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So You’re Going to a Movie Premiere!

The Top 10 Things You Need to Know Before You Hit the Red Carpet

If you've been invited to a movie premiere, you're probably wondering what to wear, how movie premieres work, and what happens at a movie premiere. These 10 tips from Jen at mydreamcametrue.com will help you have a magical time. You can also check out Jen's photos and reviews of her experiences at the Finding Dory premiere and after party and at the Divergent premiere!

If you're attending a movie premiere without a ticket (to watch the red carpet arrivals), be sure to check out this post: Top things to know if you're going to a movie premiere without a ticket.

Jen on the Finding Dory blue carpet at the El Capitan Theatre

1. Wear something that makes you feel like a star.

If your invitation does not specifically mention a dress code, then you will be on your own to decide how dressy or casual you want your outfit to be. At the premiere, you will likely see some people wearing extremely dressy outfits and others wearing surprisingly casual ones, and so it is generally very easy to fit in.

If you'd like to get an idea of what type of attire some of the other attendees might be wearing, you can do an image search online for recent celebrity red carpet photos for similar movie premieres in the same city or theater or venue as the premiere you will be attending. Daytime premieres (eg. for animated movies) are often more casual than evening premieres. Non-celebrities are usually dressed in outfits that are a little less formal than celebrities, however, if you have a red-carpet look that you'd like to wear, go for it.

2. Bring a photo ID and a copy of whatever confirmation information you have to the will-call tent.

Unless you are a big-name celebrity and your limousine will be dropping you off on the red carpet, you will need to check in at a will-call tent to receive your tickets. If for some reason your name is not on their list, you will need to provide information to allow your invitation to be confirmed. I always make sure to have something in writing (including the name and contact details of the person who confirmed my invitation) to give me piece of mind.

Will call area at the Planes premiere
Will call area at the Planes premiere

3. When you check in at will call, find out whether you are invited to the afterparty.

After the premiere, an afterparty is usually held at a nearby location. Generally, not everyone who is invited to the movie premiere is invited to the afterparty. If you are invited, you will usually be given a special pass when you check in at will call. If you receive a pass for the afterparty, you will need to present it to the security personnel at the afterparty venue in order to enter.

4. Be prepared NOT to walk the red carpet.

You might be surprised to learn that not everyone who goes to a red carpet premiere gets to walk the red carpet. I was. At my first premiere, I was ushered into the theater lobby through a side entrance.

Unless you're a celebrity, you will most likely bypass the red-carpet area where the news media and photographers interview the celebs. At some premieres, you'll be escorted into the theater through a side entrance; at others you may walk a roped-off portion of the carpet that directs you away from the reporters.

Celebrity drop off area at the premiere of Red Riding Hood at the TCL Chinese Theatre
(Most non-celebrity attendees entered the theater through a separate entrance.)

Walking down the red carpet at Disney's Planes premiere
The view while walking down the roped-off portion of the Planes red carpet

Bonus thing to know: The red carpet might not be red!

Don't count on the red carpet being red. Nowadays, carpets come in all colors. For example, white (Disney's Frozen), black (Divergent), green (Lion King 3D), light-blue (Finding Dory), red with an airplane runway (Disney's Planes).

Black carpet at the Divergent premiere in Westwood

Overhead view of the white carpet at the Frozen premiere at the El Capitan Theatre

Bustling green carpet at the Lion King 3D premiere at the El Capitan Theatre

5. If you bring your camera or cell phone, be prepared to check it.

Before you enter the theater auditorium, there may be an area where security staff collect cameras and phones. They return these after the movie. Guests must often pass through a metal detector and get "wanded" before entering the theater. If small bags are allowed, they are usually searched.

6. Beverages and popcorn at the concessions stand are probably free.

The buckets of popcorn and beverages that you'll probably see sitting on the concessions stand counter at a red-carpet movie premiere are usually free for the taking. If you're not sure, stand back and watch for a minute.

7. Inside the theater, celebrities do not expect to be approached by fans.

Once inside the theater, you will see celebrities socializing with their friends and colleagues. Because cameras, press, and fans are not generally allowed inside the theater, celebrities are usually not approached by people that they don't know.

8. The movie screening IS the event.

When it's time for the screening, there might be a quick introduction by the director, and then the film, without any preview trailers, is screened in its entirety. Generally, everyone remains seated until the very end of the final credits.

The author on the Planes red carpet after the premiere
Jen on the Planes red carpet after the premiere

9. If you are invited to the afterparty, GO!

Even if it's late. Even if you have plans the next day. If you are invited to the afterparty, GO!

Every afterparty that I've attended has been amazing. Generally, they have special theming related to the movie, entertainment, and a tasty buffet. Sometimes, small movie-related gifts are given out as party favors. Cameras are sometimes allowed at the afterparty. Most people don't take too many photographs, however taking an occasional photo shouldn't raise eyebrows.

The afteparty turned preparty entrance at Disney's Planes premiere
The afterparty entrance at the Planes premiere

10. Relax and enjoy yourself.

These were the only words of advice given to me before my very first movie premiere. They came from a friend of a friend who is a Hollywood publicist (coincidentally, she happened to be at that premiere with one of her clients). It was probably the advice that I needed the most. She told me, "Relax and enjoy yourself!"

My first movie premiere was very important to me because I was in the movie (I had a small speaking role). I was extremely nervous because I wanted it to be special, and I didn't want to embarrass myself. Because I forced myself to follow the publicist's advice, the experience was magical … even though I had to figure out tips 1-9 by myself.

May your movie premiere experience be magical too!

~ Jen (California, USA)

Jen is also known as J.W. Lynne, a best selling author of twelve novels.
Check out her books on Amazon:

THE UNKNOWN: Eight kids learn the shocking reason why they were kidnapped.

ABOVE THE SKY: A girl lives in a world where touching her soulmate is forbidden.

WHAT HE DIDN'T TELL ME: A traumatized girl meets a boy with a horrible secret.

IF I TELL: A teen wonders if her father is a serial killer.

: A teen is locked in a bunker to take a simulated trip to the moon.

WILD ANIMAL SCHOOL: A girl falls in love with a boy at an exotic animal ranch.

KID DOCS: An experimental program turns kids into doctors.

**Not sure which book to choose? Visit our book recommendation page!**

**Jen's books are available on Kindle Unlimited.**

Besides reading books and dreaming up stories to write, Jen's favorite activities are singing along to musical theater soundtracks and hiking in California's beautiful parks.

You might also enjoy Jen's other popular posts ...

Jen's list of bucket-list-worthy things to do in Los Angeles

Reviews of red-carpet movie premieres:
Finding Dory premiere and afterparty
Divergent premiere
Disney's Planes premiere and pre-party
The Lion King 3D premiere
Red Riding Hood premiere
Disney's Frozen premiere

Top things to know if you're going to a movie premiere without a ticket

Attending a hand and footprint ceremony at TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood

Visiting the Oscars red carpet the day before the Oscars

Performing in a show at Disneyland

Auditioning for Universal Studios Hollywood

Reviews of TV show tapings and filmings:
The Big Bang Theory (2013-2014 Season)
The Big Bang Theory (2011-2012 Season)
Two and a Half Men (2011-2012 Season)
The Ellen DeGeneres Show (Riff-Raff Room)
The Ellen DeGeneres Show (studio audience)
American Idol taping
American Idol finale
Today show