Monday, May 28, 2012

What do I do?

A while ago I asked you, my lovely blog readers, what you'd be interested in hearing about and Adam wanted to know more about my job as a cinema manager.  It's a big job, and I could probably write numerous posts about the various facets of it, but I'll give you a brief overview for now.  If anyone has anything they particularly want to know about, I can dedicate a special post to that...

My actual title is Cinema Operations Manager, which basically means I'm in charge of everything.  The cinema I run is part of a small chain, but each location is different so we can't run like a traditional chain in that respect.  Mine is a niche cinema.  We run 8-9 film festivals per year and will host up to four or five events per week.   These can be anything from fundraiser screenings to live music events or conferences.  This week's bookings include live music from Ireland, a schools' Shakespeare festival, the beginning of the gay and lesbian film festival and a three day conference for an environmental organization.

And that's on top of running a diverse film programme.  Wonder why I never have time to write???

I choose the films that play here, and while that may sound glamorous, it's not really.  It's hard work and there is almost as much disappointment involved as there is with querying a novel.  Every time I approach a distributor about a title I'd like to play, I risk rejection.

I have a fantastic team working for me, but they are all (with the exception of my two projectionists) casuals who have lives outside the business.  This can make rosters difficult at times, but we scrape by.  Whenever I find I'm struggling to fill shifts, I hire new people.  At peak times I can get 60 resumes a week, so there is never a shortage of people wanting to work here.

So there is film programing and staff management involved.

We also have a bar which we often rent out for parties and other functions separately from the theaters.  And of course, the bar and candy bar side of the business involve stock control and ordering.  And then there's the reporting.  And serving people.  And cleaning theaters.  Painting.  Maintenance work.  Newspaper advertising and other promotional activities.  Publicity and marketing is a huge part of my job, and one which I struggle to find enough time for.  I write weekly newsletters for a mailing list of over 2500 people and keep the website updated along with Twitter and Facebook for the cinema (although I do have a guy who helps with this).

Phew!  I'm tired just looking at all that.  And I feel like it only scratches the surface of what I actually do...  Is there anything you'd like to know more about?


  1. Wow - that's a LOT of stuff. A weekly NL for 2500? And a bar, too? I seriously can't imagine doing all that, having a family and finishing 2 books a year. Makes me feel like a lazy couch-potatoe...

  2. Very interesting! I would like to hear more about how you choose what films will be shown and what that process is. What does a distributor have to do with it? Why is it so challenging? Thanks!