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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Tool Loan-Out Policy (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Tool Loan-Out Policy
Aaron Mehocic
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 804
From: New Castle, PA, USA
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 03-15-2001 12:29 AM      Profile for Aaron Mehocic   Email Aaron Mehocic   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
OK here are a couple of senerios I want you to try on for size:

1. A projectionist working for your company but from another city calls and needs some tools, maybe a, oh I don't know, a mutimeter and wire stripper from your booth. Do you or do you not loan to him?

2. A projectionist who is your buddy but DOES NOT work for your company needs those tools. Do you or do you not loan to him.

3. A trusted co-worker, or maybe even the theater manager needs those tools for a job at home. Do you or do you not loan to him?

The reason I ask is because many of the tools in the booth are showing up missing when I need them, and mysteriously reappearing in the box office, downstairs tool box, or (my personal favorite), front seat of the manager's car. This wouldn't be a problem save for the cute, 20-year-old sign hanging on a booth cabinet reading "NO TOOL LOAN-OUT". I know for a fact that sanding blocks have been taken by workers and not returned, any name brand Craftsman tool has a short stay in the booth, and drill bits (for those damn redesigned New Line Cinema reels) are gone. Tonight I saw the manager take equipment home to fix a home stereo system two other greeceballs f--ked up in the first place! The simple answer is to lock up these tools, but when you have other operators and members of management breaking the rules, locks are useless anyway. Just me sounding off, reply if you wish.

Brad Miller

Posts: 17690
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99

 - posted 03-15-2001 02:27 AM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
I can't believe it. 25,000 posts and no one has ever brought this up!

Personally, I feel that ALL tools should be locked up and the only people who should have a key is the projectionists...not even the techs or the managers. (Company service techs have their own tools and shouldn't have to be borrowing the theater's, for they usually end up as a permanent addition to the tech's toolbelt. Also, managers will ALWAYS take the tools downstairs to fix items and they NEVER find their way back.) All is fine and dandy with being nice and loaning out the booth tools, but when that belt breaks and all you need is a screwdriver and an allen wrench to get back on screen BUT THEY ARE MISSING, that is just not acceptable.

My ideal policy (which no manager has ever agreed to) is that if a non-projectionist needs to use a tool, or if a tool is to be used outside of the booth, that the person taking the tool must surrender their driver's license which is placed in the tool box, only to be given back upon safe return of the borrowed tool(s).

Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000

 - posted 03-15-2001 02:43 AM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The answer to 1,2, and 3: Not only NO, but HELL NO!!!

Nothing like trying to make a crucial repair to find out the tool you need to do it with is gone!

Keep the tool box locked, inventoried, and chained to the booth.

(We all know this won't work. But spot checks of tool box inventories will, as long as you can pin somebody if a tool comes up missing. If a tool turns up missing, the person responsible for that tool box buys the missing tool - out of his or her pocket.)

Furthurmore, if a show is lost because of a tool needed for repair is loaned to someone, it would seem to me that it could be grounds for divorce from the theater.

Kind of harsh? You bet!

I always brought my own tool case. In that case, I had everything from a bristol wrench sets to Ballentyne gate gauges, including snap ring tools, soldering equipment, and basic test equipment. The same stuff the theater techs carry in their back pocket. Nobody touched them without suffering my wrath! Not even the theater owner. He knew better. )

It should be up to the theater chain managers or owners to insure that each booth is equipped with the necessary basic tools to perform minor repairs.

Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000

 - posted 03-15-2001 02:57 AM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Brad, you have a good idea there about tools being borrowed and having a driver's license held as hostage.

However, time is very critical when you have to get that machine running again. One doesn't have time to go chasing after the person who borrowed the tool and went to Jack-In-A-Box before he/she brought the tool back.

My policy was no tools were to leave the booth. If someone borrowed a tool and I found out later that it was gone, I got very arrogant, especially if I didn't bring my tool case. (which didn't happen too often.) When I left the theater at night, my tool case was firmly in my paws.

Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7992
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 03-15-2001 06:19 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Best solution: two toolboxes -- one for the booth, with the tools labelled ("[name of theatre] projection booth") and one for everywhere else in the theatre.

This doesn't always help, though...ushers love to "borrow" flashlights and such.

Bob Maar
(Maar stands for Maartini)

Posts: 28608
From: New York City & Newport, RI
Registered: Feb 2001

 - posted 03-15-2001 06:32 AM      Profile for Bob Maar   Author's Homepage   Email Bob Maar   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Anyone here have a screwdriver, I could borrow?

John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000

 - posted 03-15-2001 07:07 AM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
IMHO, tools should stay in the projection room, and not be loaned. For ground level repairs, a separate set of tools (maybe hand-me-downs) should be available.

The only exception would be very expensive items that could be shared among theatres (e.g., screen luminance meter, test films, spectrum analyzer). In most cases, these things are not needed instantly to get things up and running again in an emergency failure.

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Worldwide Technical Services, Entertainment Imaging
Eastman Kodak Company
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7419
Rochester, New York, 14650-1922 USA
Tel: 716-477-5325 Cell: 716-781-4036 Fax: 716-722-7243
Web site:

Rick McCluney
Film Handler

Posts: 66
From: Ocean Springs, MS, USA
Registered: Nov 2000

 - posted 03-15-2001 03:08 PM      Profile for Rick McCluney   Email Rick McCluney   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Tools disappearing from the booth is almost a given. I have bought many tools for booths (with the company credit card of course) because managers would refuse the projectionist's request for them (or buy cheap tools from a dollar store). Fortunately this didn't happen often.

Bill Enos
Film God

Posts: 2081
From: Richmond, Virginia, USA
Registered: Apr 2000

 - posted 03-15-2001 03:30 PM      Profile for Bill Enos   Email Bill Enos   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I keep 2 sets of tools, one set of super cheapos to loan out for use downstairs and another set of good stuff that stays hidden and never goes out. They know there are tools in the booth and get pissed if you just say hell no. This makes them able to do whatever they need and if the tools don't come back who cares. When the supply of cheap stuff is depleted I just buy more and get reimbursed. The cheap tools are the complete set of sockets, combinations and screwdrivers for about $10.00 variety.

William T. Parr
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 823
From: Cedar Park, TX
Registered: Nov 2000

 - posted 03-15-2001 04:45 PM      Profile for William T. Parr   Email William T. Parr   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I would direct anybody who need these tools to the nearest Sear's Store and make them buy there own, otherwise you will either A: Never see tham again, or B: have to hunt them down when you most need them.

Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12457
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 03-15-2001 05:38 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have a tool set I always use. It contains every size and type of tool except the one I need.

Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000

 - posted 03-15-2001 06:25 PM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
John, the expensive tools and equipment you mentioned in your post such as light meters, oscilloscopes, RTA's, etc. should be kept with the technician. If those tools are loaned, they are returned (if returned at all) as broken items that are practically useless. The average projectionist probably does not know how to use them, anyway. There are all together too many pipe wrench and hammer mechanics in today's average theater.

Ian Price
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1714
From: Denver, CO
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 03-15-2001 06:48 PM      Profile for Ian Price   Email Ian Price   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Much as I gave up my life to come to California and start a movie theatre. I gave up the money to start the movie theatre. The only way I could deal with it emotionaly was to totaly release the funds with no expectation of return.

I did the same things with my tools. I just brought them all in to the theatre and said, these are now the theatre's tools. Every now and then, when I can't find something, I institute a tool roundup. If I desire tools for personal use or to use in another theatre, I will just buy them again.

I know a technician who worked for UA doing foreign installations. When he went to Argentina, he discovered that they couldn't get, find or afford the tools he had. So he left them what they needed and replaced them when he returned. He went through three tool kits that year. No he didn't pass out R2 units. Now that he is self employed, he is a little less generous.

If I find that the concession stand needs a screwdriver, or needle nose plyers on a regular basis, I just give them those and go buy new ones.

Bob Maar
(Maar stands for Maartini)

Posts: 28608
From: New York City & Newport, RI
Registered: Feb 2001

 - posted 03-16-2001 09:04 AM      Profile for Bob Maar   Author's Homepage   Email Bob Maar   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks, for lending me the screw driver but I forget who gave it to me. Guess I'll just hold on to it, I'll keep it safe, until I remember who I borrowed it from.....I will put it in my tool box which is quite full.
Hard to understand, cause I know I never bought a tool. Hum.....................

Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16232
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 03-18-2001 04:22 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Of course my tools are always for long as I am with them. I have rented out my Ivie RTA on a couple of occasions but only to qualified people or to people that have money to back it up if it gets damaged. My scope, and R-2 are not available for rent, loan, or borrowing.
Bob, How many shots do you want in that screwdriver?
Mark @ GTS

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