work, work, work … movies?

I don’t think I’ve ever made it any particular secret that I don’t enjoy the many jobs I’ve had.  Looking back through the long years of working (20 years now, go me), there’s only been one job that I’ve enjoyed: working at the movie theater.  I don’t remember exactly how long I worked there, since it was at two different chains  and across a number of years, but I’d say it probably capped out around three years of my life or so.  And, man, I still miss working there to this day.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I wanna do with my life, and invariably the answer always quickest to come first to my mind is, “not this!”  I never wanted to go into computers, and I did so, really, as a matter of indifference … I did it because I could.  I’m finding that attitude to be somewhat negative now.

But, I don’t wanna sound like I’m whining.  I got myself into the situation I’m in, and I’m willing to take responsibility for that, and I want to gracefully exit out, but at the same time, find something I would rather do instead.  Interestingly enough, I’ve had two ideas bouncing around my head lately of something I could do.  It seems incredibly risky, but I have so many ideas and I get so excited about it that I’m starting to wonder if I shouldn’t at least start to look into it.  I’ve been thinking about either running my own local movie theater or video rental store.

I’ve always wanted to run my own movie theater, ever since I was a little kid.  Growing up, going to the movies was a rare treat, and I really enjoyed it every time.  Well, except that one time my mom took me to see Bambi, and I thought the movie was pretty boring.  I must have been five at the time or something.  A critic at such a young age.  I still love going to the movies, for just the thrill of the experience.  One of the reasons that working at a movie theater was so much fun for me too, was that I’ve never found myself so culturally engrossed around people of my own kind as I was there.  First of all, those of us who were long-term workers were really into movies.  There seems to be more than a few shared qualities from that fascination, since I made a lot of good friends working there.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that I have some really cool ideas for what would make a movie theater fun to visit.  I especially have lots of ideas on some cool promotions to do (which I might go into later … right now, they’re just floating around in my head).

The same is true for a video rental store.  I know it’s in the news this week that Hollywood Video is going out of business, and it really comes as no surprise to me.  I’ve written before how I think the whole business concept is outdated, and some ideas they can use to brighten things up.  I have lots more ideas on top of those I mentioned there, too.  There’s so many things you could do more than just making it a trip to pick up a movie or game to rent.  I gotta write em down.

There’s only one small problem — I’m not really the entrepreneurial type.  Personally speaking, I dislike the ideas of capitalism in general, and I completely glaze over anytime the topic of business comes up, so I’m not sure I’d be well suited to take on such an endeavor as I might run it financially into the ground, quickly.  If I was serious about doing it, I’d have to do my due research, that’s for sure.  I’d like to think I’ve worked with the movie theaters for long enough to know what would be the basics (I’ve filled every role there — usher, concessionist, box office, projectionist and management), but it seems like running a theater would be a lot riskier than a video store.  Who knows.  If it was small enough, I guess.

Anyhooms, I’m just thinking out loud for now.  I dunno what I think of the idea, but one thing I’m absolutely certain about — it’s one idea that gets me really excited, and just keeps generating more and more energy as I think about it.  Add on top of that it’s something I’ve thought would be cool  to do for years, so … who knows?

I guess at this point I’m just wondering if I should pursue the idea or not.  I mean, not commit myself to it, and run out and get a loan from the bank or anything, but rather just ask myself if there’s really some sustained interest there or if it’s just something to consider.  I dunno.

I can really think of some cool ideas, though. 🙂  Maybe I should share them.

5 comments on “work, work, work … movies?

  1. velda


    Find out what it takes to run a theater, or a video store, or both even. Find out what you’d get out of it, weighing your personal satisfaction with your financial well-being and everything else. And then map out what it would take to get from where you are to where you want to be. Plan how long it’ll take you to get there. And then take it to God. Pray about it like crazy. And if it feels right? Start walking.

    That’s what I’ve had to do with my goals of being an industrial designer, and even though I’ve still got a long way to go, there’s some great satisfaction just in knowing I’m headed in the right direction.

    Also, maybe you could sort out how much extra money you’d have each month if you, say, were making payments on a theater. Then start living on that budget now. Save (or wisely invest) the rest. Be diligent about it. After a year or two, you might find that you don’t like living that way. You might find you need to adjust your plans. But in any case you ought to find you’ve got some of the money you’ll need as well as a tidy measure of the self discipline it’ll take to pull these dreams off.

    Good luck 🙂

    1. velda

      Oh, and by “Extra Money” I mean that you’ll probably have significantly less extra money than you do now, at least while you’re getting things rolling. So pretend you’re making your payments every month. Then you can decide whether you like that pinch, all while collecting a nice down payment.

      And, fyi:


  2. Lonnie Olson

    I’m going to try to not burst your bubble, but… you have some problems with your ideas.

    If you don’t like the business/entrepreneur aspects, running your own business will be quite difficult and will likely fail. I guess you could look for a business partner that does like that stuff, and you could handle the operational aspects of the business.

    Your movie theater idea is going to be difficult as well. You already know that the theater competition is fierce. The way you would need to stay relevant is to specialize, similar to what Brewvies and SLFS do. However these types of theater specializations live on very very slim margins. That’s also not taking into account the massive startup costs: building, equipment, licensing fees, etc.

    The video store idea has even more problems. Just like you said, mainstream video rental is dead. Hollywood Video and Blockbuster already know this. To succeed at all, you need a niche. Even niche video rental has serious problems too. Look at the Tower. They specialize in independent and hard to find videos. But they have to survive on large donations from a non-profit.

    If you really like movies, and don’t like the business stuff. Look for other opportunities. Find out what aspects of the movie industry you like. Creation, production, presentation, sales, etc.
    * Screenplay writer (creation)
    * Editor (production)
    * Run a film festival (presentation)
    * Distributor (sales/presentation)
    * Independent film releasing on the web (ala Hulu)

    heh, I’ve actually gone through this thought process before. I’m a lot like you. Love movies, hate business stuff. But I always come back to computers, as I still really do love it.

    Good luck.

  3. Stephanie

    I’m not really sure there’s a market out there for a movie theater that only plays G/PG movies with really bad actors and ridiculous plotlines. Oh, and that serves Twinkies and chocolate chip cookies.

    That’s what you had in mind isn’t it?? 🙂


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