Film-Tech Cinema Systems
Film-Tech Forum


Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile | my password | register | search | faq & rules | forum home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » average projectionist pay (Page 1)

 
This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2 
 
Author Topic: average projectionist pay
Kelsey Black
Film Handler

Posts: 58
From: Pima, Arizona, USA
Registered: Aug 1999


 - posted 09-07-1999 11:23 AM      Profile for Kelsey Black   Email Kelsey Black   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I work for an independent, family-run 2 screen in Arizona, and over the course of our 1 1/2 year management, I have worked my pay up to $7.50/hr. Unfortunately I won't be working here much longer as I am moving out of the nest, up to the SLC area in Utah. I would like to remain in the projection field, but I need to know if I can expect make a living off of this line of work, so my question; How much does the average projectionist get paid? IMHO, I am proficient in tech work, and if projection is not adequate, maybe I should look into this instead.

 |  IP: Logged

Erika Hellgren
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 168
From: Denver, Colorado
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-07-1999 12:08 PM      Profile for Erika Hellgren   Email Erika Hellgren   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Without being too specific about numbers (I don't want to make any promises or misquote what a company would be willing to pay you), I would say that if you were working for a big chain like UA or AMC, you would be lucky to get paid what you are making now. Of course there is always a chance that if you prove yourself to be a professional and work for a company long enough that you might get paid fairly decently, but if you consider the cost of living in this country in this day and age, projection is a tough life. If you want to become a tech, they make a nice salary (sometimes). But unless big companies were willing to allow union projectionists again (which will never happen), we will never get paid what we really deserve - upwards of 10 or 11 dollars/hour (with full benefits ).

 |  IP: Logged

George Roher
Master Film Handler

Posts: 266
From: Washington DC
Registered: Jul 99


 - posted 09-07-1999 10:28 PM      Profile for George Roher   Email George Roher   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If you are working for a family-owned independent, making $7.50 for two screens, and getting to stay in the booth, then I'd say you have found a good place to work. Small independents usually don't have much of a budget for payroll, but working for them can be a real fun experience, and the fact that they want a dedicated projectionist is amazing.

I'd personally guess that the average nonunion projectionist pay is minimum wage. Most theatres don't care what they're putting on screen and prefer to hire young people who don't need to support themselves and don't know they're being exploited. Actually when you consider that so many "projectionists" have to work the floor at the same time and are doing two jobs, it's like getting paid $2.50 an hour. I know some manager/operators who are on salary, but when you divide their salary by the hours they put in and all of the stuff they do, it winds up being slightly over minimum.

Union pay is without a doubt better but it varies extremely from town to town. And not all Union theatres have health insurance anymore. If the town you're moving into has a Union, I'd contact them first.

 |  IP: Logged

Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7929
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-07-1999 10:41 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
$7.50 for two screens sounds pretty good compared to what I've heard from others. I was getting paid slightly less than that for a single-screen house (all-manual booth) and I had to do other stuff at the end of the night (boxoffice reports, count and deposit cash, sweep floor, etc.), although I stayed in the booth during the films, of course. This was more of a hobby than a "real" job for me, though, so I wasn't terribly concerned about the pay.

Personally, I'd say that a "reasonable" rate of pay for a good projectionist is probably in the $9-12/hour range, depending on experience. There's no way to keep quality people for any length of time if the theatre pays less than that. I'm thinking in terms of a single-screen operation here, since that's what I'm most familiar with. Obviously, one would expect to get paid more in a multi-screen complex, although I will point out that an all-manual single-screen booth often requires more work than a medium-size multiplex with automation.

If anyone is making over $12/hour in a nonunion booth, I'd be very impressed with the management at that theatre.

 |  IP: Logged

Tim Reed
Better Projection Pays

Posts: 5242
From: Northampton, PA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 09-08-1999 08:14 AM      Profile for Tim Reed   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The job of projectionist has been de-professionalized and is no longer a craft. In the 30s, it was a very prestigious position, like being a doctor or lawyer. Today, the job's held in the same regard as the 'would-you-like-fries-with-that' job.

In the seventies, I realized that the role of projectionist was on the way out. Therefore, I looked for something that would still keep me involved with the equipment at the level I had previously enjoyed as a professional projectionist. The logical choice was to become a sound man (field service engineer).

About 1982, I applied to, and was hired as a sub-contractor, by what was the old Altec Service company. This provided occasional work for the next couple years and was good hands-on training in service. I kept my still-good union job and took off to go do service and emergency calls for Altec when they needed me. A couple years later, they hired me full-time. The pay was (and still is) fantastic and you can make a good living at it.

Since the job of projectionist has died-out, there are fewer and fewer skilled people to be hired into the service field. It's an in-demand job. If you're interested in becoming a projection and sound service engineer, learn electronics, first and foremost (not just knowing how to change diodes). There are many good basic books on the subject, home-study courses, and vocational school-training opportunities. When I was hired, they required you to have an Associate Degree in electronics. This is no longer the case, but you DO need a good electronics foundation.

This will get you on at one of the national service companies, which are union. The pay, benefits and conditions are best here. You may consider starting as a tech for one of the theatre circuits that have their own service, but they have a tendency to work you to death with no overtime pay.

Secondly, to increase your chances of getting hired into service, you must be willing to relocate, and not afraid to TRAVEL.

This is the only way I know of being able to make a living in the projection field today.

Tim


 |  IP: Logged

Art Averett
Film Handler

Posts: 14
From: Orlando, FL
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 09-08-1999 08:21 AM      Profile for Art Averett   Email Art Averett   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I would go with the tech work. Check with National Screen Service, or any of the theater servicing companies in the area you want to move to. Also, find out about taking some electronics courses. Go to Dolby.com web site and see when the next Dolby training seminar is available. Also go to DTS.com and see when their next training seminar is available. Theater techs make better money, but you would also be on the road quite alot and on call.

 |  IP: Logged

Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16059
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-08-1999 09:57 AM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I was near Winter Park, Colorado a few weeks back installing a twin theater and the manager at McDonalds told me that they can't get any help there for less than 11.00 per hour! Are we in the wrong buisness???????

 |  IP: Logged

Brad Miller
Administrator

Posts: 17638
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 09-08-1999 01:37 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
$11.00/hr at McDonald's???

Make sure to go back and ask that twin's manager how much they have to pay ushers. I'm wondering how it will balance.

 |  IP: Logged

Ben Wales
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 602
From: Southampton. England
Registered: Jul 99


 - posted 09-08-1999 05:23 PM      Profile for Ben Wales   Email Ben Wales   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The cinema I work at, the floor staff are paid less than working at McDonalds!.


 |  IP: Logged

Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16059
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-08-1999 06:04 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, Apparently there is a labor shortage up in that neck of the woods. Check out the pages and pages of help wanted ads in the local papers there. The theater I did was in Granby and they are around the 5 dollar and something per hour as I remember. But then its not McDonalds its a movie theater and many kids seem to consider it sort of a status thing to work the theater. Personally, I wouldn't work at McDonalds for anything no matter what.

 |  IP: Logged

Ed Johnson
Film Handler

Posts: 24
From: Lancaster, MA/Appleton, WI
Registered: Jul 99


 - posted 09-08-1999 09:15 PM      Profile for Ed Johnson   Email Ed Johnson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When I was 16 I worked at a fast food place for one summer and learned two things:

1. Working with fast food is disgusting.

2. After finding out how disgusting it is, you never want to eat it again (if you ever liked it in the first place.)

Movie theaters can offer free movies as a perk. At current market prices, free movies for employees is of significant value. After working at McDonalds, I doubt any employees are really going to want to have their free Big Macs...

I was in Maine over the summer and a Burger King had closed down except for the drive-thru because they couldn't hire enough employees to open the dining room. They were offering something like 12 dollars, too.

Personally, I'd take a low paying job at the movies over food prep in a second.

 |  IP: Logged

Stephen Jones
Master Film Handler

Posts: 314
From: Geelong Victoria Australia
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-08-1999 11:57 PM      Profile for Stephen Jones   Email Stephen Jones   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I am being paid $17.25 an hour for working in the projection room being a old fashioned projectionist I think they call it esp level 3 these days. I dont now how much $17.25 Aust is worth in U.S dollars.Before the position of projectionist was made redundant by the major chains here I was earning $52,000 a year gross Aust full time. Early this year I worked for a Family independant and was paid $14.00 Aust a hour.

------------------

 |  IP: Logged

George Roher
Master Film Handler

Posts: 266
From: Washington DC
Registered: Jul 99


 - posted 09-09-1999 12:04 AM      Profile for George Roher   Email George Roher   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
What's the difference between slinging burgers and slinging movies anyway? Movies weigh more and the pickles won't stay on them because those darn Christie autowinds are too jerky.

 |  IP: Logged

Brad Miller
Administrator

Posts: 17638
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 09-09-1999 01:34 AM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
George,

You want that AW3 more sluggish? Try this one...

Set your led card resistance to 25K ohms each deck.

Then time your platters to the following specs:

100%=5 3/4 to 6 revolutions per 15 seconds
20%=1/4 to 1/3 revolutions per 15 seconds

That'll make 'em nice and smooth.

As to projectionist's pay, the best paying jobs are definitely not in the major chains, but in independents which are doing nicely. $9-12 is not uncommon once you get outside the "big boys" theaters. You will also get more respect there, as everyone knows everyone and how hard you work.

 |  IP: Logged

Paul Konen
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 981
From: Frisco, TX. (North of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-09-1999 09:25 AM      Profile for Paul Konen   Email Paul Konen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Follow Brad's spec on the platters, we did three the other night and run real nice. Now for the other 69 platters. Oh, but I can't do it tonight, it's new NCN trailer night. YEA!!!

 |  IP: Logged



All times are Central (GMT -6:00)
This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2 
 
Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic    next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:



Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.3.1.2

The Film-Tech Forums are designed for various members related to the cinema industry to express their opinions, viewpoints and testimonials on various products, services and events based upon speculation, personal knowledge and factual information through use, therefore all views represented here allow no liability upon the publishers of this web site and the owners of said views assume no liability for any ill will resulting from these postings. The posts made here are for educational as well as entertainment purposes and as such anyone viewing this portion of the website must accept these views as statements of the author of that opinion and agrees to release the authors from any and all liability.

© 1999-2018 Film-Tech Cinema Systems, LLC. All rights reserved.