Movie projectionists set up and operate projectors to show films to audiences. No special skills are required to become a move projection operator in a movie theater, as most are trained on the job. Having some skills in photography or film production, however, will make you more competitive for the position. Still, movie projectionist jobs are on the wane, as movie houses move toward digital cinema. This is fueled in part by the rise in Imax and 3D movies, which can't be projected on traditional film. Some specialty theaters -- such as outdoor theaters, universities and movie production companies -- continue to employ limited numbers of film projectionists. It's best to have additional skills that allow you to work in related disciplines, such as general audiovisual, wiring, lighting and sound management.
Acquire general information technology skills and experience. As movies move toward digital cinema, the role of the projectionist is shifting toward a person who can program screens from a single computer as well as do traditional equipment checks to ensure movies play properly. Familiarize yourself with digital projection requirements, such as film downloads, hard drive management, maintenance of digital projection machines and light management.
Seek opportunity where jobs are still plentiful. Rather than rely on chain movie theaters, which are rapidly shedding projectionist jobs, go for jobs with museums, universities, production companies, professional entertainment studios, training companies and the military, where traditional 35-mm jobs are higher in number. Red-light districts may be the last bastion of regular movie theater projectionists.
Demonstrate that you have adjunct skills that allow you to work in more functions inside the theater besides the projection booth. In addition to knowing how to operate the machinery like common DLP projectors, you should be able to splice or edit film and make equipment repairs. Show that you can manage inventory, make detailed reports and have reasonable customer service experience. Public speaking may also come in handy as projectionists are often called to use the theater's public address system when there are emergencies. In addition, you may be called upon to train other employees to use projection equipment, as even theaters with 12 screens rarely have more than one or two projectionists on staff.