How to get me back in the movie theaters
This evening when I was driving home from class, I passed a brand new movie theater that opened on highway 316 between Atlanta and Athens. There were beautiful spotlights dancing in the clouds in the night sky, and I know they've been hyping up this new theater for months.
But for someone like me, there's just no incentive to go see movies. Roger Ebert did a nice piece on getting people back into theaters that was posted a while back on Slashdot, but I've never been a movie person to begin with.
So, movie producers and theater companies alike, here's how to attract a semi-yuppie who hates movies into your hallowed halls:
1. Turn the volume down. The number one reason I avoid movie theaters is because I like my hearing, and your too loud Dolby speakers are determined to destroy it. One out of five Americans has experienced some form of hearing loss, but I am not one of them. If you market a theater as a "quiet" theater with volume carefully tuned to proper levels for the equipment (and better yet, get some audiophile sound in there), I might be more willing to part with my money to spend time in your establishment.
2. Stop trying to be so family friendly. In the aforementioned "quiet" theater please ban all children under the age of 13. The only thing more likely to give me a migraine than a subwoofer set to "jet engine" is a screaming baby.
3. Have a full bar. Let's up that age to 21 and over only and let me get a giant 60 oz beer instead of a 60 oz soda.
4. Have shit I want to watch. I drove over an hour away to watch the Trigun movie in Atlanta, gladly paying $10 for an hour of subtitled Japanese cartoons. When the last ten good movies made were either a numbered Harry Potter installment or something from Disney/Pixar, it speaks volumes of the sorry sorry state of the industry.
5. Stop serving popcorn. The smell makes me want to vomit.
6. Stop with the 3D already. Everyone hates it. We're not going to love it. Just stop.
7. Reduce the prices. If you implement the full bar and 21 and only "quiet" theater as a niche market, you can totally charge a premium on the drinks and simply call the fee to watch the movie a bar "Cover charge." Ten bucks or lower is still my price point, since that's what the DVD will cost me in a month.
8. Advertisements for other movies are okay. Advertisements for non-movie products are commercials. If I wanted to watch commercials, I'd be watching television. (Except I don't watch television either.)
9. Going back to "show shit I want to see" - make movies I'd pay to watch. I'm a science fiction and fantasy fan, and I've been jonesin' for the purported Uglies movie that's been in vaporware land for the last two years. I want to watch it. Show it to me. If you make it, they might actually come...
10. Hire better writers. Good god, really? Also hire better actors. Pretty faces do not good actors make.
So one of my former managers just posted this onto Facebook via her Blackberry: "I really love how any instruction people don't like is considered 'micromanagement.' "
The company that former manager works at is IT marketing, and while they are very good at what they do, they are tremendously guilty of micromanagement. In retrospect, I was miserable there, and it was a good thing I quit when I did. They never utilized my true talents, and now I hope they regret pushing me away by not promoting me. I'm much happier in my current position, where I can write to my heart's content.
So what is micromanagement? It's having WinVNC installed on every terminal so that you can spy on employees. I'm still terrified of that little white tray icon turning black. Micromanagement is demanding 150 phone calls in a single day. It's expecting the impossible of employees and them punishing them when they fail to deliver.
It's also forcing employees into identical roles and expecting maximum performance. That just doesn't happen. People can achieve the same goal through different ways, and as long as they are meeting the goal, why demand that they change the way they are doing things to suit your viewpoint?
I really liked my former manager. She was a sweet lady and I don't mean to bash her. She has a thankless job dealing with less than stellar employees (because all the smart ones quit for greener pastures, like I did.) But she seems to have bought into the corporate lie - that the "best practices" are the only way to do things. What I've learned is that in the real world, "best practices" don't account for budgets, customers, and human nature.
One of our clients has a dying server. Totally dying. We're keeping it alive by pointing an actual fan - yes, a literal fan on it. We have told them many times that they need to replace the damn thing already. The client says no, they don't have the funds for it. We reminded them that we told them last year that the end of life cycle was coming up and they'd need to start budgeting for a replacement. They won't be moved. One of these days, the server is going to die for good, and I just hope their backups managed to catch correctly the day before.
This ties into my last job because it was marketing - convincing those stubborn people to move. Unfortunately, if the actual IT department can't convince the client to buy new servers, then marketing isn't going to help. And yet, the old company expects these sort of miracles on a daily basis.
Management in general needs to realize that equipment is not something you buy once, but that you buy and then feed continually and then eventually replace. That's the "best practice." And former manager specifically needs to remember that the management in general doesn't think rationally, doesn't budget, and certainly doesn't want to fork over another $5,000 for a fresh server deployment.