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Most movie theaters assign workers to departments that work together to achieve the greater goal of having a successful theater. For this reason, every employee is specialized within a specific job role. While some employees may branch out and perform other job roles, employees generally only perform one role per shift. If any of these positions are removed from the theater, it could not run properly.
Box Office Cashiers
Box office employees, usually the first employee a movie-goer sees, represent the "ambassadors" of the theater. He paves the way for an enjoyable experience. If the box office employee does his job incorrectly, he automatically sets up the patron to have a bad experience. No matter how good the rest of the experience is in the theater, customers won't forget their first impression of the staff. The box office employees sell tickets to patrons. He must be knowledgeable about showtimes, seating capacity in the theater and each movie. Customers make the first transaction at the theater with the box office employee, so he must know how to work the theater's cash register and ticketing system.
Concessionists, or concession workers, are generally the next wave of employees that a customer encounters. Concessionists also work a cash register where patrons buy such things as popcorn, soft drinks and candy, and at some theaters, even nachos, pizza, pretzels and other snacks. Some theaters even have coffee and ice cream drinks. This may be combined with the concession stand or elsewhere in the lobby or theater. A concessionist has to maintain a clean area because she is serving food and drinks, and concession stands are regularly checked by local health departments. Some theater chains require concessionists to wear aprons as they work.
A theater's ushers make sure customers have a ticket for the show they're attending. He tears these tickets and directs the patron where to go. He usually stands at a podium just before a hallway that houses all of the auditoriums. Ushers may also be referred to as "ticket taker" or "floor person." The usher cleans and maintains the theaters after customers have left, performs theater checks during a film to ensure that the sound and picture are acceptable, and does routine checks of the bathrooms to make sure they are clean and well stocked. Generally, ushers are the first person a customer contacts if there is a complaint. Ushers also may help customers find lost items or people, find seats or remove unruly people.
The projectionist works behind the scenes to make sure the movies begin on time and there are no sound or picture errors. She correctly sets up and operates the equipment to produce coordinated effects on screen. She often moves from projector to projector to check that everything is working properly. With the move from 35mm films to digital projectors among many theater companies, some theaters have movies begin from a central computer. Still, a projectionist should be on hand to make sure there are no problems. That way, if a problem does surface, she is available to fix it quickly. The switch to digital has simplified many projectionists' job.
Management oversees everything that happens in the theater. In some theaters, management is departmentalized, with one or more managers overseeing different roles. Management is responsible for booking movies and setting show times, creating employee schedules, handling customer complaints, counting down cash drawers and making sure each part of the theater runs smoothly.
Courtney Watson was first published in 2008 at her campus newspaper, "MTSU Sidelines," working a local news beat and later writing her own opinion column. She holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communication from Middle Tennessee State University.