become a movie projectionist

What does a Movie Projectionist do?

A movie projectionist sets up (or in some instances operates) a motion picture projection in order to play a movie on a large screen. Most of these workers are employed by movie theaters and have other tasks to perform at the movie theater as well.

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How to Become a Movie Projectionist

Movie projectionists are trained on-the-job by an experienced movie projection operator. This is also a job that students yet to graduate high school can apply for. According to O*NET OnLine, almost 50% of those surveyed had yet to earn their high school diploma and almost 50% had earned their high school diploma but had not taken any college courses yet.

Employers really like to see applicants with good customer service skills, those with flexible schedules, and people that the employer thinks will be reliable. Movie theaters are generally most busy at night and on weekends, so applicants that state they can work those shifts may be offered a position over a person with a more limited schedule.

Job Description of a Movie Projectionist

Depending on the movie projector, a projectionist would insert a film reel into a movie projector carefully and properly then start up the projector. They may need to also adjust the focus of the projector to ensure the image is crisp. Sounds are a vital component to most movies so they would also ensure the sound worked as well. If employed by a movie theater, these workers are most often tasked with collecting tickets, running food concessions, taking payment at cash registers, and cleaning up after customers have watched the movie. Many workers at theaters learn multiple job duties and help out where ever their supervisor sees fit.

Sales Assistant (Theater) Job Posting

Let’s look at a job description posted by the Department of the Navy. This job announcement is looking for a person to perform the following responsibilities:

  • Greets customers, rings up sales for merchandise, answers phone and checks I.D. cards to ensure only authorized patrons utilize the program.
  • Answers questions in regards to hours of operation, upcoming events, special events, merchandise availability and cost.
  • Operates a cash register, ringing sales and providing correct change to the customer.
  • At end of shift, completes the Daily Activity Report (DAR), ensures all cash handling/reporting/securing requirements are met, verifies the amount of money collected and drops the cashier bag into the drop safe.
  • Ensures the proper preparation and display of merchandise.
  • Receives merchandise from storage area.
  • Inventories and verifies shipments and stock items in accordance with established stock location procedures.
  • Continually observes quantities of stock, and replenishes as necessary to maintain established levels.
  • Rearranges stock and displays to accommodate new, seasonal, or fast-moving items.
  • Maintains sales and storage areas in a neat, orderly condition at all times.
  • Performs basic cleaning duties to maintain a constant and clean working area and ensure all current sanitation requirements are followed and maintained.
  • Vacuums carpeted areas; washes walls, windows, blinds, and other surfaces and replaces light bulbs as needed.
  • Maintains restrooms ensuring they are clean, orderly and sanitary-disinfects and deodorizes lavatories, urinals and toilet bowls.
  • Replenishes bathroom tissue, hand towels and soap.
  • Notifies supervisor when cleaning supplies are needed and reports all equipment malfunctions to supervisor for corrective action.

This position was posted to run 01/16/2019 until 01/23/2019 with a wage of $12.13 per hour on (link opens in a new tab). is an official website of the United States government and part of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Free Teacher and Student Resources

The University of Hong Kong offers a free Hong Kong Cinema through a Global Lens course on (link opens in a new tab) with the option to pay a small fee receive a verified certificate upon completion of the course.

By taking this course, you’ll learn:

  • Develop your critical and historical thinking skills through analyzing the interconnected relationship between the global scene and local lives in Hong Kong films.
  • Broaden your perspectives on identity issues through finding the familiar in the foreign in Hong Kong cinema.
  • Deepen your perspective on the impact of globalization on your own society through analyzing Hong Kong cinema.

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Movie Projectionist Career Video Transcript

For people who love going to the movies, working as a motion picture projectionist can be a way to enjoy the silver screen from a brand new perspective. Projectionists run the projector and sound equipment that displays films on screen at movie theaters. Projectionists must start and end screenings on time, monitor the equipment and facility to ensure the show goes as planned, and may at times show films in multiple theaters simultaneously. Projectionists may also perform equipment maintenance.

While most theaters now have digital projectors, at some theaters or for special events, motion pictures may be screened directly from the film, which requires handling film reels, splicing film, and using specialized projection equipment. Motion picture projectionists typically work alone, indoors at movie theaters from small one-screen arthouse cinemas to large multiplexes… but projectionists also work at museums or outdoor drive-in theaters. Shifts typically start in the afternoon and run until closing time, usually around midnight. Motion picture projectionists have no specific education or previous work requirements, typically learning their skills on-the-job.

Article Citations

National Center for O*NET Development. 39-3021.00. O*NET OnLine. This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA. RethinkOldSchool, Inc. has modified all or some of this information. USDOL/ETA has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

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