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How many years have you worked in the Movie Theatre Industry and how did you first become involved?
Nearly 13 years (has it been that long already?) time flies when you are having fun! I first started with Galaxy Theatres in my hometown of Tulare, California -October of 2004 with the starting position of floor staff. The theatre was set to open in November and they were holding a job fair at the outlet mall where it was located. I was just looking for a job at the time and had no idea it would become a career that I have grown to love and be passionate about. I remember the process vividly and love to tell the following story: I was in a long line of people eager to be employed, just waiting in line for my turn to submit an application and hopefully grab an interview. It was myself and a few others dressed in a shirt and tie among a sea of flip flops casual wear. While we were waiting, I noticed a gentleman carrying heavy boxes into the theatre (he had a stack up past his line of sight). I couldn’t help myself so I grabbed the door for him and asked if he needed assistance. The gentleman I was assisting just so happened to be the GM (to my surprise) and he was delighted by my offer to lend a helping hand. He immediately walked me over to the interview table afterward and said “get this man an interview he is eager to work”. It still applies with me as a GM today when I sit in on hiring. A positive attitude, appropriate attire and willingness to help are always a leg up!

What’s the best part of your Job? Do you have any memorable experiences that you would like to share?
The impact that we (as managers) can have on both guests and team members alike are my favorite parts of the job. On the guest side, we can alter the course of someone’s mood with our service or something as simple as a warm genuine smile. A movie is a shared escape for many and something everyone looks forward to, I get to be a part of that- every big weekend, every show. It’s difficult to beat the energy and excitement of a sell out early release show, or big time opening night movie. It can be on par with a rock concert with the right type of film! On the team member’s side, it’s more of something I was told along the way that stuck with me rather than a memorable experience. “For many, the movie theatre has always been a first job and you always remember your first job, first boss, and what that experience was like”. Give it a try right now and you instantly can be taken back to yours no matter what your age. I love getting to shape that experience with my team. The fun atmosphere and memories made together at the theatre behind the scenes can be wonderful. What a delight to know our theatre operators and managers can have that type of positive effect, and it shows at our locations. I love the interaction on either side of the counter.

What is your fondest movie theatre memory?

Above in his all time favorite picture taken during the Batman V Superman promotion at the Mission Grove 18 Theatre is self-proclaimed "big DC comic nerd" GM AJ Taylor with Assistant GM James Reyna posed in front of the Tim Burton Batmobile.
It’s so difficult to choose just one when you have so many over the years. I think when you are in the industry long enough you start to associate all big milestones or life memories with movies out at the time! I’ll never forget handing out promotional shirts for “The Incredibles” when the Tulare Galaxy first opened (especially as I handed out the last of the supply!). I remember planning time off around “The Dark Night” release for a trip to propose to my wife and I know “Pineapple Express” was just released when we were first married, (we love both films by the way). I can recall “Wolverine Origins” was the big release when I was first promoted to GM (a roof leak collapsing onto a projector opening night sealed that movie in my mind). I could even tell you what movies were playing when my kids were born, when we first opened any of our new locations or any other important period for me, both personally and professionally. Movies just become a second part of life, your story running parallel to theirs.

How old were you when you went to your first movie? Do you remember the theatre and the city?
Definitely not my first movie, but one of my most memorable movie experiences. “1991 Suburban Commando” starring Hulk Hogan. Don’t judge! Terrible, terrible movie but a great experience at the time. We all got together for a birthday party at a nearby pizza joint (VIP or Very Important Pizza for any Tulare natives) and we put some time (and quarters) in on the Michael Jackson Moonwalker arcade cabinet before the flick. I remember it well despite being only 8 at the time. There were about 10 rambunctious boys from my class in the group. Hot buttered popcorn, Red Vines and whispers passed down the aisle with joy. The sweet and salty snacks were accompanied by giggles and contest worthy belches from an ice-cold Coke being gulped down too quickly. These treats only added to our excitement as a lot of kids in the group couldn’t normally afford the snacks. I really think anything could have been playing on that screen and it would have been a great time. There was a huge buzz about the group before, during and after the movie. What a great memory to relive even today as I retell it now. I had a lot of fantastic memories at that old 4 screen in downtown Tulare that has since closed. I would frequent it and the comic shop nearby many a weekend in my youth. How fitting that the next theatre built in Tulare would become my flagship in my theatre career and a birthplace of many more memories to come.

What is your favorite movie of all time? What is it about this movie that stands out for you?
It probably can’t be considered “all time” at this point, being too recently released but I suspect that answer will remain “The Revenant” as time passes. It had beautiful cinematography and visuals- making great use of the PLF screens. In addition, it was one of first “wow” films for me personally when it came to the use of the Dolby Atmos system and its sound capabilities. The sound mix is what put it over the top. It was both immersive and realistic due both to the visuals and sound mix and because of that realism my brain was telling me I was out there, submersed in the elements myself. “The Revenant” really demonstrates a stand out example of what it means for a movie that is MADE to be seen on the big screen. There is no re-creating that at home.

Do you have any industry related hobbies or experiences? Please explain.
Most of my free time is happily spent with family. My 9 and 5 year old’s keep me on my toes. I would admit my hobbies are all non-industry related, and intentionally so. I think the longer you serve, the clearer the importance of separation becomes. Most of my hobbies have turned into things where I am unreachable and can unplug. I enjoy fishing, hiking, and am very into fitness/ exercise. I like to turn off my brain from those outside stressors, take nature in, or challenge my body to be as active as my mind.

Do you have any special interests? What are they?
I am a big beer nerd outside of work. Beer is like music or movies: there is a style and type for every mood and occasion! It has even crept into work now that adult amenities are more common within the industry. I love to see what my guests order and talk to them about recommendations or similar styles and brands even if we do not offer them. When I first relocated to Riverside for the company, I met some of the friends I have today through talking beer and movies right here in our lobby, or getting to know reps and techs. Talking beer can be the equivalent of talking sports in 2017, it’s a huge common ground.

What does being a member of NATO of CA/NV mean to you?
Support. It is extremely helpful to have an organization of likeminded and goal oriented individuals to share resources, experiences and tips. I enjoy the industry related training / seminars offered and the scholarships and incentives for team members. Having these types of tools at our disposal never gets old.

Of all the resources that the Association offers (seminars, scholarships, email advisories, etc.) which is most useful for you?
I find the seminars and advisories most useful. Even if it is something we are already thinking or talking about. Getting together as a collective to discuss lets you see what is already on your mind from many different viewpoints and helps put things into perspective. A great example of this was the active shooter training and presentation held at the ArcLight Hollywood in recent years. While we had intercompany training at a couple of local locations, it was awesome to see such a massive group tackle that topic and present from such a huge police force/ area. It is something we should all prepare for and hope we never have to use.