I work in film. Not in an acting capacity*. Not as a producer. Not even as a caterer at industry events. I’m the general manager of a fairly successul arthouse/rep cinema. Which would be fancy. Except it mostly isn’t. This morning, for example, I woke up to call the bus station at 7:30am to find out if today’s press screening was at the courier desk yet. It isn’t.
I have friends who are actually working in theatre, film, and television, from local children’s plays to stand-up comedy to big studio movies and tv shows. And I know working at all levels in the process can be one big frustration. But when was the last time any of them had to deal with a seemingly possessed oil pump on a popcorn machine?
At the same time, despite the butter stained jeans and arguments with antiquated word processing software, there is a weird level of prestige to my job too. For example, when I’m introduced at parties (which is, admittedly, rare) as the general manager of That Cinema Where I Work, people sound impressed. Or, at least, the make impressed-sounding noises, even if they don’t really care. I manage an icon (of sorts) in the city’s cultural community. I don’t like to think of myself as egomaniacal, but I kind of like that level of…standing? Authority? Not sure what you’d call it. But it’s nice all the same.
Even nicer is when people say how much they love the cinema, because, frankly, the industry is in trouble** and who knows how long my job is going to last. That anyone still goes to the movies, and is willing to put up with our lack-of-warm-place-to-queue, ‘scary’ downtown location, and occasionally grouchy staff (yeah, I’m a great boss!) to go to OUR cinema warms the cockles of my cold, black heart.
* I have been recruited to ‘act’ and ‘sing’ (oh dear) in a short video my staff are producing in the new year. I am going to be in a dress that ‘represents’ a circus tent. Way to knock my self-esteem, guys.
** No, really, it is. The cinema I work at isn’t shutting down imminently, but seriously, we used to have a queue around the block for almost every single show from Thursday to Sunday. Now? A ‘good’ show has a 1/3 the people. People want to stay home with their HDTVs, Netflix, On Demand, or illegal downloads instead. Including me. Hypocrite, party of one? Kinda. But who wants to stay at work after hours, even if there is free popcorn?
This is post one in Holidailies 2010.