Friday, 26 November 2010

How to Become a Projectionist: Episode I

I'm drunk.

Not falling-down drunk. More like morning-after-5am-nightclub-departure drunk.

It's about five hours since I left the club. I'm driving. I'm late.

I've got a job interview at ten o'clock in a hotel up near the castle and the train station, and I'm not going to make it.

Driving under the influence is not cool. Even the morning after. You will be a hazard to yourself and others. Don't do it.

I really want this job, though.

I recently returned from living in Manchester for a year, working a shitty call-centre job at Ticketmaster, and am wanting for gainful employment. I had opened a local paper to discover that a new cinema was opening in town. I had applied online, first attempting the position of "projectionist", only to be told by the automatic reply that I didn't have the qualifications. I had changed tack and gone for a position as a "Guest Assistant", a front-of-house popcorn-jockey, something which the computer thought I would be much more suited to.

Hurrying into the hotel, I think I've made good time. I must only be two minutes late. They can't complain about that, can they? I still feel drunk. Not hungover, yet. Still drunk.

I approach the receptionist, trying to maintain my balance and, concentrating on my enunciation, announce that I am there for an interview for the cinema. She tells me to take a seat and they will come and get me.

I sit down. I wait. I keep waiting. I wait for a long time. For three quarters of an hour, I wait.

I don't think I would've waited this long had I not been a bit pissed.

I'm sure I must have returned to the receptionist and enquired how long I'd be waiting, but I don't remember fully.

After almost an hour, a door opens into the reception area and a group of young, attractive people are escorted out by a little dark-haired woman in glasses. I smile at her. She asks me if I'm there for the interview.

I say yes, and tell her my name.

She asks me if I was late. I say only couple of minutes.

Turns out this was a group interview and the young attractive people who were just leaving were my co-interviewees. They must have been escorted into the interview room two minutes before I arrived. My interview had been taking place without me, less than ten feet from where I was seated in the waiting area.

The woman talks to two other people in the interview room and then asks me if I want to do the interview on my own. Dutch courage says yes.

So there I go: late, keen (or weird) enough to sit and wait nearly an hour on my own, and trying for all I'm worth not to act (or smell) like an alcoholic reprobate.

The interview consists of three people asking me typical interview questions ("name an instance where you've had to solve a problem", "can you tie your shoelaces?", "what's the safest way to open a door: with your hands, or with your face?") and me desperately trying to hold my thoughts together like water in a holey bucket.

The one question that sticks in my head is "How would you make the cinema better?" or something. I tell them that I would have headphone jack-sockets installed in all the seats so that you can plug your iphone (or other non-denominational music player) headphones in and have the movie's soundtrack piped directly into your earholes, thus eradicating the problem of noisy, irritating punters in the cinema. I still think this is a good idea, even though I'm sober.

I think my drunken inability to understand the gravity of the situation is mistaken for confidence. The interview goes well.

I leave with a small amount of hope that I may soon become a popcorn-shoveller in a state-of-the-art cinema complex. I vow that I will turn up sober if I get a second interview.

I do, and I do. But it turns out that the distribution of popcorn and hotdogs and the ripping of ticket stubs was not what fate had in store for me...



  1. "I think my drunken inability to understand the gravity of the situation is mistaken for confidence. The interview goes well."

    I laughed at this. Good job on the interview! I can't help but think that all the (four) interviews I've been to would have gone so much better had I been a little tipsy.

  2. Haha....I quite enjoy these little forays into your daily life.
    "I still think this is a good idea, even though I'm sober" - I agree, it is a good idea!

  3. I'm fucken hoooked. Tell me more. Please?

  4. Make a movie about this shit. Loved it.

  5. You're to be the cinema manager. That's me prediction.

    On your first paid two-week vacation, I expect to see you in NYC.

  6. Unbelievable. You strange drunk bastard, I love your stories so.

  7. If part two's just, "They ask me if I want to be a projectionist - I say yes" Imma be pissed.