Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscars

Yesterday Dan & I went to Boise to pick up some inventory for the theater. After we got home I tried my best to watch the Oscars but kept getting distracted by my to-do's.  Today, I have been catching up with the awards and checking out photos of all the pretty dresses. Cate Blanchett looked like a fruit platter, while I think Anne Hathaway was stunning in each gown she wore (even the tux- but only  because of the shoes). I wish I would have watched the awards show in its entirety, as it always gives me a feeling of pride about this amazing industry that the Eltrym is a part of. I love this snippets they include about people who have devoted their lives to motion pictures, and the tribute they give to those who have passed. A great number of people are involved in getting films onto our screens each week, and each one of them is just as important as the big-name actor in the leading role.

I have to say, I could handle fewer musical interludes, especially those featuring Celine Dion. At least I can mute her. I know that she is incredibly talented, but something about her causes me to want less sound and more silence.

I knew that "The King's Speech" would win best picture and that Colin Firth would win Best Actor. Colin Firth's performance was truly memorable.  I am disappointed that "Inception" didn't win Best Original Screenplay.  Original ideas in mainstream film are so rare, that when "Inception" was released last summer, I was practically salivating waiting for it to arrive. My staff and I previewed it the night before the release, and I remember being glued to my chair and unwilling to go into the booth to adjust the volume.  Even though it wasn't the best film I have ever seen, it was still a great film and so refreshingly original.

I now have a renewed interest in watching "127 Hours," but for once, I don't want to see it here at the theater. I need to watch it on a small TV set, so I can pause it when I start to feel nauseous.  I have watched several interviews of Aron Ralston, and boy does his story induce some anxiety. Isn't it amazing how he went from being at the bottom of a cave with only one choice left in his life, to having his story be nominated for Best Picture, with the man who played him in a movie hosting the Oscars? That is just incredible!

Awards season is now officially over, so I can start anticipating all the wonderful films that 2011 has to offer.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Weekend

It is 1:00 AM and I can’t sleep, again. I have been running into this problem lately, where every night when I am organized and ready to go for the next day I end up lying in bed with my eyes wide open for hours. Ellie wakes and goes back to sleep and I’m still awake. Then when morning finally comes, I’m an absolute zombie.  So I thought I’d have a glass of wine and recount my weekend for you.

This weekend I was pretty excited because my best friend was coming into town from Portland and my sister was going to bring my niece and nephews to visit. I love when they hang out at the theater with me. We usually eat candy and popcorn all afternoon, and they might catch a movie if there is one playing that they like. On Friday I went shopping downtown to buy gifts for my friend, Jenni, since I had missed Christmas and her birthday. Sometimes I forget that shopping in downtown in Baker is such a snap. I was in a hurry with lots to get done at the theater, but in less than 15 minutes I bought chocolates at Bella and a cute little coffee mug and tea at Zephyr. 

 I had my Saturday all planned out. But on Friday night I had a night like tonight with no sleep, so I woke up in a blur on Saturday. Then I learned that one of my employees was under the weather and wouldn’t be working, so I lined up a babysitter (my mom) so Dan could help me at the theater. Then I learned my sister wouldn’t make it over because of the roads.  “That’s okay,” I thought. That would just leave more time to visit with Jenni. Our house was a wreck so I asked Dan to stay at the theater for me during the matinĂ©e so I could run home and tidy up. 45 minutes later I get a frantic call from Dan (and a missed call from a customer/friend who was watching a movie).  By the time I show up just minutes later, the picture on screen is perfect, literally pristine.  Turns out our brand new print of “I Am Number Four” came with one damaged reel.  The dye on the film was slightly smeared throughout the reel.  During all the shows on Friday neither Dan nor I had stepped in during the fourth reel, so we never saw it and not one customer said anything about it.  It’s not that bad and it only lasts for about 15 minutes, which is why nobody mentioned it.  This is my first time calling in for a reel replacement, so we’ll see how that goes.

Finally, things were under control so I was able to sneak out while the 7:00 show was playing to go have a beer with Jenni at Barley’s. I haven’t had a beer at Barley’s since last winter, pre-pregnancy, so that particular beer was 100 times more delicious than any beer I have ever consumed.  Yum.

Over beer that night and coffee the next morning at Zephyr, Jenni and I discussed all nature of drama and gossip, although our conversations these days have less to do with where we went last night and more to do with work, taxes, marriage and travel.  Jenni gets to go to Hawaii next month for a friend’s wedding, while I am terrified of being “that mom” with the screaming baby on an airplane. But oh, how I ache to travel. Staying put is hard to do.

On Sunday Dan and I watched as our friends, Arden and Lynndee, were married.  Arden spent a lot of holidays with our family over the years, and I’ve always hoped he would find his match someday. He did, and I’m so happy for him.  Love is just lovely. 

So that’s my weekend in a nutshell. Hope you all had a delightful weekend as well.

Goodnight!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

TAN: "My Kid Could Paint That"

Thursday Art Night is next Thursday, February 24th.  This month we will be showing a film that a lot of you have   probably heard about. "My Kid Could Paint That" is the story of 4-year-old Marla Olmstead, an  artist who became internationally renowned after selling over $300,000.00 worth of paintings.  While Marla received a lot of attention for her work, making her way onto TV shows like Inside Edition and The Today Show, not all the attention was positive. Eventually the media began to speculate that the paintings were actually painted by her father, himself a budding artist. In this film, the Olmsteads seek to clear their name while the filmmaker attempts to retain his journalistic integrity as he investigates this story.

The evening will begin at 6:30, with storytelling. The storytelling theme is "And They Lived Happily Ever After: Tales of Love." The film will start at 7:00. After the film, you can dance you heart out with DJ Stacks, who will be spinning music for an hour after the film.

Ticket proceeds will benefit the Baker Art Guild.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Selling Out

Selling out of seats in one of our theaters is a good thing.  It doesn't happen often as we usually only sell out our big theater a few times a year while we sell out the small theaters probably 25 times per year, give or take. I am usually a pretty good predictor of crowd size, and almost always have my films placed in the correct theaters by seating capacity and crowd size so that we don't have to turn customers away. While selling out is good for our bank account, it is not good for keeping our customers happy.

Today we sold out of our matinĂ©e showing of "Gnomeo & Juliet."  We weren't prepared for the sell-out, as all of my usual indicators (website hits, phone calls, drive-bys, previous day's sales etc.) didn't indicate we'd be getting a big crowd. But we did, for which I am very thankful.

We had one upset customer (and perhaps more that didn't say anything), which is upsetting to me. My response wasn't the best response, which got me to thinking, "really, what can I do better next time? What changes can I make so that I don't upset my customers?"  The customer recommended that I stand up and yell out announcements to the crowd that we are getting low on tickets, so that they know not to wait in line. That is a good recommendation; but honestly, things move so fast that one minute we have 20 seats left and the next minute we have none.  Nevertheless, I appreciate the suggestion and I think I'll try it next time and see how it goes.

The thing is, I went up to thread projectors at 3:18. At that time our first 2 customers had just arrived (for "Just Go With It") and the girls and I were debating on whether or not to make more popcorn. After all, we had our slowest weekend day since October yesterday and so far, we were slow again.  I told them, "I don't know what to expect, we were just so unbelievably slow yesterday." We sold our first tickets to "Gnomeo & Juliet" at 3:23.  By the time I started shows and came back downstairs, at 3:41, the lobby was packed with lots of people with grumpy faces (except the kids-they were still stoked). I never like to see a grump-face on the premises so I was perturbed all afternoon.

So here is where my thoughts ended up: we are going to sell tickets until they are gone.  That's our goal every day. Someone is always going to be the last person in line when we sell out, and the last people in line are going to be turned away. There is nothing I can do about that. That being said, I recommend to my dear customers to do what you can to not be the last person in line. Do that by showing up earlier.  I would suggest 15 minutes before the first show of the set or earlier for a huge movie like "Harry Potter" or "Twilight".  When you show up at 3:25 for the 3:40 show, you risk getting caught up in the crowd for the shows that start at 3:30 & 3:35 and shuffled to the end of the line, where you will wait for several minutes just to be turned away. It doesn't need to go down that way.

FWIW, I've heard that "Gnomeo & Juliet" is a really cute movie. One of our concessions girls watched it last night and really enjoyed it.  The kids have been very happy on their way out of the theater.  I plan to move it into the big theater tomorrow in case we get another big crowd (fingers crossed).

Friday, February 11, 2011

Poster Problems

I really like getting new posters. It's kinda like Christmas when the UPS guy stops by with a few new tubes.  I can't wait to unroll it and see what they came up with. I remember opening up the poster for "Beverly Hills Chihuahua."  That poster made me groan.  I groaned louder when I hung it up, and I groaned much, much louder when we played the film (and I watched it). Same reaction with "G-Force."

We get new posters a few times a week, each in its own cardboard tube.  These posters quickly build up in the storage area I have made for them. Then they overflow into the boxoffice. Then eventually, I get annoyed enough to organize them all and take the old ones to the basement. That's been working for awhile, but I think we have reached capacity.

For a couple of years I gave posters out to anyone who asked.  This made people happy, and it helped me keep my poster mess to a minimum. But then one day a customer totally hurt my feelings when he railed on me for damaging HIS poster by hanging it up with thumbtacks, and he was even  more angry because it wasn't the specific poster design that he wanted. He huffed out the door like somehow I was an incompetent jerk who had wronged him. That was the last day I gave out posters. :(

So recently I was looking at pictures of a theater that  I enjoy going to and I noticed that they keep a bin in their lobby with their old posters that people can purchase. Technically, they aren't supposed to do this because the posters are the property of the movie studio and not the theater. It got me to thinking that perhaps something like this would be a better way to get rid of old posters without throwing them in the trash (recycling, really) or getting into fights with picky people. I won't violate my licensing agreements with studios by charging for posters (not that they'd really care), but I'll save these beautiful posters from the dumpster and make people smile again.

So, if that sounds like a good idea to you, let me know. If I hear some positive feedback I might actually follow through and make a free poster bin in the lobby.