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TOPIC: MANAGEMENT and the PUBLIC

MANAGEMENT and the PUBLIC 12 Oct 2001 10:00 #2165

  • RoxyVaudeville
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"The manager of a theatre has certain specific duties: to plan, to make decisions, to select capable assistants, to inspire a spirit of loyalty among his/her staff, and to strive to make his theatre a public institution. In many ways he is the arbiter of public taste. That is, although he takes guidance from the tendencies of patrons toward amusement, he must be the super-salesman in the respect that he induces people to respond to the future market, which he knows in advance. He must win interest for coming programs, and spread the feeling that his theatre is zealously studying the public wish in order to provide, more than the usual entertainment.

On the other hand, the manager cannot cater to patrons at all unless he is an alert, responsible executive, conscious of the problems of his business. Pleasing the public is his objective. To that end he must supervise every function of the business, and be conversant with details, though not ridden by them. A man driving a team does not pull the wagon - he holds the reigns and keeps an eye on the road. So, to carry out his obligations effectively, to live up to the responsibilities of leadership, the manager must have proper perspective of the enterprise under his care. He must accordingly keep himself free to observe, so that he can think straight, and thus plan wisely and control surely. Yet his place is not at a desk, but in the theatre. He should circulate among the patrons, with eyes and ears wide open for significant reactions. He should always sit through the first presentation of every change of program, so that he may readily make advisable improvements. He should be personally available during time of peak attendance loads. In this way, while in close contact with actual operating conditions, he is not distressed or distracted by them to the extent of failing to see the forrest for the trees.

Since he is not a person who lives and works from day to day, he must plan future operations carefully. He thus avoids the mistakes that arise from overtimidity and snap decisions. Careful planning clarifies the policies of the theatre. Where the patron's interest is bounded by the single performance, where the outlook of some subordinate is but a week or two in advance, it must fall to the manager to be a reader of coming events, and to prepare for or against them. Perhaps the most obvious instance of this simple truth is connected with contracting and booking motion pictures and other units of the program. Just as it stands to reason that these must be arranged for considerably ahead of play date, so it follows that intelligent and telling advertising campaigns require forethought and sometimes strategy. In similar ways, there is constant need of foreview in matters of finance, personnel and stock keeping."

to be continued....

[This message has been edited by RoxyVaudeville (edited October 12, 2001).]
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Re: MANAGEMENT and the PUBLIC 12 Oct 2001 23:37 #2166

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"It is the combination of experience and foresight that fits the manager for his chief function - the making of decisions pertaining to important questions. This responsibility is not to be delegated. Routine may be left in the hands of trusted employees when such a step is temporaily necessary; but policy can originate only from the top. Furthermore, decisions must come from one mind alone, since they should be made promptly, with an absolute minimum of delay in asking of questions. Timeliness in theatre operation is a consideration impossible to overemphasize. For example, it is not enough merely to anticipate a holiday and to prepare to share in the celebration. The alert manager is on his toes to keep time with any public-spirited movement that might arise, perhaps without warning. He must breath the spirit of the day and thus capture the confidence of the public. A theatre that leads the way can turn its audience into a following."
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Re: MANAGEMENT and the PUBLIC 16 Oct 2001 22:35 #2167

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"An indispensable method of studying the public is made use when the manager puts himself in the patron's place. He visits his own theatre as the patron would; and not only that, but visits other theatres with the same point of view, and studies everything from curbstone to the stage. Animated by the spirit of one merely out for an interval of diversion, he adds his own conscious, active inspection along the lines of what he knows best. Whereas the patron drifts to a seat before the screen, urged by an unanalyzed mood of excursion, the manager dissects and notes with every ounce of judgement he can bring to bear. This is no guesswork. It is brainwork and the moment a manager deteriorates into a poor judge of the public's desires, he ceases to belong in this business. The moment he finds himself waiting for the competitor to show him what to do, instead of him going one better or showing him the way, he has fallen behind the march of the times and dropped back to a rear rank in a parade that is always moving ahead of him.

If the foregoing objectives are to be summed up in one expression rather then in any other, they are to be put best in the two words, Good Will. No theatre can be successful without good will. Very few institutions are so sensitive to public good will as the motion picture theatre. The entire staff, from the manager down to the usher, must have an instinct for hospitality. Each constitutes an important part that makes the whole staff one perfect host.
The ideal service should be as unobstrusive as it is kindly, permitting the well-behaved patron to make use of the theatre undictated. It is not good hospitality to direct or drive a patron in a direction opposite to the one he wishes to take.

A public mint and a motion picture theatre both make money; but the former manufactures it, and the latter earns it. That's the only difference, but it's all the difference in the world."

[This message has been edited by RoxyVaudeville (edited October 16, 2001).]
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