Friday, August 17, 2012

I went to AMC and barely saw a movie.

Today, my family and I went to the AMC Theater at the Liberty Tree Mall theater in Danvers, MA. My girls were very excited to see "The Zombie Movie," (a.k.a ParaNorman.) We arrived 30 minutes early, purchased our tickets and settled into our seats with 12 minutes to spare before the previews were set to start. However... after the "Where Movies Live" ad played for what seemed like longer than usual, it froze. after a couple of minutes, the screen went blank. You could still see some illumination on the screen, so clearly, a projector was on, but alas, no sound and no picture. I learned a while ago that since the installation of digital projectors, there is a good chance that they are set to automatically start. In other words, no one is there when your movie starts to make sure everything is o.k. 

Isn't that the perfect set up for a business that thrives or dies on the product on the screen? Set glitchy systems to run automatically and not check on them until people complain. That will do wonders for your customer service. I have been to quite a few theaters this summer and not one ran without some kind of issue; masking, lights not going off or staying on, audio issues, and now this. This was the final straw.

Nothing happened for the next twenty-two minutes. An employee with a walkie-talkie was in the theater after the first five or ten minutes of nothing on the screen. At no point did the employee make any attempt to address the audience to let us know what was wrong or how long it would take to fix. We were literally and figuratively left in the dark.

Have you ever tried to sit with two very excited four year-olds in a theater full of kids and there is nothing on the screen? I don't recommend it. 

As if that wasn't bad enough, when the staff finally did manage to get something on the screen, it was the first minute of the trailer for "Killing Them Softly."  This was completely unexpected and totally inappropriate. My wife and I attended a PG rated movie with my two 4 year old daughters and we were all expecting something appropriate for the rating of the feature.

Once the staff realized the mistake, the screen went blank for several more minutes while adults started the disgruntled grumbling.

Almost exactly a half hour later than the advertised time, someone managed to get the feature on the screen. It was presented with no pre-show and more importantly, no trailers. My girls and I were really looking forward to what would probable be in front of ParaNorman: Frankenweenie, Finding Nemo 3D, Hotel Transylvania, Rise of the Guardians and possibly The Hobbit.

Watching a movie without trailers is very unceremonious. I never knew how plain it would make a movie until I experienced it. I was very, very disappointed with how the theater performed and I am extremely reluctant to take my children back there. I want them to love movies, not get frustrated with equipment that staff can't seem to master.

I did not stay and make my complaint known to theater staff at the time because my children were tried and it was past time to eat dinner. Also, it was after shift change, so everyone that experienced it first hand was most likely gone. Besides, if you make a mistake - especially two or three in a row like they did, you need to come to us. Not hope we don't come to you.

On AMC's corporate site, we can get a handle on what AMC expects from their projection staff. Let's take a look and see how it stacks up to today's performance. I will emphasize the parts of the job description they failed.’ll ensure the best possible out-of-home entertainment experience available. That’s what we do. We’re AMC®, and we’re one of the largest entertainment companies in the world. You’ll train, coach, motivate and evaluate all booth operators. You’ll also manage routine housekeeping, equipment maintenance and timely communication with the theatre’s technical systems engineer. Bottom line—you help to put on a great show.
Take a look at a few of your soon-to-be responsibilities:
  • Deliver a comfortable, distraction-free and picture-perfect entertainment experience
  • Monitor film build-up and tear-down process for the highest quality
  • Coordinate booth operations and duties (e.g., build-up, tear-down, trailer programming)
  • Ensure picture-perfect presentations through auditorium and booth evaluations
  • Identify picture and sound problems and correct them accordingly
  • Execute pre-feature programming
  • Complete required booth reports
  • Measure screen luminance monthly and submit report
  • Manage and train projection booth associates by using established booth certification/training materials
  • Track operating expenses for booth maintenance, repairs and supplies
  • Answer guests’ questions and concerns
  • Guarantee crew members satisfy all AMC guest service standards
  • Assist with other functions and perform other duties as instructed by the General Manager
  • Uphold AMC’s high standards and deliver entertaining company-wide programs
As a presentation manager at an AMC theatre, you’ll also be required to demonstrate:
  • Proven supervisory experience with effective managerial and training skills
  • Persuasive written and oral communication skills along with strong analytical skills
  • Ability to effectively delegate and follow up with booth crew members
  • Proficient guest service, administrative and follow-up skills
  • Ability to consistently meet deadlines in a timely fashion
  • Standing, walking, lifting, twisting and bending on a frequent basis
  • Solid mechanical skills, manual dexterity along with strong eyesight, hearing/color perception
At AMC, we live in a team-based culture where a take-charge approach exists at all levels. Especially, when you want to take charge of your career. We offer continuous training and development programs, highly competitive compensation with performance-driven bonuses and excellent benefits including free movie passes, health and 401(k) plans. If working in the entertainment world, delivering superior customer service and a fun working environment matter to you, apply online today. You could end up working in show business.

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