Sunday, August 8, 2010

My not-so-glamorous life part 1

I thought I might break a few illusions for those of you out there who think a job in the movie industry is glamorous. People are always telling me how lucky I am to have such an exciting job, but like all jobs, once you get into the day to day of it, it's not that exciting or glamorous. So I thought I'd take you through 'a day in the life', so to speak.

Today is Monday, so the busiest day in my week. On Mondays I have to wrap up the weekend and plan for the new week which begins on Thursday. New movies always open on Thursdays, so our weeks run Thursday -Wednesday which often confuses people who use a regular Monday - Friday week. So, first thing this morning I had to look over the figures for the weekend, checking which films did the most business and what titles did well at what times. At the moment we have seven films playing in 3 theatres, so the schedule is not terribly crowded. After sending the figures to the appropriate distributors and writing a list for myself of what did well and when, I had to sit down to work out he schedule for the new week.

Writing the schedule is the most important job of the week. A bad schedule will stress projectionists and irritate customers, as well as causing problems with flow to and from the theatres. So it is important to think about it. First I write in any special events or private bookings, double checking that I have the right date and time on each. Then I start programming the regular sessions. I usually start at the end of the day, working backward from the latest session to the earliest. First I decide which films are likely to work at an 8.30pm or 8.45pm session and slot these films in there, starting the longest film at the earliest time possible. Then I work out what films might work at the 6pmish sessions, how long each film is, and slot them in. And so on and so forth until I reach the earliest time of the day which for us is usually around midday.

This might sound simple, but it isn't always. Distributors have requirements for how many times a day each film is screened, so it is important to keep that in mind. Once you've been doing this as long as I have, you will have a feel for what films work at what time of day. I find a lot of the time when I watch films now, I have in my head by the end of it whether it's a matinee film, or an 8.30 film, or sometimes, just a Sunday afternoon film.

Once the schedule is set, it has to be approved by the distributors. So I send them the session times for their titles. Usually this is as far as it goes, but sometimes a distributor may want to negotiate more time slots, or different time slots for one of their titles. So the session times remain fluid until everyone has approved. Then the rest of the work can start.

But since I've written so much just on scheduling, the rest may have to wait until tomorrow....

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