ON THE JOB
October 4 2008
CORDELE — Everyone loves to be entertained. One of the most popular means of entertainment is watching a good movie. At the movie theatre there is always something for everyone. It does not matter if you like to laugh, cry, or scream there is a movie to suit your taste. While you are sitting in the dark theatre, with your large bucket of popcorn and blue-raspberry icee do you ever stop to wonder how that movie made its way to the screen.
Carl Brian one of the three owners of Spotlight Theatre here never really gave it much thought either. Brian, who holds degrees in both fine arts and business, worked in Industrial Design until the opportunity to enter a family business arose.
“About three years ago my brother-in-law, Joe Paletta, approached my wife and I about the theatre here.” said Brian. “We chose to seize the opportunity.”
As an owner Brian’s responsibilities include scheduling and managing personnel, and handling marketing. He also works with a broker to select and order movies. He considers one of the most important aspects of keeping a theatre going is the type of movies you bring in and when you bring them in.
“Spotlight Theatres is referred to as a first run theatre, meaning that 90 percent of our movies run when they are first released.” said Brian. “With small theatres it is good to bring in as many as possible.
Brian believes that the primary goal of any theatre should be to keep movies that interest the public. One of the ways Brian says he accomplishes this is by paying attention to the public and learning what their interests are.
“It is important to understand the people we market to.” said Brian. “Horror movies are really popular. For some reason people love to be scared, so if there is a horror movie you can be sure we will show it. Keeping family oriented movies is also important. We can’t forget the little ones.”
There is a process to be followed before any film can make it to the big screen. Movies arrive in boxes on several reels, depending on the length of the movie. One reel can run anywhere from $1,300 to $1,500 making the grand total for one movie somewhere in the area of $6,000. Trailers, previews and commercials are sent separately from the movies they run in front of.
“Once the movies and trailers arrive then comes the process of unpacking them and building them.” said Brian. “The whole process from start to finish takes about one hour to an hour and a half depending on the movie length.”
Brian said himself or a projectionist build the movies on what are called platters. Building movies may sound weird but a movie may come in seven or eight reels so they have to be spliced together. There is a certain spot they have to be cut and they must be spliced precisely on that spot to ensure the movie runs properly.
“There is a lot of technical information involved in movie building and some mechanical aptitude is necessary because when problems arise they need to be handled efficiently. It also takes patience and the ability to pay close attention to detail.” said Bryan. “It is not a job for everyone.”
The trailers, previews and commercials are built into twelve minute segments that run before the movie. Once the movie is ‘built’ it is thread off the platter into the projector. The sound is on the film and reads digitally through the projector then feeds through the amplifiers into the theatre.
“The entire system is automated.” said Brian. “From the time we press the start button the lights in the house go off and the preview trailer begins. It goes all the way to the credits and then the lights come back on. After the film finishes its round it ends up back on the platter and ready to be viewed again.”
Brian said that every movie that is viewed on one of their screens is viewed first by someone in the theatre to ensure that there no mistakes occurred during building.
“Everyone we employ works hard to help us ensure that our patrons get the best movie experience by coming to Spotlight Theatre. There are multiple people performing multiple tasks to get the job done and keep this theatre running smooth. There are those at the register selling the tickets, and the people at the concession stand making sure our popcorn is popped fresh daily. There are the ticket takers, the ushers and the projectionists it is really a team effort.”
Spotlight Theatres will soon be celebrating its third anniversary in Cordele and Brian says that they look forward to the future.
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