The 5 Unexpected Downsides of Working at a Movie Theater

#2. Video Cameras

I have never seen a good-quality recording of a film that was made from inside the movie theater. Maybe I'm going to the wrong YouTubes, but every time someone tries to capture a film with their own video camera, they decide quickly that they'd much rather re-enact Cloverfield and violently shiver around until they figure that it isn't worth the effort to both convulse AND try to sit through a movie. The idea that there are people in the same world I live in who think "I spent money to see this movie. Therefore, I must ruin this opportunity in order to ineptly record it and put it on a site that will show me absolutely no gratitude" baffles me.

The theater I worked at had a very strict policy against video cameras, mainly because they didn't want any more complaints about some asshole ruining the show with his distracting equipment. They'd send out ushers at various intervals to go and check each audience to make sure no one had chosen Mamma Mia! as the jumping-off point for their Internet piracy career.
"Nah, dude, I'm not filming the movie. I'm filming people making out. That's cool, right?"

Very rarely would you catch people with their cameras out, because most people have the common sense to pay for a ticket and enjoy themselves like a normal human, but when you finally did, it was always special. Modern man has formed a very tight connection between ourselves and our technology, and when that connection is threatened, we go fucking crazy.

It is rare to find the breed of person who complies quietly and politely when they're told to shut off their camera in the dark of the theater. This person was aggressive enough in their ridiculous endeavor to actually follow through with pointing a video camera at something that a video camera has already recorded once (which, if you didn't know anything about how cameras work, is only the second worst way to show off their capabilities, just short of saying "Look at my cool camera!" and then throwing it against a wall). Now, suddenly, some guy in a purple work polo, the guy who shilled you snacks, is going to tell you to stop? You're doing one of the most illogical things you can do in a movie theater! Stopping is not, nor will it ever be, part of the plan.

Warner Bros.
Don't even think about saying it.

Suddenly you're launched into an argument about stealing movies with a guy who's doing it in the dumbest way that he knows how. You could go into how it hurts an industry when you illegally share films online, and how it hurts the respect that everyone has for you when you share your own home movies of another movie. Instead you're forced to stage-whisper quick commands over a crowded row of people to a person who is getting angry at you for sheepishly enforcing rules upon them. Now the audio in his shit-for-shot remake is ruined by a pesky theater employee who just doesn't want to hear more complaints about the guy who has deemed it his responsibility to ensure that the world has at least one free, low-quality version of WALL-E.

#1. Your Friends

Paul Sutherland/Digital Vision/Getty Images

I don't know a lot about economics, but I know enough that, when people have put money into something like a movie, they do it with the hope that it will bring that amount of money back and more. There's a pretty decent margin between The Lone Ranger's budget and the amount of money that represents the American people's complete non-interest in it, and you can't fill that margin with smiles. I know that it seems weird that people would spend millions of dollars for The Avengers 2: Remember After the Credits of the First One? Yeah, It'll Be That Guy with the interest of living comfortably off of the profits, but they do.

Jupiterimages/ Images
"Honestly, it's a project done out of love ... of hookers and cocaine."

Sadly, as soon as your friends hear that you got a new job at the movies, any knowledge they have of how the economy works is thrown out the window. People have this misconception about free tickets as if there's a system in place that will allow you to get your friend, your friend's little brother, and your friend's girlfriend in for free on the Friday of the film's debut, over and over again. It doesn't matter whether you work in concessions and ushering, like I did, or in the box office. When you work at a theater, apparently you have some kind of pull that allows you to sneak people past the entire machinations of what keeps movie theaters in business.

The people who run the theater are even more hesitant to provide any sort of free ticket service for your cheap friends. Some of the money coming in goes to them, and when you say, "Excuse me, but could I possibly cut back on that chance for income a little bit?" they don't take it warmly.
It's almost like they're trying to run a legitimate business or something ...

I never had enough clout in my position to Oprah my way into giving out free tickets to everyone. My friends took this as a sign of me being an asshole, because apparently their friends who work at Home Depot or Target are just giving away free weed eaters and nickel-finish picture frames (respectively) from the trunks of their cars.

If working at a movie theater got me any closer to Hollywood, it was only the part where you realize that all of your friends are leeches who just like you because of the doors they think you can open for them.

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Daniel Dockery

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