"We have a lot of community support," says Sconce. "The momentum is palpable. If everyone keeps this up, we're going to be able to do this."
"Lots of people may not necessarily want to be super-heroes on the street corner," says Sconce, "but the ones that do need to come on out, or contact us so we can let them know when we'll be doing this.
"Lots of people don't even know the Met is closed. We need to reach those people too."
When the Met closed its doors on Nov. 1, people from all over the community wanted to know what they could do to help. Well now there is something everyone can do - sign up for a subscription to the theater. If enough people do so in the next few weeks, Movie Heroes, Inc. has a plan to reopen the Met.
Movie Heroes, Inc., was formed by three local entrepreneurs, Matt Sconce, James Nelson and Keith Walker, to turn the Met into a subscription-based theater where members can see every movie that plays for a monthly subscription price.
People can visit the website, learn all the details, and sign up for an individual, couple, or family subscription.
They can also stop in at the Met Cinemas in the Raley's shopping center in Oakhurst, and talk with James Nelson or another of the Met Heroes, have all their questions answered, and sign up to become a member. There will be someone there every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The success of the project is dependent upon having enough subscribers to make the plan work. There is a goal that must be reached for the doors to reopen, and Sconce says they are well on their way to meeting their target.
In just the first two days of December, the team has reached almost 20% of their goal, and they remind everyone just how important it is to keep spreading the word.
"This thing needs to go viral," says Sconce. "People can't assume that everyone knows about the effort to save the Met. This is a word-of-mouth campaign, and we need everyone to email, Facebook, text or call everyone they know, and get them to sign up."
For the plan to succeed, the team figures they need to enroll between 15% and 20% of the residents in the area. Sconce says this can happen if everyone makes it their mission to get 5-10 people to sign up.
Terri Anderson was on the street corner on Monday, doing her part as a Met Hero. "We need our theater, and people need to realize just how cheap their prices are," she said. "Not only the ticket prices, but the popcorn; everything. It's so much less expensive than Fresno. It's such a deal!"
S|N|O has been receiving a barrage of inquiries about the process, and how it works. The team at www.savethemet.com has put together a very comprehensive list of FAQ's to answer everyone's questions:
Frequently Asked Questions
I have a family. What plan should I choose?
The Partner plan allows two members of a family to see every movie at the Met, and if another family member wants to see a film, affordable member tickets can be purchased for those showings. A family can also buy a Family Plan if their children will see several movies a month.
What upgrades and changes will be happening at the Met?
We are moving toward digital theaters, upgraded sound, more comfortable seats, seat reservations, better food, membership perks, membership lounge, more movie show times, including later shows and more.
What do I do if I have family visiting who want to go to the movies?
As a member, you can buy affordable tickets for your guests.
Do my number of watchable movies accrue from month to month?
All members get to see all movies at the Met one time. The concept of accrual does not apply.
How do I know my credit card information will be safe?
We are using state of the art techniques for handling your sensitive information. Your credit card information is not sent to or stored on our servers. Your credit card information is encrypted and sent directly from your web browser to a transaction handling company. Our software communicates with that service to process transactions. If our server were to be compromised, your credit card information would not be exposed.
Will you still have the new release movies to watch at the Met?
The Met will have the brand new movies, old classic movies, independent movies, video game tournaments, and many other fun events! Because it is a membership model, we can see what the members want and make it happen.
How does seating work?
Seating is first come first serve. The ability to reserve a seat may be offered in the future.
How much are the tickets members can buy for guests?
Children under 3 are free at the Met. If you have a membership, you are able to buy guest and children's tickets at the door. Those prices are 5.50 for matinees, 6.00 for children and seniors, and 7.00 adult tickets.
Will there be movies for my family to watch or will they all be R rated?
We are striving for a variety of movies including movies for the whole family. We will have the exciting new releases but will also have family, westerns, classics and other things that are fun. Our goal is to provide a variety of movies that keep our members happy.
How many subscribers are needed to support the Met and make this model viable in the mountain community?
We need 15-20% of the mountain community.
Will this become a non-profit, or remain a "for profit business".
This will remain a for profit business.
The old rent seemed very high for this area. Will the landlord reduce the rent?
The landlords are being very accommodating in this process and have made this doable for us. They believe in the new model.
Can I wait and see how this works and sign up later?
If we do not succeed in getting people to sign up by the end of December, the Met will not open.
Who/what organization is the repository for all the credit card information?
The credit card company we are working with is Stripe.
How do I know your website is safe?
We use a SSL encrypted communication channel between your web browser and our servers. None of your information is sent to our server without first being encrypted. Look for the lock and the "https" in the url bar to know that it is a secure connection.
How does the "Member buying tickets for guest" thing work?
If you were a member of the Met with an individual plan (19.95 per month) You could then watch every movie at the theater. If your guests want to watch a movie, you, as a member, can buy them tickets at the 5.50 matinee, 6.00 kids/senior, or normal 7.00 adult price. They do not need to be members.
How can Non-Members who are not with a member (i.e. Tourists) see a movie?
For non-members who are not with a member, we have interviewed tourists and what we have come up with seems to excite them. They can buy a $16 day pass which allows them to watch all the movies at the Met for one day, or the 19.95 price which allows them (If they are staying for a few days) to watch every movie at the Met over those days. The tourists seem to like that idea. A ticket for only one movie in San Francisco is $14-$16 and, in Fresno, a 3D movie is 15.50, so to pay 16.00 for all the movies at the Met gives them an option to watch movies by being a day "member."
Of course, if they are coming with a member, the member can just buy them an affordable member-priced ticket for one showing. There is no other way to do this with non-members, or it undermines the member model, and the Met fails because there will not be consistent income to meet overhead costs and improve the theater.
Do we have to use credit cards to sign up?
We only accept credit or debit cards. One thing we have realized is people could feel safer if they get a prepaid card from Vons or Raley's to use. This allows them to feel safe that no one has access to their balance, because the automatic debit would always be on that card (which could be recharged by the member). That is a workaround for anyone uncomfortable with giving their credit card information.
What if someone does not have a computer? Can they still sign up?
We currently have James Nelson or another Met Hero at the Met Cinema from 9 a.m. -6 p.m. every day to help people sign up and answer questions. This is in the lobby of the theater, on the side of the Met closest to Raley's.
Can I pay for a Partner Plan and just buy extra tickets for guests at the door?
The Partner plan is a great solution for two people, or people with large families with young children. You and your partner can see all the movies that come to the Met for free, and then pay those little ticket prices if your kids want to see a movie once in a while.
Can't the prices be lowered?
After much analysis, we believe this price gives the Met the best chance to succeed. In addition to overhead costs, even with a membership plan, the Met pays the studios a significant fee per movie viewed. Our modeling takes into account an estimate of the number of movies each member will watch, the size of the community, and the likelihood of individuals signing up at the various rates. At the prices set, we need 15-20% of the mountain community to become members. If the prices were lowe,r we believe we would have trouble covering both the studio fees and overhead cost.
How is it going? Are people signing up?
500 people signed up in the first two days alone, and the momentum is continuing. If people continue to tell everyone, we can do this!
How can I help?
Tell everyone you know to become a Met Hero by signing up at the theater or at www.savethemet.com. Also, join our Facebook Met Heroes group to be kept in the loop and hear what else you can do.
Who is behind this Met Heroes thing anyway?
Well, there is all of you. Besides that, there is James Nelson, Matt Sconce, and Keith Walker. The three of us grew up in Oakhurst and all have strong ties to the town including parents that own small businesses in Oahkurst and teach at the high school.
Who is James Nelson?
James Nelson is the idea guy. Saving the Met using a subscription model is his brain child. James won a national award from Coca-Cola for a video gaming concept. That means he had a better idea than everyone in the country.
Who is Matt Sconce?
Matt Sconce loves movies. He is an award winning director/writer/filmmaker. His most recent feature length films, Fire Fall, will be released theatrically early next year. Matt won a national American Idol music video contest. Matt has been a youth leader at a local church in the mountain area for the past 9 years.
Who is Keith Walker?
Keith Walker is the tech dude. He has a masters from Carnegie Mellon in Software Engineering and has been working in the aerospace industry for over ten years. He is currently a software engineer at a startup in San Francisco.
Why would we bailout your business?
We are not the previous owners of the Met and did not run it before. We are a new team with fresh ideas and direction who want to save the ability for our children and their children to grow up with a movie theater in town. Becoming a member is not bailing out something old, it is becoming a part of something new and exciting.
Shouldn't I have received a confirmation email by now?
We apologize, but haven't yet sent out confirmation emails. We expect to get that going soon. Don't fret if you haven't seen one, expect one in the next few days, and if you would like a confirmation sooner, please email us.