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How to Become a Movie Projectionist

Movie projectionists are responsible for handling the lights, projectors and sound when showing a film to a movie theater audience. In addition to movie theaters, they also work in motion picture distribution and production companies. Some are even self-employed, working for private screenings or other special occasions. Here's how to become a movie projectionist.

Take high school, technical or college-level courses in keyboarding, basic computer skills, photography and film and video production. Technical skills are required to work with film projectors and other audiovisual equipment.

Gain experience by working at a movie theater. Whenever you're not selling tickets or popcorn, get a chance to learn from an experienced projectionist.

Train on the job. Learn how to open a film canister and remove the film reel. Use your hands or a machine to rewind film. Ensure that projectors are in sync with music, sound effects or commentary, and make repairs to the equipment as needed. Be prepared to monitor a movie's progress and change reels without show interruption.

Pursue a job as a movie projectionist. Fill out an application and attach a resume that details your experience with sound and visual equipment. Look for summer, evening or weekend jobs to get started in the career.


A college degree is not required to work as a movie projectionist. However, you may want to pursue a degree in cinematography or film studies to open yourself to more career-related opportunities. Another advantage of being a movie projectionist is that you get paid to be among the first to see new, popular movies. This may be the perfect job if you're a movie buff.