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TOPIC: theater design

theater design 13 Mar 2003 07:47 #28252

  • NanEman
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Hi, I've been monitoring this site since Nov. '02, and have found lots of great info. we need to get our small (250-275 seats total) 4 screen cinema cafe up and running. I'm now ready to ask some questions!

My husband and I are in the business plan stage now, modeling our facility on two very successful cinema cafe operations located in S. FL. We'll be locating our theater in a small resort community in another state that has a permanent pop. of approx. 10,000, and is a great tourist area.

Our questions are:

This state requires the design of the building to be done by an in-state registered architect. Does anyone know of any reputable theatrical design firms registered in TN? Would you recommend hiring a theatrical design firm for consultation and have an in-state design firm (probably with no theater experience) draw up the actual plans? Opinions/Advice?

Approx. size of the build-to-suit deal we're looking at is 7,500-8,000 sq. ft. Can anyone give us approx. monthly electric costs for a similarly sized building? Kilowatt hours used/rate?

Any and all assistance is extremely appreciated!
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Re: theater design 13 Mar 2003 19:10 #28253

  • revrobor
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Most any design firm can draft a theatre plan for you although a firm that specialized in theatres will probably do it quicker and more knowledgably. Your idea of having an out-of-state firm design it and an in-state firms draft the actual plans may be the way you would have to go. I don't know of any theatre design firms in TN. iceco.com, cinemaquipment.com and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (e-mail) are three firms that offer design or consultation services. You might also go to boxoffice.com and ask them if they know of more.

Good luck.

Bob Allen
The Old Showman

[This message has been edited by revrobor (edited March 13, 2003).]
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: theater design 15 Mar 2003 07:19 #28254

  • NanEman
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Thanks so much for your reply, Revrobor.

I'll try contacting the firms you've suggested for a start.

Has anyone ever worked with a company named: NCS Corp. out of Tampa, FL? Found their site yesterday and they seem to be "all inclusive" in the services they provide.

Is the "soup to nuts" approach to designing and outfitting a theater a good idea? I'm thinking that it's a better idea to do my own price comparisons, but am leary of trying to compare equipment packages that don't contain the exact same equipment for "apple to apple" comparisons. We're not inclined to let our lack of extensive industry knowledge jeopordize our success.
We can't afford to be naive either!

Any thoughts?

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Re: theater design 15 Mar 2003 08:21 #28255

  • BECKWITH1
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We have extensive experience with NCS.

We have so much experience with NCS's inability to service our needs that we refuse to deal with them. I won't even buy my annual Xenon bulbs purchase from them because they have messed up our account so badly with poor recordkeeping that after reviewing our previous bulb purchases I couldn't stomache another disaster to be straightened out. We have bought our bulbs from other suppliers since and had no problems. NCS is unable to get us parts when we order them, unable to send us the correct parts, unable to bill us correctly, and unable to correct their mistakes in a professional fashion. I am quite sure that they could set you up with a complete package of equipment but I don't recommend that you start a relationship with them as you will have big problems down the road. I am quite sure that NCS will now hate me for writing this but we tried working with them for 4 years and found them completely unsatisfactory.

Our new theater needs mega parts and equipment. So far we have been satisfied with Cinema Equipment & Supplies out of Miami but this relationship is still young. We picked them because someone that we knew from years ago in the cinema supply business just started working for the company. Don Wunderlich is his name. I can't tell you whether they have a package approach to a new equipment setup or not, but they do sell used equipment which is what we need. Telephone 305 232-8182. I hope that this helps.
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Re: theater design 16 Mar 2003 13:08 #28256

  • NanEman
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Wow, thanks for your response.

We thank you for your comments and also thank you for perhaps saving us from any unneccesary frustrations and heartache!

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Re: theater design 17 Mar 2003 18:33 #28257

  • Mike
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Design by a professional is absolutely important. We had a great local architect do our new single and he didn't get stuff like risers and seating needs correct. Made the balcony too high etc. Good design will pay for itself. Mesbur and Simth are supporters and monitor this site so contact them for a start. Tenn law probably means that you could have it designed out of town and "approved" or subbmitted by the Tenna arks.

If you have a lot of money then you can have the "soup to nuts" approach. We served as our own general on two big rehabs but if you have little experience then at the least you need an ark or consultant to guide you.

Michael Hurley
Impresario
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re: theater design 18 Mar 2003 09:24 #28258

  • NanEman
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Thanks for the imput, Mike. Nice to have you back again.

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Re: theater design 04 Jun 2003 09:39 #28259

  • jimor
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The League of Historic American Theatres ( www.LHAT.org ) has Directories of Architects, Consultants, etc. and articles on their work. You will probably have to join to get full benefit, but there are many rewards. Obviously, if a firm is so skilled as to be able to restore movie palaces in a structural sense, they should be qualified to do a small cinema from scratch, but ask to see samples of their work, of course.

You might also check with The American Society of Theatre Consultants ( www.theatreconsultants.org )for advice in this matter of whom to select.

The Theatre Historical Society of America has records of many jobs done by various architects, and may have a means to locate names for you to contact. Contact their Executive Director, Richard Sklenar, through thier site at: www.HistoricTheatres.org

You might also contact the prime restorer/decorator of theatres and ask them whom they would work with willingly, and about whom they might give a good recommendation. See: www.ConradSchmitt.com

It is definitely to your advantage to get advice/services from those who can DOCUMENT their experience in theatres/cinemas. This is a highly specialized area of architecture, and one filled with pitfalls for the inexperienced, who must be familiar with Acoustics, Traffic Patterns, Projection/Sound requirements, Seating and related laws, special building codes, as well as regular architecture. While Tennessee may have local or state theatre/cinema codes which will require a state-registered architect, they may not be up-to-date for new materials/methods which your out-of-state architect may be accustomed to, so detailed conversations are in order with you involved.
You shold also have a local real estate/building attorney to steer you and your team through the local and state laws AND politics. Some smaller communities have local "ol'boys" who are not hesistant to allow a building to be built, and then saunter over on opening day and 'remind' the owner that certain local "fees" have not been paid, and that therefore they are ordering you to close. Be careful to know just whose palms must FIRST be crossed with silver! You don't want the expense and headache of court challanges to rural practices when the mayor's cousin may be the judge in your case.

Finally, there is no substitute for your own reading and research on the subject of building a cinema/theatre. www.Amazon.com lists dozens of books on the subject of MOVIE THEATRES and other books under THEATRE ARCHITECTURE, many of which are bound to increase your knowledge of the challenges involved. No, one cannot become a theatre architect overnight, but one can become alert to the hazards and issues involved and thus talk intelligently with the professionals who sometimes are not as professional as one would like. Also, they are spending YOUR money; you will want to know exactly on what and why!
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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