5 Reasons Working in a Movie Theater Was My Favorite Job
Not a day goes by that I don't read Cracked.com. It's a wonderful source of inspiration and bizarre trivia that has led to hundreds of articles I've written, in addition to the fact that the site is just all around amazingly funny. That said, I got a little sad when I read this list of things that are horrible about working in a movie theater.
Not that the list is in any way inaccurate or anything. You do in fact smell like multiple layers of popcorn for pretty much your entire life, people that want a special batch of popcorn with no salt or butter at all are annoying, people are actually just in general annoying, and blah blah blah. It's more or less the same complaints you'd hear from any basic food service job really.
Still, I loved working in movie theaters. I worked in a local four-screen, then when it became a dollar cinema, then a googleplex, then finally as chief of staff at the Landmark River Oaks (My favorite!) for a period of five years. I actually started the process of becoming a union projectionist before digital technology sent that job path down the path of the dodo. Except for this gig, which nets me free video games, access to pretty much anything I want, and a paycheck for writing Doctor Who fan fiction, it was the happiest employment of my life. Because...
You Get to See Things Most People Would Miss: I'm going to draw mostly from working at River Oaks and Jacinto City's little four-screener because I got fed up with Tinseltown pretty quickly. My favorite moments were when we would have midnight staff screening on Thursdays. This was obstinately to check the print to make sure there were not problems with the splicing and such, but it was really an excuse for theater employees and all their friends to get a little early access to the latest releases a day early.
I'm not talking about stuff like The Avengers, either. I mean little weirdo pics like the Marquis De Sade biopic Quills, the cheesy ridiculousness of Con Air, and my personal favorite, being the first people in Houston to really find out what The Blair Witch Project was all about. The screenings were pretty open, so I invited all kinds of friends to sit in a very low-key atmosphere as we watched Sex: The Annabel Chong Story or the latest French import. I saw some of my favorite movies this way.
The Swag: My house is full of stuff that was handed to me after it was used for marketing. Tshirts, posters, stand-ups, and in some cases 35mm trailers which I'm pretty sure now they weren't actually supposed to give me. Screw 'em, I'm not handing off anything to do with The Velvet Goldmine I don't have to!
I've got dog tags from 28 Days Later, a cardboard stand-up from Dark City, soundtracks from Run Lola Run and Boys Don't Cry, and God knows what else tucked away. It was always a nice little thing, to be able to call dibs on the promo materials. It didn't make up for the fact that you made next to nothing, but it did make you feel a little special.