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TOPIC: Completely Clueless and Need as Much Help as Humanly Possible

Completely Clueless and Need as Much Help as Humanly Possible 11 Feb 2009 23:15 #30868

Hello. My name is Robert. I am completely new to the concept of opening or owning a movie theater. I am 20 years old and have been wondering what I wanted to do with my life. I, of course, want to be successful with money. But most importantly, find something of interest that I would want to do for the rest of my life. I think I've found it.

I want to open a movie theater. And not just any movie theater. I want to open a classic movie theater. I haven't gotten the general concept completely down on paper yet. But my general idea would be to open a movie theater that shows all kinds of classic movies. Such as Casablanca, The Exorcist, Psycho, Rear Window, The Godfather, Clue, Alien, Fletch and many many others.

My question(s) are how do I even begin to get started in something like this? Should I go to college first? Do I need to save up money? Do I have to have some type of permission or deal with the movies I decide to show? How can I have this theater built? Who do I contact about building a theater? I've never felt so clueless about something I'm so passionate about in all my life. I need tons of help and am extremely relieved I found this place
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Re:Completely Clueless and Need as Much Help as Humanly Possible 12 Feb 2009 02:01 #30870

  • slapintheface
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Go work in a theater............Thats the best place to start......Then read,read,read!
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Re:Completely Clueless and Need as Much Help as Humanly Possible 16 Feb 2009 19:41 #30900

  • trackfood
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That is the best advice. Get a job in a theatre. You may find you don't even like the business. Many people think this is all fun and games, just from personally going to the theatre. Its a lot of work. Start at the bottom, tear tickets, sell tickets, sell concessions,become projectionist, clean the theatre, etc. Learn all the jobs, you'll need to know them all anyways. Personally, I fell in love with this business from the first theatre I worked at. To me, I enjoy providing new product every week, helping people escape real life for a few hours, selling concessions, the excitement of the new films, interacting with customers, etc.
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Re:Completely Clueless and Need as Much Help as Humanly Possible 17 Feb 2009 11:19 #30902

  • Avco
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The last two posts are really good advise to start with. It takes lots of hard work to run a theatre and make it work. And the types of classic films you posted above might make it hard to make a profit. Because of booking license fees and shipping fees if a print is available and the video market. And finding the right location for your theatre.
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Re:Completely Clueless and Need as Much Help as Humanly Possible 17 Feb 2009 17:50 #30904

I'm extremely worried. I've become very passionate about this. I've got a notebook with a jumbled list of things I know I'll need like electricity, snacks, candy, heating, drinks, popcorn, receipt paper, ticket paper. And then there's a huge amount of things that I don't even know what to do about. My ideas stretch widely for the theater. But I just need to talk with someone face to face on what to do. I wish I could just work in a theater, but i know it's SO difficult to get a job anywhere. There's probably a huge waiting list anyways for a job.

Avco gave me a great example for one of my questions. but what is a booking license fee? What is a booking license? What's a print and video market? Things like this. I need all the help I can get. i've read and read but there's just so much you can find. Any help is appreciated. Thank you guys.
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Re:Completely Clueless and Need as Much Help as Humanly Possible 18 Feb 2009 01:06 #30908

  • bob1007
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First of all you CAN get a job in a movie theatre as long as someone is hiring and you don't need any experience. You seem sincere so let that come through in an interview. But I would not advise becoming an owner in a business in which you have practically no experience as that could be financial suicide. So slow down and get a job in a theatre first and learn the business on someone else' dime.

Whenever someone plans on starting a busines they first develop a business plan. In that same sense, I suggest setting a 5-year plan for yourself that might include the following:
a) Apply at your local theatre. If they are not hiring now, they will be by the summer. Get the job and master these areas-
b) Learn how to work in the concession stand
c) Learn about working as a doorman
d) Learn about working in a box office
e) Learn about the projection booth
f) Work your way into management and master that area

Along the way you will realize all that goes into operating a movie theatre and that it is open every day of the year, weekends, nights, and holidays. You will be able to take these experiences and organize that into a business plan for ownership. This will be more than just a job, it will be a lifestyle. You will also learn other valuable intangibles along the way. So slow down. You are only 20 years old and you have lots of time to learn about the business.
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Re:Completely Clueless and Need as Much Help as Humanly Possible 18 Feb 2009 18:02 #30911

  • Mike
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Re: the job. Best way in the world. Tell the people "I want to work here and I'll even volunteer." You'll get hired. Good luck. Mike
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re:Completely Clueless and Need as Much Help as Humanly Possible 19 Feb 2009 15:08 #30924

  • Barry Floyd
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I built and opened a new theatre here in Tennessee a little over 5 years ago, and like you I was clueless. One thing we quickly found out is that the movie business is more about business than it is about the movies.

I read and read everything I could get my hands on. It still wasn't enough. Take the others advise and get a job at your local theatre. I had never worked in a theatre before, and the experience would have been very valuable had I done so. You may find you really don't like the theatre business. I also didn't give up my day job. My day job in Civil Engineering feeds my family, puts a roof over their heads, and pays for the living expenses of our family, health insurance, etc. Our theatre almost supports itself.

Running a theatre is alot more than just pushing play and walking away. I am the chief lawn mower man, the plumber, the roofer, the deep frier repair guy, the floor stripping and waxing guy, the supervisor of 17+ employees, website dude, projectionist, puke mopper upper, car jumper offer, and the list goes on. That doesn't even begin to talk of the day to day running of the financial end of the business.

It takes alot of money to do something like this from scratch, although my perception of what is actually alot of money has changed somewhat in the last 5 years. I didn't inherit my grandfathers theatre, and I didn't find the old abandoned theatre on the outskirts of town and re-open it. I sold my house and took the equity from it just to pay the down payment on the construction loan for my theatre. My theatre is profitable... but has yet to cash-flow. There is a huge difference between the two. Each year gets better and better. While our cash gross for 2008 was about 7% down from 2007, it was the best year cash-flow wise in 5 years. Next year I'm actually going on vacation!
Barry Floyd
Floyd Entertainment Group
Lebanon, Tennessee

Stardust Drive-In Theatre
Watertown, Tennessee
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