Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Behind the Scenes: My day job :O)

When I'm not working on my's normally because I have to go to work...
but my job is pretty fun sometimes, so I thought that I'd share a little about it here.

I'm a movie theater projectionist in a multiplex (that is only until I find a job in animation, hopefully)!

It's really a blast though to be practically what I consider to be the very last last stage of production.... my job is *simple* lol.... to make sure the audience enjoys a flawless presentation! My favorite part of it is watching my mentor/classmates names go by on the credits...that really is a fun feeling. Oh, and another highlight of the job was entering the perfect projectionist contest that Pixar put on for Ratatouille projectionists and they sent me a Ratatouille hat...that made my day for sure! (I still have the envelope it came in!)

Anyways, now on to describing a little bit more about what goes on up there in the booth... I'll do my best to describe a Thursday night...because Thursday nights are always insane.... (that's because movies most always open on Fridays and the projectionists need to build and break down all of the films).

(note the film I'm so carelessly handling in the pictures is actually a really old trailer that was being thrown no always has to be handled with the utmost care)

The time it takes to build a movie varies on quite a couple different many reels, how experienced you are, and how many other distractions you're dealing with...such as threading and starting projectors.
If the movie is 4 or 5 reels and I'm not starting any movies I can normally build the whole movie in one hour...but normally I average an hour and a half.
Building a movie is when you take the reels that come in the boxes or canisters and splice them together onto 2 large metal reels. While you are putting the reels together you also check for factory splices, and any other abnormalities. This is also the stage where you position the cue tape (that will signal the lights to turn down and such). Film is super easy to scratch as that's another thing that you have to be very careful of during the whole process.

The movie trailers also have to be spliced on to the movie. (they are the things in stacks sitting on the shelves in the pic) They are probably my least favorite part in building the movie, because you have to put 6 or 7 of them on and you have to leave black on the tale ends of it takes a little bit longer to make sure that you cut on the frame line. After the movie is assembled on the two large reels it is time to load it onto the platter system. You take the reel with the first half of the film and load it onto the "mut" which then takes at least 20mins it seems to load it onto the platter. Then you do the same with the 2nd half of the movie and splice it onto the first half.
Success!!!! Well...not quite...
It is now time for another manager to preview your movie before it plays in front of an audience. This preview is to make sure that the movie was assembled correctly... You make sure that the reels were all placed in the correct positions...that the splices go through okay...that there aren't any misplices (causing the film to go out of frame)..check for scratches...make sure all the soundtracks match. It's pretty funny when a trailer gets put in backwards ;) the picture is upside down and all you can hear is gibberish. I accidentally made that mistake on a trailer during a sold out showing of Transformers..the print was not previewed due to time restrictions..and I was so embarrassed...but it received a round of applause which was cool...I'm happy to report that I've never made that mistake again. Previewing movies is my favorite thing, just the concept of being paid to have a private screening before the show opens is great! I rarely get the chance though..since I always work Thursday night projection shifts...and it's just always too busy.

To break a movie down it takes about 15-30 minutes. You have to wait until the last show drops on Thursday nights before you can break it down (so it is always such great news when you hear no tickets were sold to the last showing)!!! I hate having to wait until it drops at 1am before I can break it down. :( Breaking down though is basically just using the "mut" to rewind the movie back onto the original reels so that it can be shipped out again.

Some Thursday nights are so insane though...when you have 7 new movies coming in and 8 leaving all in one night...things can be a little hectic. But it's still pretty fun!

I do love Thursday nights though in a way...because sometimes projection shifts are a little boring...just threading and starting movies day in and day out..."AT&T asks you to silence your cell phones now" ringing in your ears..cause you've heard it so many times... Sometimes I spice it up and see how fast I can thread a projector (my record is 1 min 30 sec)!

Yep, anyways...that's kinda projections in a nutshell...there are of course a bunch more things that go the ghost stories from the booth, and the dreadful brain wraps...but we'll save those for another day ;)

(Oh, and you have to hop all of the movies to the correct platters on Thursday nights...those suckers are SO heavy...and the canisters they come in are monsters as well...the little metal handles just dig into your hands..ouch!)
Someday I'll make a great animation conveying weight...with those memories in mind...

I almost forgot the best part of my job....FREE movies!!!!! Yay! I finally went to see National Treasure 2 today and I absolutely loved the new Goofy's SO good! I also enjoyed Enchanted a lot too!


Alexiss Dawn said...

Yeah!!! You got the post on! Woo! I'm impressed girl - two posts in one night?? I think this is off to a great start... :)

Just a few more days...then it's back to AM!

Heather said...

wow, this is really interesting. cool job. best of luck with your animation dreams.

Heather said...

What I love about your blog is the dedication in your words. Many starting animators that I run into never seem to have the passion or drive which is required for it. I'm glad to have met you and will definitely be looking for you on AM in the near future. :O)

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