Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Now accepting Debit and Credit Cards (at the Snack Bar)

I finally gave in and put in debit/credit at the snack bar. I've been reluctant for a couple reasons. The main one is speed. It takes a lot longer to do a card transaction than a cash one, especially for those who are a little slow putting their PIN in. I'm not as concerned about speed at the Snack Bar as we can get the popcorn or whatever while they finish paying.

The second reason I was reluctant was cost. It will cost about $100 a month to rent the equipment and the phone line and they take a fee every time debit is used and a percentage every time a credit card is used. It's not a huge amount per transaction but it will add up.

You may be asking why did I put the debit machine in then? Basically I noticed a lot of people wanting to buy stuff and not having cash and walking away. For tickets people have come to the movie so they will usually go to a bank machine in the building for ticket money but for snacks they are more optional so people are less likely to go to the bank machine. A ticket is only $4.20 and most people have a little cash but the concessions can cost more for a combo or whatever. There's also a fair number of people in the building studying who aren't going to the movie so again it's more optional.

We are selling tickets at the Snack Bar for those who don't have cash. I'm nervous too many people will want to buy tickets with debit and cause back ups. We are going to wait and see.

I suppose it's only a matter of time before I have to put in a card machine at the Box Office but I don't want to. The speed factor will create nasty lines. We only have one til and I can do about 10 cash transactions in the time it takes to do one debit. Since most people show up in the last 10 minutes before the movie we sometimes have to sell anywhere from 50 to 150 tickets in that time frame.

We'll see what happens.

Next Week's Movies Jul 2- 8

This is one of those weeks that's a bit annoying. There were 4 movies available, 3 of which I plan to play. The 4th one was Jonah Hex which I'm not going to play as it bombed very, very, badly and wasn't a very good movie.

Of the three I do plan to play I picked one for next week and I've slotted the other two in for later weeks. I decided to play Iron Man 2 first. This is basically a long weekend and the kids are just out of school so I figured it was a good week for something somewhat kid friendly and light. It's playing at the 7pm show and I'm going to run matinees on Sat and Sun.

Neither of the other films available I wanted to play as a late show so I decided to bring back Date Night. It did better than I expected when I played it for both shows and most nights the late show was actually busier than the early show. It's also quite short.

Robin Hood is scheduled to start Jul 9 and Sex and the City 2 for Jul 16th. I don't see anything else coming off that I would rather play then these so I thought I would just go ahead and book them in so I can advertise them. They will play the 7pm show. I think I'm going to try another experiment and run matinees of both. I've noticed a fair number of people show up to matinees that I never see at evening shows. I don't see either matinees being really busy so I'm going to try running with only two staff instead of the usual three to save money in case the matinees don't do well. Two staff is only a problem for the couple minutes when the projectionist is in starting the film. For that period we will sell tickets at the snack bar.

Late shows for those weeks will depend on what's available and how other films do. I might keep Iron Man for example if it does well. However both Robin Hood and SATC2 are fairly long so would make the late show start time fairly late.

Helen Mirren with a Machine Gun?!

I hope this film coming out in the fall is anywhere as near as good as it looks.

Next Week's movies Jun 25 - Jul 1 - a little late.

Got busy last week and didn't make this posting when I usually do.

The only new movie available was Killers which I wasn't sure about playing. Letters To Juliet had been available for a couple weeks but other films kept coming off so it hadn't been played yet. I decided to go with Letters To Juliet at 7pm, it's one of those films that has to be the 7pm show.

I thought a bit about whether to play Killers. I had previously decided not to play it but it came available quite quickly. Since we got it that fast I figured we might as well try it. It didn't get the best word of mouth but the stars are fairly popular. It's also a bit of an experiment to see if negative buzz is having the effect I think it is. If Killers doesn't do well I think that's pretty much it for negative buzz films. I tried playing MacGruber which turned out to be better than most thought it would be but it still had a negative buzz to it. It bombed at Western Film and didn't even break even. I saw Killers and found it entertaining enough but it wasn't the best movie I've ever seen.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I wish I could play this before every Film.

One of the most common reasons given for people not going to theatres are the behaviours of the audiences. Noise, talking, lighted devices and other distractions. I find I avoid the busy nights at other theatres to try to get distracted as little as possible.

I found this video on the web. I'd like to show it every night before the films but the numerous regulars that come often would probably get sick of it.

Let me know what you think...

Cinema Etiquette from Damien Ferland on Vimeo.

Cool TRON stuff

I remember seeing the original TRON movie back in 1982 and being absolutely enthralled. I convinced my father to buy me a Vic-20 which was one of the first home computers. It was called the Vic -20 because it had 20 K of memory...yes you read that right, 20K not M. The entire computer ran on what now is the size of an average picture file. The back-up device was a cassette Drive which was also how one loaded programs. Needless to say I was disappointed when I couldn't recreate the world of TRON in that computer. It could do the horizon look pretty good though, but not the Light Cycle.

The sequel comes out Dec 17 and the trailer makes it look amazing. I hope it lives up to it.
I found these videos of a couple of cool-tie-in Toys that are also coming out. The remote control car actually drives up the wall?!

Check out the videos and then the trailer if you haven't already.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Next Week's Film Jun 18 - 24

There was only one new film available which made a couple decisions easier. Date Night was available but since it's from Fox I would only be able to play it by itself, not split it with another movie for the week. I had been trying to decide whether to play it as I wasn't sure it warranted a week all to itself. Since it was the only film I didn't have to decide.

I had been trying to decide whether to keep the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for another week. It had done well on the weekend but not spectacular and it's really long. Since I couldn't split it with Date Night that made up my mind for me.

The other decision I had to make was whether to play just one show of Date Night at 7pm or play two shows a night. Date Night is quite short so the late show could run at 9pm so I decided to run the late show. It won't cost too much extra staffing so it's worth the risk of experimenting. If the movie had been a full two hours long I would have just done one show. My staff like it when I run two shows so they get in a full shift. If there's only one show they only get two hours work.

Date Night is a funny movie so I suggest seeing it, and stay for the scenes in the credits.

The only movie I've got in the backlog right now is Letters To Juliet which I could have played a couple weeks ago but other films I wanted to play more kept coming available. It looks like we won't have space to play The Last Song which I was kinda iffy about anyway.

Robin Hood should be available soon and maybe Iron Man 2. I think I'll try running matinees for Iron Man, we did some for How To Train Your Dragon and they did okay.

That was Close...

I was working as projectionist tonight. The movie playing was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which is a long, intense thriller. The movie was in the credits and only one guy was left in the theatre watching the credits. Suddenly the power went out for no apparent reason. Initially he gave me a bit of a dirty look thinking I had turned the film off on him but the entire building was dark. I was so glad the power didn't go off even 5 minutes earlier, imagine sitting there for 2 1/2 hours and suddenly the screen goes blank right at the climax of the film?! The power was only off for a few minutes so I could have finished showing the film but sometimes it's off for hours.

It was kind of odd, the power usually only goes off during thunderstorms and it wasn't even raining.

It reminded me of a time that did suck. I was working at the Galleria Cineplex back in 1998 for a matinee of Saving Private Ryan. That movie is almost 3 hours long. It was about 10 minutes from the end and suddenly the bulb went dark, so the screen went dark, but the sound would have continued. The manager wanted me to change the bulb but it's dangerous to change a bulb when it's hot so I said I had to wait 20 minutes. The people got passes or whatever but I wasn't able to finish running the show for them because it would have screwed up later showings. When I started running the film through I noticed it had gone dark right when a major character was having his big death scene. Ouch.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Upcoming changes at Western Film.

There's a few things afoot at Western Film over the next few months. Some good and some not so.

The Good.

New Seats- Probably in August all the seats and carpet on the main floor are going to be replaced. The carpet is pretty old and stained. There is going to be vinyl under the seats and maybe carpet still in the aisles. The seats haven't been chosen yet but will look similar to the pic. We aren't changing the layout in terms of elevation. The new seats may or may not be the same size so I'm not sure if the total number of seats will change. The new ones will probably have cup holders instead of the tablets, the tablets aren't needed since the room isn't being used for classes any more.

Website redesign- we are going to redo the website, I'm going to add a lot of pics and start embedding trailers. The current design doesn't match the decor of the theatre or the atmosphere I'm trying to create.

No Classes- Since the new classrooms opened downstairs the McKellar room isn't being used for classes any more. This should help with people thinking we aren't a 'real' theatre since we ran in a classroom. I always tried to get people to think of McKellar room as a movie theatre that also held classes rather than a classroom that showed films. There will also be more opportunity to rent the theatre out to show films to high school classes, student clubs etc.

The Not So.

New admission price- Come July 1 the ticket price will go up. I'll do another post on it later but basically we have to go up because of the HST.

New Snack bar prices- our costs for supplies have steadily gone up and with minimum wage raises driving up all the wages we pay we are going to have to raise prices at some point. I'm trying to keep it as low as possible. We aren't sure when the change will be.

I'm Back...

As anyone who's actually reading this knows I kinda stopped posting a while ago. It was a combination of things, busy at work and buying a house and all the work and time that entails.

I had set myself the goal of posting each day but sometimes didn't have time so got frustrated and basically stopped altogether.

I realized i missed writing the posts and have had a few people comment that I should start again which implies someone is reading.

So I'm going to start again but not give myself any kind of preset number of posts and just do them as I can. I'll at least do the Next Week's Movies posts as those are probably interesting.