. there will likely be awkward silence when the film ends. some people won’t talk right away, or at all. that’s ok. just wait. resist the urge to talk first, even if your friends seem to look to you to begin. conversation will start. it always does. we promise.

can I share host duties with a friend?

yes. consistency is the most important thing, so if sharing makes it easier to meet more regularly, do that. you can easily alternate who logs into zoom to run the tech side and who sends the invitations with the meeting link.

can I host more than one group?

yes. some may want to round up a co-ed group for one conversation and then a different group for a different time. fine by us.

how often should we be gathering?

we recommend meeting regularly, if you can. you can meet as frequently as you like. some groups are meeting daily.there are 16 films currently available in the series and we continue to develop more, so we don’t expect you to “run out.” try to do the first three with consistent timing to form a habit and help people feel connected. really, the frequency is up to you.

some people can't come, but can come next time. is that ok?

absolutely. it’s inevitable that the group will evolve. you may find that around your 3rd or 4th meeting you’ll want to stick to the group you have. because you’re trying to hit the target of 9 participants or less, you may have to manage your invitations and have a lower turnout sometimes to avoid someone’s face not being on the screen during the conversation.

how do I get the film to show my group?

hosts have access to the videos to screen for the group. qualified hosts are granted access to the films and other episode-specific resources in a toolkit. join us here to learn more or start a project.

what are the technical requirements?

hosts stream the video from our online toolkit during the zoom meeting and “share their screen” so the rest of the group can watch, too. we recommend hosting the gathering from a computer. (if you have good tablet skills, you may be able to host from the zoom app, but you’ll want to test in advance to make sure you can handle the screen sharing and playing of the film). to accommodate the length of these gatherings, the meeting must be hosted from what zoom calls a “pro” account. that account is currently $14.99 per month, but you may find that someone in your group has already has a “pro” account and would be willing to let you use it for your gatherings.

how do I formalize my group?

we’re expanding rapidly, but we’re still small and want to stay in touch. contact us to let us know you’ve set a date or have already gathered for episode 1 and want to continue. we’d love to connect and get to know you.

how does membership work?

during this unprecedented time, we are offering the neighborhood project with no fees.we’re supporting the rapidly growing project in our online community. the online community provides hosts access to the films and provides private space so group members can be connected to each other and the broader project and projects can interact with each other, too. once you’ve met for episode 1 and notified us of your intention to continue, we’ll set up a private online space for your project to which you can invite your group members.