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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Manager-operators

Author Topic: Manager-operators
Frank Rapisardi
Film Handler

Posts: 96
From: Methuen, MA, USA
Registered: Apr 2000

 - posted 06-20-2000 05:21 AM      Profile for Frank Rapisardi   Email Frank Rapisardi   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I was told by a very good source from National Amusements;that the reason they use the manager/operator deal is because they are affraid that if they hire projectionists as such,that this will lead to the unions coming back in.Some of (NA) houses are still unioned;but most are not.On a busy weekend'I just don't think that one person can do both jobs!Especially in a large megaplex.


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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7991
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 06-24-2000 08:36 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
What I don't understand is why anyone would _want_ to do both jobs! I'm sure that lots of people can do either job competently on different nights, but to be expected to do both is just too much.

Managers should be in view of their customers at all times and shouldn't be stuck in the booth, getting grease and oil all over their suits.

That said, I will say that it's not a bad thing for managers to have at least some idea of what the projectionist's job involves. This really helps when there's a need for a service call or replacement parts. Of course, the manager should place a great amount of trust in his projectionist (and vice versa), but it's even better if he has some understanding of what actually goes on in the booth.

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Paul Goulet
Master Film Handler

Posts: 347
From: Rhode Island
Registered: Jan 2000

 - posted 06-24-2000 09:10 AM      Profile for Paul Goulet   Author's Homepage   Email Paul Goulet   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 

Its not that the Manager/Operator WANTS to do both jobs, it's usually that the Company who owns a theatre wants them to do both jobs for the obvious reason-- save $$$$$. I agree that it is extremly important that the Manager has Knowledge of the booth for the obvious reasons, but from what I have seen, its way too much for One person to do both Jobs.

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Bryan Fournier
Film Handler

Posts: 61
From: Greensboro, NC
Registered: Dec 1999

 - posted 06-24-2000 04:02 PM      Profile for Bryan Fournier   Email Bryan Fournier   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Manager-Operator is not the same as Manager-Projectionist. Most, not all, manager-operators are managers who are able to "get the show on screen" ie they can thread up and push the button. If something goes wrong after pushing the button just "call the tech"! Who cares if he's 500 hundred miles away on another ridiculous emergency call just tell him to get here as soon as possible. Troubleshooting projection and sound takes time and experience in the booth. Something manager-operators, in most circumstances, cannot achieve. Don't get me wrong there are some situations where manager -operators are competent in both areas, but as a corporate policy it's ludicrous. When it does work, generally, it's a former experienced union projectionist who became a "booth manager". Basically, this person is a salaried projectionist, but the home office is satisfied because he or she is not labeled a projectionist.

I'm wondering what caused the corporate policy to change. When did theatre executives decide they could do without projectionists. Was it platters? (platters in my opinion just allowed theatre owners to have more screens under one roof. It allowed them to begin the multiplexing of America). Was it equipment manufacturers who convinced theatre owners they had the technology to replace skilled projectionists? (buy our product and you can get rid of those overpaid guys forever. Our product is so easy to use even a "kid" can use it). Was it just a cost cutting measure? (If so it has failed! I bet most company records would show it hasn't saved a dime over the last 10-20 years due to needing many more replacement parts due to a lack of proper weekly maintenance being performed. And we all know the elevated price of projection and sound parts). I'm sorry I have to break the news to the powers that be, but a maintenance-free projector does not exist. Regardless of what Christie says!

From what I understand UA was one of the first theatre chains to adopt the anti- projectionist policy (ie layoffs, lockouts) to save an uneeded expenditure. Isn't it ironic today they are tetering on the edge of bankruptcy. I guess it didn't work. Perhaps they over paid their corporate employees. I do sense a slight shift of attitude from the higher ups starting to realize what it takes to run a booth. Hopefully the trend continues. BUT WAIT!!! DLP will save us.

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George Roher
Master Film Handler

Posts: 266
From: Washington DC
Registered: Jul 99

 - posted 06-24-2000 10:01 PM      Profile for George Roher   Email George Roher   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Bryan Wrote: "I'm wondering what caused the corporate policy to change. When did theatre executives decide they could do without projectionists. Was it platters?"

There was a theatre owner in my area who decided projectionists were unnecessary the first time he saw a Xenon lamp.

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Kevin Crawford
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 207
From: Sacramento, CA, USA
Registered: May 2000

 - posted 06-25-2000 02:17 AM      Profile for Kevin Crawford   Email Kevin Crawford   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Being a union operator, I hate to say this, but.... I think that we did it to ourselves.

I have only been a union member for five years, worked for the union an additional three years, but all of the stories that I have heard from the guys of the good old days, leads me to believe that it was our arrogance that started it all.

Having to deal with labor issues every couple of years through contract negotiations is a pain. Having to deal with drunk or incompetant people that you cannot fire is a pain. Beligerant workers that harass management is a pain. I do not want to say that all union guys were like this. But a few rotten apples spoil the whole bunch.

I think that the companies realized that dealing with a few techs and a bunch of untrained kids and equipment failure would be less of a headache. Only a few companies thought that presentation was important. Like General Cinema, until they hired that guy from AMC. His first directive was to eliminate projectionists anywhere he could. So far he has done a good job. In California, five years ago there was only one booth with less than 100% union. Now most theatres only have 25 hours. Lost shows have gone up, film damage has gone up, and surprisingly profits have gone down. But I doubt that they will see a need for more booth hours.

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