Bio: Hey, I've been working at a 100+ year old cinema with just one screen for the last 7-8 years. I'm a part time manager - what that means is that I work on a part time basis and have management tasks to complete. I work under a full-time general manager, but I've been around longer than them! I know everything about this place from the history to how everything works. Open to any questions, even ones unrelated to the place's age (it's still a good ol' cinema after all!). AMA!


Comments: 38 • Responses: 15  • Date: 

Bignicky95 karma

Where is this wonder and what films does it house/show?

LookAtThisRhino3 karma

I've PM'd you with some details! We play a little of everything, while trying to keep with our historical movie house roots. We play indie films, older films, as well as newer films. Just last weekend we played The Neverending Story on both Saturday and Sunday. A couple months ago we did an 80s week. We also do a silent film festival once or twice a year with live piano accompaniment. On the flip side, we also play all the big blockbusters and a few of the lesser known ones, like Enemy or We Need to Talk About Kevin. Thanks for the question!

Bignicky94 karma

What sort of skills or experience did you need to manage the hose, and how have you used those skills in your work? What's the craziest thing that you've witnessed there?

LookAtThisRhino3 karma

I'm actually only in my 20s - I started out as regular staff (serving popcorn, selling tickets) and worked my way up. What helped was just being casual. Because it's not a big chain theatre, the community is very attached to the place. It's important to ditch the corporate uniform-bearing smile and the "can I take your order" attitude and switch it out for just being yourself with the guests. A film enthusiast will keep returning if you're able to discuss their favourite film with them in detail while you're serving, so I suppose a healthy knowledge of film doesn't hurt :) Relating to the black and white management stuff, it's important to be able to deal with every situation under the sun. I won't go into the nitty gritty but we had a mentally ill guest have a severe breakdown in the theatre while we were putting through a very busy show. Everything turned out OK and they still come around sometimes, but it was definitely a management challenge. Thanks for the questions!

maudeeh3 karma

What was your favourite screening experience?

LookAtThisRhino8 karma

Definitely whenever we screen older blockbuster films like the original Star Wars trilogy. Not too many fans these days had the opportunity to see it on the big screen when it first came out, so it's such a treat to be able to see those older films again in their original format. What's cool is that our theatre is so old that it probably played all those same films when they originally screened! Thanks for the question :)

original_greaser_bob3 karma

how fresh is the popcorn?

LookAtThisRhino3 karma

Very fresh. We usually start off a show with a fresh batch and make more through the show when we need it. It all gets tossed out at the end of the night so we never have day old popcorn. I hear some of the larger cinemas use day old popcorn though, gross!

fedoracat3 karma

Not sure of the age you show, but do you find the color prints age worse than older B&w ones?

LookAtThisRhino3 karma

We don't use prints much anymore because everything is digital, but yes they tend to fade especially when exposed to humidity. Black and white prints don't have colour to fade in the first place so they tend to keep a bit better over time. Thanks for the question!

frickin_lahey2 karma

Are there any ghosts or legends surrounding the building?

LookAtThisRhino3 karma

Yeah, everyone who closes up at the end of the night always gets this uneasy feeling like you have to leave. It's very interesting because each person has felt it, even the new guys. It's this weird feeling like you're being pushed out the front door. Once you work there for long enough it goes away, but even I still get it some times. Thanks for the question!

DeoGame2 karma

What are your recommendations for someone who aspires to manage a movie theater?

LookAtThisRhino2 karma

Make sure you go in knowing what to expect. Start small - knowing what your employees deal with on a daily basis is so key. In terms of soft skills, it's important to work exceptionally well and to keep a clear head under stress. It's also important to be able to keep track of multiple things at a time. If a show is sold out, you're going to get a lot of people who are upset they couldn't get in. You have to be able to keep cool and be able to please everyone. In the office you'll be keeping track of distributors, ordering film drives and posters, assembling trailer mixes, ordering product for the snack stand and conducting a full inventory on a regular basis, and you'll also likely be helping out on the floor with your employees on top of like 50 other manager-y type tasks. If a show is going to be sold out, we generally need as many people as possible out there to get everyone in on time. Oh! A solid knowledge of tech is always an asset. The projection booth can get pretty complicated, even with digital projectors. If something doesn't work everyone will turn to you to try to fix it. Thanks for the question :)

hazard84742 karma

Your favourite thriller movie?

LookAtThisRhino3 karma

The Game with Michael Douglas and Sean Penn :)

trapasuoris_rex1 karma

Do you show like foreign movies? Like cult classics like battle Royale, or ichi the killers or newer ones like as the gods will? Because I would die to see those on the big screen the way they were meant to be screened. Not digitally compressed or on Blu-ray on a 50 inch tv. And I know you're been asked this but where is this heaven located and Lilly what kind of movies do you normally show oh and how do you get your film prints and keep them in good condition oh and I promise last question. Do you show like exploitation movies or like grindhouse movies from the 70s and 80s?

LookAtThisRhino1 karma

We only show a few foreign movies (as in not English spoken films) and not very often. Maybe only a few a year...I don't even remember the last one we played. Unfortunately, while we'd love to play more stuff like that, we still fall victim to having to cater to an audience. Our demographic for that kind of thing just simply isn't there :(

We have a bunch of prints in storage that I think are still in good condition, but everything new comes on DCP these days (digital). Our 35mm projector is still hooked up but distributors don't put anything on film prints anymore (not even the old stuff) so the 35 is gathering dust pretty much.

I've only seen the really popular grindhouse films unfortunately :( Things like Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, Escape from LA, Halloween, etc. We've been known to have short grindhouse festivals over a weekend or something. On special nights like Halloween we like to play old films too - not necessarily grindhouse films, but classics like The Shining and The Exorcist.

garduniverse1 karma

Any movie recommendations on your 100 year history?

LookAtThisRhino1 karma

In terms of film? They're pretty popular but I'm in love with Charlie Chaplin's silent films. Thanks for the question!

Boonaki1 karma

Did you ever see Cinema Paradiso? Is your life anything like that movie?

LookAtThisRhino1 karma

Didn't you know? Cinema Paradiso is actually a documentary about my life. Good catch! To answer your question though, not quite. It's a lot different than working in a big cinema but not quite on the level of Cinema Paradiso.

joeybdot1 karma

What's the last great book you read?

LookAtThisRhino1 karma

I'm unfortunately not much of a reader. I read the Martian recently and enjoyed that, but funnily enough I'm very into Warcraft lore right now so I'm currently reading The Shattering. It's enjoyable so far, though the style of writing is very basic. Do you have any recommendations for fantasy?

TordLurd1 karma

do you do anything non-cinema related, that features more of the historical side or touristy side of the cinema? for example, wedding ceremonies, historic tours, etc?

LookAtThisRhino2 karma

We rent out the space frequently - we've had weddings, bachelor parties, birthday parties, you name it. We even had a memorial service for one of our regulars whose family knew she was in love with the place all her life. That was sad, but we were honoured to have the service in the theatre.

There's also this event in the area once a year where people can go into different businesses and see behind the scenes, that's something we've done in the past but didn't do this year because of time constraints. It's not that big of a venue (being one screen and all) so tours would be pretty short if we did them :P We do have a display at the back of the auditorium where we showcase some of the old projectors though. They're a couple of 16mm oldies :) Thanks for the question!

Kellag1 karma

Where is this great place? Also what films are your favorites to show on the big screen?

LookAtThisRhino2 karma

I've sent you a PM! I answered this in maudeeh's question too but just to go a little more in depth: anything old that people brighten up at. A lot of adults will revert to being kids and if they're with their own kids, it makes for a really humbling experience for everyone. For example, we played Back to the Future during our 80s week a while ago and a few people showed up in cosplay. That was cool :) Thanks for the question!

FlippitySkippity1 karma

Do y'all play movies mid school day, knowing that probably know one is gonna go and see it?

LookAtThisRhino1 karma

Not usually! Distributors charge for film rights so we have to at least have a hunch that a few people will show up. Thanks for the question!